Tuesday 15 October 2019

Legends live up to their billing in superb night of GAA banter

Geraldine O'Hanrahan's fundraiser goes down a storm as household names entertain impressive crowd of 200 in the Brandon

Emily Doyle, Ramsgrange and Maria Kelly, New Ross
Emily Doyle, Ramsgrange and Maria Kelly, New Ross
Participants in the Gaels with Tales night for Geraldine O’Hanrahan’s Coiste na nÓg in the Brandon House Hotel
Liam Spratt, Ursula Jacob, Ken McGrath, Dickie Murphy, Tom Dempsey and Davy Fitzgerald
Ronan Carroll, Conor Cleere, Paul Cassin, Anthony Purcell, David Purcell, Daryl Thomas, New Ross

David Looby

Around 200 people attended an entertaining night with some of the region's household name GAA legends at the Brandon House Hotel.

Organised by Geraldine O'Hanrahan's Coiste na nÓg as a fundraiser ahead of the 2019 season, the event was a great success, attracting GAA fans from across the county and south Kilkenny and south Carlow also.

The star-studded line-up included Wexford hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald, Ursula Jacob, Dickie Murphy, Ken McGrath, Mark Fanning, Liam Spratt, Tom Dempsey, Richie Power, Walter Walsh and Martin Storey.

Davy Fitz was only able to stay for an hour as he had an special appearance on the Late Late Toy Show to make, but he certainly set the Cats amongst the Deisemen with some interesting comments about his tenure with Waterford before he left the stage.

Club chairman Pat Wickham said: 'To have 200 attend our first venture, we were delighted. We let Ryan Tubridy borrow Davy.'

It was a show of two halves with the first panel of speakers comprising Fitzgerald, Jacob, Dempsey and Murphy, followed by a second panel featuring Fanning, Power, Walshe and Storey.

After some serious debating of everything from media coverage to motivation, the conversations turned to lighter matters, like how players relax these days compared to a few decades ago when pubs were filled with inter-county legends post matches. The crowd enjoyed some great interaction with the stars during the second half of a night that stretched on until after midnight, including during a questions and answers session.

Mr Wickham said there was a good mix of people in attendance from teenagers to senior club members.

The night raised around €2,500, minus expenses and this will see the club through into the New Year. 'Like every GAA club catering for young people in this country, Geraldine's volunteers are all go on a 24/7 basis, 12 months a year. The aim of the club is as always to not just promote our Gaelic games of hurling and football, but also to bring youngsters together in a safe environment; to give them a sense of fun and make friends and keep them active and fit. The upside is the pleasure and craic achieved by both parents and mentors of the club, but there is a reality to it and that reality in most clubs nowadays is the ongoing issue of finance be it money for hurls, footballs, jerseys, helmets, buses, medals etc.'

The event was organised by Pat Wickham and Geraldine Ryan who have been operating the club on a budget that was more or less non existent. 'Only for parents helping out with transport and money through membership they have covered most expenses during the season with teams competing from U-7 to U-17 age groups in both codes. The club even sponsored the local school with gear bags for their Rackard League final earlier in the year. This was a huge venture for a club with big ambitions to get their under-age structures in place to bring out the best in our young players. We plan to be very proactive and will be looking for more adults to get involved.'

New Ross Standard