Taken from Annacurra GAA Club Website
In 2009, Annacurra lost a great leader of the club and community. Ciaran Shannon was a man who gave his all on the football field and a man who inspired his teammates into action. Ciaran died tragically on his way to represent Annacurra in a Division 1 League match against Blessington on the 27th of June 2009 .
Ciaran was one of the best footballers Annacurra has ever produced and represented the club with great distinction for almost twenty years. During this time he also represented Coolera/Strandhill in Sligo and Toronto Gaels in Canada.
In 1990 Annacurra reached the senior county final where they were defeated by the reigning All-Ireland Club champions Baltinglass. At eighteen years of age, Ciaran was the youngest member of this panel and learned his trade alongside some famous names who wore the Green and Gold. Unfortunately, Annacurra were defeated on this day and a county medal with Annacurra would elude Ciaran for the rest of his career.
In the mid 90’s Ciaran moved to Sligo and to an area more known for it’s surfing than its football clubs. However Ciaran got involved playing with the club Coolera-Sttrandhill and was a driving force in their victorious Intermediate championship campaign in 1995. Ciaran lined out at midfield for the Sligo club and with the team ten points in arrears to Geevagh in the semi final, Ciaran produced a man of the match performance to inspire his teammates to overturn the deficit and put Coolera/Strandhill into the final. The club met local rivals St.John’s in the final and won by 4 points. The club hold Ciaran in high esteem and he really made an impression in that area.
At this time, Ciaran was catching the attention of the selectors of the Sligo senior team. In 1995 and 1996, Ciaran was immense in their Connacht championship matches against Galway. He was up against current Sligo manager Kevin Walsh and I have on good authority that the midfielder from the small village of Annacurra was not out of his depth with such illustrious company.
Ciaran returned home to play for Annacurra and also for Wicklow. In 1999, Ciaran was instrumental in Wicklow’s league and championship campaign. In the league, Wicklow narrowly missed out on promotion finishing fourth after a final day defeat to Kerry in Killarney. One of Ciaran’s greatest days in the blue jersey came during the league fixture with Westmeath. Ciaran put in a man of the match performance as he split the defence early on to set up an early goal and he later fired home a goal himself. Wicklow were drawn to play Meath in the Leinster Championship. While being named at wing forward, Ciaran was played around the centre field position as Wicklow struggled with Meath’s all-star team. Meath would run out winners this day and would later go on to win the All-Ireland.
Ciaran was appointed captain of Annacurra for the year 2000. His effect was immediate as a Division 3 Spring League was captured with a last gasp win over An Tochar. The following year was another final heartache for Annacurra as Ashford defeated Annacurra in the Intermediate final. It also relegated the team back to Junior A.
This was the last year Ciaran would play for Annacurra for some time as he emigrated to Canada along with Avril and their young child at the time, Ciara. Toronto Gaels were made aware of Ciaran’s imminent arrival in Canada when a man from Limerick named Gerry Mullane rang club member Mark O’Brien to inform him of Ciaran’s credentials. Ciaran ended up wearing the blue of the Gaels for five years and every year he was voted the clubs most valuable player. The club also regard him as the greatest player they had to never win a championship over there. Not to be outdone by Ciaran’s achievements in Toronto GAA, Avril also played while they were out there and she lined out for the Cusacks club.
On journeys home to Annacurra, Ciaran was often spotted at games in Annacurra. One time in particular the junior team were short in numbers and Ciaran showed no reluctance in togging out. Needless to say, Annacurra won that game and unsurprisingly, Ciaran was showing his class in midfield and ran the show.
On Ciaran and Avril’s arrival back from Canada, Ciaran became heavily involved in the club and the parish. The Shannon’s arrived home with two new additions to the family and set up residence in Moneyteigue. Ciaran, who worked as an insurance broker took up the position of Fixtures Secretary in 2008 and involved himself in training underage teams in the club. He also was on the school Board of Management which showed his passion for his native village.
2008 will be remembered for the final minute of the county final with
Carnew. After 57 minutes of football, Ciaran came off the field to a
rapturous applause as he had played a heroes part in giving Annacurra a
two point lead. Unfortunately, Carnew were to strike late and snatch the
title away from us which was very unjust on the Ciaran who was in the
twilight if his career. Although, it was some consolation in winning the
Division 2 league in December, a championship medal with Annacurra was
what he really deserved.
Following on from a tradition started in 2010 where 7 aside teams competed for the The Ciaran Shannon cup, Annacurra GAA club welcomes former team mates of Ciaran’s from all corners of the globe and clubs from the area in a mixed seven a side competition for the Ciaran Shannon Cup. This year will be the 10th anniversary of Ciaran’s passing and we hope to have a special weekend in his memory.