Legion Abroad – Catriona O’Sullivan
February 22, 2016
Legion News: 01/03/2015
March 1, 2016
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Frank Howe

As I drove into the parking lot of Lucan Sarsfields Gaa club in west Dublin ,it was pretty easy to pick out former underage and senior player Frank Howe ,as amidst all the many parents there to collect their sons from U14 training , there was Frank sporting his treasured Kerry jersey and when he greeted me from a distance it was clear that ,although living in Dublin since 1991 ,he still had his hometown accent…. ,well for the most part .As we shook hands , a young lad ran passed us in the green and white colours of Sarsfields and shouted “I wont be long dad” .It was of course Franks thirteen year old son Oisin making for the dressing room . I laughed with Frank as I told him that his son didnt get his accent from him and that it must be from his mother and Frank told me that his wife is actually originally from Athlone but is living in Dublin from an early age.
Myself and Frank headed inside out of the cold and found ourselves a nice seat for our coffee and chat in the clubs well maintained clubhouse . Frank told me during our conversation that he left Killarney in April 1991 to head for the Garda training college in Templemore ,moved to Dublin later that year and has been there ever since ,now living in Lucan and stationed as a community Garda in Rathcoole. Although only 21 years of age when leaving home ,Frank had a lot of football played for both the club and school {The Sem} before he left having played at all age groups all the way up to senior . A talented all round sportsman ,Frank also played soccer with Killarney Celtic and loved the Town League basketball , but it was probably at the football that Frank most excelled ,winning East Kerry medals at U12 ,14 ,16 and minor ,captaining the the side that won in 1986. Frank is also the proud holder of a County Championship medal with Killarney. During that successful era ,Frank remembers playing alongside the likes of Mike Brosnan ,Eoghan Donnellan,Pat o Sullivan and the late Pat Adams and also recalls Peter o Brien ,John “Don”o Donoghue and Cormac o Donoghue as being exceptionally talented sports mad youngsters. Frank went on to play senior for the club and although he had left home shortly before the County league win in “93 and the Club Championship victory the following year but he was one great memory from his senior days that he says is very special to him and that is of a Sunday afternoon when lined out with his three brothers ,Brendan,Joe and Michael on the Legion senior team ,with Michael only being home from Chile at the time where he was and still is in the missions there. In fact Frank credits his three brothers along with his underage trainers ,Jim Trant and Johnny Culloty as being the biggest influences on him during his footballing days . Frank tells me that he continued playing football after leaving town ,playing initially at Templemore and later with the Bridewell Garda station in Dublin .
Frank hails from a well known and respected Killarney family and lived at the Railway station,where his dad ,also Frank was stationmaster with his parents Frank and Dinah , his three brothers and sisters Deirdre ,Siobhan ,Carmel and Mary and he says that its his family and friends that he misses most from home although he says that he regularly meets friends from home at Croke Park as he goes to see most games involving Kerry .
The family link with club continues as his niece is currently doing trojan work in helping to run the Club shop selling all the club merchandise which Frank proudly wears around his adopted home or whenever he comes home which he says is usually two or three times a year which he admits should be more often . Apart from getting updates from family ,Frank is delighted with the clubs Facebook page as he says he regluarly visits it to keep an eye on results and events .
Just as Frank was telling me how he sees the modern game as being more professional with a huge emphasis on diet and nutrition compared to his playing days ,Oisin appears with his gear bag and says “Are ya right Da”. A few chuckles later we said our goodbyes and said that if we didnt meet up in Killarney ,the next time he was home ,that perhaps we might bump into each other on Jones Road in August or September.
Next week I catch up with my first female interviewee when I travel to Hertfordshire in England.