MEMBERS and friends of An Baile came together on Friday evening past (11th February) in The Burrendale Hotel for their Annual Night of Celebration to reminisce and in deed to look forward. This proved to be an emotional night when An Baile honoured the men of the 1979 – 1982 era who brought so much success to the club.
Guests for the evening were County Chairman Seamus Walsh and the former Down Senior Manager and current County Minor Manager, Pete McGrath.Castlewellan GAC chairman Rory McCabe welcomed everyone to what he hoped would be a memorable night. That is exactly what it was. Seamus Walsh paid a warm tribute to the 79 – 82 side and shared his memories of that great team.
He spoke of how the club churned out the high calibre players year after year during that time. He also acknowledged all the other non playing individuals who made this success a reality. He spoke of our current side and hoped to see them back at the top of the tree in Down. He left with the words “Ni neart go cur le cheile, there is no progress without unity”
Pete McGrath manager also of Castlewellan’s great rivals, Bryansford, spoke eloquently of his experiences playing against this side and liken them to the great Dublin team of that time, signalling the physicality of the team. He referred to the great Benjy Toner, Paddy McGeown, Kevin McIlroy and Donagh O’Kane and talked about the teak-tough men of the team.
He recalled two famous league ‘battles’ in 1979 and an earlier one in that decade. Life was not easy against An Baile in those days. He also contrasted the differences in teams then and now and how the whole social spectrum has changed. This makes managing a team much more challenging proposition. He ended by saying also that he wanted to see An Baile back in the mix once more in Division 1.
A letter was read from John McAleenan who was unable to attend the evening. His words were a reminder to all about the importance of his home club which he still retains a very strong affection for. John now resides in Scotland and evident from his well written words has taken to some parts of Scottish culture. John will be wel greated when he comes home!
An on-screen presentation by the BBC’s Austin O’Callaghan featuring town players, rivals and supporters of the 79 – 82 era was well received by all who were there. This was a very professional presentation which was befitting of the night.
The final award of the evening was the Hall of Fame made to Gerry Dougherty. Gerry’s life long association with the Town from those early teenage years to the current day was recounted in an address by Vice Chairman Kevin Sweeney. His achievements, loyalty and dedication to his club were evident from Kevin’s words. It was an emotional moment when a video was played featuring his son and daughter and grandchildren who are in the United States who could not be there on the night. It was to a standing ovation that Gerry received this very deserving award.
The club gave a very special thank you to Michael and Chris Clarke of AJC Electricals for the use of their audio and visual equipment on the night and to the organising committee who worked hard in putting together this great night.
The winners on the night were:
Hall of Fame – Gerry Dougherty
Club Person of the Year – Rory McCabe
Senior Footballer of the Year – Fintan McGreevy
Senior Hurler of the Year – Paul McCabe
Ladies Footballer of the Year – Eleanor Nixon
Under-20 Footballer of the Year – Donal Mckibben
Minor Footballer of the Year – Paddy Boyle
Minor Hurler of the Year – Michael Keown
2nd’s Footballer of the Year – Niall Toner
3rd’s Footballer of the Year – Finbarr Toner
Contribution Award Minor Football Team – Ciaran McCann
Contribution Award Senior Hurling Team – Ryan McCann
Castlewellan entered three teams in the first ever Down indoor Hurling league on Sunday. Two teams headed east to Downpatrick’s De La Salle sports hall while one team went west to Banbridge leisure centre. All the boys peformed well with many fine scores from all angles. The game of the day was a pulsating 4-4 draw with Ballycran.
Well done to Míceál óg McVeigh, Fiachra Doyle, Callum McCabe, Morgan Croskery, Lorcan Cairns, Donnchadh Murphy, Conor Robb, Eoin King, Shea King, Ciarán O halloran, Alex McAlinden, Cuan Rodgers, Dara Rodgers, Matthew McCabe, Patrick King, Ruairi King, Conor Orderly and Stephen Gallagher.
Registration continues every Thursday until the end of February at 8.00pm in the Club. All players must remember that they need to have their membership renewed/insurances paid before they can play again in the new season.
Camogie for our under 8, under 10 and under 12 age group will continue in St Malachy’s Primary School on Tuesdays from 6.30pm
The indoor hurling continues on Thursday nights in St Malachy’s Primary School. Coaching will start at 6.15 pm for the Under 8 age group and the coaching for the Under 10 and Under 12 Groups will commence at 7.15pm.
Coaching continues in St Malachy’s High School on Monday nights from 6.30pm.
The minor hurlers will train with the senior squad every Sunday night weather permitting.
* The tote numbers for the 13/02/11 were 4, 13, 18 & 26. There was four £20 winners Colm Crilly, Fearghal McLoughlin, Moira Hawkins & Deirdre O’Hare. Jackpot next week £5550.