Photo caption: Members of the Marist Catholic High School in Chicago, Illinois, their coaches and family members outside Carrick-on-Suir Town Hall after a Chairman’s reception was accorded the group by Carrick-on-Suir Municipal District Chairman Cllr David Dunne (pictured front row centre. Also in the photo are Carrick-on-Suir MD Administrator Marie O'Gorman (right of Cllr Dunne), Carrick-on-Suir man David Bennett, who brought the group to the town, and Cllr Kieran Bourke, who proposed the according of the reception.
A reception was hosted at Carrick-on-Suir Town Hall to welcome to the town an estimated 50 US visitors comprising a high school soccer team, their coaches and family members.
The reception for the Marist Catholic High School Redhawks soccer team from Chicago, Illinois on Tuesday, June 21 was one of the first engagements the newly elected chairman of Carrick-on-Suir Municipal District’s Cllr David Dunne hosted at the Town Hall.
Cllr Dunne said it was an honour for him to accord the Chairman’s reception to this visiting soccer squad of 18 players with their coaches and about 30 parents and siblings presented them with scrolls from the council as a memento of the function.
Fellow Carrick-on-Suir Cllr Kieran Bourke, who proposed the hosting of the reception, extended a Céad Míle Fáilte to the Redhawks and expressed the hope they would enjoy Carrick-on-Suir hospitality for the duration of their stay.
He recalled how this trip was originally planned for the summer of 2020 but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Covid was now under control, people were allowed to travel again and it was fantastic that this soccer team, their coaches and families have now all arrived safely in Ireland, he said.
The Redhawks soccer team and their entourage arrived in Carrick-on-Suir on June 19 and were greeted with glorious sunshine and a warm welcome from the people of the town.
The idea for the trip was born when Chicago-based Carrick-on-Suir man David Bennett - an uncle of Tour de France Green Jersey winning cyclist Sam Bennett - contacted Carrick United AFC’s Chairman PJ Torpey and Liam Wells, who were receptive to the idea of helping to improve the Chicago team’s soccer skills and knowledge.
A comprehensive training schedule was put together of early morning sessions, two midweek games and a four-team tournament at Tom Drohan Park, Carrick-on-Suir on Saturday, June 25.
Along with a busy schedule of sports fixtures at Carrick-on-Suir, Portlaw and Bennettsbridge, a full itinerary was arranged to showcase the beauty of Carrick-on-Suir and its environs to the American visitors.
The group took part in a walking historical tour of the town, tours of the beautiful Ormond Castle, Curraghmore House and grounds and Kilkenny Castle.
They also enjoyed the wonderful scenery of the area while cycling the River Suir Blueway and the Waterford Greenway from Kilmacthomas to Dungarvan.
Cllr Bourke said the visitors from Chicago were hugely impressed with Carrick-on-Suir and its Town Hall. Many members of the group stayed in the Carraig Hotel during their visit.
He believes their visit will lead to further tourism trips to Carrick-on-Suir from Chicago where there is a significant community of local expats living.
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