St Nicholas make junior league bow
ON Sunday next in Dunleer history will be made by a Drogheda club, Naomh Nicholas when they make their debut in junior football, playing Lannleire in the Ranafast Cup.
It will be a momentous day for a club, born only seven years ago out of a desire to provide a sporting outlet for boys in the Ballsgrove, St. Finian’s Park, Rathraullen, Cherrymount, Highfield and Hillview estates in Drogheda.
Rapid progress, mixed with a good deal of success at boys and youth level has led to the natural progression to adult football, stepping in at the lowest level Junior II, with participation in the Ranafast Cup and later the Louth Junior championship.
“Hopefully we won’t stop there, said assistant secretary Fintan McCarthy, who with Christy “Kit” Cahill, club President, were the guiding lights behind the club’s formation. “We would like to think that we can graduate in the-junior ranks to intermediate, and then senior. This might sound ambitious, but with the numbers of boys and youths available to the club in the area, there is no reason why we can’t go all the way.”
In addition the club have been competing at a county level at under 14 and minor level, where they met with, great success winning county titles at under-14 level in 1979, ‘80 and ‘82. Naomh Nicholas players have also been selected on county teams and the club also represented the county in a national seven-a-side at Gormanston in 1981, performing with a great deal of distinction.
“We know from the response that we have received from our players,” said P.R.O. Jim McDonnell, “that they are keen to see the club do well. They give us tremendous support on the field and at training sessions and carry the red and white of the club with pride.”
The club’s chairman, Felix Hackett, who saw service himself with Naomh Mhuire and St. Dominic’s will double as team manager for the junior side and alread y he is getting them into trim for their big debut on Sunday.
A few players who have already tasted junior football and who live in the area have joined Naomh Nicholas on transfer, and the addition of the recruits to the ranks will bring Drogheda’s total of senior clubs to six, Newtown Blues in senior, Oliver Plunketts in intermediate ranks, and O’Rahillys, Wolfe Tones and Naomh Mhuire joining Naomh Nicholas in junior.
Presently the club have the use of a Corporation pitch at Rathmullen which they share with St. Oliver’s College and local primary schools and are hopeful of getting a permanent lease on the property from the Corporation with a proposed meeting with officials planned shortly to talk about the matter.
Clubrooms and dressingrooms have also been provided, an indication of the enthusiasm in the club, with all the money for the work being raised in the communmity. “We didn’t get a penny in grants,” said Fintan McCarthy, “raising all the money ourselves through various fund raising activities.
‘We get great support from parents, particularly the mothers, and we have a 200 club, as well as a church gate collection planned for February 20th throughout Drogheda which we hope will be well supported.
The desire to win and make Drogheda proud of the club isn’t the sole motivation for the committee. “We see our responsibility in providing a recreational and sporting outlet for the boys as even more important. In this day and age it is the only solution to the problem that young boys face with all the temptations that modern society provides,” said Mr. McCarthy.
But for the present at least all eyes will be on Sunday and the debut of Naomh Nicholas in Dunleer, when fingers crossed, they can get away to a good start.
Committee members are chairman, Felix Hackett; vice chairman, Matt Branningan; secretary, Gerry McKeown; assistant secretary, Fintan, McCarthy; treasurer, Jimmy Pentony and P.R.O. Jim McDonnell.
Fr Iggy O’Donovan with Hollywood actor Colm O’Donoghue.