Past President of the GAA Peter Quinn told his audience at the Sean Gael Awards presentation in the Dome, Semple Stadium on Sunday afternoon there was no place he liked better to visit than Thurles and Semple Stadium.
For him it was built in honour of a town where the GAA was founded. There was no place better to play hurling and there was no more knowledgable crowd about the game.
â€œIâ€™m at home watching hurling hereâ€, he added.
He went on to praise the role the GAA has played in building communities and parishes and helping people identify with a place.
He was from Teemore in County Fermanagh, and wherever he travelled in the world he was always a Teemore man. It was the place with which he identified, the part of the world where his roots were planted.
He praised the amateur nature of the Association, emphasised how the GAA was more than a sporting organisation, â€˜a cultural entity promoting Irishness and Irish culture.â€™
There was a role for everyone on the organisation from the most successful player to the most humble member helping out around a dressingroom.
He congratulated the organising committee of the Sean Gael event for the work they were doing, recognising everyoneâ€™s value to the Association and giving it recognition.
In this the twelfth year of the presentations, thirty-two people, aged seventy years and more, received their Sean Gael awards because of their outstanding contribution to Gaelic games over a lifetime, in hurling, football, camogie and handball.
Chairman of the organising committee, John Costigan, welcomed the recipients and their families and friends to the event.
He spoke about the foresight of the man most responsible for setting up the Sean Gael Awards committee, the later John Moloney, which honoured the whole spectrum of contribution to the Association from the star that accepts the cup in the Hogan Stand to the lowliest member making his or her contribution to our marvellous Association.
His Grace, the Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Dr. Dermot Clifford, was appearing at his last Sean Gael function and recalled his happy years since coming to Cashel and Emly. He spoke of his empathy with the GAA in Tipperary and how he had enjoyed his role since coming as Archbishop. He also welcomed Dr. Kieran Oâ€™Reilly as his successor.
County chairman, Sean Nugent, was also at his last Sean Gael presentation and, in the course of his farewell remarks, spoke about how the event was one he looked forward to with greater pleasure during his years as county chairman than any other event.
Michael â€˜Babsâ€™ Keating, who was one of the recipients, replied on behalf of his fellow Sean Gaels.
In a witty and lively presentation, he spoke of the honour it was to receive the award. He made reference to the many people, families, friends and parishioners who had helped him and the other recipients to achieve what they did during their lives.
He singled out a number of the participants whose paths crossed with his in the course of their careers. He concluded by paying tribute to the great team of 1949-51 which had influenced the majority of the recipients.
The event concluded with a powerful rendering of Slievenamon by county chairman, Sean Nugent.