St Brigid’s GAC Miscellany: A Night of Culture And Craic In February

On Friday February 1st, St Brigid’s Day, St Brigid’s GAC will host an evening of music, singing, poetry, storytelling, dancing and craic at Malone House. Around twenty musicians, artists, storytellers and speakers will entertain, intrigue and amuse from 8pm until 1am. With four rooms – each containing different forms of entertainment – there will be plenty to keep you dancing, singing and laughing all throughout the night.

On the music front, among other acts we have local legends The Dead Handsomes (formerly ‘The Adventures’, whose song ‘Broken Land’ was the most played song on Radio 1 in 1998), featuring former ‘Stiff Little Fingers’ drummer James Reilly. Also performing shall be the McGinn Sisters, whose breathtaking skill in harp, violin and whistle/flute put them in very high demand for weddings and functions (with over 1600 ‘likes’ on Facebook), as well as Brendan Conway, a Scór champion from Tyrone with an incredible voice that would bring a tear to the eye of even the most hardened fullback!

We will also have dancing from world champion Irish dancers in the form of the Breslin-McLaughlin School of Irish Dance. Eamon Phoenix, the hugely respected political broadcaster and historian – who has featured on BBC Radio Ulster, the Irish Times and the Irish News to name a few – will also be giving a talk, as will Linda Ervine, a language-rights activist from East Belfast who will talk about her fascinating work with a programme called ‘Turas’, an Irish language project which aims to connect people from Protestant communities to their own history with the Irish language. There will also be art and poetry from local artists, schools and community groups.

As anyone who has previously attended a St Brigid’s Miscellany will attest to, this will be a night of great craic and one to showcase the cultural side of our club – a very important aspect of any GAA club. To order tickets (which cost £20), or for more information, please visit the club website (stbrigidsgac.com) or email stbrigidsmiscellany@outlook.com. Tell your friends and family — hopefully see you there!

Saffron Scór acts scoop 3 Ulster tiles in Silverbridge

Last night Antrim made history in Silverbridge winning 3 Ulster Scór na nÓg titles.  This is such a huge achievement and we are so proud of the Ceili dancers from Aghagallon, Mary Kate who claimed the title in Recitation and the Aghagallon Léiriú group who won the Léiriú Stáitse title.  For a County to win one Ulster title is a huge success but to win 3 is something that we really only dare to dream of and for it to happen in this special 50th anniversary year of Scór made it even more amazing . A special word of thanks must go to the parents, mentors, families, clubs and communities of these young people who had prepared the children so well for the big event today and who have supported them through their Scór journey so far .  Tonight we have 17 Ulster medals in Antrim and 2 clubs can add some Ulster titles to their list of achievements. Congratulations to the winners. The All Ireland Final will take place in Castlebar on Saturday 16th February.

The results were as follows

Ceili Dancing – Antrim (St Mary’s Aghagallon)

Solo Singing- Down (Aoife Trainor – Clonduff GAC)

Recitation – Antrim (Mary Kate Bonnes, Tír na nÓg)

Ballad Group -Derry (Glen, Maghera)

Leiriu – Antrim (St Mary’s Aghagallon)

Instrumental Music – Armagh (Madden)

Sets – Derry (Glenuillin )

Clann’s edge St Eunan’s to progress

Bank of Ireland Paddy McLarnon Cup

Ulster U21 Club Football Tournament

Preliminary Round

Clann Éireann, Lurgan (Armagh) 0-8 St Eunan’s, Letterkenny (Donegal) 0-7

Brendan McTaggart reports from Creggan #UlsterU21Club19

A strong first half performance proved to be the foundation for Clann Éireann as they edged past St Eunan’s in the Paddy McLarnon Cup preliminary round.  One point separated the sides after the hour with Conan O’Carroll’s 58th minute point proving to be the winner.  The Donegal champions had chances to force extra time with in the time that remained but the Lurgan side held on to book a place in the quarter-final.

Both sides were forced into key changes before the throw in with Niall O’Donnell unable to field for St Eunan’s and Ryan Owens absent for the Clann’s.  Playing with the help of the wind coming in from the Lough in the opening half, the expectation was St Eunan’s would make all the early running but Clann Eireann were excellent in the opening quarter.  The trio of captain Conor McConville, Sean McCarthy and Tiernan Kelly were dominant in the midfield while the sweeping capabilities of Barry McCambridge would prove to be pivotal throughout the contest.  McCambridge would take the Man of the Match award for his display in a strong, powerful performance manning the Lurgan sides defence with an astute awareness while providing an extra dimension in attack when the need arose.

