Eamonn Doyle and Pat O'Brien at last night's Sean O'Mahony's AGM. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
Eamonn Doyle stood down as chairman of Sean O’Mahony’s on Thursday night following a seven-year term.
He leaves the position having presided over the most successful period in the club’s existence where both county and provincial honours were claimed, including a maiden Senior Championship win.
Another staunch O’Mahony’s man, Pat O’Brien, will fill the chairman’s void and Doyle feels he’s taking the role at an exciting time.
“Pat O’Brien has been in the club a long time, though he’s never been chairman, and is the right man to pass it on to,” Doyle told The Dundalk Democrat.
“I’ve no doubt that as a club we’re in a great position because we own our own field, in the middle of our own area and you can see what’s going on in the field all the time. All week there’s children in the field playing.
“And then I think the club’s philosophy has always been very positive in that we have never spent before we had the necessary money. The railings, the scoreboard – it cost €10,000, but we raised the funds first and now with the National Lottery money, we will be looking to build new dressing rooms,” he added.
On his own decision to step down as chairman, Doyle said: “When you’re running a club as chairman, there’s so much involved and things have changed so much from what the duty of a chairman was years ago. You’re fundraising, looking after the whole running of the club and involved in every aspect of the club.
“We’d be a small club who have a dedicated 15 or so working on the committee and we don’t have people to go and organise the underage on a special committee. It all comes from the one committee and that can be very time consuming, it’s a huge commitment.
“Personally, I feel seven-years is long enough and I think it’s only right that as we prepare to move forward on the club’s next venture, as there’s development plans and a sports grant on the way, that there is fresh leadership to push us on.”
In terms of highlights during his time at the helm of the Quay club, Doyle mentions the Paddy Sheelan Shield success in 2013, the Intermediate Championship win of ’14, the 2015 senior final and of course the Joe Ward win a year later, along with the Leinster club runs – the Leinster Intermediate triumph of ’14 included.
Ultimately, though, his fondest memory revolves around the club’s first Senior Championship title victory in 2016 when Alan Craven (manager) and Shane Brennan (captain) etched the O'Mahony's into the history books.
“It’s unbelievable, I mean Pat mentioned it to me recently and you can see it in the dressing room, a picture of a team from the area in 1923. I know there would have been times when we’d have been out of existence, but then in my lifetime I can remember the 80’s and those times when we would have struggled to field teams. We’d have cobbled together a team.
“People must remember that we have a small catchment area and before it was all built-up there were very few houses on the Point Road and all the area around it. We were practically putting a team together from two streets at times.
“It’s remarkable stuff. We used to change in the wee school at St. Brigid’s. There would have been two classrooms, the players would have got changed on the small chairs for the children and then Pat was one of the men who went up to install small showerheads in the toilets so players could have a shower.
“We only had one good set of jerseys that time too and they would only be brought out for the championship and that’s not that long ago, so to then win the biggest trophy in Louth football, to get our hands on it, to look at it and to see all the teams who have won it before and see that the Sean O’Mahony’s name will be on that forever is unbelievable.
“I love the club, I love the O’Mahony’s and everyone will know what I mean when I talk about the camaraderie, the closeness of people involved with the club. We’re from an area in town, but we're like the country team within the town. We’re a tight bunch, but it’s our way of life and where there’s a job to be done, whether it be doing the line or post at a match, I’ll still be there to do it,” Doyle said.