In the name of his father and for the sake of his friend
Rathdangan's Liam Kavanagh is organising a tractor run to help his friend and to honour his late father, he tells Brendan Lawrence
The village of Rathdangan in west Wicklow has been rocked to its core in the last month, but one of those closest to the hurt is fighting back, and he needs your help.
Liam Kavanagh buried his father Billy just over a month ago. Two weeks later, to the day, and the hour, his best friend and next door neighbour, Adrian Keogh, was badly injured in an accident at work.
Adrian's long road to recovery is just beginning but Liam wants to raise funds to help his friend on the difficult journey. And while he's at it he wants to honour his father, who he knows would be leading the charge to help Adrian if he were here.
'I'm asking everyone in the area, for the second time in six weeks to come out and show what a special community we have. Literally thousands came to support my family for my father's funeral. Please come out again and show the Keogh family that we are all behind Adrian,' said Liam.
The event Liam is planning is the 'Billy Kavanagh Memorial Charity Run' and it will take place on August 23 at 2.30 p.m. in Rathdangan. He is calling on everyone to come along in tractors, cars, bikes, quads, and anything and everything to help raise funds for Adrian's recovery and to celebrate the memory of the hugely popular Billy in the process.
'The tractor run was cancelled this year as a mark of respect for my father. The Rathdangan Community Council cancelled it as a mark of respect but just the other day Kevin Lambert, who organises the tractor run every year with John Coogan, approached me about it and there has been a lot of interest from people asking if it was going ahead. Nobody loved the Rathdangan Tractor Run or any tractor run more than my father. Adrian's father, Mick Keogh, and my father used to travel together to the tractor runs. So, I agreed that it was going to go ahead on the condition that all proceeds from the tractor run went to Adrian,' said Liam.
'Within two weeks there has been unbelievable tragedy in one yard. Anyone that knows us will know that our yard is unusual. Ourselves and the Keoghs, we share the one yard and have done for years. There was a fence dividing the two yards but my father was driving a lorry and Mick had his tractors and trailers and the two of them were finding it difficult to drive into their yards at night and of course this went on for years until one of them eventually plucked up the courage to say about taking it down to the other. And it came down and it's been down ever since and never a cross word between the two houses and I think it's a fairly unique thing. There wasn't two yards, there was one yard. I would have known Adrian since the day he was born, I have a few years on him but we grew up together,' he said.
Adrian Keogh captained the Kiltegan Senior hurlers in 2014 and he played a captain's part when he led them to a Leinster League success in Carlow against Mountmellick of Laois. The Kiltegan GAA club are fully behind the tractor run.
The Keogh family would sincerely like to thank everyone from Rathdangan, Kiltegan, Knockananna, Glen of Imaal, Baltinglass, Donard, Hacketstown, and surrounding areas who have contacted them since Adrian's accident and who have offered help and prayers and well wishes for his recovery.
Liam offers a unique insight into his passion for aiding Adrian's recovery and it is a story of Adrian's help and friendship during one of the darkest hours of Liam's life.
'Adrian has a daughter and she lives in Sweden. My father was buried on a Thursday morning. On the Wednesday morning, Adrian left here at 6.30 a.m. and flew to Sweden with his daughter. He dropped her off with her mother in Sweden. He left Gothenburg, back to London, back to Dublin. He arrived back to Rathdangan that evening at 10 p.m. and went down and got a shower and came straight up here to the house.
'That night Adrian insisted on staying awake all night for the last night that my father was here with us. He came back up the next morning to see if anything needed to be done.
'He slipped away for the funeral and then came back up. The following morning, when everything had died down, he was the first one up to bring the tables and chairs back to the hall. So, if anyone is wondering why I'm doing this, there's no better reason than that, and it typifies the man. He wouldn't have had it any other way.
If you would like to attend the 'Billy Kavanagh Memorial Charity Run' then registration takes place from 2 p.m. on August 23 in Rathdangan. If you would like to contribute but can't make it on the day, then you can log on to www.Idonate.ie and search for Rathdangan Vintage Run and you can donate online. Liam Kavanagh is also available on Facebook or at (086) 1700285.