Shankill welcome Dublin super star
Maguire major attraction at camp
THE flowers were blooming. The hanging baskets would be at home at the Chelsea Flower Show.
St Anne's Church stood tall. Over the little humped back bridge and Shankill was busy and buzzing.
There was extra excitement in the air. The children were out of bed earlier than normal.
One of Ireland's greatest goalkeepers, Gary Maguire, was on his way. At the height of summer, it felt like Christmas day to the kids.
Gary presented certs and medals at the Shankill GAA Summer Camp. He signed a 'million' autographs. He stood there till the pen ran out of ink.
Eighty took part in the camp - boys and girls. They enjoyed every second.
"We got wonderful feedback," says Michael Killeen, who praises the efforts of the Camp leader and the club's Games Promotion Officer (GPO), Michael Ahern.
Shanganagh Park is the base. It is a vast terrain which all ages enjoy - walkers, runners and many different teams.
The breeze coming in off the sea fills the lungs with hope, and the Shankill club has become the pride of the parish.
Locals are thrilled to see the club's renaissance. And its juvenile structure suggest that there are sunny days ahead . . . and many of them.
"The club plays a major role in local activities and we are now regarded as a very significant part of the fabric of life in the village," states Michael.
And the news keeps on getting better. There are plans to start an adult football team next season.
People can email email@example.com or go onto the website (www.shankillgaa.ie). The club are also on Facebook and Twitter.
"Since our launch last year, we we have made progress on and off the field.
"The Academy is very successful on Saturday mornings. We are getting good numbers there. And we expect to be playing U8 hurling and football matches in the near future with a view to entering the league next year.
"We had an U11 boys teams in the Go Games. They have shown marvellous improvement.
"Our U11 girls team have played a serious of challenge matches and they did well at the Moorefield Blitz."
With the right structures, and the village cheering their every move, Shankill are here to stay.