What a great spectacle provided by our young rising stars. Both GAA and Camogie clubs combined to send a battalion of over 120 players and umpires on the St. Patrick's Day parade armed with hurls, Gaelic Footballs, flags, banners, goal posts and trophies making plenty of noise as they snaked around the city. St. Patrick was on hand to referee games as the parade paused from time to time on it's route. Even the mighty saint himself was not ammune to some 'difference of opinion' on his decision making. Heckling sounds directed at St. Patrick however were quickly drowned out by the generous applause from thousands of onlookers towards our boys and girls as they demonstrated the skills of the most ancient of games.
The O'Loughlin Gaels contingent was led by 'Grand Marshall', u6 star Stephen McCormack Jnr. No problem to him he led the way with great confidence calling his charges like a Brigadier leads his infantry with a loud shrill of his whistle. The infantry in this case was five u10 stars, Ruairi Galway, Ollie Duncan, Fionn Lawlor, Tagdh Crowley and Brandon Wall who each carried one of the five County Championship Trophies currently in the Juvenile Sections trophy cabinet. Above them, u14 Sean Lawlor and u12 Mikey Abraham proudly held the O'Loughlin Gaels banner lofted high in front of our u6 boys, hurls and helmets at the ready and poised for the moment they'd be called into action. The action was to happen behind them. Four umpires carried two goals and whenever the opportunity arose St. Patrick called for the sliotar to be thrown in and the u8 boys and girls played games of hurling. The onlooking crowds amazed and young children in their fathers arms proudly being told that that was O'Loughlin Gaels.
The u10 girls held high white and green checkered flags flanking both sides of the cavalcade as it made its way around the city. Chants of 'we're from O'Loughlins' and 'C'mon O'Loughlin Gaels' were provided by the 120 strong voices, just in case any onlookers needed a little reminding. They didn't...everyone knew. Bringing up the rear of the group the u10 boys showed that it's no accident that the juvenile section won two county football championships in 2014. They passed and tapped Gaelic footballs over and back to each other and could easily have been mistaken for a visiting team from one of the more 'traditional' footballing counties...(I'll let you decide which!)
All the way round our young members were fantastic. They wore their club colours with the highest distinction. Demonstrated great pride, comradarie and respect as they moved through the city's streets. As a club we are proud and very appreciative as to how well they represented O'Loughlin Gaels GAA. Well done to you all.
Then when it was all over and the parade ended in the market yard the young 'Continent' players rushed accross Lady Dysart Bridge to the more familiar ground of St. Johns Parish. But if you think that was the players being extra anxious about being on St. John's ground..think again....chief organiser Stephen McCormack had left no stone unturned all day and arranged for refreshments.... Crisps and drinks for the weary warriors as they returned from their all-conquering visit across the River Nore.
Well done to all concerned especially the aforementioned Stephen McCormack who's choreographing of this annual event has become second nature to him. A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon that was made more enjoyable by the willingness of all the parents to get involved. Thank you all.