The first ever collection of senior All Ireland hurling medals won by a goalkeeper to be sold at auction made a staggering €40,000 in Kilkenny this evening.
Big hearted South Kilkenny man, Johnny O’Shea told auctioneer Fonsie Mealy that they were going back to Piltown, the home parish of the man who won them.
This was after Mr O’Shea paid €40,000 for the nine carat gold medals following a frenzied bidding war where the bids jumped €1,000 at a time. The medals had a reserve of between €10,000 and €15,000.
He received a cheer and a loud round of applause after he beat off two other bidders in the Ormonde Hotel, Kilkenny. He was adamant that the medals would stay in the county.
And an All Ireland senior hurling medal from the 1939 final won by Kilkenny at Cork’s expense made €3,000, twice what it was expected to make.
John T Power collection
Before the auction Mr Mealy pointed out that there were certificates with the medals and that written permission to sell the medals had been received by the family of the Kilkenny senior hurling goalie, the late John T. Power of Piltown.
And the match sliothar from the historic 1913 Kilkenny v Tipperary All-Ireland Hurling final in which John T Power starred also went under the gavel and made €2,500. That was purchased by the GAA and will be returning to Croke Park, Mr Mealy told the crowd.
The man who purchased the three All Ireland medals, Mr Johnny O’Shea has a history of benevolent acts and is the key man in Iverk Produce and O’Shea Farms and is a huge supporter of the Iverk Show.
He has long supported Irish aid charity, Vita which enables and empowers rural households and communities in Africa to build sustainable livelihoods.
For five generations the O’Shea family have been farming on the banks of the river Suir, in Piltown dating back to the 1830s. In 1969 they were farming 195 acres, with a mixture of dairy, beef, cereal, potatoes and carrots.
Currently they farm over 1,800 acres with additional land leased in surrounding counties, growing a wide variety of early and main crop potatoes, varieties such as Home Guard, Queens, Roosters, Kerrs Pinks and Golden Wonders.
Iverk Produce was established in 1980 by O’Shea Farms, to supply quality fresh fruit and vegetables to wholesalers, retail shops, hotels, catering services and restaurants across the south east.
In 1991 Iverk Produce formed a joint venture with Dublin based Total Produce plc, one of Europe’s largest distributors of fresh produce. From its base in Piltown it now supplies over 750 retail stores nationwide with daily deliveries, making it one of Ireland’s largest distributors of fresh fruit and vegetables. Its produce ranges from Avocado to Zucchini, with the humble spud still taking pride of place.
Over the years the O’Shea’s have invested heavily in modern equipment and buildings. As well as their state of the art washing, grading and cold storage facilities, they have three high volume pack houses, specialising in packaging and labelling fresh fruit and vegetables.
They currently employ over 200 full time staff as well as a large number of seasonal workers. They also work with over 40 growers in the south east of Ireland, who employ a further 300 people directly and indirectly.