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Thursday 23rd January 2014 EVERY FORTNIGHT







Omagh man writes episode for Emmy-nominated kids TV series











Omagh Players stage Neil Simon's 'Lost in Yonkers' at Strule Arts Centre.

Popular teacher and charity fundraiser Noel C. Moore celebrates his 40th in style.

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ISSUE 80 | JAN 23RD 2014 43





Big Interview


Omagh man writes episode for Emmynominated kids TV series


Home brewed


Country Music Scene by Paddy Hunter


Fintona W. I. dinner in Valley Hotel


Take the fear factor out of joining the gym at SSTF


Building a masterpiece


Did you survive ‘blue Monday’?

There was a lot of hype last week about what was supposed to be the most depressing day of the year – and there’s no denying that January is a long and dreary month and we will all be very glad to see the back of it! Only eight more days to go and hopefully until then you’ll find plenty in Omagh Today to make you smile – starting with our heartwarming Big Interview which this issue gave us the chance to meet foster carers Bernie and Martin Donnelly from Beragh. Fostering is a hot topic just now, with more than 500 children in care in the local area, and demand for foster homes increasing all the time. The local couple’s open and honest account about the trials and rewards of fostering is really inspiring and will hopefully answer some of the questions potential foster carers may have. And if that doesn’t chase away the January blues, maybe a cheeky bottle of locallybrewed beer will raise your spirits! Carrickmore man Darren Nugent’s micro-brewery Pokertree is open for business after over a year of planning and we have it on good authority that the first beer – a lager named Ghrian – is fantastic! Turning to country music and we have some treats in store for all you jiving fans; first of all there’s our brand new regular country column with none other than Paddy Hunter, and secondly there’s an interview from a young man who’s snapping at the heels of the big local stars – Gareth Pritchard is definitely one to watch, and you can, if you win tickets to go and see him in our competition! As ever, Pat has been out and about snapping away; check out the trashy fashion from the EyeSpeak group from the RNIB in Omagh Library, the annual men’s breakfast at the Methodist Church hall, bygone delights in Omagh Yesterday, Fintona WI’s annual dinner, Noel C Moore’s fab fortieth, Des McFadden from Mountfield’s 60th (complete with digger cake!) and loads more. Lastly, make sure you check out our new advertising ‘notice board’ on page 23 – a load of local businesses are offering exclusive discounts to Omagh Today readers and all you have to do is clip out the coupons and present them in store. Until next time…



Claire Martin - 077 2563 1646 | Post to: Omagh Today, 79 Moylagh Road, Beragh, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, BT79 0UN


Email - or telephone Pat - 077 1284 0985


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Beragh couple Bernie and Martin Donnelly on the rewards of fostering, and how love really does grow when you give it away…


UST before Christmas, statistics released by the Western Trust revealed that the number of children in care in the Trust area reached an all time high last year, with 507 children ranging from newborns to teenagers being ‘looked after’ by the authorities in both residential and foster homes. That’s 507 children who, for a variety of reasons including violence, abuse and neglect, are either surrendered or removed from the care of their birth parents amid fears over their welfare. 507 children who are confused and scared, in need of shelter, security, and above all, love. We’ve all seen the news reports; many of us have thought that perhaps we could give a home to a child in need – and yet that’s often as far as it goes. The thought of fostering a child is daunting; there seem to be so many potential stumbling blocks, so many questions to be asked, so many things that could go wrong. So what’s it really like to foster? What’s the impact on your family, your lifestyle – your emotions? There probably aren’t many people better placed to answer these questions than Beragh couple Bernie and Martin Donnelly. They accepted their first placement in

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1987 and have since lived through pretty much every fostering scenario there is. Celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary this year, Bernie and Martin first met at a dance in 1971 and married in 1974. The pitter patter of tiny feet followed in due course and they welcomed a son, Barry, followed by a daughter, Sheena and another son, Fergal. But Bernie and Martin both come from large families and they knew they wanted to extend their brood – though perhaps not in the way that many people expected. “I always wanted to foster,” says Bernie, “it was really a vocation for me – for both of us. I never wanted to go out to work, I was happiest at home with my own children and working in the home to care for them so fostering seemed like a natural thing for us to do.” The process of becoming an approved foster carer has evolved over the years since Bernie and Martin went through it, but many elements remain the same – and even then, it was a fairly long road, taking almost six months. “It never bothered us,” says Martin. “We had nothing to hide and we knew that the whole process was very important not just to make sure we were suitable as a foster family but to help with the matching process later on. One of the most important parts was our own

children being interviewed. If they hadn’t been on board then it would never have happened. Once we knew that, we didn’t really feel nervous or worried about it - we just couldn’t wait for all the paperwork to be done so we could get on with helping a child.” As it happened, the couple didn’t have long to wait. Mere days after they were officially approved for fostering, they got a late evening call to say their first placement – a little girl with special needs – was on her way to them. “We had some previous experience of children with special needs within our family,” says Bernie, “and our link social worker knew we were happy to take in a child with those needs. A lot of people worry that as a foster carer you don’t get a say or that you will be expected to cope with any and all children that come your way but it’s important to stress the relationship you have with your link worker – they get to know you so well and they know exactly which placements will fit with your unique family situation, and which might not. We have never felt we were being asked to take on anything we couldn’t cope with.” For the Donnellys, no matter what the circumstances of the many children that followed, the formula was the same –

