The following are the Sean Gael Award Winners for South Tipperary in 2012
He began his sporting year as a cyclist with Carrick Wheelers in the 1950s and 1960s and played hurling with Carrick Davins in the half-back line. He was fortunate to be on their winning team in the South and County junior hurling finals of 1963. He is the current President of the Davin Club.
He was an avid handball player and was very much involved in building the alley in Davin Park in the early 1970s.
He won a Munster Masters Doubles with Paddy “Musha” Maher of Clonmel and was beaten in a Munster Singles final. He continued to play for many years and is still involved with his sons in promoting the game in his native town in his capacity as President of the Handball Club.
He has given outstanding service to the Association over a lifetime on and off the field. A native of Golden he has won West titles as a player and when he moved to Clonmel he played with St. Marys. His late brother Sammy was a leading referee in the West Division and Eddie served as one of his umpires. He has continued in this role to the present day and referees who have benefited from his support and guidance include Paddy Russell, Jimmy Collins, T.J. Corby, Noel Cosgrove and Paddy Ivors. He is usually at his post 3/4 nights per week, always in good humour and with a positive attitude to the job. Men like Eddie perform their role with little or no recognition in an understated position and his selection as a most worthy Laochra Sean Ghael recipient should serve as an encouragement to all the umpires who play such a vital role in our activities.
Born in Ballinleenty, Tipperary, he came to Clonmel in 1946 but continued to play with his home club Clonpet until 1950. He has gone on to give a lifetime of service to the St. Marys and Commercials clubs in many capacities. A founder member and trustee of the now South Tipperary G.A.A. Centre thirty-five years ago he is an outstanding supporter and follower of our games. Together with his wife he takes great pride in the achievements of his sons Paudie, Seamus and Terry who have all worn the blue and gold with pride and have contributed hugely to major successes for St. Marys and Commercials down the years. Paudie has been very much in the news lately having teamed up with Eamonn O’Shea and Michael Ryan to take on the task of returning Liam to the Premier County. John’s daughter Grace has also hit the sporting headlines having recently figured in an All-Ireland golf success. This well merited award is not the first for the O’Neill family as John’s brother Ned representing the Lattin/Cullen club was honoured in 2006.
He has been referred to as a very special person who was always independent in his ideas and had the courage to say what he wanted to say.
He spent seventeen years as a public representative and had the honour of serving as Chairman of South Tipperary County Council. His interest, support and involvement in the GAA has been equally rewarding however and he has been a life long advocate for a famous club which will forever be associated with Bloody Sunday.
An outstanding clubman and officer he has given wonderful service to his club and has been one of its top administrators over a long period. He has represented Ballingarry at Divisional and County Board level and has always been a very able spokesman well capable of battling his club’s corner. He served the South Division extremely well as a member of the fixtures committee and having become Vice-Chairman of the Board in 2004 he continued in the position until 2006. A great hurling follower and a shrewd observer his talents were recognised at County level when he was selected to serve as a County minor hurling selector.
One of the backroom boys who give so much to the Association in their own quite way, he is a pillar of his club combining the duties of treasurer, gate checker, groundsman and other roles to give wonderful service. Meticulous in everything he does, he takes great pride in his work, the fruits of which can readily be seen in the manner in which he maintains his beloved Fr. Sheehy Park. A very popular figure he unselfishly gives every spare minute of his time to the club and its activities, providing amplification for many events including Bingo and especially Scor with which he has been associated since its inception over forty years ago. He is without doubt an unsung hero and a prime example of a true Laoch Sean Ghael.
Brother of All-Ireland hurler and outstanding footballer, the late Liam, who won a Sean Ghael Award in 2006, he too has given a lifetime of service to the Association and was one of his club’s finest performers. He was one of the leading players on the great Tipperary minor team of 1955 which gallantly lost to Dublin in the All-Ireland final and graduated to senior grade a year later lining out at corner forward on the team beaten 3-7 to 3-2 by Kerry in the Munster semi-final played in Tralee. In 1957 he played a major role in Fethard’s South and County senior football championship double. A gifted player he was equally at home as a forward or an attacking half back and died in the wool football followers will recall his many splendid performances. Through his company Clonmel Oil his generosity in giving back something to the game he loves is deeply appreciated and his support for the South Senior Football championship for the past fourteen years is such that it now ranks as the longest surviving championship sponsorship in that Division.
Ballylooby / Castlegrace, a small club on the south western side of the county, will always be associated with football, primarily Bloody Sunday and Tipperary’s 1920 All-Ireland senior triumph. The club is honoured with its first Sean Ghael award and this goes to a hurler, a man who in the late fifties and early sixties was regarded as one of the finest club performers in the Division. He made his mark on the County scene with the famed South group team Na Piarsaigh which having won the South title defeated Eire Og, Nenagh in the County senior hurling semi-final of 1957. Although a mighty Thurles Sarsfields team took the final by 4-15 to 4-4 the performance of the group team lifted the standards in the South. Emerging players like Theo English, Tom Larkin, Liam Connolly, Donie Nealon, Matt Ruth and John Keating formed the backbone of that team and the man from Ballylooby was a proud member of the County final fifteen.