Community spirit.

Community spiritThat’s what it’s all about.


There was a palpable sense of excitement in the Porter House on Sunday evening with the arrival both the Junior and Intermediate football teams celebrating their triumphs of having won their respective championships.  The Junior Team were in action on Saturday and the Intermediate team were in the Park on Sunday afternoon.

There were great cheers, backslapping, hugging and camaraderie among both teams and their large contingent of supporters.  What was most impressive was the community spirit that was present on the day.  Whether you were a hurling, football or soccer man everyone was genuinely delighted on the achievements of a great set of lads, who through the dark nights of the winter had trained hard in Hollymount.  Their dedication and commitment to the game, their team members saw very decisive wins on both Saturday and Sunday.

A spectator said on the night (not from Castlebridge) they could not understand “what the fuss was about?” and we tried to explain that this was the culmination of years of hard work on behalf of the lads themselves, their managers, mentors, parents, grand-parents, families and friends.  I tried to give a picture of what community is about – the bringing together of people with a single purpose in mind.  That was surely seen on Saturday and Sunday.

These guys are very fit, educated, hard working and have a sense of pride in themselves, their team, Club and community.  They were an example of what is good in small rural villages in Ireland. They are our future. The lads remembered all the winning days they had at matches, Feiles and other sporting events and the taste of victory but during this time they also tasted defeat.  They know the difference and that is why Saturday and Sundays wins were so sweet.

It was fascinating to watch the lads cajole each other in a friendly and genuine fashion.  They made allowances for each other and the different types of characters and most of all they showed each other respect.  They could teach us all a lot.  For the future of the community we have nothing to fear – these guys are well reared and know how to behave.

While in the Porter House there was regaling of stories and songs.  First off we had Tom Tynan setting an example as manager this was followed by- well, we don’t know if it was Darren, Jack or the prowler Malone but he certainly set a high standard with his convictions while bursting out “Willie McBride”.  There were rousing cheers, pints being raised and the crowd were in awe.  Then in his wake came Brian Shaughnessy who had a sweeter, more melodious tone.  Graeme Power took to the old style of singing with the eyes shut and Stephen Banville was next “on stage”.  The Captain Brian Malone was reluctant to shine on the stage, as he does on the pitch but we’ll forgive him for that!  Next up were David Walsh and Adrian Veale.

The celebrations continued until the buses arrived to transport the large group to Hotel Curracloe where a meal was put on for the team and managers.
 The speeches reflected the community spirit and credit was given to those managers and mentors who had gone before, in building up the team and had contributed to the team when they were underage players.  Congratulations were given on behalf of the Camogie and Ladies football club.   For once in his life, Noel Ryan was speechless with the shouting and excitement and Larry Banville kindly did MC.  The meal was ended with a rendition of Boolavogue from the veteran Hopper McGrath that received a standing ovation.

It was then back to the bar and the dance floor!  Lar Kenny provided the music on the night and the floor was full from the minute he started.  Dermot Keane in his enthusiasm stepped it out with Nora Lawler and others quickly followed.   Again the community spirit was present with young and old mixing in a spirit of fun and craic. There were slow sets and jiving and all “danced to their own tune” on the night.  Songs were sung by Siobhan Banville, Michael Ryan, Clive Lawler and brought everyone a welcome reprieve to sit it out and catch their breaths.

Then the mammies and daddies sat back when the disco started and watched “their Johnny” do their thing on the dance floor.  The lads were engrossed in their own company on the dance floor and were very serious about the moving and the shakin!
They got serious with the “bare belly” dancing which they all took to with gusto.  The audience were amused to say the least.   The music was appropriately chosen by DJ Willie Power on the night. 

At that stage everyone was exhausted with the match, the heat, craic and drink, however the team were reluctant to end the night and in their determination to have fond memories of the night headed back to Eddie Doyle’s house for more craic and laughter. 

The night continued into day and the cups were returned to the Porter House on Monday and the same tight knit community spirit and camaraderie was present.  Today Tuesday the cups visited Freddies of Screen with the session going hell for leather as we speak. 

If aliens were to visit the parish at the moment, I think they would get in their ship and return home very quickly.  It would be so difficult to explain how much these cups and triumphs mean to each team member, managers, selectors, families and friends.  It is the culmination the years upon years of hard work and the taste of victory is very sweet indeed.