Seán Ó Cróinín, the legendary GAA stalwart from Baile Bhuirne will be honoured with the prestigious Údarás na Gaeltachta ‘Lóchrann’ award at Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta 2019 to be held in the west Kerry Corca Dhuibhne Gaeltacht this weekend (31/5/19-3/6/19).
Seán Ó Cróinín has been at the centre of Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta for 50 years, both on a national level and on a local level – as a player, as a selector, as an organiser and as an official.
Lóchrann (meaning beacon or guiding light) is a perpetual award which is proffered annually to recipients as recognition for their achievements in the promotion of sports in the Gaeltacht. The renowned Conamara artist, Pádraic Reaney designed and created the award. The Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta National Committee select the Údarás na Gaeltachta sponsored award recipient.
There is no position within the Naomh Abán club that has not been held by Ó Cróinín at some point.
Seán Ó Cróinín is one of the few to have represented different clubs in the Comórtas competition, and in his case for two different provinces. He represented Tuar Mhic Éadaigh, Co. Mayo in the first-ever comórtas in 1969 and again in 1971. Indeed, he lined out against his own native club for the Mayo outfit in 1971 when Naomh Abán, Baile Bhuirne, Co. Cork met Tuar Mhic Éadaigh while the national competition was being held in Baile Bhuirne for the first time. He returned home to Baile Bhuirne two years later and it turned out to be a well-timed move as he won a junior county medal in Cork that year with his home club Naomh Ában.
There is no position within the Naomh Abán club that has not been held by Ó Cróinín at some point. When they organised Comórtas Peile in Baile Bhuirne in 1979, 1996, 2003 and 2016, Ó Cróinín worked tirelessly to develop the club and to improve the facilities in the club along with the playing pitches – firstly at An bPortach Rua and after that at Páirc Íosagáin.
Ó Cróinín has spent forty years as a member of Coiste Náisiúnta Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta and he was also chairperson on the organisation when the finals were played on Pháirc Mhachaire Gathláin in Gaoth Dobhair, Co. Donegal and on Páirc Uí Shíocháin An Rinn. Co. Waterford in 1983 & ‘84. Séan and his neighbour Seán Ó Liatháin are two of the few individuals who are able to say that they have attended every single Comórtas since 1969.
Chief Executive Officer of Údarás na Gaeltachta Micheál Ó hÉanaigh said “It is a matter of great joy and pride for Údarás na Gaeltachta to sponsor this award and to present this award to one of the heroes of CLG Naomh Abán, Baile Bhuirne, Seán Ó Cróinín. Údarás na Gaeltachta is once again delighted this year to carry on the sponsorship that we are giving Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta as the competition celebrates 50 years since its establishment.”
Ó Cróinín will be presented with the Lóchrann award by Údarás na Gaeltachta at the official welcoming event for the Comórtas which will take place on Monday in Ostán Cheann Sibéal in Corca Dhuibhne.