The Spirit of Boyle
I was just reflecting on the positive happenings in Boyle over the last few months and the list grew as I recalled them. It is a reflection on the efforts of so many people in the area and demonstrates the varied abilities, talents and commitment in the community. Some people might refer to the fact that very little happens in Boyle but that is just not valid in various respects.
Last Saturday night Boyle GAA had a tremendously successful event with their fundraiser ‘Who Wants to be a Thousandaire’. It was produced to a professional standard and really enjoyed by all who were present. The reward for the club was a great return of around €20,000. Few events can raise this in one fell swoop. I know that many levels of funding went into this in a scale from Major sponsors down to those who just bought a ticket. In fairness from what I have observed every effort has been made to advertise those who contributed to the event. The effort from many people and especially those who headed up and pushed the venture was magnificent. They deserve great credit. Running a Sports recreational club is a very expensive business. It can take in the region of €60,000 or more to run the club each year. Next Saturday at 5 pm we have the A.G.M. of Boyle GAA Club when those running costs will be on public view. The facilities at the Abbey Park are much admired and commented on by visiting clubs. There is still a substantial debt due on those developments that need annual repayments on top of the annual running costs of the three branches of the club that now exist, Ladies, Senior and Minor. So fundraising is an ongoing and challenging process
On Friday night there was the official switching on of the revamped Christmas Lights of Boyle. The fundraising for this began, if I am not mistaken, with a very successful quiz last spring and was supplemented by business contributions. The presentation of Friday was colourful with a large crowd and great atmosphere. The word atmosphere could and might be used a number of times in the following paragraphs. The arrival of Santa, Matt Dowd’s Tullyboy train, the hot chocolate refreshments and novelties provided by the scouts and the subsequent market in King House made it a memorable night for all and especially the young people. And I suggest that the most pointed memories we have of Christmas are those of our childhood.
Scouts Celebrate 35th Anniversary
On Sunday December the 2nd I was in The Complex where Boyle Scouts celebrated 35 years of their present existence in Boyle. Again the effort was immense. I was a committee member of the Scouts a good while ago. I have great respect for the work being done by the leaders of this stand- out organisation in the town. It was the occasion of the Official Re-Opening and Blessing of Boyle Scout Den. There were a number of addresses from Trevor Conroy, Group Leader; Garrett Doyle, Chairperson; Wendy Power; and County commissioner, Charlie Gibbons. There were a number of presentations to and by the organisation. The Beirne family presented an original Scout shirt worn by Kevin Beirne from the 1933 Investiture when the Scouts were also a feature in Boyle. There was also the recognition of former Scout stalwart Tony Sweeney who passed away a year ago. Long serving leaders were also recognised. There was huge display of photographs on display. The event demonstrated another great effort from this fine movement and I wish it continued success.
Book Launches and Shop Anniversaries
The variety in the mix of items I am referring to comes with the launch of two very different local records in November that of Barry Feely ‘Life in Stone’ and the Regan family’s ‘Through Christy’s Lens’.
A number of Boyle’s shops too celebrated notable Anniversaries. Tawnytaskin too needs to be noted for its community activities. Also there was the opening of the fine F.C.A./L.D.F. exhibition in the army barracks.
Boyle Musical in November was another huge success. It is interesting how the crowds emerge when the vibes go out that this a show ‘not to be missed’. The annual show continues the long tradition of Boyle as a town of musical talent going back the decades.
Chris O’Dowds Honoured
Late October was dominated by a memorable few days as Chris O’Dowd returned to be celebrated and honoured as a Freeman of Roscommon. Chris’s speech was another impressive and emotive one. I presume I have alerted people to an acceptance speech he made in New York around St. Patrick’s Day when he was awarded The Spirit of Ireland Award by the Irish community there. His presence and commitment to his native place displays an honesty and generosity that is striking. A few weeks ago his and co-writer Nick Murphy’s book ‘Moone Boy the Blunder Years’ went on to win a national book award in its category. His status as an actor was endorsed for those who saw him in a cinematic presentation of his performance in the Broadway play, Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’.
