TTwenty-three-year old Jennifer Murphy of Liffeydale positively glowed at the Ballymore Eustace People of the Year Awards on Saturday last.
A member of the Irish women’s Triple Crown-winning rugby team, now aiming for a Grand Slam after their victory over France last Friday, Jennifer was referred to as the “Rory McIlroy” of ladies’ rugby.
She lives at Liffeydale, with an address in Ballymore, but located close to Brannoxtown and within Kilcullen Parish!
“We are claiming her ankles in Ballymore, the rest can be divided between the other two parishes,” said co-presenter, Rose B O’Donoghue.
Joined by her parents Michael and Hannah and the extended family, Jennifer received the Des Kennedy Memorial Trophy, a sculptured piece in the shape of a rugby ball made from Irish holly by Brian Murray Fine Furniture, Galway.
Brian is, in fact, a brother of Naas Credit Union General Manager, Sean Murray. Carol Greally, daughter of the late Des, congratulated Jenny on behalf of the Kennedy family and Naas Credit Union.
The event was sponsored by Naas CU, and Sean was represented by Tim H Ryan and Marion Hanlon, members of Naas CU Board of Directors.
Six other award winners were presented with gift vouchers from Naas CU, along with hand-written scrolls and framed prints by local artist Fiona Barrett.
The evening was co-hosted by Rose and Tim H Ryan, as always with a touch of humour and personal inflection.
The award winners were Kay Kavanagh, renowned for her work with the Community Playgroup, Boy Scouts, Meals on Wheels and the St Vincent de Paul; Martine Rigney, for her continued fundraising in aid of SVP and St Brigid’s Hospice, the Curragh and other community works; Johnny Murphy, who has given such energy and dedication to the procurement of a second juvenile playing pitch whilst overseeing duties as Club Chairman and Mary Deegan, whom Tim described as a ‘key’ woman in the village, as she is at hand to open the Church, Resource Centre and ICA Hall at all times.
Monsignor John Wilson was nominated for his patience with the children of Scoil Mhuire in the instruction of the Sacraments.
It was the pupils who nominated Mons Wilson, and Tim read several of their contributions including Aaron who wrote the Monsignor “has a magical high five” whilst Daire wrote: “He is so nice, that I can’t explain him!” Anna Conway, a sixth class student, addressed the attendance and cited the reasons for nominating Monsignor.
However, it was Tommy Deegan who received the overall title “Ballymore Eustace Person of the Year 2013” for his contribution to so many facets of community life in the village.
As chairperson of the CDA, Tommy oversaw the restoration of the Resource Centre, local projects such as the River Walk and through his interest in the Trout and Salmon Angler’s Association (TSAA), he has monitored water contamination over the years, helped re-stock feeder streams and carried out massive clearance of the river bed.
He is described by fellow Tidy Towns committee members as an ‘ideas and action’ man with “the ability to deal with officialdom” and process applications with speed.
Every day, Tommy is seen collecting litter from the village streets and his contribution to village life as an individual merited his receiving the overall award, presented to him by friend and former winner, Joe McGrath.