120th Dinner Dance

Dundalk Young Irelands G.F.C. 1884 -2004


Friday, 29th October, 2004

Fairways Hotel, Dundalk

There was a big gathering on Friday 29th October, 2004 in the Fairways Hotel for our celebration of Young Irelands 120 years in existence. The club also took the opportunity to honour the 25th anniversary of the last Senior Championship winning team of 1979. Present were players, officials and families spanning all era’s of our great club. Many travelled distances and made big sacrifices to be present to renew old acquaintances and for one night relive the memories of their time with the “Irelanders”.

The evening started off with an impressive photographic and memorabilia exhibition in the foyer. Club President, Fr. John Mulligan S.M. was responsible for collecting this material over many years for his upcoming book on the green and blacks. Pictures tell their own stories and there was great interest in this part of the evening. U-14 players Sean Newberry and Kevin Keelan provided traditional music as the guests arrived.

In the Tain Suite, Chairperson of Young Irelands 120 Year committee, Pat Hamilton extended a warm welcome to all, especially special guest speakers Leinster Council Chairman Nickey Brennan, Louth Co. Board Chairman Paddy McMahon and RTE commentator/analyst, Brain Carthy. Also present were the Chairman and Secretary of the Louth Minor Board, representatives from Local Government, radio and newspapers. St. Pat’s winning captain brought along the Joe Ward Cup, a cup named after one of our greatest clubmen in the early 1900’s. Also on display was the cup that commemorates another famous Irelander, Larry McCrudden. Before dinner, the guests were entertained to an impressive video display charting the clubs history back to the foundation of the club on 10th March, 1884.

During the meal, M.C. for the evening, LMFM’s Colm Corrigan chatted to various Irelands players starting with members of the 1938 Senior Championship team, Leo Burns and Jim Cunningham, followed by Jim McArdle, Frank Fagan, Stephen White, Sean Óg Flood, John Doyle, Michael McArdle, Gerry Nixon and Michael Byron right up to current players, Gerry Hanratty and Graham Carr. All expressed delight on being part of the great tradition that is Dundalk Young Irelands and there was a hope that there will be many fine years ahead.

In his address, Paddy McMahon congratulated the club on its role in Louth football and the support it has given to Louth teams and administration over the years. He also congratulated Irelands Gerry Nixon on being appointed Manger of the Louth Minor team for 2005. Leinster Chairman Nickey Brennan thanked the club for the invitation and stated that although this was a busy time for him, he felt obliged and honoured to be able to attend a function for a club with such history. RTE’s Brian Carthy entertained the crowd with his amiable charm and relayed many stories on why Gaelic Games are the corner stone of every parish in Ireland. Brian felt that the club has so much to be proud of and wished them every success in the future.

Secretary Tony Hande acted as M.C. as Fr. John Mulligan presented a commemorative award to each member of the 1979 Senior Championship winning team and management. Those present were captain Seamus Haughey along with Kevin Morgan, George Clare, Colette Gaughran (on behalf of husband Ken R.I.P.), Seamus Byrne, Jim Hande, Michael Byron, Michael McCabe, Michael Friel, Pat McGeary, Eamon MacCartan, Enda Murray, Kieran Maguire, Gerry Nixon, Brendan Carroll, Pat Campbell, Paddy Mackin, Kevin Holland, Larry Goodman, Pat Mahony, Leo Burns (on behalf of brother Kieran), Jimmy Maguire (on behalf of son Derek), Michael McArdle (trainer), Miceal Mac Artain (on behalf of brother Cathal – selector) and Tommy Carroll (selector).

In his closing address, Club Chairman Enda Murray asked all those present to be proud of the part they played Yong Irelands history and he also extended praise to all deceased members. He stated that while the club can reflect on a great history, there is also a need to focus on the job ahead. He told the gathering that the clubs 4-year development plan is due for completion in 2005 and that the clubs juvenile structures are improving with each year. He expressed a wish for former members to get back involved to provide support and encouragement to the current young squad of players. He added that while there has been very little success on the playing field recently, he believes that the application of current squad members is as worthy of praise as any Irelands squad in the past.

Also stated on the night was that the history of the club “Dundalk Young Irelands G.F.C. – An Historical Record of the Green & Blacks” by Fr. John Mulligan S.M. is now available.