Gerry gets a big surprise for his 80th
Dundalk After Dark
One party I certainly wasn't going to miss last weekend was the surprise 80th birthday party for the footballing legend Gerry Gover from De La Salle Terrace and there to make sure he had a great night was wife Margaret, daughters Mairead, Rachel and son Paul, grandkids Chantelle and Alisha and a huge collection of relations and friends from the football world.
Gerry has had a lifelong association with Rangers FC and the Dundalk Schoolboy League and I wasn't too long in the door when I met up with treasurer and secretary of Rangers, Marie Kelly from Legion Avenue who told me they had tricked Gerry into coming into McAlester's by asking him to make a football presentation for the schoolboy league and when he arrived, found everyone there to cheer him on.
Heading for one of the tables I then got a quick word with Alex Hasson from Belfast who is a scout for Sunderland and has known for Gerry for more than 20 years and was delighted to come down to celebrate with him.
Next I got a word with Jean Casey from Boyle O'Reilly Terrace with husband Patrick, Lillian Lee with her son Ciaran from St. Nicolas Avenue who wanted to wish Gerry all the best on his big night.
Heading for another table I then got talking to a group who assured me they played football with Gerry and they included Kay O'Connor from Woodview Park, Kitty Dixon, Andrea and Paul O'Hare all from St. Nicholas Avenue who were in great form and ready to make the best of his party.
Next I got talking to Eugene O'Hanlon from Riverside Drive who told me he is a good friend of Gerry's but never played with Rangers! He was having a chat with another legend in Brian Carroll originally from Wolfetone Terrace but now from St. Nicholas Avenue who wanted to congratulate Gerry and say "here's to another 80!"
Also in their company were Jim Duffy from Ailesbury Road Dublin, Sid McLoughlin from Newry Road, Pat McGurk from Farndreg and co-founder of Rangers FC with Gerry Ollie McGurk from St. Nicholas Avenue who were there to make sure Gerry had a fantastic night with all his friends.
I then headed over for a chat with Gerry's son Paul Gover from De La Salle Terrace who was with his girlfriend Rachel Tinnelly from Mill Road who were delighted that he was being honoured and said the party was just as good as his 70th.
At an adjacent Table I then met up with some of the very first Rangers team and they included Johnny McConnell from Castlebellingham, Mal O'Callaghan from Muirhevnamor, Larry O'Hagan from Bay Estate who was with his legendary wife Collette who has notched up her 681st marathon so far and David Nail from Jocelyn Street who told me he played with loads of Rangers teams down through the years.
After this I then got talking to Ryan Sherry and Niamh McNamee from Point Road who were in good form ad wanted to wish Gerry all the best on his big night.
Up near the bar I got talking to Brian and Majella Keating from Mulholland Avenue who told me Brian played for Gerry down through the years while Majella is involved in the Schoolboy League with Gerry and they were enjoying the evening with Catherine and Paul Kieran from Manydown Close who all wanted to wish Gerry all the best on his 80th.
They were sitting beside Michael Dillon from Bay Estate who is the chairperson of the Dundalk Schoolboy League who took over his position from Gerry and was delighted to be there to celebrate with his friend.
Also in their company were Michael and Rosaleen O'Connor from Bellurgan and when I asked how Michael knows Gerry, he replied "manys a row I had with him on the sideline!"
After this I got a word with ex players Padraig English from O'Hanlon Park and Nigel McKee from Muirhevnamor who was a with is delightful wife Teresa and they told me they wouldn't have missed the party for anything.
Just arrived in the door as Neighbour Ward from Blackrock to check up on his old adversary and to wish him all the best too.
Meanwhile over at another table I then got a word with Kieran Lennon from Dublin and Mickey McEneaney from St. Nicholas Avenue who told me that 'Lemsip' was the best keeper Rangers ever had.
Up near the bar I then got talking to Kate Kieran from Saltown who was with her fiancée Fiona Dullaghan from Bachelors Walk along with Aidan Conroy from Castletown Road and his fiancée Claire Finnegan from Lordship who were there to have an insane night.
After this I headed over for a chat with Lesley and Mary McCarthy from Marian Park who told me that Mary's late brother Cuta Smith who was a big friend of Gerry's.
Finally, before I departed, I got a word with Niall Hearty from Lis Na Dara and Micklo Mooney from St. Nicholas Avenue who wanted to wish Gerry a very happy 80th and hope he had a great night.