Friday 17th November 2023, the eve of the All Ireland Scór Sinsir Final, dawned bright and clear – the excitement had been building for the previous four weeks since Clonduff were pronounced the winners of the Ulster Set Dancing title. The ‘Big One’ was now just 24 hours away! The dancers and their coach Joe assembled in Clonduff car park to board the bus which would take them on their way! The bus driver, Seami Parr was himself a former Set Dancer so he knew ‘THE SCÓR’! The journey, the craic and the party started about 11.30am, nearly on schedule! There was singing and joke-telling, and not forgetting the card-playing to while away the time and it seem such a short time later that we pulled into Portlaoise for a ‘pit stop and refuel’. The bus arrived at it’s destination about 5.30. We had arrived in Killarney! Well, some had – because of work commitments some people made their own way there, some by car and if you don’t mind even by plane!
Saturday, the day of the finals started early for our dancers! They had to be onstage at 9.35am in the INEC (at Glen Eagles) for a sound check and an onstage practice. Many thanks to former Clonduff dancer Charlene who was an able sub in the absence of one of the dancers! This was completed in seven minutes! The first onstage competition started at 3pm (though those participating in Tráth na gCeist Table Quiz were in action at 12 noon). It was after 7pm when out dancers took the stage – the long day didn’t seem to bother them! They performed as Provincial Champions should! A brilliant performance and with huge smiles on their faces!
The result didn’t quite go our way – there were three other Provincial Champions taking part so it was always ever going to be fine margins! Only one of our eight had previously danced in a Senior All Ireland – they had actually done it – dancing in an All Ireland on the stage in Killarney!
They may not have taken home the cup and the medals but what they did take home were magnificent memories that will live with them and the children for the rest of their lives! The after-parties in The Glen Eagles and The Parkavon (most of the Clonduff contingent had stayed there) – were worth the journey in its own right. The Clonduff crowd in the Parkavon joined up with musicians and singers (of all ages), reciters and a certain ‘spoon-playing’ lady (from Clonduff), Donegal, Tipperary, Westmeath and Cork and partied the night away under the direction of a certain Paul Kelly. Those in the Gleneagles were directed by the inimitable Siobhan Doyle and were joined by other entertainers from Ulster and probably most other counties in Ireland! Great friendships were forged. Scór is not just about winning – it is about the craic along the journey and the friends you meet on the way!
Clonduff Set Dancers – Lisa, Francis, Michael, Laura, Wendy, Nicola, Caroline and Ursula, together with Coach Joe, are on a ‘high’ they are already talking about what dance they will do in the 2024 Scór which is only a couple of months away (has reverted in the calendar to late Winter, early Spring) but most importantly they have inspired a generation of youngsters who are just ‘dying’ to get going in Set Dancing themselves!

By clonduffgac1887 Mon 20th Nov