“Its only funny, because it is so true” remarked a local as the crowd gave a standing ovation to the cast and crew of Seamus O’Rourke’s new production “For Club and County” following a premiere show in the Corn Mill Theatre, Carrigallen, last month,
And there is no better compliment you could give the talented Mr O’Rourke on his home turf. Seamus O’Rourke, the man behind Victor’s Dung, Ride on! The Sand Park continues to bring his observations of rural life to the stage in such a hilarious and realistic manner.
The GAA phenomena is a tough one to explain, especially in a little county like Leitrim and even more so in the many small clubs dotted around the county that put blood, sweat and tears into training all year with just the dream of winning a county title spurring them on. But Seamus O’Rourke gets it spot on in his laugh out loud, yet poignant play.
There are just two weeks to go before the county final and Matt “the Maestro”, manager of Tanaree’s senior football side, is determined to end the clubs 23-year run of bad form. Their hopes are dashed as their dual football and hurling star Richie Brown busts his knee dipping sheep.
But Richie’s long suffering girlfriend, the wily Jenny, seems to have found the answer in Arthur Polanski, a Polish worker who just happens to be the spit of Ritchie Brown!
Just because he’s not a member of the country, let alone the club, doesn’t mean he can’t play in the final, does it? Dressed up in Tanaree’s colours he looks the job, but there is the issue of his accent and his language. The problem you see is his English is perfect and his manners are impeccable, and as we all know those two things do not add up to your average club player on the pitch.
So Manager Matt Goldrick and Jenny Furlong set out to teach him the most important thing he needs to know - how to speak GAA!
Passion for the club, for GAA and for the parish is the main theme of the production. We all know men and women who dedicate their lives to the club, for the good of the parish, we all know that winning county titles does not come easy and it takes a lot more than hard training sessions to win big games. For Club and County reflects all this.
But there is a more serious side, more poignant issues such as alcohol and addiction tackled in this play of two halves. Sensitive issues are dealt with beautifully here, they are set out and discussed in a way that does not make you feel uncomfortable, but make the subject easier to discuss and ponder upon.
Many young GAA men may shy away from a night at the theatre, but O’Rourke is banishing all negative connotations associated with plays by bringing the GAA culture, tradition and language to the flood lights of the stage.
Caution: There is plenty of fowl and bad language used throughout - but nothing you will not have heard from the sidelines, the dug out or even the stands of a Leitrim Club Championship game!
Starring Tommy Sharkey, Karina Charles and Shane O’Connor, For Club and County is now touring GAA Clubs nationwide on the Moth Productions GAA Fundraising Tour.
It is brought to local clubs in association with the GAA Social Initiative and Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention Programme (a joint initiative with the HSE) and is sponsored by Calor.