Card Players’ Charity Cheques – It’s a Habit Since the 1990s

John O'Connell, Card players' PRO. ©Photograph: John Reidy
John O’Connell, Card players’ PRO. ©Photograph: John Reidy

They never make a great fuss about it but the small committee behind the weekly 31 drive at the River Island Hotel has handed over thousands of Euros each year to local charities.

And that’s a habit they formed in the mid 1990s.
Flash mob presentations are organised when the pot is full and the collected funds are then distributed accordingly.

Over €60,000 to Date

To date, the committee and its Sunday night, River Island Hotel card playing school has donated close on €60,000 to a long list of worthy charities.

On a recent Sunday night they handed out another €5,000 – €1,000 each to the following charities: Recovery Haven; The Oncology Unit, University Hospital Kerry; The Leukemia Trust; Cork / Kerry Health Link Bus and Breast Cancer Ireland.

Since September 1994
This particular card school is running since September 1994 and was set up by host, John O’Sullivan at Skevenas Bar as a fundraiser for the Castleisland Coursing Club. The club was about to buy and develop its own grounds just off the Black Road in Tullig at the time.

When that mission was accomplished and the bills paid they decided to keep the school going and turn their financial attentions to local charities.

Across the Street
When Skevenas closed its doors in January 2007 the cards went across the street to the Crown Hotel for a while – and the players followed.
Eventually, they settled at the River Island Hotel and the players are now, collectively known as The River Island Hotel Card Players.
The ‘charity money’ is raised by means of an admission fee of €7 per player each Sunday night.

Weekly Gathering

The weekly gathering attracts an average of 60 to 70 players per night and they come from all corners of Kerry and from well beyond the borders of Cork and Limerick.

From the players’ admission fee the organisers, John Skevena O’Sullivan, Donie Cremins and John O’Connell pay out winnings and place prizes of €150 / €75 and several €20 awards for best ladies, best gents and mixed as well as the odd cash spot prize.

Considered Charities
Their considered charities are chosen from the local pool or those in which there is a local involvement.

There are many charities throughout the locality and beyond which have benefited from their kindness down through the years. Card players are always welcome at the Sunday night gatherings. The games begin at 9pm.

Thanks to Players and Venue
“The card players of the River Island Hotel have contributed close to €60,000 to charities since it began and we would like to thank all our players who helped raise the funds and the management and staff of the hotel for kindly allowing us the use of the facilities here over the years,” said organising committee PRO, John O’Connell.

The collecting is now starting all over again and some time later on this year they will invite another set of charities to accept the fruits of their kind gestures.

Meanwhile: the following are the results of the card game held in The River Island Hotel on Easter  Sunday night.

1st.: Siobhan Brosnan and Donie Cremins, Neily Shanahan and Dick Collins.

2nd.: Siobhan Kelliher and Bridie Gueirn. Ladies. Norrie O’Connor and Dolly McAuliffe, Kathleen O’Connor and Hannah Hickey.

Gents: Pat Sheehy and Jimmy O’Sullivan. Mixed: Mary McGaley and Johnny O’Connell, Sheila Breen and Fintan Quirke, Geraldine and Denis O’Leary.

Spots: Jerry O’Donoghue and Danny O’Loughlin, Pat and Dom O’Donnell, Gerry and Mike O’Connell.


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