The following are the Sean Gael award winners in North Tipperary in 2012
One of Shannon Rovers outstanding hurlers he was affectionately known as “The Doc” and played a starring role both as a defender and a forward with club and county. He became the club’s first player to win Munster and All-Ireland hurling medals in 1957 with a side that included such names as Jimmy Doyle and Larry Kiely.
On the club scene the flame haired star first came to the fore in 1957 when scoring a few goals to help a Borrisokane/Shannon Rovers combination claim a North minor hurling final by defeating Eire Og in a replay. They advanced to the County final in which they had to give best to a star studded Thurles Sarsfields fifteen which included four County minors.
Three years later he added a North under 21 medal to his collection when Borrisokane/Shannon Rovers defeated Roscrea.
Rovers were relegated to intermediate in the early sixties and success was slow in arriving until he captained a side to win the North title in 1967 with Toomevara the victimes. The team retained the title the following year and went on to defeat Lattin/Cullen in the County final.
His medal haul increased again in 1974 and 1975 with further North championship successes. His grand nephew Alan followed in his footsteps to play County minor in 2009 and was a member of this year’s under 21 team.
He was born in Cullenwaine, Moneygall in 1941 and from an early age showed that he was a gifted hurler. Following many fine displays with his club he was selected on the 1959 County minor team. which went on to win the All-Ireland defeating Kilkenny in the final by 2-8 to 2-7.
His work took him west of the Shannon and in 1960 he lined out with Leitrim and in ‘61 and ‘62 with Liam Mellows club, Galway and Connacht.
While with Galway he won a Munster intermediate medal in what was that County’s only success in Munster.
He returned to his native Moneygall in 1963 and with his brothers Pat, Jimmy, Bobby, Gerry and Tim helped to make the club a strong force in senior hurling. He was selected for Tipperary in the National League in 1965 and apart from a few months absence through injury he remained a permanent fixture on the Tipperay team until 1974 winning National League, Munster and All-Ireland medals as well as lining out with Munster in ‘73 and ‘74.
In 1975 he achieved a lifetime ambition when he won North and County senior medals with Moneygall and he was also selected as North Tipperary Hurler of the Year. He was again full back when Moneygall retained their title the following year and he retired in 1977.
He will be best remembered for his excellent skills and tight marking in defence.
Since he first donned the McDonagh’s jersey as a ten year old in 1951 he has given loyal and sterling service as a player, selector and committee member. In 1961 he became the first McDonaghs player to win an All-Ireland senior medal and he collected a second Celtic Cross the following year. In addition he won three Munster medals, two National Leagues two Oireachtas medals and two North senior medals.
He was a fearless full-forward who never shirked the physical exchanges.
He went on to be a shrewd selector on the club senior team which won three North and County senior titles in a row in the 1970s.
A mentor with the County senior team in 1980 he is knowledgable and passionate about hurling and is a familiar presence when McDonaghs and the County are in action. A genial character he is an iconic figure in the parish, admired for his achievements on the field and respected for his invaluable contribution to the club with which he is still active on the committee and as Vice-President.
He farmed all his life at Sedgemore which was beside Lahorna Handball Alley. He played the game from an early age and is only recently retired. He played for the club at all levels and was very much involved in putting a roof over what was an open alley in 1970.
He has won several Masters Doubles titles together with David Slattery and is still very much involved in the running of the club.
Fr. Seamus Gardiner P.P.
Borrisokane born, he has has made a long and illustrious contribution in over 50 years as a player, coach, trainer and administrator.
The holder of a Harty Cup medal won in 1954 during his student years in St. Flannans College he hurled with Borrisokane when they had a very good team and were unlucky not to have won a major title.
A number of years following his ordination and back in St. Flannans on the teaching staff he made his mark as a coach/trainer to a number of college hurling teams who won Harty Cup and All-Ireland Colleges titles.
He later represented Munster Colleges on the Munster Council and was elected PRO of that body overseeing a number of very good publications. All of his work was recognised at national level and he became Chairman of the Communications Council in Croke Park and in later years Chairman of the National referees body.
It is a testimony of his love of the Association that when called upon this year to act as a selector on Portroe’s senior management team that he still had the energy and enthusiasm to serve his adopted Parish in another way.
What a year it has been for him and the people of Portroe. He can be proud of the part he played and will never forget the scenes of joy and emotion in McDonagh Park, Nenagh and later in the hillside village of Portroe with the arrival of the Frank McGrath Cup to announce the crowning of new North champions for the first time.
A life Vice-President of Rocrea club he has been a life long member of the GAA. He won a North minor hurling championship with the club in 1950 and two years later won a minor football award with Inane Rovers. In 1954 he was a member of the Roscrea senior hurling team that defeated Borrisileigh in the North Tipperary senior championship. He later emigrated to London and played with Cuchulainns Club for a number of years but returned home in the mid sixties and enjoyed further success by winning a Munster factory League with Antigen Pharmaceutical Factory in 1969.
Following his retirement from playing he has continued to give outstanding service to the club. His selfless dedication and generosity of spirit epitomizes all that is enshrined in the Association. These traits can be seen in the promotion of our games, in the improvements that have been made to update our facilities and in the respect we show to our bereaved in time of death just some of the many ways which have earned him the gratitude of others.
One of his proudest and joyous moments has been the pleasure he got from seeing is son-in-law, Liam Sheedy manage Tipperary senior hurlers to All-Ireland success in 2010.
Playing in minor grade for five years shows how early he caught the eye of the club selectors and he went on to enjoy a long and distinguished career that spanned three decades. He won his first medal at intermediate in 1958 and was part of the Borrisokane senior side in the 1960s. He played County junior in 1959 in the half forward line with clubmates Mackey McKenna and Seanie Whelan on a side that lost to Cork in the Munster semi-final.
On moving to Castleconnell he was persuaded to throw in his lot with Ahane and he later trained that club’s under 21 team to win the County before going on to serve as an under 21 selector with Limerick in 1988/89. He was also a noted handballer.
His son Martin played Rugby for Bohemians and Buccaneers but his proudest moment was to see grandson Colum Galvin win an under 21 All-Ireland medal with Clare last September.
John Joe Bourke
He was one of the longest serving players having played in goal for Ballinahinch for over thirty years. Success was scarce in those days but like many of his team mates he played for the love of the game. He was part of the team that won the North Tipp junior hurling championship
in 1971. His best memory is of the club’s first ever County hurling championship in 1980 when they overcame Kilsheelan in the County final in Semple Stadium. A member of the Kilsheelan team on the day was Sean Nugent, present Chairman of the County Board.
He was a selector for a term and had a big input into the running of the club for many years. He continues to hold a deep interest in the affairs of Ballinahinch club and Tipperary hurling in general.