Carnew Emmets won their second Leinster Scór Sinsir title in a row in the Nuachleas category on Sunday afternoon before a delighted audience in St Brigid’s Hall. The title, won on home soil after fighting off stiff opposition from St Patrick’s Ballyoughter, Kilbeggan of Westmeath and Na Fianna from Meath, was a fitting tribute to the late James ‘the Bear’ Doran who was part of the 2022 triumph in Kells and, just a few short weeks ago, starred in the first performance of this sketch, entitled ‘The Olympic Dream.’
The final, the first Leinster Scór Sinsir Final to be held in Wicklow for many years, provided brilliant entertainment, as the finest talent in Leinster Scór descended on Carnew. The headline from a Wicklow perspective was most definitely Carnew’s nuachleas triumph but the Garden County also had gallant performances from Blessington GAA in the Tráth na gCeist, Éire Óg in rince seit and Carnew Emmets in rince foirne.
Blessington were the first Wicklow club in action, taking part in the Tráth na gCeist which began at 12:30pm in Coláiste Bhríde. The 3-in-row Wicklow champions, Pat Brennan, Pat Molloy, Declan Reape and Tommy McDonnell improved on last year’s performance, finishing joint 4th this year – just one place away from a place in the All-Ireland Final. The Leinster title was won by St Mary’s Rosslare. The Blessington lads then high-tailed it down to Aughrim to watch the Blessington seniors in action in the senior football final.
The Carnew rince foirne team consisted of Máire Doran, Toni Doran, Helen Hughes, Charlotte Myers, Kayleigh Kinsella, Laura Byrne, Lauren Byrne and Mollie Mulroe. Clearly buoyed by the home crowd, the girls gave their best performance to date to really lay down a marker to the opposition. In the end, however, it was perennial contenders Birr who took the spoils in the category. The Carnew girls will have no doubt learned from the experience, however, and will come back stronger next year.
Making their debut at this level was Éire Óg Na Clocha Liatha, their Leinster Final appearance just desserts for the hard work put in in recent years to grow Scór in the club. Their rince seit team of Sarah Keegan, Máire Nic Giolla Phádraig, Eamonn Ó Lideadha and Éamonn Mac Seáin were delighted with their display and have already plans in place to return stronger in 2024. That category was won by Bunbrosna of Westmeath.
To the champions then, who were the final act in their category. With the three previous acts delivering stellar performances, the Carnew octet would have known there wasn’t a lot of margin for error. Like the nation watching those final few captivating yet agonising minutes of Ireland’s match with the All Blacks last Saturday, willing Ireland to not make the fatal mistake which would end their World Cup dream, insiders of the Carnew sketch, were no doubt watching with bated breath, hoping that the error which would end their Leinster title hopes never came. And it never did! ‘Carnew’s Olympic Dream’ was performed seamlessly, with the audience regularly breaking out in uproarious laughter at the antics onstage. These included some surprisingly synchronised swimming, a bee vasectomy and the unceremonious ending of an Olympic golf dream.
When Bean an Tí, Olive Leonard, announced Carnew as the winners of the category, it yielded the loudest cheer of the day. Unsurprisingly, given the events of the last few weeks, the Carnew celebrations were accompanied by tears as much as laughter. No doubt, watching from on high, there was a very happy James Doran, who would no doubt already be plotting ways to improve things further before next month’s All-Ireland Final in Killarney. For the record, the aforementioned Carnew octet and 2023 Leinster Champions was: Aoife Doran, Emma Culkin, Tom Culkin, Fergus Kinsella, Thomas Darcy, John O’Hara, John-Joe Myers and Brian Doran. Comhbhairdeas leo!