Brave souls to take the plunge at Christmas swims

Donal O’Regan


Donal O’Regan

John O'Meara, Clonlara with Darragh O'Neill and Declan Gill, Castleconnell at last year's Christmas swim in Castleconnell Picture: Dave Gaynor
BRAVE souls in Castleconnell and Newport will be taking the plunge on Christmas day.

BRAVE souls in Castleconnell and Newport will be taking the plunge on Christmas day.

The swims organised by Lisnagry FC and Newport RFC are a fixture in the community calendars. First up at around 12.30pm is the event organised by Lisnagry FC at the World’s End.

After 11.30am Mass and before the turkey and ham, players, supporters and locals will congregate to watch men and women take an icy dip in the Shannon.

Chairman of Lisnagry FC, Ed Bourke, said it is part and parcel of Christmas day.

“We meet down by the water, have a chat and glass of punch very kindly provided by Charcos, who are long time supporters.

“It is lovely because there are people home from abroad and you mightn’t have seen them for the whole year,” said Mr Bourke.

Lots of players are busy filling up sponsorship cards and there will be a collection box as well. All the money raised will go back into the club and it is more important than ever as they are homeless.

After over 20 years playing matches in The Hermitage it was bought by Gary McNamara - son of Euromillions lottery winner Dolores McNamara.

The played their last game a couple of weeks ago and the goal posts were removed this week. They are frantically searching for a new home.

“We are searching high and low but having no luck as of yet. Scanlon Park is fine but it is really only a summer pitch. We have been very lucky regarding the weather,” said Mr Bourke.

As the pitch in Scanlon Park is very wet if the weather turns they face the possibility of playing all their home games away. They are actively looking and ask anybody that might be able to help them in their quest to contact a club member.

“If there is a farmer or anybody at all that can entertain us with a few acres to play a bit of football please get in touch. We are going to have a lot of young fellows without a field. Hopefully somebody will come up trumps with a bit of land. The whole of Castleconnell knows the situation. There is a real feel good factor, they are concerned at the situation we are in and we have got great support in fundraising. The race night was a big success,” said Mr Bourke.

Meanwhile, Newport RFC host their Christmas swim at the Ivy Bridge in the village at around 12.45pm after noon Mass.

Last year they celebrated their 41st event founded by the late Martin O’Sullivan. His wife, Mary Jo O’Sullivan, of The Freigh Inn and president of Newport RFC, provides the hot drinks for those who jump into the Newport river.

“Lads get sponsored and we collect money for a local charity,” said club secretary Eugene Hanrahan.