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Saturday 5th February 2005

Abbey Jubilee 700 Celebrations Commence
The Fethard Augustinian Abbey celebrations to mark 700 years of Augustinian presence in Fethard commence on this Thursday, 10th February, at 8pm in the Abbey with a concelebrated mass of thanksgiving. The chief celebrant will be Fr Desmond Foley OSA, Prior Provincial of the Irish Province, who will also be joined by many visiting friars.  The weekly game of Bingo in the Abymill, normally held on Thursday nights, was changed to Wednesday night this week to facilitate the opening ceremonies.

The following night, Friday 11th February, at 7pm, we celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes with a concelebrated mass by Parish and Abbey clergy, who will pray for healing. This ceremony will include the blessing and Sacrament of the Sick. All are cordially invited particularly the sick and their careers.

On Saturday 12th February at 7.30pm we hold our Vigil Mass celebrated by Fr A. B. Kennedy for the youth of the area and their parents.  The prize winners of our Schools Art Competition will be announce at the end of Mass, followed by the presentation of prizes.

Please note the different starting times for each of the three nights celebrations and please feel free to join us for any, or all, of the Jubilee events.

Irish Sheepdog Nursery Finals
The Irish Sheepdog Nursery Finals will take place in Killusty for the very first time on Sunday next 13th February commencing at 9.30am.  The competition has been run on a league basis and the top five from each province will compete on Sunday in both Junior and Senior categories.
Senior Munster team include: John Brennan (Tipperary), Martin Walsh (Waterford), Milo O'Brien (Kerry), David Cahill (Tipperary) and Dan Morrissey (Tipperary).
Junior Team are: Martin Walsh (Waterford), Sean O'Leary (Cork), David Mulcahy (Cork), Milo O'Brien (Kerry) and John Brennan (Tipperary).
Two beginners will also compete on the day, they are Seamus Ryan and Billy Ryan from Tipperary.

Abymill Show
The Premier Swing Band, Clonmel makes a return visit to the Abymill Theatre, Fethard on this Friday 11th February at 8.30pm. Thurles Gospel Singers will join the popular 20-piece band, which includes lead singers Irene Malone and Liam Butler. The Abymill show should be entertaining and exciting for those with any interest in music and that includes most young and old. If you have not already got tickets, book now at O'Flynn's, Burke St. Fethard, phone 052 31254. Tickets cost €10 each.

What about the class of 1975?
Hi, to all in Fethard. Now that it is 2005 I was wondering if there is going to be a class reunion this year for the class of 1975.  I think we are probably the only class that has not as yet had a get together.  I would love to catch up with everyone. Catherine Newport and I briefly spoke of this last year so I hope it is a realistic prospect Catherine.

Many thanks for the wonderful newsletter and website. I cannot imagine life without the site now. Best wishes to my mother Mary Morrissey and my brothers and sisters and their families. A Happy 2005 to all. — Mary Morrissey (London).

Patrician Presentation Secondary School (Photo ‘John Frewen.jpg’)

The Après Christmas period has been busy in a positive sense for the school and in particular for the individual students. John Frewen of 5th year was the most recent exciting achievement at the Irish Junior Science Olympiads held at Dublin City University on Saturday 29th January. Tánaiste Mary Harney presented him with a bronze medal in the finals of the chemistry section. John is now on the Irish panel for the European Junior Science Olympiads.

Best wishes to David Gorey, second year, who takes part in the Young Entrepreneurs Competition in his chosen skill of Wood Products.

Siobhan Prout, 6th Year, has had one of her poems published for the first time. Siobhan is an extremely imaginative English student and was last year’s recipient of the senior section of the ‘Fethard Quill Young Writers Award’, which was presented to her at our Annual Students Awards Ceremony held in October. The under-16 Cadets won the 1st round of the boys’ volleyball competition by beating both Lismore and Listowel.

Two school sporting events took place as fundraisers for both the Tsunami Appeal and Education in Tanzania fund.

The girls’ volleyball inter-class event was a very enthusiastic game which ended with Sarah Mai Ahearn’s team merging triumphant.  The 6th year boys were the victors over the 5th year boys in a very enjoyable soccer match. "Hail to the victors and the vanquished".

