by Tom Aherne

The death has taken place of John (Jack Bett) Enright Skehanagh, Ardagh, at his residence on Wednesday 22nd tMay.   Jack had passed the four score year, and had overcome a few life scares in later years.  He was one of twelve in family from Kilscannell (the Church of Scannal ) one mile from the village.  Farming was his occupation up to 1994 when he took early retirement.  His great interests in life outside his wife Breda, family and home were hurling football greyhounds and a few social drinks in the village and at Sammons and later Clery’s in Newcastle West. Born in the early years of the thirties, he grew up in a country trying to move forward from its troubled past, and onto a better future. In the Ardagh area, work and money was scarce, and Gaelic games, provided an outlet for the youth of the locality. It was in the local fields around Ardagh that Jack honed his skills that were to progress him to the top venues of the country. He grew up beside the Railway track, and grew accustomed to the sound of the whistle at a very young age. He played his first game for his club in April 1947 aged fourteen years old, and it was against Tournafulla in the West  Minor hurling Championship. They won the match by 6-9 to 0-6 and he lined out in goals, and he gave a brilliant performance.

Jack cut an imposing figure on the field of play with his jet black hair, falling into his eyes, as he delivered another sweeping clearance out the field from his full back position The highlight of Jack’s career came in 1957 when he helped Limerick to Munster and All Ireland Junior Hurling honors. He played full forward on the team, and scored in every match.  He played senior hurling with Limerick and helped them reach the National Hurling League Final in 1958. A great Wexford team defeated a gallant Limerick by 5-7 to 4-8 and Jack played full back and held that fine forward Tim Flood scoreless. Jack won two County Senior Hurling Championship with Western Gaels in 1961, and 1962. With his club in the West Championship he won three junior football medals. Kilcolman/ Ardagh defeated Castlemahon in both 1957 and 1958. He brought the curtain down on a great career, in 1970 when Kilcolman won the West Junior Football Championship. He played full forward on the team that defeated Saint Mary’s Rathkeale by 5 pts to 2 pts, at Newcastle West Gaelic Grounds on 18th October.  Jack was a great supporter of his club and county down the years.  His last match attending in support of Saint Kieran’s was the Munster Junior Hurling Final in Mallow last December.

Reposing at his residence from 4.00pm on Thursday saw large crowds attending to pay their respects to the family. His All Ireland Medal amongst others was beside him in his coffin as people filed past. His remains arrived at Saint Molua’s Church Ardagh for 11.30am Requiem Mass on Friday 24th May. Many of his old comrades and opponents were in attendance, including Frank Phelan from Castlemahon who was just back from a holiday in Bordeaux, in the South of France.  His Funeral Mass was concelebrated by Fr  Larry Madden P.P.Ardagh/Carrigkerry. He was assisted by seven other priests Fr O’Gorman, Fr Russell, Fr Ambrose, Fr Patrick O’Donovan, Fr Willie O’Donovan, Fr Mulligan, and Fr Haughey. Family members assisted in the Ceremony A family member recited The Hurler’s Prayer, and another paid tribute to Jack’s family contribution, farming ways, gardening, sporting achievements leisure activities and much more. The Saint Kieran’s Club members plus many others formed a guard of honour as his coffin draped in the club colors left the Church. It was shouldered by old comrades for burial which took place in the adjoining Cemetery.

It was a lovely sunny afternoon with butterflies flying around. I doubt if Jack ever suffered from butterflies before a big match.  He liked a few pints of Guinness the night before to settle the nerves. It was said that Jack and the late Liam Moloney escaped a team curfew for a few the night before the National League Final in Dublin. There were many stories told about his fearless ways and mischievous ways, about incidents from his playing days, afterwards in the Community Centre where refreshments were served. We extend sympathy to his wife Breda, sons John, and David, daughters Deirdre, Aileen, Carmel, Ann Marie and Maeve, sisters Nora, Kitty, Bridie, (who were unable to attend) and Peggy sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, relatives, neighbours and a large circle of friends.   We will all retain our memories of Jack from handing him out his jersey from the plastic bag that John Joe Fitzgerald used to keep them in back in the sixties, to early meetings outside Curley’s Shop for the morning paper, to Munster Final day in Mallow. It was disappointing that a minute silence was not held for an All Ireland medal holder at the Limerick and Cork match in Limerick on Saturday evening. He was a treasure like a line from one of the hymns that was sung at his Mass. The passing of a hurling great sees the end of an era around the bridge and fields of Skehanagh. May he rest in Peace.