The Clann’s opened the scoring in the second minute with Aodhán McConville firing over his first of three first half points.  They were making light of playing against the elements but their end product was letting them down when it mattered.  St Eunan’s equalised in the seventh minute with Niall Hannigan scoring his first of three over the 60 minutes only for Aodhán McConville to put the Armagh champions ahead once again in the 12th minute.

Chances were at a premium for large periods of the first half with both defences proving difficult to break down.  Clann Eireann looked more likely to make something happen but St Eunan’s Eoin McGeehan and Cormac Finn’s influence was growing.  It was Finn who restored parity to the sides midway through the half and while both sides wrestled for momentum, they spurned goal scoring chances.  First St Eunan’s ‘keeper Eoin O’Boyle made a double save from Conor Turbitt before moments later Oisin Purdy saw his goal bound effort cleared off the line by McCambridge with Eoghan Mulholland beaten between the sticks for the Clann’s.

A brace of points in as many minutes from Aodhán McConville and Rioghan Meehan opened a two point lead for the first time in the contest for the Lurgan side and while Hannigan pointed for the first score of the game from a free in the injury time, Ruairi McDonald had the final say of the half for the Clann’s to give the Orchard men a lead of 0-5 to 0-3 at the interval.

St Eunan’s were probably unfortunate to go into the interval trailing.  They weren’t at their fluent best but six wides to Clann Éireann’s none in the opening 30 minutes and two missed frees threatened to derail their challenge.

The Armagh men certainly would have been content with their first half efforts but they too began to struggle in front of the target after the restart.  After a clinical first half, they fired six wides in 13 minutes with St Eunan’s Niall Hannigan scoring the only point of the opening quarter of the second half from a free.  The Clann’s were struggling for free takers with a couple of chances going a begging and the Donegal men were growing into the game once again. 

They could have scored the opening goal of the game in the 41st minute but Aaron Deeney’s effort came back of the upright with Mulholland beaten in the Clann’s goals.  The St Eunan’s midfielder was undoubtedly going for a point but his effort had the Clann’s ‘keeper scrambling before they cleared the danger.

Ruairi McDonald doubled his tally and the Clann’s advantage with a classy left footed point in the 46th minute but substitute Brian McEntyre left the minimum between the sides with his first touch of the game.

A goal was always going to be a game changer in a low scoring contest and the Clann’s almost made the breakthrough with six minutes of the tie remaining.  Tiernan Kelly surging through the heart of the St Eunan’s defence with a strong and powerful run.  He used the outside of his left foot to try and deceive O’Boyle between the sticks but the St Eunan’s ‘keeper managed to somehow tip the ball away with a superb piece of goal keeping.

Barry McCambridge stepped up to score a ’45 and once again open a two point lead and solve his sides free taking problems, underlining his man of the match credentials only for St Eunan’s to halve the deficit once again with Eoin McGeehan pointing a free from close range in the 57th minute.

With the game in the melting pot, both sides pressed for the scores that would ensure the victory.  Conan O’Carroll restored the Clann’s two point lead and while Michael McGroary reduced the lead once again, time wasn’t on the Donegal men’s hands.  They were once again denied by the woodwork with McGeehan denied and the bounce of the ball eluding McEntyre with the goal at his mercy.  Clann Éireann held on for a one point win and a meeting with Tyrone champions Dromore in the last quarter-final.

Clann Éireann: Eoghan Mulholland; Conor McDonald, Oscar McKeagney, Jack Haddock; Conan O’Carroll (0-1), Rioghan Meehan (0-1), Tiernan Harbinson; Conor McConville, Sean McCarthy; Daniel Magee, Tiernan Kelly, Aodhán McConville (0-3); Ruairi McDonald (0-2), Conor Turbitt, Barry McCambridge (0-1, 1 ’45).

Subs: Jack Conlon for C Turbitt (48)

St Eunan’s: Eoin O’Boyle; Conor Moore, Darragh Toal, Michael McGroary; Anthony Gallagher, Oisin Toal, Peter McEniff (0-1); Sean McGettigan, Aaron Deeney; Cormac Finn (0-1), Kevin Kealy, Niall Hannigan (0-3, 2f’s) ; Oisin Purdy, Rory Carr, Eoin McGeehan (0-1).

