Ireland glory on the double for the Kingdom as the curtain came down on Scór na nÓg activites; the remaining competition of the Scór season; as GAA Counties from across the Country descended upon the fantastic I. N. E. C., Killarney venue on Saturday last May 6th where the 2023 All Ireland Finals of Scór na nÓg took place and where over 19 Counties battled it out in the various catagories hoping to bring All-Ireland glory to their respective Clubs and County.
Now in its 50th year;(Introduced in 1973) for GAA members to gather and celebrate all that is good in our, music, song, dance, novelty and storytelling traditions; it was wonderful to see so many happy faces in the 1300 attendance on the day that once again enjoyed the many marvellous talented performers on stage during what was a great days entertainment; titles were retained, new champions were crowned and overwhelmingly great enjoyment was had by all.
There was great jubilation and celebrating as Kerry captured Ballad Group and Set Dancing All-Ireland Titles.
The day began with a stirring rendition of Amhrán na bhFiann sang by Limerick man Micheal O Riain who all of 5o years ago secured the first All-Ireland in Scór na nÓg in Amhránaíocht Aonair. Both Caitriona Nic an tSaoir from the Chreagan in Antrim and our own Mairtin O Cathasaigh, from Lispole were excellent in their Fear agus Bean A Tí duties and kept everything running smoothly.
Figure Dancing got the ball rolling and from there to the final discipline of the evening in Set Dancing we were treated to a fantastic five hours of entertainment. Kerry were involved in three of the on-stage discplines and first up in the 4th category of the first half were Glenflesk in Ballad Group. Defeated in the finals of 2020 and 2022 but, after the disappointment of been so near, the adjudicators on this occasion gave them the nod to enter the winners enclosure. Not alone was this the club’s first Scór na nÓg title but it so happens to be Kerry’s first at this level also. They sang Land of the Gael and Sailing off to the Yankee Land; getting a great response from the audience; an audience which clapped along with the latter song. So the history makers were; Aoise O Donoghue, Muireann Healy, Abby Cronin, Cliona Moynihan, Sarah O Donoghue.
Crotta O Neills represented Kerry in Instrumental Music. A first for the club reaching the All-Ireland final having been knocking on the door for a number of years at District Board level. The musicians; Conor Brennan, Thomas Breen, Sarah Murphy, Ellen Trant and Grace Hannon Linnane, received fantastic rapture from the audience with some stirring music with the “Banks of Newfoundland” and “Andy McCans” but unfortunately with stiff competition, not the judges’ choice this time round. The musical arrangements they brought to the stage and the array of instruments the young people play with ease, was certainly to be admired. Armagh lifted the title.
What can one say about the Set Dancers from the Spa Club who were going for their 5th National title in Scór na nÓg; they would be known by the dancing experts as one of the best and once again they didn’t disappoint; dancing 2 parts of the Lackyle Set in the final discipline of the evening and making it two-in-a-row they were simply unbeatable and were head and shoulders over their opponents on stage. The members of the victorious Set Dancers were; Roisin O Sullivan, Isabele Waters, Grace O Connor, Aine O Sullivan, Cira O Donoghue, Dara Brosnan, Diarmuid O Donovan, Colm O Connor, Oisin O Sullivan.
Our fourth club taking part were Tralee Parnells in the Tráth Na gCeist; the team of Donnacha Buttimer, Brian Reidy, Karl Cronin, Aoife Trant were excellent and were in strong contention during part one of the Quiz but unfortunately with only three going forward, Tralee Parnells finishing in 4th they failed to qualify for the latter on stage part of the discipline.
Unfortunately, there was disappointment for both Crotta O Neills and Tralee Parnells; but they can hold their heads up high; it was their first venture into this stage of the competition and certainly can look forward to brighter days ahead. District Board, County and Munster honours and a place in a National Final, they can feel very proud of their achievements!
Labhras Mac Carthaigh, Uachtaran Chumann Luithcleas Gael was on hand to present all the winners with their medals amid delightful scenes.
Rince Foirne; Tipperary
Amhránaíocht Aonair; Roscommon
Bailéad Ghrúpa: Glenflesk, Kerry
Ceol Uirlise; Armagh
Rince Seit; Spa, Kerry
Tráth na gCeist; Longford