The GAA is pleased to confirm the recipients for Gradaim an Uachtaráin 2019 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 Seán Ó hOráin said: “ The GAA is many things but ultimately it is always about People because it is People who are the unselfish volunteering rock upon which our Association is built.
“This important event affords us an opportunity to recognise some extraordinarily special People who have given lifetimes of service to their communities and to the GAA.
“They represent the high standard and high calibre of People who we have been blessed to have at our core and are an inspiration.
“I would like to acknowledge AIB and Denis O’Callaghan, Head of Distribution AIB, 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 2019) will be broadcast tonight on TG4 at 7:30pm (Live from the Hogan Suite in Croke Park).
Buaiteoirí Gradaim an Uachtaráin 2019
ULSTER AWARD: SEÁN TREACY – Devenish St Mary’s, Fermanagh
Seán Treacy has made a phenomenal life-long contribution to the GAA over a wide range of roles and responsibilities. He was a player who enjoyed ground breaking success first at minor level and then at senior level in a golden period for the club in the 80s and 90s, as well as winning an All-Ireland with the Jordanstown Fresher team in 1985. He has been an officer since his early teens, acting as club PRO in 1977 when just 14-year-old. He went on to hold numerous posts at Club, County, Provincial and Third Level and was assistant secretary of Fermanagh GAA for several years.
During a 17-year stint as Club Secretary, Seán played an integral part in a major club development which saw the establishment of state of the art playing fields and club rooms, making Devenish the envy of many clubs inside and outside the county. In 1992 he took a lead role in forming Ladies Football in the county, chairing the meeting in 1993 that elected the first ever officers of Fermanagh Ladies GAA. The club proudly celebrated its centenary anniversary in 2017 and not surprising Seán was centrally involved in the memorable programme of events.
He remains active in the club and is a member of the development committee looking to provide more facilities for the club members and serve the community – always looking to contribute for the betterment of many. Comhghairdeas Seán.
MUNSTER AWARD: MICHAEL WALL – An Coilleagain na h-Emmetigh, Waterford
Michael Wall has been ever-present in the Colligan Club for the last 55 years. His first involvement was as a 10-year-old boy at a time when there was no underage Club in the Parish but local young boys would go down to the field to strike the ball back to the adults at training.
He was just 17 when he was first elected to a club committee in 1963 and went on to hold several key positions including being elected Chairman in 1967 when he was just 21 years old.
In the early 80s the club launched an ambitious project to purchase and develop grounds and Michael was again the driving force behind the fundraising activities and was again involved in the construction of dressing rooms in the early 90s. There is never a job too big or too small and today he is Vice President, Honorary Life Member and Club Lotto Co-Ordinator.
He has been an integral part in the Club standing tall today and is delighted in seeing the membership pull together to create a family ethos – a source of comfort in times of triumph and tragedy.
A proud family man, his selflessness and commitment to his local club for more than a half century make him a very worthy recipient.
CONNACHT AWARD: NOREEN CORCORAN, Kilglass Gaels, Roscommon
Noreen became involved with Kilglass Gaels shortly after moving into the Parish from the neighbouring Kilmore area more than 30 years ago and where she had already built up a strong reputation with numerous Scór titles across a range of areas. Her first role with Kilglass was that of Minor Club Secretary and she has been immersed in volunteer work with the Club ever since and is the current club secretary. A founding member and first secretary of the Ladies club in KJilglass in 1999, she was a very deserving recipient of the Club Person of the Year Award for Kilglass Gaels in 2002. Aside from the meeting room, Noreen has served on numerous Ladies management teams and provided First Aid assistance to several teams in the Club.
Noreen was a driving force behind entering the Kilglass into a prestigious national competition that resulted in the club winning a makeover of the club field valued at €100,000.
When the club was touched by tragedy through the loss of one of its younger members, Noreen was instrumental in a fundraising drive in their memory which led to the addition of a gym to the club premises, and she remains heavily involved in all fundraising activities. Noreen is a dynamo who is always on hand to lend a hand and we salute her.
LEINSTER AWARD: MICK SPAIN, Drumcullen, Offaly
Born in January 1933, the fifth son in a family of 13 children, Mick Spain was destined to leave an indelible imprint on his native place and county.
