"Thanks to Ennis Charity Cyclists"

“Did you hear about them twenty mad fellas over in Ennis that cycled that contraption up to Dublin and back to collect a bit of money?”
I heard something about it a while back right enough. I was surprised that townies would be tough enough to finish the journey. But sure they were only a few young lads out for the craic.”
“Ah now, one of them ‘young’ lads was 61 years of age and there were a few girls with them too.”
“Are you telling me now? I suppose they were collecting money for some bit of craic or beer money or something.”
“Not at all. They were trying to raise funds for the Mental Health Association.”
“Now wasn’t that a noble idea altogether. I’d say now that they were guaranteed a fine old time altogether for their efforts. I mean peddling all the way to Dublin and back is no easy matter at the best of times, but in that weather…..They must have been well looked after all along the way.”
“Isn’t it strange now that I never heard much about it. I know that out here we don’t always get the news too soon but something like that is the kind of thing that the papers should have given a bit of coverage. Isn’t it strange that they never give coverage to a fine deed like that. You’d think now that no one was interested in a bit of good news for a change. Gaybo must have been slipping a bit when he didn’t have them on the Late Late like he did with them fellas from Galway a few weeks back.”
“God, you’re as bad as them yourself. ‘Tis so hard to get a word out of you at all. Will you tell me about it for I never seen anything much about it in any paper.”
“Alright so. I suppose your man John Dunne came up with the idea and with the help of Gerry Cullina, the yoke was made. The lads took it out for ‘field trials’ beyond in Doora and put in a few good long sessions of training before the off. Do you know what is surprising – they did it all voluntarily like – at their own expense and time if you don’t mind.”
“Aren’t they terrible decent fellas entirely. But tell me now where did they go to at all?”
“Well on the Friday they went as far as Portlaoise, 100 miles of steady cycling.”
“I’d imagine there was a great welcome there for them and a fair amount of money was collected.”
“Well, they were fairly well treated there fair enough but the local collection was a bit poorly organised all along the way. They had to do most of the collecting themselves.”
“But sure all they wanted to do was to get to Dublin and let their hair down and have a good time.”
“Ah, sure, but I believe that the organisation at headquarters didn’t come next nor near the organisation that they themselves had done. I believe that they expected to be on the Late Late Show but someone had forgotten to tell RTE in general and the producer of the show in particular.
“Now that was a pity. Twould have done them the power of good if they had a bit of exposure on that show. Anyway by that stage all they wanted surely was to get the meal over and get to bed.”
“Ah yes but it appears that a hot meal after that kind of exertion is bad for you. The lads should have got proper medical advice and then they would not, in their simplicity, have been expecting a decent meal. Nothing like a cold meal for replacing lost energy! And they were not even given a bed for the night but sure a good hard floor is great for aching muscles.”
“That must have been disappointing especially when they had to face the return journey the following day.”“They had a fair old spirit though. I heard that some of them got very sick and refused to leave the ‘bike’. And at least one member of the team had to make do with a saddle that was totally unsuited to his anatomy. He wasn’t too happy to find out that it had been found up in Spanish Point during the latter half of the summer holidays.”
“But what about the return journey? Surely the Banner never let them down?”
“Fair play to them, they were given a fair old welcome home on Monday night. At least their own didn’t let them down. They were escorted in from Crusheen and by the time they arrived at the outskirts of Ennis there was a good convoy of cars and a lorry or two in the parade. They did a round of the town and ended up in the Square where they were given the ideal medicine for the night that was in it. Nuggie turned up trumps for them in the end. On to a reception in the Old Ground, where some of them had enough breath left to join in a good sing-song.”
“Twas a fair effort right enough. A pity that they never got the proper support all the way. In case it hasn’t been properly said before – John, Gerry, Matt and all the boys and girls, we are all proud of your achievement and we thank you all most sincerely."