Killygarry GAA has been celebrating its 50th Jubilee year in 2016. The big event of the year was the club’s Golden Jubilee Celebrations and Book Launch in the Hotel Kilmore last Friday night 21st October. The function was attended by GAA President, Aogán Ó Fearghail, who had to interrupt a weekend conference in Croke Park to be there. Aogán was very complimentary of the performance and good behaviour of our boys and girls All-Ireland Féile winning teams in Kerry this year – he said they were a credit to themselves, their parents and their coaches. He also paid tribute to Bartley Gilsenan who was a great encouragement to him in his early days as a member of Cavan County Board – he went so far as to say that without Bartley’s encouragement, he might not have had the confidence to climb the administrative ranks which he has since that time. The Club is indebted to him for joining us in our celebrations. Gerry Brady, Chairman of Cavan GAA County Board also attended. Gerry noted that we are the youngest club in the county and acknowledged that it is one of the most progressive clubs in terms of coaching and administration. The Club was also delighted to have Ulster GAA Vice-president, Oliver Galligan at the top table.
The Hotel Kilmore served up a wonderful gala banquet dinner to almost 350 guests. It is a wonderful venue and Club Chairman, Andreas McGovern, remarked that the Club is extremely lucky to have such a great venue on its doorstep. Owner Ross, managers Paul and Sinéad and all the staff went out of their way to help at every step along the way while the club was arranging the celebrations night over the past few months.
The guests were entertained as they entered the front foyer with traditional music from the Connolly family – Conor, Meadbh and Eimear. They have represented the club with distinction at county and Ulster Scór competitions. There was a display of Club history memorabilia in the foyer on the way into the function room. There was plenty of material for guests of all ages to mull over during the night. There was a Killygarry jersey from the 1971 Senior Championship final against Crosserlough. Packie McGovern’s official Club membership card from 1966 was also on display. Copies of newspaper reports on senior club finals in 1968, 1970, 1971, 1990, 1998, 2007 and 2015 were there too. There were also many photographs of juvenile winning teams which rolled back the years for many of the attendees.
Owen McConnon was master of ceremonies for the night and did a great job keeping the proceedings running smoothly. Club Chairman, Andreas McGovern, showed his true passion for the club in his own address to the function. He acknowledged the vision of those people who had fought to establish the Club in 1966. He paid tribute to Peadar Conaty, a great club and community man, who passed away recently and was an inspiration to him during his life. He also mentioned the importance of the formation of the ladies’ section of the club in 1998 and the great success of all their teams since, with the Seniors playing in the Senior championship in line with the men. He praised the unprecedented success of the boys’ and girls’ juvenile teams in 2016 including an incredible double of All-Ireland Féile titles.
Harry Lynch and Paddy Sheanon interviewed some of the players from the very first team of 1966 – Packie McGovern, Niall O’Brien, Dessie Agnew, Seamus McGovern, Francie Galligan and P.J. Galligan. The best story was of the dressing rooms used at Narracks Hill back in 1966 – a hut with a waist-high partition but on the other side of the partition was a suck calf! There were also interviews with Seamus Lynch, Brendan Keaney, Martin Reilly, Willie Mimnagh, Micheál Gilsenan, Jimmy Galligan, Jamie Coffey. There were plenty of witty stories and reflections. A few of the 1966 players threw down the gauntlet to the current crop of players to achieve the Holy Grail so that they could witness it before their demise! Mel Doherty Snr. entertained the guests with a great rendition of “Killygarry G.F.C. 1998” which was penned by his son Philip and himself. It was a humourous reflection on the achievements of the 1998 team which won the Intermediate Championship and League double.
There was a draw for some fantastic prizes on the night. A weekend hotel break in Rosslare was sponsored by the Hotel Kilmore and was won by Fergal Clarke. Harrys Electrical sponsored three 32” TVs which were won by Ken Burns, Myles O’Brien and Stephen Clarke. A €150 voucher sponsored by the Meadow View was won by Gemma Cullen and a voucher sponsored by the Oak Room Restaurant was won by Eamon Gallen.
Another big event was the launch by the GAA President, Aogán Ó Fearghail, of a book of the club’s history – “Killygarry GAA Celebrating 50 Years 1966-2016”. Editor, Noel McHugh, was interviewed by Owen McConnon and he thanked everyone who had assisted him in gathering material for the book as well as Lynchprint who provided so much helpful advice on its content and design. He hoped that it would be a good foundation for recording the next 50 years of the club’s history. It was the culmination of a great night which continued into the small hours with the club faithful.