On March 19th the school tour departs for Barcelona, España, but that will remain for another day.

Player Manager calls the shots
The paths of two stars of the Irish soccer scene crossed for the first time when former  Republic of Ireland striker, Niall Quinn met Chris Coen, player captain of Killusty FC in McCarthys. Chris was quietly contemplating tactics for his next game after leading the Killusty over-30 side to victory against the regular under-30 team in a recent charity match, when Niall Quinn and his friend, former Tipperary hurler Joe Hayes, entered the bar.

Joe entertained the clientele with a tale of woe about big Niall’s return to the GAA field since he retired from professional soccer. Niall now ‘togs out’ with Eadestown GAA club in Kildare. Having played his first match with the side, he ended up with two bruised ribs, which he texted to what he thought would be his sympathetic friend Joe. The reply was short and sweet. “Welcome to the real world Quinny!”. 

Chris saw his chance and hastily scribbled a contract onto the back of a cigarette packet. He couldn’t guarantee many of the trappings of the premiership, but a place on the first team was assured and he would personally buy him a few pints after the matches. He was planning to keep his hand over the writing, ask for an autograph, and then reveal the hidden contract once it was signed. 

He changed his mind at the last minute when he noticed that Niall hadn’t finished his pint before walking towards the door to leave for home. His managerial instincts kicked in. Leaving a half pint unfinished was just a bit too flash for the Killusty squad. He quietly put the contract into his pocket and shook the man’s hand instead.

(N Gawe).

Fethard Bridge Club Results
The results of the Bridge game played on Wednesday 2nd February are:

1st Gross: Anna Cooke and Bernie O’Meara.

2nd Gross: Nell Broderick and David O’Meara.

1st Nett: Mary Quirke and Fr. John Meagher.

2nd Nett: Carmel Condon and Brendan Kenny.

On Wednesday 9th February we played the first round of the Club Championship, which continues for the next two weeks.  Anyone looking for a partner contact: Annie O’Brien, The Square, Fethard. Tel: 052 31862.

Died Recently
Sincere sympathy is extended to Mrs Nellie Ryan, St. Patrick’s Place, on the recent death of her brother, Mr Michael McDonald, Blanchardstown, Dublin, and Raheen, Co. Wexford.  Interment took place in Dublin.

The death has occurred recently of Mr Ned Prout, formerly of Killusty.  Funeral mass and interment took place in Templemore on Saturday 5th February.

Hunting News
The Ballylusky White Heather Harriers meet of Sunday next 13th February at Ballylusky.  The following Sunday they will hold a lawn meet at Priestown House, Drangan, by hand invitation of Mr Fred Daly.  Both meets at 12 noon.

Community Lotto Results
The numbers drawn in the Fethard & Killusty Community Lotto on Tuesday 1st February were: 2, 3, 4 and 13.  There was no Jackpot winner and no ‘Match 3’ winner. Three tickets were drawn and each of the following received €50:

Anne Connolly, Main Street, Fethard

Anthony Coffey, Burke Street, Fethard

Mary Chester Wade, Cashel

The three €50 Lucky Dip winners were:

Philly Kenny, The Green, Fethard

David Orr, St. Patricks Place, Fethard

Kitty O'Donnell, Slievenamon Close, Fethard

Next weeks Jackpot remains at €10,000 and the Jackpot sellers prize is €1,000.

Irish Red Cross
The Fethard Branch of the Irish Red Cross wish to thank most sincerely the business community of Fethard and surrounding areas for facilitating them in their effort to collect money for the Asian Disaster. We especially wish to thank the general public for their generosity which amounted to a total of €12,240 collected. (B. Trehy, Hon. Sec.)

Traditional Music Session
All interested in listening or playing traditional music are invited to Butler’s Bar on Main Street, commencing on Wednesday 16th February, where the proprietors are starting a weekly ‘Trad Night’ on Wednesdays.  So pass the word around and come along to join in the craic!

