By Kathleen Mullane

“Happy Christmas” 

Firstly, “full marks” and compliments to Domhnall and Lillian, with their fabulous production of the 30th edition of the Athea Parish Journal, indeed a real credit. And what a lovely present for Christmas, especially for our people away from home – well done yet again.

Sincere congrats to Karen Greaney and John Geoghegan who were blessed with their first baby, a little boy they are naming Jack. The proud grandparents Ita and Tommy Greaney and Eibhlís and Leo Geoghegan are also congratulated, as well a the great-grandparents Peg and Dick Woulfe of Gortnagross.

Garda Gerry Griffin, who has been with us here in Athea for many years, is retiring in the New Year, having served with the force for a great number of years. He is having a retirement function in The Listowel Arms Hotel on January 4th to which he wishes to invite everyone who would like to come (no personal invites – he wishes to invite all who he has come in touch with over the years. We extend a happy retirement to him in 2019.

Well done to the U/19s Tarbert Comprehensive basketball team who, last week  beat Croom in the South West final in U.L. Athea players were Andy Ahern, Aidan Curry and Séamus Leahy. Their next play-off is against Waterford and a win would make them Division 3 Munster Champions.

The quite unexpected death took place during the past week of Paudie Mulvihill of Glasha, Athea. Paudie was known far and wide as an undertaker, bus-operator, seller of turf etc, and this was shown by the large numbers that came to pay their respects as his home on Friday evening last. Requiem Mass on Saturday was followed by cremation in Shannon. Sincere sympathy is extended to his daughter Nora, sisters Joan and Nora, relatives and many friends. ‘May he rest in Peace’.

Tarbert Comprehensive who organise the annual church gate collection on behalf of ‘Concern Worldwide’ thank very sincerely all those who gave so willingly here in Athea at the church gate this past weekend. Thanks to all students and adults who stood at collection points.

The AGM of Athea & District Credit Union took place in the office on Sunday evening. As always there was a great crowd present. Fr. Duggan opened the meeting with a prayer, Katie O’Sullivan, chairperson, gave a detailed account of the Credit Union. Timmy Woulfe thanked the young and vibrant board of helpers. Eibhlís Geoghegan read last year’s minutes and Mary Ann Stack said they now have 2,200 members and thankfully, to date, Athea have refrained from amalgamation with the larger offices. Our Credit Union is so well run, complete efficiency and great staff who are always on hand to help out and lend a ‘comforting ear’ if anyone runs into difficulty. They hope that more members will take out loans at a very competitive rate. €100,000 is the maximum allowed in any account and a dividend of ¼ of 1% is payable this year. Founding member Jim Fitzgerald (Moyvane) R.I.P. was remembered and also Jerry Carey R.I.P., founding member. A new system has been put in place this past week and no doubt it will make things easier for the staff as soon as they get used to it. In all another successful meeting and congratulations and well done to the dedicated staff. Fr. Duggan closed the meeting. Congrats to Molly Denihan, Lower Athea winner of the draw on the night. Please support our local Credit Union.

Well I went in to see the U/18s basketball cup game in the hall on Tuesday night against Firies – who I may add are “a class team” – speedwise and “accuracy wise”. But what a game it was! Athea were down most of the game having played outstanding, I may add, and were up with just 2 seconds to go, the tension was unreal! If Firies didn’t get 2 points in those 2 seconds and win – it was devastating. But fair dues to Trish Ahern and trainer Mr. Tarrant – it’s a joy to watch the speed, fitness and complete comradeship of these young players – no aggravation just simply great sports people and isn’t sport brilliant to keep them off the streets etc.

Can I finally take this opportunity to wish each and everyone “a very Happy, Peaceful and above all a good health filled New Year”.

“As we step bravely into 2019 – we deserve to enjoy it, for the gift that it is. Live fully in each moment and move into each day with a sense of purpose, wonder and celebration – and above all be thankful for all you have in life – be yourself – and be happy at whatever you do.