Subs: Subs: Brian McEntyre for O Toal (blood sub 9 mins, reversed 12 mins); Brian McEntyre (0-1) for R Carr (47)

Referee: Karol Doherty (St Mary’s, Rasharkin)

10th Annual Paddy McLarnon-Bank of Ireland tournament kicks off this Saturday

Following the official launch at the Elk on the 27th December the 10th Annual Bank of Ireland-Paddy Mclarnon tournament kicks off this Saturday with what promises to be a mouth-watering double bill that is likely to whet the appetite.

St. Eunan’s Letterkenny and Clann Eireann get the action under way at 12.30 in a preliminary round clash that looks interesting. The Donegal champions will be hoping to emulate the performance of last year’s county champions, Gaoth Dobhair and bring the Paddy McLarnon Cup back to Donegal.

St Eunan’s were impressive in the Donegal final where they defeated Glenn Finn 5.11 to 1.08 and will be aiming to keep the Paddy McLarnon Cup in Donegal for another year as team captain Conor Moore looks forward to leading them to further success.

They won’t get it all their own way however against Armagh champions Clann Eireann who beat Kileavy 2.08 to 0.13 in the Armagh U21 Championship Final and Armagh have always brought strong sides to this tournament.

At 2.15 the first of the quarter-final games are down for decision when Carrickmacross Emmet’s from Monaghan face Down champions, Carryduff. This is the second year in succession that Carryduff have taken the Down title and they were quite impressive last year before going down to eventual winners, Gaoth Dobhair.

Last years’ experience should help the Mourne champions who impressed in the Down final where they beat Bryansford 3-7 to 0-3 in a one sided affair but they are likely to face a stiffer test against a Carrickmacross side who defeated Inniskeen in a much tighter county final by 3-11 to 0-14.

The following day (Sunday) Antrim champions St. Brigid’s dip their toes in the water of the Ulster U21 tournament for the first time and to date Antrim teams haven’t fared well at this level though St. John’s reached the final a few years back but were beaten by a very good Watty Graham’s side.

The Musgrave Park side will be no strangers to the Staffordstown Road however as they defeated host club Creggan here in the Antrim semi-final before going on to beat a good Dunloy side in a thrilling final at Colaiste Feirste.

The Belfast side will face Crosserlough who beat Southern Gaels 3-13 to 2-6 in a Cavan final that was played at U20 level, the only county to reschedule their club championship to this age level. Cavan have always brought strong representatives to Creggan however and St. Brigid’s will need to be at their best to advance. A win for Carryduff and St. Brigid’s would set up a mouth-watering semi-final with these sides based only a short distance apart in South Belfast. Throw in for this one is 12.30.

The weekend action concludes with the third quarter-final at 2.15 when Rossa, Magherafelt take on Enniskillen Gaels from Fermanagh. Magherafelt were comfortable winners over Faughanvale in the Derry final where they won 2-15 to 2-3 and will go into this one as favourites despite facing an Enniskillen side who were rampant in their final win over Derrygonnelly running out 4-19 to 0-5.

The fourth quarter-final will see St. Dympna’s Dromore return to the tournament for the second time to face the preliminary round winners of St. Eunan’s and Clann Eireann on a date to be announced later.

Saints & Slimmers 2019 Launched at St. Brigid’s

Ballymena’s All Saints GAC award winning health and well-being programme, Saints & Slimmers, was launched at St. Brigid’s Primary School on Sunday night. This is the fourth successive year of the club’s very popular health & wellbeing initiative with the event growing in numbers and popularity every year. Started in January 2016 the 6 week project sees more than 170 participants teamed with fellow “Slimmers” in a bid to be crowned overall champions. With health and well-being at its heart Saints & Slimmers provides opportunities for regular team exercise, promotion of positive mental health, development of teamwork skills, dance and many social activities. Participants have been assigned to a team and are following a 6 week programme of activity. Those involved will be spin cycling in the early morning before winding down with Pilates that evening. Circuit training, aerobic workouts and the all-important team challenges will keep everyone entertained while the finale dance-off in the splendour of the Tullyglass House Hotel will provide a fitting celebration of the participant’s efforts.

Last year the programme was recognised at the Irish News Club & Volunteer Awards when it was awarded the prestigious award for best Club Health & Well Being initiative. This year’s programme sees participants range in age from 18 to 80 years of age and activities are tailored to individual need and fitness.