Devil’s Bit Macra Set Dancers are All-Ireland Champions

Great success was enjoyed on Saturday night, 19th May, at the Helix Theatre in Dublin when members of the Devil’s Bit Club won First Place in the Set Dancing competition at the Macra na Feirme National Talent Competition.

The victory was all the greater given that this was the first time Devil’s Bit Club had entered the competition.

 

The road to All Ireland glory was a long one.  Having first qualified as Tipperary Champions back in March at Boherlahan Parish Hall they next went on to perform at the National Semi Finals in Bru Boru, Cashel on May 4th, where they successfully qualified for the next and final round.

 

In the two weeks leading up to the All-Ireland Final, all eight dancers busied themselves with regular practice sessions in Clonmore Hall.  The dancers were very fortunate in that Johnny Delaney very kindly came on board to train and prepare the club team for all three rounds.  Johnny, who is himself a lifelong Macra member, gladly took on the role of coach.

Johnny of course is no stranger to this role, given his huge experience in Scor competitions down through the years.  He quickly had the group trained to dance the Cavan Reel set.

 

Beginning at 6.30pm the night itself was so typical of Macra, offering as it does great entertainment on a grand scale.  A large group of supporters came from Clonmore to support the Club.  Devil’s Bit Club were dancing against Shannonside, Co Limerick and Freemount, Co Cork.  Freemount having won this competition round these past two years.

 

When all three teams were brought on stage at the close of the night, runners up were Freemount with the winning team announced as Devils Bit.  Each of the team were then presented with a fine piece of engraved crystal.

Master of Ceremonies on the night was Chairman of the National Talent Competition Richard Harriahill, who went on to explain that he was particularly pleased to see Devil’s Bit winning, “As a young boy” he said, “I grew up under it’s very shadow.”  It turned out Richard was from Castleiney and on this night he met with former classmate of Templemore CBS Seamus Bourke.

 

Devils Bit Macra Secretary Con McGrath is absolutely delighted with the success of the dancers saying “I had high hopes for them all along, but you can never be certain of anything, in the end it came down to hard work and a great performance on the night.”

There are so many people to thank but Con wants to especially thank the dancers themselves, “I saw them train so hard, it really impressed me especially when you consider that some of them had job commitments, while others were studying for exams.”

 

“I want to thank the other Club officers for their hard work and dedication.  I must also thank Davey Brereton of Clonakenny, who provided the music on our first two outings.”

 

“Not forgetting Set Dancers Ciara Ryan, who danced with the Club on two occasions but regretfully was unavailable to dance at the final, and likewise thanks, is extended to Eoin Bourke who danced with the group on their first successful qualification.”

 

“Special thanks to all Macra members and Clonmore people who came out on all three occasions to support the dancers.

Lastly a very special thanks to trainer Johnny Delaney it could not have been done without him.”

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