Céilí of the Year

Céilí of the Year

On Sunday next, 7th December the Anally Céilí Band will be the visiting band for the Céilí of the Year in St. Mary’s Parish Hall, Lanesboro. There is a wonderful expectation rising for this céilí and we are looking forward to a most wonderful evening in a packed hall. Céilí dancing is a wonderful way to spend an evening and there is no doubt that on Sunday 7th December there will be a fabulous evening in Lanesboro from 4 to 7pm. The committee have also acquired some excellent prizes for the raffle and special door prizes of Afternoon tea for 2 at Lough Rynn Castle Hotel, A meal voucher from the Oriental Restaurant, Killashee St., Longford and a voucher from Spice India, first floor 8/9 Ballymahon St., Longford to mention a few. Make sure that all your dancing and indeed non dancing friends come along and welcome in Christmas time with a very special evening.

Spectacular Saturday

The weekend started off with Black Friday and is finishing with Cyber Monday and for the people of the Lanesboro and Ballyleague areas there was most definitely ‘Spectacular Saturday’. Never before had the clubs of St. Faithleach’s and Rathcline come together in such a joint venture. When chairmen Gerald Farrell and Derek Thompson discussed a venture between the two clubs they did not do anything by half nor were found wanting. Strictly Come Dancing ‘Over the Bridge’ sponsored by Lanesboro Ballyleague Credit Union and Munnelly Support Services was born. Derek and Gerald appointed six others to work with them in the execution of this historic feat – Helen Kelly, Janice Smyth, John Casey, Pat Connerton, Brenda Reynolds and Lorraine Farrell and what a job they did. Strictly Come Dancing ‘Over the Bridge’ was now born and work began in getting a venue and dancers all to be of top quality. A wonderful testament to the community was that there was so much talent willing to participate in this historic event. They were sacrificing their time and energies over a seven week period to make this night a very special one. To give so much of their time in preparation and then to go onstage and perform their dance routine to a packed house of almost 900 people shows their dedication and their willingness to support their own and their neighbouring community. To say that they were brilliant would most definitely be an understatement. We as a community can only stand and applaud each and every one of the dancers and the committee and the workers who contributed so much to a wonderful occasion in a wonderful location The Radisson Blu, Athlone. The night commenced with, local publican, Steve Ormsby and Caroline O’Reilly, a nurse in Innis Ree Lodge performing a Quickstep. They were followed by Ken Madden, a local garda, stationed in Carrick on Shannon and Geraldine Hanly, Lisnacusha, one of the loyal Rathcline lady footballers who danced Jazz. Brendan (Happy) Ward from the famous Ward family, The Green was the partner for An Post lady, Rita Mc Cormack, married to Pat who captained Rathcline to their only championship victory and they danced to the Disco beat. Alan Fayne a stage veteran from many appearances on the Shannon Gaels Search for a Star partnered stage newcomer and excellent dancer Martina Healy (nee Kinlan) who danced to the sound of Country Rock. Fidelma Brennan, a Garda in Longford whose hill walking skills kept her in the beat with her partner John Coffey, Rathcline Road who performed with numerous show bands in years gone by, they danced the Tango. Rachael Collins the current secretary for Ballyleague and Cloontagh National schools was partnered by a man who loves to dance two and three times a week Michael Carroll and they performed the Ballroom Waltz. Claire Egan (nee Fayne), living in Cashel but a native of Rathcline joined Gerry Nerney, a driving force behind the upcoming club draw for “Bella” the heifer. Both Gerry and Claire are avid dancers and the Bossanova proved to be no problem to them. The final dances of the first half of the show was probably the youngest pair in Caoilfhionn Thompson, a member of the famous Thompson family so long stalwarts of St. Faithleach’s and Aaron Madden, a talented and nifty corner forward who brought his fleet footedness to the Hip Hop dance routine they performed. The second half began with a bang with two charismatic characters dancing the Jive, Brendan O’Sullivan another with many years of stage experience including one as Tina Turner and Helen O’Donnell (nee Banahan) who is hugely involved in St. Faithleach’s and is always full of exuberance. Ollie Trimble another avid and light footed dancer was joined on stage by mother of six and always the personification of happiness Colette Wyse (nee Magan) who danced Musical Theatre excellently. Lee Cullen always known as an excellent goalkeeper ensured that the lively and energetic and exceptional Jodie Horohoe was in safe hands while dancing the Cha Cha. Contemporary Dancing was left to the barefooted Patrice Nolan a very lively dancer who is equally adept on the stage as she is on the playing field and James Quigley, another member of the Gardaí whose footwork on