42 TOPIC • 12April, 2018 SPORT Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh officially A memorable day for Ringtown Hurling Club Mark Kiernan, Eamon Doyle, Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh, Maurice Kiernan and Derek Cheevers at the opening of the Ringtown hurling wall. BY PAUL O’DONOVAN “One of the best days in the history of Ringtown Hurling Club” that was how Ringtown Chairman Eamon Doyle described the visit of legendary GAA commentator Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh to Ringtown last Saturday afternoon for the official opening of the club’s new hurling wall. It certainly was a very memorable day for all those associated with hurling in Ringtown. It began early on Saturday afternoon with the arrival of Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh meets 94 year-old Jimmy Murtagh at the opening of the Ringtown hurling wall on Saturday last. renowned hurling coach Peter Casey from Clare, who gave a demonstration and lessons to the young players at the hurling wall, but really the entire project began last January when many of the club members came together to join forces and help construct, week after week, what is now a very impressive hurling wall. Feidhlim Burke, John Macken and Pat Burke with Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh at the opening of the Ringtown hurling wall. BUILT BY COMMUNITY VOLUNTEERS ‘Built by Community Volunteers’ they are the words engraved on the plaque which adorns the new hurling wall and those are the words Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh noted and focused on when addressing the large crowd gathered inside the hall after the official opening of the wall. Large numbers of youngsters, hurls in one hand, sliotar in the other, all proudly wearing the green and gold Ringtown colours, listened intently as top class hurling coach Peter Casey gave great advice, lessons and a fine demonstration to the younger players at the hurling wall. Quietly and discreetly, without any fanfare the man himself, Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh arrived. Looking very smart, at the tender age of 87, Micheál drifted through the crowd, greeting and chatting to each and every person, taking great time to chat to one and all. Even the rain obliged Ringtown by staying away for a few hours, as the sun shone brightly for this all important event. Local Parish Priest Fr. Oliver Skelly then officially blessed the hurling wall before legendary commentator and guest of honour Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh officially opened the new wall. GREAT WORK BY EVERYONE Club stalwart Thady Burke, who was MC for the afternoon then spoke to all those in attendance about the background to the building of the wall. Thady said, “This wall was only possible thanks to the work of many, many local people, in particular, John Nangle, Nangle Construction, Barry Davis, Gabriel and Ryan Kiernan. We thank them and we thank all those people who contributed to the work of building this wall. All the work was voluntary, meaning there was very little labour costs involved, so the main cost was the concrete itself. Normally a hurling wall would cost in the region of €30,000 to €35,000 but we got this done for less than €10,000 and we think this is a great achievement for this club. (This comment not surprisingly drew a warm round of applause.) Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh said he was delighted to meet young Jimmy Murtagh, who is just 94 years of age and who won a minor medal with Ringtown in 1939. “He has seen many great games in his time and we hope he sees many more,” said Micheál. Hurling coach Peter Casey pointed out that the Ringtown hurlers now had the opportunity to progress as a team as they had the opportunity to play all the time up against the wall, as they now have the opportunity to practise and practicse makes perfect and now Ringtown have access to some really good hurling coaches and in time it will all come together for the club,” said Casey, who was honoured to be present on such an occasion. A short time later, after Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh had posed for more photographs and chats with the locals, everyone gathered in the hall where the finest of refreshments were served, while the won- Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh was delighted to meet Westmeath’s only hurling All-Star Ringtown’s David Kilcoyne at the opening of the hurling wall in Ringtown last Saturday. Eamon Doyle, Eamon Sheridan, Ned Flynn, Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh and Declan Coffey at the opening of the Ringtown hurling wall. Three generations of Blacoe's - Eddie, Harry and Anthony - with Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh in Ringtown on Saturday last.
TOPIC • 12April, 2018 SPORT 43 opens new hurling wall in Ringtown The two Micheáls!... Micheál Cassidy on left, shows Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh on right, the coin which referee James McGrath used to toss at the start of the All-Ireland hurling final replay between Cork and Clare in 2013. The coin, was the same coin used by the famous Michael Collins, and Micheál Cassidy of Castlepollard gave it to James to use in the hurling final. Feidhlim and Thady Burke with Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh at the Ringtown hurling wall on Saturday last. Pictured at the Ringtown hurling wall on Saturday last were Peter Casey (hurling coach), Eamon Doyle, Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh, Damien Moran, Pat Reilly (Westmeath GAA) and Tomas Mount. Adrian Moran presents a memento to Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh on the occasion of his visit to the Club on Saturday last. derful Lough Lene Set Dancers provided the entertainment. On stage another club legend MJ Corrigan recalled the history of the club, detailing all its successes, the productive years and the barren years, the memorable and humorous moments, as well as the progress made off the field by the very progressive club. THE VOICE OF THE GAA Another great Ringtown man John Burke, then introduced the special guest for the afternoon and you could have heard a pin drop as Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh spoke for almost half an hour about his greatest love - the GAA. The ‘Voice of the GAA’ spoke about the history of the GAA, how clubs started up and the difficulties they faced. Everyone, young and old, listened intently as Micheál spoke about Irish dancing, singing and the Irish language, before turning his attention to Ringtown and recalling its most famous star - Westmeath’s only hurling All-Star - David Kilcoyne, as well as the huge improvements Ringtown hurling club have made. Micheál stressed the importance of the work of the volunteers Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh addresses the people of Ringtown following the opening of the hurling wall on Saturday last. within the club, men and women before pointing out - this club is not finished yet”. It truly was a wonderful speech. Ringtown’s John Burke then said how proud Micheál had made everyone feel about their beloved Ringtown. In conclusion to a wonderful day, Chairman Eamon Doyle thanked everyone for their attendance and for their assistance and organisation of a day that will live long for all those associated with Ringtown and Ringtown Hurling Club. Coach Peter Casey puts the young hurlers of Ringtown through their paces at the new hurling wall. MJ Corrigan presents Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh with a copy of the history of Ringtown "The First Century" during his visit last Saturday.