The name Connie Maher will always be synonymous with Thurles Sarsfields, having hurled across the length and breadth of the county for many years in our famous blue and white jersey.
Although he finished his days in attack, Connie was regarded as one of the finest centre backs in the county for many seasons and his strength and drive singled him out as one of the toughest in the business.
Connie played it hard and tough - but always fair. Perhaps that is why he is so popular with so many players and GAA supporters even outside of the club.
Connie captained the club on many occasions and was an inspiration. He won several awards but the elusive county honour never came his way. Despite having hurled at senior level for almost twenty years, Connie did not manage to get his hands on a county senior medal.
Despite the disappointments, Connie was always the first to return to training and his influence over younger players became very important to Sarsfields in his closing playing days. He was in a position to impart advice to the young guns and they listened intently. Perhaps that is partly why the Dan Breen finally returned to Thurles in 2005 after a 31 year gap.
As a much sought after hurling coach, over the years
Connie has been spreading the hurling gospel at home and abroad. Perhaps Connie’s greatest attributes are his honesty and his sincerity. These are the qualities that make him so popular with colleagues and opponents alike. His excellent disciplinary record as a player illustrates how fair he was on the pitch, and his popularity shows how decent a man he is off it.
Connie Maher’s contribution to this club over the years is up there with the best. He might not have countless county medals, but he has the respect of countless friends and admirers.
Connie is an outstanding Sarsfields man, who takes immense pride in the club’s achievements, and who is never found wanting when there is a job to be done.
His selection as Club Person of the Year is due and fitting recognition for a life-time of commitment to The Blues.
Please stand and salute our Club Person of the Year –Connie Maher
It is right that, as we celebrate this evening, we pay tribute and express our thanks and appreciation to Michael Maher, who stepped down from the position of chairman, a post he held since 2008.
Michael - During your years as club chairman, Thurles Sarsfields have gone from strength to strength, both on and off the field.
Hurling has always been your sporting passion, always to the forefront in your dealings with the club and you have done everything in your power to strengthen the game in the club and success has followed.
Your record speaks for itself:
During your years as chairman Thurles Sarsfields won 17 major championships
1 Munster Club Hurling Championship (2012)
7 County Senior Hurling Championships (2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 + 2017)
6 Under 21 County Championships (part of the management for 4 of these) (2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016)
2 Junior B County Championships (2010+2017)
1 Minor County Championship (2010)
Off the field, our magnificent new dressing rooms were completed in 2014 and are now a very important addition to the amenities we offer our players. New Bathrooms, Kitchen and other upgrades to the clubhouse completed November 2017.
As you all know, the club has acquired its own playing field for the first time, with the purchase of 14.8 acres of land at Toor Killinan in November 2014. For years this major undertaking had been spoken of – now it is becoming a reality. Gladly you are staying on to lead this development and with the financial support of club members, supporters and friends we will see the new pitch and facilities providing for the needs of club players, both male and female.
These things don’t happen by accident. You have presided over all these diverse activities and have ensured that everything was done in a proper manner.
As a player, Michael you never gave less than one hundred percent, you never shirked a challenge or was cowed by the immensity of any task.
Hailing from a family, generations of whom have helped make Sarsfields the great club it is today, Michael is not simply following in the footsteps of his illustrious ancestors, but has put his own stamp on this club and its progress, and has carved his own niche in the club’s history.
Thanks to Nora for her support and understanding through all the years. Thanks Michael for your foresight, leadership, and dedication. The club is now well-placed to face the challenges that lie ahead, both on and off the field.
Please stand as we acknowledge the work of our former chairman-