Longford Community Games reflected on fifty golden years for the organisation in the county at their highly enjoyable Jubilee Awards presentation ceremony and dinner dance in the beautifully decorated Rustic Inn, Abbeyshrule last Saturday night.
There was a lovely surprise for Longford Community Games President Patsy Kenny as the occasion coincided with her 80th birthday and she was presented with a special birthday cake, while the very talented Ardagh/Moydow/Glen ballad group, national gold medal winners earlier this year, led all guests in a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’.
Patsy was one of the founding members of Longford Community Games, while another long serving Community Games stalwart, Dromard’s Johnny Creegan, was among those honoured with an Area Volunteer Award.
On the night, Johnny, had in his possession a programme from the 1973 Longford Community Games Athletics County Finals - the first time the finals were staged.
His niece Mary O’Reilly, representing sponsors Pat The Baker, commended all volunteers for their dedication to the ethos of Community Games and she pointed out that it was a remarkable achievement for Longford to be the first county in the country to have every area in the county affiliated to the organisation.
Longford County Council were also thanked for their generous sponsorship and support of Longford Community Games by County Chairperson Joe Fox and he extended a special welcome to Cllrs Micheál Carrigy and Gerry Warnock who were representing the local authority.
MC for the occasion was Tony Ghee of Shannonside FM and he ensured proceedings ran off without a hitch.
The Ardagh/Moydow/Glen girls performed two songs, including the Ed Sheeran hit ‘Loving Can Hurt Sometimes’, while the Killoe U-12 gold medal singing quartet also cheered everyone up with their performance of ‘Smile’.
Other special guests at the gala awards were John Byrne CEO of National Community Games, Gerry Davenport, National President and Tony Lee Deputy Vice President.
All three presided over some of the presentations that were made to Youth and Adult Volunteers and representatives of the top areas.
Mr Davenport praised Longford for their commitment to Community Games and he also commended the volunteers for giving of their time so freely.
He congratulated Longford for the manner in which they were marking the Golden Jubilee of the organisation and said they were an example to counties elsewhere.
Joe Fox paid tribute to the volunteers that have shaped the success of Longford Community Games over the last decade in particular.
“Once upon a time we may have struggled. But we are no longer the whipping boys and it is unbelievable what Longford has achieved over the last ten years.”
Betty Fox, who has covered Community Games activities pictorially for many years and washed the county singlets, received a huge surprise when Longford County Secretary Shirley Maloney revealed that she was to be inducted into the Longford Community Games Hall of Fame.
For the third consecutive year, Ballymahon/Forgney were selected as Longford’s Overall Area of the Year winners, while the Small Area accolade went to Clonbroney and the award was accepted on their behalf by Iain Cheyne. Helen Flanagan Forbes (Ballymahon/Forgney) picked up the Overall Adult Volunteer Award.
Keep an eye on www.longfordleader.ie for video and photographic from the gala awards, while the full list of award winners will be published in a future edition of the Longford Leader.