A large crowd gathered in Strand Road last night as the club paid a fitting tribute to departing hosts Tom & Eileen O’Shea who have been part of the fabric of the club and wider Strand Road community for the past 30 years. Club chairman, Haulie Kerins led the tributes with a witty and colourful account of their time at the helm recounting how initially Tom arrived in Strand Road unaccompanied, but obviously happy with what he experienced he was soon followed by Eileen! The seal of approval of their tenure was endorsed by the late, great John Dowling who declared himself 100% happy with the new husband and wife team!
Haulie reminded everybody present of the great service both Tom & Eileen have provided to the community and highlighted Eileen’s dancing skills from last year when along with Ogie Moran, they were the popular winners at our inaugural Strictly Come Dancing.
Eileen initially apologised for Tom’s absence due to he being indisposed and went on to thank all her family who had made the effort to attend the function most especially those who had travelled from London to be with her.
She reminisced on their time in the club and thanked Haulie ( Chairman) and his predecessors for their support throughout that time and said that she always found them easy to deal with; her highlights were many, the championship success of 2002 being the stand out event but there were many other great times also not least the friends they have made along the way. She reminded those present that it was she who nurtured many of the today’s footballers often providing ” baby bowls” for them as their parents engaged in post match analysis!
She was fulsome in her praise of all the staff who have worked for them in the past and wished incoming resident Mike ( O’Connor) all the very best in following in their footsteps. Finally and befitting of the occasion, she paid tribute to her husband Tom for being a great ” work buddy”, a sentiment shared by all who saw at first hand how this congenial couple complemented each other.
It was left to Haulie and club stalwart Seán Walsh to present to Eileen a beautifully commissioned caricature by award winning artist John O’Loughlin which , no doubt, will have pride of place in their home.
We wish them long life and happiness and have no doubt that we will continue to see them in the club, albeit on the other side of the bar, and that they will be regulars at our games for the coming years.
Go n-éiri an tadh libh!