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Gradaim an Uachtaráin 2024

The GAA has confirmed the recipients for Gradaim an Uachtaráin 2024. These prestigious annual awards, organised with the support of AIB and broadcast by TG4, are made by GAA President Larry McCarthy to acknowledge outstanding commitment and long service across the club and county network.

The 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.

There are provincial, educational, and Irish language awards, as well as awards recognising contributions made to Ladies football and Camogie, World GAA, and handball. The Dermot Earley Family Award recipients are the Cahalane family from Cork.

Uachtarán CLG Larry McCarthy said: “The GAA is powered by the selfless dedication of people who commit to serving something bigger than themselves. It is an effort which has enabled our Association to flourish for 140 years.

“The presence of so many GAA clubs throughout Ireland and the World is a testament to the work done by ordinary people who through their involvement in the GAA make an extraordinarily positive impact on their communities and our members.

“Gradaim an Uachtaráin affords us the chance to recognise individuals who are responsible for that extraordinary service to Gaelic games. In saluting these deserving recipients, we are mindful that they are ambassadors for the thousands of people who volunteer their time for the development of Gaelic games for the present and future generations. I congratulate all of our recipients and wish to acknowledge the support of TG4 and AIB for this scheme.”

The GAA President’s Awards (Gradaim an Uachtaráin 2024) will be broadcast this Friday night on TG4 at 7.30pm

Gradaim an Uachtaráin 2024 

Ann Lindsay, Ulster

A member of the Steelstown Brian Ógs club in Derry, Ann has been a vital part of the club for over 20 years. Like so many great volunteers, it all started with washing kits and giving lifts to matches when her son Kevin started playing.

Since then, Ann’s involvement in Steelstown Brian Ógs has gone from strength to strength. She has served on her club’s committee in a wide variety of roles for the past 15 years, including her role as club secretary, which spanned a period of more than 10 years until 2023. Currently, she is serving as the club’s registrar.

In complimentary fashion, her husband Declan and son Kevin also live their lives with Steelstown Brian Ógs front and centre. Declan serves as the club’s groundsman, while Kevin was full-back on the Steelstown Brian Ógs team that won the AIB GAA Club Intermediate Football Final in 2022.

Seán O’Shea, Munster

During his playing days, Seán O’Shea was a teak-tough left half back who always wore the number 7 shirt. He won five Senior Divisional Championships with Carrick Swans and was a member of the famous four-in-a-row South Championship winning team of 1983-1986.

Seán has been involved with his club all his life and his father was club chairman in the mid-1970s. He has himself held different roles on the club committee – including Secretary and Field Development Officer. His tenure as club secretary came to an end in 2022 after spending over 15 years in the role.

As well as serving as secretary, Seán has been Club Development Officer for more than 10 years. He played an crucial role in delivering the club’s new pitch during his tenure and continues to drive the field development project in 2024. In the coming weeks the club will have a brand-new all-weather field and hurling wall.

Seán’s drive and vision has helped create facilities for the club that will cater for the kids and adults of Carrick On Suir for decades to come.

Tom Nally, Connacht

For all of his life, Tom has been an avid follower, player and active member of St. Michael’s GAA, founded in 1956 by the late Pa Boyle and other like-minded men.

Since his younger days playing in local city leagues with Fr. Lally’s, and his later youth and adulthood playing with St. Michael’s, Tom’s playing career has spanned four decades from the 60s to the 90s, including an intermediate title in 1985 and the honour of playing Galway Masters with his beloved county in 1992.

As well as playing, Tom also embraced all other aspects of involvement with his club. His management career started with an U14 team in 1976, captained by Paul Sheridan, and reached the lofty heights of managing St. Michael’s juniors to five titles in a row in Galway. As an administrator he has been Chairman and Secretary of the club on various occasions, up to and including the last year, and as an official he casts his net wider, to embrace the growing needs of the GAA, in having the distinction of being the longest serving referee in Galway, up to and including this year and beyond!

Tom has great love and respect for the men and women who helped build the club into what it is today. This love was beautifully encapsulated in his spearheading of a recent campaign to honour and remember St. Michael’s founder Pa Boyle, in erecting a headstone in his honour at his resting place. The occasion of unveiling, which was performed by GAA President Larry McCarthy, and attended by club members both past and present, was a day that encapsulated so much of the best values and ethos of the GAA.

