'Packy' tracked down - and now he's home after a long absence!
THERE WAS an unexpected added bonus when St. Ibar's/Shelmalier won the 2013 Under-18 Roinn 1 championship title on Saturday last as team captain Hazel O'Leary was presented with the Packy Kelly Memorial Cup.
Club officials had been seeking the whereabouts of this fine trophy for many years, but in an uncanny twist of fate it has now returned to its original home.
When County Board officer Barbara Ryan made her way towards the jubilant players with the silverware, a cry of 'that's Packy' was heard from an observant home supporter and, lo and behold, a closer inspection confirmed that was the case.
Packy Kelly from Screen was a Trojan worker for camogie at club and county levels who passed away at the age of 53 on November 4th, 1987. Five months later the Screen Hall committee presented a fine cup to honour his memory to St. Ibar's/Shelmalier, and after some deliberation in 1988 and 1989 they in turn passed it on to the County Board to be presented to the Senior championship victors on an annual basis from 1990 onwards.
Eilis Kavanagh of Buffers Alley was the first recipient, and this fine piece of silverware was handed over continuously until some point in the mid-2000s when for some reason which was never explained to the St. Ibar's/Shelmalier club, it was 'stood down' for this particular championship.
The inscriptions on the base now confirm that it was last presented after a Senior final in 2005 when Oulart-The Ballagh completed a three-in-a-row. Given the sentimental value of the cup, St. Ibar's/Shelmalier were perplexed when they realised that the County Board of the time had made a change without any prior consultation.
Of even more concern was the fact that, despite continuous requests, they weren't aware of the whereabouts of the cup until it re-appeared in all its glory on Saturday. It now transpires that it was presented for different grades and competitions between 2007 and 2012, but its return to the parish and in such successful circumstances was a feel-good story to get the new year under way and the icing on the cake of a great day for the club.
St. Ibar's/Shelmalier will now be lobbying strongly to ensure that the Packy Kelly Memorial Cup is presented for the competition which it was always intended for, namely the Senior championship, once again from 2014 onwards.