Kevin Driscoll remembered fondly ahead of CF Ireland's 65 Roses Day fundraiser
By John Harrington
Cystic Fibrosis Ireland’s major annual fundraiser, 65 Roses Day, cannot take place on Friday April 9th as planned due to Covid-19.
Instead, the charity is running a 65 Roses fundraising Challenge with a 65 theme, such as a 6.5K walk/run, 65k cycle, etc.
There’s also a 65 Roses Team Challenge which is being held in memory of the late, great, Kevin Driscoll who was a stalwart of Bishopstown GAA club until he sadly passed away last October after a short battle with cancer.
Kevin had Cystic Fibrosis for most of his life and according to Bishopstown GAA club Chairman, Brian Cuthbert, he was one of the real driving forces of the Cork club.
“Kevin had to stop playing when he was 14 because of his Cystic Fibrosis diagnosis so when he got to the age of 18 he decided he was going to get involved with teams in terms of coaching and administration,” Cuthbert told GAA.ie
“So, from the age of 18 to the actual week or two before he died when he was 50 he just gave himself completely to the club.
“The club was central to his mood, his form, his whole being really. He was one of those inspirational guys.
“Imagine a lad on the side-line at matches with an oxygen tank on his back barking out instructions, that was the type of fella he was
“Even around five weeks before he died we had a relegation game and he was a selector with the senior football team and he was on the sideline even though he could hardly stand up. He'd have to sit down on a chair for a while before he could get back up again. He was just a just phenomenal man.
“Everybody to a man, woman, and child just admired him because he was just ferociously mentally strong.”
This time last year Kevin was the driving force behind Bishopstown GA Club’s Team Challenge that raised €24,000 for Cystic Fibrosis Ireland.
Not only that, the fundraiser provided the club with a surge of positive energy that it is still being felt a year later.
“Kevin wanted to pay back CF Ireland for all the support they had given him over his life and once he put himself to the front of the fundraiser it really took off because everyone in the club was so keen to support him,” says Cuthbert.
“The players, too be fair to them, really drove it on. They did a virtual Malin to Mizen run in groups and it was actually great fun.
“We have just adopted the One Club model and that’s as a consequence of how successful the fundraiser was when you had the Ladies Football and Camogie and men's Senior Football and Hurling groups coming together on teams.
“It showed us that we should be together all the time. So out of it something huge came in terms of us having a united One Club approach. That was a by-product of those couple of weeks of fundraising.”
The anniversary of that hugely positive fundraiser will be a reminder to everyone in Bishopstown GAA of just how badly missed Kevin Driscoll is and the void that has been left in the club by his passing.
“At the time of his removal and burial the Covid restrictions meant that nobody could attend," says Cuthbert.
“But the hearse came to club and we had around 400 people socially distanced in the car park and the hearse just drove around the circle of people and everyone started clapping.
“It was just one of those moments in the history of a club that you would never, ever forget. He has left a huge void.
“He's been involved with football teams in the club for 30 years plus and he was the guy who was always there to bring people together whenever there were issues or if players had problems for them he'd sort them out pretty fast.
“He was just one of those inspirational guys, there's a huge void left by his passing, absolutely.”
If you would like to donate to the 65 Roses Day fundraiser or your GAA club is interested in taking part in the Team Challenge, for more information go here - https://www.cfireland.ie/get-involved/events-and-challenges/65-roses-day