Munster’s Golden Girl
Stephanie Lawrence from Coleman, Fethard, is well known for her many Judo achievements regularly bringing home gold medals from competitions around the country over the past few years.  She recently travelled to Wales as part of an eleven strong Irish Junior Squad to take part in the Welsh Open Championships.  As Alan Jones the Irish Squad Coach is himself a Welsh man he was hoping that the Irish team would do well.  All Stephanie’s opponents were from Wales and the South of England and she put in a great performance to come out on top and take the gold.  This was a remarkable performance as this was Stephanie’s first time competing at an International event outside of Ireland.  She is also the first ever member of Fethard Judo Club to have won gold at this level of competition.  She is a very consistent player and followed up her Welsh win by taking a gold medal in her weight category not only at Junior level but also at Youth and Senior level at the Irish Championships last weekend.  The Irish team brought home a total of three gold’s, one silver and two bronze medals from Wales and missed out on a couple of more in some closely contested fights.  This plus the high standard of Judo displayed at the Irish Championships show that the changes in training brought in by Alan Jones are improving Judo in this country and enabling our players to compete on a level footing with the rest of Europe. Well done Stephanie from all in the Munster Judo Council.

Ladies Football Club
The club will hold a disco, music by D.J. Ian O’Connor, as a fund raising function on Saturday 26th February, in Fethard Arms Lounge at 9pm.  Admission is €5. Your support of this function would be very much appreciated. Presentation of county league medals will be presented on the night. It is hoped to enter teams in the following grades, under/12, under/14, under/16 and Junior.

Fethard & District Credit Union
One of the most successful for years was the verdict on the Credit Union Primary Schools Quiz held in Fethard Ballroom on 4th February.  The atmosphere was competitive and challenging and the victors in Competition A were St. Patrick’s Boys School with captain Cathal Hurley leading his team of Colin Grant, David Gartland and Andrew Maguire to victory.  In Competition B it was the turn of Nano Nagle Girls National School where captain Jane Kenny led Amy Grant, Orlaith Delany and Kelly Fogarty to victory.

The winning teams were presented with plaques and prizes by Marian Gilpin (chairperson) and Catherine Healy (treasurer Fethard & District Credit Union).  Competent assistants for the night were, Fintan Maher, Tom Gilpin, Carrie Sweeney and Sarah Hayes.

Our thanks to teachers Michelle Skehan (Nano Nagle N.S.), Patricia Treacy (Principal St. Patrick’s Boys School), Ballroom Committee and to the Patrician presentation Secondary School for the loan of their public address equipment.

Tenth Tipperariana Book Fair for Fethard
This Sunday the tenth annual Tipperariana Book Fair will be held in the Ballroom and again a large crowd of book lovers and book collectors will come from all over Tipperary and Munster to what has now become the biggest book fair of its type in the country. What started off as a local fund raising idea has actually become an important date in the calendar of all those who are ‘into’ books and especially those who read and collect books of a certain type.

Irish interest books and books with a Tipperary slant are without doubt the most sought after and the thirty plus book dealers who attend know this and gather up ‘Tipperariana’ stock with the Fethard fair in mind. Doors open at 2pm on Sunday next, 13th February, and upwards of 700 punters are again expected.

The Fethard Historical Society, who organise the fair, will also have their own bookstall and all donated books are welcome as this is the society’s only main fundraising event of the year. Books will be collected by contacting any of the committee or by phoning Dóirín Saurus (Tel: 052 31936) or by bringing them to Fethard Ballroom on Saturday between 3pm and 5pm or early on Sunday morning.

Sheela na Gig Author for Fethard
Dr Maureen Concannon, author of the recently published book, ‘The Sacred Whore: Sheela Goddess of the Celts’, is giving a talk on this Saturday night, 12th February, at 8.30pm in the Abymill Theatre. This is held in conjunction with the Tipperariana Book Fair weekend as Fethard has, or had, the biggest collection, four in all, of Sheela na Gig carvings in the country.  One of the very best examples of a Sheela carving was stolen from Kiltinan Church on the 9th January 1990 and the Fethard Historical Society wish to keep the Sheela na Gig story alive in the hope that some day the Kiltinan carving will be recovered. All are welcome on Saturday night to hear what should be an unique lecture on a topic that never fails to arouse peoples interest. A reception of wine and nibbles will accompany the talk.

