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Congrats to the 2017 National Youth Award Winners

National Youth Awards: Report

A report from the 28th annual No Name Club National Youth Awards .

In the early hours of Sunday morning April 17th, over 900 hosts and hostesses and 300 of their adult leaders made the long and short journeys back to their communities from the Lyrath Hotel in Kilkenny. They were tired but very happy. The consensus and feedback from the 33rd No Name Club National Youth Awards is this was a fantastic night for all who attended. Over 1,200 people gathered to see 12 fantastic finalists do their clubs, communities and regions proud and they then partied the night away for a six hour disco extravaganza that had the dancefloor busy throughout the night.

The excitement and anticipation began long before the event formally began at 5pm. Clubs began departing for the youth awards in the early hours of Saturday morning and there was a great buzz and feeling of excitement as the busloads made their way to Kilkenny. The first stop was O’Loughlin Gaels GAA Club, where hosts, hostesses and adult leaders primed themselves to have their club pictures taken.

The excitement decibels moved up a notch when the buses pulled into the Lyrath Hotel and clubs took their seats for the event. Cheers went up as pictures of the 12 finalists up for Host and Hostess of the Year began appearing on the large screens to the side of the stage. The National Anthem got the formalities underway and it was then the turn of Joe Shine of Dungarvan No Name Club and Holly McAndrew of Erris No Name Club, Host and Hostess of the Year 2010/2011, to thank the adult leaders for their support of teenage members throughout the year and to formally welcome each of the clubs to the awards.

Carole Goulding, No Name Club Chairperson, then welcomed one and all to the event and thanked the special guests for attending. Proceedings were then handed over to RTE’s South East Correspondent Damien Tiernan, who was event MC for the night. He told the crowd of 1,300 he wished he’d had a No Name Club in his community when he was growing up and said it is a “great thing” to keep the pledge up to 18 years of age, something he did. It was now time to welcome the 12 finalists. They were welcomed in pairs: Bronagh Murphy (Baltinglass No Name Club) and Malachy Gaughan (Erris NNC); Gemma Davis (Finglas NNC) and Darragh Coleman (Dungarvan NNC); Shauna Naughton (Mountbellew NNC) and Lee Frayne (Finglas NNC); Catherine O’Connor (Ballinrobe NNC) and Niall Perrill (Gort NNC); Jemma Murhill (Killarney NNC) and Marty Waters (Ring of Hook NNC); Andrea Keeney (Donegal NNC) and Ross McCarrick (Tubbercurry NNC). The Rocky and Mission Impossible themes and the Black Eyed Peas provided the music to welcome the finalists to a rousing reception.

The ‘business’ end of proceedings began with Bronagh Murphy of Baltinglass No Name Club, who was the first finalist to speak with Damien. Bronagh spoke of her “real sense of pride being here” and added: “No matter what the result is tonight, I’m really proud”. Bronagh told Damien she plays camogie, loves music and plays piano and guitar. When her guitar teacher was no longer around, she told the audience she turned to the internet to learn how to play it. Bronagh described Baltinglass as a “great club” and said she loves going to No Name Club every week. She hopes to become a Doctor and told Damien she hopes to travel to Africa after her studies. For her party piece, Bronagh recited a poem which contained a key line within it, “If you think you can, you can”.

Malachy Gaughan of Erris No Name Club was next to speak with Damien and told him he likes to do a bit of singing and song writing, with acoustic music being a favourite. He cited Kurt Cobain as a musical influence, saying he can write meanings behind his lyrics. Fergal Darcy of I102 104 Fm is Malachy’s favourite DJ and his party piece saw him play guitar and sing a song he wrote about the issue of road safety.

It was then the turn of Gemma Davis of Finglas No Name Club. Gemma told Damien she likes watching music stations on TV and spoke about her interest in African drumming, which she described as “different”. Gemma got into the drumming through school. Damien asked her about the issue of road safety and Gemma said this is an issue for everybody. She then took to the drums to perform African drumming for an appreciative audience.

