Lucy Hutchinson, Abbeyleix (granddaughter of Peg Prendeville) and Sharon Sheehy, Dromagarraun at the opening of the Abha Bhán Parish Park last Sunday

Well done to Sinead Hunt who won the Human race representing Athea Ladies GAA Club at the Con and Annie Kirby memorial puppy stakes at Limerick Greyhound Stadium on Saturday last

65 Roses

A walk for 65 Roses National weekend will be held on Sunday 14th April from Devon Road station at 12 noon, up by Ballaughbehy (Way of the Birch) – 6.5km.

Beidh cupán tae ar fáil. Everyone welcome.

Athea Tidy Towns Fundraising Fashion Show

Dedicated followers of fashion will be in for a real treat later this month as the Athea Tidy Towns Group hosts their annual fundraising fashion show to aid of vital improvement works in the village. A highlight of the social calendar in Athea in previous years, this year’s show has been set for Wednesday, April 17th at 8pm, with the Con Colbert Hall once again providing the perfect setting for the event. Featuring all local models, the show itself will showcase the latest trends (Men’s, Women’s and Children’s ) from all the top boutiques from West Limerick and North Kerry, and will be preceded by a cheese and wine reception.

Judges will also be on the lookout for the best dressed lady on the night, with some lovely prizes up for grabs.

Tickets are now on sale at  Collins’ Shop & O’Riordan’s Pharmacy Athea or by phoning 087  9848247

Athea Branch Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann

The County Fleadh takes place in Athea over the June Bank Holiday weekend.  There will be a meeting at the Top of the Town on Monday night, April 22nd at 9pm to continue making arrangements. We will need a lot of help to run this Fleadh so please, if you can at all, come along to the meeting. This is about promoting Athea and all its businesses so if we all pull together we will have a very successful Fleadh Cheoil

The next trad session will take place on Easter Sunday evening April 21st at Donie’s Bar.

Sporting Success

By Domhnall de Barra 

There were a few outstanding victories for the Irish over the weekend. For a small, relatively sparsely populated island we continually punch above our weight in the international arena and we kind of take it for granted now. At one time it was the talk of the day for an Irish horse to win the Grand National but over the years victory in this great race has come to Ireland on many occasions. The Grand National has a special place in our hearts going back to the days before television when we could only listen to the big event on radio. Commentators like Micheál  O’Hehir and Peter O’Sullivan brought the race into our kitchens as they conveyed every move and every jump with sound effects in the background to heighten the excitement. The final couple of furlongs were a joy to listen to as the commentators voice rose to a crescendo as the horses crossed the winning post. The race would be discussed over and over again and, as youngsters, we went out to the field, made our own fences and pretended we were Pat Taffe  or some other leading jockey taking our horses over Beecher’s Brook. The power of imagination is a great thing, so much so that when we finally did come to see the actual course and the fences at Aintree, it was a kind of an anti-climax. It was a bit like watching the film of a book you are after reading; somehow it never lives up to what was imagined. We have had our fair share of success but last Saturday topped anything that has come before as Tiger Roll became only the second horse in history to win the race on consecutive years. What a victory for a small horse with the biggest of hearts. A great horse, a wonderful jockey in Davy Russell and the trainer, Gordon Eliot,  who was beaming from ear to ear; even Michael O’Leary, the Ryabair chief who is a member of Gigginstown stud who own the horse was radiant. It was a massive occasion and one not to be forgotten.

The Irish Rugby sevens won a big qualifying event in Hong Kong to join the top teams in the world. It is a huge breakthrough for them and it further boosts the fortunes of the IRFU. Again there is no reason why we should be able to compete with the bigger rugby nations but we consistently do, culminating in beating all the top teams in the world over the past couple of years. We were ranked second in the world to New Zealand, the best nation ever to platy the sport. What is remarkable about the Irish success is the fact that, unlike countries like New Zealand and Wales, rugby is not the national game here. It has to compete with the GAA and soccer and,  in comparison to these sports, the number of rugby players in the country is relatively low. What we lack in quantity we make up for in quality and we have that spirit that gives us the edge when our backs are against the wall. I suppose after fighting with the might of Britain for eight hundred years we have learned  a lot about how to win being underdogs. A lot of money has gone into the game in recent years but it is money well spent. Our profile abroad has risen as a result and it has boosted our tourism industry which is so important to our economy

There was further success on the golfing front with Fiona Maguire winning a major tournament in the US.  Along with her sister they  put Ireland on the map in amateur circles but the professional game is a totally different kettle of fish. This is only her fourth event and it took something special to overcome the best lady golfers in the world. She showed great composure when she had to go into a playoff  by getting a birdie on the first extra hole to clinch the victory. No more than our rugby players and the race horse industry, our golfers have excelled in world circles bringing honour and glory to our little isle. Yes, it is good to bask in the reflected glory and I can’t wait for the best sport in the world over the next few months. No, it is not racing, rugby or golf; it is of course hurling and we anticipate another great year for the green and white!