Loreto ushered in a famous new era last Sunday (10th March) with the “Official Opening “of our fabulous new clubhouse facilities in Beaufort, the first permanent building to house the club since our inception in 1926. In so doing, Loreto has become the first women’s only hockey club in Ireland to have its own purpose built Clubhouse and this is a major milestone in our 87 year club history.
Despite the freezing temperatures, the club was absolutely delighted when over 400 plus supporters from our Junior section, Senior section, past players, Associates, family and friends turned out to celebrate and join in the planned festivities.
Apart from the Clubhouse Opening ceremony itself, these festivities also incorporated a family fun day out with Fun-Zone bouncing castles, inflatable slide etc, a Junior Section skills and coaching sessions, a fun hockey match for players of yesterday followed by a top class 1st XI exhibition match between our First Team and an elite Leinster Selection Team.
As all this was going on, everybody who attended was treated to top quality refreshments plus tea/coffee throughout the day provided via the Senior Sections “Great Team Bake Off” competition.
The day itself commenced at 12pm when we were treated to great fun and super skills in a friendly “Match of the Decades” which involved former players from the 70’s, 80’s 90’s and the 00’s getting together to once again play for the club. It was great to see players like Cara Brophy, CarolAnn Byrne, Inez, Hilly, Ais, Country, Addy etc out playing again and even more surprising to see that they had lost none of all their old skills. Many thanks also to Ben Epstein who played a blinder (literally) when he umpired this game!!!!
This exhibition match also marked the “Hockey Debut” of Sr Maria Hyland from Loreto Primary School Grange Road. Maria marked her first hockey appearance with a very well taken goal much to the delight of her school pupils who think she is a bit of “a ledge and a great sport.” Rumour has it Maria has totally rejected an offer to play for Three Rock Rovers and instead she plans to join Hilly’s Vets Team next season!!
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Sincere thanks to Wendy Byrne and Aideen McGuinness for running a very well planned and organised Junior Club Skills Session on the day. This session was attended by over 60 children on the small pitch and there were plenty of skills on display. Our Junior Section is really thriving at present with over 400 Junior Members ranging in ages from U6’s to U16’s. When you see the great strength and depth of the players in our Junior Section the future is very bright for the hockey club.
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We were absolutely thrilled when RTE’s very own Mary Kennedy (whose daughter attends Loreto, Beaufort) very kindly agreed to be MC for the “Official Opening” of our Clubhouse. So there was great excitement and lots of noise around 1pm when Mary introduced herself and got the opening ceremony up and running. .
Mary firstly introduced Sr. Noelle (Provincial Leader of the Loreto Order) who gave us a lovely clubhouse blessing. Next up was our very own President Sue who spoke of the clubs pride in our new clubhouse and she especially thanked the Loreto Order and Beaufort for all their support in this Clubhouse project. Sue also paid “thanks” to various other people who were key in delivering the Clubhouse Project.
Finally to lots of cheering, our Guest of Honour, Leinster, Irish and Lions International Rugby Player Luke Fitzgerald was introduced. The Club were really delighted when Luke agreed to perform the official opening. It was also very fitting as Luke’s family have very long and strong ties to the club.
Luke’s grandmother Paulina Luizzi played for the club in the 1940’s and his Grandaunt was the great Nat Luizzi who was one of Loreto’s first players to go on to play at Irish Senior International level. It was particularly lovely that Nat’s daughter Fiona Homan flew in from Holland to be with us on our big day. Nat’s son Peter was also in attendance. Luke’s cousins Yolanda, Addy and Gina Luizzi have all played in our Senior section for years and Luke is also related to Sophie Creegan a current player in our Junior section.
Sincere thanks to Luke who very kindly gave up his free time on a very busy rugby International weekend to officially open the new Clubhouse. Many thanks also for the way after the ceremony, he spent extra time signing endless autographs and getting his photo taken with fans. – Luke was a great hit will everybody young and old and we think the number of fans streaming into the clubhouse in search of meeting him has definitely created a record for the largest number of people to fit into the Clubhouse at any one time!!!!