Stage 3 of An Post Ras passed through Ardagh/Carrigkerry on Tuesday 21st May. The stage commenced in Nenagh at 11am, and travelled through Adare, Croagh and on by Reen’s, Ardagh, Carrigkerry Athea, to the stage end in Listowel that afternoon. It was formerly known as Ras Tailteann and it is Ireland’s top International tour race. Up to 200 cyclists from 14 different countries   participated.   The Ras staged in normal weather conditions was right on schedule and passed through Ardagh, at 1.41pm, and Carrigkerry at 1.52p. It was a wonderful and colourful spectacle as it passed by and many spectators were out to view it, including the school pupils. A break away of three riders led it through the parish but they were reeled in before the stage end. The weather was perfect for the event which provided a little excitement for cycling enthusiasts.

A presentation night was held recently for Sean Collins Kilscannell Ardagh, who has retired as secretary of Ardagh Fianna Fail Cumann after 58 years service.  He was a loyal and dedicated member of the Cumann and the party during that time span. He was appointed  secretary in 1954 when he was only 16 years old. His involvement makes impressive reading and is well worth noting as follows. Fianna Fail had 8 different leaders during that time Eamon De Valera, Sean Lemass, Jack Lynch, Charles Haughey, Albert Reynolds, Bertie Ahern, Brian Cowen, Michael Martin. He was a delegate to Newcastle West Comhairle Ceantair, and the Dáil Ceantair, and a former Vice-Chairman for Newcastle West Comhairle Ceantair attending 52 Ard Fheiseanna from 1955 to 2007. Sean gave assistance at 17 General Elections, 2 Bye Elections, 11 County Council Elections, 7 Presidential Elections, and numerous Referendums. He is wished a happy retirement from the position, but will no doubt remain very interested in the future happenings of the party.

The following are the Lottery results from the Old Mill Bar on Monday 20th May. The numbers drawn were5, 10, 12, 21, and there was no Jackpot winner. Congratulations to the lucky dip winners. 60 Breda Enright c/o D Greaney. 60 N and D c/o D Greaney. 60 Mary Foley c/o Curley’s. 30 Ann Magner c/o Neary’s. 30 Brendan Duggan c/o Curley’s. 30 Alice, Daniel, and Mike Barrett c/o Curley’s. Next week’s draw will be held in Neary’s Bar Ardagh, and the Jackpot will be 9,000.

West Limerick retained the Ethna Neville Cup at UL on Thursday 16th May. They defeated South Limerick by 2-2 to 1-1 in the semi final, and East Limerick by 5-0 to 1-2 in the final. Congratulations to Meadhb Ambrose, Kate Downes, Iris Kennelly, and Michelle Mc Carthy from Ardagh N.S. who were part of the team.

Congratulations to Peg Mulvihill and Jim Lynch who were prizewinners at the Shanagolden Card game held on Friday 17th May.

Saint Kieran’s defeated Drom-Broadford by 2-3 to 0-7 in the County Senior Football League at Dromcollogher Gaelic Grounds on Tuesday 15th May.

By Carrig Side continued……….


Saint Kieran’s defeated Mountcollins by 6-18 to 0-3 in the West Junior B Football

League at Coolcappa on Sunday 19th May.  They are now through to the semi final against Athea.

Carrig Celtic drew 1-1 at home to Shannonside in their final match in the Desmond League Premier Division on Sunday 19th May. They finish in 7th place with 22 points from 18 games played. They won 5 drew 5 and lost 8 scoring 37 goals and conceding 44 goals.

Carrig Celtic will be competing in the Desmond League Over 35 Competition which will commence on Monday 3rd June.

The club is running the Michael Kiely Community Tournament again this Summer.

Askeaton the Medieval Town A Visitors Guide will be launched by Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan at Askeaton Tourist Office on Friday 31st May at 9pm. The author is Gerard Curtin from Ballyhahill and the guide will cost € 7.

40 hour adoration will be held in Feenagh Church on Friday 31st May commencing after Mass at 8pm, and concluding with Mass at 11.30am on Sunday 2nd June. It covers Our Lady’s Pastoral Area which includes Ardagh/Carrigkerry Parish. Booking forms available in the Church Sacristy.

The County Fleadh Cheoil hosted by Castleconnell/Herbertstown/Ahane will take place in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick on the weekend of 31st May/3rd June. We extend best wishes to all the local competitors who will be participating.

West Limerick 102 Community Radio will hold a fundraising Race Night at Murphy’s Bar Abbeyfeale, on Saturday 8th June at 8pm. Support will be greatly appreciated and all the details from the Radio Station on 069-66200. The next car boot sale and indoor market will be held on Sunday 9th June in Newcastle West Community Centre.

The annual Our Lady’s pastoral area pilgrimage to Knock takes place this year on Sunday 9th June. The parishes covered are Ardagh/Carrigkerry, Newcastle West, Monagea, Killeedy, Dromcollogher/Broadford, Feenagh/Kilmeedy, and Mahoonagh. The bus fare is € 16 and to book a seat please give your name and number in at the sacristy in Newcastle West.