The GAA has confirmed the recipients for Gradaim an Uachtaráin 2021.
These prestigious annual awards, organised with the support of AIB and broadcast by TG4, affords Uachtarán CLG, John Horan, with an opportunity to acknowledge outstanding commitment and long service across the club and county network.
The 11 awards are a cross-section of people who have shared the common theme of making an inspirational impact on their code and also their club and community.
Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Seán Ó hOráin said: “The GAA stands on the shoulders of the People we are fortunate to be able to call our own. Ultimately, the strength of the Association is down to the resilience, dedication and inspiration of the volunteers who make it happen, week after week, year after year.
“These awards give us an opportunity to single out a group who are not motivated by recognition, but who have made an invaluable contribution to our Association and are worthy of this acknowledgement and are great ambassadors for the tens of thousands like them all across the GAA.
“I would like to acknowledge 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 GAA Presidents’ Awards (Gradaim an Uachtaráin 20201 will be broadcast on Sunday next, 28 February on TG4 at 5.10pm.
LEINSTER RECIPIENT – Denis Carr, St. Oliver Plunketts/Eoghan Ruadh GAA Club - Dublin
Denis Carr has made an extraordinary life-long contribution to the GAA in Dublin at club and county level. A member of St. Oliver Plunkett Eoghan Ruadh since the early ‘60’s, Denis has managed many teams at underage and adult level in the club. At committee level he has held several key roles and responsibilities, including Chairman and Treasurer. In the mid-80’s when the club launched an ambitious plan to develop a clubhouse and dressing rooms, Denis, as club treasurer, played an integral part in the success of the project.
His passion and enthusiasm for the promotion of Gaelic games and culture in his local community has been infectious. Denis always took a keen interest in the welfare of the club’s juvenile players and readily provided guidance and assistance to them. Indeed, such is the respect in which Denis is held that he is a man whose judgement and counsel are regularly sought and heeded.
He has been a club delegate to the Dublin County Committee for an incredible 48 years and has served as an Officer of various subsidiary Boards during that period, including Hurling Board Chairman. Denis was involved with the Dublin senior hurling team under the management of Tommy Naughton and is currently a member of the County Hearings Committee.
Denis, apart from being a shrewd umpire, has a gregarious personality, is quick-witted and is an extremely popular individual. The positive legacy of all his work at club and county level is manifested in the deep respect and depth of admiration shown by all who know him.
A proud family man, his selflessness and commitment to the GAA during his lifetime makes Denis Carr a very worthy recipient of the GAA President’s Award.
ULSTER RECIPIENT – Fr. Seán Ó Gallchóir, Cloughaneely GAA Club
Fr. Seán Ó Gallchóir is synonymous with every facet of GAA in Donegal through coaching, refereeing, Scór competitions and administration. He began teaching in Holy Cross College in Falcarragh in 1971 later in Pobalscoil Chloich Cheann Fhaola when a new School was built, the same year he was ordained a Priest. He immediately began to coach and manage Gaelic Football teams within the School who enjoyed unrivalled success in Ulster from 1974 -1986.
In conjunction with his management and coaching achievements Fr. Seán was an active and well-respected referee in Donegal and Ulster. The pinnacle of his refereeing career was to officiate in two County Senior Finals as well as being the man in the middle in the Ulster Minor Final in 1982 when Antrim were the victors over Down.
Fr. Seán was an avid follower of Scór competitions and has been active in the Cultural side of the GAA all through his life. Fr. Seán wrote many plays and dramas which were used by competing Teams in Scór competitions.
He is renowned for his most celebrated book, the Book of Donegal GAA Facts which has just seen its 7th volume published in 2020. He has had various other books published on subjects such as History and the Irish Language but another book of note which he has had published relating to GAA is: “The Story of the Donegal Senior Football Championship 1919 -2001” (2002).
Fr. Sean spent many years involved in the Donegal Northern Board assisting in administration roles and has served CLG Chloich Cheann Fhaola in various roles over the years and is currently the Honorary President of his Club.
