Australian Wanderers were welcome visitors to Springfield ...
Our guests in Springfield on Thursday, 3 January were the twenty-six Australian Wanderers girls Aussie Rules touring team. The party included players from Brisbane, West Australia, Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne and had flown from airports in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Dubai before touching down in Dublin Airport on 1 January.
The girls, ranging in age from 14 to 18 all play Aussie Rules and the match with the girls of Mullingar Shamrocks was the first of seven that the team will play on what is a trip-of-a-lifetime European tour that also involves time in London and Paris. The girls will play five matches in Ireland and two in London with the first against the Mullingar Shamrocks girls from a similar age group.
The Match ...
The twenty-one Mullingar Shamrocks LGF girls excelled in the mixed rules match that was played in four quarters in Aussie Rules fashion with the first half played using the round ball and under the rules of Ladies Gaelic Football but with two referees on duty. We thank Kenneth Gunning for taking charge of the whistle on behalf of Mullingar Shamrocks . Our team showed the benefit of their training sessions over the Christmas period under the guidance of Kieran, Paul and Eric and had built up a substantial lead at the end of the LGF session.
Sarah Geoghegan enjoyed the distinction of scoring the first point in this international match and shortly afterwards Mia Gilligan had the first goal. Zara Gilligan, Jenna Kelly, Anna Jones, Katie Kelly, Susanna Buckley and Allison Bane added to the total before the interval. Jasmine Haugh scored the first goal using the Aussie Rules ball and Zara Gilligan the first point; the last goal of the afternoon was scored by Máiread Newman. The match was a wonderful experience for both sets of players as the Australian girls were playing together for the first time, were having their first outing with the round ball and were introduced to a pitch with grass and a bit of spring in the ground rather than their familiar rock-hard sun-baked surface. Some of the players left their Australian homes when the temperature threatened to touch 40⁰C.
The Mullingar Shamrocks girls it must be said adjusted well to using the oval shaped ball as well as managing the mark and tackle and edged their Aussie opponents in this engagement also.
Overall it was a superb afternoon of sport and fun for all involved.
The Mullingar Shamrocks girls on duty were Isobel Clinton, Carla Gibney, Fathiya Abdelrahin, Anna Jones, Emily Bolger, Sadhbh O'Brien, Jenna Kelly, Eve Hynes, Allison Bane, Máiread Newman, Katie Kelly, Susanna Buckley, Zara Gilligan, Niamh Raeside, Abby Smith, Jasmine Haugh, Annemarie O'Reilly, Mia Gilligan, Sarah Geoghegan, Chloe Flood and Ellen Sleator. Nicola Groenewald, Ellen Corroon and Laura Culkin were present but unable to line out.
The Formalities ...
The after match informal formalities were held in The Clubhouse where the usual abundance of food was served to all.
Sean Hynes welcomed the Australian party before our LGF Chairperson Debbie Newman addressed the occasion with the traditional Cead Míle Fáile and acknowledged the girls who made their Irish debut in Mullingar as 'great ambassadors for the AFL and Australia'. Eric, Paul and Kieran were thanked for sacrificing their time over the Christmas period for coaching; those who contributed to the 'great spread' were thanked, Debbie noting that 'we have a great tradition of going all out in the catering department and today was no different'.
A special word of thanks was offered 'to all the parents of our players who are opening their homes to our visitors ... Mullingar Shamrocks is a wonderful family club and events like this today is evidence of this'. Sean Hynes and Debbie then presented each of the Australian girls with a memento of their visit to Mullingar. Monique Clift 'a bit of everything' and team coach, Stu McGowan responded on behalf of the visitors and presented souvenirs of the occasion with Annemarie O'Reilly, Katie Kelly and Anna Jones awarded Aussie Rules jerseys for their excellent performances in the match.
This was followed by the presentation of medals to our county champion Under-16 LGF team of 2017.
Final Stop: Rock 'n' Bowl ...
The final port of call for the girls was the Rock 'n' Bowl arena where the Mullingar and Australian girls tested their 10-Pin Bowling Skills and cemented memories of what was a great and historic occasion.
Congratulations: Jemma and Aaron, and Ciarán and Siobhán
Congratulations to two great Mullingar Shamrocks people, Jemma McNamee and Aaron Purcell on their New Year's Eve wedding.
Their contribution to Mullingar Shamrocks over a long time has been magnificent in so many ways. Aaron has played in EIGHT county senior finals and has won one All-Ireland Scór title wearing the Mullingar Shamrocks colours. Jemma has represented the club in three All-Ireland Scór finals winning two All-Ireland titles in the process.
And then there was the spectacular Grease production staged in the Mullingar Arts Centre in 2016. Jemma as Director and Aaron as Stage Manager were two of the key people who made the show possible. We mustn't forget Jemma's dancing in Strictly Shamrocks but there is so much more we could say. Once again, Jemma and Aaron, Congrats and Best Wishes in the future.
Congratulations also to our LGF manager Ciarán McKenna and his wife Siobhán on the birth of baby Holly shortly before Christmas. Santa Claus came early to the McKenna household.
Dinner Dance News
The Mullingar Shamrocks GAA Club dinner dance will take place on 2 February 2019 in the Greville Arms Hotel starting at 7.00 pm sharp to allow plenty of time for the meal presentation and dancing later in the night. The music will be supplied by The Afters and when they are finished DJ Mugs will take to the stage.
All members, families and friends of Mullingar Shamrocks are welcome and tickets at €40 each are now available from members of the executive and can also be purchased at www.mullingarshamrocksgaa.com or via the Mullingar Shamrocks ClubifyApp.