Mona's dance school scoop world medals
Dundalk's own Scoil Rince Móna Ní Rodaigh swept the boards at the recent World Irish Dancing Championships in Dublin with their most successful ever trophy haul since the school was established in 1970.
Easter week saw thousands of dancers from across the globe descend on Citywest Convention centre for a week-long feast of Irish dancing from the best in the business. As it's necessary to qualify through regionals to compete at the event, even just getting there is no mean feat and Mona's "Red Army" didn't disappoint.
With 19 qualifiers in solo dancing and 13 Céilí teams competing the school had been hard at work for the previous six months but thankfully the hard work paid off when they brought home 6 World 'Globes', 2 Cups and 90 World medals- cementing the school's status once more as one of the world's finest.
16-year-old Gareth O'Connor was crowned WORLD CHAMPION on Wednesday of Easter week. "I just wanted to dance my very best and I gave it my all on the day. All my dreams came true though when the scores came out and my name was top of the board. It was a day I'll never forget and I have to admit, all those hours of hard work were definitely worth it!"
"Our 2016 World Champion Alannah Murray silenced the hall with three amazing rounds" says Mona "and brought home a 2nd place globe- narrowly pipped at the post in the u20 competition but doing us so proud in the meantime."
Mona's own grandchildren Katie & Oisin Lennon each excelled in their own age categories. Katie beat almost 200 girls U15 and placed 11th in the World, Oisin making the podium and bringing a 5th place cup back to Dundalk - both making Nana Móna incredibly proud in the meantime.
Niamh Muldowney (u21) rounded off the school's solo week with yet another podium place on Easter Saturday - bringing a 5th place cup back to her school. "It really was a fantastic week" says Mona. "Many schools dream of bringing one such award home from the World Championships- we are blessed to have a very talented group of dancers in our school who are willing to put the work in and do what it takes to become champions".
Alongside solo success, S.R Mona Ni Rodaigh excelled in céíli dancing and 10 of their thirteen teams took medals home.
"The standard of Céili competitions at the World this year was phenomenal- they get better year on year and we just have to keep working harder to maintain our own high standards" says Mona. "We had some incredible results and are very proud of these dancers, all of whom make great sacrifices to commit to their teams year on year."
The Senior Mixed Ceili were placed 2nd, the U11 Mixed, U13 Girls & U16 girls all placed 3rd and all bringing home coveted 'globes' to Dundalk.
The U16 mixed placed 4th, U11 Girls 5th, U13 Mixed 7th, U19 Girls 8th, Senior Ladies 9th and another U13 Girls team placed 30th - all of these in competitions of up to 100 teams.
"We were very proud of our 'Red Army' and how well they did in Dublin" says Mona. "We're actually quite a small school in the grand scheme of things but we dream big- have done for nearly 50 years! I couldn't do any of this without the help of my two daughters, Ciara & Dearbhla who have been teaching with me for many years. Their energy, enthusiasm and passion for dancing is what keeps the Red Army marching!".
Here's to the year-long celebrations as the globes and cups move into their Dundalk home for the next 12 months! For information on classes see www.monanirodaigh.com