Friday, October 30, 2009

Feile Thank You

The Ballymore Eustace Juvenile GAA Club wishes to thank and congratulate the community of Ballymore Eustace for the huge success that was Feile Chill Dara 2009.

Special thanks to the host families who opened their homes and looked after the children from Clonmel and New York. Both teams, their parents and supporters were full of praise for the way that they were catered for, entertained and shown a fantastic time, they will remember their time in Ballymore with good memories.

A special word of thanks to Michelle Waters and Johnny Murphy for the massive effort in coordinating the Feile weekend; communicating with the County Feile Committee and also with the representatives of the visiting teams for months before the actual event.

We would also like to thank our sponsors who donated generously for the purchase of two new jersey sets for the Ballymore teams. Sponsors were JANET DEEGAN - Daybreak, Martin Kelleher Tree Services, The Playbarn – Kieran McAtamaney, Billy Fennan, Pat Murphy, Liz Deegan, Kieran Langan, John Field, Phil Murphy, Ballymore Conservatories, Gerry Blake, CostCutters, John Martin Smith & Sean Fogarty. Also on the topic of fundraising thanks to everyone who sponsored our brave bungee jumpers and thanks to the jumpers themselves – who are alive and well after their ordeal.

Behind the scenes a number of very important roles were filled which thankfully were not call into action over the weekend – Thanks to the child welfare officers Sadie Norton, and Sinead Gorman and to Anne and Billy Tutty, the defibrillator handlers.

Thank you to all the parents who helped out with the catering each day and to those who supplied the food to keep everybody fed. A special thanks to Natasha Halpin Graham and Janet Deegan, Bernie Barrett, Aine O Neill and Madeline Kelleher for their work on the catering on both days feeding (and entertaining) the visiting teams and David Graham and Dermot Water for the marathon burger BBQing session. (Not forgetting Mary Murphy for the beers that appeared on Saturday – Happy Birthday Mary!!!!)

Finally to the Feile players – you did yourselves proud in your play, in your conduct and in the way you made the team members from the visiting team feel so well at home. Well done – you have given the up and coming younger teams something to great live up too.

Stephen Deegan
Juvenile Club Secretary

“Oxegen Thank You”

We would like to thank all of the people who assisted the club in stewarding houses for the 4 days of Oxegen. Thanks also to Mick McGinn and the The Thatch for supplying Friday’s breakfast rolls to the hungry workers and to the staff at Janet’s Daybreak for the after-shift catering. The feedback from Punchestown has been very positive and both Ritchie Galway and Andy Coyle have asked us to express their appreciation for a job well done.

Well done to Steve Deegan for his foresight and perseverance in getting the job in the first place and making sure that everything went without a hitch during the weekend, if you haven’t seen Steve about the place recently its because he’s catching up on his sleep!

Ballymore Eustace Proud Handball Record – Part 13 (with one photo)

Ballymore Eustace played host to all the top players of the day including the late John Ryan, the late John Doyle, the late Austin Clarke, Paddy Downey, the late Des Dillon, Joe Delaney, the late Christy Delaney, the late Fintan Confrey, Joe Maher, the late Paddy Hickey, Joe Clery, Peter McGee, Michael "Duxie" Walsh, Walter O'Connor, Peter McAuley plus all our own stars. Many important matches including All­-Ireland finals were played here and not sur­prisingly there were many outstanding matches. More recently, top players Paul Brady and Michael Finnegan of Cavan and Tony Healy and Ricky McCann of Cork have played in our 40 by 20 alley.

In hardball these involved John Ryan and Bobbie Grattan while in softball the most memorable games involved John Ryan and Joe Delaney. John Ryan was a particular favourite with the fans as he was a stylish player with two good hands and was equally good at hardball and softball. His nonchalant approach to the game was deceptive as he rarely lost a game. Other good games involved the trio of "Duxie" Walsh, Walter O'Connor and Peter McAuley in 40 by 20. Many of our best games involved our own players playing against each other.

On November 18, 1966 Greg Lawler, Will Hennessy, Larry Glancy and myself had the honour of being the first Ballymore Eustace players to be filmed playing handball for a television programme. The programme was called "Discovery" and was presented by John Skehan and shown some months later. Mind you we did not achieve instant fame on account of its showing. The camera man was preoccupied with filming our feet and legs and but for the fact that I knew I took part I do not think I would have recognised myself - I did recognise my shoes, socks and my best supporter our German Shepherd dog Brutus who was watching the game from the top of the back wall. Other locals to star in the programme were the late Elizabeth McGuire who was shown ringing the church bell, the late Tommy Whittle, the late Martin Murphy (Senior) and the late Charlie and the late Pauline Daly.

For a time during the seventies a number of our ladies proved their worth as exponents of handball. Names which spring to mind are: Tess Sammon (nee Reilly); Bridget Meade (nee Sammon); Anne Daly (nee Murphy) and Rena Murphy; Anne Mahon; Kathleen King (nee Mahon); Breda Carroll (nee Cullen); Angela Miley; Geraldine and Caroline O'Reilly; Siobhan Bolger; Eileen Kavanagh (nee Gordon) and Margaret Doran (nee O'Rourke). I’m afraid I do not know the married names of some of these ladies.

Others who have added to the Ballymore Eustace handball scene include: the late Ned and the late Tom Whelan; the late Mickey Dwyer; the late Sergeant Dempsey; the late Paddy Hennessy; the late Tommy McCourt; the late Mick Devoy; the late Tommy and the late Albert Evans; the late Keogh brothers of Ballybough: the late Barney McKnight; the late Mick Higgins; Seamie and Pete Clarke; Gerry Kelly, Seamie O'Brien; the late Maurice Barker; Tom Barker; Bren and Will Hennessy; Joe Marshall; the late Frank and Tim Gorman; the McDonald brothers of Broadleas; Joe Lynch; Billy Gobbett; Brian O'Connor; Neil Browne; Liam Moran; John Curley; Damien Garvey; the Mahon brothers of Broadleas and St. Bridget's Park; the McDonald brothers of Oliver Plunkett Road; Gavan Grace and Maurice Murray. In 2006, Gareth Clarke had a successful season.

I’m not up to date with our potential champions but in the past Trevor Winder, Daragh Ward, Maurice Murray, Gavan Grace, Tommy Archibold, Thomas O'Rourke, William O'Donoghue, Jamie Balfe, Dean Fisher, Glen Browne, Gerry, Tolita and Keith Fennell, Naomi Fisher, Sam and Catriona Temple have all shown promise.

Last year, Gerry McGrath who has played with the club for the last 30 years successfully teamed up with Tom O’Malley of Enniskerry to win an All-Ireland 60 by 30 “B” doubles title for Wicklow.

This brings to an end my account of the fortunes of the Ballymore Eustace Handball Club and I’m happy to say the club now has better facilities than ever before.

© Matt Purcell (June 30, 2009)

No comments: