The club were deeply saddened last week to hear of the passing of our Vice-President, Seán Hayden. Seán had been a notable athlete and a true and loyal supporter of the club. He announced himself on the athletic scene at the County Novice Cross-Country Championships in Ardfinnan in 1951 when finishing second and along with Pat Mullaney, John Travers and Francis Mockler led the club to their first Novice title. His rich vein of form continued in the County Junior in Terryglass when winning the event and then going on finish 9th in the County Senior Cross Country Championships held in Templetuohy. Seán then travelled to compete in the Munster Junior where he had a great victory and led the Tipperary team to gold medals. At the All Ireland Junior that year he finished in 10th place and was a member of the Tipperary team that won gold and to crown a great season went on to finish 6th in the All Ireland senior and again helped Tipperary to gold medals as second scorer on the team. His achievements were phenomenal and recognised by the legendary “Winter Green” in the Tipperary Star when he wrote “the progress of Seán Hayden in this type of running has been meteoric. Last January he competed as a Novice in Ardfinnan. Since then he has won Munster Junior, All Ireland Junior, and All Ireland Senior gold medals in the space of three months.”
Over the next three years, ’52, ’53, and ’54 Seán underlined his potential finishing 3rd (as a member of Ballysloe AC following a change in the rules that year), 4th and 2nd respectively in the All-Ireland senior championships and also a member of the winning Tipperary teams in ’53 and ’54. He also claimed the County Senior title in 1952 in Moneygall running with Ballysloe AC but returned to the fold in Moyne in 1953 to retain his title, the race being run in Ardfinnan. 1954 saw him finish 2nd, a position he also placed in 1955 in Portroe where he brought the club to their first set of team gold medals. That year also saw Seán again reach great heights with a fifth-place finish in the All Ireland Senior in Belfield with Tipperary winning the gold medals. In 1956 with the County Senior being held on home soil he again won the silver medal with the club team also finishing second and he returned home from the All-Ireland Senior Cross Country held in Powerstown Park, Clonmel with yet another individual medal finishing second and bringing Tipperary to the silver team medals. Seán returned to winning ways in 1957 and 1958 at the County Senior Championships and ’58 also saw the inaugural Munster Senior Cross-Country Championship where he finished 9th and a member of the wining Tipperary County team whilst at the All Ireland Senior in Athenry he finished 8th with Tipperary in second place beaten by three points by Limerick. 1960 saw the final individual medal for Seán as he finished third in the County Senior held on home ground. To show how versatile an athlete Seán was, he competed in Templemore in 1956 in the County Track & Field Championships winning the 1mile and 3-mile championships within the space of an hour. Sean also became a committee member in the club filling the position of Chairman from 1973 to 1975 and becoming president of the club in 1997 while also providing the club with its own masseur and giving back plenty of experience and knowledge to the future athletes in the club. Seán will be greatly missed by the club. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.