One of Tipperary’s greatest volunteer workers and a legendary hurler have been honoured by the Tipperary Association Dublin.
Tipp town man Martin Quinn has been named as the Tipperary Person of the Year while Mickey ‘The Rattler’ Byrne has been inducted into the association’s Hall of Fame.
Both will be feted at the association’s annual awards night in Dublin on Saturday, May 25.
Association president Liam Myles said both men were fully deserving of the honour.
He described Martin Quinn as ‘Mr Volunteer’ in Tipperary and remarked that if you want something done, ask a busy man.
On ‘The Rattler’, he said - “He always gave of his best and was seldom beaten – even in his twilight years. The Rattler evokes strong memories of a great Tipperary hurling era – one which was still captures the imagination and awe of those who grew up in county in the 1940s and 50s”.
Announcing Martin Quinn’s as Tipp Person of the Year, Mr Myles said his list of involvement and achievements in local, community and sporting groups – at parish, town, county and national level - is most impressive and reflects a lifetime of dedicated service to others as a volunteer.
He listed the following as an example of Martin’s achievements in the past:
Involved at all levels of Galtee Rovers/St. Pecauns GAA Club; Several positions on West Tipperary GAA Board; as a GAA Referee; Parish Council; Youth Groups – at Parish, County & National level; Board member and presenter with Tipperary Mid-West Radio; Many charities and Special Olympics; and Former National President of Muinter na Tire
He stated that Martin has been honoured by the Mayor and Tipperary Town Council for his outstanding contribution and service to Tipperary.
At present he is: Chairman of South Tipp Local Development – Leader - Company; Vice Chair of South Tipperary Sports Partnership; Honorary Secretary of Tipperary International Peace Convention; Organiser and presenter of International Peace Award Ceremony; Director Global Peace Foundation Ireland; Chairman of Canon Hayes Recreation Centre in Tipperary Town; and Member of several Community and other volunteer groups
He is Honorary Secretary of the Tipperary Peace Convention which incorporates the International Peace Award. This has proven to a major success putting Tipperary to the forefront in the International stage.
He is also a founder member of the Canon Hayes Recreation Centre. In the year gone by the Centre marked 25 years in existence – a major achievement by any standards. The Centre gives employment and caters for a wide audience of users from all walks of life in Tipperary town and environs.
In his role with the centre, Martin initiated the Canon Hayes Sports Scholarships in 1996, which encourage and develop the sporting skills of talented young people in the area.
He served as President of Muintir na Tire from 2008 to 2011. Through his involvement with Muintir na Tire he continues to promote the values of the founder Canon Hayes and continues to work for and preserves the importance of rural life.
Mr Myles went on to say that ”Martin follows on the footsteps of other great Bansha natives who have won this award previously – Seamus McCarthy and John Lonergan.”
A member of the famed Tipperary teams of the 1940s and 1950s, new Hall of Fame member Mickey Byrne is still remembered today for his sterling and unstinting performances over those years.
“The Rattler” was born in Dublin in 1923. The family moved to Thurles when he was just 2 years of age and , thus, began a love affair with hurling, Thurles Sarsfields and Tipperary.
In 1939 he won a Dean Ryan Cup medal with Thurles CBS while playing as goalkeeper. Mickey played with the Tipperary minor team that lost the 1941 Munster final
to Cork. Over the next few years Mickey’s hurling career took off and he won the first of his fourteen County Senior Medals with Sarsfields in 1944 while playing at centre field. The following year he was selected for the first time on the Tipperary Senior Team that beat Kilkenny in the All-Ireland final and in doing so he collected the first of his five Senior All Ireland medals.
In his career he won:- Dean Ryan Cup medal with Thurles CBS; 14 County Senior Hurling titles with Thurles Sarsfields – a record which stands to this day; 5 Senior All-Ireland Hurling medals (1945, 3 in a row 49 – 51 and again in 1958); 7 National League medals – he captained the wining Tipperary team in 1960 – his last appearance in his beloved “Blue and Gold”; and 8 Oireachtas and 4 Railway Cup medals.
He was selected at right corner back on the GAA’s Hurling “Team of the Century”.
He continued to play for Thurles Sarsfields for another five years and in 1965 he collected his 14th County Senior Hurling medal when they beat Carrick Davins after a replay in Cashel.
Since retirement, he has been the recipient of many awards acknowledging his contribution to the game. In 2011 he published his life story -”The Rattler, Mickey Byrne, Tipperary Hurling Legend” which was received with great acclaim and which sold out in record time. Typical of Mickey, proceeds from the publication went to the Thurles Sarsfields Club and to local charities.”
He is President of Thurles Sarsfield and he still attends as many matches and functions as he can. He takes great pride in watching the likes of Paraic Maher, Michael Cahill, Ger “Redser O’Grady, Lar Corbett, Pa Bourke and all the present crop of Sarsfields hurlers who are keeping the Club at the top.
Mickey is one of the great characters of the GAA world. His wit and fund of stories is legendary. Whatever the occasion, be it at matches, weddings, wakes, or funerals, The Rattler always has an appropriate anecdote , delivered in his own unique style.
Now in his 90th year, “The Rattler” still welcomes the many callers and friends who drop in for a chat to his home where he lives with his son Noel, daughter in law Margaret and their two sons Mícheal and Padraig. Mickey’s late wife Mary always had a great welcome for those who called to the Byrne household in Loughtagalla, Thurles. Here they reared their boys, Paul, Martin, Michael, Chanel, Sean and Noel and daughter Ena.