Sunday, April 19, 2009

ALaughter wins out at Awards Night
Tommy Dwyer may have been named the overall winner of the 2009 Ballymore Person of The Year but all the nominees were award winners on the night and laughter was the order of the day! No talk of recession, cutbacks or job losses – the feel good factor abounded and there was more slaggin’ than you’d hear on the sidelines of a Gaa match.

With the local elections scheduled for early June, we had a strong attendance from current serving councillors and those aspiring to take their seats. In attendance were Sean Power TD & Minister of State; Cllrs Billy Hillis, Martin Miley and Mark Dalton; candidates Martin Hayden and Mark Wall, Tony Lawlor and Richard Daly with apologies from Sean O Fearghail, Jack Wall and JJ Power.

Great laughter when the Doyle Sisters - well known for their ‘blue’ connections and I don’t mean X Rating – were called to receive their award and Tim Ryan mischievously called on Sean Power FF and Mark Wall of Labour to present the awards along with their niece, Fiona Barrett and Ann Marie Byrne. Young Ann Marie read a lovely citation complimenting Kathleen on her kindness to children serving at mass and her mum, Martina was there to represent Scoil Mhuire who nominated Ann Kelly.When Tommy Dwyer was receiving his award, we called on Cllr Billy Hillis FG to present it!

Great to see Billy looking a 100%, continued good health to you, Billy. Martin Hayden, ladies is going to be the poster pin-up in this election – the Ladies GFC team took a good look at him too as did a number of more ‘mature’ women…. Well, if it gets him votes, more look to him! Tony Lawlor is back in the foray this year, standing in the Naas area for Fine Gael and Richard Daly standing the South/Athy area against Fianna Fail duo, Martin Miley and Mark Dalton with Mark Wall, son of Jack, hoping to secure a seat for Labour.

Enough of politics – we will be sick of elections by June……..
As I’ve said, the awards were great craic, a really cheerful presentation and kindly sponsored by Gallery and Gifts; despite recessionary times, Irene and John sponsored at least €500 worth of framing for us, a study of The Bridge to each of the nomimees (10 in total) and framed, hand-written scrolls by Fiona Barrett.

Each of the award winners received a gift voucher to the value of €150 – shame the Ladies team couldn’t cash theirs in on the night!! Tommy Dwyer was awarded the overall individual prize, well deserved for all his hard work with you via The Bandhall over the years….

“Duck, Dick & Dyke!”
Older residents of Ballymore will know the signifigance of my slagging Tommy Dwyer regarding The Duck……..his later father was nicknamed ‘Duckegg Dwyer’, I don’t know why my mother-in-law and aunties in England always enquire after Tommy ‘Duck’ Dwyer………as his wife Bernie (Mrs Duck) and pal, Carmel Moylan had recently played a comedy duet in the panto named “Dick & Dyke”, I couldn’t resist noting we had “Dick, Duck and Dyke” in attendance……….

Readers, I have never seen Tommy Dwyer so quiet – I’d say he was even terrified when we focused on his community work – years of work with The Junior Brass & Reed Band, sadly now disbanded but The Bandhall still facilitates weekly music lessons. Tommy was one of a committee who worked tirelessly to fundraise for the construction of a new bandhall and what a superb facility it has become – regular junior musicals and productions by BEDS, the annual pantomime which he was a founder member of plus of course, it is available for circuit training, badminton junior and senior etc There is an excellent Bandhall Committee and Fas workers on hand to help with bookings but Tommy makes it is business to be there every night when the hall is in use. (Ok, he thinks he owns The Bandhall…)

Aside from his work with The Bandhall, Tommy was one of the founder members of the Bowling Club and he is a member of the Senior Citizens Association who do Trojan work.

On the night, he was joined by wife Bernie, daughter Gillian and son Stephan – I was chuffed to see Tommy so timid; I’ve been to plenty of meetings, Tommy Dwyer when I thought it was time to go home but no, Tommy would have a query and unless he got a satisfactory answer, no one was going home! “I’m sorry, Mr Chairman but……….”
“Mr Chairman, I must insist…..”

Whilst Tommy received the Overall Award, all six nominees – and seven if you count Tim – are equal in their standing within the community. Dora O’Brien wanted to nominate Tim for his work with the Parish Board of Management and I explained that as Co-Editor of The Bugle, he couldn’t be included in the nominations. With the same tenacity as Mr Dwyer, Dora was having none of it…….

