Hurling followers in the county and much further afield can look forward to some interesting reading with the launch on Friday Nov 11th at Sarsfields Social Centre of “The Runai”, which records the career in Cumann Luthchleas Gael of Tomas O Baroid, current President of the county board, who served as secretary of the board for almost forty years, and who was actively involved in several projects which changed the face of the association during his time in office.
A legend in administrative circles, Tommy’s GAA career is recorded in his biography written by Thurles Presentation Secondary school teacher Susan Max, whose father, Jim, is currently Treasurer of the Mid Board, and a key figure in the management team at Semple Stadium, as was his late father, Tommy, before him. It deals comprehensively with his years, firstly as football secretary, and then as secretary of the Thurles Sarsfields Club from the early fifties until his election as county secretary in 1963 in succession to Pat Stakelum of Holycross who stood down for health reasons. He continued in the post until 1999, a record term of office which will never be equalled.
The book chronicles his input into the foundation of Feile na nGael, along with the then county chairman, Seamus O Riain, later to be President of the GAA, William Corbett, Eamon deStafort, Tom Kirby, Liam Ryan and others, which, since 1971 has been the largest national festival of juvenile hurling.
The on-going development of Semple Stadium from being an important provincial ground to its status today as a major venue, second only to Croke Park, also occupied much of his time as a member of the Semple Stadium Management Committee. He was also to the fore in the organisation of the Centenary All-Ireland in 1984 and the subsequent ventures to finance the cost of that project.
However, though he was to serve on several Croke Park committees, his priority always was Tipperary and the state of the games here. During his early time as secretary, Tipperary won the 64, 65, and 71 All-Irelands and he was also at the helm when the Babs Keating led teams ended the eighteen year famine with the All-Ireland success in 1989.
While his years in administration are the main focus of the book, his own very successful playing career are also featured. He was an accomplished footballer, winning medals with Sarsfields, following the revival of football in the club in the early fifties, but he also won six county senior hurling championship medals as a forward with “The Blues”, his first in 1952, and as part of the all-conquering five-in-a-row team which dominated the county scene from ‘55 to ‘60.
Indicative of his prowess with the caman was his selection on the county squads in ‘54,’55, and ‘56. He won a National Hurling League medal in 1955, making a significant contribution in the defeat of Wexford in the final and played against Clare in the Munster championship that year.
In many ways Tommy’s story mirrors the history of the association in the county during the second half of the last century. Never a man to shirk a challenge or to voice his opinion on subjects close to his heart, his views of the issues which arose during that period are thought-provoking, and make for engaging reading.
Tommy and Susan are congratulated on the publication of the book which will be launched by former GAA President, and long-time friend, Peter Quinn. In the run up to Christmas, it should make an ideal present for Tipp GAA fans at home and abroad.
The book can be purchased on the night of the launch or in bookshops throughout the Premier County. It can also be ordered online at firstname.lastname@example.org
Launch at 8:00pm - all proceeds for Hospice.