Kathleen O’Brien RIP
Writes John Twomey
The death of Kathleen O’Brien took place on Friday last. She was a senior Vice-President of the Shamrock Hurling & Football Club and was in her 99th year. She lived in Shanbally practically all her life, where she had a shop and Post Office, which served the village and surrounding area for many years. Her mother Mary Farrell ran the shop earlier and it was a pub previously.
Kathleen was a very popular, outgoing person, whose shop was the centrepiece of the local village. She had the first phone in Shanbally, which made her premises the hub of activity and information. Generations of people got to know her very well and visiting her shop was almost a lifetime ritual for some of them.
She was a very keen Camogie player and wore the Shamrock green pinafore with great pride and commitment. She first started playing in 1934 and joined the team, which included her sister Ita, Minnie Jeffers, Anna Andrews, Kathleen Roche, Norrie Dunne and Nora Holland, to mention just a few. Of course she was part of the County winning team of 1949, captained by Maureen O’Sullivan, Coolmore. Shamrocks defeated Blackrock in the senior final played in Cobh. Included in that team were the three Harding sisters, Hannah, Kathleen and Noreen. The team was coached and trained by the legendary Georgie Andrews, grandfather of Liz O’Grady (nee Andrews).
She loved attending matches. She travelled regularly with her near neighbour Mrs. Keane and her grandson Paul, who was wheelchair bound. When they couldn’t get a lift they would walk. In 1981, when Shamrocks played the County Junior Hurling semi final in Pairch Ui Caoimh, Kathleen and Mrs. Keane pushed Paul in his wheelchair from the top of Grange all the way to the venue.
When she gave up driving she cycled and walked a lot with her old friend and neighbour Mrs. Gertie Murphy. She loved the outdoors and rarely missed Sunday Mass in Shanbally.
Her passing severs a great link with the distant past. She was born in 1917 and the Shamrock Club was only 19 years in existence then. She was predeceased by her husband Tim.
She was interred in Barnahely cemetery. May she rest in peace.
Sincere sympathy is extended to her nephew Michael Bruce, her many relatives, good neighbours and friends.