This would be achieved through his commitment to his community in many forms but particularly his dedication to the GAA - where he has seen it all as a player, coach, manager, referee, administrator and visionary.
In 1949 he won an Offaly Minor Hurling Championship with his beloved Drumcullen and went on to play with Offaly minors in the 1950 Leinster Final v Wexford. He was a substitute on the Drumcullen senior team in 1952 when they won their third Offaly Senior Hurling Title in- a- row and then featured on the successful teams of ’54, ’55, ’57, ’58 and 1960.
He later moved to live in Birr and trained and played on the team which won the title in 1971. He served as Club chairman and is credited with helping to lay the foundations for the future unprecedented success of that club on the provincial and national stage.
Returning to Drumcullen in 1978 he immersed himself in the club and served as Treasurer and Chairman over a period of 12 years. He was one of the leading lights in the construction of dressing rooms and the first covered spectator stand in Offaly at that time. Over a distinguished career Mick also acted as Trainer and selector on his club’s teams at different levels from school up to senior while also assisting other clubs in their development and led the club camogie team to county and provincial success in 2005.
His involvement with the Offaly Senior Hurlers coincided with the county’s Leinster break-through year of 1980, followed by Liam McCarthy success in 1981, ’85 and ’94 all with a common thread as Mick Spain as selector.
Identifying a reliable water supply as an essential service to encourage young people to build and remain in their locality – saw Mick dedicated himself tirelessly through political and official channels to the pursuit of a group water scheme which was duly delivered. An immense contribution and commitment to others.
LGFA AWARD: KATHLEEN COLREAVY - Naomh Mearnóg, Dublin
One of 11 children, Kathleen was born into a strong GAA house where her late parents Tommy O’Riordan and Lily Reynolds played a pivotal role in the development of Ballyboden St Enda’s GAA Club.
Kathleen met and married Michael Colreavy, an established Leitrim footballer who had played in the 1967 Connacht Final and they moved to Portmarnock in the early 70s and where they both were soon immersed in the local Naomh Mearnóg Club.
For more than 30 years Kathleen has been synonymous with Ladies football in the club and during this time has held the position of club secretary, registrar, selector, jersey-washer, pitch organiser, board delegate and female liaison.
During this period, she has worked tirelessly in promoting Ladies football in her club as well as being actively involved in all the Ladies teams and the nursery. One of her proudest achievements was when her daughter Orla and clubmates Karen Kennedy and Cliodhna O’Connor went on to represent Dublin at adult level and appeared in several All-Ireland finals with Cliodhna, Karen Kennedy and Denise Masterson members of Dublin’s first All-Ireland winning team winning team in 2010 with Denise captaining the team and Cliodhna and Denise winning All-Stars.
Kathleen’s big project every year is the All-Ireland Club7s and Gaelic for Mothers and Others which she has been involved with since the inaugural international event in 2000 in her home club. Her organisation and ability to get people to work with her for those two weeks is phenomenal.
Kathleen has been involved with Dublin both as Assistant Secretary and Player Liaison Officer for over 14 years. Her dedication to both roles is absolutely total. She is known nationwide for her commitment and dedication to Ladies Football and is a great ambassador to her club, her county and the LGFA.
CAMOGIE AWARD: DEIRDRE MCGRATH – Adhaderg GAC, Down
Deirdre is a member of Adhaderg GAC and was brought up in a traditional Gaelic Family in Bryansford, County Down. Her late father, Arthur Brannigan, was heavily involved in the local GAA community. At the age of 11 he took Deirdre to the All-Ireland Hurling Final in Croke Park and this is where her love and passion for the GAA began.
Deirdre founded camogie in her home club Bryansford, in 1970. She held the post of club secretary and attended coaching courses in Gormanstown to learn the skills. In 1973, Deirdre was awarded the first ever Sports Personality Award in Down and in 1977 Bryansford Camogie Club was awarded Club of the Year.
In 1974, Deirdre took on the role of County Secretary at Down Camogie and remained in the post till 1977. During this time, she saw Down Minors win their first ever All-Ireland Final in 1974 and in 1976 the All-Ireland Junior Premier Championship.
Married in 1975 into a family with very strong Gaelic tradition and moved to Ballyvarley, a townland in the parish of Aghaderg where hurling was very prominent. Her husband Francie played hurling and so they both shared their time volunteering in the GAA. Francie also managed the Bryansford camogie team to success, a team which Deirdre played on, winning leagues in 1975, 1977 and 1980.
