This article was co-authored by Anne Holland.
Andrew O’ Sullivan is a most worthy recipient of our Lifetime Achievement Award. He has shown great commitment to Spa GAA and our club has benefited enormously from this. Despite showing early promise in Arthur O’Keeffe’s field, Andy decided that his real talents lay in administration. Visitors to Spa are amazed at our facilities; many of these were developed under Andy’s stewardship.
Spa’s last great era of O’Donoghue Cup success coincided with Andy’s first term as Chairman in the late eighties. His loyalty to his club was really exemplified by his accepting the role of Chairman for a second time. During this period in 2012, at Andy’s insistence, the Spa Lotto was launched. This has now become a huge success and is our main source of income.
Inevitably Andy’s talents were in demand further afield, culminating in his election as Chairman of the East Kerry Board. A lengthy period as Treasurer put the Divisional Board on a sound financial footing. This provided the backing needed for the great East Kerry 3-in-a-row team of the late nineties. Due recognition for his services was marked when he was inducted into the East Kerry Hall of Fame in 2018.
He continues to serve on the Fitzgerald Stadium Committee and is Chairman of the Spa Community Employment Scheme. Over the years he has acted as selector for numerous Spa Junior teams. Andy’s input into development committees in Spa was remarkable and led to many a lively discussion. However when the floor of the sportshall was finally laid everybody agreed that it looked “lovely down”.
Those who work closely with Andew O Sullivan say that he is progressive and forward-thinking and always insists on the highest standards.
Ta an gradam seo thar a bheith tuillte agat Andy. Ta súil againn go mbainfidh Kathleen agus tú féin taitneamh as an oíche speisialta seo.
Ann has done Trojan work for her beloved Spa club over the years. Very active in the cultural and social side but also a great supporter of our footballers. She’s synonymous for her set dancing and passed on the talent to her All Ireland winning daughters, Triona and Mairead. She still teaches every Monday night to beginners and advanced here in the Torc Hotel.
Married to former Club Chairman, Gerard and was a great “First Lady”. Her family, the Cronin’s from the Woodline in Kilbrean, have covered probably every role in the club over the years. She was our Scór officer for many successful years until she passed the title to her sister Sheila McCarthy. She continued in East Kerry as Scor Officer and was a delegate and PRO for Scor on Munster Council. Ann Helped set up Social committee and chaired for many years hosting Rambling House evenings, Food Workshops and Who’s Got Talent.
Nowadays she is charged with a new committee introducing fundraising initiatives for the Club. Also helps out with the Clubhouse Hall bookings. A great supporter of everything Spa both on and off the field. Always on hand to offer expert advice if requested. Retired St Finian’s Health Care Nurse but is probably busier than ever. As grandmother to gorgeous Reidín, secretary to Comhaltas Cill Airne, set dancing in Fleadh with the over 35s category and very proud winning her first All Ireland in Derry in 2015.
Senior Male Player of the Year: Nominees
This is Eoin’s first year being nominated for Senior Player of the Year and his displays have definitely warranted him being shortlisted. Eoin usually found himself in the halfback line but was assigned the opposition danger man in the corner on occasion also.
He put in lots of great performances and we hope that there is more of the same to come this year, Eoin is a most deserving nominee for this award.
Last year’s winner finds himself nominated once again for the John Doyle Cup. Evan certainly kept the scoreboard ticking over in many games this year which was instrumental in Spa maintaining Division 1 status.
Evan usually found himself at either full forward or in the corner and wasn’t afraid to take his chance when the opportunity arose.
Michael (Stam) O’Donoghue
Having been nominated in 2016, Stam is back in the mix for Player of the Year after a series of very good displays. Some niggling injuries threatened to derail things at one stage this year but diligent work in the gym meant he was able to overcome them.
Mike spent most of the year playing his football in the full forward line, however, there were occasions when his presence was needed around the middle and he fulfilled these duties with the minimum of fuss.
