A Laois family has been named as the winners of a prestigious GAA award for outstanding service.
Martin Dempsey, Michael Dempsey, PJ Dempsey, Sean Dempsey, Betty Moore, Margaret Farrelly and Ann Smith were named winners of the Dermot Earley Family Award.
This is one of 11 awards presented today by the GAA as part of Gradaim an Uachtaráin 2021.
These prestigious annual awards gives President John Horan an opportunity to acknowledge outstanding commitment and long service across the club and county network.
The 11 awards are a cross-section of people who have shared the common theme of making an inspirational impact on their code and also their club and community.
The story of the Dempsey family begins when Jack Dempsey, from Laois, and Annie Spain from Offaly, were married July 3, 1957.
They had seven children and each of them has gone on to make a remarkable contribution to GAA.
Betty is the most senior of the Dempsey family, her three daughters play with St. Brigids club, and two of them Anna and Jane have represented Laois at senior level.
When Betty’s husband Mick was club manager she became the jersey wash lady – a job she learnt from her mother Annie a generation earlier.
Michael represented St Josephs and Laois throughout the 70’s 80’s and 90’ winning seven Club titles and a National League in 1986 with Laois. As a Coach/ Manager he has guided St Joseph’s to a county title in 2000 in a year where he managed O’Hanrahan’s of Carlow to a Leinster club title.
He also managed Laois U-21’s to Leinster success in 1984 and went on to manage the Laois senior team in 1997 and 1998. He was trainer/ selector under Martin Fogarty when Kilkenny collected successive All Ireland U-21 Hurling titles in 2003 and 2004 before joining the senior management with Brian Cody.
He has recently served as Chairman of the National Academy Committee whose report is now reflected in GAA policy on Academy and player pathway.
Michael is currently IT Carlow’s GAA programme director and has returned to his native St Joseph’s as senior football manager for the coming season.
Seán Dempsey has also represented both club and county over many years and holds four Club titles.
Seán managed Laois minor footballers to All Ireland success in 2003 and Leinster success in 2004 before managing the U-21’s to Leinster wins in 2006 and 2007.
He has managed at all levels from underage to senior and also managed the Ladies senior team. Seán served as selector under Val Andrews when Leinster won Interprovincial competitions in 2005 and 2006, also serving with Jack Sheedy when Longford were promoted from Division 4 in 2015.
He served as Football Officer for Laois GAA between 1997 and 2007, as Chairman of Leinster Council’s Football Committee 2009-2014 and currently acts as Coaching officer for his club.
After managing Ferbane to a County title in 2019 he is currently managing Ballinteer St Johns in Dublin.
Martin is a holder of six Laois championships, a Leinster U-21 championship winners’ medal in 1982, was full back on the 1986 National League winning team and was a stalwart for Club and County for many years.
He volunteers a lot of time to club infrastructural work and is a tireless fundraiser for the club. His son Mikie is currently on the senior team and his daughter Áine plays with St. Josephs.
Margaret is a former ladies footballer with the club with whom her daughter Sinead and son Seamus now play on their respective senior teams.
Having risen through the age groups she is now assisting the ladies senior team. When Margaret resided in Dublin she was mentor to various underage boys and girls teams in Castleknock.
PJ has played at all levels with Laois and holds six championship medals and a Leinster U-21 championship in 1987.
He has the distinction of having managed at every level within the club and is currently managing the girls U- 10 team, alongside his role as selector to the Laois minor footballers.
PJ has managed the clubs Senior Footballers twice (2009, 2010, 2014 and 2015) winning a county league in 2010 and managed the club U-21s to its first success in the competition in 2008.
PJ held the position of Club Treasurer in 2006 and Secretary in 2013.
Anne Dempsey is one of those people whose time, dedication and energy make the GAA such a vibrant and dynamic organisation.
She is an outstanding volunteer who lives and breathes St. Joseph’s GAA Club. She has mentored underage teams, fundraised, served on numerous committees and acted as club treasurer and secretary for many years.
Ann’s family are immersed in the GAA and her four daughters all played, or are playing and her son, James, plays for the club’s seniors.
Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Seán Ó hOráin said: “The GAA stands on the shoulders of the People we are fortunate to be able to call our own.
“Ultimately, the strength of the Association is down to the resilience, dedication andinspiration of the volunteers who make it happen, week after week, year after year.
“These awards give us an opportunity to single out a group who are not motivated by recognition, but who have made an invaluable contribution to our Association and are worthy of this acknowledgement and are great ambassadors for the tens of thousands like them all across the GAA.”
The GAA Presidents’ Awards, Gradaim an Uachtaráin 2021, will be broadcast on Sunday February 28 on TG4 at 5.10pm.
Congratulations to all!