of the Year -
(Pictured From Left To Right) Denis Geaney (2004),
Jack O’Connor (2005),
Brian O’Mahony (2002).
Jack O'Connor - Kerry
Person of the Year 2005
Born October 1960 Jack O’Connor is the youngest
of nine children. His mother Sheile (RIP) also O'Connor, hailed from
Glencar. Both parents met at a house dance in "Gilpins"
on the Glencar side of Ballaghoisin. His father, Michael, was a small
As a young boy Jack went to Caslagh N.S. at the top
of the Inny Valley where his Principal was Padraig Breathnach (RIP).
After completing his secondary education in Scoil Ui Chonaill he
moved on to Maynooth college where he spent four years studying as
a trainee teacher. The trainer of the Maynooth team during those
years was the current Tyrone selector, Fr. Gerard McAleer. Jack's
first job was at Waterville Tech under Michael Donnelly. He progressed
from there to Scoil Ui Chonaill where he remained on the teaching
staff until 1999, except for three years spent in the USA. On returning
from America in 1989 he and his brother Michael built and opened
The Inny Tavern at Kileenleigh which they later sold.
At this stage Jack was heavily involved with Dromid
Pearses and helped them progress through the ranks in Kerry football,
from Div. 5 to Div. 1. He played and trained the club team for approx
twenty years. He helped them win the Kerry Novice Championship in
1991. He was on the Kerry Tech team that won two All Ireland Championships
in 1977 and 1978. He was a sub on the South Kerry team that won two
Senior County Championships in 1980 and 1981. He played on the South
Kerry team beaten by West Kerry in the county final of 1984. He was
manager of the Kerry Tech team that won two All Ireland Championships
(1992 and 1993). In 1993 he was a Kerry U-21
selector under Paidi O Se. He was a Kerry selector
in 1995 when Kerry won the All Ireland. He trained Kerry U-21 teams
(1996 and 1998) to win the All Ireland. He was trainer/Manager of
Scoil Ui Chonaill in 1997 when they won the All Ireland. He managed
Colaiste na Sceilge to win two
All Ireland vocational titles in 1999 and 2000. After
that, Colaiste na Sceilge entered the All
Ireland Colleges competition and they won three Munster titles (Corn
Ui Mhuire) in a row, 2001, 2002 and 2003.
Jack is also a golfer of some standing and plays off a handicap of
7. He has been involved in 14 All Ireland finals including two replays,
and lost only two. Last year he led Kerry out of the wilderness to
All Ireland honours. He later made a critical input to the South
Kerry team that won the County Championship. Then he turned his talents
to Dromid Pearses and trained the team that won a first South Kerry
title in December. One of his fondest memories was helping Pearses
to win Comortas Peile na Gaeltacht in Gwedore (1995).
He is married to Bridie (nee Moriarty) from the Glen,
one of seven children. They have two boys, Cian (15) and Eanna (12).
Eanna is considered to be a star footballer in the making.
Jack accepted the nomination of Kerry Person
of the Year at a launch at the ESB Head Office on Thursday, February
3rd. At his acceptance speech Jack insisted that he accepted the
award on behalf of all the players, without whom this honour would
not have been possible. The award will be presented to Jack at
Oiche Chiarrai on February 26th in Moran’s Red Cow Hotel.
About The Kerry Person Of The Year Title
One of the most privileged duties of the Kerry
Association Committee is the annual selection of Kerry Person of
the Year. From Dr. Michael Carmody in 1979 to Mr. Denis Geaney in
2003 and the 25-years between the standard of nominations submitted
would be impressive on a national level, and shows just how blessed
Kerry is with talented and wonderful people.
Nominations for Kerry Person of the Year are accepted from October to December
The criteria for selection is that the
nominated person must have been born in Kerry. The selected Kerry
Person of the Year is announced in January/February each year, culminating
in presentation of an award at Oíche Chiarraí
in February/March. Traditionally the award presented is an original
sculpture designed by Cliodna Cussen and very kindly sponsored
by the Kerry Group.
For those of you who have attended some or many of our Oíche Chiarraí's
the following list should bring back some wonderful memories of nights of music,
song, dance and great fun. Long may this tradition continue.