MUNSTER RECIPIENT – John Clifford, Laune Rangers GAA Club
John Clifford is a lifelong member of Laune Rangers Club. He has lived all his life in Dromin, which is on the border of the parish, bounding near neighbours, Milltown/Castlemaine. While he may have lived on the periphery of the parish, both he and his family have been at the heart of the Laune Rangers Club. He played football at all levels of the club from underage and togged out for the senior team in four decades. He was on the Laune Rangers team that won the Mid-Kerry Senior Championship and League in 1973 and again in 1983. He won a Mid-Kerry Minor medal in 1968 and captained the team to win the Novice county Final in 1970.
However, it is his involvement with the club off the field of play that stands out. He took part in two major fundraising trips in the past, one to America in 1972 and the other to London in the 90’s. He has been Chairperson for eight years in the late 90’s and 2000’s. He was also delegate to both the County Board and the Mid Kerry Board in the past and is currently Chairperson of Bord na nÓg and was involved in the preparations for the national Féile competitions which took place in Kerry in 2016.
CONNACHT RECIPIENT - Peter Joe Fitzmaurice, Kilmore GAA,Roscommon
Peter Joe was born in September 1930 and has given outstanding service to the Association. Kilmore GAA club was reformed in 1972 and Peter Joe became vice-chairperson in its inaugural year and has been involved in the club ever since.
On the field, Kilmore have won the County Junior championship in 1975, Intermediate championship in 1981 and Roscommon senior championship in 1983 and Peter Joe Fitzmaurice has been an ever constant and was a selector on all three occasions.
He has held many roles within the club including Vice-Chairperson, Treasurer, assistant Treasurer and is President of Kilmore GAA for over 20 years. Peter Joe also served as a selector on many underage teams down the years.
He was a crucial part of the club drive back in 1979 when Kilmore acquired new ground and developed the current pitch and facilities which were opened in 1982. He has also given over 20 years of service to Roscommon GAA as a loyal gate collector on gates for club & County games.
CAMOGIE RECIPIENT – Linda Kenny, Burren Rangers Hurling & Camogie Carlow
In 2009 Linda became fixtures secretary of Carlow Camogie and since then has been fundamental to the rebuilding of Carlow Camogie. Linda has served as secretary for five years and is the current Chairperson.
In 2017 Linda was appointed by Leinster GAA as Camogie Representative to the Féile Organising Committee and served as PRO. Throughout 2017 Linda and the organising committee worked tirelessly to ensure what was one of the most successful Féile na Gael’s on record, with the largest number of hurling and camogie teams participating ever.
At the recent Leinster AGM, Linda was elected as Uachtarán Tofa and will take up post in April 2021.
HANDBALL RECIPIENTS – Michael & Ann Naughton, St. Coman’s GAA Club - Roscommon
Michael and Ann Naughton have served their club, county and province in a coaching and administrative capacity since 1980.
Michael and Ann coached both boys and girls in St Coman's, Roscommon, over this period and were particularly influential in promoting and developing girls and ladies handball at the club.
An incredible haul of honours followed and titles in Féile na Gael, Community Games, Tailteann Games, All-Ireland 40x20 & 60x30, Girls Team of 10, World Championships, USHA Nationals, 40x20 and 1-wall Nationals were brought back to the club and county during their time.
Ann served as Team manager to official Irish teams at various World Championships. Michael has served as club and county PRO. He won a number of Masters titles in both 40x20 and 60x30 and had a long-playing career. He continues his promotional work for handball through the Roscommon GAA History Committee and is still coaching at the St Coman's Handball Club. Both have been lifelong devotees to Handball and have given a lifetime of invaluable service to the game.
LADIES GAELIC FOOTBALL AWARD – Catherine Murphy, Mungret St. Pauls GAA Club - Limerick
Catherine has been a volunteer and active member of the club since its foundation 27 years ago, spending many years in executive roles or in the background on committees as well as been an active player at club and county level.
Since retiring from county level she is now regularly seen as linesperson at National games or refereeing at local level. As secretary, Catherine is the hub of all their activities. She uses her considerable organisational skills to assist managers and coaches in preparation for training, matches and events.
The most significant impact of Catherine’s involvement is best seen at the under-age academy. From its inception, Catherine has been an omni-presence in the academy. Over the years she has encouraged parents to get involved in the club at some level. Her support for the executive and committees has been inspirational.
