GAA President's Awards
The GAA is pleased to confirm the recipients for Gradaim an Uachtaráin 2018 which will be presented at a special banquet in Croke Park this evening.
These prestigious annual awards, organised with the support of Club Championship sponsors AIB and broadcast by TG4, affords Uachtarán CLG with an opportunity to acknowledge outstanding commitment and long service across the club, and county network.
Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Aogán Ó Fearghail said: “This event is one of the highlights in the diary of an Uachtarán because it is a special opportunity to shine a light on some of the outstanding people whose selfless dedication to our Games has made our Association the thriving entity that it is today.
“The GAA is at its best when it sees people come together to work towards a goal and all of those who are gathered here tonight for awards deserve special tribute for the inspirational work they have done.
“I would like to acknowledge AIB and Denis O’Callaghan, for their ongoing support of these awards and of their wider commitment to Gaelic games.
“Míle buíochas also to TG4 for their assistance in helping us to bring these awards to the widest audience possible and for the work they do each year in showcasing Gaelic games.”
The awards are made on a provincial and code basis. As well as Gaeilge, Education and International Awards, the presentation of the annual Dermot Earley Family Award will also be made.
The GAA Presidents’ Awards (Gradaim an Uachtaráin 2018) will be broadcast on TG4's YouTube channel on Friday evening at 7:30pm (Live from the Hogan Suite in Croke Park).
The Awards will also be broadcast in full on TG4’s main linear channel tomorrow – Saturday 10th February at 12:30pm (ahead of the AIB All-Ireland Senior Hurling Club Championship Semi-Finals).
The GAA Presidents’ Awards will be available live on the following YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNG2OYvED-c
Seamus O’ Hare, Ulster
Dependability and reliability are the hallmarks of what has been an outstanding lifetime commitment to the GAA by Seamus O’Hare. Working first with the former St Colmcille’s GAA Club in East Belfast in the 1950s and subsequently with St John’s, Seamus has been always ready and willing to answer the call where needed.
Whether that was serving as a widely respected referee, stewarding at Croke Park, serving on committees or acting as Club Secretary for several years, his passion for the GAA was in making a contribution that improved his club and the wider association and the positive legacy of this work is in the depth of the respect with which he is held by all who know him.
Seamus King, Munster
Seamus King is a name synonymous with GAA excellence. He was a renowned club administrator and was the chairman of his beloved Cashel King Cormac’s from 1985 to 1992 – a period which saw the Tipperary club enjoy magnificent success that included a county senior crown and a Munster club championship in 1991.
Off the field, Seamus King has given extraordinary service to the GAA in the work he has done producing historical books and record books that have preserved the heritage of our Games for future generations and is an exemplary figure in this regard. A former winner of the prestigious GAA MacNamee award in 1993 for his journalism, he now receives further recognition for his lifetime of service.
Pattie Stundún Uí Aodhagáin, Connacht
Pattie Stundún Uí Aodhagáin is the heartbeat of her local club CLG Thuar Mhic Éadaigh which is located in southwest Mayo. Her father Michael was a founder member of the club in 1965 and she has embraced this GAA inheritance by dedicating herself to the promotion of Gaelic games and also our native language.
Under Pattie's direction, the club very successfully hosted the national finals of Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta 2017, in preparation for which a major capital development project was completed.
She is an inspirational and very dedicated woman who is highly respected within her community for the outstanding work she does to advance the objectives of the GAA.
Jack Napier, Leinster
Bray Emmets Club President Jackie Napier has been instrumental in the promotion of hurling in Bray and Wicklow for some 60 years. In 2013 those efforts were rewarded with the Wicklow Senior Hurling Championship coming back to Bray Emmets after a hiatus of 59 years. It was a very proud day for Jackie who had kept hurling going in Bray Emmets through some very lean years.
Jackie has held many positions at club level including secretary and chairman, as well as positions on the Wicklow County Board including Leinster and Central Council delegate, and he also served on National Committees. Jackie was also a referee and a selector on numerous Bray Emmets and county hurling teams. His passion and enthusiasm are an example to all.
Marie McAleer, Ladies Football
The phenomenal growth and success of Ladies Gaelic Football traces its roots back to the pioneering visionaries who played and promoted the sport and Marie McAleer is central to this work. An outstanding player, she was the first Chair of the Roscommon Ladies Gaelic Football county board while still active on the field when it took shape in 1974 and was a founder member and first Vice President of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association.
