27 April 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

For the last seven decades, Tommy Bates has been the fulcrum round which Latton O Rahillys have worked their title triumphs with patience and persistence.
The sort of GAA stalwart every club yearns to have on board but few are privileged, the 86 years young Fior Gael is known far and wide in county Monaghan as a doer and a selfless man whose love of family comes second only to his love of Gaelic games.
From the time Tommy set out on his football safari in 1947 as a player with his beloved O Rahillys to winning his club’s inaugural Hall of Fame award in 2003 and beyond, he has exemplified fully the ideals of the GAA.
No surprise then that he should have been feted by the powers-that-be at Croke Park as a legend of Gaelic games in county Monaghan.
Last month, Tommy was joined at Headquarters by family members and club colleagues as he was afforded a Presidential Award from GAA President Christy Cooney for services rendered to the GAA.
Nominated for the award by Drumgoon clubman and current President of the Ulster Council, Aogan Farrell, he was paraded along with a raft of other notables at All-Ireland club finals day at Croke Park on St. Patrick’s Day last, one could almost imagine a thousand die-hards who have gone to their eternal award clapping in unison from above.
Fact is, when the founding fathers of the GAA put on their thinking-caps at Hayes’ Hotel in Thurles in November 1884, it’s likely that they were counting on disciples like Tommy to spread the faith.
Over the years Tommy has become synonymous with everything that is positive and forward-thinking about the Association he has served so faithfully and loyaly for more years than he probably cares to remember.
Over the course of the last seven decades, he has played a role on and off the field of play which few in the entire country would find difficult to match let enough surpass.
The affable player ‘cum coach ‘cum administrator has lit up the Latton Gaelic games landscape like no other and the O’Rahillys and, indeed, Monaghan GAA has reaped a rich dividend accordingly.
As Latton’s Honorary President, Tommy holds high office at this juncture but his service to his beloved club has seen him carry out the …

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