HONOUR FOR MATT WHELAN: The Old Time Gaels of East Limerick held their 10th Annual Awards Night in the Millenium Centre, Caherconlish on Friday, March 9th. They are an organisation founded in 2003 by a committee comprising of chairman, Eddie Wade of South Liberties; secretary, Ger O’Connell of Pallasgreen; treasurer, Seamus Walsh of Ahane; John Cooney of South Liberties, Mike Clarke of Cappamore, and Tony Hickey of Boher. It was founded to acknowledge the contribution of Gaels in the East Limerick Division who have given lifelong, voluntary and dedicated service to the Gaelic Athletic Association in various capacities over the years. Many of these people worked quietly in the background in areas like administration, fundraising, field maintenance, refereeing and endless other important chores. Others have excelled on the field of play and brought honour to their clubs, division and county. Each year they honour a person from each club in the East division who is carefully selected by the above committee, and this year’s recipient from the Ahane Club, is Matt Whelan.
The following is the profile of Matt which was part of a wonderfully produced programme which was printed for the occasion:
“Matt Whelan is a most worthy recipient of the Cumann na Sean Ghaeil Luimneach Thoir award here tonight representing his club, Ahane. Matt was born and reared in Banemore Lower, Listowel, Co. Kerry. After finishing school he trained to be a guarda and as a member of An Garda Siochana, he was transferred to Castleconnell Garda Station in 1966 after doing stints in William Street, Limerick City, Kilfinane and Hospital in County Limerick. When he arrived in Castleconnell in March, 1966 he immediately got involved in the local Ahane Club as a player and administrator and served on the committee of the Club in various capacities until 1999. He gave 33 years of dedicated service to the green and gold of Ahane and he has also maintained a lifelong allegiance to his native Kerry.
“During those years he served as chairman, from 1987 to 1995; secretary in 1970, vice-chairman, from 1971 to 1975; registrar in 1979, County Board delegate, from 1987 to 1997; East Board delegate, from 1979 to 1986; football trainer 1971, selector, from 1972 to 1982, and senior hurling selector in 1971. All of these positions he filled with distinction and was always most approachable and courteous in his dealings with club members and club officers throughout the county.
“He played football for Hospital before he transferred to Ahane and won an East junior football title with Ahane in 1966, and again in 1967, when Ahane went on to contest the county junior football championship final against Croom, which was played at Pairc na nGael on March 10, 1968, and were defeated on a scoreline of 0-7 to 0-3. Matt was a strong, forceful and uncompromising full-back and was flanked by Mike Fitzgibbon and Gerry Kingston in the full-back line in that final.
“Matt played a major role in the purchase and development of Mackey Park in Newgarden, from the time that the field was purchased in 1981, until the official opening of the field, dressing rooms and clubhouse in May, 1995. From the start, he was ever-present in the planning, groundwork and construction of all these facilities. He oversaw all of this work from beginning to end and was not afraid to get his hands dirty, whether it was digging out foundations, carrying blocks or mixing mortar. Whenever there was work to be done around the field, dressing rooms or clubhouse, Matt was always first there to lend a hand. All of this was done on a completely voluntary basis involving hundreds of hours, and the Club owe him a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. Matt’s wife Eileen served on the Ahane Club committee from 1984 to 1999 and was co-ordinator of the Mackey Stand Development Draw for all of those years.
“Matt’s proudest moments in his years involved with the Ahane Club, were when the minor football championship was won for the first time in the Club’s history in 1992, when Ahane defeated Claughaun in the final on a scoreline of 1-11 to 0-6, and secondly being chairman of the club when President of the GAA, Jack Boothman performed the official opening of the Clubhouse, dressing rooms and field at Mackey Park, Newgarden in May, 1995. Matt had put a lot of hard work into making this dream a reality, and it was fitting that he was Chairman when the official opening took place. He retired from An Garda Siochana on the January 2, 1995, and took on the position of bar manager in the Clubhouse at Mackey Park from 1996 until 1998.
“He was an ever-present member of the Ahane committee from the time he arrived in the parish in 1966 until 1999 and he still is ever-present at club games to this day. He is currently a Trustee of the Club. His commitment and dedication to the Ahane GAA Club will be long remembered through his work on various committees which was done to the best standards.
“As well as many great players, the Ahane club has produced many loyal and dedicated workers over the years, none more so than Matt Whelan. It is men like him that make the GAA the great organisation that it is today. Held in high esteem by all in the Ahane Club and in the East Limerick Division, we are delighted to welcome Matt here to the Millenium Centre, Caherconlish tonight with his wife Eileen and their family, and to call on Matt to accept this award in recognition of his immense contribution and loyalty to his beloved Ahane Club.”
Congratulations and best wishes Matt, a well deserved award for your dedication, commitment, and all that you contributed and achieved for Ahane GAA Club. Best wishes also to your wife, Eileen and family.
ST PATRICKS DAY PARADE WAS A HUGE SUCCESS: The Parade held on Sunday last was one of the most enjoyable in recent years.
Many groups from the parish took part, in a great spirit of fun, providing a terrific antidote to the doom and gloom which at times can seem all pervasive. The Parade was led by a Colour Party provided by the Castleconnell Scouts, followed by the man himself, St Patrick aka Matt McCormack.
“The local St Vincent de Paul Volunteers, also the new Pope Francis (Sean Hartigan) and President Michael D alias Matt Byrnes and the Drama Society caught the spirit of the moment and brought roars of laughter from the crowd. The ACM Kidz creche and the Sunny lane creche children and teachers provided a great splash of colour on their way through the village. The Bórd na nÓg participants, the Lisnagry Soccer club, the Limerick Youth Group, the Boat Club, Castleconnell Community Games, Limerick Youth Community Games Group, and the Limerick Community Games Group added mightily to the colour and excitement of the day.