Fed Up Motorist
A local fed-up motorist sent us the following letter. Maybe other motorists have had a similar experience? If so, why not drop us a line and let us know.

“Is it just me or do other people think that the Clonmel road is the worst road in the country for the amount of traffic on it. When I say the worst I mean in terms of overtaking. My story is, a couple of weeks ago while I was approaching Market Hill on the way into Clonmel, I came behind a car which itself was behind a certain laden down concrete lorry trying to ascend the said hill at approx 3mph — what that is in km I'll leave you work out! When we finally reached the top the lorry proceeded to speed up to 30mph! This speed was maintained all the way to Lisronagh. When we got to the village there were at least seven other vehicles behind me. Now this is the good bit! While on the Lisronagh straight the car behind me started to overtake me, the car in front of me, AND the lorry.  But that isn't the worst of it! The car which was behind the car which was overtaking us (if you can follow me) proceeded to overtake us too! It was like the Naas dual carriageway! The second car narrowly missed another lorry approaching us which had a good ten or eleven cars behind IT!

My point is, there is nowhere besides Lisronagh where a lorry or a tractor can move in and let cars pass safely. There are no two ways about it, if a motorist is behind a very slow moving vehicle his first instinct is to overtake, sometimes stupidly, but the fact remains with the amount of traffic on that road surely there should be lay-bys or a hard shoulder or SOMETHING!

Let me finish by saying I'm not blaming the lorry drivers — far from it — they are only doing their job. I am blaming the people who aren't doing their jobs and taking our road tax money from us and then spending it on God knows what. Finally I would be interested to know if there was ever a survey conducted to show exactly how many cars use this road because with the new housing developments coming to Fethard over the next few years we're going to need one now more then ever before someone is killed.”

Kearns Family Information Needed
My father Ted Kearns (now 90 years of age) was born and lived in Fethard, we think at the house at the back of St Aden’s Church, which now appears to be a small ‘community centre’. Evidently a small school existed nearby (the church bell having been once used as the school bell) but has since been demolished. We think my father’s mother may have been the local midwife.

His elder brother, James died in 1937 and his buried in the cemetery at St Aden’s church along with his wife who sadly died around the same time, possibly of TB as they both worked (we think) in a nearby hospital.

We are trying to trace any people/information who may be able to enlighten us about the Kearns family in general and about life in Fethard from say 1850 to 1950. Any help would be most appreciated.  Edward Kearns (email: edwardkearns@btconnect.com)

Great Train Robbery!
Your feature "The Great Train Robbery" brought back memories of walking the railway track through Grove Wood during the 1950s. It was, supposedly, a dangerous exercise but, in reality, the passage of four passenger trains a day plus the odd goods train hardly made it hazardous.

One thing which caught my attention was the date embossed on the fishplates, those devices which fixed rail to sleeper. It was 1907, except for the plates over Drumdeel Bridge, which was 1923. Clearly, the line was last laid properly after 1907 and the bridge was renovated in the mid 1920s after the hasty repair carried out by the British Army in 1921.

My grandmother, who lived in the lodge at Grove last occupied by the Keyes family, told me of listening to the railway patrols carried out late at night by the British Army and the Black and Tans during the Troubles. My Uncle Tom may well have been involved in the destruction of the bridge since he was actively involved in the War of Independence at the time. It was a period which we ought to remember with pride as it involved great sacrifice by many ordinary people who risked everything but often gained little.

I wish that journalists like Kevin Myers of "The Irish Times" might note that fact instead of denigrating those who did what they believed in and often paid the ultimate price for their convictions. Those who now sit on the sidelines and slag off those people are little better than vermin.

— Tommy Healy, Plymouth, England (email: tomhealy.rugby@blueyonder.co.uk).

The Man who pays the Piper . . .
A regular visitor to Fethard was an instrument maker and musician who went by the name of Skip Healy.  Skip was born and reared in the USA but fell in love with Irish music when he heard the Bothy Band perform back in the 1970s. He worked at various jobs in the US before moving to Ireland to try his hand at making a living playing the flute.

