Hall of Fame Winner 2018 – Tom O’Donnell
Tom O’Donnell hails from Cill Chais, Kilshelan, Co. Tipperary. He has spent most of his adult life in Dublin. He started teaching in St. Davids Artane in the mid-seventies and coached the school teams. Craobh Chiaran and Kilmore supplied most of the hurlers to St Davids at this time. He has fond memories of great players such as Derek Finn, Johnnie McGuirk and Derek McCormack[RIP]. He then became a fulltime schools officer and he combined this role with a similar one in DCU in 1995. Seán Óg Ó Hailpín and Shane Ryan starred for DCU during Tom’s time there.
Probably Tom’s greatest contribution to Dublin hurling was when he asked the Leinster Colleges Board to accept a combined Colleges team from Dublin Into the Leinster SH “A” championship Much to his delight they accepted his proposal. In the first few years they got a few hidings from St. Kierans, Good Counsel and Presentation, Birr. But they were learning from playing the top teams. They reached the Leinster finals in 1999 and 2000 but got beaten by St. Kierans. However, in 2001, under the management of Colm Mac Séalaigh, the breakthrough came when they defeated Good Counsel in the final. Conal Keaney, Stephen Hiney and Dotsy O’Callaghan were part of that winning team. In 2006, under the management of Vincent Teehan, they defeated St. Flannans in the All-Ireland Colleges final. Ross O’Carroll, Cian Mc Bride, Dermot Connolly, Paul Ryan, Oisin Gough, David Treacy, Shane O’Rourke, Johnny Cooper, Simon Lambert were part of that history making team. Dublin Colleges have gone from strength to strength and now they have three teams competing in Leinster, Dublin North, Dublin South, and Coláiste Eoin. This year Dublin North defeated St. Kierans College in the Leinster final. Because they are a combined team they are not allowed take part in the All-Ireland series which was won by St. Kierans who had lost to Dublin North a few weeks earlier. The Dublin players no longer fear other teams and continue to grow in confidence. So the seed sown by Tom and a few friends in the early nineties has produced a great harvest.
Tom joined the committee of Friends of Dublin Hurling in 2006 and acted as Secretary and Treasurer during that time. He helped raise funds through selling memberships, running golf classics and promoting fodh at every chance. Tom retires shortly and will be heading home to the foot of Slievenamon. We thank him for his massive contribution to Dublin hurling and we wish himself and his wife Catherine many years of health and happiness.
He is a worthy winner of the 2018 Lar Foley Hall of Fame Award.