Tim was the central co-ordinating figure in arranging the funeral of our recently departed, Fr Sean Breen and afterwards, the bold Dora came back with another ‘aggressive’ nomination – she’d make a great security guard, wouldn’t yield an inch……… So, much to Tim’s surprise, he too received a framed print of The Liffey Bridge and chuffed he was on the night. The late Sean Breen would have been delighted to see Kathleen Lawlor and Tim recognised for their work with the Church and the parish.

Community Heroes All

For the Hubbard Family, it was a big night out; Eddie deservedly up for an award for his incredible record in sport in Ballymore Eustace including GAA, Athletics, Badminton, Cycling, Boxing, Tug O War, Community Games etc. I can’t ever remember a time when Eddie and Nuala weren’t behind the scenes or on the sidelines of sporting activities in Ballymore.

Who taught my generation badminton – The Hubbards; who brought me to cross-country events during my very brief flirtation with long distance running – Eddie Hubbard. Who was there at the early stages of the Athletic Club in Ballymore – Eddie H! The Community Games, co founder of the Oliver Plunkett Team, trainer of underage teams with the GAA, committee member, county board delegate for the GAA………
Whether it is setting up the wheel of fortune at the Field Day, running up and down the sidelines at matches, organising the display of trophies at an inter county match, Eddie can be depended on – for everything! Eddie was also a champion team member, trainer and official for National and International tug o’ war teams. Whilst the sport may not be popular now, in my childhood, the tug o war ‘match’ was the major attraction at the annual field day.

Eddie’s son John and his four daughters were also present to receive an award as part of the team of the local Ladies GFC, who won the D Championship 2008; less than 5 years in existence, the girls have shown a good deal of grit and determination on the playing field but also great spirit off the pitch, having helped organise the Welly Match Series & Barbeque, dinner dances, Cheltenham night, Festival Queen etc. Simon Murphy as manager, Cinta O’Rourke as Club Chairwoman and captain, Dawn Murray stepped up to receive the award. Simon is joined by Joe Piggott and John Hubbard on the management team with Noel Winders, Stephan Byrne, William Clarke and Paul Fagan acknowledged for their help in the past plus past and present committee members. They are a lovely bunch of ‘young ones’ (you too, Cinta) and the best of luck to them in this year’s league and championship – hope ye slaughter Ballyna 2 for stealing the league semi-final last year!

Sisters Claire, Kathleen, Ann and Gay Doyle were recognised for their work with The Church, gate collections, parish work and generally, all round supporters of every local fundraiser and event (“Where ever there’s a cake, the Doyle Sisters will be there!”). But its not just local charities they’ve supported throughout their life – between them, the Doyle Sisters have worked with the missions in Nigeria, fundraised for Polio vaccination in India and more recently, supported the establishment of an orphanage in Sri Lanka after the aftermath of Tsunami. It was great to see the Doyle family out en masse for the night – whilst Sean Power and Mark Wall kissed the ladies in congratulation, don’t try that for God’s sake, lads in the lead-up to the local elections!!
Cllr Billy Hillis spoke fondly of his introduction and guidance to the Doyle ladies when he first announced his intention to run for election with Fine Gael.

Larry Burke Hayes accompanied by his wife Carol and son, was deeply touched by his nomination and recognition of his devotion to the Church of the Immaculate Conception and his duties as a Special Minister of the Eucharist. But Larry also uses his divine voice and talents to appear on stage at fundraisers and the annual pantomime – whether the occasion merits wearing a red suit or a frock, Larry complies! He, like Tommy Dwyer, was overcome by the gesture and sincerely grateful to those who nominated him.

For Ann Kelly, there was great laughter as Tim Ryan read citations received from staff and children of Scoil Mhuire acclaiming the high standards of cleaning she has delivered over the past 28 years plus the support and interest she shows in the school and its pupils. Young Jack Sammon appreciated the “shiney clean” school stated “Ann eats my custard creams and plays with my toys when I go home!!” Hilarious. Martina Byrne praised Ann for the high standard of her work and the example she sets for the pupils. Joined by Seamus, children and grandchildren, it was another family occasion for the Kellys.

I’ve run out of space, Readers – lovely photos courtesy of Chris Dennison and Tony Keane. Thanks to Fr Jimmy Prenderville, Margaret MacDonald and members of the CDA for co-hosting the event, Gallery and Gifts for their kind sponsorship; Fiona Barrett for all her hard work; visiting politicians, to all who attended and finally, to Michael Ward, who first introduced the awards eleven years ago.

Rose B O Donoghue

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