Stars of the present and heroes of the past       honoured at big Offaly GAA awards night

Clive Nesbitt

Reporter:

Clive Nesbitt

Email:

clive@alphanewspapers.co.uk

The 2018 Offaly GAA/Bridge House players of the year function was held on Saturday night last and in keeping with previous years, a bumper crowd turned out to honour the best that Offaly GAA had to offer in 2018.

A crowd of over 400 were in attendance to see 19 awards in total handed out from senior down to minor and including handball, camogie, ladies football and the induction of the latest members into the football and hurling hall of fame.

Kinnitty’s Ger Coughlan and Daingean’s Kevin Kilmurray were the men chosen to be inducted and both were deserving and popular winners.

The awards winners, chosen in December, by local Journalists Brian Lowry, Kevin Corrigan, Mary Dunne, Joe Troy and Kevin Egan all turned out on a night when their talents on the field were rightly honoured.

RTE’s Eamon Horan was the MC on the night and it was clear to see that the Ballycumber native was delighted to be part of the night.

The Bridge House hotel are the long standing sponsors of the awards and once again, they put on a top class meal to the 400 plus crowd with Mr Bridge House himself, Noel McCann a key organiser on the night.

After the four course meal, the awards were presented to the recipients with citations read out by Eamon Horan.

Afterwards, a questions and answers session with two of Offaly’s finest, Ger Coughlan and Kevin Kilmurray was conducted by Eamon Horan with both men extremely grateful and honoured to be inducted into such a prestigious group.

Both men spoke passionately about Offaly GAA in general and expressed hope that the good times would come again in the not too distant future.

Ger Coughlan won two All Ireland hurling medals with Offaly in 1981 and 1985 while winning All Stars in both years also. From Kinnitty, he was an extremely skilful hurler who hurled in the half back line for his entire Inter County career.

Kevin Kilmurray was one of the vital cogs in the Offaly football wheel in the 70’s. A member of the double All Ireland winning team that captured Sam McGuire in 1971 and 1972, the Daingean native also went on to manage Offaly and they reached the Leinster final back in 2006, the last Offaly team to have done so.

It was clear from their input on the stage that they both viewed their time and success with Offaly as a privilege and they urged the current crop of players to have patience and to keep things going. Coughlan in particular said it only took a small spark to get them going in the early 80’s and that the same could happen at any stage.

Ferbane native Kate Kenny became the first person to win awards in different codes in the same year as she was honoured with the Ladies Football and Camogie awards.

Rhode’s Anton Sullivan and Coolderry’s Kevin Connolly scooped the senior football and hurling awards respectively while there was also a big Ferbane/Belmont contingent on the night as along with Kate Kenny, Dermot Daly won the Intermediate footballer of the year, Cian Johnson won the U20 award and David Nally was rewarded for his efforts with Belmont and was named the U21 hurler of the year.

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