The coach trip to Croke Park, organised by the Tyrone GAA Health and Wellbeing Committee, was a major success, and a memorable experience for all who travelled.
The group, drawn from all parts of the county, was taken on a guided tour of the stadium, and given fascinating insights into behind-the-scenes aspects.
One of the highlights of the day was a special appearance by the Sam Maguire and Liam McCarthy Cups, a welcome surprise that was savoured by everyone.
Accompanying the party were committee members Tracy Monaghan and Cuthbert Donnelly. Tracy ensured that proceedings ran smoothly throughout the day, while Cuthbert maintained the banter with his infectious enthusiasm.
The GAA museum was the first stop, before a Croke Park guide conducted an extensive tour of the iconic stadium where Tyrone famously won three All-Ireland titles.
First up was the appearance of the most famous trophies in Irish sport, with Sam in particular proving a massive hit with everyone, and photo opportunities were gratefully seized.
The tour took in a visit of the hospitality suite where players and their families are hosted after matches, followed by the dressing rooms and player warm-up areas.
Then it was on to pitch-side, with great interest in the massive heat lamps shining down on the grass, which provoked many queries from interested observers.
Then the group re-traced the steps of many famous All-Ireland winning captains, including Peter Canavan and Brian Dooher, by climbing the Hogan Stand to the spot where Sam and Liam are handed over on emotion-charged September Sundays.
An enlightening talk followed on the history of the stands, with the guide fielding a barrage of questions on the origins of the names and other intriguing facets of the famous stadium.
Into the lift, and within seconds the group was at Level Seven, giving access to the press area and camera positions for live televised games, with another informative commentary on the story behind print and broadcast media coverage of gaelic games from Croke Park.
The tour was rounded off with a delicious meal in a corporate suite, followed by another visit to the GAA Museum and gift shop back at ground level, before returning to the bus, with a quick stop at the Applegreen service station and coffee shop on the way home.
“The trip couldn’t have gone any better, and it was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone,” said Tracy.
“It ran like clockwork, timing was perfect, and everyone was extremely appreciative of the trip having been organised.
“It was a positive and worthwhile event. The atmosphere and the chatter all day between them all was first class, and several commented that not only would they go back on another trip to Croke Park, but would love to go on another trip anytime soon.”