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Shane O’Hanlon- Ní bheidh a leithéid arís ann

Shane O’Hanlon- Ní bheidh a leithéid arís ann

Sat, 17th February 2024

Shane O’Hanlon was a talented hurler and footballer with his beloved St Vincent’s GAA club. 

He won many honours as a player in both codes, including Minor and Intermediate hurling championships as well as two Junior football championships.

Always interested in the coaching and management sides, Shane was a selector/mentor on many St Vincent’s teams, frequently working closely with Kevin Heffernan in these roles.

Under Mickey Whelan he was a selector with the club’s senior footballers in 2007 when they beat St Brigid’s in the Dublin Championship final, the club’s first title since 1984.

That team, which featured Ger Brennan, Diarmuid Connolly, Pat Gilroy and Tomás Quinn, went on to win the Leinster title defeating Tyrrellspass in the final. Then on St Patrick’s Day 2008 they landed the ultimate prize, defeating Nemo Rangers in Croke Park in the All-Ireland final.

As well as his massive contribution on the field of play and on the sidelines, Shane also held the position of finance director and club secretary in St Vincent’s for several years.

His love for all things GAA also extended to his work as a bank official. Shane served as chairman of AIB GAA Club and led club tours to Australia, the USA and Canada.

In 2010 and 2012 Shane was part of Jim Gavin’s management team that delivered U21 All Irelands as well as many of the players that would serve Dublin football so proudly over the next decade and more.

2013 saw Shane begin life as a senior selector, again under Jim Gavin, a position he would hold until his untimely passing.

His influence may be measured in silverware – 8 All-Ireland titles, 6 National League titles, 2 U21 All-Ireland titles - but despite that unbelievable haul, it does not really measure his influence.

Because Shane’s influence wasn’t really measurable. It went way beyond cups and medals. It extended to everything that touched Dublin Gaelic football.

Shane’s stamp was all over the culture of the teams, their values, their spirit, the sense of camaraderie, the sense of fun. He helped to cultivate that team ethos that all successful teams have, that sense of belonging, of family and that understanding that everything is for the greater good.

Former Dublin manager Jim Gavin spoke of the love Shane had for the players and how it was reciprocated: 

"Shane was everything you wanted on your management team: a great knowledge of the game, the ability to get on with people, competent, detailed orientated, organised, a hard worker, committed to the GAA and loyal to Dublin. 

"The players loved Shane. He was so good to them. He minded them with a great understanding and care. 

"Dublin GAA and those teams were his family, and by extension each player became his adopted ‘son’. 

"In their hour of need he was always by their side. In their hour of triumph, seated beside his fellow selectors in the dressing room, with his peaked cap pushed up on his forehead he glowed with his broad smile, as he reflected with immense pride and amazement at their achievements."

One of those players, Michael Darragh Macauley, reflected on their relationship with Shane as he recalled, “Shane was such an ever-present in the Dublin dressing room over the last 10 years it's really hard to fathom him not being around anymore. 

"What Shane did for Dublin football over the years was immeasurable, but around the dressing room he was a constant source of good humour. He bled blue, and I hope he knows how much he was loved.” 

These views were echoed by former Dublin CEO, John Costello, a man who worked closely on team preparations with Shane for many years: 

“It was with profound sadness and shock that I heard of the sudden passing of Shane. He was a man of huge integrity, honesty and good humour. 

"Any time spent in his company was time well spent as his wit and intelligence shone through. He contributed massively to Dublin GAA both at club level with his beloved St Vincent's and also at inter-county level.”

“It is no coincidence that Dublin's great era of success at under-21 level and then senior level came during Shane's tenure as a selector and Head of Operations. 

"However, his involvement was not confined to a strict role as selector as if you witnessed Dublin players in his company you would quickly realise that he was someone whom they deeply valued beyond the field of play.”

Shane’s meticulousness and attention to detail were renowned. Where others saw problems, Shane found solutions. Nothing was ever left to chance. He was never flustered because his organisational skills and the unstinting effort he put in behind the scenes meant that everything happened as it was meant to happen. His charisma opened doors too – nobody wanted to say no to Shane O’Hanlon.

Dublin CEO, Finbarr O’Mahony observed how his involvement with Dublin GAA was a labour of love for Shane: 

“He always treated it as a privilege to be involved with Dublin or club teams, but it was our privilege to know Shane and spend some time in his company.”

Dublin GAA has certainly lost one of its most loyal sons. A man who leaves behind a huge void but a wealth of memories and a legacy that will live forever in the proud and illustrious history of Dublin football.

Current Dublin GAA Senior Football manager, Dessie Farrell summed up the emotions of a whole county with his heartfelt comments about his great friend: 

“Whoever said you couldn't be all things to all men, didn't know Shane O'Hanlon. Shane was a man of outstanding character and a true gentleman. 

"More than being a selector and logistics manager within our team, he also served as a father figure, mentor and great friend to so many of us. 

"Shane's selflessness was unparalleled, his greatest gift being the time and love he generously offered to others.”

“As we come to terms with his loss, we find solace in knowing that Shane's spirit will endure within us all. His legacy of service, kindness and integrity will continue to inspire us. 

"Mary, you are a valued member of the Dublin football family and always will be. We extend our deepest condolences to you and all of Shane's family his clubmates at St Vincents and friends. 

"Thank you, Shane, for teaching us all so much. Thank you for being one of life's greatest ambassadors. Thank you for being all things to all of us.”

Ní bheidh a leithéid arís ann.

Shane's funeral details are as follows: 

Reposing at Frank Jennings Funeral Home, Greendale Road, Raheny on Monday 19th February from 3.00p.m. until 6.00p.m. Removal on Tuesday morning to the Church of Our Lady Mother of Divine Grace, Howth Road, Raheny, arriving for Funeral Mass at 11.30a.m. followed by Private Cremation.

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