Tullamore and Offaly GAA mourns two iconic figures

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kevin@tullamoretribune.ie

ON the same day that 1982 All-Irelandsenior football winning manager Eugene McGee was buried and within a few hours of each other, two more of Offaly's best known GAA personalties died last Thursday – Dermot O'Brien, a former candidate for president of the GAA, died in London while Alo Kelly, a key member of the management of the Offaly team that won the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship in 1971 and 1972, died in his native Tullamore.

Dermot O'Brien had spent most of his life in London, emigrating in the early 1960s and ironically, Alo Kelly had also spent many years in that city before returning home to live full time before the 2000s

Both men were absolutely immersed in the GAA. Alo Kelly was a former player with a great reputation in the 1950s into the 1960s. Kelly made 63 league and championship appearances for Offaly senior footballers from 1950 to 1960 – he played in the 1960 championship win over Carlow and All-Ireland semi-final defeat by Down as Offaly won their first Leinster senior football title but he did not feature again or in 1961 as Offaly retained Leinster and reached their first All-Ireland final, losing out to Down in front of a record attendance in Croke Park.

Dermot O'Brien was a former chairman of London GA, serving them in a variety of other roles, including a long serving Central Council delegate. He ran for president of the GAA in 1990 but coming from a London base and following directly in the footsteps of another Tullamore man, John Dowling (the only Offaly man to be president of the GAA), he was always a long shot candidate as Peter Quinn (Fermanagh) was elected.

Continued on page 63.

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