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A lifetime of service

In every club there are members who give hours and hours each week to the promotion of club activities. One such person in St Breckan’s is Francie Hawes who continues to give many hours each week to the promotion of football to his beloved Lisdoonvarna.

St Breckan’s stalwart Francie Hawes. Photograph by John KellyA playing member of the club from his juvenile days, he won junior and intermediate county titles in the maroon and white of the North Clare outfit. He was one of their leading lights when they won the intermediate title at the expense of Lissycasey in 1982 when he played at corner-back.
“After a few years at senior level we were back in intermediate and won the title again in 1989 when we beat Ennistymon,” explained Francie. A member of this year’s selection committee, he was in charge when they won the ’89 intermediate title. He was also in charge when St Breckan’s won the county minor A title in 2000.
According to Francie, Sunday’s Munster final will be “the biggest day in my lifetime with the club. It makes everything worthwhile and it makes up for the bad years”.
“At the beginning of the season we were trying to get a team together to compete in the league and it started from there. We took the championship campaign very serious and the lads trained very hard. Getting a good start in the championship race was vital. Winning the U-21 B championship title was also a huge help,” he said.
“We were very disappointed when we were relegated three years ago but that’s football. Our three years away from senior has helped to bring a new young team through. It takes a few years to get the necessary experience,” he went on.
“This is huge, not just for the club, but for the whole parish and community. All the talk is about the match. Football has taken over and there is great colour around the town. It is also good for Clare football,” Francie believes.
“We are playing a Kerry team that we know nothing about but Kerry is Kerry no matter what you do. This is a bonus for us. After winning the Clare intermediate title, which was our main aim at the beginning of the season, we took it one game at a time.
“We didn’t look past the Tipperary champions whom we played on our own grounds in the first round and once we got over that, the focus switched to the Waterford champions. Now it’s the Kerry champions who provide the opposition and we will be doing all in our power to overcome them,” he said
That said, the real target, according to the St Breckan’s man, is to build on this season’s success and to consolidate the club’s position at senior level over the next few years.
“A lot will depend on the work situation and we are all hoping that the members of the panel will be able to remain locally. At present we have some based in different parts of the country but they return home at weekends to train and play for the club.
For now, it’s all systems go for Sunday’s Munster final at Pairc na nGael in Limerick and should the North Clare outfit manage to make history by becoming the first club from the Banner county to lift this title, there will be few people more deserving of congratulations than Francie Hawes.


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