Ship was entertaining a party of tourists in a bar in Thurles one night when one of the punters asked him to play a particular song. The only problem was that the person who asked didn’t know the name of the tune, but said that it was very popular and that most people joined in.  Skip asked him to hum the air of the tune. The man obliged and the tune was recognised. He promised to play it later in the evening.

True to his word, he played the song and it was indeed a popular one as many of the crowd joined in, much to the satisfaction of the tourist who had requested it. They came to the last line and the tourists all joined in as well. It was the only line that they knew and they sang it with gusto, “Shoving Connie around the field”.

They just loved our National Anthem.

(N Gawe)

Dog Night for building fund
A ‘Night At The Dogs’ in aid of Cloneen National School building fund takes place on Thursday next February 17th. First race is at 7.50pm. Admission is €7, OAP’s & Students €4 and children under the age of 14 (accompanied by an adult) are free of charge. The Card is all sponsored by local businesses, with a total prize fund of €13,220. There will also be an auction of stud matings donated by local greyhound stud keepers.

Fethard GAA Club
The Munster football league division one commences this weekend with thirty teams involved. It is divided into six sections with Fethard in section A, along with Bishopstown (Cork), Nemo Rangers (Cork), Dr Crokes (Kerry) and Coolaclare (Clare). Each team play four games, two at home and two away.  Fethard have Nemo and Dr Crokes at home and Bishopstown and Coolaclare away. On this Saturday 12th February we play away to Bishopstown in Cork at 2.30pm.
Congratulations to neighbours Ballingarry on winning the Division 1 Munster Hurling League, beating Cork county champions in the final after extra time.
The County Tipperary adult football league commences also this weekend for our third team, who will be playing in Castleiney on Sunday 13th February at 2.30pm against Loughmore / Castleiney.
With all team gradings now completed we are entered in the following championships for 2005: Minor B Hurling, Minor B Football, Under 21B Hurling, Under 21B Football, Senior Football, Junior A Football, Junior B Football, Intermediate Hurling, and Junior B Hurling. 
Membership fees now due are: €20 adult, €10 juvenile. Forms can be had from secretary Gus Fitzgerald or treasurer Nicky O’Shea.
It was good to see the son John of Garda John Keane, Tullamore, having a fine game at centre back for Offaly senior footballers in their recent win against Westmeath. We wish him the best of luck in his football career in the future.
Our GAA Lotto Jackpot of €2,500 was not won. We had two match threes who received €75 each: Bee Gould (Claremore) and Francis Dillon (Tullamaine).  The €50 Lucky Dip was won by Joe Ahearne (Main Street).

Killusty Soccer Club
Killusty 2, Old Bridge 2

This produced the same result as our first meeting, only this time it was Old Bridge who equalised in the dying minutes. Killusty took the lead mid way in the first half with a well-taken goal from Brian Coen. Old Bridge levelled matters shortly after this when our offside trap didn't quiet work.  We went in front again early in the second half, once more Brian Coen was the scorer, this time from a Thierry Henry type quick free kick which caught the defence napping.

We had a few chances to wrap up the game but we failed to make them count. Then with five minutes left Old Bridge scored from a corner. This point will be of more value to us  than to Old Bridge who are still fighting for Premiership survival but with their never say die attitude they should do enough to stay up.

We must take this opportunity to congratulate Richie Power on his recent Cidona Sports Executive Award. Richie was a selector on the Ballymac team that Killusty played in our first official game, all of thirty-five years ago. We had many a battle with Ballymac down through the years and Richie was always part of their backroom staff. If ever an award was overdue this was it. He has spent a lifetime involved in soccer administration with both Ballymac and as treasurer of the TS&DL. Well done Richie we hope you had a wonderful night.

The Well Golf Society
A committee meeting takes place this coming Friday 11th February at 8pm in The Well. All members are asked to attend. For those of you who have not graced the fairways for a while, now is the time to get the dust from your clubs we are only four weeks away from our first outing. We have seven outings in total planned for this season including two new courses to add to our list, the first being Mitchelstown on March 12th. There is also the exciting possibility of a three bars society challenge between Burkes, McCarthys and The Well. The date for this has not been set but a May date seems likely. Membership fees are now due and can be paid to Danny or Michael.


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