Damien began his on-stage interview with Darragh Coleman of Dungarvan No Name Club by asking him how he felt crossing the River Suir into Kilkenny ahead of the final. Darragh said the nerves started kicking in and the enormity of the final came upon him. He spoke of his interest in cycling, describing it as great for fitness and getting the whole body working. Scout of the Year two years ago, the Waterford teenager said he loves getting the opportunity to see different places in Ireland and England through his involvement with the scouts. Use Somebody by the Kings of Leon was played on guitar and sung by Darragh for his party piece, and he had the young crowd singing along with him.

Mountbellew’s Shauna Naughton then took centre stage. She began by telling Damien she absolutely loves playing Gaelic Football with her club Four Roads of Roscommon. She has played county football for Roscommon and plays full forward. Representing Mountbellew No Name Club of Galway, Damien asked who she would be cheering on if Roscommon and Galway were to meet in a Connaught Final. “Roscommon of course” was the unequivocal response from the proud hostess. A poem called Where I Belong was then recited by Shauna.

Lee Frayne of Finglas No Name Club was initially asked about his interest in drumming. Lee said he started playing about five years ago and plays with a band that had played with Aslan only two weeks previously. The Finglas host said it is a dream of his for his band to capture people the way Aslan do.  He went onto speak about his interest in cars, saying the BMW 3-Series is his favourite. For his party piece, Lee performed a drum solo and then donned a Gorilla mask to perform In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins, a song that’s been made popular once again by a Cadbury’s ad that features a gorilla playing drums.

Why has Mayo has gone more than 50 years without an All-Ireland Senior Football title? This was a question posed of Catherine O’Connor of Ballinrobe No Name Club by Damien. She said she can’t really explain why it has been so long but said she hopes the team can push on and claim All-Ireland glory. Catherine has won an All-Ireland medal playing Gaelic Football in a five-a-side tournament and when Damien asked of tough opponents she encounters on the GAA pitch, she told the audience she can put up a good fight. Catherine went off stage to change into smart black attire and a hat for her party piece. She returned to the theme music of Pink Panther and performed a modern dance routine that finished off with herself and the audience on their feet doing the birdy dance.

Gort No Name Club’s Niall Perrill spoke about the work the club has done with the ICA, who teach club members how to cook. Club members like to cook a bit but it’s the tasting of the food they really enjoy, he remarked. Asked what it is he likes about the No Name Club, Niall said it is great to meet so many new people and there is great fun at the meetings. For his party piece, Niall donned a suit jacket and took on the persona of a newsreader. He then proceeded to deliver a series of funny news items that delivered quips regarding Rihanna, Captain Hook and Jedward. He finished with the news that a typhoon has ripped through a cemetery, leaving hundreds dead.

Jemma Murhill of Killarney No Name Club began her on stage interview by describing her club like a family. She is a liaison officer with the club, and if hosts or hostesses or adult members have a problem, they can speak to her and she liaises between young and old. With Killarney having taken part in a project that removed graffiti from walls, Damien asked is there a space for graffiti as an art form. Jemma said it can be used to send a message across to people. She then recited a poem she had co-written following on from a road tragedy in August last year that claimed four teenagers lives in Killarney. Jemma and club members knew those involved well.

Marty Waters of Ring of Hook No Name Club told Damien everyone gets on really well in the club. Recently a fisherman went missing in Marty’s community and he told Damien the community pulled together to search for the man and displayed great community spirit in doing so. An Irish dancing All-Ireland champion, Damien asked Marty of Michael Flatley, and the Wexford host described him as “inspirational”, saying, “he brought Irish dancing back with a bang”. Marty’s performed an Irish dancing routine and used a brush and a cap as props in entertaining the crowd.

