Local winners of GAA President’s Awards

There were three local winners of GAA President’s Awards which were announced on Sunday last on TG4.

Peter Joe Fitzmaurice of Kilmore GAA won the Connacht award while Michael and Ann Naughton of the St. Coman’s club won the award for handball.

The Gradaim an Uachtaráin 2021 is sponsored by AIB and allow GAA President John Horan to acknowledge outstanding commitment and long service in the GAA.

The winners of the award for handball, Michael and Ann Naughton, have served St. Coman’s club, Roscommon and Connacht since 1980, and say they were “overwhelmed” with the number of messages they have received this week.

Ann, who has served as team manager to official Irish teams at various World Championships, said: “It’s a great honour. Most of the young players we’ve coached down through the years have been sending their congratulations to us. We’ve had a great time travelling over the years with teams and we appreciate all the awards we have won but this is the biggest and the best. It’s the icing on the cake”.

Michael said he was “very happy” to have won the award and that it was great recognition for the success St. Coman’s and Roscommon handball has enjoyed over many years.

Michael has served as club and county PRO and has also had lifelong involvement in ladies football. He won a number of Masters titles in both 40×20 and 60×30 and had a long playing career. He continues his promotional work for handball through the Roscommon GAA History Committee and is still coaching at the St. Coman’s Handball Club.

Together, the Naughtons have coached many young players in the county and an incredible haul of honours has followed including titles in Féile na Gael, Community Games, Tailteann Games, All-Ireland 40×20 & 60×30, Girls Team of 10, World Championships, USHA Nationals, 40×20 and one-wall Nationals were brought back to the club and county during their time.

Winner of the Connacht award, 90-year-old Peter Joe Fitzmaurice, became vice-chairperson of Kilmore GAA Club when it was formed in 1972 and has been involved ever since.

He said: “There have been constant phone calls all week. The best part was when the cousins in America saw it!

“It’s a great honour for both myself and my family after being involved in the GAA for so many years”.

Peter Joe is still active in Kilmore and on the farm and says he’s looking forward to the end of Covid.

In Peter Joe’s time, Kilmore have won the County Junior championship in 1975, Intermediate championship in 1981 and Roscommon senior championship in 1983 and Peter Joe has been an ever constant and was a selector on all three occasions.

He has held many roles within the club including vice-chairperson, treasurer, assistant treasurer and is President of Kilmore GAA for over 20 years. Peter Joe also served as a selector on many underage teams down the years.

He was a crucial part of the club drive back in 1979 when Kilmore acquired a new ground and developed the current pitch and facilities which were opened in 1982. He has also given over 20 years of service to Roscommon GAA as a loyal gate collector on gates for club and inter-county games.