Music, Chat and plenty of medals.........
In 2014 the club’s Juvenile Section accomplished what most other clubs dream of – three County Hurling Championships for their three respective teams at u14, u16 and Minor all in one calendar year. U16s were double champions having been crowned Roinn A County Football Champions for the third year in succession. They were also going to collect medals for County League, as were their comrades at u14. All in all the 110 strong Juvenile players were going to collect a total of 235 county medals.
Only a few weeks ago at the County Board Conventions O’Loughlin Gaels Juvenile Section were awarded The 3 Star flag for outstanding work in Promotion and Games Development. The only club in the county to receive one. True to form the club recognised the importance of their Juvenile Team’s accomplishments and put on some show to celebrate them.
Helen Carroll of ‘Ear to the Ground’ fame was brought in to compere the night and started by inviting the audience to remember those from the club and the larger GAA community who had recently passed. Her pleasant way and a few light hearted exchanges with the audience made for an entertaining evening. Juvenile members Rachel Leydon (Violin), brothers Cian and Osín Farrell (both violin) - u12 and u10 players respectively - mesmerised the large audience with their performances. U14 goal keeper too chipped in with a fine rendition of ‘The Fields of Athenry’.
The scale of the achievement was not lost on the County Board either as was evident by the presence of Chairman Ned Quinn, Vice-Chairman Conor Denieffe and Bord na Nóg Chairman Willie Dempsey. Kilkenny Hurlers Mark Kelly and the recently retired Brian Hogan were also on hand to present the different teams with their medals. In fact Brian Hogan was one of three o’Loughlin Gaels clubmen who also received presentations in recognition of their achievements with the club.
Jim Kavanagh served as camogie chairman for 10 years stepping down in 2014 and was acknowledged for his work with the Chernobyl Childrens Trust. As well as been presented by Club Vice-chairman Martin Hanlon, a presentation was also made to Jim by current Camogie Chairperson Joan Galwey.
Mick Nolan served as O’Loughlin Gaels Chairman for 7 years and also was the club’s most successful team manager having been responsible for much of the clubs silverware over the last 30 years. Club President Eamonn Doyle was at hand to present Mick with a framed photo depicting images of Mick in winning mode. Helen Carroll spoke to Mick and the audience heard first hand of his passion for O’Loughlin Gaels.
Brian Hogan spoke of his love of the club and addressed the young players instilling the notion of the importance of the club, and to attain success had to come from personnel endeavour and hardwork. Ned Quinn told Helen Carroll of the importance of Brian’s presence on the Kilkenny Team over the last 10 years suggesting that the loss of Brian in 2010 was the mitigating factor in Kilkenny not winning an All-Ireland that year.
Juvenile Chairman Niall Bergin spoke to the large gathering about all the activities throughout the whole Juvenile Section of the club. He informed of the various developments and impressed upon the membership the significant amount of work being done by the various volunteers and thanked everybody involved.
There were poignant moments too as O’Loughlin Gaels Chairman Eddie Buckley dedicated the nights celebration to the late Eamon Leahy who passed last year. He presented Eamons’ wife Brenda her sons and Eamon’s dad Eddie with a framed photograph of Father and son after playing together for O’Loughlins. Eamon’s son Arron spoke about his dad and his love for O’Loughlin Gaels and he donated a new cup to the club to be used in ‘The Eamon Leahy Memorial Club Minor Tournment’ to be held in St. Johns Park during the Summer.
The Chairman finished the night by congratulating the three Juvenile Teams on their successes and acknowledged the importance the sponsors, McDonagh Junction, Newpark Shopping Centre and C&C Security. Helen Carroll invited all three teams to come to the stage and receive a well warranted ovation from the captivated audience. Everybody at O’Loughlin Gaels will be proud of the club’s achievement but will also be proud of the manner in which it recognises its greatest assets – its members.