All of us at O’Loughlin Gaels were saddened to learn of the passing on Sunday morning, Feb 23rd, of our dear friend and clubman, Andy O’Driscoll and we extend sincere sympathies to his wife Biddy, sons Anthony, Ollie and Dan, daughters Christine and Patricia and to all their extended family members.
At this difficult time for all, we remember Andy dearly and acknowledge a life dedicated to faith, family, work and community. A good Christian, he was immensely proud of all his family and cared deeply about their welfare, their careers and their achievements.
Originally from Harristown in South Kilkenny, Andy joined the Army, and served in The Curragh, Clonmel and Kilkenny where, having married Biddy, he then settled. He hurled on army teams, was proud of the force and never lost his contact with James Stephen’s Barracks. When he left the army he worked as a driver with Kilkenny Co.Council before leaving to run his chip van business. His van, parked at The Parade at weekends became one of Kilkenny’s noted landmarks and one of its most welcome features for many a visitor. At Nowlan Park on Sunday afternoons, it vied with the games for popularity with many a youngster and punters at Point to Point meetings all around the South East certainly appreciated its presence.
He gave his time selflessly to community charitable work with St. Vincent de Paul and Meals on Wheels and he served on various Parish Committees.
All of us at O’Loughlin Gaels will have our own special memories of him and those of us who had the privilege of knowing him over the lifetime of the Club, will have every reason to appreciate his huge contribution to its formation, development and achievements. At a time when the club was in its infancy, he helped shape its destiny and willingly gave his time, energy and enthusiasm to whatever needed to be done. And so too did Biddy as one of the original Ladies Committee. Andy chaired the sub-committee which oversaw the renovation of St. John’s Park in the mid ‘70s and later with his good friend, the late Joe Maher, as grounds men, they helped transform it into one of the best pitches in the county. It was in this capacity that he served on the Club Executive for many years.
We remember him for his attention to detail. If something needed to be done, or was worth doing, it should be done well. No half measures, no cutting corners, no slip shod methods. ‘Twill do wouldn’t do. He detested sloppiness in any club activity and his engaging personality in seeing things through enlivened many a meeting and conversation. Latterly, and even when his health was partly in decline, he continued to play an astonishing role at fund raising. He continued to take an active interest in all club affairs and to be proud of all its endeavours, its achievements and not least, his own family’s involvement on the playing fields and behind the scenes.
Such was the man that he would not have seen himself as anyone special in the club. He wouldn’t have looked for attention, he was not motivated by personal gain or selfish ambition. He would have seen himself as just another doing some of the countless, unseen and often unremembered tasks required of all of us to help run his local GAA club. We would all have been influenced by what he said, what he did, what he was. We are privileged to have known him and to have shared part of his very generous life.
I had the privilege of taking him on one of his last visits to the club to view a scene that he above all, I thought, would surely relish. On a fine evening in early Summer when the club was a veritable hive of activity and every square yard of space on three pitches was occupied by players and mentors of all ages, he took time to look around. People were milling around, both handball alleys were in full swing and the gym was alive with basketball activity. Lotto promoters, various sub committees and bar staff were beginning to assemble and from the clubrooms above our heads we listened to the haunting sounds of our Tuesday night choir. Under an evening sun, with flags flying high, grass looking greener than ever and clubhouse in pristine shape you could sense his feelings rise and his pride in all now involved in running the club. And in the simple, direct language which typified the man, but covered everything, I heard him say ‘you know, we must have done something right’.
You did, Andy, and your legacy lives on. God rest your gentle soul.
O’LOUGHLIN GAELS GAA CLUB
Eamonn Doyle, President O’Loughlin Gaels GAA Club