Everyone in Killimor and around Galway and elsewhere was deeply shocked to hear of the sudden death on August 27th of Ger Whelan – or “Doran” as he was affectionately known in Killimor.
In an era when it is very hard to get people to volunteer their time to coaching children, Ger was always at the helm – indeed it could be said that he coached two generations of Killimor players. He gave unselfishly of his time to the club. Indeed it could be said that he was effectively married to the club.
Coaching and helping out
In his playing days he was a member of the panel that won the Junior Final in 1973. When he finished playing he became involved in coaching and helping out teams at underage. He was invited in by the late School Principal, Seán Fahy, to coach the Killimor NS team in 1976 and from there his coaching career began.
His first major success was when he coached, along with the help of others, the 1977 team that won the County Féile. In 1978 he coached the school team to victory, and also coached the underage club team who lost out in a county final.
A year later he successfully coached school and club to county titles. Three years on from that in 1982, he coached a successful U12 team to county success. His greatest triumph was probably his role, again along with others, in winning the 1992 All-Ireland Féile.
Won county titles.
Down through the years he was involved with many underage teams, his most recent success was with the U12 team in 2010 and U13s team in 2012 who won county titles.
Up to the time of his death he coached the U16 and U13 teams. He was down at the pitch every evening and will be sorely missed by his many friends both inside and outside GAA circles.
In addition to his coaching he was a very fine broadcaster of matches. He had the knack of making a dull match sound very good. Years ago he would often be seen in the telephone kiosk in Killimor phoning in match reports to Galway Bay FM.
He was specifically asked by Mattie Murphy to broadcast the 2004 All-Ireland Minor replay in Tullamore. He was one of the first to broadcast a game under flood lights in Croke Park. He broadcast the All-Ireland Intermediate Football Final when Moycullen won and got to interview Eamonn Ó Cuiv after the fame and was very thrilled with that.
He also of course did the honours when the Killimor girls won the All-Ireland Senior Camogie Final. His last broadcast was on August 3rd, at the U16 All-Ireland Camogie Final.
Chairman of the Club
Ger was also a former Chairman of the Club, and was well known for wrapping up the dinner dance speeches with the phrase “and to them I say thank you”. The Club now extends a sincere thank you to Ger.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.
Gerard Whelan, who lived all his life in Lisaniska, Killimor, was the only child of Joe Whelan and his wife Mary (née Reilly of Derrew). He was a nephew of Jack Whelan, Honorary Secretary Galway County Board GAA 1937-1971.