Pictured above is the victorious St Dominics Léiriú Stáitse Group
Back Row (L-R): Gerry McGovern, Ina Van Opstal, Dearbhla McCormack, Courtney Kelly, Lorcan Kelly, David Clarke. Front Row (L-R): Aine Keenan, Shane Murphy, Karol Feerick.
The Connacht Finals of the GAA Irish cultural talent competitions, Scór na nÓg were held in the Town Hall Claremorris, on Sunday last January 15th. With places in the All-Ireland Finals, in the Waterfront Hall, Belfast, at stake, the competition was intense and the packed hall got great value for their money.
By Mary Grehan
The show opened with the Figure Dancing competition. Four of the five counties were represented. The crowd were captivated by the beautiful footwork of the troupes. Roscommon’s representatives St Brigids of gained extra applause as they were by far the youngest competitors and have a great future in the competition.
Two solo competitions followed, Singing and Recitation. It was daunting for the competitors to stand out in front of such a large crowd but they all acquitted themselves well. There was a wide variety in the choice of songs and recitations and the audience were agreed that the adjudicator in both competitions had a difficult task. That task was no easier in the next competition where the Ballad Groups were exceptionally good and each performance seemed to outdo the previous one.
After a short interval the show resumed with the drama competition Léiriú Stáitse. Three groups contested this discipline but all in the hall were agreed that the Roscommon entry from the St Dominics would take beating. Finn McCool and the Salmon of Knowledge was brought up to date with appearances from Louis Walshe, Donald Trump and Kim Karadashian. The audience were rolling with laughter at the witty dialogue.
The final two competitions were also of the highest order. All five counties contested the Instrumental Music discipline. An array of instruments and styles were in use. How lovely it was two see two of our oldest instruments, the harp and Uileann pipes in use. Reels and Jigs were belted out and the crowd clapped and stamped along in encouragement. Though the Set Dancing competition was confined to three groups it lost nothing in quality. A young Elphin team set the tone for what was a dance off between an emerging Abbeyknockmoy troupe and local favourites Aghamore who had won the All-Ireland title in the two previous years. It was an epic finale to a brilliant day of competition.
The long wait
Connacht Scór Chairman, Gerry McGovern (Leitrim) thanked all involved with a special mention for Brennan’s Natural Health Company who had come on board as sponsors. The National Scór Chairman, Tony McGabhann (Cavan) commented on the high standard of the competitors and praised Connacht Scór for the strides they had taken to increase participation. David Clarke, Mayo and All-Star goalkeeper, 2017 Connacht Scór Ambassador, then addressed the audience. He spoke of the values of the GAA, the joys of participating and friendly competition, the life-time lessons learned in both winning and losing, loyalty to club and community and the value of the world-wide network of GAA clubs.
All that remained was for Fear an Tí, St Dominics man Thomas Murray, to read the list of winners chosen by the adjudicators who had travelled from Laois, Limerick, Wicklow and Westmeath. David Clarke presented the winners with their medals to great applause. The winners will move on to the All Ireland Finals, the vanquished will redouble their efforts for next year.
Figure Dancing: Louisburg (Mayo).
Solo Singing: Ava Fitzpatrick, Claremorris (Mayo).
Recitation: Éilis McDermott, Davitts (Mayo).
Ballad Group: St Mary’s Carrick on Shannon (Leitrim).
Léiriú Stáitse: St Dominics (Roscommon).
Instrumental Music Abbeyknockmoy (Galway).
Set Dancing, Abbeyknockmoy (Galway).