A native of Kilkerrin in Galway, Breheny began his career in the Tuam Herald under Editor Jarlath Burke, who was a hugely respected figure in Irish journalism. He moved to Dublin in the late 1970s where he worked as a
general sports reporter with the Irish Press Newspaper Group on Burgh Quay and reported at the Olympic Games staged in Moscow (1980), Los Angeles (1984), Seoul (1988) and Barcelona (1992). He also travelled extensively as a boxing writer.
He was always synonymous though with Gaelic Games and following the closure of the Irish Press Group in 1995, he would go on to cover the GAA for the Title and The Sunday Tribune before joining the Irish Independent in 2000 as Gaelic Games Correspondent and later becoming its GAA Editor.
Over the course of his career, he produced books in conjunction with some of the major figures in football and hurling including Cyril Farrell, John O’Leary, Mick O’Dwyer, Joe Kernan, Brian Cody and DJ Carey. He was also the co-author of the Ultimate Encyclopedia of Gaelic Football and Hurling published in 2001.
The GAA National Communication and Media Awards are named after the late Pádraig MacNamee, former President of the GAA, Chairman of the GAA Commission (1969-1971) and member of the RTÉ Authority.
They are presented annually in recognition of outstanding contributions made by individuals and Association units in the area of media and communications.
Due to the Covid-19 situation, the presentation of the MacNamee Awards has been postponed until a future date.
“The power of communication and the need to be able to tell the GAA’s story and reflect all that is great and good about the Association has never been more critical than it is now,” said GAA President John Horan.
“It is against this backdrop that we single out some exceptional examples of this craft.”
“I want to congratulate all of the winners and also thank them for the work they do to help us to promote our games.
“In particular I want to pay tribute to the Hall of Fame recipient Martin Breheny for his lifelong passion for the GAA and the skilful role he played at keeping Gaelic games at the forefront of media coverage.”
The other winners of the 2019 MacNamee Awards are as follows:
2019 Best Website – Ballycrann – http://ballycran.down.gaa.ie/
The St. Joseph’s GAA Club, Ballycrann website is a great example of what a GAA club website should be. Informative and engaging, the website is clearly laid out and simple to navigate. The most important club information is easily accessible, and the menus are logical and well structured.
Integration of social channels ensures that the club website is a consolidated source of news for members. Fixtures and Results are very well presented and important reference material is available through the ‘Club Policies and Procedures section’. The club featured articles, particularly with members who have travelled overseas, are excellent.
2019 Provincial Media Award – ‘Mayo GAA – A Decade in Review’ by The Western People
Mayo’s search for Sam Maguire remains one of the great Irish sporting stories. The past decade brought so many promising and subsequently painful days which are recalled with sheer passion in a comprehensive 124 page Western People review. The Green and Red didn’t claim the All Ireland Senior Football Championship in this spell, but it was a thrilling adventure.
2019 National Media Award – Keith Duggan, The Irish Times “Summer of 69”
Keith Duggan’s feature ‘Summer of ’69: When the city boys from Belfast brought All-Ireland glory to Antrim’ is a beautiful piece of sports-writing.
Telling the story of the Antrim team that won the 1969 All-Ireland U-21 Football Championship, it brings their unexpected triumph back to shimmering life. Duggan unspools the narrative deftly as Andy McCallin, Michael Colbert, Liam Boyle, Gerry McCann, and Seamus Killough reminisce colourfully on a time, and Belfast, long gone.
‘Summer of 69’ has a great emotional range. There are moments that make you chuckle and others that hurt the heart, most especially the tragic fate of the late Din Joe McGrogan. By the end you’re left with a real sense of a particular time and place, and also of the passing of time itself.
2019 Best Programme GAA – Meath Senior Football Championship Final Programme
There was a definite purpose behind the planning, styling, make-up and production of this programme. Extending to 130 pages, the contents are plentiful, easy to find and to read. It is refreshing that so much of the editorial, statistics and imagery relate directly to the fixtures, yet some space was found to promote other aspects of GAA games development.
