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Two-day Patrick's Day festival for Clara

Story by Laura Ryder

Monday, 27th February, 2012 4:30pm

Two-day Patrick's Day festival for Clara

Michael Sheridan is one of three Clara men honoured at this year's St Patrick's festival.

Two great local sportsmen and a postman will officially open Clara's two-day festival on St Patrick's Day and March 18. Long time hero of Clara GAA Michael Sheridan will be joined in his duties by local soccer master Joe Stanley and Clara's longest serving post man Jimmy Flattery.

Festivities will begin for the national saint's day in Clara with a concert on the square at 11.30am on St Patrick's Day.

The concert will include music and performances from Davy Joe, St Joseph's youth dancers from Steamstown, St Malachy's set dancers from Castletown Geoghegan, Rahan's "Ageless Eight", the "Celtic Blondes" from Tyrellspass, Longford singer Mary O'Connor and Clara dancers Aidenn Brennan, Aoife Robbins and Kelly Cunningham.

The national anthem will be sung on the day by Katelynn Cornally and Aoife Digan, while MCs for the day will be Joe Monaghan, Barry Flynn and Michelle Coyne.

The town's parade will begin from the Charlestown bridge at 12.30 and once that has concluded festivities will begin at Brosna Park from 2pm and will include a kenpo karate display and aqua sphering.

One day festivities is just too short, and so on Sunday, March 18 festivities will kick off again at 1.30pm in the Greenfield. Entertainment will be provided by groups and individuals including Rahan CCE, Top Dancers, Rosie Flanagan, Rose Garden man Jimmy Cayne from Tullamore, Camillus Boland and Jimmy Duffy from Walsh Island. The afternoon will also feature a ceili corner, sheaf throwing, a bouncy castle and a fun under-80 GAA game.

Michael Sheridan, honoured with opening this year's festivities, began to play GAA aged nine and went on to win two senior football medals.

He was treasurer of the county board for 11 years, and has also been chairman of the Scor team for 40 years.

Joe Stanley meanwhile has been involved with Clara soccer since 1960. The first team he trained won the county cup, and when he took over the Clara youth team they won the minor cup defeating Kildare Town.

Tragedy has also featured in his life however, as one of his eight children, Patrick, was killed in 1972 in Cavan by a car bomb planted during the Troubles. Postman Jim Flattery began his career with the post service in 1940, covering 60 miles a day. Forty of his 50 years of service were spent delivering post by bicycle.

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