After having two children (Mark and Sheelagh), Deirdre decided it was time to think about starting camogie in Aghaderg, where she now lived. Through the decades there was a history of camogie in the Banbridge/Ballyvarley area and in 1984 Deirdre formed a camogie team in Aghaderg, giving it the parish name. She took up the camogie secretary role in Aghaderg Club and her husband Francie managed the team.
The first competitive match was played in 1985 and in 1988 Aghaderg won the Novice Championship. In 1989 they won the Junior League and Championship unbeaten and then the Intermediate Championship in 1991. During this period, Deirdre remained on the Aghaderg GAA club committee and was also an executive committee member of the Banbridge Sports Council for many years.
HANDBALL AWARD: TONY BREEN – Wexford
Tony Breen has had a long-distinguished career as both a player and a volunteer in GAA Handball. As a player Tony has captured numerous National, Provincial and County titles and in 1994 captured a World title in Over 40 Doubles.
Tony joined the committee of Ballyanne Handball Club (home of the great Dick Lyng) as a 15-year-old in 1969. He has served as Secretary/PRO of Templeudigan Handball Club for 15 years from about 1985-2000. He has been a member of Wexford GAA Handball County Committee for the past 30 years and has held the positions of Chairman (twice), Vice Chairman, Secretary (twice), PRO, Development Officer (twice), Secretary CCCC, Sponsorship Officer and Website Administrator.
Handball thrived under his stewardship to the point where Wexford are one of the strongholds of GAA Handball in Ireland thanks in no small part to Tony’s stewardship and vision.
At Provincial level he has held the post of Leinster Chairman on two occasions and is currently Chairman of GAA Handball’s Central Competitions Control Committee.
Despite the time constraints associated with owning a busy business, Tony is never found wanting in terms of taking on the workload associated with volunteer positions. Tony is regarded by all as an administrator who is extremely fair and balanced and an extremely hard worker. A fitting recipient for many years of service of the Gradaim an Uachtaráin.
GRADAIM GAEILGE: Ciarán Ó Feinneadha, Na Gaeil Óga CLG, BAC
Tá a shaol caite ag Ciarán Ó Feinneadha, B’leá Cliathach, ag cur chun cinn na gcluichí Gaelacha trí Ghaeilge.
I 2010, bhí Ciarán ar dhuine de bhunaitheoirí Na Gaeil Óga CLG, cumann lán-Ghaeilge i mBÁC. Chaith sé 5 bliana mar bhainisteoir ar fhoireann peile an chlub, agus bhain 5 ardú céime amach le linn an ama sin. Tá rólanna éagsúla comhlíonta ag Ciarán ar choiste an chlub ó shin. Leis an bhfás atá tagtha ar an gcumann le blianta beaga anuas tá sé anois ag feidhmiú mar Chathaoirleach orthu. Tá sé ag iarraidh áit bhuan a bhaint amach dóibh i Leamhcán faoi láthair – áit a bhfuil struchtúr faoi aois láidir ag na Gaeil Óga agus iad ag freastal ar pháistí Ghaelscoileanna an cheantair.
D’imir Ciarán le Clann Choláiste Mhuire i mBÁC, club a d’fhreastail ar iarscoláirí an Ghaelcholáiste aitheanta Coláiste Mhuire. Is mar lántosach ar chlé a chuimhneofar air agus bhí sé ag croílár fhoireann ré órga an chumainn idir 1978-1983 nuair a d'éirigh leo dul ó Shóisear C go grád na Sinsear. Bhí an dá Chraobh Idirmheánacha a bhuaigh sé mar bhuaicphointí imeartha aige. Bhí dualgais rúnaíochta air le linn a thréimhse leis an gclub, freisin. Chaith sé bliain ag imirt le Cumann Micheál Breathnach i gConamara ina dhiaidh sin.
