BRIAN DILLON'S GAA Club held a wreath-laying ceremony at Rathcooney Cemetery last Sunday, August 21 to mark 150 years since the passing of former IRB leader Brian Dillon whom the northside club is named after.
The Taoiseach Micheál Martin and the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar were both in attendance for the ceremony which took place last Sunday morning. Following the wreath-laying ceremony, a day of underage and adult matches were played at Brian Dillons GAA Club as part of the Brian Dillon Commemoration.
The 150th anniversary of Brian Dillon’s death occurred on Wednesday, August 17.
The city club has also teamed up with O’Neills to develop a special commemorative jersey in honour of Irish patriot Brian Dillon.
Club secretary Eoin Keane who previously served as club PRO said the club is delighted with the commemorative jersey.
“O’Neill's did a great job. We are delighted with the finished product.
"We have the one sash going down it as the original Brian Dillon's jersey had a white sash and we were determined to bring that into it.
"There is a mural of Brian Dillon on the sleeves and on the back, there is a design of Dillon's Cross from 1910.
"We have this picture up on our wall of this design, so we decided to incorporate this image onto the jersey,” he said.
The club has a limited number of jerseys for sale and the club official said the jersey is intended for club supporters both at home and abroad to purchase and wear with pride.
“Commemorative jerseys have become fashionable in recent years when you think of the Michael Collins one on the Cork Boston GAA jersey. Delanys had one there in recent times paying tribute to their founders.
"It is a nice way to commemorate Brian Dillon.
“The commemoration was held last Sunday, and the launch of the jersey went hand in hand with that.
"The jersey won’t be used for competitive games. It is more for general sale for supporters to wear with pride,” he added.
Founded in 1910, Brian Dillon's is one of the oldest GAA clubs in the city. The club secretary said the club was named after the Cork patriot and its original clubhouse was less than 100 metres from Dillon's home in Dillons Cross.
“The club was founded in 1910 and it was named after him. There are lots of clubs throughout the country named after famous republicans and it was a nice way to remember such a well-known local personality.
"Brian Dillon is not too well known in Cork. He would have been the head man for the IRB in the mid-19th century.
"Cork would have been the strong point for Fenians at that time.
“He was freed from prison after about four years. He died from tuberculosis in the end. His funeral was massive.
"There were 20,000 in the procession. He was originally buried in Evergreen out in Turner’s Cross but eventually, he was laid to rest in Rathcooney cemetery,” he added.
Originally located in Dillon's Cross, the club is currently based at the Tank Field in Montenotte, and they also have playing pitches at Lisahorna, Whites Cross.
The club caters for boys and girls of all ages, in hurling, football and camogie said the club official.
“Originally, we were based in Stream Hill just off Dillon's Cross. In an inner-city area green fields are hard to come by so we moved further out and we ended up in the Tank Field on the border of Montenotte and Mayfield.
"We have been there for the last forty years. We draw players from that neck of the woods.”
The club also held a series of special games as part of last Sunday’s Brian Dillon Commemoration.
Brian Dillon's played Sam Maguires in a U11 hurling match, while their U14 camogie team played Charleville.
The Dillon's Dads played the Glenville Dads to round off the series of exhibition GAA games.
The club secretary said the presence of both the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste was a ‘big event’.
“The commemoration was a big event for the club. We decided to ask both the Taoiseach and Tánaiste as we knew they were going to the commemoration in Béal na Bláth on the same day, so we were delighted they were able to attend.
“We also held a series of games on the day in the Tank Field. We hosted Sam Maguires U11 hurling team on Sunday morning.
"We asked them especially as they are also named after a Fenian leader. Coincidentally it was a man from Dunmanway who gave the oration for Brian Dillon 150 years ago so we thought it would be a nice touch,” he added.
Brian Dillon's are currently fielding teams from U6 level all the way up to the junior level in the adult grade. Numbers are growing once again at underage level which greatly pleases the Dillons club man.
“There is great work going on in the club. We had a couple of lean years at underage level over recent years, but it has turned the corner now thankfully.
"We are fielding all the way up from U6 to junior level. The numbers playing at underage level have now improved significantly.
"We held a very successful Cúl Camp recently. All these things come in bursts, and we had families move back into the area join the club which is great news.”