Castlelyons GAA

07 April, 2020

The life and times of Dick O Brien – still busy in a valued life.

Dick O Brien from Castlelyons was live on Facebook during the week entertaining us during these dreadful times. He brought great life and joy to us all for a few hours with a collection of songs and some dance music on the mouth organ. A true Castlelyons man and living in Killawillian above the banks of the Bride for many years with his wife Maureen and family Dick is a people person, affable and a mighty character. Reading through the annals of the Creamery, gaelic games, athletics, the Band, charity work and so much the name Dick O Brien is to the fore.

I was lucky to get have a chat with him recently on life and times as he is presently cocooning at home but still working on another show. Dick loves singing since he was a child. He was only 14 years when he started singing on a stage. This was with his brother Pat a good accordion player and a few lads as he went on the stage set up at the crossroads near Kiely’s house in Corrin. He sang a few times with McNamara’s Band who had Bob, his brother and Cal McCarthy and had a few outings with the Erin go Bráth band as a vocalist in the Palace Hall in Fermoy. He took part in two one act Plays but due to involvement in hurling and games he lost interest in the Drama. Of course, there was the Barley Bog Sound a group comprising of himself, his brother Pat, Dave Broderick, John Corcoran and Padraig O Brien who performed at the senior citizens for many a year and in a few more spots too.

After leaving school he got a job in the Creamery where he worked from 1958 to 1998. He spoke of great times there and he was so lucky to have that job as it helped him rare his family. He worked in the diary section, the butter area and the milk stand before moving onto the bottling plant where he worked with his great friend Dan Daly. There was mighty banter in the place whenever Castlelyons played Catherines, Lisgoold or the Rovers. There were plants in Ballyduff, and Tallow and the slagging was electric for Cork and Waterford games. They hurled in the yard at dinner time and even broke Tom O’s window one day. Dick says he did not break it, but he had to go to Tom O on behalf of the lads to apologise.

In the early days he was in a group with a few local lads Brian Lynch, Paddy Lillis and Thomas Kenny. They called themselves the Chancy brothers wearing the bawneens and all as they modelled themselves on the Clancy brothers who were all the go at the time. Bobby Kelly was good to them and drove them around to the gigs. Dick Dorgan, of course a mighty entertainer himself, was also good to these lads and drove them to games and Youghal whenever he could. One day they went to see Cork and Waterford in Walsh Park and started singing outside in the footpath with the help of a few bottles of the famous Time beer. They went to Youghal another day brought the hurleys with them while parking the car on the beach. They boys were in good form and hurled away but and were lucky to get the car off the beach as the tide nearly came in on top of them.

Dicko was active in Castlelyons GAA for many a year and is still a member. He recalls the hurlers passing his own house heading to Leahy’s field in Abbeylands when he was a child. They were preparing for big games in the early fifties especially the great team of 1955. Incidentally Castlelyons won the East Cork JAHC that year and were unfortunate in the county but that’s another story. Dick who was into running as well as the GAA was delighted to have played with some of this team including the great Tom Joe Riordan in various hurling and football games. His juvenile days were limited only getting one U14 and one U16 game as there was no leagues or round robins that time and Derry Leary was over them, but they could not get past the first round. Derry had a passion for the games and worked in Cavanaghs but later joined the Garda and went on to Killaloe. Dicko was on a cracking junior team of 1968 that won another East Cork and he was a handy goalie in football as well. During his years they had many great players and he thought that Tom Joe Riordan, Mattie Hegarty and Donal McCarthy were great leaders at the time. Dicko played until he was 36 years of age with the club and I don’t know what county man he modelled himself on as he was very handy around the half forward line and midfield with slight of foot. He did move to the Rovers one time for about six months. During that time, he played a game against Castlelyons, but I think he found Ger Barry tough going the same day.

He pays tribute to the great work of Dave Hegarty who took on the Juvenile section back in 1971 and headed it up for over thirty years. Dave arranged the different games, teams and the set up produced so many great footballers and especially hurlers. He went all over the place to see Timmy McCarthy playing from juvenile days to All Irelands and is so proud of him. He felt Trevor Hickey had mighty potential and was another player heading for the top, but unfortunately injury cut short a great career with the camán. Dicko went on to be a selector in victorious juvenile teams, junior teams and when we went senior as he gave savage commitment to the club.

Athletics were another major part of Dicko’s life too. Now please this was not just running around the GAA pitch as he ran his first competitive race well over fifty years ago around the mart in Fermoy. He went on to carve out a great career and was involved in over fourteen marathons including ten and five K’s all over the place. Mossy Morrison asked him to help set up an athletic club back in 1981, he gladly took up the invitation. They went to the board and set up both an adult and a juvenile, namely St Nicholas Club. They had only one runner at that the time and that was Dicko himself but gradually the club grew very strong. They hosted many competitions including Munster and All Ireland cross country finals.

The Club slipped a bit after some great years but in 2011 with great assistance from Pat Griffin the club came to life again. Operation Transformation was a great assistance in the fitness scene. Dick introduced and good initiative “Couch to five Kilometres”. This gave all the community an opportunity to exercise, walk, run and get fit. Club membership increased and some great runners began to come true again. His brother Donal O Brien,

also a great runner and coach and he could sing too, gave a hand and Pat Drislane assisted with the races on the roadway as the crowds got bigger. Dick is retired for a few years from running now but continues to coach in the club.

