Austin Stacks pay tribute to Barna GAA for successful Féile weekend

Austin Stacks pay tribute to Barna GAA for successful Féile weekend

The Austin Stacks GAA Club thoroughly enjoyed their stay in Barna during the Féile weekend.

Below is a synopsis of their weekend, which appeared on the Tralee club’s website.

In it, Barna GAA is praised for its hospitality, welcome and organisation, throughout the weekend.

Austin Stacks even went so far as to say that the Féile organisers should, “adopt the Barna template for all host clubs as we are sure that, with no disrespect to the other clubs throughout Connacht, they have set standards of the highest order”.

High praise indeed!


The Rocky Road to Galway

By Gene O’Donnell

After a most enjoyable, successful and memorable trip to the All Ireland Féile Finals in Connacht, our gallant Under 14 boys arrived back in Connolly Park last Sunday afternoon. Physically exhausted, the spirits were still high and the magic of the Féile weekend will live with all the players, coaches, parents, sponsors and supporters for a long, long time. First, we wish young Jack Gibney a speedy recovery from the break in his arm he sustained in an accidental clash during the warm up before the Nemo Rangers game. Undoubtedly, the highlight of the weekend was the wonderful hospitality laid on by BARNA GAA club, led by Tommy Lenihan, Mary Conneelly and their tremendous team, backed up by Chairman Johnny Flaherty.
From the moment we entered Barna, where we were greeted by signs, bunting and flags everyone knew that the entire occasion,from the reception where Galway legend Bosco McDermott and former GAA president Joe McDonagh gave inspirational speeches right through to when the lads were given a guard of honour on to the bus) was going to be a great example of what FÉILE was always meant to be.

On the field, the footballing highlight, in a competition of incredible standards,  has to have been probably the goal of the tournament by the rampaging JOE LOOBY LUGANDU when he sent an absolute cracker to the back of the Nemo Rangers net to the rapturous delight of the travelling Rockies! The referee claimed afterwards it was one of the finest scores he had ever witnessed. We topped our DIVISION 1 qualifying group with three wins v Salthill/Knocknacarra, O’Donovan Rossa’s of Magheralfelt in Derry and our hosts Barna(the reigning Galway Feile champions), all characterised by great attacking free style football, Munster style comebacks, World Cup like score lines!!! and heroic drama by all sides. Scores were Stacks 1-5 V Saltillians 6pts, Stacks 3-6 V Magherafelt 2-4 and
Stacks 5-4 V Barna 4-2. This exceeded our wildest expectations as we were missing some players due to holidays and we had at least one third of our team under age again next year. We found ourselves in the quarter final v Nemo Rangers and they proved to be a step too far for our brave youngsters. At the end of the game which we lost by 2-8 to 1-3 we had no complaints as the Cork outfit were superior in every facet of the game and with 23 of their 24 man panel all aged 14, their experience was shown to telling effect. Although downhearted, we learnt many lessons and having reached the last 8 of approximately 2,500 clubs it was no mean achievement, we are sure that the experience will stand the lads in good stead in their future playing careers. All through, the lads were easily the best supported team in the competition with about 100 parents, supporters and their families cheering the black and amber galacticos on at every step. This was backed up by a deluge of calls and text messages of support, all interspersed by barbeques with the fantastic host families, dips in the famed Galway Bay at Salthill and also at beautiful Barna, Paudie Mc Quinn’s sports drink, excellent food and sing songs at Donnelly’s, Chips beating Seanie Power’s Sat Nav hands down, fun indoor skills games, car park header tennis (new Olympic Sport?), the presentation of a beautiful wooden clock to Tim McMahon by Barna, the presentation of a framed BARRYS BAKERY Austin Stacks Jersey to Barna GAA (which is now on prominent display in Donnellys of Barna), a full moon in broad daylight over scenic Galway Bay!, the hairs standing up on the neck in the dressing room when club Chairman Aidan O’Connor’s inspirational text was read out, David Oba’s ecumenical oration!, the appearance of the boys picture in the Sunday mass newsletter, etc, etc, etc.

Congratulations to the GAA for revisiting the structure of Féile this year as it has allowed more teams participate and for longer than before. If there is one suggestion to improve it, it would be for the organisers to adopt the BARNA template for all host clubs as we are sure that, with no disrespect to the other clubs throughout Connacht, they have set standards of the highest order. The whole weekend from logistics, gear, bookings, scheduling, accommodation etc. was co-ordinated by the brilliant Lorraine Scanlon and her helpers. Thanks to all the parents and supporters, to our great sponsors BARRYS BAKERY, ADAMS BAR AND RESTAURANT DINGLE, OFFICE AND INK, TERRY HEALY BUTCHERS AND LEE STRAND and also to KEVIN BARRYS and HORANS FRUIT AND VEG for stocking us up on the journey up. Footnote: The competition was eventually won by NAAS of Kildare a club picking from a population of over 21,000 so that puts our achievements in perspective. Thanks and well done to the famous five, our eclectic and zany coaching team of Dave Scanlon, Mike “Chips” Clifford, Mike Casey, Gene O’Donnell and Paudie McQuinn. Finally, and most importantly, we must thank the entire panel of players who have made the year such an enjoyable and successful one, both on and off the field. And its not over yet! Watch out for the texts, lads.The players who made the trip to Galway included: Garry Clifford, James Quigley, Donagh McMahon, Eoghan Carroll, Dara Barry Walsh, Dylan Casey, Michael O’Gara, Gearoid Fitzgerald, Sean Carmody, Conor Higgins, Sean Quilter, Joe Looby Lugandu, Conor Myers, Michael Slattery, Gearoid Sheehan, David Oba, Padhraic Linnane, Dean Scanlon, Oisín Liston, David Couchman, David Burke, Evan Maher, Joe Bastible, Andrew Breen, Jack Gibney.

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