A record number of Spink Comhaltas members took part in the recent Leinster Fleadh Cheoil, in Maynooth from July 10 to 12. Competitors from the branch took part in dancing, music, story-telling and newly composed tunes, with four groups taking part in Ceili Band and Grupaí Cheoil competitions, and numerous competitors competing across the full range of traditional Irish instruments.
The Leinster Fleadh is now a massive competition, with up to 30 competitors in some individual competitions, and every county in Leinster represented, all to an extremely high standard - certainly for some of the competitors, the All Ireland will be an easier challenge having gotten through Leinster successfully. Many of the adjudicators were heard to consistently comment that their job was incredibly difficult with a maximum of three competitors who could qualify for the All Ireland, but typically at least 6 meriting a place in the various competitions.
All of Spink’s members performed excellently, and while only a small number qualified for the All Ireland in Leinster, they represented their branch and Co Laois with great distinction, and should be very proud of themselves. More importantly, they are all reminded of Samuel Beckett’s famous quote: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
We are sure that they will be back stronger and better in 2016.
For our competitors who did qualify, we are delighted to congratulate the Ballyroan Half Set, made up of Brendan and Eileen Reilly, and Paddy and Kathleen Martin, who won the Leinster Over 18 Mixed Half-set. This was a bitter sweet moment for Brendan and Eileen in particular who lost their original partners in the Half Set - Paddy and Helen Cahill - over the last 12 months. However, determined to keep their long tradition of competing in Fleadh Cheoil going - approaching 40 years - they continue to be an inspiration for the rest of Spink Comhaltas, and indeed many Comhaltas members in Laois and further afield. We wish them the best of luck in Sligo in August, and many more years of happy dancing. Appropriately, the Ballyroan Half Set are the first winners of the Over 18 Mixed Half Set Trophy in Leinster Fleadh which was recently donated by Spink branch to the Leinster Council.
Congratulations also go to Naoise Kettle, who is travelling to Sligo to compete in the Newly Composed Tunes, U15 Fiddle, and U15 Fiddle Slow Airs, and Daniel Delaney who won the O18 Miscellaneous competition and placed 2nd in the Flute Slow Airs competition. All of the Spink members can be assured of a strong following of supporters in August up in Sligo, and we wish them, and indeed all of the competitors from other Comhaltas branches in Laois the very best in Sligo.