Senior Female Player of the Year: Nominees
Gina is a recent transfer to the club from Kenmare and a great asset to the Senior Ladies. Slotted in well and a great team player. Gina has tremendous experience as former Kerry Senior player and certainly proved vital in many games. As a result she’s nominated in her first year for player of the year. Played in defence throughout the year and was influential in keeping the opposition’s scoring tally to a minimum.
Gina is a winner of both a County Junior and Senior Championship in 2018. We are delighted that Gina has joined Spa and look forward to many years watching her in the Blue and Gold. She brings out the best in our younger players and encourages them to do best. A worthy nominee and a great addition to our senior ladies squad.
Loretta (Lottie) joined us from Duagh and a sister of retired Kerry senior Anthony Maher. A great player who leaves it all on the field. Her tall statute gives her the advantage over most players in mid field and she takes full advantage. She’s like the energiser bunny all over the pitch as she covers every blade of grass. A great fielder with excellent distribution helps put our forwards into great scoring positions.
She picked up the Kerry Senior Championship Player of the Match for the final against Rathmore. Like Mairead, another great basketball player who has great speed and control with the ball. Also first time nominee and Lottie is another great choice for Player of the Year.
Mairead had a great year on the playing field with Spa. Her lightning speed and deadly accuracy in the forward line always contributed to the success of the team. Her first time being nominated as she took a little time off away from the field to become a mom. Mairead’s athleticism and strength proved that the rest did her the world of good. Her basketball skills also contribute to making her an All Rounder both in attack and defence. Her skills have gone from strength to strength coming up the ranks in county from underage right through to senior.
Top scorer for the Senior ladies this year and her performance in the Junior County final was outstanding. She won the Kerry Ladies Junior A Player of the Match performance in the final against Milltown/Listry . Like her fellow nominees a worthy nominee for Player of the Year.
Junior Player of the Year (Pat Corcoran Award)
Corey Doyle put in a number of excellent performances for the juniors this year, none more so than on a cold, wet, windy evening in Currans when Spa won the Barrett Cup. On a night when conditions made playing good football impossible, Corey shone with an imperious all round display, with his free taking especially eye catching. His 1–06 on the night of the final, when added to his 1-10 haul in the semi final, paint a far more accurate reflection of his year than any words could do justice to.
Tall and rangy but with an eye for goal, he covered every blade of grass playing for the juniors this year, while also proving to be the most deadly of assassins from placed balls. He is a most deserving recipient of the Pat Corcoran Award and we look forward to watching Corey develop further in the Spa Senior jersey.
Young Player of the Year (Aidan Cronin Award)
If commitment, attitude and a constant willingness to excel and improve oneself is what a Player of the Year should be, then this nomination certainly fits the bill. Ollie Cremin’s attitude this season was second to none leaving no stone unturned in his professionalism, work rate and dedication. Throughout the year he controlled his defense in a difficult period for the Spa minors. If he continues on his current trajectory, Ollie has the potential to become a top goalkeeper for the Spa Seniors in the years to come.
Many an evening Ollie and his twin brother Connie cycle to Spa, train hard and pedal home again. It’s all about going the extra mile and this is why Ollie deserves tonight’s accolade. Suffice to say if all younger players had a similar work ethic football in Spa would blossom further. Congratulations Ollie, a most deserving winner of the Aidan Cronin Award for 2018.
Kerry Juniors: All-Ireland Junior Champions
Spa have a great tradition of producing numerous key players for the Kerry Junior Team over many years. Last year was no different as Dan O’Donoghue and Evan Cronin assumed the mantle in playing pivotal roles in helping Kerry succeed in acquiring a fourth All-Ireland Junior Championship on the trot.
Dan marshalled a potent rebel attack from full back whilst Evan from right half forward wheeled off 5 crucial points in a two point victory in a closely fought Munster Final against Cork.