the field for St. Faithleach’s ensured his ability to move very lively with Patrice. James’s sisters are All Ireland winning dancers so he had many teachers. The Charlston was performed by two great characters namely Adie’s very popular bar worker who is always in great humour and her partner Padraig Murray. Padraig a loyal servant to St. Faithleach’s always gives everything in his quest for perfection. Michelle Killian (nee Collins) daughter of the famous drummer Peadar and Darragh Hussey, son of Pat, both inherited all the musical attributes and movement of their musical families, Darragh’s uncles Jimmy and Sean Hussey and Michelle’s father Peadar Collins danced what was a highly acclaimed performance of the Salsa. The final dancers brought, despite his young age, another stage veteran from Stars in their eyes and Scór na nÓg Daithi Mulvihill and Ursula Kilcoyne (nee Kenny), a member of the Gardaí who is highly involved in the Mothers and Others football in St. Faithleach. They brought dancing down with a mighty performance creating even greater headaches for the celebrity judges. It was unfair that there had to be a winner on the night as each dancing couple was as good as the next and their performances were to be seen to be believed but there had to be a winner and by the minutest of percentages the winners were Padraig Murray and Susan Linnane. Before I go on we must pay a special word of credit to two fabulous seamstresses in Mary Kenny and Maureen Fitzsimons who did a wonderful job in all of the outfits for all the dancers. It was an incredible performance by both ladies. Willie Hegarty was an excellent of MC on the night and Willie in his own inimitable way played a blinder as he usually does each Sunday when he commentates for Shannonside. The celebrity judges were actress, Aisling O’Sullivan, who was often seen on our TV screens in the RTÉs Raw and The Clinic where she played leading roles and also on the big screen in Butcher Boy, Six Shooter and Snap. She is a familiar face in all the theatre plays on a very regular basis. Another of the judges will be long remembered for excellent performances, not on stage but on the hurling pitches of Ireland. Ollie Baker a winner of two All-Ireland medals with Clare and one club All-Ireland with his club Doora Barefield. Ollie, like in his hurling days was not afraid to pull the punches much to the chagrin of some of the audience but his warms affable manner had them soon eating out of his hand. The final judge of the night was local man and now Maynooth auctioneer Eamon O’Flaherty. Eamonn admitted that his medal collection was won on the pool tables in the Community College under the tutorship of Joe Rooney. He admitted in his programme comments (tongue in cheek) that he had some difficult with Intermediate team management – Adie Farrell and Tommy Donohoe, hence his departure from the club to Maynooth. Eamon proved to be a humorous judge. The quality of the night would not have been possible without Lorraine Wynne’s Midland Drama School who along with her assistants Magda and Rebecca performed wonders in creating an exceptional night of dancing and stage performance. Her work cannot be understated in making all the dancers so comfortable on stage. To learn to dance is one thing but to be so comfortable in performing in front of such a huge audience is a wonderful craft in itself. Speaking to one of the dancers who would have a good bit of stage experience on Sunday he told me that he never felt anything like Saturday night and even 14 hours on the buzz of the achievement was still going through his body – something he never experience before. It speaks volumes for Choreographer Lisa and her team, the dancers and also for the audience who were loud in their support for all the dancers. The support each dancer and both clubs received in sponsorship was utterly fantastic and it shows how the unification of the two clubs for Saturday night meant so much to so many people when sponsorship was given by so many. Some sponsors are still coming on board which is a wonderful thing for both clubs. I hope when both Gerald and Derek reflect on the wonderful success of Saturday night they will put together another night next year to equal what we witnessed on Saturday night last. My apologies for going on so much about the night but when something as fantastic and wonderful as this hits our community it really is worth telling everyone about it. Long may our communities develop and prosper and Saturday night is a night to feel rightly proud of being from the parishes of Rathcline and Kilgefin.

Social Services Whist Drive

As you are all probably aware Christmas time is one of the busiest and hardest time for the Lanesboro Social Services. Your support has always been fantastic and the committee looks forward to your continued support. With the monthly Whist Drive being the main source of funds the committee invites and welcomes you to their monthly Whist Drive in St. Mary’s Parish Hall on this Friday night 5th December at 8.30pm. Light refreshments will be served and as usual a great night of card playing is assured.

