On the 11th May a large group of Claregalway Scouts assembled at Claregalway National School at 7am. We were all prepared for the bus journey to Croagh Patrick to complete a task which we had set ourselves over a year ago. As usual, everyone full of enthusiasm for the trial ahead! We arrived at the foot of the reek at 9am everyone well decked out in their rain gear and walking shoes for the climb ahead. It was very overcast when we arrived and none of us were able to see the summit. Having inquired from the Met Station, I was satisfied that the haze would clear. All the Scouts except for one or two had never climbed the reek before and it had been some ten years since I had climbed it and at that time I found it hard so I was not relishing the thought of the climb ahead. The climb started, and in true Scout fashion the starting pace was fast. Joe O’Connell, one of our leaders, managed to keep ahead of the posse and he made sure that all were safe as we climbed.
Collette Conneely, another leader, stayed in the middle and encouraged some of the faint hearted of which there were few. Of course, I took up the rear to make sure we had no stranglers (truth is I found the going tough!). As we neared the top, the sun started to shine (whoever said the Met Office gets it wrong) and the clouds lifted and the view was breathtaking. Those in the group who were studying for their Junior Cert said that the view they had of Clew Bay put into reality all they had learned in their text books about the Irish coastline. As we climbed, the pilgrimage proper was also observed and the prayers were said around St. Patrick’s bed, etc. On reaching the top, the expression on everyone’s face spelt pure joy and a great sense of achievement, bar my own of which I was told was of “pure exhaustion”! The descent was much easier and we adjourned to Supermacs in Ballinrobe to recoup.
Well done to all the Scouts.
Kevin F. Duffy, S.L.
The Dannan Shield
That time of year had come when the Dannan Shield competition was being held again. This year Corofin were the host troop and the pressure was on Claregalway Scout Troop to do well after their unprecendented 1st, 2nd and 3rd at last year’s event. This year again we entered three teams. We were somewhat depleted as a number of our Scouts were studying for their Junior Cert so they had to cry off. Nevertheless, we managed to field three teams. It was a first time outing for some of our Junior Scouts who only joined us in September, but they had good Leaders on each team. This would be a learning exercise for most of them. The weather for the weekend was very hot (in fact the hottest week we had in years). Still, they were all well prepared and were full of enthusiasm for what lay ahead. The competition lasted over the whole weekend from Friday the 30th May to Sunday the 1st June. It was well known that this year the opposition was going to be very strong and we were told that this time around the Shield was going elsewhere, as everyone likes to dethrone the holders no matter what sport you take part in.
For the whole weekend the competition was keen but that did not prevent our doing what is most important to do and that was enjoy themselves. Between cooking, doing first aid, compass and pioneering, they were kept busy. Each troop had also to put on a skit or play – one part of the competition at which our troop are famous at, having won that part of the competition at the Smyth Cup last year which is the All-Ireland for Scouts.
Sunday morning arrived and the moment of truth had arrived . Each troop gathered around and the group Leader from Corofin announced that only 1st and 2nd could represent the Danann District in the Smyth Cup (The All-Ireland). He started from the top:
1st place Hawk Patrol Claregalway—Bridget Moran, Jacqueline Moran, Cyril Duggan, Martin Duggan, David Crowe, Deirdre Noone, Jarlath Conneely.
2nd place Cobra Control Claregalway—James Moran, Brede Noone, Caroline Garrett, Lorraine Noone, Arthur Moran, Darragh Lambert McMichael, Michael O’Connell.
The place erupted into a mad frenzy of singing and cheering, as Claregalway were once again triumphant—this was a win to be savoured. Yes, Claregalway were once again going forward to the All-Irelands. What a wonderful achievement. All I can say is that we are all proud of the great troop of Scouts we have and I know they will once again do us proud in the All-Irelands.
Kevin F. Duffy, S.L.