“On the commercial side Midwest Patios, Mikes Mowers (Meskells) with their ingenious larges cale Mower on show, Paddy Guerin’s Kingfisher Club and Michael Shine’s Driving School and the Classic cars amongst others. Great credit goes to everyone involved for all the hard work they put into taking part, whether it was making banners, costumes or even giant lawnmowers!! You make the day.
“Thanks must go to the Judges - Antoinette Fitzgerald of Castleconnell Credit Union and Tracy Skehan of Whisps Hair Salon and also to our marvellous MC, Nollaig MacCarthy- thank you, ladies. To Malcolm Porter, Jimmy Ryan, Ger Enright, Stephen Clothier and Jim Deedigan of ACE Tool Hire who all provided essential back-up with sound equipment, electrical work, providing a viewing stand, supplying a generator, driving and transport, without which there could have been no parade, thank you.
“The band, Grey’s Burden, and Castleconnell Comhaltas Group who provided a great mix of Irish and Trad music were invaluable. To John Quinlivan of Limerick County Council, thanks for your help. Thanks also to the Gardai and to the stalwarts of Ahane GAA, who provided the stewards to keeps things running smoothly.
“We cannot end without mention of a crew who work behind the scenes and rarely get recognition, the workers of CPL (Fás), who do so much to keep the Castleconnell area looking at its most beautiful - thank you, from the St Patrick’s Day Parade Committee - Maura McNamara, Tom Tyrrell, Irene Cullen, Alicia Conway, Michael Sheehan and Mary Gleeson (Chairperson).”
LEPRECHAUNS: The number of Leprechauns counted for the attempt at the Guinness World Record was 651, a great FIRST attempt! All credit must go to Michael Sheehan and the ‘Leprechaun Committee’ for adding greatly to the fun of the day. Monies collected at the Leprechaun event by the Castleconnell Youth Group are being donated to Adapt House in Limerick. The judges for the Leprechaun event were: Sgt. Bernard McDonagh, Alan English, editor, Limerick Leader and Chronicle, and Aisling Hawe,
GRAVEYARD PROJECT COMPLETED: The graveyard cataloging data capture project is now complete at last - included are all the headstones in Stradbally graveyard (almost 1000 of them!), the memorial plaques in the Church of Ireland and the headstones and memorial plaques located in St. Joseph’s Church, Castleconnell Village. Separately, the graveyard in Killeenagarriff has also been completed by the good people in Ahane and also the graveyards in Lisheen and Inishlosky in Montpelier have also been completed by community volunteers there. All the records from this great work will be available on www.historicgraves.ie in perpetuity.
The Castleconnell Development Association and the Castleconnell Historical Society would like to enthusiastically thank all those who helped in the cataloging of the graveyard headstones in Castleconnell. It was a tremendous effort and a great community undertaking. Volunteers included Brendan Murphy, Kit Joyce, Nicky McNamara, Eileen Joyce, Henry Nash, John Hyland, Padraig O hEidhin, Pat Collins, Kay Barry, John MacNamara, Colm Martin, Rachel Parfitt, Shirley McGrath, Fiona Barry, Deirdre McCarthy, Tim McCarthy, Betty Hayes, Colm Martin, Stephen Reidy, Pat Tuohy and Robin Rynhart (apologies if we missed anybody!). We would especially like to thank Colum Hardy who led the project - his systematic approach and enthusiasm really did help to make the project a success.
All the records are now captured on paper and have already started being loaded onto the website. There is still a lot of typing to be done however to enter everything onto the website - in particular the 1000 headstones in Castleconnell - so if you would be available to help in the typing, we would be really delighted. If available, please contact John Mac Namara at 086 039771 or Henry Nash at 086 8785170 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you in advance for your support!
SYMPATHY: Sympathy has also been extended to the family of Yvonne Windle (nee Shelley), wife of the late Jack, Mountshannon, Lisnagry, who passed away, peacefully, at Milford Care Centre. Her remains were reposing at Griffin’s Funeral Home, Limerick on Thursday last, and she was laid to rest, in Kilmurry Cemetery, after Mass on Friday in Monaleen Church. She will be greatly missed by her son, Ciaran; daughter Barbara; brother Jos; sister, Barbara in Australia; grandchildren, great-grandchildren, relatives and friends. May she rest in peace.
Sympathy has been extended to Margaret Riordan on the death of her mother, Mary Riordan, Drominboy, Lisnagry, who passed away, peacefully, at the Regional Hospital, on Wednesday, March 13. Her remains were reposing at her nephew Liam and his wife Geraldine’s residence, Woodstown, Lisnagry on Friday, and she was laid to rest, after Requiem Mass on Saturday in Ballymackeogh Cemetery. She will be sadly missed by her daughter, Margaret; nephew, Liam Cosgrove; niece, Helen O’Mahony, neighbours, relatives and friends. May she rest in peace.
UNISLIM CLASSES: Maureen Meleady is running Unislim Classes in Castleconnell, Newport and Killaloe. Classes in Castleconnell are held in the ACM Centre, Thursday, 9.30am to 11.00am. Newport Community Hall, Wednesday, 5.30pm to 6.30pm. Lakeside Hotel, Killaloe, Thursday, 6.30pm to 8.00pm. New members welcome. For information contact Maureen Meleady at 086-8474417. Email: www.unislim.ie