Chaith sé tréimhsí ar Choiste Naisiúnta Gaeilge CLG, mar Oifigeach Gaeilge ar Choiste Contae BHÁC, ar Choiste Náisiúnta Chomórtas Peile na Gaeltachta agus ar Chomhchoiste Iománaíochta an Oireachtais. Bhí sé ar dhuine de bhunaitheoirí an Fheachtais Náisiúnta Teilifíse a bhain TG4 amach. Bhí sé lárnach i mbunú trí Ghaelscoile i Leamhcán – (Gaelscoil Naomh Pádraig, Gaelscoil Eiscir Riada agus Coláiste Cois Life) agus baint aige ar feadh a shaoil le Conradh na Gaeilge agus Ógras.
Is mór an mórtas do Chiarán an tacaíocht a fuair sé i gcónaí óna bhean chéile Máire Ní Choileáin, na laethanta a chaith sé ag imirt lena dheartháireacha Pádraig agus Colm le Clann Choláiste Mhuire agus na cuimhní atá aige dá phaistí Fiadhna, Cormac, Ruadhán agus Neasa a bheith ag imirt leis Na Gaeil Óga CLG.
EDUCATION AWARD: Br James Dormer
Born in Dublin, Br James Dormer has been immersed in the promotion of the GAA throughout several teaching posts around the country.
He began his teaching career at Wexford CBS in 1970. He spent three years in Wexford town where among his best-known students would be Billy Walsh, future Olympic boxer and coach.
After a short period in Carlow, in January 1974 Br Dormer began teaching in Sexton CBS in Limerick City, and though he finished his teaching there in 1980 he was an ever present figure in Sexton Street from then on, sitting on a wide range of boards and assisting in a vast array of positions throughout the school.
In February of 1980, Br Dormer was appointed Principal of Lismore CBS Primary School in Co Waterford. He enjoyed 13 years as principal of this school where he fostered the education of the local boys and in hurling too. He brought unprecedented success to Lismore winning a host of county and divisional titles at underage level and two county senior hurling titles in 1991 and 1993. He was a mentor in the lives of many famous past pupils here including Waterford county players, Dave Bennett, Brendan Landers, and Dan Shanahan.
Appointed principal to Doon CBS Primary school in Limerick, Br Dormer spent 23 in Doon and in that time, he dedicated his life to advancing education, Irish culture, Irish language, Irish games and religion in the local area. Br Dormer officially retired on August 31st, 2016 after 46 years teaching and was the last Christian Brother to teach in Doon CBS, and also the last Christian Brother to be a primary school principal in the country.
Every one of his pupils learned to play hurling in the school yard and the school have been leading lights in primary School hurling since he came, and as a result the Doon club had enormous success in all grades of hurling. Presently Doon is the only club in county Limerick fielding three hurling teams in the Adult grade, with success at all levels. Among the many hurlers to pass through his hands at school and club level were 2018 All Ireland Senior medalists, Pat Ryan, Barry Murphy and Darragh O’Donovan and All Star Richie English.
Br Dormer has served on Cumann Na mBunscoil in Limerick and Waterford for four decades. From 2011 to 2016 he was Uachtarán of Cumann an mBunscoil having filled the role of National Treasurer for the five years prior to that.
INTERNATIONAL AWARD: HUGH DUGGAN, Armagh & USGAA
A lifelong member of the Pearse Óg club in Armagh, whom he served with distinction both as a player and an administrator, and a former Inter-County referee at the highest level, Hugh Duggan’s GAA credentials were well-established when he arrived in the United States in 1981.
Quickly embedded in the local GAA scene, in 1987 Hugh was a founding member of the San Francisco Ulster Club, also becoming the clubs first Secretary and Team Manager. Although no longer having a day-to-day involvement with the club, he took great pride in their subsequent 5 North American Senior Football titles.
In 1991, Hugh became manager of the emerging Michael Cusack’s club, immediately winning a North American Junior Football Championship, followed by an Intermediate title in 1992. Their crowning achievement arrived in 1994, when Hugh coached the Michael Cusack’s to only the second Senior Football Championship title victory by a San Francisco team in 25 years.
In 1996, Hugh was appointed coach of the North American Men’s Football team, which competed at the International Cup in Dublin, and once more Hugh led a successful team.
Following on from his time as a coach, he assumed various Administrative roles at Divisional Board level, including San Francisco Divisional Chair and Chair of the 2001 North American Finals. As he did during his time as a referee and manager, Hugh brought dedication and passion to bear during a period of significant growth for the GAA in North America.
