A Saturday past saw the newly decorated Osin Suite in The Whistledown Hotel packed to capacity for our Annual Reunion which saw members and supporters of the club come together to celebrate the year gone by.
Fear-a- Tí for the evening was the very capable and articulate Brendan Rice, who welcomed County Chairman Sean Rooney and his Wife Mairead Ulster Secretary Brian McAvoy and his wife Deirdre, County Fixtures Secretary Michael O’Rourke and his wife Michelle, guest speaker Mr Barney McAleenan and Canon Kearney. Brendan sent his best wishes to Club President Barney Carr who could not attend the evening. The evening got underway with episode another of Warrenpoint GAA TV, giving an overview of club events, this ‘Annual Reunion Special Edition.’
Brian McAvoy was the first of our special guests to address the crowd and he spoke of his admiration for Warrenpoint Club in their participation in all areas of Gaelic Games and activities and their forward thinking when it comes to member participations, community participation and fundraising. He made particular mention to the Health and Well Being section and the Operation Transformation Programme which was the first of its kind in the county. Brian also thanks Warrenpoint for their continued support and assistance to the county and province in their many different roles on teams, committees and management roles. Sean Rooney then also took to the stage and firstly congratulated the club on their four Scór county titles the night before, highlighting the wide breadth of participation across the club. He then spoke with passion about the roles clubs played in the County and asked for that to continue, highlighting the recent successful Club Draw which benefited Warrenpoint GAA in the region of £37,000. Sean finished by thanking the club for the invitation and wishing them all the best for the upcoming season.
In a wide ranging and comprehensive address, newly appointed Club Chairman Larry Byrne stated that he we should look back on the past twelve months with much pride, as we continue on our forward journey, of having fun and operating as TEAM Cumann Pheadair Naofa, Warrenpoint, at the heart of the local community for whole of family, for the whole of life.
Larry spoke passionately about all sections of club and also touched on aspects of the club which still require development. He continued by highlighting our core mission statement for the club and, “The emphasis being on volunteerism, community participation, games development and people development.” He appealed for people to continue to get involved in the club, that there was a role for everyone. Larry again paid special recognition to our senior set, ceili team, ballad and instruments teams who will represent the club in the Ulster Scor Semi Final next weekend.
Larry thanked the main club sponsor, The Whistledown Hotel for their cooperation and assistance in the preparation of the Annual Reunion and expressed gratitude to Aisling McGivern and all involved in the coordination of the Annual Reunion.
An excellent souvenir programme for the event was edited and produced by Mícheál Moore which illustrated in words and photographs the breadth of activities organised by Cumann Pheadair Naofa over the past 12 months and highlighting the successes both on and off the field.
Barney McAleenan was a very popular guest speaker of the night and addressed the audience in congratulating Cumann Pheadair Naofa on the massive steps they have made in recent years and said he felt that the current senior team were one to watch out for, he said any teams main aim should be a County Senior Championship and in order to get within reach of that it comes down to two factors, “what you do when you have the ball and what you do when you don’t… its that simple.” Barney spoke highly of his close link with Warrenpoint and the community and praised the club for continuing the school club links which strengthen the community.
Barney ended by saying there are ten small words all players should remember and focus on, “if it is to be it is up to me….”
Paul McKibben was a very popular recipient of the Chairman’s Club Person of the Year Award for his outstanding contribution to the Club with particular reference to his dedicated role as chairperson of the Feile committee. Larry described Paul as a hard working Gael who could worked quietly for the betterment of our club and facilities.
Club stalwart Hubert Shannon received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his services to Cumann Pheadair Naofa for many years especially within senior committee. In his many years as a member of Warrenpoint Hubert was involved across many different sections, most recently in his role as chairman. Hubert collected hid award to a standing ovation from the crowds.
Special Leadership and Recognition Awards were made to Club officers whose work made a unique difference to the delivery of Club activities and the successful functioning of the club:
Shane Lavery was a deserving recipient of a Special Recognition Leadership Award for his leading role as vice treasurer and lotto co-ordinated. Shane works tirelessly on financial elements of the club.
Paula Howlett was the next deserving recipient of a Special recognition Award for her role as co-ordinary or of the 125 pavilion on match days and her role within ladies football.
Following a very successful year in maintaining division one, club senior footballer Cormac McCartan picked up the Senior Footballer of the Year Award and team mate Ryan Magee lifted the Senior Football Players’ Player of the Year Award for the second year in a row. Young Jamie Lynch followed in his brothers footsteps and was the deserving recipient of the Reserve Football Player of the Year Award. Ruairi McCormack won The Patrick Dinsmore Minor Footballer of the Year Award,just accolades for a vibrant young footballer. Thomas Magee was the recipient of the Minor Hurler of the Year while Saran McElroy was the worthy recipient of the Senior Hurling Player and finally Cathal McGivern was announced as Players Player of the Year. In their second outing at the Annual Reunion, the girls were out in style and Sian Keenan was the popular recipient of the Player of the Year award and Jenny Quinn players player.
In a break from tradition the large crowd in large crowd in attendance was somewhat due to the Operation Transformation group who glammed up to eagerly await the winners of the six week programme. Brendan Rice invited Michael Walsh and Ross McGarry, to the stage to present the awards. Brendan spoke of his genuine amazement at the dedication and commitment of the 114 people who attended and said how proud he was of how far everyone had come and encouraged them to ‘keep going.’ The first awards, voted for by the programme participants saw Mr and Mrs Motivators being announced, Brendan announced that those who kept everyone motivated & encouraged throughout were; Gerry Grant, Patrick McKevitt, Moira Maginn and Derval Tinnelly, each were welcomed on stage by a rapturous applause from their fellow members. Next saw Brenda and Ryan Cunningham crowned as best couple of the programme and praised for their team work and complete commitment to the programme in.
The last awards of the night saw the team awards and those everyone had been working hard towards, Brendan announced WOT biggest movers as the orange team who exercised an average of 2 hours per day per person over the six week and ably led by leader Conrad Madden. Finally Michael Walsh from Walsh’s Pharmacy came onstage to announce the WOT Biggest Losers, he informed the captivated audience that the programme had saw an amazing 50 stone lost in seven weeks, with the eventual winners being the sky blue team of led by Colm Kernan. The night ended with Aisling McGivern making a special presentation to Brendan, Ross, Dermot, Roisin and Martin for their help, support and guidance throughout the programme.