JOHN O’CONNOR continues to combine both a playing and administrative role with his beloved Glenville GAA Club.
The 51-year-old still lines out with the club’s junior B and C footballers to good effect.
John recently became the oldest player to play championship football in the club’s history when he featured for Glenville’s third team against Midleton, while he also serves as the club PRO.
He took over as the club PRO in December 2019, a role he carries out very efficiently.
“I am enjoying it. It is good to help out in the local community,” he said.
John is also a player and a PRO for the Cork Masters football team which was established last year.
“It is for players over the age of 40 who play inter-county football against other counties. The concept has been going for a while, but Cork only entered a team for the first time last year.
“Training will commence in July and the games are scheduled to be held between September and November. The groups are formed on a regional basis so we could be in a group with Kerry, Waterford, Clare, and maybe Laois.
“The top three teams will go into three different competitions following the group stages. Colm Crowley the GDA is very involved in it. It is well run and very enjoyable.”
Glenville fielded three adult football teams last year which is a reflection of the continued progress the Imokilly divisional club continues to make. John was delighted to tog out and play.
“74 players played football for the three adult teams last year which is a great achievement.
“The three teams were very competitive. I was delighted to go back playing last year. It was very enjoyable and it was great fun.
I love playing and representing Glenville. I played until I was 25 with Glenville. I then emigrated to the UK where I continued playing.
“When I arrived home from the UK, my job involved working nights so I couldn’t commit. Our championships weren’t completed last year due to Covid, so it is great to be back trying to help us achieve glory this year.
“We have four or five league games this summer and three championship games as it is a round-robin format. I will continue playing,” he added.
Glenville operates in the IFC. They were drawn in Group 2 of this year’s championship alongside Kilshannig, Glanworth, and Adrigole. Glenville’s solitary championship victory last year came courtesy of a shock 2-11 to 1-13 win over Millstreet.
“They finished very strongly last year. They were beaten by Ballinora and St Finbarr’s in the opening two games.
“They were getting better as the campaign progressed. I would be very hopeful ahead of this year’s championship.
“We have a lot of talented young players coming through which is a further boost.”
The player and club official was also a driving force behind their current Glenville to Croke Park Challenge 2021. The funds raised from this fundraiser will go towards the football club’s new floodlight 3G all-weather pitch which was recently opened at a cost of €250,000.
“We are currently doing a virtual walk/run/jog/cycle. 170 people have signed up and they add the miles as it goes on. The 70m x 30m training facility will cater for the needs of the ever-expanding playing population.
“It has been an unbelievable addition to the club. It is great for all the club members, especially the underage players.
“It has made a world of difference to the club. Players can train on it throughout the year.
“The club now has a full playing pitch, a car park which was also recently completed, and a small gym to go with the new 3G all-weather pitch.
“We are very proud of the progress the club is making, both on and off the pitch. Watergrasshill Hurling Club also has its own pitch and a ball alley. They are also hoping to expand,” he added.
O'Connor is part of a vibrant and progressive club committee that is determined to further improve the fortunes of Glenville going forward.
“Richie Cahill is the club chairperson. The Cahills are steeped in Glenville. Paudie Cahill is the manager of the intermediate footballers and our county board delegate.
“I am one of the older members of the committee. It is a great club to be involved in.
“There is a great spirit within the community. During the first lockdown, the club organised a rota to deliver messages and help the more vulnerable members in the community.”
The playing numbers in the underage section of Glenville GAA Club are also very strong with the club fielding teams at every age group, said John.
The numbers are very strong and growing on an annual basis. We are fielding teams from U6 up to the adult level. There has been a big population surge in both Watergrasshill and Glenville. There is great coaching going on behind the scenes.”
The club official is confident the club is poised for a bright future.
“The club is making great strides, both on and off the pitch. The future is bright. Getting floodlights for the main pitch will be our next goal. That will be down the road.
"It is important to keep investing and providing top facilities for the players to keep improving and developing.”