Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ballymore Person of the Year 2010.

It was a night of firsts for the annual awards ceremony held in Ballymore on Saturday February 6th. The first year of sponsorship by Naas Credit Union, The first year that regular co-host Rose Barrett O’Donoghue was unable to attend, and the first time a nominee, Laura Barrett, was absent. Illness had devastated the O’Donoughue/Barrett families meant that the sisters, putting the community first, regrettably, stayed away. It was also the first time that a special sporting achievement award, named in memory of Des Kennedy, community activist and Credit Union director was presented.
Commenting that this was my first time flying solo, bemoaned the cost of a video link to Rose’s home. The packed resource Centre heard of the work regular co-host Rose puts in each year.
Jimmy Pearse on behalf of the CDA welcomed the nominees, their families, past winners of the award, representatives of Naas Credit Union, elected representatives and the good people of the village. The political community was as usual well represented. T.D’s Jack Wall and Sean Power were joined by Cllrs. Mark Wall, Martin Heydon, Richard Daly and past Cllrs, Billy Hillis and Mary Glennon. Cecil Doyle, Treasurer of Naas Credit Union was joined by General Manager Sean Murray and newly appointed director Tim, who asked the assembled to be kind to the politicians who turn out each year to support us.
The Nominees, Laura Barrett, Liam Lawler, the Juvenile GAA Club, Chris Dennison, Janet McDermott and Aileen Murphy and The Ballymore Historical Society, were joined by family members and well wishers.
Rose in a brief note, (an unusual occurrence) congratulated all the nominees and offered a revolutionary new weight loss programme to anyone who visited her. For 10 euro she will guarantee a shapely new you. Tim paid tribute to the sponsors, Naas Credit Union, who have supported the village in many ways through the years and he looked forward to their continued involvement. The continued support of local Gallery & Gifts, through John & Irene, meant that the award winner’s citations and copies of the bridge, by local artist Fiona Barrett, were beautifully presented and would be treasured by all recipients.
Speaking of Laura Barrett Tim outlined her work as founder of Ballymore Badminton Club some six years ago. From small beginnings it now provides much needed sporting activities to over seventy children each Thursday. The club tournament, held in Ryston every year is based on a round robin system where each participant is awarded regardless of their level of skill. Laura’s nomination is well deserved for her time given to such a large group for over four hours each Thursday. Julie Molloy and Mary Campbell accepted the award from Jimmy Pearse and Billy Hillis, on Laura’s behalf and passed along her thanks and bitter disappointment at missing such an honour. Laura had planned a pre- and after show party and will carry through on her promise to all her friends as soon as he is fully recovered.
Liam & Geraldine Lawler stared their life in Ballymore in the second greenest house, Peter Keogh’s cottage in Coughlanstown. Their move to Barrack Street, on the day of Frank Driver’s funeral, when Gus Kavanagh who had provided a horse box for transportation reassured a worried Liam that their possessions were very safe due to the amount of Gardai and detectives present on the day. Tim outlined the circumstances, fictionally, of the reason for the demolition of their house in recent years. Where all Barrack Street residents never complained about the wild parties that took place. When the foundations failed it brought about the construction of what is now the greenest house in the village. Liam, teacher in Scoil Mhuire for many years is of course, the cornerstone of the church choir, accompanying no less than Red Hurley during the Breener's Funeral Mass last year. He is involved in many aspects of village life, meals on wheels, golf and is available to perform 9 even in drag0 for any concerts or fund raising activities. Liam was brief and gracious in his acceptance speech. His awards presented by Eric Firth and Martin Heydon
The Juvenile GAA club was ably represented by Eoin Barrett & Steve Deegan. Eoin outlined the clubs achievements during the past twelve months. The highlight was of course, the Feile held in summer, where teams from Clonmel and New York joined with local youngsters for a feat of sport and craic. He re-iterated the clubs motto of “Children First and winning second.” This year though they had a bit of the latter with success for many teams Boys and Girls both. Eoin, never missing an opportunity, called on all the local politicians to ensure that the community would be provided with the necessary ground to facilitate the expansion of the club so that the one hundred plus, young locals would have decent playing pitches. Presented by Margaret McDonald and Sean Power the entire club accepted a framed copy of the bridge and a voucher. Letting the assembled in on some inside information, Tim said that Steve and Janet were nominated but within minutes a nomination came in FROM Steve nomination the Juves, Rose and Tim had citation ready for the Posh & Becks of the village, which is stored for later use perhaps!