The musical ensemble of pipes and drums have that rallying call so much associated with the GAA. The sight and sound of a pipe band parading around before a county, Munster or East Cork final is something special much less belting out the National Anthem. Believe it or not Dicko was a member of the Castlelyons Pipe Band too. This Band formed back in 1957 became famous all over Munster and played in London on St Patricks Day 2002. Dicko played with them on many times as he fell in to do the side and base drum. He even took on the Staff one day when the great Sonny O Brien was unavailable. His greatest day in the band was walking around in the same parade as Timmy McCarthy during the parade before a championship game.

Shortly after retiring from a much-changed Creamery from when he started out as a 15-year-old, he moved on to another career with Cork Simon Community for many years. He started out giving a hand with the soup run and then full time caring and helping residents. Dicko found that many people become homeless for a variety of different reasons and often crises outside of their control. He found great personal satisfaction in helping these vulnerable people with their life. One could understand this as the man has an affable, compassionate and understanding character. He said this was a most rewarding few years and he enjoyed the work as he felt he could make a difference. Indeed, Dicko is still bring enjoyment to many as he entertains residents in a few nursing homes travelling to Amberley Home & Retirement, Conna Nursing & Convalescent Home, Padro Pio Rest Home Cappoquin and Dungarvan.

Dicko married the love of his live Maureen Benskin from Clonmult in 1970. He pays outstanding compliments to her as she was an outstanding influence on him and their family down the years. They have a grown-up family of four boys Richard, Dan Jo, Stephen and Jason and four girls Jenny, Samantha, Trish and Denise. Maureen joined the Order of Malta for many years and set up a local branch in Rathcormac. She won a national Order first aid competition and would love to assist these days but cannot do so. They are both cocooning at home and coping vey well as Dicko’s character in helping and entertaining through technology certainly occupies their time. It was Charles Darwin who said, “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life”. Well Dicko never wasted his time and really appreciates the value of life. He sends best wishes to all in these dreadful times. Thanks again Dick really appreciated the chat good health to you and yours keep up the great work and keep safe.


Beannachtaí na Cásca ag gach baill dar gclub.

Beannachtaí na Cásca to all families. We wish you a safe and happy Easter weekend. During these dreadful times of Covid 19 we advise young and old to please stay safe in social

distance, cocooning, coughing and sneezing etiquette and all guidelines laid down by the HSE. Continue to take care of each other and keep positive, get some exercise and look for the vulnerable and needy. Ní neart go cur le ceile.

Don’t forget Castlelyons GAA have a service available to assist as many members from the adult, juvenile and camogie sections have volunteered assistance to support parishioners who might be worried about leaving their house for: - Shopping pick up. Medication pick up. Any urgent matters. Should you need some assistance don’t hesitate to contact any of those listed below and assistance will be arranged: -

Michael Barrett - 087 244 6597:

Trish Lawlor - 086 828 8285:

Stacey Cronin - 087 637 2606:

Colm Barry - 086 238 1526:

Pam McCarthy - 087 272 9002.

We do have over 25 volunteers available to assist overall and they all will do within the guidelines of HSE etiquette so do call if you require assistance.

Health and Well Being

With the last two weeks we had physical and mental tips from the GAA and this week we have some advice on keeping touch socially. Stay connected with others through calls, texts, video chat etc. Facetime, Skype, Zoom and WhatsApp calls can be invaluable when trying to keep up social interactions. Check in with those more vulnerable in our communities and support them where possible, whilst still maintaining social distancing and hygiene etiquette. Set challenges for you and your family/friends; explore new activities/hobbies and share your experiences. If working from home, check in with colleagues regularly. Only rely on information from trusted sources (such as the HSE Website). If working from home, check in with colleagues regularly.

Advice and encouragement from an tUachtarán and Ard Stiúrthóir.

Our fields are silent now, but various administrative officers are helping with making facilities available to the HSE throughout the country. Our tUachtarán and Ard Stiúrthóir had a message for all clubs during the week and here is part of it. We are living in the most extraordinary times. The Coronavirus pandemic has changed almost everything about our world and has impacted upon so much of what we thought was normal about our lives. Sport is not a priority at a time of a national emergency. Like all sport, Gaelic Games have gone into hibernation. But when the time comes again for the boots to be laced, hurleys to be gripped, nets to be hung and the pitches to be marked and when the time comes for men and women, and boys and girls to run out into the air and play the games they love, sport

will be more important than ever before. We are planning for that day – whenever that day may be.

In the meantime, we can help make that day come quicker if we do what we are being asked to do by the people who know what they are talking about. Stop, look and listen to all the advice that is there on how we beat this common foe. Washing our hands, personal distancing and if needs be self-isolation are the weapons that we have. Keep safe, keep thinking of others, keep fit and healthy in body and mind.

Advice from Marsh Gaa Insurance Brokers.

Note that our GAA Insurers Marsh have advised that grass cutting of pitches can continue and there are conditions laid down circulated to all. They also encourage taking care of property especially showers, toilets and other water systems may require flushing to prevent legionella

Main Club Sponsor: ZEUS Packaging Group