Heroine’s Welcome Home for Kerry Ladies in Rain Soaked Castleisland

The Kerryman sports writer and Castleisland native, Dan Kearney addressing the rain-soaked crowd which turned out to greet the Kerry ladies team and management in Castleisland on Monday evening. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Management and volunteers of the Kerry Mental Health Association / Second Chance Charity Shop at Upper Main Street, Castleisland with: John Drummey, general manager Kerry Mental Health Association (left) and Pat O’Brien, association chairman with Castleisland branch volunteers from left: Mars Gwenlan, Mary Fleming, Betty Riordan, Maureen Walsh, Joan Walsh, Sheila Reidy and Jennifer O’Sullivan. ©Photograph: John Reidy

A large crowd of people of all ages, who united under a banner of Mná Chiarraí Supporters in Castleisland on a very wet Monday evening, braved it all to cheer on the heroic Kerry ladies football team and management.

The ubiquitous gig rig was placed precariously close to Hartnett’s Corner and that was because Radio Kerry had camped there for the afternoon while extolling the virtues of the Kerry Mental Health Centre at Upper Main Street.

Nobody Minded

It was announced that the team would arrive at 5pm. That was well overshot by 35 minutes – but nobody minded Knocknagoshel and Headley’s Bridge sharing the welcome home for native, Lorraine Scanlon and her friends.

The special occasion status afforded to the evening and to the event took the gathered well beyond any rain pain barriers and it provided an immunity to the even heavier rain which seemed to fall with venom as soon as the bus rounded the corner and onto Main Street.

Learning from Disappointment

People gathered in groups, catching up on the kind of news that they were forced to cut down on over the past couple of years.

The appearance and mood of the crowd quickly spread the feeling that this wasn’t going to be a wake or anything like it. There was also a belief that Meath’s experience of last year’s victory stood to them when it mattered most.

And, more importantly, people felt that Kerry will have learned from this disappointment and go on to better things next year.

Emerged to Cheers and Applause

These feelings were borne out when the team emerged from the bus to cheers and applause that reached the outer limits of admiration and enthusiasm – and the rain kept on falling with abandon – but nobody noticed.

A huge number of children swelled the attendance and the impressions their heroines and their deeds made on them on a wet Monday evening in Castleisland is sure to have a lasting impact.

Nobody will remember the rain and there was more than just a feeling that the pain of Sunday’s defeat in Croke Park will evaporate for this team and its management. The sun will come out tomorrow.

Second Chance Volunteers Out in Force

Volunteers and staff from Kerry Mental Health Association’s Second Chance Charity Shop on Upper Main Street were also out in force on Monday to welcome the Kerry Ladies home from the All-Ireland final.

Kerry Mental Health Association sponsored Radio Kerry’s Live coverage of the home-coming event with presenter Andrew Morrissey interviewing a number of special guests.

Kerry Mental Health Association’s Castleisland branch is currently recruiting volunteers. For more information you’re invited to email:  volunteers@KerryMentalHealth.ie

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