It’s a lovely Sunday afternoon, and out here in Creggs we can sense something different in the air. It’s all because, after an absence of seven years, our rugby team are back in the top flight of Connacht Junior rugby, and we are about to have our first league game, against a Westport side that has been ever-present in the top division, and who finished in third place in last year’s league.
2.30 pm arrives, and having been there with a bit of time in hand, I check out the situation with the new Four G pitch, and while it’s a bit behind, the feeling is that it will be up and running in a few weeks’ time. I can see where the new floodlights are being readied, and in truth, it’s almost impossible to grasp the massive development that is taking place in our little village.
I know I’ve mentioned it before, but when all the work is finished, a small village on the Roscommon/Galway border with a population of about one hundred people will have a sporting complex second to none in the whole country. It’s come a long way in forty years.
However, my day-dreaming time was soon ended, and as the teams took to the field, it was great to see a good-sized crowd had gathered to watch a game that turned out to be as exciting and as good as any I have seen in many a year.
The difference in standards in terms of speed, accuracy, and physicality, between Division One B last year and this year’s higher division was amazing, and the quality of the fare that both teams served up was just fantastic. The result, a win for our lads by 25-12, was a deserved and very welcome start to the new campaign.
I know there will be a full report (or there had better be), in the sport pages, so I won’t spoil it for you, but if Sunday’s match was anything to go by, we can look forward to a season full of free-flowing exciting rugby, and I for one can’t wait.
It’s taken seven years to get back to the top table, but it seems to me that our young, exciting team are fully ready for the higher tier of Connacht rugby, and all I can say is, if you have any interest in rugby at all, get to Creggs as often as you can in the coming months and you will not be disappointed.
Amongst the large attendance at The Green, although in a working capacity, was Galway man and renowned photographer, Gerry O’Loughlin. I jokingly asked him had he moved out to the Creggs area, as the previous night he was snapping away (along with Mick McCormack) at our big fundraising dance in Dowd’s in Glinsk.
And that brings me nicely to the dance, which turned out to be a wonderful success, with a large crowd, all of whom enjoyed the beautiful music of Jimmy Kearney and John Carlos, collectively known as The Lancers.
Once again we are bowled over by the generosity of the people of the parish – and beyond. We were also treated to a song or two by the living legend – and one of Roscommon’s best-known and most popular figures – the great Danny Burke. As I’ve said before, he has a wonderful voice and could certainly have made a living as a singer. As usual, he brought the house down.
We still have a few bob to come in, but we are fully confident that for the second year in a row the magical figure/target of €5,000 will be reached.
We will be presenting the cheques shortly to the representatives of Cancer Care West and the Lourdes Invalid Fund, and will reveal the exact figure, but it certainly is more than we had hoped for. Also, on the night, thanks to so many kind sponsors, we had 19 superb prizes for the raffle, and the big door prize (donated by the Abbey Hotel) which was a dinner for two to the value of €100. It was won by Rosaleen Timothy.
All told it was a marvellous night, and the good news is that we are running again in 2019, again in Dowd’s, and with The Lancers back in action. Please God we will all still be around, but in the meantime, thanks to everyone who helped to make Saturday’s fundraiser such a great success. You have a full year’s peace before we start annoying you again!
Roll up, roll up…for Big Tom Tribute Night
As I told you last week, there is a big tribute night to the late great Big Tom coming up on Friday, 28th of September in Mannion’s in Glenamaddy.
I’m told a great night’s entertainment is promised, with a host of top artists featuring. The show will start at 9 pm sharp.
Among those confirmed so far are Philomena and Michael O’Brien, Mick Mulhern, Kevin Prendergast, PJ Murrihy, Tommy Burke and Rachel, a new young singer Aoife Leonard from Gort, and our own ‘Big Tom’…the one and only Mattie Clarke.
Julie Healy, a lovely singer in her own right and the chief organiser of the event, is launching her new CD on the night, with the song ‘My Lovely Glenamaddy’ having being written by Seamus Fitzsimmons, a singer-songwriter from Stoke in England. Seamus will also be performing on what is his first ever visit to Ireland.
Julie is donating a marble seat with all the information about Big Tom, which is being made by Glen man, Paul Murphy, and it will be situated in the Square in Glenamaddy. Michael Fitzmaurice, our local TD, is doing the unveiling on the Friday afternoon.
Julie tells me there will be any amount of spot prizes and an auction and raffle on the night. Among the items to be auctioned are two portraits of Big Tom by the renowned artist, Matt Doyle.
There will be loads of food, and I’m sure a good supply of drink, and all the signs are that it will be one of the great nights, so don’t miss out…get to Mannion’s on the 28th of September and make it a tribute night worthy of the big man.
I’m told there may be more major announcements regarding the appearance of other major artists, so watch this space. I will confirm all in next week’s edition (by the way, the whole show is free).