Pat Whelan is the 2008 Limerick Person of the Year

Logo - Limerick Person of the Year Thursday, January 29th, 2009 

The announcement was made tonight, Thursday, January 29th at a gala dinner in the Clarion Hotel, Limerick.

Mr Whelan, the chairman of the Thomond Park Re-Development Committee, oversaw the €40million euro revamp of the famous Limerick stadium which came in on budget and on schedule. He is a former manager of the Irish Rugby Team.

Mr Whelan said he was “absolutely delighted and humbled” to win the award which he dedicated to rugby player Shane Geoghegan who died tragically last November. He also revealed that JP McManus had contributed €4million euro to the re-development of Thomond Park.

“When we started on the voyage of Thomond Park, we didn’t know where we were going or where we were going to end up,” Mr Whelan admitted.

“However we decided that the achievements of Munster rugby warranted something special. What we wanted was going to cost €4million extra but we were lucky that we got a very generous sponsor in JP McManus. Now we have an iconic building in Limerick which all those striving to achieve something can look up to and get courage from.”

Mr Whelan also paid tribute to the residents of Ballynanty who agreed to sell their homes for the stadium to be built and the contribution of Limerick City Council.

The former Munster and Ireland rugby star oversaw the ambitious project, which, after a year-and-a-half of work, was officially unveiled to the rugby world in all its glory on November 18 – an evening that will go down as one of the most memorable in Limerick’s sporting history.

Pat Whelan said it was a moment to savour for all those involved when they took their place in the stand as Munster were about to take on the might of the All Blacks. The occasion was particularly poignant for Pat, who played hooker for Munster during their historic victory over the touring New Zealanders in 1978.

Reared in a house on Roden Street – the road leading up to the army barracks – Pat’s interest in rugby was nurtured from a young age. He has been involved in the game as a player, manager – he managed Ireland in the 1990s – and an administrator, and as such has watched the game change dramatically over the years.
Pat Whelan was presented with his award by rugby pundit and Newstalk radio presenter George Hook.

Now in its 11th year, the Limerick Person of the Year Awards were set up to honour the achievements and success of local people.
A dozen high achievers in sport, business, music and voluntary work were in line for the prestigious 2008 award.
The awards are sponsored by the Limerick Leader, Southern Advertising and the Clarion Hotel.

The nominees for the Limerick Person of the Year Award 2008 are the 12 winners of the Limerick Person of the Month awards featured in the Limerick Leader newspaper. They were:

  • Sophie Lillingston, Children’s Carer;
  • Leanne Moore, Singer;
  • Castletroy College students on behalf of winning sports teams;
  • Limerick School of Art and Design tutors Anne Melinn and Patricia Keilthy;
  • Munster and Ireland rugby player John “The Bull” Hayes;
  • Mick Dolan, proprietor, Dolan’s Bar and Warehouse;
  • Wyn Crabtree, St Gabriel’s School Founder;
  • Gerard McDonnell, Mountaineer, First Irishman to climb K2;
  • Joe Hurley, Newcastle West Floods hero;
  • Pat Whelan, chairman of Thomond Park Re-Development Committee;
  • Brenda Shanahan, Winner, The Apprentice;
  • Richard Kennedy, chairman, IFA Dairy Committee

Previous winners of the prestigious award include Professor Paul Finucane from the University of Limerick Graduate Medical School, Munster and Ireland rugby player Anthony Foley and transatlantic rower Paul Gleeson.
The Awards were judged by Tom Mackey, Limerick City Manager and Ned Gleeson, Limerick County Manager.

Laura Ryan
Communications Officer
Limerick City and County Council
Phone: 061-407100

Last update:19/02/2014