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Donie was “a true gentleman, a warm personality and a great wit”

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By Sean Moriarty

A wave of sadness swept across the town today (Thursday) with the news of the passing of bona-fida town legend Donie Sheahan at the age of 95.

There isn’t one aspect of town life that doesn’t have Donie’s influence on it. Best known as one of the town’s leading pharmacists, he was also embedded in the history of Dr Crokes GAA Club and Killarney Racecourse.

Donie had many claims to fame; he was born on the same day as Queen Elizabeth of England, April 21, 1926, was the winner of a County Championship medal with Dr Crokes in 1951, as a coach he led East Kerry to an All-Ireland club title in 1971 before joining Micko Dwyer’s backroom team during the Golden Years of Kerry football in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and was a successful racehorse trainer and owner. He was also a key figure behind the development of Fitzgerald Stadium.

He has been described by the business community as a "larger-than-life personality" who contributed enormously to the commercial life of the town where he ran a very busy pharmacy at 34 Main Street since 1953.

“Above everything else, Donie Sheahan was a true gentleman, a warm personality and a great wit and so many people loved meeting him on his travels. He will be greatly missed,” Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce President, Niall Kelleher, said. “Sheahan’s Pharmacy is a real landmark in Killarney and Donie was always a welcoming presence behind the counter where his experience and expertise helped many people in so many ways for close on 70 years. His son Liam, and grandson William, are still providing that wonderful service to the local people and to visitors, and our thoughts are very much with the extended Sheahan family at this sad time.”

Donie's Killarney life began when he was appointed the pharmacist for the Killarney District Hospital and St Columbanus’ Home in 1950s. From then on he played a leading role in the commercial development and sporting excellence of the town.

DR CROKES

Officials from his beloved Dr Crokes described him as a giant of a man whose words of wisdom will be missed by all associated with the black and amber. Only last Sunday, days before his passing, he placed a call to club chairman Matt O’Neill to get the weekend results.

Donie was the most recent Club Patron, the highest office bestowed upon a member of the club, but served in several key roles within the club, including over 20 years as chairman.

“Our condolences are extended to the entire Sheahan family,” Mr O’Neill told the Killarney Advertiser. “His proudest moment was the club winning the 1992 All-Ireland, he never thought he would see the day. He was involved in every aspect of the club and never missed an AGM. It was never a proper AGM without Donie’s input and wise words. He had a huge presence around the club, a giant of man and he will be sorely missed."

HORSE RACING

Donie, from Main Street and Lewis Road, will be missed at racecourses all over Ireland, particularly at his two home venues, Ross Road and Listowel.

“He was also famous for his involvement in horse racing and he enjoyed nothing more than when the racehorses he owned competed in Killarney or in his native Listowel, often with great success,” added Mr Kelleher.

Killarney Racecourse Manager Phillip O’Brien said he was an internal part of the racing scene, not just in Kerry, but all over Ireland and beyond.

“Since I was a boy Donie was part of the racing scene,” he said. “Everyone knew him, even young jockeys, 17 or 18-years-old had huge respect for him. Some days I used to go up town for lunch and he would drag me into the back kitchen of the pharmacy and we would sit there and watch the racing and have a sandwich. It’s a sad day and he will be missed.”

This time last year Donie was unable to attend the annual Listowel Harvest Racing Festival in the town of his birth due to COVID-19 travel and crowd gathering rules - the first time that he missed the meeting in over 80 years.

Two of Donie’s most-famous horses were 'Dromhall Lady' and 'For William'. The latter finished second on two occasions in the Kerry National Handicap Chase, the biggest race of the annual Listowel Harvest Festival.

Donie passed away the day after the 2021 Kerry National took place.

Family and close friends will gather at O'Shea's Funeral Home tomorrow evening (Friday) from 6pm to 8pm.

Donie's Funeral Mass will take place in St Mary's Cathedral on Saturday morning at 10.30am, followed by burial in Aghadoe Lawn Cemetery. The Requiem Mass will be live streamed on www.churchservices.tv/killarneycathedral.

Donie was predeceased by his beloved wife Carmel (née Dowling), and his sisters Sheila and Maureen and his brother Tommie.

He is survived by children, Liam, Kieran, Aileen, Kathryn and Paul, grandchildren Ciara, Dónal, William, Kevin, Fionán, Gráinne, Peter, Cathal, Caitríona, Eoin, Sinéad, Amy, Clodagh, Megan and Andrew, and great-grandchildren Amelia, Evie, Will, Daniel, James, Lyla and Eleanor. He is also sadly missed by his daughters-in-law Siobhán, Janet and Louise, son-in-law Seán, his sisters Catherine, Margaret and Anna, nieces, nephews, relatives, neighbours and his pharmacy staff and colleagues.

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Muckross Rowing Club members on Irish teams for two major regattas

  Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events. Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse […]

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Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events.

Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta.

Daniel Fleming and Ian Coffey have both been selected for the Under 19 Irish squad to race at the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta for European junior rowers. The Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta, involving 16 European countries, will be held over from over three days, August 9-11 in Racice, Czechia.

Four Under 23 university rowers from the Muckross club have also been selected as part of the Senior Irish squad for the Home International Regatta this month.

Niamh Coffey (University of Limerick), Patrick Buckley (University of Limerick), Finn O’Sullivan (University of Limerick) and Ethan O’Neill (University College Cork Rowing Club) will take on the ‘Triple Crown’ event of rowing, competing for Ireland against crews from England, Scotland and Wales.

The Home International Regatta will be held on Saturday, July 27 in Strathclyde, Scotland.

All six Muckross rowers have earned their green jerseys following a lengthy and testing trial series on land and water which began in Autumn 2023 and culminated in final water trials at the end of June.

“Muckross Rowing Club sends its best wishes to the very talented Muckross oarsmen and women and all their crewmates as they fly the flag for Ireland this summer. The talented group build on a successful record in the sport,” said club PRO Tim O’Shea.

Niamh Coffey is a multiple Irish and University Championship winner and has previously represented Ireland in the Under 23 European Championships.

In 2022, O’Neill rowed at Junior level at the Home International event and won a gold medal as part of the Irish quadruple scull crew in the 500m sprint event.

Both Buckley and O’Sullivan continue to compete at the highest level nationally with the University of Limerick Rowing Club,  and join the Irish squad for the first time this year.

The international selections come at an exciting time before the Olympic Regatta in Paris, where Zoe Hyde (Tralee Rowing Club) will be among the largest Irish rowing contingent of 16 rowers to contest an Olympic Games.

Killorglin native Zoe has previously rowed for both Killorglin and Muckross rowing clubs and will race the Women’s Double event for Ireland with Alison Bergin (Fermoy Rowing Club) in Paris.

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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