By Conall Collier
Ratoath GAA club celebrated a fantastic 2012 at its annual awards night recently where newly-elected Meath Co Board chairman Conor Tormey from the Donaghmore/Ashbourne club was the special guest.
There was plenty of good-humoured banter on the night when it was announced that Conor McGill was the club's overall player-of-the-year.
Ratoath stalwart Andy Fahy was the MC for the evening and paid tribute to the sterling efforts of the players and the selectors of the various teams and also the other hard-working helpers who carried out vital duties behind the scenes at training as well as on match days.
There was lavish praise for football manager Davy Byrne and his selectors Martin Mannering and Simon Donnelly.
"There was a big effort by everyone and we are all looking forward to 2013, we have players on the Meath minor and u-21 panels and that's great for the club," stated Fahy.
"It was disappointing that we didn't get promotion from the A FL Div 3, but both Moynalvey and Na Fianna were ahead of us and they are both senior teams, so maybe we didn't fare too badly either.
"We were unlucky with some results in the hurling and I'm sure we can improve on that form.
"I'm delighted to welcome Conor Tormey here this evening in his new role of Meath Co Board chairman and Francis Flynn in his new capacity as secretary, Jimmy Henry is also welcome, he was very helpful to us during the past year in relation to fixtures and that's also appreciated," added Fahy. There was an extra warm welcome extended to ithe new Meath Co Board chairman who enthusiastically performed his official duties.
The Donaghmore/Ashbourne official, who was elected Co Board chairman at the December annual convention in Navan, entered into the spirit of the occasion as he reflected on the pain that had been inflicted on his own club during what was a memorable 2012 for Ratoath.
"When I was invited to make the presentations for the junior and minor championships I thought someone in Ratoath was winding me up," quipped Tormey. The comment was prompted by the fact that Ratoath defeated Donaghmore/Ashbourne in both the JFC and MFC deciders and there was a noisy reaction to the comments that were greeted with loud applause.
The Co Board chairman congratulated Ratoath on what was a fantastic year for the club during which they also won the prestigious Táilteann Cup.
"It has been a great year for Ratoath, but I believe that if you get the under-age structure correct then success will follow and there are lots of talented young players in this club," he said.
"I suppose we will wish your former manager Davy Byrne well in his new role with the Dublin team, but you have brought in a good man to replace him in Eamonn Barry.
"There is no reason why Ratoath can't continue to build on the success they have enjoyed in 2012 and I'm sure everyone is looking forward to the new year," he added.
Ratoath chairman Mick Brassil thanked all the players, in both football and hurling, for their efforts during 2012.
"It's fitting that we are presenting the MFC medals with the JFC medals as we have a lot of young players coming through from the under-age ranks to the adult team and that should be a big boost for 2013," stated Brassil.
Dermot Rooney was thanked for his efforts with the under-age structure in Ratoath. The minor team won the last two MFC titles and has appeared in the last three finals (2010, 2011 and 2012) and it was suggested that they have a great chance of completing three-in-a-row in 2013.
Hurling boss Larry McGowan referred to the great tradition in the club for the small-ball-game.
"Hurling has a great tradition in Ratoath and I'm proud to be involved with the club, I'm delighted to see Conor Tormey in the Co Board chair, we didn't have a great year in 2012, but we are all looking forward to improving the hurling fortunes of the club in 2013," he stated.
Apart from the championship medals, individual club awards were also presented.
While Conor McGill took the player-of-the-year accolade, Brian Daly was selected for the young player-of-the-year and received the Gaughan Cup from Danny Gaughan.
Padraig O'Hanrahan took the hurler-of-the-year award and the young hurler accolade was handed over to Patrick Dowd. Presentations of signed and framed club jerseys were made to the manager and selectors of the JFC-winning team by the Co Board secretary while there was a certificate of appreciation presented to Brian Power.