Former hurling greats Jimmy Doyle and Donie Nealon were among thirty two recipients of Cumann na Sean Ghael Awards at the Dome, Semple Stadium, on Sunday last.
Inaugurated in 2003 by All-Ireland referee, the late John Moloney, the awards salute the contribution of people who are now over 70 years of age, to the GAA in Tipperary in a wide variety of spheres, including players, administrators, and the backroom people whose work so often goes unrecognised by the greater GAA public.
The awards were presented by former Tipperary senior hurling team coach Dr Eamonn O’Shea.
Fear a’Ti Miceal O Meara said that after Sunday’s event 331 people would have been honoured since the inception of the awards. All had played their part in their own special way and the award was to acknowledge that and show appreciation of it.
Archbishop Dermot Clifford, Patron of the GAA, who himself received an award two years ago, stressed that people liked to be remembered and that it was important that the GAA did so in this manner.
John Costigan, Chairman of Cumann na Sean Ghael, said they were honouring people from the four corners of the county for their contribution in making Tipperary GAA what it is today – a vibrant, energetic, enthusiastic, and warm organisation that can stand proudly beside any county in Ireland.
County PRO, Ger Ryan, representing Co Chairman Barry O Brien and County Vice-chairman, Sean Nugent, who are abroad with the Tipperary senior hurling team, told the recipients that they had made a huge contribution towards making the GAA the greatest amateur association in the world. Their concern with “giving”, rather than “taking”, through their work with the GAA, had set an example for generations to come.
On behalf of the recipients, Donie Nealon thanks the organisers for an honour which was greatly appreciated. The GAA involved a broad spectrum of people, all with different talents, but all were vital to the GAA to keep it strong and vibrant. He felt it was voluntary effort which made the GAA such a powerful association and that it would take a continued commitment to keep the association successful in the future with such huge competition for the souls of young people who now had so many more options open to them.
He urged the recipients to continue to contribute to their clubs and county, to have a positive attitude, and not to be “knockers”, so that young people in the association would look up to them for inspiration.