Thursday, April 24, 2014

More silverware for the badminton Rags

This week's report starts with the Good Friday Open which was played in Whitehall Road on 18 April 2014, writes Enda O'Neill, PRO of Kilcullen Badminton Club. Dave McClean and (recent returnee from his travels in Brazil) Paddy Burke competed in the Grade 3 Men’s Doubles tournament. It was to be a successful day for the lads when they were runners-up in a close final. Well done to the lads on another great day for them.

It was an all KBC Final in the Grade 6 Mixed Finals with Jen Monaghan and Vincent taking on their fellow team mates of Sarah Walshe and Fintan Phelan. In a close fought-match Jen and Vincent came out victorious beating Sarah and Fintan 2-1. Well done to Jen and Vincent in their great win and also to their worthy opponents Sarah and Fintan.

Tuesday 22 April saw Enda and the Mix 3 team contest the Grade 5 South West League Cup Final. The Final was held in Athy Rugby Club and the opposition was Abbeylix of Laois. This turned out to be the match of the tournament with both KBC and Abbeylix swapping blows from the start. First ladies of Jen and Helen lost to a strong Abbeylix female pairing, while Enda and Vincent took the first Mens levelling the match 1-1. Ladies 2 of Anna Marie and Sarah lost their second Ladies but John and Fintan took the Mens in their match in two sets.

The two teams were now level at 2-2 going into the mixed matches, it was Anna Marie and John lost the first mixed match in two sets putting Abbeylix back in control of the match. Jen and Vincent made amends in the second mix match winning 2-1. It was Helen and Enda up in the third mixed and they won easily in two sets, so Kilcullen were 4-3 up in games but if Abbeyleix could win their last mixed match against KBC in two sets they would win the final on set difference. So daughter and father pairing of Sarah and Fintan had it all to do in the last mix game and they didn’t disappoint. This match was definitely the match of the final Sarah and Fintan took the first set 21-17, the second was a lot tighter and Sarah and Fintan pulled it out of the bag to clinch the Cup for Kilcullen in a nail-biting 21-20 win and capping off a great season for the club.

A big congratulations goes out to Helen, Jen, Sarah, Anna Marie, Vincent, John, Fintan and of course yours truly Enda! Also thanks so much to all the supporters who travelled to Athy to cheer us on, you were the ninth player and your cheers really helped us over the line.

Pictured above are (back) John, Vincent, Enda, Fintan; and (front) Anna Marie, Jen, Sarah, Helen and Tara.

Up the Rags!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Earth to earth, and Joseph Keating

Obviously I didn't know Joseph Keating from Usk, writes Brian Byrne. He was killed in WW1 in France. But I came very close to him yesterday.

I heard about him some weeks ago, when Julie O'Donoghue told me the details she had only then uncovered about her great-uncle who was killed in the Battle of Cambrai on 8 December 1917. She had found letters from him on the front, kept by an aunt. The recent launch of the website about the Irish killed on the Fields of Flanders gave her more information, which she shared with the group which has set up to commemorate Kilcullen's Great War dead.

Yesterday I was in northern France, courtesy of Peugeot who were launching the wagon version of their European Car of the Year 2014 winner 308.

I had checked out where the memorial on which Lance Corporal Joseph Keating is commemorated is located. It is further away than the designated test route we were given for the event. So I asked my co-driver if she wouldn't mind foregoing a visit to the factory where the engines for the car are made and go instead to the Cambrai Memorial at Louverval. That wasn't a problem.

Navigating there was a little more difficult. The sat-nav wouldn't accept Louverval, let alone a memorial. Even under points of interest with the label 'Culture' ... closest we could think in terms of the labels available. We solved the problem by stopping at a motorway service area and buying a map. Old-fashioned, but unbeatable when you want to see where you are in the big picture that sat-nav just doesn't do.

Anyhow, two and a half hours from leaving Le Touquet Airport, I found myself at the memorial. It had rained on and off for the previous hour, but at Louverval the sun came out clear.

It's a quiet spot, except when cars or lorries swift by on their way from or to or to beyond the town of Cambrai itself some 15 kilometres to the east. With the sun shining on the memorial edifice and its small graveyard, it felt just as I thought it should. Warm, and a place of peace for those who were being remembered for their trials in the bitter cold and atrocity of war.

I picked up a stray piece of paper, the only litter in a place impeccably maintained by the Commonwealth Graves Commission, and put it in my pocket because it seemed that was the best thing to do. I knew from their excellent website where Joseph Keating's name was inscribed in a panel commemorating those of the Irish Guards who had died somewhere in this area. It was high on the wall, in a corner, with others who had not come home from the regiment amongst the 7,043 soldiers which this particular memorial gives the opportunity to remember.

'Keating J'.

For me, prayer is not a religious thing. More a thought about somebody, or something. So the prayer I said was an acknowledgment of the fact that a Kilcullen man had gone, for whatever reason, to a war that began a hundred years ago, and who had died about seven months before it ended.

Thanks to Julie O'Donoghue, I have been recently reading stories of the Irishmen who went to that war, and in many cases didn't return. Others did survive, but came back to an Ireland, and sometimes to their own families and neighbours, which shunned them because they had fought in the service of an England which still ruled us. Our Taoiseach has recently given back to them all, and to their descendants, their dignity in doing what they felt was right.

I didn't have any family involved in that war. But I thought yesterday at that memorial in the village of Louveral about those who were my antecedent family neighbours, who had gotten involved, for whatever reason. Particularly about Joseph Keating from Usk, as I emptied a little box of earth, which I had brought from Kilcullen, onto the ground in front of his memorial.

I took from the same area, earth into which conceivably had bled the lives of Joseph and his soldier compatriots almost a century ago. It will be incorporated into the soil which will nourish a tree to remember all Kilcullen people who fought, and sometimes died, in that conflict which had little to do with them as individuals, which will be planted next August in Kilcullen.

In the meantime, Joseph Keating from Usk, and all your comrades from whatever country, but especially those who came from the Kilcullen area, rest in peace that we are thinking of you.

Parish Lotto Draw

The numbers drawn in the Kilcullen & Gormanstown Parish Lotto Draw held on Tuesday 22nd April 2014 were 8, 10, 11 and 13. There was no Jackpot winner and next week's main prize will be €7,800.

The winners of the €50 Open Draws were Ross Coughlan (promoter Robert Archbold), Mary Orford (Valerie McTernan), and Pat Martin (Vivian Clarke).

The winners of the €50 Promoters Draws were Wednesday Bridge Club and PJ Lydon, and Ronan Murray won the Draw for those in the Parish Centre on the night of the Draw.