Two All Ireland titles for Leitrim
Two All Ireland titles for Leitrim
Saturday last was a memorable occasion for Leitrim Scór as Glencar/Manorhamilton and Aughnasheelin were declared All Ireland champions in Rince Foirne and Amhranaíocht Aonair respectively at the All Ireland finals in Killarney.
For Glencar/Manorhamilton it was a long-awaited and richly-deserved reward for perseverance and persistence. For each of the previous eight years they had reached the All Ireland finals and travelled to Killarney and other venues, with great hopes, only to come home disappointed on each occasion. Others would have given up but Claire McMorrow, their tutor and Manager didnt. The memory of two previous wins in 1993 and 1999 kept them going in the hope that their day would come and come it did on Saturday last.
The dancing team of Amanda Sweeney, Nicole OHara, Aoife Duignan, BronÓgh Rooney, Aidan McLoughlin, Ciaran McManus, Shane Connaire and Brendan Byrne gave a great performance dancing the Cross Reel and the adjudicators put them ahead of Killyclogher, Co Tyrone, Glenflesk, Co Kerry and St Martins, Co Louth. Two of the group: Amanda Sweeney and Shane Connaire were on the last Glencar/Manorhamilton team to win the Figure Dance All Ireland in 1999. The long wait was over.
The sight of bonfires blazing on the approach to Manorhamilton at 7.00pm last Sunday and hundreds on the streets in Manorhamilton to greet them back made it all worth it. It was a memorable homecoming as the dancers performed on the street as darkness fell on a happy group of dancers and supporters.
An hour earlier last Sunday the bonfires were blazing in Aughnasheelin as Aisling Sammon returned as All Ireland champion to her home parish. Crowds assembled to celebrate in the Community Centre and the joy was unbounded as Aisling returned a hero having taken the All Ireland title twenty-four hours earlier against the best of the other provinces: Mary Connolly form Newtownbutler, Co Fermanagh, Áine Sheehan , Foilmore, Co Kerry and Éilís McLoughlin, Ardagh, Co Longford.
Aislings win was something special for Leitrim as this was the first time ever that a Leitrim singer won an All Ireland Scór title in either Scór Sinsear or Scór na nÓg. On eight previous occasions Leitrim have been represented at All Ireland finals in Scór Sinsear but never successfully. Mae Malone from Mohill got to the final in the very first year of Scór in 1970. James Dooner and Brid Megahey, both Ballinamore, Éamon Daly from Allen Gaels, Ann Mulligan from Bornacoola, Therese McCartin from Carrigallen and Sinéad Egan from Aughnasheelin on two occasions got to the Finals. Aisling Sammon with a beautiful rendering of "Róisín Dubh" was a worthy winner and Leitrim supporters were jubilant as her name was called out.
These two successes bring Leitrims total All Irelands in Scór Sinsear to 23, just one behind Galway and Tyrone both on 24. With the great interest in Scór in Leitrim and wonderful victories by great Scór clubs like Aughnasheelin and Glencar/Manorhamilton it may not be long until Leitrim are out on top.
At the two victory celebrations Leitrim heroes were met by Cathaoirleach of Leitrim Co Board, Seosamh Ó Floinn and Rúnaí, Diarmuid Mac Suibhne as well as Oifigeach Cultúir agus Teanga, Máire Ní Mhaoilbhlia, agus Rúnaí Coiste Scór Liatroma, Seán Ó Suilleabháin. Tributes were also paid to Leitrims other All Ireland competitors: Droim Dhá Thiar in Ceol Uirlis, Seán Ó hEislin in Nuachleas and Gleann an Chairthe/ Cluainín in Rince Seit. It was a proud and joyous occasion as both victories were celebrated both in the early hours in Killarney on Saturday and in Aughnasheelin and Manorhamilton on Sunday.
To top of a great occasion for the county, another Leitrim connection was that Fear a Tí on the night was Ballinamores Tommy Moran, who also did a great job in enlivening proceedings.
Bí sé soiléir go raibh croí an chontae sa chultúir ghaelach agus muintir an chontae ag baint taitneamh as.
Photographs from the homecomings are available in the gallery.
11-Apr-11 by Colette Fox – PRO