Cian Smith Day
Another great community response was on Saturday November the 8th in the Abbey Park when Cian Smith was honoured and supported with the goodwill of so many when he retired from playing football. While it was a day tinged with sadness and nostalgia it could also be said to have been a day the community could take pride in. The generosity on the day towards to the two causes benefitting; The Mayo/Roscommon Hospice and the Kyle Casey Fund; was fantastic.
Those are a selection of standout moments in the last couple of months. Sometimes people may say ‘sure there is not much happening in Boyle’ but the above contradicts that though it is hard to see them replicated.
All that and keeping the home fires burning, worrying about Ireland, and the multitude of items that go to form the totality of man’s and woman’s existence.
Boyle GAA AGM Saturday the 13th
The most important meeting of Boyle GAA Club’s year takes place on Saturday evening next in the Club Centre at 5pm. Boyle GAA have been lucky in the quality and number of its officers in recent times especially. It is fair to say that it has been well served down the years also but the workload necessary to run a good club has increased incrementally with the years. The core officers today are: President, John Joe Nerney; Vice President, Barry Feely; Chairman, Martin Dolan; Vice Chairperson, Kathleen Hanmore; Secretary, Mary Clifford; Ass. Secretary, Barry Lowe; Treasurer, Mary Smith; Insurance Officer, Ml. Furey; Children’s Officer, Jan Flanagan; Registrar, Cian Smith; Pitch Co-ordinator, Martin Purcell; Lotto Co-ordinator, Aidan Lavin; P.R.O. Mark O’Donohoe; Ass. P.R.O. Bernie Mullens. Then there are the officers of the ladies Club and the Minor Club plus those who have no specified role but are invariably there when called on. Sponsors of course are another key element and Boyle have had great support, especially in recent years, in this area with loyal significant sponsorship.
It has always been a challenge to fill officer positions and various vacancies. A most important vacancy now is that of Senior Team Manager. It seems as if there will not be a manager from within the club which is very regrettable. The expenses to an ‘outside’ manager can be substantial and at times questionably worthwhile.
To Boyle Celtic who had a very impressive win in Dundalk on Sunday. They now play a Tipperary team, who are the actual 2013 winners of the F.A.I. Junior Cup, in the new year at home.
To Sean Purcell and Brian Whelan on their business venture in Carrick-on-Shannon, the bar named ‘Percy Whelan’. Since Boyle people visit Carrick from time to time they might find their way to this venue especially over the coming festive season. In the seventies and eighties the roles were reversed with Carrick socialisers coming to Boyle!
County GAA History Update
The update of the County GAA History is being launched in Hannon’s Hotel in Roscommon on Saturday at 8 pm. This volume covers the time span of from 1990 to the present and will be a valuable reference and record for the future. This is part of the Roscommon GAA’s 125th Commemoration of the founding of the Association in Boyle- for Roscommon- in 1889. The original book, printed in the Roscommon Herald Works under the supervision of Patsy Brennan, covering the period from 1889 to 1990, with which I was associated, has proved popular down the years and is now a collector’s item!
Mick Rocke from Elphin club has also produced an update of their club history printed by Purcell Print. It covers the years 1980-2014. It follows the ground-breaking first volume from Micheal Mulleady in 1980.
If anyone was interested in having a go at doing a Boyle GAA History I have material which would be a fair help to them!
I wish to endorse my old comrade and friend John McPhearson’s call for people to consider organ donation. John has been the beneficiary of a noble gift in that regard. I have suggested in the past that while Donor Cards are ok they get mislaid, not carried and so on. Would there be any merit in a ring or necklace attachment indicating that the bearer is a Donor? While I do not really know the full picture I am aware that Joe Brolly has been to the fore in the promotion of organ donation and set a great example himself in that respect.
P.S. There was no response to my search for Roscommon GAA songs!
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