Liam O'Brien takes step back from the game he loves and the club he loves, Greenwood

Liam O'Brien takes step back from the game he loves and the club he loves, Greenwood

Liam O'Brien, College Road and Barry Gould, MSL, among the guests at the Cork AUL soccer awards presentation evening, at the Kiln in the Heineken Brewery.

AFTER 60 years involved in football, Liam O’Brien has decided to step away to allow the next generation to experience great times like he did.

O’Brien, who is frequently referred to as a gent, recently left his role on the committee of his beloved Greenwood FC where he spent the past 37 years involved with the club.

Throughout his time in football the father of five, and grandfather of 11, from McCurtain Villas has enjoyed many roles from player to coach to referee and committee member and through his experience with each role, his love for the game always grew.

Here he tells us about his decision to finally walk away from his duties, his love for the game, juggling work, sport and family life while appreciating all the support from his beautiful wife Kathleen.

“There comes a time when you have to call it a day and hand it over to the next generation and I know that the club is in very good hands at present which makes my decision easier,” said O’Brien.

“I have enjoyed fantastic years involved in football since the day I started as a young 14 year old. 

"It was also that year, 1959 in which I began as an Apprentice gas fitter and spent the next 26 years with the Company before being made redundant in1985. 

"I got employment again in 1988 with Royal Liver Assurance until retirement in 2006 but all through those years it was great to be able to juggle work, football and family.

“I signed for Southend United at 14 years of age and played under 15, 16, 18 and inter-House with the gas company in the same year also.

Before I finished playing with Southend we had entered a team into the Munster Senior league, and I retired after the second season.

“At the age of 16 I took up refereeing with the Cork Schoolboys League and spent the next 14 years refereeing with the League. 

"In the same year I was co-opted onto the Cork Schoolboys league Committee and spent 22 wonderful years with the league.

"While with them I held several positions, 21 years as Honorary Registrar, a couple of years as assistant Treasurer and five years as representative to the FAI Schoolboys Council. 

"During that time I was a selector for the under 15 Irish team and the last four years as Chairman before retiring in early 1980s. 

Liam O'Brien, Cork Soccer Awards committee, (left) and Barry Gould, Munster Senior League, at the Cork AUL Soccer Awards 2017 at the Kiln, Heineken.
Liam O'Brien, Cork Soccer Awards committee, (left) and Barry Gould, Munster Senior League, at the Cork AUL Soccer Awards 2017 at the Kiln, Heineken.

"So I certainly did get to experience many roles within the game, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed and created fantastic memories from.” 

Having done more than his time on committees at this point, O’Brien wasn’t ready to walk away just yet. 

His experience and knowledge was needed elsewhere and that’s when Greenwood came into his life.

“After retiring from the league I was approached by Pat O'Connor who was one of the founder members of the Greenwood Club and asked if I would join the Committee of the club and Manage and Coach the under 18s as they were entering a Team for the first time into the AUL. 

"I did so along with my late Brother Martin. After our second year we won the second Division youth league and contested in two cup finals. 

"We then progressed with the majority of that squad to Junior football, and after two years we were promoted from the third division to the second division. 

"After our second year in that division we won the league, we then played in the intermediate league which was the top grade in the AUL but over the years we as a committee we had to put in a lot of work with the club beside managing our own teams we spent a lot of weekends both Saturday mornings and afternoon and Sunday mornings and afternoons driving other kids teams of the club to play their games. 

"It was hectic and time consuming but I loved it. I have to pay tribute to all the wives who supported us throughout the years. 

"It would not be possible to do all the things we did for the kids, only for them. I am married to my beloved Kathleen for over 51 years and I am grateful to her for playing a key role in my sporting life.

“Greenwood FC will always be very special to me after spending 37 wonderful years with the club. 

"I always looked on Greenwood as a great Family Club as there was so many Families involved. 

"I also made great friendships with a lot of wonderful people there and still hold that friendship up to today. 

"So while I may not have duties at the club, I am still and will always be a huge supporter.” 

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