The clear, light-touch approach to graphic design and layout gives a clean space to display the varied contents. A wonderful memento and terrific value for every Meath Gael.
2010 Best GAA Related Radio Programme – Radio Kerry – ‘Terrace Talk – Kerry’s Golden Years’
This programme celebrated the best Gaelic football team of all time and indeed Kerry’s Golden Years. The show was lively, informative, entertaining and inclusive from start to finish and kept the listener enthralled.
Several players are interviewed included Eoin ‘Bomber’ Liston, Ambrose O’Donovan, Denis ‘Ogie’ Moran, Jimmy Deenihan, Ger Power, John Kennedy, Jack O’Shea, Mickey ‘Ned’ O’Sullivan and Pat Spillane. An emotional and informative interview with Mick O’Dwyer was one of the highlights of this show, which included a mix of chat and commentary – helped along by an enthusiastic and knowledgeable presenter.
2019 Gradam Gaeilge (Irish Language Award) – ‘An Síol a Cuireadh sa tSneachta’ – in eagar ag Seán Mac an tSitigh
An bhliain seo caite rinne Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta ceiliúradh ar chaoga bliain a bhunaithe.
Tá cuntas ar bhunú agus ar stair an chomórtais sa leabhar seo ag tosaí leis an gcaoi ar thug buíon peileadóirí as Corca Dhuibhne an turas fillte 650 míle go Gaoth Dobhair i lár an tsneachta ar an 4ú Eanáir 1969 gur chuireadar an síol as ar tháinig ceann de na comórtais is tábhachtaí dá bhfuil againn.Cuntas den scoth atá ann agus cur síos freisin ag an 50 club as na Contaethea Gaeltachta, as Bleá Cliath, Béal Feirste agus as Londain ar an gceangal atá acu leis an ócáid.
2019 Best New Media – Roscommon Gaels All-stars
Any club that provides the kinds of services that Roscommon Gaels does through its All-Stars initiative deserves special recognition.
However, the Gaels’ clever use of social media and digital campaigns to raise awareness of their work and to ultimately fund it, through winning the TG4 / Subaru competition, deserves to be recognised through the McNamee Best New Media Award.
Their campaign involved two separate digital initiatives – creating an excellent video describing the Roscommon Gaels All-Stars and then utilising social media to generate awareness and win votes for their competition entry.
2019 Best Photograph – Ray Ryan, The Tuam Herald
Carnmore minor hurling keeper Torin Finnerty is embraced by Dylan McLoughlin, a member of the management team after they won their first ever Galway County Minor A hurling championship in Salthill.
2019 Best GAA Club Publication – ‘The Story of Brosna GAA”
The story of Brosna GAA is a wonderful history of the club over 130 years. A fantastic production, the hardback book has stunning photography on the front and back covers. The Club’s history is chartered through the book, decade by decade.
There are interesting stories from the early years of the club, the ‘Snippets from the past’ section are a great way of presenting these stories.
The book covers all activities of the club, which highlights the role the Club plays in their local community.
This book serves as a testament to the pride members have in Brosna and their parish.
2019 Best GAA Publication – ‘Forgotten Gaelic Volunteer” by Donal McAnallen
The book gives an insight into a part of the history of Cumann Lúthchleas Gael that had been left untold up to this time.
It is the story of those Ulster GAA members who fought in World War One, the context in which this came about and an explanation into how they were ultimately overlooked.
It is a fascinating piece of research, a very well-crafted publication and a worthy addition to the history of the Association.
2019 Best TV Documentary – The Sunday Best – 40 Years of the Sunday
Described as “a cultural touchstone” and also as “one of the remaining rituals of Irish life” the Sunday Game has been an institution on Irish television and has played a crucial role in the coverage and popularity of Gaelic Games since it first aired back in 1979. The Sunday Best – 40 Years of the Sunday Game produced by Loosehorse for RTÉ was a wonderful, colourful, nostalgic trip down memory lane and an exploration of the key to the success of the programme, and how it has developed over the decades. So much has happened over those four decades, yet with passion and skill, it was all woven perfectly together to tell a brilliant story.