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Duhallow honours its finest citizens at annual awards ceremony

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Pic: Mark Condren

Pic: Mark Condren

Pic: Mark Condren

Pic: Mark Condren

Pic: Mark Condren

Pic: Mark Condren

Pic: Mark Condren

Pic: Mark Condren

ABOVE: Recipients, sponsors (Kanturk Credit Union) and organisers of the Duhallow People of the Year and Sports awards at the Duhallow Park Hotel on Saturday night.

ABOVE: Recipients, sponsors (Kanturk Credit Union) and organisers of the Duhallow People of the Year and Sports awards at the Duhallow Park Hotel on Saturday night.

Pic: Mark Condren

Pic: Mark Condren

Pics: Mark Condren

Pics: Mark Condren

Pic: Mark Condren

Pic: Mark Condren

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Pic: Mark Condren

By Louise GeaneyA Kanturk Credit Union sponsored event, the Duhallow People Of the Year Awards were held at the Duhallow Park Hotel to honour its citizens for their work in the community.



An annual occasion, the awards originated as a celebration of the achievements of local sporting heroes, but according to Mr Lynch has they have evolved over time to recognise the contributions that are made at other levels in the community besides the sporting arena.

It therefore followed that a musician, a nursing sister and two Irish-American brothers had the spotlight shone on them on the night. There was another change in the order of events, as for the first time in the history of the awards, a joint award was conferred.

A second twist lay in the fact that the two recipients of the award were brothers, Jimmy and John Joe Browne.

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Originally from Kanturk, both brothers have since emigrated to the US, where they served their time in the American Army in the early 60’s.

But each man is a legend in his own right in the Kanturk annals. As workers in the Kanturk Creamery, the brothers had many friends, who according to local lore, all gathered to see the boys off to the States, and to ensure they actually boarded the ship!

As Mr Lynch said in presenting the award to the brothers, neither man forgot their roots. Although they immersed themselves in the service of the American community — Jimmy is a retired policeman and John Joe is the owner of many Irish Pubs — both continued to promote their native land. John Joe served as President of the Corkman’s Association in New York for many years before handing over to his brother, Jimmy who is the current President.

A testament to their ‘Irishness’ was also evident in the members of their family that accompanied them to the event — some 54 people in total!

Accepting the award, John Joe said that they couldn’t believe it, that after all these years it seemed that they’d never been forgotten in Kanturk.

Another native to be honoured on the night was Con Houlihan, who received a special award for his dedication to the local Cullen Pipe Band over the last 28 years.

As a result of his constant striving to improve the piping and drumming quality of the band, Con ensured that the band was upgraded two grades by the Irish Pipe Band Association and has won its section outright on occasion.

According to Mr Lynch, the band has travelled to France, Italy, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as playing their part in the St Patrick’s Day Parade in New York last year, all of which would not have happened without the musical talents of Mr Houlihan.

And although he was rendered speechless when accepting his award, his musical talents were to be established later in the night, when during a musical break, Con produced his bag-pipes and entertained the masses.

Joining her esteemed peers in the awards ceremony, was Sr. Margaret Healy for her life-time commitment to medicine. A founding member of the Irish Diabetes Association, she played a major role in the establishment of a regional speciality unit for diabetes and endocrinology at St Finbarr’s Hospital, of which she became the first Sister-in-Charge.

As Professor E. Quigley said on conferring this ‘trail blazer’ with an honorary doctorate from UCC last year, Sr. Margaret has been a pioneer in paving the way for the development of nursing as an academic discipline at UCC, but more importantly every nursing and medical student will never forget her incredible devotion to the unit, its patients and its staff.

The overall Duhallow Sports Stars Hall of Fame award went to Jack O’Keefe for his dedication to sporting and community organisations. Hailed for his ‘pioneering spirit’ which led him to set up the Meelin and Rising Sun Athletic Clubs, the St Anthony’s Boxing Club in London, and the under-age Harp’s Gaelic Football club, in which he served as chairman, secretary, team mentor and manager.

Accepting his award, Mr O’Keefe asked the audience to give a special round of applause to two of his friends who had accompanied him from England on the night, and with whom he had started his footballing days in London.

These men, he said, would probably have received much more recognition if they had stayed in Ireland and played for their county, but they chose to play just for the love of the game in England, where they had emigrated for work.

There was another touching moment just prior to the ‘Grace Before Meals’ when the MC asked for a minute’s silence, to remember the grief of a Committee member, Michael Duggan, whose mother and brother had both passed away that week quite suddenly.



According to Mr Lynch, the awards night was a great success, and he asked that special thanks be given to the outstanding commitment of the ‘main driver behind the scene’, Mr Danny Curtin.


































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