Bobby O’Brien Memorial / Munster Rugby Award for Dan Casey

Munster Junior Rugby Committee Chairman PJ Cremin (seated left) presenting the Bobby O’Brien Memorial Award to Castleisland Rugby Club Chairman, Dan Casey at The Crageens earlier this week. Included are Dan’s wife and club PRO Nóirín Uí Chathasaigh and his brothers, Maurice (left) and Con. Back from left: Denis Reidy, Covid officer; John Riordan, ticket officer; Paul Butler, youth officer; Colm Nolan, child welfare officer and Timothy Herlihy, Castleisland RFC and former West Munster representative.  ©Photograph: John Reidy

An almost private but hugely important occasion was organised at Castleisland Rugby Club headquarters by Munster Junior Rugby Club Delegates Chairperson and Kanturk RFC club-man, P.J. Cremin on Tuesday evening.

It was an event that would have filled the Castleisland RFC bar and car-park and a good streak of the adjacent field on any other given season or year.

Bobby O’Brien Memorial Award

Mr. Cremin travelled from Kanturk on the occasion to present the Bobby O’Brien Memorial Award to Castleisland RFC Chairman Dan Casey.

The award is presented to Munster Junior Rugby’s ‘Best Club-man of the Year’ and in honour of the late Thurles RFC member.

Playing rugby with the local club was an inescapable part of Dan Casey’s DNA as his late father John Joe and uncles on the Brosnan side played alongside the likes of Con Houlihan back in those well chronicled days.

Playing Senior Rugby at 16

Dan’s playing days with Castleisland seniors began when he was 16 years of age as there was no underage rugby set-up in the area at the time.

He played with the under 18s and seniors the year after as underage teams were just being established at club level at that stage.

He also played at senior level with the more famous clubs like Garryowen and Bohemians while continuing to play with Castleisland.

Many Roles in the Club

Among his many roles within the club, Dan has been captain of the senior team and has coached underage and seniors at various stages over the years and continues to play an active part in the club.

He has also overseen the successful introduction of the club’s Split the Bucket fundraising initiative which plays a major part in helping the club in meeting its bills and day-to-day running.

It also helps cover the costs associated with the increasing commitments of the club to the range of teams from U-6s all the way up to senior teams and the near 200 members now in its care.

Rolling up the Sleeves

“If it is supported, Split the Bucket will make a big difference to the running of the club and to all the under-age teams we have in training at present,” Dan said at the time of the launch at the end of August 2018.

Back then he and his fellow club members rolled their sleeves up and committed themselves to the weekend tours of draws and cheque presentations in pubs in this and neighbouring parishes.

His fellow club-man, and former Munster West representative, Timothy Herlihy said that the award was a richly deserved recognition of Dan’s non stop commitment to the affairs of the club.

Dan and Nóirín Almost Full-Timers

“The amount of time and out and out involvement he and his wife, Nóirín give to the club is outstanding – they’re almost full-timers by now and that’s the kind of service which allows a club to succeed and get over times like we’re going through now.

“This award was well merited I can assure you,” said Timothy

The Late Bobby O’Brien

The late Bobby O’Brien (1937-2017) gave a 60 year lifetime of loyal commitment and service to Thurles Rugby Club and to rugby in Tipperary and Munster and that’s the kind rock on which this award is based and it’s presented only to those who have truly earned it.