Launch of McNally Swords Programme 2003

A large gathering of cyclists from North County Dublin, members of their families and friends, together with representatives of the local community assembled in the Swords Manor Pub on Thursday 27th March for the launch of the 2003 Programme for the McNally Swords Cycling Club.

The Honorary President of the Club, resplendent in his Presidential Green Blazer with its unique crest, opened the proceedings in his usual inimitable style. Songster, storyteller, raconteur, he treated the crowd present with many humorous anecdotes while welcoming his many loyal followers and admirers to the evening’s programme.

The Launch is always a much anticipated occasion when the Chairperson of the club outlines to the Club Members and all present the programme for the coming year and pays tribute to the Club’s generous sponsors, Breda and Joe McNally of McNally Joinery.

Before the Chairperson spoke, Michael Kennedy, Cathaoirleach of Fingal County Council addressed the gathering, commending them not only for their achievements and endeavours on behalf of Swords Cycling Club, but also for their commitment and plans for the youth of Swords and surrounding area in the months and years ahead.

In recent years one cannot but help note the fashion and grandeur of the apparel worn on the evening by those present. This may well be due to the fact that for the most of the year these men and women meet when dressed in their colourful and resplendent cycling outfits supplied by McNally Joinery, so when they shed these cycling outfits to meet on other occasions they are anxious to show off what is beneath to the very best advantage!

One need look no further in this regard than at the very popular Chairperson of the Club, Sean Lally. Sean is one of Ireland’s most famous cyclists, still cycling fast and furious at the notable age of 76, even though he only looks 65!. Sean was the most sartorially elegant amongst the men, wearing a stream lined black dress suit, complete with old style collar-less shirt bequeathed to him, he tells us, by his great-grand father. And of course the women were not to be out-done. When one glanced (not so fleetingly) at Sean’s wife Pauline, and the other representatives of feminine pulchritude such as Tess and Betty Markham, Breda McNally, Louise Stafford, Valerie Coonagh and Karen Rock it was difficult to avert one’s eye(s) from backless and strap-less dresses, mini-skirts revealing tanned and well-toned thighs, slender ankles in elegant high heeled shoes, and plunging necklines adorned with more jewellery than you would see on a tinker’s pony at the Galway Races!

Once Sean opened his mouth there was an instant silence as all present listened to his dulcet Dub lin tones waft through the pub as he announced with glee the many ambitious projects for the coming year. Among these were the Gorey Three Day Stage Race at Gorey, a gruelling encounter for all ambitious enough to tackle it, when much will be expected of Gearoid Loughlane and the betting will be on Keith Daly for the Junior Event.

On Tuesday 6th May the Kathleen O’Sullivan Memorial Race will take place when a large turn out is expected to take part in this event, which is a tribute to the memory of Kathleen, whose kind disposition and generous nature permeated the club for so many years.

Then there is the McNally Swords Tour for the Club’s own members and their many friends throughout the country which departs from Fingallian’s Football Club at 9.00 a.m.. Ken Brennan is the inspiration behind this event and it is he that arranges all tours for the club. He told us that night that there will be two distances cycled on this tour 80 miles for the fit, the challenged, and the ambitious which Ken himself will lead, and the 50 mile for those less ambitious or more realistic of their inabilities – Tommy Markham will encourage this group to wait for him and go at a more leisurely pace, taking in the breathtaking scenery of North County Dublin and its ‘Royal’ neighbour, County Meath.

Sean Lally, before he concluded his scintillating and humorous address asked us to give every encouragement to Keith Daly when he would be participating in the Junior Tour of Ireland in August. And of course there is the Club’s Annual League which commences on 16th April , the most successful and sought after league in the Irish Cycling Calendar, embracing cyclists of all ages and abilities.

Sean concluded his address by reminding all present that although the season is only 1 month old, 9 of our members have already won in open races in the Leinster Circuit, including Vets, Junior and Under Age Cyclists. He than paid fulsome tribute to the Club Sponsors, Joe and Breda McNally for their ongoing generous sponsorship of the club, and invited Joe to end the formal proceedings. Joe them spoke, splendidly attired in a Beige Sportscoat, matching waist-coat, and Dicky-Bow, and paid tribute to all members for their achievements. He said he was pleased to see so many of our members on a regular basis wear the club colours with pride, and it is a source of great pride to him and Breda that Swords Cycling Club continues to enjoy such prestige among cyclists and among all sectors of the community in Swords and Fingal. With the formalities over, the chat, stories, song, and recitations commenced, and vocal cords were well oiled with a combination of wine and other palatable beverages. Incidentally there is no truth in the rumour that a Mr. K.B. and T.M. were last seen off the premises to the accompaniment of the Dawn Chorus.

Terry Quinlan, Press Officer