Catherine’s dedication to Ladies football is second to none and if she is not in the club, you will most likely find her at a county board meeting, refereeing a game, umpiring at matches or running the line at an inter-county game.
EDUCATION AWARD - Michael McMahon (AIT and Clare/Galway)
Mike has been involved in AIT GAA since joining the staff as a lecturer in Civil Engineering in the early 90s. He has been a driving force in the hurling club ever since.
Mike was involved with Comhairle Ardoideachais for a long number of years, serving in a number of roles most notably as Rúnaí. His dedication was unwavering and he put in countless hours, above and beyond what most would deem necessary.
He has been a driver of competition for the 'weaker' colleges, notably the Corn Pádraig MacDiarmada. Mike no longer serves on CA having finished up at the 2019 AGM but left a great legacy through his devotion to the role and to Gaelic games in this sector.
A native of Kilfenora in the Burren, Mike is heavily involved in Clarinbridge GAA Club and Galway GAA and a great role model for his selflessness and commitment.
INTERNATIONAL AWARD – Tony Bass, Maastricht Gaels, The Netherlands
Maastricht-based and member of the Cuala GAA Club in Dalkey, Tony Bass has been involved within the European Board from soon after its inception under the guidance of the late Joe McDonagh and during his GAA Presidency in 1999.
He has carried out phenomenal development work in all GAA codes in this time, having acted in numerous positions within the European Board, most notably as: Chair, Secretary, Ard Chomhairle delegate, and has attended the annual GAA Congress to make representations on behalf of Europe GAA. He has been involved in the continued expansion of competition within Europe and in organising many teams from there to travel to the GAA World Games - where in an invaluable volunteer capacity - he has fulfilled many functions: as referee, mentor, manager, liaison officer and advocate for the promotion and development on a world-wide basis.
Tony was also involved in establishing his home club in Europe, Maastricht GAA, and the strategic nature of his input is reflected in the fact that the Club - in conjunction with the municipal authorities - secured a 15-aside floodlight 4G pitch which has hosted the European Finals on many occasions.
Over the past two decades he has carried out enormous work in bringing the games in mainland Europe to an incredible level. Tony has made a real contribution to the solid framework that is now in place in Europe and has been a huge source of inspiration to all the other GAA units at International level.
GRADAM NA GAEILGE - Fergus Mac Aoidh, CLG Naomh Adhamhnáin – Dún na nGall
Rugadh agus tógadh Fergus Mac Aoidh i nGaeltacht Loch an Iúir i gcontae Dhún na nGall.
Bhog sé go Leitir Ceanainn ag deireadh na nóchaidí tar éis dó seal a chaitheamh i gCill Dara agus ó shin i leith tá sé sáite ina chlub áitiúil, CLG Naomh Adhamhnáin, agus an t-uafás déanta aige thar na blianta chun an Ghaeilge agus Scór a chur chun cinn sa chlub – mar bhall agus mar Oifigeach Gaeilge. Bronnadh bonn cré-umha de chuid Fhondúireacht Sheosaimh Mhic Dhonncha ar an gclub sa bhliain 2019 mar aitheantas ar iarrachtaí Fhearguis agus an chlub trí chéile an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn.
Chaith Fergus tréimhsí éagsúla mar Oifigeach Gaeilge agus Cultúrtha ar Bhord Contae Dhún na nGall, i measc rólanna eile, chomh maith. Is minic é le cloisteáil ag spalpadh Gaeilge mar ‘fhear tí’ ag cluichí baile Dhún na nGall i mBealach Féich agus i Leitir Ceanainn. Bhí Feargus ar Choiste Gaeilge agus Cultúrtha Chúige Uladh, freisin, áit a raibh an Ghaeilge lárnach i ngach a rinne sé ann agus is ball reatha é de chuid Chomhairle Uladh.
Tá sé ina Chathaoirleach ar Choiste Scoil Samhraidh Shéamuis de Faoite agus spreag sé na mílte ball de chuid Chumann Lúthchleas Gael le freastal ar an gcúrsa cáiliúil Gaeilge sna Dúnaibh i nGaeltacht Thír Chonaill thar na blianta. Tá ‘tráth na gceist boird’ á eagrú go bliantúil ó 2007 i leith i nDún na nGall agus baint mhór ag Fergus leis ó shin.
