Michael brings home the gold

Saturday, 20th April, 2019 7:19am

Michael brings home the gold

The Cornafean contingent at The Royal Theatre and Event Centre Castlebar for the Scór final

It was celebrations all round in Cornafean as Michael McGibney clinched the top spot in the Recitation category of the All-Ireland Senior Scór 2019.
Scór Mhaigh Eo played host to the national finals of the competition geared toward promoting Ireland’s traditional pastimes and culture.
Having captured the Scór All-Ireland Recitation medal in the Gleneagle Hotel, Killarney, Kerry, back in 2006, Michael was delighted to reclaim his title in this the 50th anniversary of the competition.
The ebullient champion was in good form on Monday. “You don’t win All Irelands too handy so you have to take them when they come,” he told the Celt. “It was nice to win the first one. Then you start to think ‘It would be nice to have another one to put beside it’. So that’s it,” he jovially said.
The McGibney name has long been associated with Scór in the Cornafean area, and Michael made his first appearance on the national stage at the Killarney venue back in 2002. 
The significance of this year adds flavour to the win: “It started back on March 1 at the county final in Drumavaddy. This is 50 years of Scór so there was a push in Cornafean to have a good level of representation. The next round was in Glenavy in Antrim for the Ulster semi-final. Then the Ulster final was on March 23 in Galbally in Tyrone. Then straight to the All-Ireland final in Castlebar.”
Going head to head with the winners from the three other provinces in Castlebar was nothing new for Michael: “I competed against two of the other three finalists before. The Leinster representative, Brendan MacGabhann, was the reigning All-Ireland champion; Michael Rock from Roscommon was the Connacht winner; and Munster was represented by Treasa McGrath.”
Aside from his two All-Ireland medals, Michael has eight Ulster titles for recitation and an Ulster winners medal in the novelty act category. That experience gives him an insight into what makes a good recitation.
“There is a six-minute time limit on the piece,” he explained. 
“You are trying to get it crisp and right. I think storytelling is a discipline sport. I am at it a long time, so I know what the judges are looking for. The audience reaction was very good.
“It was a piece that I heard before and I though it might have a bit of potential. It’s called ‘The Blight’ and though you might imagine it’s about the famine, it’s actually about a poor man’s life of hardship. Everything that can go wrong goes wrong for him. It’s an extremely well written piece by Liam McNally from Keady. He wrote it for the Bard of Armagh years ago. It is very funny and audiences love it,” Michael says of his recitation.
With Scór at 50, Michael feels the competition is at a good place: “Cornafean has always been a stronghold for Scór. There are people in every club that are good at music, good a singing and good at playing football or camogie. Recitation and acting are another part of our culture. It’s important to have a way they are preserved.
“It’s about the inclusiveness of the GAA and the inclusiveness of the community. It plays a role in preserving the stories and traditions of communities in spoken word. It’s our oral tradition. Some recitations are about football or hurling matches and others are just about our communities. It is one of the highlights of the Scór finals, audiences pack in to hear them. There is a huge entertainment value in it,” Michael said.
The new All Ireland champion was eager to share the limelight. Cornafean were also represented in the quiz final. 
“They came a very close second, so they are All-Ireland silver medal holders now,” Michael concluded.

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