Last year's award recipient John Murray, Cashel Person of the Year 2018 Aidan O'Brien, and Cashel Lions Club Chairman DJ Horan.
Renowned horse trainer Aidan O’Brien was honoured as Cashel Person of the Year 2018 in Halla na Féile on Thursday evening.
Cashel Lions Club nominated Mr O’Brien for his outstanding sporting achievement and contribution to the local community, in Cashel and Rosegreen.
Lions Club Chairman DJ Horan and award organiser Richard O'Brien said the award was first established 31 years ago. The Lions Club has enjoyed a long relationship with Ballydoyle, going back to Vincent O'Brien, who kindly allowed them to buy the land for what is now Larkspur Park - that club is named after one of Vincent O'Brien's derby winning racehorses. “We still have our meetings up there, and that's our clubhouse,” said Richard O'Brien. “Without that support, a club like ours would really find it hard to function, and to hold our Fashion Show. It's wonderful the support we receive from Ballydoyle, and I'd like to acknowledge Aidan and his family, and all the staff of Ballydoyle and Coolmore.”
Breda Culliton, Pat Cummins and Finbar O'Neill, proposed Aidan for the nomination, and thanked him personally for his extraordinary contribution to the community.
“Aidan's outstanding achievement of training 28 group and grade one winners in 2017, was not only a new world record but was absolutely remarkable given the competition which exists in horseracing worldwide,” said Mr O'Neill. “Year after year, Aidan O'Brien has been at the top of his profession, not only here in Ireland, but worldwide. In 2017, Aidan was crowned not only Champion Flat Trainer in Ireland but also in England. Despite all his success, Aidan modestly deflects the praise on to others. He contantly speaks in glowing terms, of his staff and always includes them when being interviewed. Aidan's contribution to this community is truly immeasurable, bringing great employment, prestige and honour. Aidan and his wife Anne Marie, and their family, have been wonderful ambassadors for Cashel and Rosegreen thoughout the world, and that's why we nominated him for Cashel Person of the Year 2018.”
Mr Cummins said the “huge thing about Aidan and Anne Marie is they are very much involved in community life in Rosegreen.” Despite his busy lifestyle, Aidan “still finds time to help us. If you ring Aidan or Anne Marie, they'll just tell you to come down to the house and take it away. That's the measure of their worth to us in the community. We're so grateful.”
Cllr Roger Kennedy said the Municipal District is planning a civic reception for Aidan. Along with his sporting career, Aidan also sets a positive example as a member of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association.
Cathaoirleach of Cashel Tipperary Municipal District, Cllr Michael Fitzgerald, praised Aidan's contribution to the wider community of Ireland: “You're a wonderful ambassador, not only for our county, but for the whole of Ireland, and that's something we in this county are very proud of. We can boast of some of the finest horse racing facilities to be found anywhere in the world.”
Fr Jim Purcell praised Aidan's honesty and sincerity. Despite all the fame and achievement, Aidan lives a quiet, simple life, dedicated to his family in Rosegreen. “Family life is just so important. I've always admired that about Aidan. I know how much, quietly, you have contributed to the locality.” Public success is one thing, but the real test of anybody is what they do for others “quietly”, added Fr Purcell.
Aidan O'Brien said he was privileged and honoured to receive the accolade. “We're a small part of a very big team. We're grateful to be a part of that team. We came to Cashel about 20 years, and there are so many special people in Cashel and Rosegreen.
“I can't tell you how grateful we are,” he said.