Her passion and drive for the sport has continued ever since and has been put to good use on several national and county board committees while she was also instrumental in the establishment of the Roscommon Gaels Ladies Gaelic Football Club in 2000.
Margaret O’Leary-Lacey (Wexford) Camogie
Margaret began her career with the Buffers Alley club, where she won three club All Ireland Championships to add to the one she won while playing with Eoghan Ruadh, Dublin in 1967. When Wexford brought the O'Duffy Cup to the Model County in 1968 and 1969 she made a big contribution to those victories. In 1975 Wexford won again when she starred at full back against a star-studded Cork forward line.
A player of remarkable all-round ability, she holds eight Gael Linn medals. Margaret was selected as the Gaelic All Star Player of the Year in 1968. Twice voted Wexford Powers Sport Star of the Year 1966 and ’68.
Dedicated to the promotion of Camogie for more than 50 years and now Chairperson of her club, Margaret still plays junior camogie at club level. Her daughters Mary and Una are current Wexford stars, with Mary captaining the side to All Ireland glory in '07 and Una following this up in 2010.
Sean McEntee, Handball
Sean McEntee has had several careers in Irish handball – as player, coach and administrator. He first became involved as a player in the two courts at Queens University, Belfast in the early 1970s. He was a founder member of Belfast Central Handball Club and Belfast Handball Association which eventually grew to become Antrim Handball Committee. Sean joined with the late Sean Boyle to put together a vibrant and successful St Paul’s club which amassed innumerable national titles.
He conceived of the idea of The Golden Gloves tournament which he ran with great success for 15 years and which attracted players at every level from all over Ireland for a wonderful playing and social weekend and as well as his playing success he has been an excellent coach.
Sean was Chairman of the National Coaching Council and became President of the Irish Handball Council from 1993 until 1996.
Seán Ó hEarcáin, Irish Award
Rugadh Seán Ó hEarcáin i nGlascú i lár na gcaogaidí, áit a raibh a athair Seán agus a mháthair Sorcha Nic Aoidh, as an tSeanbhaile, Fálcarrach ina gconaí ag an am.
I ndhiadh tamall, d’fhill an teaglach go Gaeltacht mhór Chloich Cheann Fhaola agus tógadh Seán agus a dheartháireacha, Peadar, Niall agus Gearóid ar an tSrúthán, tuarim is leath bealaigh idir An Fhálcarrach agus Gort a’Choirce. D’freastal sé ar Scoil Mhíndoire, ag siuil síos an Mhullaigh Ghárbh agus trasna an phortaigh go doras na scoile. I ndhiadh scolaíocht mhaith ar an bhun scoil, chuaigh sé siar an bealach mór go Árd Scoil Mhúire ‘sna Doire Beaga. I ndhiadh an tÁrd Teist, chuaigh sé go Ollscoil na Gallimhe áit ar bhain sé céim amach mar mhúinteoir dara leibheál.
Nuair a bhí Seán ag éirigh aníos i gCloich Cheann Fhaola, d’imir sé peil faoi aois agus sa ghrád sóisireach fosta ar feabh cúpla blain eile indhiadh a cheantar dúchais a fhágáil.
Cé go raibh a shuim sna cluichí gaelach láidir i gconaí,‘s nuair a bhí sé ag múinteoireach i gContae Mhaigheo a thainic a chuimseach mar riarthóír, mar réiteoir, agus mar cheannaire C.L.G chun tosaigh.
Chaith Seán na blianta fada ag múineadh i gClochar Íosa agus Mhúire, Crois Mhaolíósa i gContae Mhaigheo agus páirt mhór aige leis an pheil ‘san scoil agus ‘san chumann áitiúil. Bhí postanna áirithe aige le CLG Chrois Maolíosa ach ‘s mar oifigeach caidrimh poiblí is mó a tharraingt sé cliú ar féin. I measc dualgaisí eile agus rud a bhí neamh iontach ag an am, d’foillsigh Seán leabhar bliantiuil don chlub ar feadh deic mbliana ar a laghad. Thosaigh sé ag réiteoireach fosta agus rinne sé móltoireacht ar chluiche ceannais sinsireach Mhaigheo chomh maith le go leor cluichí eile. ‘Sé a bhí i gceannas ag an chluiche ceannais nuair a h-imríodh Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta i mBéal an Mhuirthid sa bhlian 1987 agus ceithre bliana indhiadh sin, i bPáirc an Chróchaigh a bhí a shiúl agus é ag rith an líne i gcluiche ceannais na bliana sin idir An Dún agus an Mhí.
