The Liam O’Dea Volunteer of the Year Award 2023
The ultimate award one can receive from one’s peers in Terenure College RFC! I was speechless when Tommy announced my name at the AGM this year!!
After which it dawned on me that not everyone in the room and beyond had the knowledge of the great man, “Liamo”. Let me therefore try to paint a picture of this great Terenure College legend!
Tá brón orm, as I write these words. SO hear it goes, please bear with me. After his family, Liam’s next love was rugby and our Club. The Club was very much the centre of his life. He was very popular among the entire Leinster rugby community, but particularly in St. Mary’s where his brothers played. In 1972 he played on the college 2nd XV, reaching the league final.
In the Club coached by people like Eddie Coleman and Eddie Thornton, Liam went from strength to strength, winning a junior league final captained by Brian Byrne. Moving on the the 1st XV, captain of the Club in 1981 – 1982. We had a very successful tour to the United States that year. Oh how I remember it! He was on the team that won the Leinster League in 1984, captained by “Neilo”. He passed too early, and we all agreed that the creation of the Liam O’Dea Award for a club member who contributed something extra each year was a fitting memory of Big Liamo.
Let me tell you now, Liam was always full of craic and he loved his pints of stout. He oft locked horns with Moss Keane after a match, propped up against the bar downing pints as if Guinness was about to run out. Every summer himself and his great mates, Matt, Mick, Staff, Desi, Greg, Dec H, Dec A Neilo and Frank would all pile into the “Door Store” van and then high tail it down to Britas Bay for devilment and pints, what a crew!
I packed down with the legend many a time, and my last game was on the 1st team, to play an away match versus Bath. Now back in those days I was a great fan of Emmerdale Farm, now called Emmerdale, why they dropped the Farm bit I don’t know! Anyway, after the show I rushed down to the Club for the training session, 40 minutes late!! The team were already out on the field as I went into the clubhouse to boot up. However, Liam was waiting for me, and let me know in no uncertain fashion that I had let the team down, “what kept you” he barked out, and I stupidly said, “I was watching Emmerdale Farm!” and what a mistake that was! Two things evolved from that dressing down. The first, I was never late for anything thereafter, or to this day. Two; Liam called me from that day onwards, “Amos” – who was the bar man in the Woodpack Pub in Emmerdale.
It is an impossible task to write some words on Liam, how we still miss him, and always will forever and a day!
Thank you Mr O’Dea for all the happy memories.
Rala – Paddy O’Reilly