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'Nell's building winning future

THE Artane Band played sweet music. For Parnell's, it was a Sunday Game they'll never forget. It was the official opening of their state-of-the-art new complex.

A proud day for Coolock. The flags flew. There was laughter in the air. The national anthem was played.

There was a mighty cheer as the tricolour was raised by the three wise men, Frank Gleeson, Tony Fitzpatrick and Dave Feeney.

All ages joined in the applause. Fergus Carroll carried the event live for his NEAR fm listeners. There was good news to tell. Secretary, Breandan ó Connallain, recalled childhood days climbing over his back wall and running through the fields where the new building now stands.

Frank Gleeson is the chairman. "It was always our ambition to make this club the heart of the village and the community."

Frank talked about a meeting he had with Tony Fitzpatrick. "One of our objectives was to have 1,000 members. Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine we'd get 5,000.

"But I'll steal a line from the film, The Field of Dreams – 'if you build it, they will come'. Five years ago we had 500 members. So that is some increase."

And, in Frank's eyes, one of the most pleasing things of all is the number of senior citizens that have joined. Their subscription is a fiver.

"If they come, their sons and daughters will come, and the grandchildren too.

"The OAPs often tell me how welcome they feel here, and how they like putting something back. They love popping in for lunch. All the money we generate goes back into the games and coaching."

 

Memories

The chairman salutes the efforts of the club's volunteers. There's huge work going on in the schools. The club teams are doing well. The senior footballers are the flagship side. The memories still linger of those championship winning days.

"And on such a historic day as this, it's so important to recognise all the people who came before us and all that they did for Parnell's."

Frank is especially optimistic about the quality in the juvenile ranks.

"We now have two and three teams in every age group. We have come a long way in hurling. This season we had our first-ever camogie team."

The lady footballers are no strangers to Parnell Park or the Dublin jersey. "The ladies bring such a dynamic to the club. The GAA could learn a lot by bringing the ladies' associations closer because they have a lot to offer," he said.

People enjoyed wandering around the venue. Old friends swapped stories. Malachy Keena took many pictures. In the years to come, they'll remind all of Parnell's magical journey, and their one moment in time.


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