Nuair a bhí a chosa ag éirigh tuirseach, thiontaigh sé chuig an riarthóireacht agus a pharóíste dúchais aríst agus ról aige anois mar ionadaí Chloich Cheann Fhaola ag cruinnithe Peile na Gaeltachta. Sar a bhfad, chonaic a chomrádaí a chumas agus roghnaíodh é mar Chathoirleach ar an eagraíocht naisiúnta I 2001. Anois agus é ins an chathaoir sin le sé mbliana déag, is mó atá an gradam seo tuilte ag Seán Ó hEarcáin. Cé go bhfuil sé ina gcónaí i gceantar Béal Átha na Muice, Contae Mhaigheo in aice le baile fearainn a dtugtar Lár na Páirce ar ó 1974, an cineál áite a chaith Seán a shaol i stair Chumann Lúthchleas Gael go h-áitiúil agus go naisiúnta “Conallach ar Deoraíocht mé” adeir sé”!
Mary Kelly, Rounders
Mary Kelly has enjoyed a lifetime of enjoyment from Rounders and has been a passionate advocate of a game that helps drive inclusiveness in the GAA. She started her schools participation in competitions in the early 80’s and continued til her retirement in September 2017.
A proud member of Tulsk GAA Club, she has won County Titles 15 times with her school girl’s team and this year her school boy’s team are county champions. Under her watch the game of Rounders has grown in Co Roscommon and following coaching by Croke Park the number of schools competing in the National Schools Day in June has risen to 16.
Ger Murphy, Education
A proud Galway man, Ger Murphy began teaching in St Olaf’s in Sandyford 39 years ago and has been instrumental in the growth and development of Gaelic games in this area of the Capital. From humble beginnings Ger and a couple of teaching colleagues introduced hurling and football in 1980 with only a half-dozen hurls and a few adult sliotars. Two years later they were in their first Cumann na mBunscol final at Croke Park.
Since then Scoil Olaf have competed in Cumann na mBunscol hurling, camogie and football competitions every year reaching 27 finals and winning 13 titles. The fruits of this work led to Naomh Olaf GAA Club being founded in the school in 1981 and he was soon coaching club as well as school teams, playing hurling with the club up until 1998 and was central to securing the first Games Promotion Officers to all the local schools in this thriving locality and linking them back to the Club.
Dickie McAllister, International
He is based in Buenos Aires but Dickie McAllister Lynch is a proud Dub and his family is originally from of Turvey Hill, Donabate, Co Dublin.
Like so many others of Irish descent in the Argentine capital, he was raised at the Hurling Club in Hurlingham, Buenos Aires. They grew up watching their fathers and uncles play Hurling and recalling what once was the sport that gave identity and shape to the club.
At the end with his own active sports career he became involved as a volunteer working for the club as well as for other Irish associations around the country, fuelled by his infectious enthusiasm.
He has been President of the Hurling Club, and has been the driving force behind two visits by the All-Stars hurlers to Argentina which rekindled the playing of Gaelic games at the Hurling Club.
The Meehan Family, Caltra
The Meehan family of Tycooley, Caltra is synonymous with the GAA both in Galway and at national level.
Michael (Snr) won an All-Ireland Minor medal with Galway in 1960 and has served his club Caltra in various roles as a player, officer, football board delegate and devout supporter. His brother Tadhg (Snr) while based in Manchester was a delegate to the Central Council of the GAA as well as being voluntary pay master of the Coaching staff in England for many years.
Michael and his wife Ann have seven children also steeped in Gaelic games. Tomás and Declan won All Ireland senior football medals with Galway in 1998 and 2001 while Michael (jnr) won All Ireland under 21 titles with Galway in 2002 and 2005. In 2003 all six sons Seamus, Enda, Declan, Tomas, Noel and Michael (Jnr) helped Caltra to win a first county final and went on to win the provincial crown and the 2004 All Ireland club final, with Noel as captain.
At colleges level Declan, Tomás and Michael have won Hogan Cup medals with Michael being the last winning captain for St. Jarlath's College. Declan and Michael have also won Sigerson cup medals. They have received many other individual awards at various levels throughout their careers including All Stars, Texaco footballer of the year and several man of the match awards at both local and national level.
Declan, Tomás, Noel and Michael also set a unique record with all four of them lining out for Galway in a senior championship qualifier against Louth.
The late Mairead was a top class dual player with Ahascragh/Caltra and Galway camogie and also with Caltra Cuans and Galway Ladies Football teams until her untimely passing.
This award recognises a family who have left an indelible mark on the GAA and have always been something special.