50/50 Winner

The Rathcline new and novel 50/50 draw took place Monday night last 24th November in the Pier Inn and the winner of the €300 prize was Mammy Cosgrove, Killashee. The draw is proving to be very successful and your support is greatly appreciated. Entry is very simple just put €2 in the blue envelopes seen in most businesses throughout the town or from club members and put your name on the envelope. The total amount collected each week through the envelopes is then counted and the club receives 50% and the winning envelope picked out will receive the remaining 50%. It is a cheap way of winning Christmas present money as happened last weeks winner.

Lanesboro Bridge Club

The Marie Sheeran Memorial trophy 2014 was played for on Wednesday 19th November and the winners were two very popular ladies in Una Clarke and Brid McDermott. The beautiful trophy is a fitting memory of Marie who did so much for the club. The results of the competition held on Wednesday, 26th November are; N/S 1st a tie between Mairead Gill and Una Clarke & Katharine Harrison and Philomena Walsh, 3rd Mona O’Flaherty and Bernadette Gillen. E/W 1st Una Lawlor and Cyril Hussey, 2nd Bernadette Clancy and Mary Mc Gushin and 3rd Mike Flynn and Maureen Hynes.

Lough Ree 2000 Bridge

The results of the competition held on Monday last 24th November are: 1st Joan Browne and Patricia McGann, 2nd Eileen Kelly and Nancy Dolan and 3rd Bernadette Gillen and Fergal McGuinness. Nett: 1st Joan Browne and Patricia McGann, 2nd Joan Browne and Patricia McGann and 3rd Eileen Kelly and Nancy Dolan. E/W: Gross: 1st Mary Fallon and Tom Feeney, Maureen Hynes and Mary Jameson and 3rd Mae Casey and Margaret Gillen. Nett 1st Mary Fallon and Tom Feeney, 2nd Maureen Hynes and Mary Jameson and 3rd Philomena Walshe and Noreen Dunne. The club congratulates Philomena Walshe on her big win as Nurse of the Year.

Cathedral Reopening

It is now all systems go towards the re-opening of St. Mel’s Cathedral after the major restoration project that took place after the huge fire on Christmas morning 2009. Having being privileged to see the almost completed cathedral on Saturday last I am sure that everyone will be huge impressed by the wonderful work that has been done by the St. Mel’s Project Committee under the chairmanship of Seamus Butler. The Cathedral will reopen on Saturday 20th December for public viewing from 10.30am to 8pm. The opening mass will be celebrated on Saturday 20th December at 7.30pm. There will be hospitality in the Temperance hall following Mass. On Sunday 21st the mass times will be 8am, 10am, 11.30am and 1pm. There will be a live crib from 3pm and the cathedral will then remain reopen for public viewing until 7.30pm. On Wednesday 24th December Mass of Christmas night will take place at 11pm. Christmas Day Masses will take place at 8am, 10am, 12 noon and 1.30pm.

Art and Handwriting Competition

Lanesboro Community Games is holding Art and Handwriting competitions in the Co-Op hall on Saturday and Sunday next 6th/7th December from 4pm to 6pm. If you are in the U8 to U16 age groups you may enter the art competition. If you are U10 to U12 you may enter the handwriting competition. You are invited to come along on whatever day suits you. You need to bring your own art materials. Paper will be provided. Registration for Community Gamed participation is €3 and you must be underage on 31st July ’15 for your age group.

Samaritans Christmas Concert

The Samaritans will hold a Christmas concert in the Franciscan Friary, Athlone on Thursday, 11th December at 8pm. Cathal Murray – the rising star and voice of RTÉ will be compere for the evening’s entertainment that will be provided by the Army band of the 2nd Brigade, Simon Casey, The All-Ireland choir winners Moate Community School Choir and the Athlone Pipe Band. Tickets are available at the Franciscan Friary, Castle Gift Shop, Midland Sound Equipment, and Cunningham’s chemist. Tickets are priced at €12. The Samaritans are available 24 hours each and every day phone 116123.

Concert for Focus Ireland

A concert in aid of Focus Ireland will take place in St. Mary’s Church, Lanesboro on this coming Saturday, 6th December following 7.30pm Mass. The concert will start at 8.15pm. The St. Mary’s Church choir with Edel and Windsong vocal and harp ensembles will perform a concert of the world’s best loved Christmas songs. You are invited to stay after mass or come along for the 8.15 start. All donations will go to Focus Ireland. Focus Ireland does so much for homelessness in Ireland and your support will be prioritised towards trying to alleviate homelessness for so many this Christmas. Please support and be generous in your donations.

