Convention Day - Hayes Hotel Thurles, 1984
One of the highlights as well as one of the earliest events of Centenary Year was the County Convention. As was only fitting the historic Hayes's Hotel in Thurles was the venue and the date was a cold and sleety February 5, 1984. It was one of the best attended conventions with almost three hundred delegates present.
The keynote address was by the President of the Gaelic Athletic Association, Paddy Buggy, who said that 'Tipperary had much to be proud of and much to celebrate in the Centenary Year of the Association'. He called for a united front in everything undertaken in 1984 and for greater co-operation to run a disciplined organisation. 'Think before we speak and see that the G.A.A. rekindles the idealism and energy that saw the infant G.A.A. thrust to life here in Thurles and which will send it into orbit for another great century of community involvement. Let's run an organisation that will be an example to all others and that we will be proud to belong to, proud of its origins, proud of its distinctive Celtic and Irish involvemnent. Keep the G.A.A. a community organisation working well for its people and supporting everything that is for the well-being of its area,' he said.
In the only contest of the convention, Liz Howard defeated outgoing Gerry Long by 150 votes to 126 for the office of County P.R.O. The other officers re-appointed were chairman, Michael Frawley, secretary, Tommy Barrett, treasurer, Martin O'Connor, Munster Council delegates, Tim Maher and Michael McCarthy, Central Council representative, John Doyle, development officer, Fr. Pierce Duggan, youth officer, Liam O Donnchú, Oifigeach na Gaeilge, Eamonn de Stafford.
The patron of the Association, Most rev. Dr. Thomas Morris, celebrated Mass at the cathedral of the Assumption, Thurles for the repose of the souls of deceased Gaels of the county before the start of convention. After the mass the members of the county board and representatives of every club in the county assembled in the grounds of St. Patrick's College. They marched to St. Mary's Cemetary behind the Thurles Silver Band and under the banners of the clubs. A wreath was laid on the grave of Tom Semple, the great Thurles and Tipperary hurler, after whom Semple Stadium is called. The wreath was laid by County Board Chairman, Michael Frawley, who gave a short address on Tom Semple. The prayers for the dead were recited by Right Rev. Dean C. Lee, P.P., Cashel.
After the ceremony the delegates re-assembled and paraded back to Liberty Square where they were officially welcomed outside Hayes' Hotel by Mr. Frank Dwan, Vice-Chairman of Thurles Urban Council, who was deputising for the Chairman and former Tipperary hurler, Mr. John Delahunty, who was not available. The parade through the town was an extremely colourful and comprehensive display of club banners, many of which had been designed and made specially for Centenary Year. As the parade wound its way round the square and the intrepid club members controlled the banners against the gusting wind, their effort went unnoticed by the vast majority of Thurles people and unrecorded by either still or video
County Chairman, Michael Frawley, welcomed the delegates to the Convention and they were given a short address by Archbishop Morris. A number of presentations were made. An illuminated scroll was presented to the President of the County Board, Willie O'Dwyer of Boherlahan, who was hale and hearty at ninty-five. In a strong voice he informed the delegates that he attended his first Convention in 1914. Another presentation was made to Tommy Barrett to mark his twenty-first year in office as County Secretary.
In the course of his address County Chairman, Michael Frawley, told the assembled delegates: 'On our shoulders rests the responsibility of consolidating and strengthening what has been handed down to us. As we prepare to enter the second year of our existence, there still exists the same dire need for loyalty as regards what the Association stands for - sacrifice and input on the part of us all' .
The Borrisoleigh Problem, about representation on the County Senior Hurling Selection Committee, surfaced in the form of motions from the club. They asked that the county senior hurling champions for this and future years be empowered to nominate the senior hurling selection committee. The motions were ruled out of order by the Chairman. Michael Delaney of Borrisoleigh said that his club had decided to withdraw the motion relating to this year's selectors, as a gesture of goodwill and solidarity and an exercise in closing ranks, but he would like to have Convention consider the motion for future years. His request was not allowed.
John Doyle, who was re-appointed Central Council representative on the withdrawal of Michael Maguire, called for the closing of ranks behind all the county teams and an end to the constant knocking of our best endeavours. Fr. Pierce Duggan assured Convention that Tipperary would not be found wanting in coping with the practical tasks involved in the staging of the Centenary All-Ireland hurling final. He was returned unopposed as Development Officer. Motions from Clonmel Commercials and Silvermines clubs for an Open Draw for 1984 in football and hurling were defeated.
Overall then a more formal and ceremonial occasion than the usual Convention. To the delegates conscious of the historic aspect it was an impressive event that revealed an Association in a confident, self-assured and forward-looking state. To those who cast their minds back a hundred years there was the realisation of how far the organisation had come from the small and tentative beginnings at Miss Hayes's Commercial Hotel on November 1,1884.
Tipperary G.A.A. Centenary Yearbook, pp 28-29