Champion Community Sports Volunteers:
On Saturday 9th January 2016 I read a most moving obituary tribute in Cork’s Evening Echo to one of Ireland’s greatest Champion Community Sports Volunteers, a gentleman who epitomises the true meaning of our incorporation of our Champion Community Sports Volunteers in Ireland’s national and international Irish heritage website @ All Ireland Hall Of Fame Online Gallery.
Michael Tobin was part and parcel of Midleton, Co. Cork, G.A.A. Club for several decades and when you read herein a special tribute penned by Coleman Quirke, Midleton P.R.O. on the occasion of Michael’s funeral, our readers at home and around the world will understand the enormous contributions people such as Michael Tobin contribute to their own community.
Derry JF Doody
@ All Ireland Hall Of Fame Online Gallery
Michael Tobin, Midleton, Co. Cork RIP
By Coleman Quirke – P.R.O. Midleton G.A.A. Club, Co. Cork
Midleton G.A.A. Tribute To Legendary Club Volunteer:
I would like to welcome all of Mick’s family and friends from Knockanore, Co. Waterford and Midleton to our club. Fr Eamon Roche paid a fantastic tribute to Bonzo in his homily earlier but now I would like to say a few words on behalf of the Midleton club.
We're all still in shock since we learned of his sudden passing last Monday, none more so than his wife Maura, and sons David & Kevin. Mick was known to us all affectionately by many names, Bonzo, The Bonz, The Stob to name a few.
Having served his home club, the Shamrocks, Co. Waterford, as a player, coach, selector and officer, he came to Midleton in the early 70s and transferred to us for what is still an undisclosed fee!!
Mick became a legend of our club, he played hurling and football with us initially before his legendary knee gave way.
He later got involved as a selector with the various teams at juvenile level, then at minor when Midleton won 4 counties between 1984-89. He became minor secretary in 1989 and continued in that role for years.
In recent times he was a selector with his great friends Gavin Power & Ger Lawton with our Junior B & C teams winning 7 East Cork titles in 5 years.
In recent times he was elected as an honorary Vice President of our club.
Bonzo was afraid of no job; he acted as an umpire for club referees and his great friends, Billy Cody and Charlie Mc Allister, on many occasions. A story is often told of a game played between Knockanore and St Catherines for a set of jerseys.
Billy Cody arrived to ref the game with Bonzo in tow as an umpire. When the final whistle blew Billy had the game as a draw but having consulted with The Bonz, the outcome soon changed to a one point victory for the Shamrocks.
With a valuable prize for the winners there was understandably a lot of tension after the game.
The following morning the Shamrocks mentors went straight to the sponsor Murphy's in Fermoy to claim the prize and order the jerseys. On their way out they passed the Catherine’s lads on their way in to do likewise, however the Shamrocks won out !
Mick attended club meetings every fortnight without fail.
My phone would ring on the day "Are u going to headquarters tonight - I will be with u?"
Those of us who were involved in teams with him always received the famous notepaper from him, picking teams beforehand, he'd say "I'm just going to say something to you now", " play him in the number 10 jersey because he strikes off his left hand", ah he's not good enough" these were just a few of his remarks.
We were all familiar with his unique sayings and stories.
"I never went around fellas. I went straight through them".
"Put in my Micky", "the Russian", hunting with the Kilwatermoy blazers", trips back and forth from Redbarn with his great friend the mighty Mick Allen, and his grá for the spuds.
These were produced by his great friends David and John Paul O' Brien, in Carrigshane. Bonz loved the whole process of sowing the seeds, harvesting them, bagging them and selling them but most of all eating them, sometimes even out of his hand like an apple in Nancy's kitchen!!
We were all aware of his passion for the Knockanore Shamrocks. He idolised Eoin Murphy, the Roche's, Liam Dalton to name a few.
He always spoke about his grandnephews in Kerry, Carlow, Dublin and Waterford. We often commented that he really could never lose and suggested he'd more clubs than Tiger Woods.
At one of our first club meetings of the year when it looked like coming to a conclusion, our Chairman Liam Ryan (another great Waterford man) enquired if there was any other business to discuss.
With that the Bonz stood up "Mr Chairman - I would like it recorded that the Waterford footballers created history last weekend defeating Cork in the McGrath cup semi final for the first time in many years in Clashmore".
Mick was a gentleman. His popularity was reflected by the huge crowds who paid their respects to him over the past few days from Juvenile members, inter county players, rival club members and the various board officers.
He would have been very proud to see the two great Waterford hurlers Dan & Maurice Shanahan from rival club Lismore in attendance today.
Only last Wednesday evening at our AGM Mick was elected as our Football Secretary for the coming year. Afterwards he stayed on for the usual review with his good friends Gerry Smyth and Fr. Denis Kelleher and after a numbers of attempts, I finally got him to come home with me.
We parked outside his house, as we have done for the last 15 years or so.
"Coleman - he said - that's it now for another year , we'll have to keep it going..."
Mick all I can say is that we'll do our best but it won’t be easy without you.
May you rest in peace.
Is mise le meas
Colmain O Coirc