Chair hosts reception for Shane McMahon and Dromore U-21’s

29th November 2019

A Aíonna oinigh, a chomhcomhairleoirí,

Mar Chathaoirleach na Comhairle Cheantair Fhear Manach agus na hÓmaí, ba mhaith liom fáilte a thabhairt romhaibh chun oifigí Comhairle anocht.

As Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, it is my great pleasure to welcome you all to the Civic Offices in Omagh this evening. I would like to extend a particularly warm welcome to Dromore man Shane McMahon and the Dromore St Dympna’s U-21 team, in whose hour this joint reception is being held. Indeed, there is a strong link between both recipients this evening as Shane represented the St Dympna’s Club at underage and senior level for many years until a serious head injury ended his career prematurely.

Tonight, I am honoured to have been afforded the opportunity of publicly paying tribute to a remarkable man and a remarkable feat and I know the young footballers won’t mind if I address Shane first.

Shane, your story is truly inspirational. An All-Ireland minor football winner with Tyrone in 2004, you progressed to the senior team with your beloved Dromore winning Tyrone senior championships in 2007 and 2009.  Indeed, the great Peter Canavan said of you in 2009 “Any team that’s going to win a Tyrone Championship needs a Shane McMahon;” that is an endorsement from “God”.

Sadly, you sustained a serious head injury on a night out in 2010 which brought to an end your promising career. It also left your life hanging by a thread and your subsequent recovery necessitated learning to walk and talk again.  That really makes your recent achievement all the more astonishing.

The plan to run round Ireland was not a random one and indeed, I understand that it has dominated your thoughts for the last few years. 2017 saw you undertake 5 marathons and last year saw you complete a series of extremely difficult challenges as a warm up.

Your desire to help others particularly those with mental health issues, saw you undertake the mammoth challenge of running around Ireland visiting all 32 counties as part of your challenge.

Not only were you determined to raise awareness but also to raised much needed funds for Aware NI and Aware Ireland. 29 Days after leaving Dromore, you returned to a tumultuous reception pushing your constant companion, the three wheeler buggy. Not only did you achieve your goal of raising awareness, your run also raised more than £6000 for both charities which is a wonderful tribute to you.

Shane, can I on behalf of everyone who will benefit from your efforts, thank you most sincerely for your selflessness and generosity of your time to help others who are most in need.

Turning now to our other guests this evening, Dromore St Dympna’s U-21 Gaelic Football team.

You have also brought great distinction to the district by winning the 2019 Ulster U-21 club championships organised by the Creggan Kickhams club. Qualification for this tournament was courtesy of your success in the Tyrone championship.

A comfortable quarter final victory over Armagh champions Clann Eireann set up a semi final clash with Derry champions Rossa of Magherafelt. A relatively straight forward 6 point win got you into the final against Down kingpins Carryduff.

A man of the match performance from Emmett McNabb saw you ease to a comfortable 4 point victory and saw captain, Peter Teague become the first Dromore man to lift the Paddy McLarnon Cup.

Over the duration of the three matches you racked up an impressive 4-34 conceding just 1-21 in the process.  It was telling that the top two scores in the tournament were Andrew McGrath who accounted for 3-5 while Emmett McNabb contributed 13 points.

For many of course the GAA is almost a religion and that certainly is the case with manager, Paddy Montague. Paddy and Rebecca got married on the Saturday and then hot footed it to Antrim on the Sunday for Paddy to oversea the team’s performance. I suppose Paddy it was well worth it to see the team win and even Rebecca got presented with a lovely bouquet of flowers.

Hopefully this victory will be something the club can build on and this team will provide the spine of the senior team for years to come.

Finally, can I on behalf of the Council, congratulate you on your success and wish you all every success for the future.

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Members of the successful Dromore St Dympna’s U-21 team who secured the Ulster Club U-21 Gaelic Football title pictured with the Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Siobhan Currie and other Councillors in attendance at a recent reception hosted by the Chair in their honour.