Young Is­landers’ stal­wart John ‘al­ways shot from the hip’

The Kerryman (South Kerry Edition) - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

ON Mon­day, Oc­to­ber 2, the death at the age of 85 oc­curred peace­fully and sur­rounded by his fam­ily of John Shana­han of The Farm, Far­ran­reigh, Valen­tia Is­land.

A life­long mem­ber of the Pi­o­neer As­so­ci­a­tion, he worked the fam­ily farm in Far­ran­reigh, was a wa­ter main­te­nance em­ployee of Kerry County Coun­cil and, though a pri­vate and re­served man who shunned the lime­light and pre­ferred to keep in the back­ground of the so­cial scene, he made a huge im­pact on all as­pects dear to Is­land life

This was very well il­lus­trated by the guards of hon­our ac­corded to him by Valen­tia Young Is­landers GAA Club, the South Kerry GAA Board, Valen­tia RNLI and the Valen­tia Seine boat oars­men.

John Shana­han, Vice-Pres­i­dent of Valen­tia GAA Club at the time of his pass­ing, played on the Valen­tia Young Is­landers team that won the South Kerry se­nior foot­ball cham­pi­onship in 1957 by de­feat­ing Re­nard. This was a wa­ter­shed vic­tory as it ended a famine and her­alded a golden era in Valen­tia foot­ball, right through to 1964. Only five of that team now sur­vives. As goal­keeper, he won South Kerry se­nior foot­ball cham­pi­onships in this era and also played with South Kerry. Dur­ing the six­ties he won Seine boat races with Valen­tia and rowed in the renowned Sham­rock boat.

The Valen­tia Young Is­landers’ foot­ballers en­joyed an­other golden era from 1979 through the eight­ies and the early nineties. He be­came a se­lec­tor for a num­ber of years in the eight­ies and was a huge side­line pres­ence. His voice could be heard in the four cor­ners of the field as he pa­raded the side­line ex­hort­ing and en­cour­ag­ing his play­ers to bet­ter ef­fort.

In lo­cal GAA par­lance, he was re­ferred to sim­ply as ‘Shana­han’. He shot from the hip, did not suf­fer fools gladly and did not shun the tough de­ci­sion. In those hal­cyon days of Valen­tia foot­ball he was very much his own man.

John and his fam­ily were, and are, Young Is­landers to the mar­row. The Shana­hans are ded­i­cated, loyal and com­mit­ted Kerry and Valen­tia Young Is­landers peo­ple.

Young Is­landers GAA al­ways meant the world to them. They are one of the staunch­est Valen­tia Young Is­landers GAA fam­i­lies to ever ex­ist. His wife Eileen has been and is sell­ing lotto tick­ets for years. His daugh­ter Mary is a for­mer club sec­re­tary and his son John is a for­mer Kerry Ju­nior and South Kerry foot­baller who served as a Kerry U21 se­lec­tor.

In a long ca­reer, though now very much a veteran, John con­tin­ues to play with the Young Is­landers just to main­tain dwin­dling num­bers in an em­i­gra­tion dec­i­mated club.

The Young Is­landers formed a guard of hon­our out­side the GAA grounds in Chapel­town for the ar­rival of the re­mains. It walked be­side the hearse from the Ca­ble Sta­tion to the Church of the Im­mac­u­late Con­cep­tion of Knight­stown and, after the Re­quiem Mass, also walked with the hearse from his home in Shana­han’s Cross to Kil­more Grave­yard.

After Mass in Knight­stown cel­e­brated by Fr Ger­ard Fin­u­cane of Water­ville and Fr Larry Kelly of Cahir­siveen, John Shana­han was laid to rest on a quiet sunny Oc­to­ber day in Kil­more Grave­yard over look­ing his farm and the serene and beau­ti­ful Valen­tia Har­bour. Sin­cere con­do­lences to his wife Eileen, son John, daugh­ters Mary and Co­lette, daugh­ter-in-law Emma, grand-chil­dren Kara, Casey and Amy Rose, sis­ters Joan and Josephine, nieces, neph­ews, brother-in-law and all rel­a­tives and friends con­cerned.

Ar dheis De go raibh a anam.

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