Denis O'Driscoll has given years of service to soccer in Cork

The passionate Leesider still helps out in Turner's Cross when required
Denis O'Driscoll has given years of service to soccer in Cork

Barry Peelo and Denis O'Driscoll at the Cork AUL 75th anniversary celebration that was held at the Metropole Hotel. Picture: David Creedon

DENIS O’DRISCOLL retired from the AUL two years ago after giving over 46 years service to the soccer body.

He was also a member of the Munster Football Association for 22 years and spent 20 years on the FAI Junior Council.

However, the 84-year-old is still available, at a minute’s notice, to help out at Turner’s Cross and was MC at two finals for the AUL last season.

Denis O'Driscoll is presented with a special award by Tom Fitzgerald (chairman of the Cork AUL) to mark his retirement from the Association at a celebration held in the Corner Flag. Picture: Barry Peelo.
Denis O'Driscoll is presented with a special award by Tom Fitzgerald (chairman of the Cork AUL) to mark his retirement from the Association at a celebration held in the Corner Flag. Picture: Barry Peelo.

It all started for O’Driscoll when he helped run the street leagues at Presentation Road in Gurranabraher in the early 1960s.

O’Driscoll married his wife Eileen in 1966 and moved to the southside of the city where they had four children Sandra, Denis, Jimmy, and Brian.

A year later O’Driscoll got involved with a team from High Street called Tonyville and spent some very enjoyable years with them.

“I first got involved in football in 1963 when I helped out with the local street leagues on Presentation Road. We played against other streets in the area in the local chapel fields.

“We had some great players with Jerry Finnegan, ex-Cork Hibs star, Gerry Myers and Denis Daly all togg-ing out for us.

“I got married in 1965 and moved over to the southside to live with my wife Eileen. 

I must say that Eileen was my greatest supporter as she and my family have being at my side helping me in all my years involved with football.

“She used to make all the sandwiches for all the events at Turner’s Cross and I have it on good authority from everyone in football circles that the quality of the sandwiches are not the same,” he says with a smile.

“I then joined a local team called Tonyville and they were a great bunch of lads. We didn’t win any trophies in my time there, however, I made friendships with Pat O’Connor and Eddie Dunlea.

His next port of call was with the Cork Celtic Supporters Club where he spent five years as secretary. He joined the AUL committee in 1974 and held every position in his 46 years of service except for secretary.

In 1999 he joined the MFA Council as an independent member and worked with Donie Forde and Pat O’Brien.

A year later O’Driscoll joined the FAI Junior and Senior Councils, representing the MFA in a position that he truly enjoyed.

He got to travel in his role with the FAI and he was responsible for collecting fines from teams all over the country.

“I joined the Cork Celtic Supporters Club after my time with Tonyville were I was secretary. I spent five years with them and one of the highlights was seeing the great George Best and Bobby Tambling play.

“Bobby was a great professional and a lovely man, to be honest, and Celtic won the League title in 1974 under Paul O’Donovan.

“I joined the AUL in the 1974/75 season where I joined John O’Sullivan, Vincie Cummins, Billy Morey, and Paddy Barry; they were great football people.

“Vincie deserves a lot of credit, as he put in trojan work in the development of Turner’s Cross.

JOURNEY

“The only position that I didn’t hold with the AUL was secretary, however, I did everything else and would spend most mornings at Turner’s Cross doing whatever job that needed to be done.

“I joined the MFA in 1999 as an independent member and spent 22 years on the council.

“Donie Forde was the secretary at the time and Pat O’Brien was his assistant; he went on to be president of the FAI some years later.

Pearse Celtic B's captain Keith McCarthy is presented with the President's Cup by Denis O'Driscoll at the Cross. Picture: Barry Peelo.
Pearse Celtic B's captain Keith McCarthy is presented with the President's Cup by Denis O'Driscoll at the Cross. Picture: Barry Peelo.

“My journey took me to the FAI Junior and Senior councils in 2001 and I became the assistant treasurer of the junior council.

“My job was to collect fines from clubs and I got to travel all over the country, so when teams saw me entering their ground a lot of players would go hiding in case they owed money from fines,” he says with a big smile on his face.

“But seriously, I really enjoyed my time with the FAI and I must say that I was treated with the utmost respect by clubs all over the country. 

One of the highlights of my time with the FAI was when the Cork AUL won the Oscar Traynor Cup in 2009 beating a Dublin team in the final.

“I honestly believe Cork teams should be doing better in the FAI Junior Cup as it is nearly 40 years since the cup came back to Leeside.”

He was deservedly presented with the John Sherlock FAI Services to Football Award in 2015 in Dublin and a few months ago he was presented with MFA Centenary Medal in an MFA Centenary dinner at the Carrigaline Court Hotel.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo 130Echo 130

Echo WISA

Read all about the monthly winner’s and more.
Click Here

EL_music

Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more