Sponsored by Naas Credit Union, last Saturday’s awards in Ballymore Eustace saw all sectors of the community honoured, from early teens applauded for their sporting achievements to 92-year-old Rita O’Rourke praised for years of support for the Handball Club, band, Tidy Towns and the ICA.
Michael Gill, Chairman of Ballymore Hollywood Boxing Club, accepted the Des Kennedy Sport Memorial Award from John Kennedy, with five youngsters recognized on the night for recent achievements: Sam Murphy, Darragh Gilroy, Ciaran Coyne, Ben Burke and Jack Sammon.
The club won five Leinster titles, several Michael Andrews titles, three All-Ireland silvers and a gold in Lithuania recently.
With 40 youngsters aged from 8 years up training three nights a week, the club officials, trainers and fitness coaches were acknowledged on the night.
Vivacious Kerrieanne O’Sullivan was acknowledged for the impact she has made since she and her family moved to Ballymore in 2011.
A member of the Community Development Association (CDA), Kerrieanne runs a fashion agency in Dublin, a shop in Ballymore and was the driving force of last year’s Centenary Celebrations, along with an anniversary event hosted this Easter.
Now her husband Ben and parents, Vera and Joe are all contributing to local projects. With her daughter Matilda and William present at the awards, it was fitting to acknowledge her sister Tara who donated a kidney to William, and has twice participated in the Punchestown Kidney Research Fund race at Punchestown.
Michael Bradshaw was supported by wife Margaret and the wider family, and he was applauded for his work with Scoil Mhuire, the CDA, trad music, founder member of Walking with Altitude, BME Golf Society, being a great neighbour to all in Bishophill, Operation Transformation, BEDS, and more!
He addressed the floor on receipt on his award and stated he made a conscious decision to join groups and support community work in his adopted home town.
Ollie Deegan was awarded the Michael Ward Writer’s Award, presented by Darragh Ward; the pair are avid handballers with Darragh and Gavin Grace winning the Master B All Ireland Final the week previously.
Last up and deemed the overall winner was Eugene Gilroy of Broadleas.
Since he and his late wife Joan came to Ballymore Eustace, Eugene has worked Ballymore GFC – and fallen out with no one, a rare achievement indeed!
His community CV was extensive to say the least, including establishing an athletics club in 1981, holding club positions as trainer, selector, along with being Bord na nÓg county Vice Chairman and various club committee positions and work with underage teams, notably the Oliver Plunketts minor and U21 winning teams, and later with the ’94 Intermediate side, and minors who won county honours in 2002.
He was also a music teacher, worked with the Church Restoration Fund, the funding and erection of the stand at the local GAA grounds, a supporter of Scoil Mhuire and a member of ‘Mór Ceol’.
MC and Awards co-ordinator, Rose Barrett O’Donoghue was presented with a bouquet of flowers from Sheryl Horan of Naas Credit Union with Tim Ryan, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Naas Credit Union co-presenting the event.
“We’d like to thank Naas Credit Union for their ongoing generosity in sponsoring these awards,” said Rose. “And to the CDA who sponsored the frames and finally, to Fiona Barrett for the wonderful scrolls and artwork. Special thanks to all the award winners tonight for the marvellous contribution they’ve made to our community and to our public representatives in attendance tonight: Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin and Councillors Sorcha O’Neill, Anne Breen and Rob Power”.