Snapshots - Legendary Tipperary official acted as county secretary for 37 years

The late Tommy Barrett, Tipperary GAA County Secretary

Killenaule native and Thurles Sarsfields stalwart, Tommy Barrett who served as secretary of the Tipperary County Board for 37 years.

A farewell ceremony was held in Thurles in March 2000 in which tribute was paid to the contribution of a legendary Tipperary GAA administrator, Tommy Barrett who had served as county secretary for a  37 years from 1963 to 1999.

President of the GAA Joe McDonagh, a special guest at the function held in Thurles, and in paying tribute to Tommy Barrett said he was part of the pantheon of a great association that was helping to create a vision for the new millennium.

Tributes were also paid by county and provincial officers who chronicled Tommy remarkable contribution to the GAA. Special mention was made of his devotion to Semple Stadium and its hallowed turf, a venue described on the night by Joe McDonagh as the new in the GAA’s crown.

The promotion of the game at juvenile level was also very close to Tommy heart and speakers recalled how he was instrumental in the launch of Féile na nGael with former GAA president and  then current Tipperary County Board president, Seamus Ó Riain.

Tommy’s term of secretary, especially the early years, coincided with the glorious era of Tipperary hurling and the county won 20 All-Ireland titles in those 37 years, including five senior, eight under 21s and six at minor.

 In his few words that night, Killenaule native  Tommy Barrett raised concerns about the future of hurling in some parts of his beloved Tipperary, especially the larger urban areas, where he said there was cause for concern as no team in a town club had won the senior championship in the previous 10 years.

 Had he lived he would have great enjoyed Thurles Sarsfields eight county senior  hurling championship wins over the next 17 years or so. 

MARCH 2000: Pictured at the retirement function for former Tipperary GAA Board secretary Tommy Barrett in Thurles were eight-times All-Ireland senior hurling medal winner John Doyle; the then president of the GAA, Joe McDonagh, who was the special guest on the night; Glen of Aherlow native, Monsignor Christopher Lee, who was chairman of Thurles Sarsfields GAA Club when Tommy Barrett first became club secretary; and Killenaule native Tommy Barrett who served as Tipperary County Board secretary from 1963 to 1999. Also in background is Seamus Ó Riain, a former president of the Gaelic Athletic Association. All these great Gaels have since sadly passed to their eternal rewards.


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