Night of celebration in Strokestown



It was a night of celebration at Scoil Mhuire in Strokestown last Saturday night as the 2017 All-Ireland ‘C’ Schools winning senior football team were presented with their medals by special guest, Roscommon senior football manager Kevin McStay.

  In addition, the senior team from 2013 who reached the All-Ireland final were also honoured and they received their Connacht winners’ medals almost five years after they had won the title!

  Parents, staff, members of the local Strokestown GAA club, sponsors and coaches were all in attendance and a magnificent three course meal was served to everyone present. MC for the night was school principal Eamon Corrigan.

  Mr Corrigan said that it was a very proud achievement for the school to win the All-Ireland title having won the title in 2009 and having being beaten in the final in 2013. He praised team manager Aidan Dooney and selectors Joe Murphy and Damien Rooney for their work

  He also paid tribute to the local GAA clubs who had been so co-operative with the school and also the parents and sponsors for their support. He stressed the importance of team sport in the development of pupils and he thanked everyone who had an input into the success of the team.

  Willie Hegarty spoke on behalf of the Roscommon Games Development committee. He said that the presentation evening at the school was “a great idea in an appropriate setting”.

  He praised the sporting facilities at the school. “There are fantastic sporting facilities available at this school. It’s like driving into a top class third level institution. We have been so lucky in Roscommon with the underage success that we have had in recent years.

  “The facts are now that not alone have we All-Ireland colleges medals in the room but there are minor, U-21 and senior Connacht medals in this room tonight and it is fantastic to see. This is a very special occasion and it is great to be a part of it,” he said.

  The medals for the 2013 team were presented by Kevin McStay before 2017 team manager Aidan Dooney addressed the gathering and he began by thanking sponsors, the staff at the school, parents, local clubs and everyone connected with the team. He also thanked everyone in connection with organising the homecoming after the All-Ireland win.

  He made special mention of St Croan’s for the use of their pitch and the hard work of school secretary Joan Neary who was made a special presentation.

  Aidan Dooney said that it was a special year for the team recalling that they lost just one game out of the 14 they played.

  “I know we won the All-Ireland but I would count the Connacht final win against Ballyhaunis as the sweetest win we had. They beat us by 11 points in the league final but we turned it around to beat them by 9 in the Connacht final,” he said.

  He praised the 2009 and 2013 teams and said that in 2017 the players were a pleasure to work with.

  “This great win was down to them and only them. They put in the work, this is their night and they should cherish it,” he concluded.

  Then the medals for winning the county, provincial and All-Ireland championships were presented by Kevin McStay. Special guest McStay said that his links with Strokestown and Scoil Mhuire went back 30 years.

  “There was a member of staff that I was chasing here 30 years ago (his wife Verona who was teaching there at the time) so I suppose you could say it was this school that was responsible for bringing me to Roscommon,” he said.

  “Winning an All-Ireland is a massive achievement. It is so hard to win one. In my career managing and playing I was involved in seven finals. We won two, lost three, and there were two draws. All of them were won or lost by a very narrow margin. I know how hard it is to win an All-Ireland title so this should be celebrated and cherished.

  “This is a fantastic school, it’s inclusive and well run. Look at the way this presentation was organised and ran tonight. It’s a credit to all concerned. The players, staff, parents, clubs and sponsors should be very proud of what has been achieved here.

  “The coaching of underage players is so important. I see it in my role with the senior team and I hope to be seeing some of these lads here tonight with the senior panel in the years to come. I said I was involved in seven All-Ireland finals. Before I finish with Roscommon seniors I intend to bring that figure to eight. There are no guarantees in sport but that’s the aim.

  “I congratulate the players on their success. It’s a massive achievement and I am glad to see that it is been celebrated here tonight and it’s great to be a part of it,” he concluded.