East Cloonacool win the derby
Defending champions Cloonacool West were unable to retain their title in the annual St Stephens Day charity match run by Cloonacool GAA Club.
It was Cloonacool East who took the honours after an entertaining game of football.
This year, the charity match was in aid of Operation Walk Ireland which provides hip and knee replacements for people in developing countries around the world. Local nurse Mary Marren will join a group of 60 volunteer medical professionals who will travel to the city of Hanoi in Vietnam, to carry out 60 joint replacements during the month of March 2018.
Mary has been a nurse in the Galway Clinic for the last number of years. Her team will also help to provide education and supervised training to doctors, nurses and physiotherapists in Vietnam during their stay. In order to help with the overall costs of this very worthy cause, the local GAA club decided to help Mary raise her contribution by supporting her charity with the proceeds of their annual St Stephens Day kick around. And so, many aching limbs, that in some cases had not seen the light of day for many years, were massaged vigorously with lavish amounts of Deep Heat to try to bring them back to life, and face the cold, biting, northerly Arctic winds that blew incessantly from the nearby Ox Mountain range.
Luckily for all concerned the winter sun shone down brightly, as East faced West, and each team member fought tooth and nail for the right to lift the annual trophy. Oohs, aahs, groans and high-pitched screams were common place, as near misses, crunching tackles, and great saves were the order of the day.
Impartial referee Jordan Brennan, making his debut with the whistle, did not issue a single card during the contest, but had to administer several severe tongue lashings to players and mentors alike as things heated up towards the end. At the final whistle the defending champions Cloonacool West were defeated by the winners on this occasion Cloonacool East after a hard fought contest, and the honours now rest where they belong for this year. The winning trophy was presented by Sligo Rose Lisa Maloney to Fergus Leonard who was the captain of Cloonacool East.
Next year the lads will identify a new cause to be supported, as they have consistently done in recent times. And let us hope that this great spirit of generosity and giving at Christmas time, to people who are struggling with different difficult life issues, will continue to prevail for many a long day.