On this date one hundred years ago (13th April 1919 – Palm Sunday) Fr. Mícheál Galvin was born at 101 Rock St. (where his nephew, John Gentleman, still resides). He served 66 consecutive seasons (1945-2010) as President of the Austin Stacks GAA Club and, so far, we have not come across any one with such a record in GAA History.
His Rock pedigree was of course impeccable. His uncle Christy Barrett was one of the founding members of the Club in 1917, and one of his other uncles (Joe Barrett) was one of the greatest ever full backs to play for Kerry and The Rock. And to this day his nephew, Eddie Barrett is still working for the Club as one of our Co. Board delegates and as MC for our home Senior games.
Fr. Mícheál played football and hurling with the Club before his priestly calling took him to Maynooth where he was ordained to the priesthood in June 1944.
And after his ordination no matter where his priestly ministry took him, and it took him to many parishes throughout the dioceses of Kerry, he was always there to support The Rock. He served as Curate in Tralee (1944-46), Ballymacelligott (1946), Glenbeigh (1946-52), Castletownbere (1952-54), Killarney (1954-60), Kenmare (1960-66), and Listowel (1966-73). He then served as Parish Priest in Glenbeigh for five years (1973-78) and finally in Ballybunion for 21 years (1978-99) before retiring in 1999 when he returned to live and spend his final years in his beloved Rock Street.
Fr. Mícheál was there to witness all the great players and the many successes of the early period in the Club’s history. In that period, 1928 to 1936, we won five SF Co. Championships and three SH Championships and supplied 14 players to the Kerry SF team who won their first four-in-a-row All Ireland titles (1929 and 1932).
He was still there for the Club’s second Golden era when we won another five SF titles between 1973 and 1986 and our 11th title in 1994 and again contributed another five players to Kerry’s second four-in-a-row success (1978-81) and then the three-in-a-row (1984 -86). Probably his greatest enjoyment was the winning of the All Ireland Club title in 1977.
He loved nothing more than being on the sideline supporting whatever team was playing whether it was U12s, Minors or Seniors, Football or Hurling, Ladies Football and, in his early days, Camogie.
His other great sporting loves were greyhounds and horse racing and in his young days in Maynooth College he himself was an accomplished athlete, specializing and excelling in the mile event.
After a lifetime of service to his family, his ministry and his beloved Club Fr. Mícheál passed away peacefully on Monday night, 23rd August 2010 at the venerable age of 91.