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After the official opening our 1st XI took on a Lenister Senior Selection and they really showcases the game of hockey with a fantastic display of skills. This was a very competitive match with both teams giving their all, but eventually the Loreo Team ran out 3-1 winners. Many thanks to Nikki King and Guy Garret for kindly stepping in to do Manager and Coach for the Leinster Selection Team.
Operation Clubhouse Opening!!! – Big thanks to everybody.
The staging of this “Clubhouse Opening” was a massive logistically operation and it would not have been the success it was, without so many of our club members getting involved. The commitment, spirit and the teamwork displayed by was everybody was fantastic – Many thanks to everybody who got involved.
Early Sunday morning a team of members rolled into Beaufort to set up bunting and decorations, move picnic benches, set up three bouncy castles and a 30 foot inflatable slide. We hear there was a bit of an “overheard” that morning when Grainne Cregan innocently asked Brian Church (Dioreann’s dad) “are you the Bouncy Castle man” to which he replied “No I’m the Gazebo man”.
All morning long members and friends were pouring through the gates in Beaufort to drop off considerable amounts of food. The vast quantity and the quality of the sandwiched, home-made cakes etc was first class and the fact that we managed to fee over 400 people and still have some food leftover just shows how much effort members went to. It was particularly great to see literally every player in our Senior Section get involved in our “Great Bake Off” competition.
In the “Great Bake Off “Competition, the members listed below were all chosen as winners and received a prize from Club Captain Gemma. – Paula O’Donoghue later posted on facebook that, “winning the award was a lifetime fulfilment”!!!!!
So again congrats to all winners:
Niamh Lyons, Wendy Byrne, Paula O’Donoghue, Jill Barton, Ash Campion, Nikki Keegan
Niamh Small, Lauren ¬Moore, Steph O’Connor, Sinead McGirr, Susan Connolly, Sarah Maher.
Paula – Just so glad you are so fulfilled!!!!!!!
Some of the “Bake Off “winners who might just have had tried out the slide!!
Given the very cold weather conditions it was decided early that Sunday morning to move to “Plan B” and to use the comforts of the warmer Beaufort Sports Hall for all the inflatable fun-zone activities and the serving of refreshments. The club are very grateful to Margaret O’Donoghue (Beaufort Principal) for allowing us the use of the hall for the day.
The Fun-zone area proved a great success and it certainly entertained the children for hours on end. Many thanks to Glenn McClusky, Tara Fetherstone, Sarah Rose, Eimear O’Reilly, Sussie Hannon, Saidhbh O’Kelly, Cliona McNamara, Sophie Sabherwell, Fiona Smith, Sylvia Ballagh, Lou O’Gorman & Gill Hollingsworth and many more who all managed to ensure the children had a great time and thankfully that there were no injuries. – Job well done Girls take a bow.
We hear the children were not the only one keen to use the Bouncy Castles and slides that day, we are relatable informed that certain members of our First XI used them as a form of a “cooling down exercise” after all their exertions on the hockey pitch!! Nice one girls!!!
Refreshments were served all day in both the new clubhouse and the Beaufort Sports Hall and we estimate that at least 600/700 cups of tea /coffee were also made throughout the day. Again the Club are indebted to the super-efficient refreshment team of Roisin Ryan, Zoe Ennis, Carly Baker, Paula O’Donoghue, Dello Maxwell, Stooney, Eimear Grealy, Sarah Toland, Susan Connolly, Paula Cunniffe, Adrianna Luizzi, Doireann Church, Yolanda Luizzi, Grainne Creagan, Gemma O’Flynn, Alo Smith, Ben, Stu, Eimear Keane, Wendy Byrne, Emmet, Nagle, Eimear O’Halloran and Hilly.
Music and entertainment on the day was provided by Loreto very own “DJ SMARR” aka Sarah Maher, who was one of the first to arrive in the morning and one of the last to leave late in the day. Thanks Smarr your one in a million. – Advert alert Avert Alert – DJ Smarr is available for hire for all Communions, Confirmations, Weddings & 21st parties!!!
