A FINE CROWD gathered in the Seven Oaks Hotel on Saturday evening to honour the the outstanding achievers of 2012, and for one individual the acknowledgement of a lifetime of GAA involvement.
Jim Deane entered the hall of fame books and deservedly so, the soon to be 91-year-old was in fine form to receive his award and the former Tinryland player deservedly got a standing ovation and the longest applause of the night from the 300 strong crowd.
Jim has six Carlow Senior football winners medals from his first in 1943 and the rest following in '44, '46, '48, '49 and 1950.
Tommy Murphy was once again the Fear an Tí and his good humor and often his general demeanor had the crowd in tears of laughter.
The funniest moment of the night arrived when Tommy called up Pat McNally to receive his outstanding service award and the two men recounted the last time they met on a pitch.
Tommy: "Do you remember it Pat, a lovely summers evening and I was 47 and you were 54 and we lined out again' one another in a Junior game?"
Pat: "Begod, I do Tommy, I was full back and you were corner forward marking young Lowry, a nephew of mine."
Tommy: "Aye, and a ball came toward our end and I went flying out after it..." Pat: "What did you say Tommy? "Flying" was it? At this point the crowd were doubled over with laughter, but when Tommy became almost hysterical with the giggles the crowd loved it all the more.
Tommy: "Well fair enough Pat, but I was out after this ball and you let a roar to young Lowry, "don't foul him, don't foul him". Now I was surely 10 yards ahead of him but I threw one leg behind the other and went down and sure enough I got a free, but I felt bad for young Lowry, because you let another roar saying, "didn't I tell ya not to foul him"."
It was a great conversation to witness between two great Carlow GAA men.
Sean Gannon collected the footballer of the year award the same weekend he has taken himself off the Carlow Senior panel but there was no one in the house going to deny the Eire Og man the well deserved accolade.
Edward Coady had one of the greatest years of his life as a Mount Leinster Ranger hurler and he also deservedly picked up the Hurler of the Year award before lining out yet again for Carlow in the Walsh Cup and leading by example.
Handball in Ireland never got so much attention as it did in 2012 with the World Championships being held in City West, but locally John Rossiter was dead right when he said handball doesn't get the coverage it deserves.
The world champion himself, who was also a fine hurler, took the Handball Award.
Kate Nolan was in receipt of a Camogie Award, and in the eyes of many, not a minute too soon. The outstanding versatile athlete was honoured in the Seven Oaks as the Camogie player of the year.
Jim Murphy of St. Mullins picked up the Intermediate hurler of the year while Kieran Nolan of the Fighting Cocks took the football and Mount Leinster Rangers took a special award for winning the All-Ireland almost one year ago.
Louise Clarke picked up the Rounders Award after an impressive 19 years dedication to the game and James Cox of Ballinkillen took the Junior Hurler of the Year award.
The Myshall camogie team were heavily represented on Saturday night and they were given a special award for their All-Ireland success in 2012.
Palatine man and former Senior football championship winner Paud O'Dwyer was named referee of the year in his seventh year as a Carlow referee.
Rathvilly woman Lena Smith was given the Coiste Na nOg award and there is no doubt that if anyone in the country deserved an award it's the Haroldstown woman.
Lena has been the backbone of Rathvilly GAA, especially at juvenile level since some of us can even remember and what's even more sh has been keeping the men in Coiste on their toes for just as long. The busiest woman in Carlow GAA, Lena was one of the most deserving award winners of 2012
The Carlow Senior hurlers received a special award on their promotion from Division 2A and Theo Kearney took the Cumann Na Iarbunscoileanna award.
Hilary Griffin was awarded ladies footballer of the year and the Ballon woman had a fine year in 2012. Hugh Byrne was in receipt of the Cumann na Mbunscoil award and of course the Carlow Senior camogie team were given a special award after their thrilling All-Ireland success.
The very first award on the night went to one of the most remarkable men in Carlow football history.
Willie Quinlan has 11 Senior Carlow medals, one Senior hurling champinship, one Minor, five U-21, 4 leinster club championships, one Railway Cup medal, as well as a host of other medals as a coach and a player.
The Eire Og man is the football analyst for KCLR96fm and the current Carlow Minor football manager.
One award he still didn't have was Carlow Junior player of the year but after 2012 he has filled that spot on the shelf where alongside his Junior medal sits his son Niall's also.