Goodbye as Ger steps down after five years

After 5 years that have flown by, this is my last GAA Scene column.

After 5 years that have flown by, this is my last GAA Scene column.

As I bid farewell to the column it is time to say thanks to many people.

Thanks to the local newspapers in Tipperary for publishing the column each week. There have been occasional glitches but overall it’s been a smooth journey and I am very grateful in particular to Michael Heverin in The Nationalist, Noel Dundon in the Tipperary Star and Shane Brophy in the Nenagh Guardian and also to Ed Donnelly, who dealt with online publication. Thanks also to the other print and online media which carried the column. Thanks to the long list of people who have supplied information, ideas and suggestions for the column. Their support and assistance is much appreciated and made my job immeasurably easier.

Ed Donnelly and Seamus O’Doherty deserve special mention as they were of enormous help and support in supplying statistics and other information.

The column is now running for over 10 years and it’s testimony to the desire of people for regular updates on Tipperary GAA that it has become a staple of the local newspapers each week.

It is probably time to think about where it should go in the future but that is very much a matter for my successor.

I’ve had an eclectic range of events to write about, from the joyful occasions such as All Ireland successes to sympathising on the loss of loved ones, from great and sometimes unexpected victories to narrow and on occasion bitterly disappointing defeats, from the spectacular to the banal and from the national to the local.

The GAA is a broad church and its publicity needs are wide and varied. Writing the GAA Scene was different every week. Some weeks there was too much information and it was hard to know what to leave out. Other weeks I was often searching for material on a Tuesday morning.

Most people had sympathy for me in the winter months because they felt it must be difficult to put a column together. The reality was that it was often easier in winter because there were still plenty of club games, there were conventions, elections, motions and the odd controversy, there were managers and selectors to be appointed, and there were celebrations to be held and awards to be made.

I will wonder what to do some Monday nights from next week – no list of emails to go through, no working towards my 1,500 words, no more of the concern some weeks at hitting only 1,000 and the relief when something popped into my email inbox that helped me reach the magic number.

I want to thank the officers of Tipperary County Board with whom I worked so closely in the last 5 years – the two Chairmen I served under, Barry O’Brien and Sean Nugent; Secretary, Tim Floyd; Treasurer, Eamonn Buckley and Vice Chairman, Michael Bourke. They are all great servants of Tipperary GAA and I greatly value their advice, support and friendship.

Finally, I want to thank the loyal readers of this column. Your support for it has been critical to its longevity and I have no doubt you will support the new PRO’s column as well. It’s been a privilege to serve as PRO of Tipperary County Board and I am grateful to everybody in the GAA boards and clubs of Tipperary, the local and national media and the general public who has afforded me such great support and co-operation in the last 5 years.

I hope you all have a great Christmas and a prosperous 2014. For Tipperary GAA and its clubs, I wish a successful 2014 and by this time next year I hope my successor will have written in this column about All Ireland successes for the Premier County. Tiobraid Árann Abú.

TIPPERARY SENIOR HURLING TEAM CHALLENGE GAME

Following their victory over Westmeath at The Ragg on Sunday last, the Tipperary Senior Hurling team travels to Clonmel on Saturday next, December 14 where they will play Wexford in a challenge game at Clonmel Sportsfield. All proceeds go to St. Mary’s club for the promotion of hurling in Clonmel.

TIPPERARY SENIOR HURLERS CHARITY RUN

We want to remind supporters that the Tipperary senior hurling panel are organising a 6K charity fun run / walk in Thurles on Saturday December 21 commencing at 1pm from Dr. Morris Park. The idea for the run arose following the recent illness suffered by former panellist and 2012 All Ireland Intermediate captain, Eddie Connolly, from Loughmore Castleiney. All proceeds from the run will go towards two cancer related charities – The Friends of St. Luke’s Hospital in Rathgar Dublin (www.friendsofstlukes.ie) and the Suirhaven cancer support centre in Thurles run by North Tipperary Hospice. Entry fee is €10 for adults, €5 for children and €30 for families. Sponsorship cards are also available from Lár na Páirce and any member of the senior hurling panel. Public support by way of participation in the run and via sponsorship would be greatly appreciated.

CLEAN IRELAND RECYCLING UNDER 21 A HURLING FINAL

The Clean Ireland Recycling Under 21 A hurling final between Thurles Sarsfields and Kilruane MacDonaghs will be played in Dolla on Sunday next, December 15 at 2pm. Fergal Horgan of Knockavilla Kickhams will be the referee. Sarsfields are the defending champions. The clubs last final meeting was the 2010 final although it was played in January 2011 with Dolla as the venue. Kilruane won on that occasion and although they have lost a semi-final to Sarsfields since, they will be focussed on repeating the 2010 success. Both clubs recently completed doubles at this grade – Sarsfields in 2008 and 2009 and Kilruane in 2006 and 2007. After next Sunday the two clubs will have won 7 of the last 8 county finals between them, the only exception being 2011 when Loughmore Castleiney won. We wish both clubs and the referee all the best for Sunday’s game.

TIPPERARY CLUBS DRAW

Congratulations to Killenaule GAA Club which won the Skoda Octavia or €15,000 and to John Grace of the Ballinahinch club who won the Skoda Fabia or €10,000 at the Tipperary clubs draw which was hosted by the Moyne Templetuohy GAA club at Quinlan’s Lounge in Moyne on Friday night last. Local councillor, John Hogan was presented with the €15,000 he won in the previous draw.

MUNSTER COUNCIL ANNUAL AWARDS

There were 3 Tipperary winners at the very enjoyable and well run Munster Council Annual Awards dinner in Killarney last weekend. Paddy Finucane, the renowned former Tipp FM commentator won the Media award; Darragh Egan won the Intermediate Hurler of the Year award and Loughmore Castleiney won the Club of the Year award for their unique achievement in winning the county senior hurling and football double in Tipperary. Well done to all the Tipperary winners and those from other counties as well. Manager of the Year, Davy Fitzgerald, spoke on behalf of all the winners and delivered a broad ranging and impressive address on the importance of the GAA and its activities. Congratulations also to Munster PRO, Ed Donnelly, who was one of the main organisers of the event.

MUNSTER COLLEGES QUARTER FINALS DRAW

The quarter finals draws for the Dr. Harty Cup, Corn Ui Mhuiri and senior B hurling are as follows: Dr. Harty Cup SH – A: Ard Scoil Ris V Our Lady’s Templemore; B: Dungarvan CBS V Hamilton HS Bandon; C: Charleville CBS V Doon; D: Thurles CBS V St Francis College Rochestown. Corn Ui Mhuiri SF: A: St Brendan’s Killarney V St Flannan’s College Ennis; B: PS Dingle V Colaiste Chriost Ri; C: DLS Macroom V IS Kilorglin; D: Col Na Sceilge V St Fachtna’s Skibbereen. Senior B Hurling: A: Borrisakane CC V Cashel CC; B: St Caimin’s Shannon V Kilmallock; C: St. Joseph’s Tulla V St Mary’s Newport; D: St Anne’s Killaloe V Roscrea CC. 
The semi final will see the winner of fixture A v winners of fixture B and the winners of Fixture C V winners of fixture D. This will apply to all the above competitions.

CLUB NEWSLETTERS

At this time of the year many clubs publish an annual newsletter for members and the wider public. We would encourage as many clubs as possible to do this. The first one that has come to our attention this year is the Roscrea Hurling Club’s newsletter entitled “A Year in the Red”. It’s a 20 page publication and costs just €4. Among its many interesting articles is one about Mick Minogue, the former Roscrea hurler and coach to Tipperary All Ireland winning teams at minor and under 21 level.