The 21st Wexford District annual clubperson of the year awards were held in The Riverbank House Hotel, Wexford, in front of an attendance of over 200 people.
The awards are designed to recognise the efforts and hard work of the many volunteers within the G.A.A. clubs within the Wexford District.
Each of the recipients was chosen by their club for their commitment and dedication to their clubs and communities by virtue of their involvement.
It is an indication of the work that is required to making a club successful.
In attendance on the night were Wexford County Board Chairman Derek Kent, County Secretary Gearóid Mac Daibhéíd, and County Treasurer Andrew Nolan.
Derek Kent thanked the District officers for his invitation and congratulated the District for being so forward thinking in establishing the awards so many years ago.
He said that, following the attendance last year at the awards night of An tÚachtarán Cumann Luthcleas Gael, John Horan, it is an idea that is being considered to happen in other counties, including Dublin and Louth.
Gearóid Mac Daibhéíd congratulated all the clubs in the District on their successes in 2019 and reflected on the huge successes in winning both the Leinster Senior and Minor hurling championships.
Guest speaker for the event was Ursula Jacob, one of the most decorated camogie players of the modern era.
She reflected on how dependent both the G.A.A. and Camogie Association are on the input of the committed volunteers, and awards such as this is one way of acknowledging such dedication and commitment.
Such wonderful involvement in local communities is often taken for granted but, without it, many parishes and communities would be devastated and greatly impoverished.
She painted a scenario of what could happen if the volunteer, the bedrock of what the G.A.A. is built on, was lost:
Grounds would not be maintained;
Clubhouses and equipment would be neglected;
Fundraising, which all clubs depend on, would cease and, most importantly, our youth would be deprived of the opportunities to play our national games in a safe environment. Their fitness, health and well-being would be comprised, and the joys of representing their clubs and county would be lost.
Reflecting on her career, she spoke of the luck that she was to be born into a family that was steeped in the G.A.A.
She acknowledged the contribution made by the coaches in her own club, Oulart-The Ballagh, to her development which ultimately resulted in her representing Wexford at the highest level and giving her the opportunities to achieve so much success for both club and county.
She also expressed her view that all players, be it at club or county level, have a duty and responsibility to give back to the sport that it is a privilege to play.
As a token of appreciation, District Chairman Thos. Ryan made a presentation to her on behalf of the officers and clubs of Wexford District.
Individual recipients of the night were: Lar Lacey (Blackwater), Aidan Gilbert (Clonard), John Cummins (Crossabeg-Ballymurn), Therese Byrne (Faythe Harriers), Méabh Cooney (Glynn-Barntown), Tony Rowe (Kilmore), Danny Sinnott (Our Lady's Island), Ian Donohue (Sarsfields), Sheila Roche (Shelmaliers), Francis Whelan (St. Anne's), Martin Fanning (St. Fintan's), David Fitzgerald (St. Joseph's), Tómas Codd (St. Martin's), James Murray (St. Mary's, Maudlintown), Roy Ryan (St. Mary's, Rosslare), Rory Dwyer (Volunteers).
In addition to the clubperson of the year awards, two clubs are chosen annually for nominations to the District Hall of Fame.
This year this honour fell to Blackwater and Glynn-Barntown, who chose Mike Carroll and Tom Rossiter respectively.
The final award presented was the highly-coveted Wexford District club of the year trophy, sponsored by the hosts, the Riverbank House Hotel.
This award is voted on by the clubs in Wexford District, and the accolade went to St. Mary's (Rosslare), with a delighted club Chairman, Conor Roche, accepting the trophy on behalf of the club.