David Ormonde, Leinster

The foundations of An Cumann Lúthchleas Gael are built on volunteer and community involvement, and these are the traits that David Ormonde possesses in abundance. His love and passion of the organisation goes back to the time as a young boy he was able to accompany his father and brothers to the local field in Blackwater and don the green and gold of his native parish.

Through his employment Dave worked in many counties in the Southeast where he always contributed to the development of the local club with his hard work and energy. On returning to his native county Wexford, Dave’s involvement with his new parish Clonard in Wexford town quickly led to the setting up, along with the dedication of other committed Gaels, of a new club in the parish called Na Fianna Clonard for the betterment of the young population and he is still involved to this day.

In his position as Club Chairman, he has guided the club through many phases and his direction and knowledge has been invaluable down the years with his focus of the club being the beating heart of the organisation. He has also served as Chairman of Wexford District GAA and is presently District President. Dave is one of the longest serving members of Wexford GAA County Board, a position he has held for almost 50 years, while has also acted as Chief Steward in Chadwicks Wexford Park since 2002.

It is people like Dave Ormonde who are the life blood of the GAA and this Award recognises his lifelong contribution and is richly deserved.

Mary O’Connor, LGFA

Mary’s love of Ladies Gaelic Football began over 20 years ago in St. Brigid’s GAA Club in Dublin, when she volunteered to coach her daughter’s football team, with no prior experience, to ensure her daughter and many more girls

had the opportunity to play. Since then, her love and involvement with Ladies Gaelic Football has blossomed.

Mary has filled a plethora of extremely significant positions within the world of Ladies Gaelic Football. From being put forward as the Dublin LGFA County Board Delegate for St Brigid’s in 2007, to being elected as Dublin County Secretary in 2013, a position she still holds to this day, Mary has overseen the huge growth of Ladies football within the capital with membership figures for the Association increasing by approximately 21,000 in this 10-year period.

Patsy Hetherton, Camogie

A proud member of St. Vincent’s GAA Club in Dublin, Patsy has served in a variety of administrative roles at both club and provincial level, including her role as Leinster Council Treasurer, which she held for five years. She has also been involved with various committees, serving on the National Féile Committee, the All-Ireland Poc Fada Committee, and the Camogie All-Stars Committee.

When it comes to her own playing achievements, Patsy has won numerous medals with Marino Camogie Club, including Senior County Championship and All-Ireland Sevens medals, as well as Senior County and Leinster Championship medals with St Vincents. To go along with these club honours, Patsy has also donned the Dublin blue, representing Dublin Camogie at U16, Minor, Junior, Intermediate, and Senior levels.

Patsy’s sense of fairness and inclusivity within St Vincents rings through in all she does. Her passion for both her club and county in Dublin, sees her travel across the country supporting her teams and family. Her unassuming and insightful presence can always be relied upon.

Image credit: Maurice Grehan / Dublin LGFA 

Paula Clarke, Handball

A member of the Killyclogher GAA Handball Club, Co Tyrone. Paula is synonymous with handball in Tyrone, Ulster and Nationally.  She is the current Tyrone Co. Secretary. Paula has worked and volunteered tirelessly to develop handball at all levels over the last 40 years. Her attention to detail and level of commitment is second to none.

She was a National ‘She’s Ace Officer’ which helps promote female events across the country. When it comes to running any event, National or otherwise, Paula will leave no stone unturned. She has developed her local club of Killyclogher to high levels in recent years and still helps organise so many events and coaching.

Séamus Mac Ruairí, Irish Award

Tá Séamus Mac Ruairí ar dhuine de bhunaitheoirí Naomh Muire, Íochtar na Rosann, club atá suite i nGaeltacht Thír Chonaill. Sular bunaíodh an club sa bhliain 1980 bhí Séamus bainteach go mór le Naomh Cróine agus Ruagairí na Rosann. Ina theannta sin, chaith sé seal ina Chathaoirleach ar Bhord Contae Dhún na nGall agus tá ardmheas air ar fud an chontae dá bharr.

