ALICE IN WONDERLAND ROCKS GOWRAN HALL - One of the great success parish stories since the turn of the Millennium (2000) has been the annual production by the Gowran Pantomime Society.
Cinderella in January 2000 was the beginning of a glorious adventure that continues as strong as ever 13 years.
The fact that Gowran Pantomime Society produces high class performances year in year out is down to the superb quality of the performers on stage, along with the dedicated trojan work behind the scenes to ensure that the shows go off smoothly and with success.
Alice in Wonderland was this years production, and as ever it was a magnificent show in which everyone deserves immense credit for ensuring that it was a splendid success.
Alice was played by Elaine O’Neill who returned to the stage having been abroad in France as part of her 3rd level course last year.
The flamboyant John Kennedy enthralled the audience and kept everyone wide, awake and alert on the edge of the seat, along with throwing bags into the audience as well as sausage-sized balloons.
Orla Smith played the part of Ms Hackett and the Cheshire Cat, while the smooth talking Donal Twomey perfected the King with elegant distinction.
The stalwart veteran of pantomimes Pat Walsh played the White Rabbit as always in his unique irreverent way.
Well known solicitor John Holland was the likeable gent as the Hatter, while the March Hare was played by chairman of the Pantomime Society Paul O’Donnell.
Mary Walsh was a calming influence as the Darmouse, while a very special mention to Ursula O’Leary who is the only member to have performed in all 14 productions.
Ursula playing the unusual member of a male character named Jack was the Queens stepson, and as ever she enlightened the audience.
Her duet with Alice of Madness’s rendition of their 80s classic It Must be Love was one of the shows highlights.
Derek Lawlor was the Caterpillar while Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee were a superb duet who enthralled the crowd backed up the superb Junior Cast members.
The Junior members in their droves really added to the wonderful entertainment of what was a superb show.
Congrats to everyone involved and roll on 2014.
Who know, could Oliver be next years pantomime production by the Gowran Pantomime Society.
SO YOUNG LANDS RED MILLS FEATURE - Despite the disappointment of the Chase track been cancelled last Thursday morning due to the track been waterlogged, a massive crowd in Gowran Park last Saturday afternoon for Red Mills Race Day.
With the three scheduled Chase races been cancelled including the featured Red Mills Chase, the card was divided into a 6 race card. Four hurdle races and two bumpers.
Champion trainer Willie Mullins has been in a whirlwind rich vein of form lately having trained a four-timer on three occasions over the past three weeks, and last Saturday, he added another double to his collection.
Willie landed the opening maiden hurdle courtesy of odds-on shot Djakadam who easily obliged by 14 lengths.
The doubled was followed up in the featured Red Mills Hurdle.
Zaidpour who won last year went off odds-on favourite and second favourite was stable companion So Young under the guidance of David Casey.
In the 5 runner event, outsider Rory O’Moore set the pace at a strong gallop, before he was hauled down by the remaining 4 runners before approaching the home straight.
Zaidpour came through to take up the running after the 2nd last flight, but was challenged by staple companion So Young approaching the final hurdle.
So Young quickened best after the last flight, and stretched clear to upset the odds and run out a 6 length winner.
Other local successes came from Mooncoin trainer Eoin Doyle as Lookouthow followed up his victory on Thyestes Day to defy favouritism and win the Holden Plant Rentals Handicap hurdle, while Kells trainer Ronald O’Neill enjoyed success in the Ronan Lawlor Memorial Mares Flat Race as Kymins Way got the better of a three-way finish involving Shuilamach and the Nina Carberry ridden Silverpockets.
The remaining two races were won by Vics Canvas who won the Man versus Beast turn2me.org Challenge on Saturday 9th March Handicap Hurdle, while the concluding bumper was won in a dramatic exciting close finish by Vice Dancer who got the better of a close finish denying the Jane Mangan favourite ridden Romantic Fashion.
A great days racing in front of a fantastic crowd, and two great Saturday meetings in Gowran Park to look forward to over the next monrh.
On Saturday, the Man versus Beast will take place involving National Hunt Champion jockey Davy Russell and World and Paralympic champion, cyclist Mark Rohan.
Two weeks later on Saturday March 23rd, there is a family race day in which the Kilkenny Senior hurling team and the McCarthy Cup will be in attendance with Music by the Kilkenny’s.
CLEERES GET CLOSER TO LEAGUE TITLE - Cleeres Bar have strengthened their grip on the Division 2 league title as they now lead the top of the table by 8 points following a 2-0 victory over bottom of the table AP Systems last week.
Sean Kehoe was on target, while an AP Systems OG doubled the advantage, as the league title is very much within their sights
Cleeres Bar’s nearest pursuers Average Joes and OS United both slipped up.
Average Joes drew 1-1 with Gathabawn FC, while OS United were defeated 1-0 by Bretts of Mullinahone.