The 13th Annual Conker Championships certainly wasn’t unlucky with great crowds and perfect weather for the event on Sunday. The Green in Freshford was full and in the end it was local man, Adrian Cahill who was crowned the 2012 Irish Conker Champion. He beat his opponent, Clive Oliver from London, with a single devastating shot. Adrian is from Threecastles and he adds to the long line of local winners over the years. There were a number of previous winners of the title there on the day including Peter Theloke, Grace Kearney, Eamon Dooley, Tom Broderick and last years champion. The team winners were The Brodericks comprising RIchard Ryan, Step Vierhout, Conor Broderick and Thomas Broderick. The U-17 champion was Ellie Quinn from Mullingar. She beat local favourite Mary Hennessy. The U-14 champion was Reece Quinlan Phelan from Johnstown and he beat another local favourite and annual competitor Peter Mullen. The U-11 champion was Olivia Stokes from Castle Durrow and this is her second consecutive win! She beat Eoin Manning from Dublin in the final.
The crowds were fantastic. The number of volunteers in particular was a sight to behold. St. Lachtains Parents Council organised volunteers all weekend and the tea tent was also run by them. The number of stallholders was at an all time high this year and this added to the fun atmosphere on the Green. There were candle making and pottery workshops for children, bouncy slides and storytelling for the very small and a huge range of artisan products for the adults to browse through.
the Oasis centre was the host of a one evening only cinema in Freshford on Saturday. The Cartoon Saloon presented the local children with a viewing of the Oscar nominated The Secret of Kells from 4-6pm and this too was a complete success. The children were enthralled by the film and the question and answer session that followed showed how captivated they were by the film.
Local teacher Ned Kennedy delighted an eager audience with his talk on Freshford - the new Clonmacnoise in the Church of Ireland on Sunday. Alongside him in the Annex was an impressive array of local artists work to include Mike Cantwell, Sadie Bennett Rachel Burke and Ruairi Carroll. A reading by Kilkenny man Martin Brennan from his book The Havishams was an added bonus in the Annex and the children were allowed to ask questions and discuss writing skills and plot development with the wonderful Yvonne Barnaville. The committee thanked all the volunteers who selflessly gave of their time over the past week. Without this help, it would not have been possible to run the festival so smoothly. The Irish Conker Championships have received the huge honour of being presented with the “Community Volunteerism” Award at this years Person of the Year Awards on Friday evening last . This is a wonderful tribute to the Freshford Community and a large number attended the Gala Ceremony on the night.