In a new initiative St. Colmcilles will be putting the spotlight on some of the unsung heroes of the club. So much work goes on in the background of a GAA club ever before a point is scored and its important to acknowledge the individuals making this possible. Every so often we will post a short piece on volunteers and people within the club. We will speak to coaches, committee members, super fans, players and many more in a bid to familiarise you with the people making our club great. Its important to know who makes up the club, who to go to with specific queries and whom you can help if you want to volunteer yourself. Our first piece is a short interview with the affable and much loved Kieran Moloney. To newer members you may wonder who Kieran is. If you’ve ever been to Piltown you’ve seen Kieran drag his ‘Hurl Trolley’ across the pitches to the top field where he then trains our youngest in the ways of hurling. Kieran and others (who we will speak to later) train our children and try instil the same passion for the ‘Gods Game’ as they have themselves. Next time the trolley passes you make sure and say hello, you can’t say you’ve never been introduced!
Meet Kieran Moloney, Volunteer, Clubman, Cilles Man!
Tell us a little bit about yourself Kieran, where are you from, where did you grow up etc?
My name is Kieran Moloney. I was born in London to Irish (Tipp/Dub) parents. I completed my primary education in Dublin, my secondary education in Athlone and third level in Galway. I’m a bit of a vagabond and have always had an identity crisis. I spent all my holidays on a farm in Tipperary between Nenagh and the Silvermines where if you didn’t hurl in the evenings (in the 70s/80s) there was nothing else to do. I badly bust my left hand representing Southern Gaels, Athlone against Longford the year of my inter cert so thereafter (being left handed) it was athletics and rugby competitively.
Like most graduates in the 80s I emigrated. For mainly social reasons I played soccer through work, which is a big deal in England. I once played at Wembley for Carlsberg and have the video, photos and medal to prove it! I retired immediately afterwards but still wear the same boots.
What are your favourite sports, hobbies, past times and what teams do you follow?
I love all sports, current affairs, cinema, tropical fish and military history. I follow these teams closely – St Colmcilles, East Meath United, Tipperary, Liverpool, The Patriots, Boston Celtics, The Red Sox, Bruins and more recently The Saints (who are a hurling team combining players from St Colmcilles and our neighbours St Pat’s)
How long have you lived in the St Colmcilles catchment area and when did you get involved with the Cilles?
My wife Angela and I put down roots in Bettystown on returning to Ireland in 2000 after 13 years overseas. We were an office romance in London. I only got involved in Cilles as a parent when our daughter started to play football and our son joined the hurling nippers about the same time.
At what point did you begin to volunteer in the club and what, if any, difficulties did you encounter?
I started to volunteer around the same time but got more involved around 2011, taking photographs of the teams my daughter was involved with and helping Damien O’Brien and Karl Collins with the hurling Academy on Monday nights. Initially although I didn’t realise it at the time my participation with this club and East Meath United played an important part in my recovery from serious illness.
You are synonymous with hurling, tell us more about hurling within St Colmcilles.
An introduction to hurling is now an important part of the cage activity on Sunday morning as well as being a fixture from 7-8 on Monday nights. I love the game and my objective is simply to give every child the opportunity to put on a helmet, hold a hurl and get some appreciation for the best game in the world. If they are big enough to stand upright while wearing a helmet, they are old enough. At Under 6, which is the age I enjoy coaching, the drills are skill based with little contact. We’ve not had so much as a cracked finger over the years.
Who do you look up to in the club? Does anyone inspire you?
There are really too many to mention across all sections of the club but I will at the risk of an omission give a shout to those involved in establishing, nurturing, and driving hurling during my time here. Damien O’Brien, Denis Collins, Brendan Quigley, Karl Collins, Paul Butler, David Wade, and wonder woman Gwen Lanigan (who got the Men’s Shed to make the trolley which saves multiple trips to/from the container for kit every Sunday morning).
What do you get out of volunteering personally? Is there ever reward for a volunteer?
Immense personal satisfaction and pride along with an ever-widening circle of friends and acquaintances of all ages. I get a real kick out of seeing kids I introduced to hurling in the cage like Jack O’Byrne now playing at U10 and U12
What is the highlight of your volunteer life to date?
From a Colmcilles perspective, doing the first ‘Strictly Cilles’ where the grace and elegance of Jackie Grant and Tara McHugh made me look good. Watching my sons hurling team coached by Damien O’Brien reaching a final in Dunganny. A few short years ago both were only the stuff of dreams. A few years ago we introduced a young cousin of mine, Liam Keatley, from Stamford, CT to hurling on his first trip to Ireland on a miserable night in Piltown. He returned to the U.S, found the local GAA club and is now a dual player. We believe he will represent New York at Feile next year and it all started at St Colmcilles!
Even as a member of the hurling fraternity who has little knowledge of or background in Gaelic football, the journey to Croke Park for the All Ireland Intermediate Club Final was special. I was very emotional after the Leinster final and the semi up North for reasons I can’t explain but nobody noticed, everybody was in tears and emotionally drained.
What is your hope for the club in the future? Are things going in the right direction?
The club gets bigger and better every year. The future is bright, the future is blue, Cilles Blue.
Yes we need more pitches but the people whom are most frustrated at the time it is taking are the people doing the work behind the scenes trying to deliver them!
What would you say to any person out there thinking of volunteering for St Colmcilles or any sports club?
Don’t think, DO!
St Colmcilles would like to thank Kieran for taking the time to put his thoughts into words and for modelling like a pro during one of his brilliant training sessions on Monday nights in Piltown. If anyone associated with the club would like to assist with writing articles for ‘The 5 Minute Read’ please don’t hesitate to contact us through the website or social media pages.
#cilles #stcolmcilles #meathgaa #meathhurling #eastmeath #bettystown #laytown #drogheda #wearecilles
Words: Kieran Moloney
Photographs / Interview: Brian Mulligan