GAA President’s Awards
The 11 recipients of the GAA’s 2021 Gradaim an Uachtaráin includes two Donegal Gaels – an tÁthair Seán Ó Gallchóir (Cloich Cheann Fhaola) and Fergus Mac Aoidh (Naomh Adhamhnáin). Comghairdeas to both. These prestigious annual awards, organised with the support of AIB, will be broadcast by TG4 this coming Sunday February 28th at 5.10 pm. The 11 award recipients 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. The other nine awardees are:
Denis Carr St. Oliver Plunketts/Eoghan Ruadh, Dublin;
John Clifford, Laune Rangers, Kerry;
Peter Joe Fitzmaurice, Kilmore, Roscommon;
Linda Kenny, Burren Rangers Hurling & Camogie, Carlow;
Michael & Ann Naughton, St. Coman’s, Roscommon;
The Dempsey Family, St. Joseph’s GAA Club, Milltown, Laois;
Catherine Murphy, Mungret St. Pauls, Limerick; and,
Tony Bass, Maastricht Gaels, The Netherlands.
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”.
Fr Seán is the Ulster Award recipient and 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.
The recipient of the Gradam na Gaeilge award is Fergus Mac Aoidh who has just stepped down as Irish Cultural Officer in CLG Dhún nanGall and is currently one of the county’s two Ulster Council Delegates. 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 shin i leith tá sé sáite ina chlub áitiúil, CLG Naomh Adhamhnáin, agus an tuafás déanta aige thar na blianta chun an Ghaeilge agus Scór a chur chin sa chlub mar bhall agus mar Oifigeach Gaeilge. Bronnadh bonn créumha de chuid Fhondúireacht Sheosaimh Mhic Dhonncha ar an gclub sa bhliain 2019mar 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.