Darren O'Neill is a fantastic boxer and former hurler. The man who started this year's Wellie Race was almost knocked out on stage by a woman.
The Paulstown pugilist avoided the belt but had to be seated with shock afterwards as Gaelic for Mothers player, Catriona Brennan was led away after the wild pull.
And while Incessant wind and rain tested the "Powley" spirit it was business as usual for the wonderful, colourful, outrageous and politician thumping annual Wellie Race on New Years Day in welcoming Castlecomer.
Very few in public life escape ridicule at the race and this year was no exception with, Taniste Joan Bruton figuring prominently with placards, the contents of which we cannot report on here for legal and moral reasons.
However, as you would expect it was the start of the centenary celebrations for the 1916 Rising which took centre stage and there were excellent floats depicting that period in Irish life and all done with respect and dignity. In the Float parade, 1916 was the dominant theme but a famous victory went to Cox’s Flock of Knocknadogue with “I’m a Celebrity get me out of here”.
To mark their first win in over 30 attempts the Knocknadogue boys held a victory banquet in the Golf Club.
The standard was as good as ever - with witty, satirical and ingenious puns, satires and slogans, as the crowds enjoyed the Haka, March of the Penguins, an African Safari with guest appearances from a not so Quiet Man and the late Elvis Presley and Jose M.
Loquacious, witty and enlightening is what the crowds have come to expect from MC Michael Hester. He kept the show on track for three hours without a break.
The Fancy Dress and Float Parade was led by the Killeshin Pipe Band and supported by the Ballycallan Fife and Drum Band.
With boobs bursting out through their blouses (all fake), fun and frolics were provided by the renowned Major Regrets. They make ugly sisters look like beauty queens.. The honour of leading the all male Major Regrets fell to Sean Byrne, Maryville by virtue of seniority while Damien Sheil whistled and correlated the magical movements.
John Wayne (Catherine Phelan) and his son Michael (Chloe Phelan) were told to step aside by the not so "Quiet Man" Willie Joe Meally as he portrayed sean Thornton.
Ever popular Willie Joe was en route to Inisfree to claim his family’s farm with no sign of Mary Kate Danagher.
Selling GAA books was big this year with Marty Morrissey signing his recent autobiography (and yes his hair was a dazzling black and teeth a pearly white as you would expect from a 60 year old).
Naturally, King Henry sold out his book while Jim McGuinness was talking about winning matches and signing books.
Continued on Page 18
Continued from Page 17
Foxy Tomás O’Sé arrived from the Kingdom with half priced bargains.
The Hilly Alliance from Byrnesgrove showed how Jackie Tyrell stepped up to inspire Kilkenny to victory. The Kilkenny Car Club led by Connie Mahoney, Ballyfoyle displayed why they only dealt in dream machines.
Regular participants, father and son, Colm and John Harrigan protested at not being allowed to cut turf courtesy of the traditional slan despite a wealth of experience built up over a 100 years period in the business.
The Special One Jose Mourinho (Will Tynan) was on the look out for a job with clubs such as Manchester United, Real Madrid, St Martins and Evergreen being mentioned.
Youth certainly had its fling as five year olds Leyla-Rose Healy and Enya Cox dressed as a pair of pretty China Dolls.
Alana-jean Malone was No Body’s Child and wooed the crowd with a song of the same name by Foster and Allen.
IFA's recently resigned boss, Pat Smith also got a grilling. A Poor Farmer, played by Martin Walsh, protested at the €2 million pension and €100,000 yearly income of the former General Secretary of the IFA compared to the poor farmer himself who earned less that 20,000 last year.
The Bossie Queen and Lazy Slave (Patrick and Kevina Cullen from Johnstown) were in the winners enclosure for the second year in a row while
Elvis, dead since 1977, made a surprise appearance through Derek Fitzpatrick who sang Blue Suede Shoes.
God save Ireland and God save us as well; was the battle cry form the Powley Vale Volunteers 1916 of Mayhora fame. They were preparing for the Rising with a fund raising Ceilí in Boran’s Barn with the proceeds going towards purchasing arms.
For the moment they were forced to train with cámans while marauding Macha put the platoon through their marching skills courtesy of a sharp sabre. The thespians in The March of the Penguins were kitted out to perfection with snow flake special effects from Tom Cody.
Where in the world would you see an African Safari funeral - Cecil the Lion played by Wayne Kavanagh received a huge "roar". The call for justice from (Sean “Proctor” Geoghegan) for the late Cecil fell on deaf ears with the wealthy dentist proclaiming he did no wrong because he paid for the hunt to shoot a trophy lion so it was farewell Cecil RIP.
Noah's Ark, courtesy of Leslie Byrne and Conahy Vintage Club was built, we were told, because of the Dinan flood. In Conahy, we were told, rain had been falling for 40 days and 40 nights so the message to everyone was come on board the flood is coming. Next stops it said were: Thomastown, Inistioge and Graignamanagh.
A fitting finale was the float and actors for the Kilmainham 1916 commemoration with Ollie Gleeson and the Flying Column in splendid uniform.
The float (a jail) was holding the 1916 rebels Connolly, Pearse, McDonagh and Clarke. The Crown Forces with Cllr. Malcolm Noonan playing a central role executed James Connolly with last rites administered by Rev. Pat Gannon. A huge amount of preparation went into this entry which was very much appreciated as part of our national history and they received a heros' reception from the crowd.
The near iimpossible task of choosing the winners fell to judges Edel Quirke, Ned Healy, Naoimi Cahill and Fr. Eamon O’Gorman P.P. Conahy. Once again Special Local Advisor Michael Walsh, Upper Firoda accompanied the judiciary.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.