The GAA has confirmed the 17 winners of the Gradaim an Uachtaráin 2012 / 2012 President’s Awards at a special Croke Park banquet last night
The annual winners are honoured as long standing GAA volunteers who have served the Association with distinction in their chosen field over a prolonged period
The recipients who have been chosen by Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Criostóir Ó Cuana have been drawn from across all strands of the Association and represent all codes and disciplines from the wider GAA family.
The GAA President paid tribute to those honoured in this year’s scheme.
He said: “The GAA President’s Awards are made annually to honour excellence through volunteerism across the wide spectrum of Gaelic games and include representatives from all corners of the wider GAA family.
“We are extremely fortunate as an organisation to be able to call on the voluntary effort of so many, so frequently and this event aims to acknowledge a chosen few on behalf of the wider membership.
“I congratulate all of our award winners, and am delighted to present a Social Initiative Award for the first time in the presence of Senator McAleese.”
In addition to those involved in the promotion of football, hurling and general administration, representatives from Camogie, Ladies football, GAA Handball, GAA Rounders and Scór were also selected.
Third Level Education and Overseas sectors also had winners nominated with the Family Acknowledgement Award, known as the Dermot Earley Family Award which is presented in acknowledgement of an outstanding family contribution to the GAA. This award will be made to the Fitzhenry family of Wexford.
This year the scheme included a new award, the President’s Social Initiative Award. The GAA Social Initiative aims to extend full and extended societal involvement amongst older people using the GAA’s club network.
It was established after a recommendation from former Uachtarán na hÉireann Mary McAleese and her husband Senator Martin McAleese.
The winners will also be introduced to the crowd at Croke Park at half time in the AIB GAA All-Ireland Club football final.
Brian Finnegan, Dunbur Road, Wicklow
Brian debuted for St Patrick’s in 1971 aged 17 and also lined out for the Wicklow senior side during a lengthy career. With the club he has held various positions including secretary and treasurer. For the last 20 years Brian has been grounds’ man while he is also involved in coaching at underage level.
Tommy Nally, Carbury, Kildare
Tommy Nally’s contribution to Carbury GAA club has been immense. As a player he won three senior county medals in a 14-year career, but Tommy has enjoyed even longer stints as treasurer and secretary for the club. The magnificent facilities now on offer at Carbury are a testament to his drive and vision.
Dr. Con Murphy
Dr. Con’s name is synonymous with GAA in Cork and he has been the county’s team doctor since 1976. Apart from the medical side he has been everything from a selector to counsellor and confidant for generations of players, and the regard in which he’s held is unrivalled in the game.
Following in the footsteps of his father (also John), to this day John can be seen lining the field, putting out flags, or working as a gate checker at West Tipperary. During a long playing career John also doubled as club secretary for Golden- Kilfeacle, a position he still holds after 27 years. His foresight saw the club expand its playing facilities and install floodlights.
Born in Faheeran (Offaly) in 1936, Paddy has lived in Carraroe for the past 45 years. Following his playing career, Paddy was a founder member of a juvenile club in Carraroe, which was the forerunner to St John’s. He is Markievicz Park’s Event Controller, ensuring the venue is in pristine condition for the big days.
The Westport native has had a distinguished career with both club and county, holding the position of chairman in both arenas. He has served on numerous committees at national level while his expertise in insurance matters has been invaluable to the Association. His ability to raise funds for the Mayo County Board has been hugely beneficial to the county.
After a successful playing career for Latton, Tommy moved into club administration and served as chairman for 25 years. Under his chairmanship the club acquired new grounds and moved from junior to senior ranks. He hasn’t missed a club match in 40 years and was the inaugural inductee
in the club’s Hall of Fame.
Tá Josie Doohan, duine de phearsain mhóra CLG Dhún na nGall, páirteach i bhforbairt agus i ndul chun cinn CLG Chloich Cheannfhaola ó phill sé na bhaile in 1976. Toghadh é mar Chathaoirleach ar CCF i dtús báire in 1979 agus chaith sé dhá thréimhse sa phost sin seachas beagnach gach uile ról eile sa chontae. Tá a chroí agus a anam sa Chumann agus sa Ghaeilge ó d’fhreastal sé ar a chéad chluiche sna caogadaí.
Thanks to her involvement in Community Games, Kathleen’s club Mungret-St Paul’s celebrates 21 years this season. After five years as assistant treasurer she has held the positions of treasurer and registrar ever since. A brilliant organiser and a tremendous worker, Kathleen is valued by all within the Ladies Gaelic Football Association.
Sheila Spillane, Killeagh Camogie Club
Sheila has given a lifetime of service to the club and since 1973 more than 1000 girls from the locality have had the opportunity to play the game. A testament to the current president of the club is that eight years ago she spent her winnings from the GAA club lotto on a defibrillator machine.
Martin’s first involvement in third level GAA came as a student during his time in UCD. After becoming a staff member at Carlow IT, he was the driving force behind the development of GAA in the Institute as it competes in both the Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cups. He is currently head of the Business Department at Carlow IT.
The Dungarvan native has coached and worked with groups well beyond the confines of his own parish in West Waterford. His expertise and enthusiasm for set dancing is valued all over the country.
Peter has been active in the handball arena since 1974 and has held positions as treasurer, secretary and chairman at both club and county level. After Drumshambo alley opened in 1996, Peter employed his coaching skills to great effect with children from Feenagh, who acquired their own alley four years ago. Handball in Leitrim owes a huge debt to Peter.
Alice Clarke, Bagenalstown, Carlow
In 1994 Alice and Mary Curran co-founded the club. They have won numerous Leinster and national titles and as player/coach Alice has played alongside her three daughters. In January this year Alice was appointed National Secretary of the Rounder’s Association, a fitting appointment that underlines her passion and enthusiasm for the game.
Séamus O’Sullivan, Australia
Séamus played with Carrig Riverstown GAA Club before going to England and eventually settling in Brisbane, Australia. He has been instrumental in the organisation and playing of Gaelic games in Australia since his earliest days there back in the early 1970s. He has also been central to the establishment of new clubs he has also assisted in the growth of ladies football. President of Australian GAA he has been a regular at GAA Congress.
The Fitzhenry Family
The Fitzhenry family are synonymous with the GAA and more specifically with Duffry Rovers and Wexford in particular. Of the five girls and ten boys no fewer than 13 have donned the club colours including all of the boys. A number have also represented the county at a variety of grades in both football and hurling with distinction. Mark and Nancy are parents to (from eldest downwards): MJ, Bride, Tom, Kathy, Séamus, John, Martin, Ann, Tina, Ger, Noel, Paddy, Fran, Mary and Damien.
SOCIAL INITIATIVE AWARD
Rosemount GAA Club
The Westmeath Club became the first to receive a new award this year. The Social Initiative was established in 2009 with Áras an Uachtaráin to help with the continued and full societal interaction of older members in our communities using the GAA Club network. Rosemount’s outstanding level of activity and organisation sees them honoured with this first time award.