Our two Spa ambassadors played against Kildare in the Semi Final coming out on top on a 2-17 to 1-14 score line in Navan to qualify for a fifth All-Ireland Final in a row.
In a hard fought game against Galway in the All-Ireland Final Dan and Evan once again acquitted themselves nicely as Kerry triumphed via a late penalty to get over the line on a 2-13 to 2-11 score line.
We in Spa are very proud of Dan and Evan’s accomplishments in the Green and Gold of Kerry and long may it continue.
1968: A Historic Victory for the U16s
Given that it was a first victory at Juvenile level for the club, and the fact that it followed hot on the heels of the initial O’Donoghue Cup victory of 1966, the East Kerry Under 16 Championship victory of 1968 heralded a bright and successful future for the then fledgling Spa GAA Club.
Dr Crokes proved too good for Spa in Round 1, a game that was played in the outside pitch in Fitzgerald Stadium but Spa subsequently recovered from this setback with victory over Legion and then qualified for a semi-final place following victory over Glenflesk. That game, refereed by Derry Crowley, was played in Knockanesand and it will be recalled that Spa recovered from goals by PaudO’Donoghue (Lisbaba) to secure victory with two late goals courtesy of Diarmuid O’Sullivan and Cathal Kelliher.
The semi final saw Spa have home venue against a Dr Crokes side, who, with the likes of Niall Brosnan, Mike Sexton and Greg O’Donoghue among their ranks, were raging favourites to advance to the final. Despite an early injury to Paddy Moynihan (Clasheen), it was nip and tuck between the sides in the first half and it continued in that vein until the three quarter stage when a high ball from Paudie O’Mahony was finished to the net to give Spa the lead.
The victory was as welcome as it was unexpected and testament to that was the fact that after the game, when club chairman Tadhg O’Sullivan – a man well known for his meticulous recording of fixtures – was asked when the final was fixed for, his reply was “That is one date I did not mark in my diary!”
Training sessions were held prior to the final against Rathmore under the keen eyes of mentors Donie O’Leary, Tadhg O’Sullivan and Denis J. Fenton, and for the final, the Spa club even afforded the team the luxury of a second bottle of Lucozade to add to the customary single bottle for the half time refreshments!
The game, played in mid August in Fitzgerald Stadium, turned out to be a one sided affair with Rathmore, who were backboned by the likes of Dermie Moynihan, John D. O’Keeffe, John and Dan Joe Cahill, never recovering from early goals from Jim Naughton and John O’Mahoney, and with Spa dominating around midfield they went on to score six goals in all in what was an emphatic victory.
There was no photographic presence at the final but Spa did get together in the Stadium a couple of weeks later for a team photo. Incidentally, one of the starting fifteen missed that photo call due to the fact that he was required to help out at a neighbour’s threshing – changed times indeed!
Team: Neilly O’Sullivan (RIP, Knocknaskeha), Tim O’Regan (Upr Park Road), Larry Kelly (Gortroe), William Herlihy (Cummeen), Tom Forde (RIP, Ballydowney), Pat Joe O’Leary (Knockeragh), Tim O’Brien (Aghadoe), PaudieO’Mahoney (Capt. Woodlawn), Paddy Moynihan (Clasheen), DiarmuidO’Sullivan (Lissivigeen), John Cahill (Tullig), Cathal Kelleher (High St), John O’Mahoney (Woodlawn), Jim Naughton (Tullig), Paddy Moynihan (Ardaneanigh).
Subs: Noel O’Sullivan (Ballaugh), Dermot Griffin (Barleymount), Dave Herlihy (Cummeen), Ger Cronin (RIP, Knocknaskeha), Donie Foley (Barleymount), Mick Clifford (Barleymount), Denis Fenton (The Park), Dan O’Leary (Knockeragh), John O’Sullivan (Knockeragh) Sean Looney (Park Road), Neilly Kelleher (RIP, Tiernaboul)