Tipperary Senior Hurling Manager, Tipperary Person of the Year and Head of Bank of Ireland, Tipperary, Mr. Michael Ryan, was the Honoured Guest, last week, at the Annual presentation of PLC Awards at Colaiste Mhuire Co-Ed School, Thurles.
The Tipp senior hurling boss, so familiar to us in track suit on the sidelines of the Gaelic grounds of Ireland, was in business mode and attire as he accepted a request (“more a demand”, quipped Michael) from his cousin, Mary Ryan Maher of Suir Haven Cancer Support Centre, Thurles, to address students. Michael presented a cheque for 500 Euro, the generous proceeds of a successful Colaiste Fundraiser, to Mary Ryan Maher for Suir Haven.
Ms Seosaimin Ni Cathail, Bean a Ti for the event, (being held for the first time ever in the morning) and who is aunt of Tipp hurling star, Michael Cahill, had a fior failte for the amiable Upperchurch managerial maestro who successfully steered Tipp Seniors to a famous All-Ireland Win over Kilkenny last September. A Heady day!
“See you in Croke Park, Michael, I say to him encouragingly as I shake his hand “You’ll see me before that”, he retorts. And, of course, there is the vital matter of an All-Ireland Qualifier to be dealt with in early July. Meanwhile, Tipperary’s brave men from the hills and the glen are the champions of Ireland today.
Seosaimhin Ni Cathail stated: “Michael is no stranger to us who work here in the shadow of Semple Stadium. He brought joy, pride and excitement into the hearts of all Tipperary people last September when Brendan Maher raised the McCarthy Cup aloft in Croke Park.” She added: “It has been widely recognised that effective adult education and skills development will be critical to the Irish national recovery in terms of employability, social inclusion and competitiveness.”
Seosaimhin lauded: “Michael Ryan is passionate about his county, highly motivated, a wonderful leader and a true ambassador of the Premier County. He is the epitome of our school motto –“Rath as saothar (Success through effort).
Michael Ryan saluted the assembled students to whom he presented prizes. “You had the courage to do something different. Through necessity or through choice it does not really matter. And it’s an absolute credit to you all that you did that. Here you are, on June 1st, receiving your awards and you should be really proud of that achievement”, said Michael, having spoken about his early life after leaving Secondary School in Templemore at eighteen years of age when work was scarce and he wanted to work. And a job in the bank beckoned. He spoke of his work in the financial services area. He is now Head of Bank of Ireland Tipperary and has leadership responsibility for generating and promoting economic activity in Tipperary, across enterprise, community and branch banking. He has 29 years of experience as a Qualified Financial Advisor. He succeeded Eamonn O’ Shea as Tipperary Senior Hurling Manager for the 2015 season, having served as a Selector (2008-2010). Following an illustrious career with his beloved Upperchurch club, he served Tipperary and Munster and won a precious All-Ireland Senior medal.
Michael Ryan stated: “I suppose, you know, Colaiste Mhuire Co-Ed and several other colleges around the country have really opened our eyes.
It is really courageous of you to go back into the educational system.
I suppose my admiration is beyond words for ye this morning. It was a massive thing to do. You are testament to what can be done when you put your mind to it. Well done to those of you who have completed your course and congratulations and to those of you who will go on to continue your education in September or October, the very best of luck in that.”
The inspiring Tipperary team Manager spoke the about the importance of planning and to have the ability to change and adapt. He graciously and sportingly lauded the “fantastic role models down in Kilkenny in terms of what they had achieved. “It’s no accident but well planned”.
In terms of Tipperary, he said: “We were really happy with how it went in 2016. But, there were “incredible challenges laid down to us already in 2017” and they intended to meet those as best they can.
“And, you know what –that’s life like, you put it all on the line, you do your very best”. “So, in October, he told the awards recipients.
You do your very best and get on with it. So, congratulations to every one of you and the very best of luck to you going forward”. He thanked Colaiste for having him to share their celebration and awards ceremony.
Mr Ryan was presented with a unique piece of Art by Colaiste Art Teacher and School Photographer, Mr PJ. O’Connell. Presentations were also made to the brilliant PlC Co-Ordinator, Ms Karen Stakelum, to hardworking courteous and highly efficient School Secretary, Ms Una Fogarty, to Ms Seosaimhin Ni Cathail and to Deputy Principal, Claire Wallace, all of whom were warmly lauded by Colaiste Principal, Mr. Denis Quinn. The Colaiste chief thanked Michael Ryan for his kind words and some very important things he said about courage and taking chances. He looked forward to him being in Semple Stadium in September with the Liam McCarthy Cup (And so say all of us!).
Some 130 students were awarded in Childcare, Business, Nursing/Healthcare, Engineering, Animal Care, Sport and Recreation and Art. The Ms Sharon Walsh presented the Norma Kelly Perpetual Award to Ms Anne Skehan, Holycross (Business) described by Ms Seosaimhin Ni Cathail as “a hardworking and diligent individual with a great caring nature who pays amazing attention to detail. She is one of those people who gives up her own time to help others and does not think about it. She is a highly motivated person who will let no obstacle stop her from reaching her goals.”
The PLC Student of the Year is Ms Andrea Quinlan, Ballycahill, who studied Childcare (Level 5). Ms Seosaimhin Ni Cathail stated: “Andrea is extremely hardworking and she really embodies the spirit that imbues PLC through a supportive, unassuming and, quiet and gentle approach. She possesses an excellent attendance record, is enjoying the course and also embracing the serious aspect of her work while still managing to have a great sense of humour. She is very much a team player and has proved to be a great leader at times in the group.
She has a caring nature, is highly motivated and has a great attention to detail.”
The folks in “An Bialann” laid on a sumptuous repast for all following the ceremony and Michael Ryan’s address I feel, earned the Tipp Manager a great deal of added respect and admiration from an enthralled audience, who included School Chaplain, Rev Gerry Hennessy. There were also presentations to Tipperary ETBPLC Soccer Tournament winners.