The Western Shamrock’s annual awards and dinner dance took place at the stunning Crown Casino in Perth city last Saturday evening.
Ciaran Gallagher told me as we left the Merrywell Bar and made the short walk across to the ballroom, that when he joined the club many moons ago, the awards night consisted of a bit of a BBQ and a few cans down the park.
Fast forward a few years, and we were embarking on our most ambitious event to date, building on the success year on year, since our inaugural dance back in 2012.
And boy, we weren’t left disappointed…
In a star studded evening, no fewer than 105 sexual Sham’s, sauntered into the amazing grand ballroom at the glamorous Burswood location.
Met upon arrival in the lobby with a champagne reception, players, management and supporters alike, weren’t long about getting into celebratory mood on what has been an outstanding year for the club, both on and off the field.
The dress code was off the scale, with all the major designers represented, as you would expect, for the World’s best looking Gaelic Football Club ™
Armani, Coco Chanel, Dolce & Gabanna to name but a few. River Island, Asos, Salvo’s, Good Sammy, K-Mart and Target (to more accurately) name even more.
Mark ‘Gaff’ Griffin polished up well, having payed through the shnozz for a lovely get-up from high street joint Politix.
Although rumours were rife that he sought the help of a third party to dress him, to be fair.
Breaffy man, Brendan Tierney was rockin’ the braces would you believe and It appeared that Monaghan man Paddy Sweeney, borrowed one of the bellboys jackets from out at the concierge on the way in.
One of ten Ratoath attendees who were present on the night, Jonny Brady, finally found a tie to fit around his fat neck whilst club masseuse, Emma Egan’s beautiful flowing white online purchase, thankfully arrived on time.
Albeit, after she had wore the lugs off a few of the staff in the Australia Post call centre during the week.
As many a jaw was being picked up from the floor, as the WAG’s and Ladies team flowed through the doors of the beautifully decked out ballroom, Chairman Ciaran Gallagher wasted no time in inviting Mark Campbell up to announce the eagerly awaited players awards.
First up was Tarbert’s Maria Enright, who got a much deserved “Most commited” award. New Zealand native Rhea Jones, picked up the “Players player of the year”, after her rapid development continued on the field this year whilst Leitrim star Deirdre McDermott, picked up yet another personal award, this time the “Manager’s player of the year”.
For the men, it was an all Leinster affair.
Ger McCullagh (Meath) picked up the “Most commited player”, full back supremo Jason Brosnan (Kildare) scooped the “Players player” and Clane wing back Philly Doyle, deservedly collected “Managers player of the year” for his outstanding season.
Popular Donegal man Diarmuid Gallagher, was presented with the final award of the night, the “Club person of the year” gong.
From his role as Club Treasurer to commitee member, App creator and not to mention not too shabby a player either, Diarmuid does an invaluable amount of work for the club. A very popular choice for the Robert Emmet’s man, who travels home for every Donegal game, just because he can.
Congratulations to all the award winners on the night.
Event co-ordinator Laura Shaughnessy, showed off her impressive I.T skills on the ‘puter as men’s manager ‘Bishop’, who was unable to attend the night due to a wedding back home, appeared up on the big screen via satellite link with an excellent pre-recorded speech.
The room erupted in laughter, as the Creeslough tactician cracked open a bottle of beer to propose a toast to the players who had given so much to him this year.
Following the heartwarming message from ‘Bishop’, it was the turn of Shelley Matcham and Mark Campbell from the ladies and Ciaran Duffy from the Men’s side to be thanked for their wonderful hard work and commitment throughout the year. They were presented with some tokens of appreciation, by the respective team Captains.
Next up, ‘Shocks’, who had worked tirelessly preparing for the night, had every table puzzled, with her very clever Shammie’s “spot the baby” picture competition.
There was some belters in there.
Mark Finnegan cruisin round the parish in his cool car/sunglasses combination. Sarah Daly in her savage pink tracky oh and could someone give the Byrne’s in Crettyard Des Kelly’s number?
Because their in dyer need of a bit of new carpet.
Then the main event of the evening. The acclaimed, the talked about, 2nd Annual SKIT awards took centre stage. Presented by microphone hater yours truly and MVP on the night Ms. Shaughnessy, the impressive duo were being likened to everyone from the new Ant & Dec, to Anne Doyle & Marty Morrisey (not as big a fan of that one) such was there level of comfort and ease behind the mic.
A good laugh was had as the eleven light hearted certificates were handed out to the various winners. Roomies Stevie Nevin and Ann-Marie Gallagher for “hot couple” of the year.
Childhood chums Philly Doyle and Richie Nevin, let bygones be bygones and put their training ground bust up aside, to head to the stage to collect their ‘bromance’ awards in what was a very civilized manner. A truly touching moment for the Clane Parish.
Lynn Carrucan got nominated for “casualty of the year”, needless to say however, the poet-and-she didnt-know-it, wasn’t able to make it up to collect it.
She did however, offer a poem to make up for her absence. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as Anne Doyle…sorry, Laura Shaughnessy, read out the hilarious lines that the Buire from the Banner had herself composed.
Check out the Sham’s Facebook page to read it again if you missed it, or more likely, don’t remember it.
To conclude formalities, the guests were treated to a twenty-minute slide show of all the highlights of the 2014 year for the club. Here’s a couple of things we learned from it:
1) Brian Dempsey takes a funny selfie
2) Darren ‘Chips’ Drummond never misses a genuine snapchat opportunity and…
3) Brian Dempsey takes a funny selfie!
If you haven’t gathered it thus far, this was one action packed night.
With all the shneering out of the way, it was left up to DJ Noel McLoughlin on the wheels of steel, to pump out the tunes to a now very giddy Sham’s crowd. As the ‘maniac’ blared out of the speakers the room was a rockin’ and the Sham’s were jumping higher than ever seen down at the Tom Bateman this year, proving there’s still plenty left in the legs for next year.
The numbers, not surprisingly, gradually dispersed as the night crept into the early hours of Sunday morning, apart from one group of Sham’s Ultra’s led by Adrian Byrne. Refusing to concede that their night was over, they kept her lit. They lost track of time as the tireless Byrne, played his infamous “guess the capital” game, below in the Carbon bar. Only the call of the “Golden Arches” down in McDonalds disrupted names like Rejkavic, Bucharest and Helsinki from being spat out and thus brought to an end the Shamrock’s dinner dance for another year.
To the Chairman, Committee, Crown Staff and all who made it such a memorable night, well done!
Cannot wait for next year…