Chris Dennison received a warm reception as Tim told a few funny yarns about his double life as chief altar boy by day, to amateur explosives operative, with his brother Dotsy, by night. He kept the community moving, working on all the cars in the village and particularly a red Toyota Starlet that was always in dry dock. This car, of course belonged to Maire and at their wedding Jimmy McLoughlin said that the GAA had “made a man” of Chris. Loath to contradict a personage such as Jimmy, Tim reassured the audience that Chris was a man long before he joined the GAA. He recounted all of Chris’s local involvement from CDA, ABCD, GAA clubman of the Year, Punchestown festival Committee, Videographer and photographer, indeed there was hardly an aspect of village life he was not involved in. Mentioning the delight that both his Mam, May and his mother-in-law Maire Snr. took in all his exploits, it was pity that they were not alive to see him recognised by his community. Chris in accepting the award from Mary Deegan and Mark Wall, paid tribute to all the Chairpersons he has worked under, he felt proud and honoured to be nominated in the midst of such a worthy group of fellow nominees.
Janet McDermott and Aileen Murphy were urged by Tim not to speak for any longer that fifteen minutes each, by Tim, in his citation for these two wonder women. Knowing them and how private and quiet they were made it even more extraordinary their drive and determination not alone to overcome illness but to have such an impact in raising funds and indeed, awareness of the Breast Cancer Research programme. Through many events, Art and Cookery exhibitions, their work was a beacon of joy and hope for the women of Ballymore, Tim urged the assembled gathering to taste Janet’s “Sunshine Shortbread” and to give Aileen commissions for her wonderful artwork. And of course the two ladies were, as usual, very gracious and humble in their acceptance speech, thanking the people of Ballymore for their generosity, which has helped raise over 5,500 euro. Citing Ballymore as a magical place, Janet said that she and her husband, ????? were delighted to have moved here. Aileen said that she too was delighted that Janet had moved here! She paid great tribute to Janet and indeed all the wonderful community of the village. Presenting the awards were sisters and CDA stalwarts, Mary Deegan and Margaret McDonald together with Jack Wall T.D.
Speaking of the last group to be nominated, Ballymore Historical Society, Tim said that he felt sure that they had received many congratulations from everyone present and all the people of Ballymore. The Bugle had sent some copies to ex-pats and recounted that Eddie and Mai Whelan said they had visitors the day that the book arrived, and couldn’t wait for them to go to read, what was, a magnificent production!! “Ballymore, portrait of a village” was also complimented by Des & Brigid Byrne, who, in their will, were leaving a copy to all of their children! The last word was left to Finbarr Gallagher., who, in an email in the New Year, lavished fulsome praise on the works of the group. Complimenting the group, he described how Rose had tried to find herself in the many photos but had come to the conclusion that she was too young to have been included!! Michael Kelly and Margaret Pearse accepted on behalf of the group their awards, presented by the two young captains from the Juvenile GAA teams.
In a break from the awards there were a few small presentations, Rose had, in dressing gown, received a bouquet earlier in the day. Margaret McDonald accepted flowers as representing the CDA, the umbrella body under which the Ballymore Bugle operates. Presenting Colette Hempenstall with flowers, she was praised for allowing the use of almost all of her house for Bugle activities and for clocking up miles delivering copies. Hoping that the presentation might also serve as a Valentines day gift, Tim was urged by the Sean’s , Power and Murray to break into his Credit Union account and maybe even take her out to dinner. Recounting his few short months in the Credit Union Tim said that all this talk of millions was thirsty work and presenting, tongue in cheek, Sean Murray with a small hamper containing tea, coffee and other ingredients including mugs “I’d rather be in credit”
The Des Kennedy Memorial Award was presented to James Kavanagh, by Cecil Doyle, Treasurer Naas Credit Union and Mrs. Jo Kennedy. Sean Murray spoke of his delight to be associated with such a wonderful, fun night; it was of course tinged with sadness at the Des’s passing. He spoke of his dedication to the Credit Union cause, right from the start, providing hours of selfless dedication. Rose, by letter, spoke of the man, always interested in sports at local and national level, of the guiding light in her earlier political career and the peacemaker in all aspects of his local involvement. Cecil was delighted to be revisiting Ballymore and told of his pride in working and enjoying the friendship that Des provided to everyone that know him.
There followed a short ad for Naas Credit Union by Tim. Since the demise of the banking service provided each Thursday (in Clare Doyle’s house) the Credit Union was the only financial institution providing a service in the village. Urging people to support, he told of the work done at local level on behalf of some 2000 members. Highlighted was the recent donation of 5000 euro to assist victims of the flooding in Sallins. The high dividend of 2% paid last year and the extensive loan service available to the local community.
Holding James up as a role model for the youngsters of the village, Tim felt the waves of pride coming up from the hall. The pride of the local GAA, Senior and Juvenile, of his brothers, of parents Vincent and Oonagh, of Linda who was unable to be present and the community in general.
To rapturous applause, James accepted, telling the gathering of being able to source Croke Park tickets from Des, before he could source them in his own right!! James Kavanagh, talented, young and handsome recipient of the inaugural Naas Credit Union Des Kennedy Award, presented for sporting achievement in 2010.
With Rose stuck in Spain for a good part of December /January and onerous work commitments attended to by Tim, this year’s process of selecting the Ballymore person of the Year commenced by email and text. Suggestions and reasons flew through space until the co-editors of the Ballymore Bugle managed to be in the same place for a few hours to decide the outcome. All the nominees are winners, everyone gets the same prizes, there is only bragging rights and the permission to graze your sheep any where in the village for the winner!! In the end, Tim, saying that he hated draws even more than James Kavanagh, told the hushed and expectant audience that there were Joint winners, in the Ballymore Historical Society and the Juvenile GAA. Citing the reasons as said on the winner’s scrolls, that they bridged the gap between the past and the future complimented both groups on a wonderful twelve months. He praised their commitment and their effect on having made real difference in the community. Sean Murray, General Manager of Naas Credit Union and Tim presented a delighted group of young players and eminent historians.

Ballymore People of the Year awards had many firsts this year but as always was first for entertainment, first for fun and first for getting to community together to honour all the nominees who go the extra distance in their work and activities that make Ballymore such a wonderful vibrant community. Next year normal service will be resumed, we promise. Rose will not eat anything in the week leading up to the Awards in 2011.

Tim Ryan.

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