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Trinity’s Oldest Student Honoured at Soccer Writers’ Awards

Posted by Francis O' Toole on February 1, 2017

 

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Trinity’s oldest student, Josef Veselsky, has been honoured at the Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland (SWAI) awards, receiving the Special Merit award, in a night that saw the achievements of Ireland’s best footballing talent, including Robbie Keane and Stephen Kenny, also recognised.
Veselsky, a 98-year old Slovakian national who is enrolled in one of Trinity’s extramural courses, has said his life has been shaped by both sport and politics. In an interview with The University Times last year Veselsky explained his passions, stating: “Since my childhood, nothing interested me more than sport and politics.”

After moving to Ireland to escape communism in post-war Czechoslovakia, Veselsky became a coach and then captain of the Irish table-tennis team and still remains the Life President of the Irish Table Tennis association. But it was service to Irish soccer and the League of Ireland in particular which led to him being awarded the Irish Soccer Writers’ Special Merit award at the ceremony on Friday night.

He became a director of Ireland’s most successful football club, Shamrock Rovers, in 1974, serving in this position for four years. After that Veselsky became the Executive Vice President of University College Dublin Association Football Club (UCDAFC) in 1987, a position he still holds.

Other winners on Friday, which saw just four awards handed out, included international record goalscorer, Keane, who received a Special International Career Achievement award and Cork City’s Mark McNulty, who was named the Goalkeeper of the year. Dundalk’s manager, Kenny, scooped the Personality of the Year award for his achievements in retaining the Airtricity League title while also making history as Dundalk became the first Irish side to win in a European cup competition’s group stages.

Before moving to Ireland Veselsky was a member of the Czech underground resistance movement during World War II and fought against Nazi rule, and his love for sport also saw him represent his country in several Olympics and World Championships in his sport of choice, table-tennis.

In addition to being a student in one of Trinity’s extramural courses, Veselsky was also awarded an honorary Master of Arts degree by College last June alongside physicist and Trinity graduate Peter Higgs and author of The Ginger Man JP Donleavy.

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