Monday, March 17, 2008

Ballymore Eustace People of the Year Awards 2008

I’m sure Martin, Frankie and Tommy don’t mind one bit being referred to as the “Fas Lads” for this article. They may have been the eldest of the nominated groups but they sure scrubbed up well on the night. Martin, I’d have given you “The Best Tie” award and Frankie, my God, he’d have walked straight onto the set of “Men in Black 3”! Once again, our awards night was a really enjoyable night, a ‘feel-good’ event in a relaxed atmosphere with a full house.

Also in attendance were Sean Power TD & Minister of State; Jack Wall TD, Councillors Billy Hillis and JJ Power – Tim thanked our elected representatives for coming, knowing someone in the audience will give them flack before the night was over (an Mary Horan always gives Sean a roasting, its nearly an annual ritual now!). Tim then introduced Fiona Breslin, Chairperson of The CDA who formally welcomed everyone including the elected representatives, Anne O Sullivan, Fas Supervisor; Scoil Mhuire Principal, Mairead O Flynn; Tim Gorman, Chairperson of Ballymore Eustace Gaa and Mary Campbell, Person of The Year 2007 and finalist in Rehab Kildare Person of the Year 2007.

Fab Fashion Five
Lauryn Macnamara, Kiva Sammon, Fionnuala O'Connor, Mairead Byrne and Ciara Langan were praised by all for their innovative fundraiser in aid of Breast Cancer Research, having raised €2,500.

Had it been down to the best looking and best dressed competition, these girls would have beaten the lads hands down! For organising a fundraiser, entirely from start to finish, sourcing the clothes from the local St Vincent de Paul shop with the help of Tracey O Connor, organising sound and lighting, getting every Mammy, Granny and relation to bake cakes, advertising and planning the event with aid of friends and family, the girls should be very proud of themselves. This sentiment was further endorsed by school principal Mairead O'Flynn who also congratulated the Juvenile Gaa Club who work closely with Scoil Mhuire and the FAS workers who have worked with school children on litter/clean-up days. Mairead also praised the spirit of the girls’ friends and schoolmates who threw themselves behind the project and supported their fundraising initiative.

Coincidentally, Ciara Langan is a daughter of the late Anne Langan, former Ballymore Person of The Year; Martin Deegan is the third member of his family to be nominated – Mary, you may start bribing people for next year; Stephan Deegan of the Juvenile GAA, is a son of Tommy, who as chairperson of the CDA was the first group to win the award; John McCarville also of the Juvenile GAA committee is a former winner as is Tim Gorman of the GAA and Mairead O’Flynn is a former nominee..

The Juvenile Gaelic Football Committee
Tim then gave a comprehensive citation on the The Juvenile GAA Club, reminding people that the club caters for a huge number of children, boys and girls, football and hurling and of course, Ballymore also has an active handball association.
Tim noted the club's motto was "Children First, Winning Second" and the facility the local grounds provided with several underage teams, summer camps and friendly matches was superb. He also praised club PRO, Mick Byrne for the excellent and consistent submissions he makes to The Ballymore Bugle – always on time, every team photo, every child acknowledged.

It is important to note that local underage teams reached several county finals last year but again, the emphasis in Ballymore is focused on the child, building their confidence and character, Gaelic skills and team spirit.
We should never take this facility for granted – bored children get into mischief whereas those participating in sport are less likely to fall ‘foul of the law’.

The Fas Community Workers
Finally, the FAS Community Workers were praised for their years of dedicated work around the village. Technically, the workers are obliged to work only 19 hours a week but as everyone locally knows, stormy weather, vandalism or special events will see the lads out early in the morning, long before the children are heading to school. Eric Firth of the CDA and Tidy Towns committee praised the workers for their help in painting derelict buildings, tree planting, maintaining greens and communal areas and of course, the upkeep of the River Walk. Furthermore, the team look after St Mary's Cemetary, help the Festival Committee and other events such as The Emirates Race, FBD Milk Ras prepare the streets with bunting, sound, street stewarding and traffic control - all well outside the remit of their job description!

Fas worker Tommy Barker was joined by wife Judy and the extended family – the Dooley grandchildren were out in force for Grandad Tommy, make no mistake!

Decision Time
In making the final decision, my co-editor and I had a difficult decision:
should we opt for the younger nominees who epitomised all that is good in our youth or the Juvenile Gaa Committee who cater for such a large number of children?

In the end, it was the FAS workers we announced the Ballymore Eustace People of the Year 2008 because their work has gone un-noticed for years and rarely publicised. And thankfully, the audience and all nominated groups were delighted with the decision.
Kiva Sammon gave her thanks on behalf of the “Fab Fashion Five” and Mairead Byrne made a presentation to outgoing Person of the Year, Mary Campbell.

Tommy Barker on receiving the award gave an emotive brief speech thanking all involved, family and friends for their support and to FAS supervisor, Anne O Sullivan, heartily joined by Frankie and Martin, Ballymore Eustace People of the Year 2008.

Eoghan Barrett accepted the award on behalf of the Juvenile GFC and similarly was touched by the nomination and encouraged other parents to join the committee and continue the hard work.

It was such an enjoyable night - all groups nominated were applauded as local heroes and received the same value in prizes and framed scrolls. I have no doubt we will see these lovely young ladies up for future community awards in Ballymore and that members of the Juvenile GFC are pretty much signed up for life - well done to all of you!

Congratulations again to Martin Deegan, Frankie Burke and Tommy Barker, your award is richly deserved.

We extend particular thanks to Gallery & Gifts, the Square, Ballymore Eustace who did a superb job framing the presentations, free of charge – thanks a million John and Irene; to local artist, Fiona Barrett, whose painting of the Bridge was presented to the FAS winners, for handwriting all the scrolls and sourcing the girls’ gifts; to Lilywhite Printers and Naas Printing for gave their services free of charge.

Your support is much appreciated – Tim and Rose

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