I MADE mention here a few weeks ago of a local rugby tournament that was in the planning stage.
It was in honour of the late John Browne - who was one of the most farseeing members of the local club here at a critical stage of its development.
Mr. Browne passed away in Portugal in late January 2003 and his untimely death was marked by a tribute here by a fellow club officer, Maurice Walsh.
I mention this now as I attended the presentation of the fine cup in Mr. Browne's honour to the home club captain, Mike Cronin.
The John Browne Memorial Cup was commissioned by his nephew and local publican and businessman, Peter Browne. It is set to become a big, local event in the coming years.
On the evening of the presentation, several of the younger generation of players asked me who John Browne was. My first reaction was to look around the photograph laden walls of the clubhouse and point him out there. The packed room didn't allow for that option.
I went back into the files for Maurice Walsh's tribute of almost a decade ago. I thought that a man who put so much by way of facilities at the disposal of the present generation deserves to be remembered in the manner triggered by the commissioning of the cup by his nephew.
Here is Maurice Walsh's tribute to his late club colleague:
"Before the kick-off of the Munster Junior Cup game against Bandon, shocked and saddened by his untimely death, we stood in silent tribute to John our past president, trustee and most dynamic and far-seeing member.
All generations of Rugby followers in Castleisland, past, present and future owe an enormous debt to John.
Many had a dream of buying The Crageens - the spiritual home of Castleisland rugby since the 1920's - but said it was not possible. John had the same dream and despite the odds, realised the dream in 1985 with a passion that knew no failure.
In 1984 he negotiated with the O'Connor ( WH.) family to buy part of the Crageens. Having agreed the price, he then told his fellow committee members that it was time to pay! Inspired by his limitless enthusiasm, club members spent the winter nights of January and February 1985 knocking on doors selling tickets for a six month draw.
Despite misgivings, the club succeeded through the generosity of the people of Castleisland and the constant exhortations of John , one of which was so blunt and unequivocal that it had to be obeyed - but could never be published !!
John danced with joy when the Island beat Shannon in the first game on our own ground. When his nephew, Peter Browne, Mike Cronin and Mick Galwey joined Shannon RFC after a successful season on the Munster U-18 team, John's odessey with Shannon began. His friendship with some of the greats of Irish rugby, in particular: Colm Tucker, Niall O'Donovan and Brian O'Brien was born.
Mick Galwey's selection for Ireland was probably the greatest day in John's rugby career. That first cap was well and truly toasted in The Crown the January Monday in 1991. John and his wife Tima fussed and fretted over Mick Galwey as if he was their own. Their never ending concern is still deeply appreciated by Mick and all the Galwey family.
John was a gentle man with a winning smile and an impish sense of humour. He was always supportive and ready to help if at all possible.
Anybody who was privileged to enjoy his company on the touchline, on the golf-course or at the 19th will never be able to forget him.
When the shadows lengthen over the Crageens on a crisp winter's evening, and the Island crash over for the winning try, those of us, who miss him will, in the mind's eye, see John with his dog Beauty yapping at his heels, charge down the touchline to acclaim the victory.
John, sleep easy. Your game is over and now is the time for you to regale the Island players and alickadoos who welcomed you to Heavenly playing fields on how you made safe the spiritual home of Castleisland rugby. May he rest in peace."