Bhí an Ghaeilge ag croílár gach rud a rinne Séamus le linn a cheithre scór bliain ag plé le cúrsaí Chumann Lúthchleas Gael. Ón lá a bunaíodh Naomh Muire ba i nGaeilge a rinneadh gach gnó de chuid an chlub a bhuíochas le daoine ar nós Shéamuis. Dar ndóigh, chaith sé os cionn dhá scór bliain ar Choiste an Chlub. Anuas air sin, is iomaí uair a bhí Séamus le feiceáil ar ardáin ar fud Dhún na nGall agus níos faide i gcéin ag Scór agus é ag gabháil san iomaíocht trí Ghaeilge.

Education Award: Jerry Grogan, Cumann na mBunscoil

Born in Cahersiveen in Co. Kerry, Jerry has spent most of his life living in Dublin, and first got involved in Cumann na mBunscoil Áth Cliath when he accepted a teaching post in Holy Trinity, Donaghmede. He served as Chairman from 1984-86 and subsequently was appointed PRO, a post he still holds today and for which he has accepted many national awards. He has also served on the National Committee of Cumann na mBunscoil.

His expertise and hard work have been responsible for ensuring widespread coverage for Cumann na mBunscoil activities at both local and national level. He has produced hundreds of newsletters and has worked tirelessly at promoting Gaelic Games within Dublin Schools. As part of this work, he has been instrumental in organising trips for children to play matches in Scotland, Brussels and Luxemburg.

His greatest pride is meeting inter-county players who have been inspired by their primary school teachers and who have honed their skills through the Cumann na mBunscoil leagues.

Patrick Moynagh, International Award 

A member of the Naomh Alee GAA Club in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Patrick has worked tirelessly to grow Gaelic Games in the region, since his arrival to the Middle East in 2010. His initial involvement in Naomh Alee coincided with a period of significant rejuvenation for the club, which benefitted immensely from his leadership over many years as Chairperson.

Naomh Alee GAA Club has embraced the One Club model and is a focal point for the wider Irish community, and friends, in Riyadh. Patrick can often still be found on the sideline at numerous Middle East tournaments each year, where he continues to coach the club’s ladies’ teams. Patrick was central to the creation of the Middle East GAA County Board, established in 2013, serving as the first Treasurer of the organisation before being elected to the position of Chairperson between 2016-2018. Gaelic Games has benefitted hugely from

Patrick’s contribution, and he is a worthy recipient of the GAA President’s International Award.

Dermot Earley Family Award: Cahalanes’ of Cork, Castlehaven, Éire Óg & St. Finbarrs

The Cahalanes of Castlehaven, St. Finbarrs, and Éire Óg in Cork, are an exceptional GAA family, steeped in Cork GAA history.

Parents Niall and Ailish, both from Castlehaven in West Cork, come from families that have been involved with the Castlehaven club all their lives. In 1989, Castlehaven won their first ever Cork Senior Football Championship and then again in 1993, with Niall being one of five brothers on the team, while Ailish had three brothers on the team. To go along with club honours, Niall managed to win All-Ireland medals at Minor, U21, and Senior, in the rebel red of Cork.

Niall and Ailish have seven children, who all play, across three clubs: Castlehaven, St. Finbarrs, and Éire Óg.

Damien, Conor, and Jack all play hurling with St Finbarrs in Togher on the Southside of Cork city, and football with Castlehaven in West Cork. All three brothers were crucial players on the Finbarrs Senior Hurling team, as they won the club’s first Premier Senior County title in 22 years in 2022. In addition, they all played a vital role as Castlehaven became Cork and Munster Senior Club Football champions in 2023. Following in the footsteps of their father, all three brothers have pulled on the iconic Cork jersey countless times, with numerous Munster and All-Ireland medals between them. Damien and Conor are currently members of the Cork Senior Hurling Panel, with Damien being nominated for an All-Star in 2023, off the back of some fine displays in last year’s championship. Jack is a member of the Cork Senior Football Panel and has the unique achievement of having All-Ireland hurling and football medals at both minor and U20 grades.

Their sisters Maebh, Gráinne, Orlaith, and Kate, all play camogie for St. Finbarrs GAA, with Kate currently playing for Finbarrs underage teams. In Ladies football, Gráinne plays with Finbarrs, while Maebh, Orlaith, and Kate all represent the Éire Óg club in Ovens. Maebh, Gráinne, and Orlaith are current members of the Cork Senior Camogie Panel, having played both codes for the Rebels growing up. When it comes to the coveted All-Ireland Senior Camogie medals with Cork, Maebh and Orla have the bragging rights to date, having both tasted success on the biggest day of all.

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