ONE of Rosscarbery’s most prominent citizens reached a significant milestone in his life this week, as the one and only Niall Timothy Flavin celebrated his 30th birthday on Tuesday.
Unfortunately, the celebrations are largely curtailed by the stringent, and necessary, restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 crisis, yet the good folk of Rosscarbery could not let the occasion pass without paying appropriate tribute to one of the parish’s finest and most famous sons.
Though he needs little introduction to a great many who are steeped in West Cork GAA, Niall was born on April 28th, 1990 into the Flavin household in Gullane, Rosscarbery to father, Noel, and mother, Nora. Niall has three sisters, Ann Marie, Karen and Elaine, and brothers Ger and David.
Niall is an integral part of Carbery Rangers GAA Club, being involved in the minor, junior D, junior A and senior panels in various capacities. He is a player, mentor, selector, water provider, entertainer and arch critic all rolled into one very recognisable package. It’s a workload he bears lightly, even if 9am Sunday morning training sessions can sometimes prove a bridge too far. One man can only do so much.
Niall has had great success on the football fields with Carbery Rangers and is one of the select few to lay claim to county senior championship and West Cork junior D championship medals, the latter of which he added to his collection just last October.
He is often used as a substitute late in games when others are running out of steam or crying off injured – guys like his brother-in-law Johnny Murphy or senior manager Micheál O’Sullivan – and an injection of pace and guile is required. Niall was also a very important member of the management team for the 2017 Premier 2 minor county winning team and remains involved in the current set-up. Just don’t ask him why they haven’t been able to add to that success since a certain pair of fellow selectors were ousted from the management.
Niall also has a wide array of interests beyond Carbery Rangers and the GAA. He is a die-hard Manchester United fan, except for that time they weren’t going well under David Moyes and he started supporting Chelsea, and he loves The Boys in Green as well.
Niall is also a champion bowler who has competed in All-Ireland championships in Armagh, and is deadly at the doubles as captain of the Abbey Bar darts team. He is a big fan also of WWE wrestling, and has been known to practise his moves on unsuspecting Ross footballers from time to time. Kevin MacMahon, in particular, has very fond memories of Niall’s patented ‘Rikishi Splash’.
He is also a keen traveller and has travelled extensively around Europe, taking in the sights from Amsterdam to Florence, Bologna to Sienna, from Tenerife to Malaga and to many more besides. A long-mooted 30th birthday adventure to Las Vegas had previously been shelved for a more accessible and affordable shindig in Albufeira, but unfortunately that trip appears to have suffered the Covid kaibosh as well.
Niall’s loyal army of friends, and army is no exaggeration, are hugely disappointed not to be able to share all the events they had planned for this occasion with Niall at this time, and they look forward to the day when they can all get together again.
They look forward to seeing Niall on the Rosscarbery training pitches, slowly making his way with the bottle of water as they all gasp with the thirst, keeping the premises in Nolan’s Bar in tip top order, or having the occasional pint bottle after all the hard work. To be honest, they don’t care where it is, they just look forward to all being together sooner rather than later, with Niall yet again making everyone laugh until they’re sore.
The message from Ross is clear: Happy birthday Nialler, we’re missing out on this one, but we’ll more than make up for it when the time is right. Up Ross, and up Niall Flavin.