St. Joseph’s GAC held their annual Dinner Dance and Awards evening at the Ballymac Hotel on Friday past. As always this is a celebration of the progress made by the Club in the past year and duly recognises those who have made special contribution both on and off the field of play.
On the field, 2019 will be seen as ultimately a disappointment for our senior men, senior reserve and senior ladies who had mixed results throughout. However, with any set back comes an opportunity to assess and plot a way forward in 2020. Within the ranks of players there are always those who are fully committed to the Club and their team and when times are tough they come to the fore. As such the player of the year awards not only recognise talent but also endeavour, attitude and strength of character.
Our recipients for 2019 were:
Alex Marsden Senior Player of the Year: Ciaran Loney
Senior Reserve Player of the Year: Stephen Eastwood
Senior Ladies Player of the Year: Mary McStravick
Well done to all, three very deserving winners.
The Francie Doone Club Person of the Year Award is presented to someone who quietly works in the background of the Club and is prepared to go the extra mile when required. As was pointed out by our Chairperson, Carmel McCormack, running a Club is now akin to running a small business. The recipient this year is Catherine Nelson, our Treasurer. Given our recent off field development there has been a lot more work involved in the role but as is reflective of her character, Catherine gets on with the job knowing that it is making a difference to our Club and to our community. We were privileged to have this award presented as always by Geraldine Doone, Francie’s wife, and would like to thank her for the ongoing support she shows for the Club.
Special guests on the evening included P.P. of Glenavy and Killead, Fr. Colm McBride, Martin and Paticia McClinton of Hunky Dorys and South West Chairperson, Jim McGrath. Thanks to all for attending and to Jim for his kind words in regaling stories of his own relationship with our Club. Thanks also to Bert Trowlen for his continued excellent support of the Club.
A word on our off field facility development. The last 5 years have seen significant change at Chapel Hill. In 2015 our top pitch was rejuvenated with better drainage. A 3 metre wide walking track and new dugouts were put in place as well as the electronic scoreboard. Lights were then added to the walking track to allow the local community to have somewhere safe to walk in the winter evenings. The bigger task has been the refurbishment of our training field. The site as levelled, drained, floodlights put in place and catch nets erected. Our arch was repainted and a pedestrian gate added and in the next few months security fencing will be put in place. Thanks to Hanna and Hutchison Consultants and to McAvoy Construction for their work throughout the whole project. We still have more to come but now is a time to take stock of what has been achieved in a relatively short period of time.
We would like to thank all of our sponsors. Without your support running our Club would be an extremely difficult task. Your commitment is greatly appreciated and is making a real difference to all of our teams. We would encourage our members and the wider community to click on this link and check out what our sponsors could do for you and your family.
Finally, a huge thank you to all of our volunteers, coaches, referees, committee members, players and supporters. Let’s keep moving forward together both on and off the pitch in 2020.