Sean Ghael Awards12 Nov 2007 by Gilbert Williams
Michael Banaghan and Roche Williams became the latest Kilruane MacDonaghs representatives to be honoured with a Sean Ghael award. They follow in the footsteps of Mick O Meara Carriganagh and Jimmy Gibson who were honoured previously. These annual awards recognise the contribution made by ordinary club members to the development of games and facilities.
Michael Banaghan has been secretary of Thomas MacDonagh Park Committee since its inaugural meeting in 1961. Along with his great friend and neighbour Roche Williams, he has been the driving force behind the development of the facilities at the club’s pitch. The Pavilion was built in 1969, the stand was erected in 1995 and the spacious Sports Complex was opened in 2006. Since the formation of the Park Committee, he has developed and maintained a harmonious working relationship with chairman Roche Williams, their different personalities and talents complementing each other perfectly. As secretary, Michael has been the personification of efficiency, forward thinking and progressive, leading from the front and capable of bringing others along with him. His attention to detail is legendary. Michael’s judgement is always respected and his opinion is valued. He prefers to persuade and encourage rather than dictate and dominate. He has always taken great pride in MacDonagh Park and has been an enthusiastic supporter of initiatives to improve the club and cultural life in the parish. Michael has never been one to seek the limelight but derives his satisfaction from a job well done.
Roche Williams has been chairman of Thomas MacDonagh Park Committee since its foundation in 1961. The aim of the committee was to provide the parish with a modern pitch to facilitate the playing of games and training. After a mammoth fundraising campaign spearheaded by Roche, his former school colleague Michael Banaghan and an enthusiastic committee, the dream became a reality when the pitch was officially opened in on Easter Sunday 1966 by Alf Murray, President of the G.A.A. . Roche has remained at the helm for almost a half-century and the passing of the years hasn’t dimmed his appetite for the job. He is an institution in Cloughjordan and was principal of the local school for thirty nine years where he instilled in his pupils of love of all things Irish. It’s no coincidence that fifteen of the Kilruane MacDonaghs team that won the All-Ireland club final in 1986 were past pupils of Roche. He is highly regarded as a local historian and is an authority on patriot Thomas MacDonagh. In 1999 he penned his first book entitled ‘ In and Out of School –In the Home of the MacDonaghs.’