Austin Gleeson, Mt. Sion. Adult Hurler of the Year Award is pictured receiving his award from Michael Keane, Glanbia (sponsors). Also included is Paddy Joe Ryan, Chairman Co. GAA Board at Lawlor’s Hotel on Saturday night. Photo: Sean Byrne//Deise Sport.
Waterford GAA Awards 2016
Austin Gleeson supplemented his bulging collection of individual honours in Lawlors Hotel on Saturday night when he was announced as hurler of the year at the Local Bar Waterford GAA awards ceremony.
The Mount Sion All Star topped inter county team mates Jamie Barron, Pauric Mahony and Noel Connors to collect this award for the first time. Speaking to Míchéal Ó Drisleáin on stage, Gleeson said that the agony of the replay loss to Kilkenny will spur them on for 2017.
“Two years ago, when we were defeated by Kilkenny, it was like we were almost happy to get to a semi final. Last year, the draw and the replay really did hurt. Ask any member of the team, it was one of the worst dressing rooms ever. We’re hoping to use that hurt from last year.”
When asked about the time commitments required to stay among the elite, Gleeson pointed out that it’s the players’ choice to make those sacrifices. “It’s a six day a week job at this stage. You’re going from college to training to home and that’s the way it’s gone. We wouldn’t be there if we didn’t want to do it. A lot of people are talking about giving players a rest but it’s our commitment; it’s not the management making us do it. We just want to get over the line for Waterford.”
He stated a preference for Tipperary in the Munster semi final next June. “We just didn’t turn up last year and if we get another chance, we’ll prove, whether we win or not, that it was just one of those days.”
County champions The Nire claimed the two individual football prizes on offer. Uncompromising full back Thomas O’Gorman was chosen as senior player of 2016 while hero in the making Dylan Guiry won the young player category for his exploits with both club and county.
Lismore’s Jack Prendergast took underage hurler of the year. The silky forward scored 1-5 in a man of the match performance against Dunhill in the county intermediate final and excited during the Munster minor championship.
On the eve of their Munster junior hurling final appearance, Ballyduff Lower beat fellow provincial contestants Lismore and The Nire to club of the year. Chairman Fergus Dunne said that they made a determined effort to promote both codes. “Twelve months ago, we didn’t even have a football team at adult level. A huge amount of credit has to go to Neil O’Sullivan and his management team who took on the task of not only the hurling team but also the football team. The spirit and the whole atmosphere around Kilmeaden and Ballyduff, as a result of their success, has been nothing short of phenomenal.”
Hall of Fame winner Pat McGrath recalled his club debut for Mount Sion in a Munster club championship game against Roscrea. The sixteen year old received a late call-up from Pat Fanning after Johnny Guinan failed to show.
Long serving team secretary with the Waterford hurlers Jim Dee was a popular choice for the Jack Furlong accolade. He worked under five different managers and hopes to see the Liam McCarthy return in the near future. Ballygunner native Pat McCarthy was honoured to bring home the Seamus O’Brien award. He gave outstanding service to the Eastern board and dedicated over sixty years to club activities.
Special merit recipient Eddie O’Shea (Cappoquin/Affane) started with Bord na nÓg back in 1988 when he took over from John Jackson. Mossy Landy also got recognised for his loyal work behind the scenes with Bonmahon. Nicky Keating accepted the special achievement award on behalf of under 21 manager Sean Power. Patricia Walsh was acknowledged for her role as secretary of the Féile organising committee. The under 14 festival of hurling, camogie and handball attracted 240 teams to Waterford and Tipperary in June.
Monnie Hallahan’s devotion to traditional music and dance earned him the special recognition to culture award. He helped Sliabh gCua capture the All Ireland Scór na nÓg title in instrumental music back in January, the first Waterford side to win this competition. Cappoquin/Affane secured the special achievement to development award for their modern dressing room facility.
200 people attended this smoothly-run event with chairman of the awards committee Brendan Tobin and MC Míchéal Ó Drisleáin keeping the crowd entertained. County chairman Paddy Joe Ryan congratulated the prize winners and warmly thanked the clubs for their continued support.