When President Michael D Higgins, officially opened the new Our Lady’s Boys’ Club clubhouse in 2015, he said: “Like so many successful community initiatives, OLBC was founded and built on vision, a spirit of participation and a will to make a genuine and positive difference to the community. When Fr Leonard Shiel SJ established a club in 1940, I doubt that he realised just how enduring his vision would be. Today, OLBC is the longest running youth club in the country and has woven its way into the fabric of community life in Galway, welcoming members from many neighbourhoods including Shantalla, Westside, Ballinfoyle, Rahoon, Corrib Park, and Newcastle.
“Generations of young men have grown and flourished in its nurturing environment, many of them carrying the ethos and values of the club with them throughout their lives, passing them on to further generations and enabling the spirit of the club to touch many communities in Ireland, and indeed across the world. That the club continues to be run by its former members is perhaps the greatest endorsement of all that it has achieved over the years.
“The club has continuously evolved and progressed to tackle the different demands presented to us in a rapidly changing world. Established in an Ireland of huge poverty and deprivation, where one of the most important functions of the club was responding to a lack of food through the provision of bread and jam to those who were hungry, the club has, across the years, remained relevant in an Ireland where emigration, unemployment, and new and changing societal problems continue to present challenges and difficulties for young people.
“The club is synonymous with a long and proud tradition of sporting activity, allowing its members that vitally important opportunity to learn the importance of teamwork; of just how much can be achieved when everyone works together, playing their own important and unique role as they strive to achieve the best possible outcome.”
The highlight of the club year is the annual camp, when a group of the boys are taken on a week’s holiday, a week of sport, competition, and fun, of soaking up the OLBC ethos, a week they will remember for the rest of their lives. This year, the camp will be held in St Colman’s College, Claremorris. Since its foundation, the club has depended on the generosity of Galway people for its survival and once again, the club is appealing to that generosity to help them fund the camp. Please be generous with this great Galway institution. Contributions can be sent to Jim Cunningham, club president, c/o Cunningham Electrical, Liosbán Estate, or to Our Lady’s Boys’ Club, Sea Road, Galway.
Our photograph is of the group that went on camp to Lough Cutra Castle in 1950. They are, front row, left to right: Brendan Kelly, Michael ----, Michael Feeney, John Cooke, Richard----, Michael Devaney, Michael Conneely, Michael Darcy, Dominick Crowe, Miko O’Connor, Michael Melia. Second row: Joe Canavan, --- Naughton, --- Folan, Tony Ryan, Steve Cassidy, Paddy McDonagh, ------, ------, Kieran Tierney, --- O’Connor, Jimmy Dodd, Billy Gibson, Patsy Lynch.
Third row: Seán Silke, ------, --- Heneghan, Walter Hegarty, Mark McNamara, Gerry Glynn, Amby Roche, Fr Michael McGrath SJ, Des Kenny, Paddy Heneghan, Michael Maguire. Fourth row: Joe Geoghegan, Michael Corcoran, ------ , Des Delargy, --- Conneely, Luke O’Connor, Paddy Thornton, Gus O’Connor, Michael Parslow, Kevin King, Colie Joyce, Barney Birkett, ------, Gerry Costelloe, Joe Noble.
Fifth row: Michael Mulryan, John Casey, Paddy ‘Pounder’ Glynn, Michael Walsh, Ray Kelly, Brod McGreal, Michael Riddell, Thomas Cooke, Christy Cooke, Seán Beatty, Tommy Lawless, Gerry O’Halloran. Sixth row: ------, --- Delargy, Pádraic Joyce, Jimmy Ryan, George Hornibrook, Michael Cooke, Cyril O’Brien, Nicky Kelly, Joe Berry. Back row: James Colleran, Gerry Lee, ------, Paddy Duffy, Michael Madden, --- Cooke, Peter Folan.