Monday 11 December 2017

TOO YOUNG

Prendergast is top Gael!GOOD news for Geraldine Prendergast over the Alexander Graham Bell. Dublin Chairperson Marie O'Brien was on the line. Geraldine had been selected as Dublin Camogie's Volunteer of the Year.

Geraldine says that her Trinity Gaels co-pilot, Kathleen Maxwell, had done all the work.

"Kathleen nominated me. She must have worded the entry very well," smiles Geraldine.

"The award will further lift the profile of the club. That's the important thing. You don't win these accolades on your own. It's all down to the people who have put in the work over the years, and those that are doing it now."

Geraldine has been at the coalface for quite some time. "I moved to Donaghmede in 1981. The then chairman, Brendan Smart, heard about the new arrival and he gave me a call. I have been involved ever since."

She has filled every position at cabinet, and outside of it. It included an innings on the Dublin Minor Camogie Board when Maura Brady was Chairperson. "Maura was a real lady. Those were the days that you'd meet nearly every week."

Meetings still consume Geraldine's diary. She is now in her second year as the overall club Chairperson. Service is in the blood. Husband, Tom, a Kerryman, was the Trinity secretary for many years. Their two daughters, Louise and Ann-Marie, play.

Geraldine is from Clare. "My father was involved in hurling all his life, but I was too young when we lived in Clare. I only began playing when the family moved to Marino.

"I went to secondary school at Kings Inn Street. We won a few competitions there. Catherine Docherty, who went on to play for Dublin, was a team-mate.

"Kay and Connie Lyons lived around the corner, so I joined Eoghan Ruadh. I have lovely memories of my time there. Phyllis Breslin was in goal.

"I was full-back. Pat Rafferty was also there. You'd get a good grounding in administration with people like that.

"There were fewer clubs then. You'd know everybody. There are more clubs and more people playing today. I also played for Phoenix. I think they got that name because they played in the Phoenix Park.

"Many of the girls I went to school with were on that side."

The Gaels camogie clan are now on the rise. "It's marvellous. We had a bit of a lull for a few years, but it has really come back up.

"We have two adult teams, inter and junior, plus U14s, U11s and the nursery every Saturday morning. Our new ground has certainly added to it.

"Parents can come and have a cup of tea. We can hold our meetings there. It makes a big change from our pre-fab days down in Fr Collins Park.

"The Dublin county board also use it regularly. We have had inter-county matches and big Dublin championship fixtures. The local schools also avail of it."

Stephen Behan did excellent work in the classroom.

He was Trinity's GPO for the last four years. Now Neil O'Driscoll has taken over.

"We are lucky with the people we have at the club," adds Geraldine. "All you have to do is to pick up the phone, and the job is done.

"Kathleen (Maxwell) is remarkable. She has given so many years. And we are very fortunate with our mentors."

'Sparky' (Mark McCabe) looks after the adults. "We were only chatting the other day about the last time Dublin hosted the national Féile," muses Geraldine.

"I had just joined the club and I remember we hosted a club from the north. Trinity won Division 3 of the hurling and Sparky was on that team. We were discussing where are all those fellas now, thirty years on."

There's no doubt that, three decades on, Trinity Gaels are in a much better place.

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