A very special mention and a bravery award must go to Beaufort’s Peter Murphy, Loreto’s Ciara, Sue & Peter Vincent, Dee Mooney, Jill Barton and Helen Cusack who were outside in the bitter freezing cold all day directing traffic, co-ordinating parking and looking after security.
After almost three hours in the bitter cold, Dee came into the Clubhouse for some warmth only to be very quickly dispatched off to get another ten litres of milk. Indeed rumour has it Dee Mooney did not actually defrost until she passed the warmth of “De North Side” on her way home”.
Many thanks also to Sr. Maria in the Loreto Primary School and Tom Mullins & Edward O’Riordan in St Mary’s Boy’s National School for allowing us use of their car-parking facilities on the day.
Special thanks also to Alo Smith who was the club’s official “Opening Day Co-Ordinator” who was responsible for ensuring all went well.
As things started to come to an end, our no nonsense “Clean up Team” moved into action!!! So again many thanks to the great clean up team of Campo, Jess, Hayley, McGirr, Nuala Naughton. Paris, Hannah, Bronnie, Prez Subo, Grainne Cregan, Dee Naughton, Gemma, Cara and many others. Sincere thanks also to Tommy Grealy who was official photographer on the day. All photos taken by Tommy will be put up on the Club Facebook and Club Website over the next day or two.
One of the most talked about things on the day was the ABSOLUTLY AMAZING Official Opening cake that was baked by Agatha Cakefield Avenue (friend of Paula O’Donoghue) See the photo below – The attention to detail and the creativity of this cake was honestly brilliant and the cake was simply delicious!!!
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Speaking about the clubhouse opening event, President Sue pictured below, said it was a product of the calibre of people in the club that helped bring the clubhouse’s development to fruition. “It’s hugely significant for the club because we actually now have an established, solid building in place. Having come from corrugated iron structures to portacabins, it’s huge.”
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Sue went on to say “It shows the strength we have in the club; it’s not just about hockey but the people that are in the club. You’re only as good as the people in the club. “It shows the superb type of people we have around our Loreto club”.
The very tight timeframe from the initial idea to build a clubhouse, to the design/planning stage and finally to completion of project was only a year and a half, which is an incredible achievement. Central to this project were the great Clubhouse Committee of Bronnie O’Donnell, Inez Cooper, Nuala Naughton and Carol Fanagan.
The clubhouse has really brought the club’s comforts into the 21st Century as they include top of the range changing rooms, lovely toilet and shower facilities, a modern kitchen set up, loads of storage and finally a superb viewing gallery over the main pitch.- who could ask for anything more!!!
Sue added that she was delighted with the very large number of supporters that came to the opening given the freezing cold conditions. The day turned out to be a great Loreto Hockey Club event and it was so special that so many of our Honorary Life Members, past Presidents and past players came along. President Sue also went on to say “we are very appreciative to everybody who travelled from abroad to be here with us on our club’s very special day and Sue also expressed her gratitude to the Irish Hockey Association and Leinster Hockey Association Presidents Daphne Hall and Barbara O’Malley for their attendance.”
The Unofficial Closing Ceremony took place in the Glenside!!!
After a massive “tidy up” of both the school’s Sports Hall and our new Clubhouse, what else could the Loreto gals do, but take a well-earned trip down to the Glenside Pub in Churchtown for “a few simple and quiet beers on a Sunday night”!!!
The rumour is that despite work for all the next day, the celebration in the Glenside went from strength to strength and they went on for quite a while, – you know yourself the way time fly’s s when you’re having fun!!!
Given the old saying of what goes on tour stays on tour, unfortunately we can’t say too much about the evening except that the “Craic was Mighty” and the fun was brill. As the photo below shows, even Elvis himself was keen to turn up in the Glenside to celebrate the famous opening of Loreto’s new clubhouse.