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Thursday 23 November 2017

Community news: Cooley

Frank Lynch showing the pupils of Muchgrange School the Leinster jersey he wore in the All Ireland Final in 1957
Frank Lynch showing the pupils of Muchgrange School the Leinster jersey he wore in the All Ireland Final in 1957

The staff, parents and pupils of Muchgrange National School, Cooley were delighted to welcome two members of the 1957 Louth team, Frank Lynch and Patsy Coleman to their school last Thursday.

It has been 60 years since Louth played Cork in Croke Park and won the All-Ireland Football Final, proudly winning the Sam Maguire trophy. It was referred to as the 'Biggest County vs the Smallest County' with both teams paying in their provincial colours.

The determination of the players and unwaivering leadership of manager, Jim 'Sogger' Quigley ensured a place in G.A.A. history for this remarkable team.

Aoibheann Duffy, Principal of Muchgrange N.S. welcomed Frank Lynch and Patsy Coleman, introducing them to parents and grandparents of the community.

Many had their own stories of that memorable day. The children prepared a question and answer session for Frank and Patsy, asking how they trained prior to the 'Big Day', how they felt leading up to the match, and what it was like to hold the Sam Maguire trophy.

Patsy showed the children the pig-skinned football and explained how heavy it was compared to present day footballs. Frank explained how his football boots were made with a steel bar through the upper part to protect their feet as they kicked the ball.

Patsy talked about training early every morning with a bag full of sand on his shoulders as he ran. As a half-back he had to be ready for the attacking player as in those days you could score a goal by putting the defender over the goal-line, ball and all!

The children knew that Frank was the youngest member of the team and wondered if he was nervous as he lined up behind the Artane band. Of course he was apprehensive but he had great mentors looking out for him, particularly Tom Conlon and Jimmy McDonnell. He asked the children to remember Jimmy in their prayers and told them that both players had lost in the final against Mayo in 1950 and they weren't prepared to do the same in 1957.

Questions from younger children were amusing but enlightening as it showed a bygone era where players would sing 'Faith of Our Fathers' before the match, watch the Bishop of Cork throw in the ball and drink tea during the ten minute half-time interval.

The children were eager to know if either man had scored. Patsy explained that as a half-back his role was in defence whereas Frank didn't get the chance to score unfortunately.

However he was fouled on a few occasions and the free kicks resulted in a few scores. The excitement was palpable when Séan Cunningham scored the winning goal and gave Louth their two point lead.

A poignant question was 'Did you have fun?' and it was obvious from the banter between Patsy and Frank and their wonderful memories and stories that even though it was hard they did have their fair share of fun.

The team were invited to New York in 1958 for a three week trip and were met by many Louth people who had emigrated to the 'Big Apple'.

This day will be remembered by the children for many years and the highlight for many was touching the old-fashioned knitted green jerseys of Louth and inspecting the medals and the Gaelic football used on the day. Séan Thornton, Fifth Class asked, 'When will Louth win their next All-Ireland Final?' Frank replied, 'With a name like yours you should be able to do something about it. That's up to you now.'

Let's hope this day will inspire the children to aspire to greatness.

Good turnout for torchlight walk in aid of MS along Greenway

There was a good turnout for the Torchlight Walk aid of MS which took place along the Greenway from Carlingford to Omeath and back on Thursday night.

Walkers of all ages enjoyed the opportunity to get a different view of the familiar coastline as darkness fell.

Over 70 walkers completed the 4.8 mile return walk in reasonable weather conditions and were served a delicious curry donated by the New Sitar Restaurant at the Marina.

The Irish Coastguard based at Greenore were on hand with their jeep to provide support for the event.

This is the third year that the walk has been held along the Greenway to raise funds for MS Ireland. To date, this year's walk has raised €2,000 with some sponsor cards still to come in.

The organisers wish to thank all those who supported the event.

Volunteers wanted for bird survey

Volunteers are wanted to survey overwintering water birds on Carlingford Louth.

The Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) coordinated by the British Trust for Ornithology in the UK and Northern Ireland and by BirdWatch Ireland in the Republic of Ireland (IWeBS), is a scheme which monitors water birds wintering in the UK and Ireland. Bird numbers are surveyed on wetlands once a month from September to March on key count dates. Wetlands of all types and sizes are monitored including estuaries, coastlines, bays, lakes etc.

Carlingford Lough is an important site for overwintering water birds (including Light-bellied Brent Geese) and includes a number of protected sites. The lough is divided into 6 sections for the counts. We are always looking for people to get involved and help out with the counts. This involves spending a couple of hours at high tide at one or more specific locations, counting the water birds that you can see. You will need to have a pair of binoculars to help identify the birds, which at times can be quite distant.

A basic knowledge of birds and a willingness to learn are also essential. Support will be provided for anyone who is keen to get involved. It should be possible to pair up new people with existing surveyors to help introduce them to how the counts work.

If you are interested in getting involved in the Carlingford Lough area, please contact Jen Lynch (jenny.lynch9@gmail.com).

If you are interested in assisting at other sites in the Republic, please contact the IWeBS office of BirdWatch Ireland iwebs@birdwatchireland.ie.

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