In every GAA club, across the county and country, there are the stalwarts who give almost every waking hour in service.
Nothing is ever sought in return, but the GAA’s status as the strongest community organisation across the land comes to the fore when one of those people finds themselves in an unfortunate situation. Jim O’Sullivan of Na Piarsaigh Hurling & Football Club is a prime example of that and next Friday week, September 16, the northside outfit will pay tribute to its former chairperson with a benefit night at its headquarters in Fairhill.
O’Sullivan, who has been part of the fabric of Na Piarsaigh for half a century, has suffered serious illness and the event will raise funds to assist in his care. Denis O’Neill, a member of the sub-committee running the occasion, outlines the level of dedication that Jim has given to Piarsaigh over the course of five decades, offering up so much of his free time for the black and amber.
“Jim was involved in the underage section in the 1970s,” he says.
“He was a mentor to our first Féile team in 1972, we were beaten by Old Christians in Limerick.
“He later became involved with the senior section, filling a number of roles on the committee, and he became chairman in 2009.
“He gave great service to the club and he was an accomplished hurler and footballer at senior level. His sons played with us as well, Ken and Shane. His brother Jerome was a senior selector when we won our second county senior title in 1995, so the family would always have been heavily involved.
“He was a very popular chairman, a nice fella. He was always approachable and very well thought of within the club. He gave the club wonderful service over the past 50 years.”
To that end, there is a strong sense of those in the club wanting to do what they can for Jim, with the proceeds from the event on Friday week going towards assisting his needs.
“We’re going to have a cabaret night in the club, with lots of music and entertainment,” Denis O’Neill says.
“We’re running this fundraiser to help with his rehabilitation as the house has to be adapted and things like that.
“It’ll be a big gala night and there’ll be a raffle and things like that. We have a fundraising committee set up within the club and tickets are going fairly well.
“If anybody would like to support it, they can contact any member of the club or contact the clubhouse.”
Having been a senior selector, Jim O’Sullivan became vice-chairperson before taking on the role of chairperson for a nine-year period up to 2018.
While this was a challenging period, Denis O’Neill credits him with a massive effort in ensuring that membership levels remained strong within the club. It summed up the level of care and attention he gave to all of his postings, keen to do the very best he could.
“We had some difficult times with numbers dropping in the underage section as we had no houses being built in the area,” he says.
“The population was falling but Jim worked very hard to keep the show on the road and great credit is due to him for that.
“He’s a popular guy, a nice fella and one of our own. He’s in need of help and we want to what we can to assist him.
“He was a wonderful servant and now it’s time for us to stand up and try to repay him in some small way for what he did for us.”
· Tickets for the fundraiser are priced at €15, with raffle tickets €5. They can be obtained from the club office from Monday to Friday between 9am and 12.30pm or by phoning 021-4306549. Tickets are also available in the clubhouse bar