Tháinig fás agus forbairt ar Scór i nDún na nGall le linn d’Fheargus a bheith mar
Oifigeach Gaeilge agus Cultúrtha. Creideann sé go docht daingean i Scór agus b’iomaí comórtas ar ghlac sé féin páirt ann thar na blianta. Tá a shaol caite aige ag cur chin cinn na Gaeilge agus an chultúir Ghaelaigh i nDún na nGall.
THE DERMOT EARLEY FAMILY AWARD – The Dempsey Family, St. Joseph’s GAA Club, Milltown, Co Laois (Martin Dempsey, Michael Dempsey, PJ Dempsey, Sean Dempsey, Betty Moore, Margaret Farrelly and Ann Smith)
Jack Dempsey, from Laois, and Annie Spain from Offaly were married on 3rd of July 1957 and had seven children. There was a strong GAA gene from the start.
Betty is the most senior of the Dempsey family, her three daughters play with St. Brigids club, and two of them Anna and Jane have represented Laois at senior level. When Betty's husband Mick was club manager she became the jersey wash lady - a job she learnt from her mother Annie a generation earlier.
Michael represented St Josephs and Laois throughout the 70’s 80’s and 90’ winning seven Club titles and a National League in 1986 with Laois. As a Coach/ Manager he has guided St Joseph’s to a county title in 2000 in a year where he managed O’Hanrahan’s of Carlow to a Leinster club title. He also managed Laois U-21’s to Leinster success in 1984 and went on to manage the Laois senior team in 1997 and 1998. He was trainer/ selector under Martin Fogarty when Kilkenny collected successive All Ireland U-21 Hurling titles in 2003 and 2004 before joining the senior management with Brian Cody. He has recently served as Chairman of the National Academy Committee whose report is now reflected in GAA policy on Academy and player pathway. Michael is currently IT Carlow’s GAA programme director and has returned to his native St Joseph’s as senior football manager for the coming season.
Seán Dempsey has also represented both club and county over many years and holds four Club titles. Seán managed Laois minor footballers to All Ireland success in 2003 and Leinster success in 2004 before managing the U-21’s to Leinster wins in 2006 and 2007. He has managed at all levels from underage to senior and also managed the Ladies senior team. Seán served as selector under Val Andrews when Leinster won Interprovincial competitions in 2005 and 2006, also serving with Jack Sheedy when Longford were promoted from Division 4 in 2015. He served as Football Officer for Laois GAA between 1997 and 2007, as Chairman of Leinster Council’s Football Committee 2009-2014 and currently acts as Coaching officer for his club. After managing Ferbane to a County title in 2019 he is currently managing Ballinteer St Johns in Dublin.
Martin is a holder of six Laois championships, a Leinster U-21 championship winners’ medal in 1982, was full back on the 1986 National League winning team and was a stalwart for Club and County for many years. He volunteers a lot of time to club infrastructural work and is a tireless fundraiser for the club. His son Mikie is currently on the senior team and his daughter Áine plays with St. Josephs.
Margaret is a former ladies footballer with the club with whom her daughter Sinead and son Seamus now play on their respective senior teams. Having risen through the age groups she is now assisting the ladies senior team. When Margaret resided in Dublin she was mentor to various underage boys and girls teams in Castleknock.
PJ has played at all levels with Laois and holds six championship medals and a Leinster U-21 championship in 1987. He has the distinction of having managed at every level within the club and is currently managing the girls U- 10 team, alongside his role as selector to the Laois minor footballers. PJ has managed the clubs Senior Footballers twice (2009 &2010, 2014&2015) winning a county league in 2010 and managed the club U-21’s to its first success in the competition in 2008. PJ held the position of Club Treasurer in 2006 and Secretary in 2013.
Anne Dempsey is one of those people whose time, dedication and energy make the GAA such a vibrant and dynamic organisation. She is an outstanding volunteer who lives and breathes St. Joseph's GAA Club. She has mentored underage teams, fundraised, served on numerous committees and acted as club treasurer and secretary for many years. Ann’s family are immersed in the GAA and her four daughters all played, or are playing and her son, James, plays for the club’s seniorsTweet