Killoe principal lands top GAA honour

Kevin Mollaghan (Chairman of Cumann na mBunscol Longford), Liam O Neill  (GAA President), Colm Harte (Principal of St Teresas NS, Killoe) and John Higgins (Treasurer of Cumann na mBunscol Longford)
Humble and unpretentious are probably the two best terms to sum up the virtues of Killoe teacher Colm Harte.

Humble and unpretentious are probably the two best terms to sum up the virtues of Killoe teacher Colm Harte.

They are qualities GAA President Liam O’Neill had little hesitation in commending earlier this month when presenting a lifetime achievement award to the St Teresa’s National School Principal at GAA headquarters.

But it was an award that was equally tailored to Colm’s long-standing contribution to underage football, an involvement spanning the best part of three decades.

“It was a big surprise to me,” said the typically modest father of four this week.

“I wasn’t expecting anything, although it’s a great honour and it’s nice to be recognised. What I do, I do because I enjoy it and because it’s good for the children.”

And it’s precisely that mindset which prompted Kevin Mollaghan, Chairperson of Longford Cumann na mBunscol, to nominate Colm for the GAA’s much-vaunted Pat Trainor award.

In fact, the Dromard native’s involvement with the organisation’s voluntary primary school body can trace its origins as far back as 1985.

It was the year Longford saw its first committee set up and likewise triggered Colm’s interest in promoting sport at school level.

Successful stints at St Michael’s NS and in Fermoyle soon followed before the chance of promotion came calling in 1991.

“It was November 18, 1991 when I came here (St Teresa’s) as principal,” he fascinatingly recalled as he looked back on his 40-year teaching career.

Little did he know then his arrival would set in motion Killoe’s sporting prowess at underage level.

From football to the likes of hurling, rounders and athletics, practically every facet of Gaelic Games has been promoted in one way or another with Colm at the helm.

Last year, that dedication coincided with Killoe’s most successful year in its 123 year history.

Eighteen titles were won, all the way from Senior Championship to U13 and U12 competitions.

Not surprisingly, Colm was quick to play down his own role in helping bring about that success.

“It’s not all down to me. There’s a great relationship of school-club participation.

“That’s what we believe in and it’s our motto here: strength in co-operation.”

With a bulging trophy cabinet and the likelihood of more to follow, it’s a formula that’s clearly paying dividends.