Away from the meeting rooms and training fields, Hugh continued to volunteer his considerable refereeing experience at both Divisional and National levels. He was awarded the San Francisco Referee of the Year on three separate occasions, while also being appointed referee at multiple North American Finals.
In recent years, Hugh has taken on the role of USGAA Referee Administrator, where he is dedicating his time to providing USGAA players with the best quality of referee experience possible. In recognition of his distinguished service, Hugh was inducted into the San Francisco Hall of Fame in 2015 and was elected Honorary President of USGAA in 2017.
FAMILY AWARD: The Smith Family, Boyle GAA, Co Roscommon
The Smith family have been synonymous with Boyle GAA for many years. All members of the family have had a role to play at some level within the Association, whether this is at club or county level.
From an early age, Mike played with the club, being one of the first of many U10 teams to be coached by former Derry player and Roscommon coach Sean Young. Mike’s skills shone through in his exploits with St. Mel’s and on underage Roscommon teams.
Mike had a long-playing career with Boyle GAA club, playing a pivotal role on the field with many favourable results. He also held several key roles in the club including club secretary in the ‘80’s, senior team manager at the start of the millennium and a number of manager and coaching roles with underage teams. His business acumen has been evident in how he supports the club with fundraising initiatives, setting standards and motivating the club to reach targets. Mike has recently been tasked with coordinating the club’s strategic plan.
A wife and mother in a busy sporting home, Mary Smith has also been deeply involved with Boyle GAA. As treasurer in the early 2000s, Mary played a critical role in the Club’s massive fundraising drive to complete the development of the main pitch in Abbey Park. This period was followed by a number of years as Secretary, a role she also excelled in. She was a member of a Lotto team for several years and was heavily involved in the Club’s Road to Croker fundraising initiative. It was no great surprise that Mary was previously awarded Club Person of the Year for her commitment, dedication and service to Boyle GAA.
The eldest of the four Smith brothers, Cian has tasted success for his club at all grades. A key member of the 2006 Roscommon Minor team that captured All Ireland glory after a 55-year gap, his football career had to be put on hold in 2007 while he successfully overcame serious illness. Cian fought his way back to football and was an integral member of the Boyle team that captured intermediate honours in 2013. Since retirement he has become heavily involved in coaching and with a club fundraising project.
Donal has enjoyed much success with the club over the years at both underage and senior level. He was a key part of Boyle’s Minor team who won a Division 1 title in 2011 along with his brother Enda. Donal has played a central role in firmly establishing Boyle as a Senior team in recent years and was part of the team who won the Intermediate title in 2013. A Connacht Minor medalist with Roscommon in 2011, Donal added two Connacht Under 21 medals to his collection in 2012 and 2014. In 2012 in particular, his scoring prowess was a feature of the Under 21 Championship, earning him a Cadburys Hero of the Future nomination. Donal also had a glittering colleges career capturing a Freshers All-Ireland medal in 2011 and two Sigerson Cup medals in 2013 and 2015.
Donal made his debut for the Roscommon senior team as a 20-year-old in 2013 against Sligo and played an integral part in landing the 2017 Connacht title in additional to two National League Division 2 medals in 2015 and 2018. While still at the height of a busy playing career Donal has already begun his managerial career as he has guided the club's Under 20 team for the last two years.
Enda’s talent and skills were evident from an early age as he came up through the ranks of Boyle and Roscommon GAA. He has enjoyed a fine underage career with Roscommon and is one of an elite group to have won two Connacht medals at both Minor and U21 levels. Enda also had a fine colleges career capturing both a Freshers All-Ireland medal and a Sigerson Cup medal with DCU.
Since making his senior debut in the 2013 National League, Enda has been an integral part of the Roscommon team. He delivered a Man of the Match winning performance in the 2017 Connacht Final. Indeed, Enda’s performances that year earned him an All-Star Nomination and a place on the International Rules team making him Boyle's first ever representative to earn these accolades and is captain of the county senior team.
Whilst Mike, Mary, Cian, Donal and Enda are familiar names within the GAA family and further afield, Mike and Mary’s second son Ronan will be well known to many who have met him in his travels as he supports his brothers on the fields of play. A keen athlete who runs marathons, Ronan’s career as a nurse has now taken him further afield to work in the Middle East.
Boyle GAA are rightly fiercely proud of the Smith family and their unwavering dedication to the club.
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