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Mon, Aug
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Club Stars a celebration of GAA

Sport

Mike Finnerty

NOW that the dust has started to settle after another hugely successful Club Stars awards earlier this month, the focus here in The Mayo News will start to turn to the myriad of sporting events that will be happening on the various fields and courts in the months ahead.
But not before we reflect, briefly, on last Saturday week’s charity banquet at Knockranny House Hotel in Westport when the Mayo GAA community came out in force to celebrate, reminisce and play their part to support this year’s Club Stars charity partner, the Mayo Roscommon Hospice.
The volume of texts, e-mails, messages, calls and cards that have been received since the awards night was held leaves none of us involved in the organisation of the event in any doubt about what the Club Stars night means to the people who attend.
The sheer joy and happiness that it brought to so many people — like the Reapys from Davitts, the McWalters from Balla, the Muldoons from Westport and the Martins from Crossmolina; not to mention the huge gangs from the likes of Tooreen Hurling Club, Ballintubber GAA club, Westport Ladies GAA club and Balla GAA club — was plain to see on the night.
And everyone who was nominated for an award, and left with an award, should feel proud of their achievement. The Club Stars awards was conceived because we wanted to celebrate the ordinary people who do extraordinary things to keep the GAA alive and well at club level.
You only had to hear the enthusiasm and emotion of people like Ballintubber manager, Kevin Johnson, and see what making the ‘Team of the Year’ meant to lads like James Minogue from Breaffy and Ryan O’Donoghue from Belmullet to realise how they felt about being there.
And later in the night we watched and listened as our special guest, Nicky English, shot the breeze with Jim Hogan and Toby McWalter about Tipperary hurling and the 1978 Munster Final  — which Nicky was linesman for by the way!
But that’s a story for another day.