Andrea Keeney of Donegal No Name Club spoke of her love of art and drawing natural objects. Andrea hopes to go on to become a psychologist and Damien asked would she not pursue her love of art as a career. Andrea said it is something she likes to do in her free time and believes pursuing it as a career could lead to her becoming stressed about it. She said “looking into people’s minds and to see what they’re thinking” is a career that fascinates her. For her party piece, Andrea performed a piano solo piece that was of a very high standard.

And then it was the turn of Ross McCarrick of Tubbercurry No Name Club to take to the stage; the last of the finalists to speak with Damien. The RTE journalist asked him of his interest in the martial art of Tang Soo Do, which Ross explained originates from South Korea. If ever called upon, Ross demonstrated to Damien how he’d defend himself if an attacker were to come towards him “on the mean streets of Tubbercurry”. He said he has a love of sports, joking you need to “do whatever you can to get out of work”. A history and film buff, Ross said his favourite movies are the Back to the Future Trilogy. A piano solo was then performed to a captivated audience.

The on-stage interviews were over. Damien told the audience “we’ve seen 12 fabulous finalists here tonight” and all were given massive ovation from the 1,200+ crowd.

Speaking after the meal, District Court Judge Michael Patwell told the audience he stood in awe of the young people before him, telling the hosts and hostesses “you are the leaders of our country in the years ahead”. He said the people who run the clubs and society “owe a huge debt to you” and described the event as a “wonderful occasion”.

It was then time for the presentation of the prizes for the No Name Club/Road Safety Authority competitions. Speaking ahead of the presentation, Noel Brett, Chief Executive Officer of the Road Safety Authority told the hosts and hostesses he has no doubt the high visibility vests the members have distributed have saved lives. He pleaded with the young people to join with the authority once again in embracing the road safety competitions both organisations will be teaming up to offer in the near future. It was then time for the presentation of the prizes, and the winners were as follows:

Design an item of High Vis Clothing: Aaron Pender, Mountbellew No Name Club

Design a greeting card with a road safety theme: Cliodhna Murphy, Tubbercurry No Name Club (Christmas)

Aishling Cawley, Islandeady No Name Club (Valentines)

Thomas McKenna, Ballinrobe No Name Club (Leaving Cert)

Design a Road Safety Poster: Karen Delahunty, Dungarvan No Name Club and Stephen Fleming, Killarney No Name Club (Joint Winners).

The time for the naming of the Host and Hostess of the Year was almost upon us. John Donovan of the No Name Club events committee welcomed Liz Howard, Chair of the judging panel to the stage. Liz said the panel had a very difficult job, with the finalists having so many different talents. She said the finalists “reflect the beauty and uniqueness of young people”.  After paying tribute to the vision of the No Name Club founding members, Eamonn Doyle, Fr Tom Murphy and Eddie Keher, Liz told the young people: “Each one of you is unique; you all have your own talents – treasure them, use them”.

It was back to Damien, who asked Lee to provide a drum-roll ahead of Hostess of the Year being named. Damien paused, before Jemma Murhill of Killarney No Name Club was named Hostess of the Year. Holly and Joe made the presentations to Jemma, who was congratulated by all her fellow finalists.

Some calm was restored and this time it was Catherine who provided the drum roll. Once again there was an agonising pause, before Marty Waters of Ring of Hook No Name Club was announced as the Host of the Year. Once again Holly and Joe made the presentations and Marty received congratulations from his fellow finalists.

The stage was cleared for the event DJs to provide the musical entertainment and dancefloor was immediately occupied by No Name Club hosts and hostesses from over 40 clubs in communities across Ireland. Teenagers celebrated their involvement with a youth organisation that allows them enjoy themselves without the need for alcohol or other drugs. Energy levels were high, as the floor was occupied by hundreds of teenagers who partied the night away at the six hour disco extravaganza that brought great enjoyment to all in attendance.  As the disco finished up, the hosts and hostesses were reluctant to leave the floor, the culmination of a night of fantastic entertainment.

View the fun and entertainment that took place on the night via the galleries below.

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