Bennett’s Bar on Bridge Street was the place to be for Dundalk supporters last Thursday night as the Shedside Lilywhites Supporters Club held a fundraising night in honour of Tommy McConville with all proceeds going to the North Louth Hospice.
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny, club doctor Samir Akhal and players Brian Gartland, Shane Grimes, Ciaran O’Connor and Michael O’Connor - along with the SSE Airtricity League trophy - were all in attendance for a successful evening which is set to become an annual event.
Former Dundalk player and manager, Dermot Keely, was there to represent the North Louth Hospice and he was presented with a cheque for €1000 towards the hospice trust fund.
The Shedside Lilywhites also made presentations to local players Grimes and the O’Connor brothers while Kenny, Dr Samir and club director Orla Taaffe were also given mementoes from the group.
A great night was capped off when word filtered through from Fairyhouse that a 16/1 outsider, named King of Oriel, romped to victory, bringing large cheers from pockets of the bar.
Shedside Lilywhites member, Denis Fitzgerald, played a key part in organising the event and he said he was delighted with the response.
“It was great to hear Stephen Kenny thank the Shedside Lilywhites. He said that the noise and atmosphere when The Shed is on form is worth a goal to the team and he said that he’s always trying to get the likes of Stephen O’Donnell to get us going.”
Fitzgerald also paid tribute to a number of people who made the night a great success.
“There are a lot of people who deserve a word of thanks,” he said.
“First of all, Martin Connolly and Orla Taaffe at Dundalk FC were great to us, as was Karen Thornton in KT Travel, Market Street and Willie McGee’s Pharmacy in Earl Street.
“I’d like to say a sincere thank you to Gary Valentine in Blue Sky Mortgages who donated €350 to the fund by buying a framed autographed Dundalk shirt which included two pictures of Tommy Mac in his playing days.
“Alan McGorrian in Glenart Framing/Dundalk Lighting deserves a mention for his professional workmanship, along with Eddie in Print Express on the Ramparts and Paul McMahon.
“Alan Gray in Goldstar Jewellers deserves a mention as does David Donnelly of Matthews Chemist, Park Street. Nicky McCourt was a great MC on the night and, of course, a huge thank you to Brendan Sherry and Collette of Bennett’s Bar for hosting the event.
“Prominent members of the Shedside Lilywhites, Mark Caldwell and Jay McKeown were unable to make it tonight and I’d like to thank the efforts of Danny O’Connell, Podge and Eimear Cullen, Margaret and Tony Curtis from M&T Travel and Brian Gartland for donating his team jersey.
“Lastly, thanks to photographer Ciaran Culligan from the Dundalk Democrat for his time and professional work in making the event a success.”
The Shedside Army have set up a committee in recent weeks, made up of Denis Fitzgerald, Danny O’Connell, Mark Caldwell, Jay McKeown, Padraig Kelly, Francis Reilly, Sean O’Connor, Michael ‘Skinny’ Boland and James Thomas Kieran.
The group have been instrumental in bringing colour and noise to Oriel Park with their banners and flag displays, notably before the league game with Derry City a few weeks ago which saw black and white flags on display around the perimeter of the pitch. For more information, check out the Shedside Army page on Facebook.