A conversation with Tom Keenan
Tom joined John Boyle and myself for a chat about his lifetime in cycling and his central role in the early years of NCC.He brought his collection of newspaper clippings that charts the life and times of the club through the last decades of the twentieth century shaping a young club that has grown into NCC as we know it today.
NCC was established on the 18th Jan 1988 with Tom Keenan, Pat O’Connor, John Morrison, Aine Halpenny and Marion Cronin being present at the first meeting recorded in the green minute book. They sought affiliation to FIC [Federation of Irish Cyclists] as a matter of priority. Irish cycling was enjoying a renaissance thanks to the exploits of Martin Early, Stephen Roche, Sean Kelly and Paul Kimmage amongst others that brought many into cycling. There had been a club ‘Hederman Coal Racing Team’ previously. The nascent NCC focussed on promoting underage cycling coaching young cyclists some who are still members of NCC.Tom Keenan ,ably assisted by Aine and Marion,were instrumental in introducing many to cycling.The members were active supporters of the MaraCycle , Tom , Aine and Marion being among the elite cyclists finishing in the top few in many events.
Tom was the early PR0 for the fledging club as can be seen from some of his pieces. In an age , prior to Social Media, the only social media open was the local paper Tom hand wrote the stories of the weeks cycling events and hand delivered them to the Leinster Leader.He was cognisant of the importance of the relationship between club and sponsor and always found something to get the names featured, HireEquip, Cahill ,on the local papers. Race reports, crashes, training spins were all highlighted.
Tom shared many stories of his days in cycling.A relative late comer, having played soccer, he found the bike.Starting by a spin around Naas, he increased to completing in 15 MaraCycles and AUDAX… 400k on 24 hour challenges. He has served as Team Manager and mechanic , commissar, and time keeper in many international events and is still active in events. Ras,Gorey 3 Day, Junior Tour, Mondello Races and other club events.Tom is a very hands on manager his sense of self sufficiency has saved costs for many events being an advocate of “ homemade is best”
Tom is a quiet man that belies a wisdom and passion for NCC.He advocates a sense of self sufficiency ‘homemade is best’ being his motto.We are fortunate to have the benefit of his knowledge for the last thirty years.