De La Salle College has a proud association with the Gaelic Athletic Association from its inception in 1884. The College fielded teams in both Hurling and Football from 1887. Between De La Salle College functioned, as a Teacher Training College and many famous players and officials were educated in this famous nursery.
Seven GAA Presidents trained as teachers in De La Salle College. Between 1932 and 1952 all GAA Presidents were past pupils of this College
Sean McCarthy 1932-1935
Born in Upton, Co Cork in 1890. Played hurling and football for De La Salle College and his native Cork. He was President during the GAA’s Jubilee Year 1934. He became chairman of Cork County Board in 1917. Sean took part in the War of Independence. He was a member of the Munster Council for many years and served as chairman. Was a member of Cork County Council for twenty years and Cork Corporation for twenty-two years. He was elected Lord Mayor of Cork on five occasions and served as T D in Dáil Eireann for eighteen years. After a lifetime of service to the GAA Sean died in 1974; aged 84.
Robert O’Keeffe 1935-1938
Bob O'Keeffe was born in Glengrant, Mooncoin in 1881. From an early age he was interested in sport, especially hurling. While doing his teacher training in the De La Salle College, Waterford, he won trophies of all sorts, some of them are still in good order in his old homestead. When he graduated, he got an appointment in Dunboyne, Co. Meath. Bob had never played for his county. But in 1908, as Meath had not played in the Railway Shield Championship, Bob was included in the Leinster side as a member of the Mooncoin Club to play Tipperary and they won by 0-14 - 2-5. Bob O'Keeffe never did play for Kilkenny. He subsequently took up a teaching post in Borris-in-Ossory, Co. Laois, and though then in the veteran stages, played a major part in helping win their only Senior All-Ireland Hurling Title in 1915. He played in that game. He then became a prominent figure in the G.AA Councils and was President of the Association from 1935-38.While he was in Dunboyne, Co. Meath, he twice won the Long Puck Championship of Ireland. While he was secretary of Laois County Board he acquired and purchased O’Moore Park, Portlaoise. He was the longest serving Leinster Council Chairman. Robert died in 1975.
After his death the G.A.A. decided to donate a trophy in his memory - The Bob O'Keeffe Memorial Cup. It was to be given to the winners of the Leinster Final each year. The trophy is a massive affair, standing 3 feet 8 inches, weighing 564 ounces and has a capacity of 6 gallons. The Celtic chase work has been taken from The Book of Kells. The hurler depicted on the top of the Cup is barefooted, which is significant in view of the fact that the late Bob O'Keeffe originally played in that manner. The original Bob O'Keeffe Cup was kindly donated by Comhairle Laighean in June 2005, and went on immediate display in the museum's temporary exhibition area. The Bob O'Keeffe Cup is awarded annually to the winner of the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship from 1950-2004 and was replaced by a new version in 2005 also named the Bob O'Keeffe Cup.
Padraig MacNamee 1938-1943
He was born in 1896 in Co Armagh. Served two terms as chairman of the Ulster Council and is the only post 1921 president to serve more than three years. He was prominent in promoting the Irish language in Ulster. Was secretary of Comhaltas Uladh for 25 years. Was president of St Brigid’s College, Rann na Feiriste. Died in 1975.
Seamus Gardiner 1943-1946
Born in Lisdoonvarna, County Clare. The first president from Clare since Michael Cusack. Associated with the GAA in Tipperary for most of his life. He was chairman of the North Tipperary Board 1931-38, Munster Council 1940-41
Dan O’Rourke 1946-1949
Born in 1887. A native of Tents, Co. Leitrim, but had lifelong association with the GAA in Roscommon, where he lived for 44 years. Founder, secretary, chairman and president of Tarmon GAA club. An inter-county footballer with Roscommon in his youth, involved in re-organisation of GAA there in pre-1922 days. Member of Roscommon county committee for many years, including two terms totalling 15 years as chairman in 1935-1948 and 1954-1956. Chairman of Connacht Council for two terms. Took part in War of Independence, was member (including chairman) of Roscommon County Council for 40 years, member of Dail Eireann and Seanad Eireann. Dan died in 1968.
Michael Keogh 1949-1952
A native of Wexford, member of Laois county committee from 1922 to 1929 while resident in that county. Later secretary of Wexford county committee and member of Leinster Council for over 50 years, including term as chairman from 1942 to 1944. Took part in 1916 Rising in Co. Wexford as 17-year-old Fianna Eireann member. Lifelong worker in language movement, closely associated with Coiste na Rinne (Co. Waterford) and co-founder of Coiste Charman (Co. Wexford). Leading local historian, authority on 1798 Rising.
Seamus O’Riain 1967-1970
A former hurler and footballer with both the Moneygall Club and Tipperary, he was renowned as a fine athlete (winning fifteen county titles in events such as the long jump and sprinting) and he was selected by Tipperary management, for both the junior hurling and football teams of the 1940s.
Earlier, while studying in De La Salle College in Waterford he won two Waterford senior football championships and in both years in which he studied there he won the Gold Medal as the best all-round athlete.
A Primary teacher by profession he taught most of his life in Dunkerrin NS in his native parish. Elected Secretary of the Moneygall GAA Club, , he had a keen interest in administration and was elected vice-chairman of the North Tipperary board in 1955, moving on to become Chairman two years later. A Tipperary delegate to Munster Council, he became vice chairman of that body in 1962 and Chairman in 1965.
1955 saw Seamus elected vice-chairman of the Board, moving up to chairman two years later where he would guide its affairs until 1966. Meanwhile, his value as an administrator had become more widespread because in 1958 he was elected one of the two Tipperary delegates on the Munster Council. In 1962 he was elected vice chairman of the provincial body and its chairman in 1965.
In 1967 saw Seamus O'Riain succeeded Alf Murray from Armagh to become the 23rd President of the GAA. He defeated the man who would succeed him, Pat Fanning from Waterford. Seamus was aged 51 and was the third Tipperary holder of the office, following in the footsteps of Maurice Davin, the first such President (1884-1887 & 1888-89) and whose biography Seamus would later write, as well as Seamus Gardiner (1943-46)
His presidency marked some very important developments in the GAA and among his achievements were the setting up of the Commission on the Affairs of the GAA, the establishment of the first links with Australian Rules, the launch of the Club Development Scheme and the erection of the indoor Croke Park Handball Courts while the Scor competitions also came into being during his Presidency.
One of his greatest achievements came shortly after the ending of his Presidency when with Tommy Barrett and Eamonn De Stafort he was involved in the setting up of Féile na nGael in 1971. The positive effects of this have been felt by countless thousands of young hurlers in the intervening years as the Féile youth hurling festival became one of the great success stories for the Association. Seamus continued to serve as National Chairman of Féile until 1986.
Returning to the Moneygall club, he became Chairman in 1974 and oversaw the club’s first ever victory in the Tipp North Senior hurling championship winning ounty titles in 1975 and 1976
Only weeks after he celebrated his 90th birthday he was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Tipperary Association in Dublin. He died in 2007.