Tipperary’s senior hurlers handed over more than 40,000 Euro to two worthwhile charities this week, the proceeds of their pre-Christmas Fun Run and Walk, which they now hope to make an annual event.
The extraordinary sum of money was gathered at the event which was led by Captain Brendan Maher and despite the inclement weather, almost 1000 people took part in what was an inspirational occasion, with young and old alike participating.
The Tipperary Supporters Club launced their membership for 2014 in the Horse and Jockey on the night, but they didn’t mind one bit, that the senior hurlers had jumped on board to make their presentations of cheques to the value of 20,117 Euro to Suir Haven Cancer Support Centre in Thurles, and to Friends of St Luke’s in Dublin, where their former teammate Eddie Connolly is curretnly receiving treatment.
The Loughmore Castleiney star was present at the event looking fit and well and was accompanied by family members and friends - the majority of those who participated in the walk, did so in support of this great Gael.
Maria McGrath of Suir Haven and Deirdre Hughes of St Luke’s outlined the roles their centres play in the treatment and support for sufferers of cancer and they thanked the Tipp hurlers for their enormous efforts and for the very sizeable cheques presented.
The Supporters Club launch was attended by County Board Chairman Sean Nugent , and the minor and u-21 Managers Liam Cahill and TJ Connolly, as well as Assistant Manager of the senior hurling team Michael Ryan.
All three outlined the plans for the season to come and there was a real air of determination to leave no stone unturned in a bid to ensure that 2014 offers more for supporters to cheer about. This sense of determination was palpable in the Horse and Jockey on the night with senior captain Brendan Maher setting the tone when he told those present as he left the podium, that he hoped to be addressing them again from the slightly higher steps of Croke Park in September.
Board Chairman Sean Nugent outlined the role finance plays in the running of GAA affairs in the county, and he pointed out that it will take 100,000 Euro more in 2014 than it did in 2013.
“That’s a significant challenge but that is what is required if you want to achieve success. I believe every Tipperary supporter out there wants that and I encourage them all to join the Tipperary Supporters Club ,” he said before congratulating the senior hurlers for their tremendous efforts with the Fun Run and Walk before Christmas.
Joe Tuohy Secretary of the Supporters Club and John Coman, Treasurer outlined in detail the role of the Club and pointed out that for just 30 Euro per annum, there are very many benefits such as discounts for various hotels and shops, text alerts for team selections and news, a members scarf, and monthly draws for tickets. The club has an average of 2,500 members per annum, but John Coman added that there is a huge turnover each year. Were the club to keep their members for five years, the membership strength would be in the region of 5,000. He encouraged promoters to seek a few extra members each year and assured those present that their cash was going towards the support of the hurlers in Tipperary.
Supporters Club Chairman John Tierney reminded people that the sole purpose of the Tipperary Supporters Club is to help the Tipperary teams and ‘every single bob raised go towards that goal.’
He paid tribute to the sellers and acknowledged how difficult it is to sell anything nowadays. but, the promotion of Tipperary is their remit and they have gone about ensuring that the hurlers are looked after in whatever way possible.
John Tierney wished the players well for 2014 and said that he was heartened to hear the kind of determination and honesty which the three management members put forward on the night.
“Players in Tipp have a very difficult job to do because of the very high levels of expectations which exist in this county. But, they are determined and we are committed to supporting them,” he said.
Perhaps the last word should be left to Brendan Maher who reacted to comments from Board Chairman Sean Nugent as he outlined the ‘monastic lives’ that the modern players lead in a bid to be right physically and mentally for the fray.
“Yes, we are living monastic lives as Sean said, but that is our choice and we are guaranteeing every Tipperary person that we are giving 100% and doing whatever is necessary to bring honour and pride to our county.” Well said Brendan.