MS Christmas Run

It is a tradition that has been in Lanesboro, Newtowncashel and all points between for the past 23 years. It has raised in excess of €160,000 throughout the 23 years. It has grown greatly in support and it has always been a most fantastic way to start Christmas Day. The friendship and comradery developed before during and after has lasted for years. As the advertisement says “There are no strangers here just friends we have yet to meet”. The Multiple Sclerosis Walk/Run from Newtowncashel continues to beat the previous year’s record and goes from strength to strength. This year there are no reasons for training not to be done as the weather has stayed mild and mostly dry so everyone can get out and get their training done. It is great to see that people are already enquiring for sponsorship cards. It is very important that the sponsorship cards are filled and more importantly that the sponsorship is maximised. Multiple Sclerosis depend greatly on the support of both the runners/walkers and the people that support the runners and walkers with their financial support. The local organising once again calls on your generosity and looks forward to see you running, walking or just out supporting the entrants as they wind their way from Cashel through Lisnagan, Clonmee, Newpark, Lisnacusha, Thureen, Killinure, Tullyvrane, Knock and down Main Street to the finishing line at St. Mary’s Hall at the bridge. The walkers will start at 11.45pm with the runners staring at 12.15pm. Refreshments will be served for all in St. Mary’s Parish hall. Join in and be part of the movement.

Pop Up Shop

St. Christopher’s Services will open a ‘pop up’ shop in Longford Shopping Centre car park from Monday 1st to Saturday 20th December. The Christmas craft shop will stock Christmas gifts all made in Longford and it is an ideal way to continue your support for St. Christopher’s which means so much to so many people.

Green Homes

BallyleagueTidy Towns is running its the Green Homes project again this year. In preparation for the conservation of energy the committee will be making energy monitors available for private homes and businesses - so that locals can see the savings to be made by turning off appliances. The committee will also be working with the students of Lanesborough community college . Four monitors are available to be passed around to different home owners. Each residence is advised to hold onto the monitor for 2 weeks. In the first week no changes in usage habits with electrical appliances are made but in the 2nd week a range of proposals are offered to conserve energy and the householder and bill payer can observe the actual reduction in units used on their Electric Ireland account. To take part in this experiment please contact Jimmy Hudson or Ciaran Mullooly or e mail: More information on Green Homes is available from Joe Cribbin in the Daybreak shop, Ballyleague.

Tennis Courts

For many years, we had tennis courts in the old quarry and behind the school in Ballyleague where dozens of children and teenagers played the game on a weekly basis but in recent years the nets have been taken down and the old courts have been out of use. A new committee is trying to restore tennis courts with nets, poles, flood lights and lining at the tennis court in Ballyleague marina so that children and adults can play the game again and last weekend a church gate collection took place in the Church of the Holy Rosary, Ballyleague on Saturday and Sunday. The organisers would like to thank everyone for their generous support. It is hoped to proceed now and have the courts lined. To make a donation or learn more about tennis coaching in this artea please contact Helen Johnston, Mark Kerrigan or Ciaran Mullooly or e mail:

Christmas Calendar

The Ballyleague/Lanesborough area Mens Shed has produced a Christmas calendar in aid of charity that will not be forgotten for years to come. Entitled ‘ Nearly Nude on the Shannon in 2015’ it features members of Rathcline GAA mens and ladies teams, St Faithleach’s mens team, the Tri Lanesborough Triathlon club, St Brigid’s Killashee and the mens shed itself - as you have never ever seen them before. They were launched recently with great crowds attending in the Richmond Inn, Clondra, Sorohan’s Ballyleague and Swan Tavern Lanesborough where Shane Curran, Diarmuid Murtagh and Paul Barden turned up and did the honours. The calendar funds will go St Christopher’s services in Longford and Pieta House West. Each calendar costs 10 euro. Only 1000 have been printed and they are a collectors item - no doubt - so get one before they run out. Calendars available in O’Brien’s corner shop and outlets all over the town.

Santa at the Thatch

Last Christmas the arrival of Santa Claus in Ballyleague was a memorable event with the man in the red coat arriving on the Shannon, taking a horse and trap trip to the refurbished thatched cottage and meeting over 300 children. This year Santa will be calling to the Thatch in Ballyleague on Sunday December 14th at 2pm but several changes are being introduced. A new marquee will be erected outside allowing parents and children to enjoy a Christmas fayre while they wait to see Santa and in out of the cold thankfully. To make the visit more enjoyable a special model railway show will also be staged in the Thatch. There will be dozens