what the children needed more than anything was a normal family life, and that is exactly what they got. Bernie explains: “We started fostering young, and our own children were still young, but for us that was the perfect scenario. Children learn so much from each other and quite often our foster children and our own children formed strong bonds – it was good for all of them. I remember the field at the side of our house being full of weans – our own, our foster children, and maybe a dozen of their school friends. It was like the Wild West it was that noisy but it was great to see them enjoying themselves out in the fresh air. There are a lot of troubled children out there and I have always maintained those simple wee things are what helps them most – I swear by a walk on Rossnowlagh Beach, holding your hand and picking shells. Children don’t need much, just love.” That’s not to say there weren’t tough times. At one point, Bernie and Martin were caring for five foster children in addition to their own three, which, in a fourbedroom house, was a squeeze – and that’s before you start to think about all the associated cooking, laundry – and homework! Over the years the couple have cared for five babies, who arrived at just five days old and stayed for up to two years. The goodbyes, Bernie says, never got any easier. “The first baby I had, when our link worker told us he was going to his adoptive home after two years, she tried to prepare me by explaining that the foster carers often cried when she took the children away. I remember thinking she was mad – I didn’t think I would be emotional because I was glad he was going to a permanent home. But when she put his coat on I got really upset. It sort of caught me off guard and I cried a lot over the days after – so did Martin and so did some of the other children. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t feel like that and it’s always difficult to let them go. But when you know they are going home to their own family, or off to an adoptive home maybe where the parents couldn’t have kids of their own, and they are so wanted, that makes it easier. Our social worker kept in close

contact with us to make sure we were OK, and when the time was right, she told us about another placement – and all of a sudden there’s another child who needs you, and you just get on with it.” Witnessing first hand the hurt caused to children who have had a difficult start in life isn’t easy either, but incredibly, with every case they saw Bernie and Martin’s compassion for the birth families grew. Bernie continues: “I had a wee baby once and he went back home, but it only lasted a week – his birth mother wanted to try but she realised she couldn’t cope. I had to admire her honesty and her bravery in putting her baby first. One of the things we have learned over the years is never to judge. At the end of the day, some of those parents have led very difficult lives and many of them are in need of a wee bit of care and understanding themselves. My motto has always been ‘there, but for the grace of God, go I’.” Fostering hasn’t just given Bernie and Martin this perspective, either; they say the experience has had huge benefits for their own biological children when it comes to caring for and relating to others – and indeed two of them have gone on to become social workers themselves. “It makes you realize what’s important in life,” says Martin. “You don’t have to be taking children on fancy holidays or buying them all the latest toys. What has always been most important in our house is that we were all together, everybody had a roof over their head, clothes on their back and food on the table. Wee ones would arrive here and in the middle of the night you’d go running because they were having a nightmare, screaming ‘leave me alone!’ – and that was difficult to watch. But the reward was that in time, you would see that frown lifting from their wee faces, and you’d start to see their teeth because they were smiling more.” Bernie adds: “To anybody that’s considering fostering, I can’t stress enough the enjoyment you get from it. We keep in touch with quite a number of the 40 children we have fostered over the years and it’s great to see them doing well, whether it’s getting a star on their

homework or getting their first job after they’ve left us. Some of them will still lift the phone or come and see us if they need advice – some still call us Mummy and Daddy! There are so many children needing foster care and I would encourage anybody to try it – you’re not signing your life away and if it turns out it’s not for you then there’s no shame in that. You get something from it that’s impossible to put into words. You give a little, but you get such a lot back.”

The Western Trust is holding a series of information evenings in January and February for anybody who would like to find out more about fostering. An additional 200 foster families are needed across Northern Ireland during 2014 to meet the needs of children and young people requiring foster care. There will be information on all aspects of fostering from the impact on a child in need of care to the different types of fostering, the assessment process, financial assistance, and special packages for those considering fostering teenagers. One of the main points to make is that foster carers come from all walks of life and all home situations – you don’t have to be married or even in a relationship, you don’t have to have previous parenting experience, and you don’t have to be a certain age – the only criteria are that you must be over 21, have a spare bedroom and be willing to undergo the statutory checks. The sessions will be attended by social workers and other foster parents who will be able to answer any questions you may have. Sessions take place in the Silverbirch Hotel, Omagh, on Monday, January 27 at 7.30pm and Thursday, February 13 at 8pm (teenage foster care specifically). There will also be general foster care sessions held on January 29 at Fermanagh House, Enniskillen, at 7.30pm and January 28 in the Fir Trees Hotel Strabane at 7.30pm. Refreshments will be served at all events. For further information contact the Western Trust’s Fostering Recruitment and Assessment Team on 028 8283 5264 or via email: marie.walsh@westerntrust.hscni. net.

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TALKOFTHETOWN Recreation and habitat creation – Ecclesville Forest to get a makeover ECCLESVILLE Forest – one of the Omagh District’s oldest areas of woodland – is to get something of a makeover in the coming months and years as Omagh District Council implements a comprehensive Forest Management Plan aimed at increasing the forest’s biodiversity and making it more accessible for the enjoyment of local people. The plan involves a phased programme of felling coniferous trees in sections and replanting with a mixture of broadleaf and coniferous woodland as well as smaller trees and shrubs. The aim of the project is to maintain a productive forest, with the coniferous tree stands providing an income, while also increasing the area of native woodland and protecting areas within the forest which are rich in biodiversity. The council also hopes that the project will encourage more public access to the forest and to make a visit to Ecclesville a safe and enjoyable experience. Over the coming weeks and months the Council will engage with all forest user groups, stakeholders and interested parties to outline the felling plans and timescales, and address any concerns. The first section to get a makeover through felling and replanting

will be an area north of Fintona Cemetery. This is one of the oldest sections of the forest and the coniferous trees are ready for harvesting. This work is planned to commence very shortly, with the felling of the trees expected to last approximately two weeks. Following the preparation of the land, the area will be replanted in the late Spring with a variety of deciduous trees, bushes and shrubs as recommended by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Forest Service, which will improve the environment and biodiversity of the forest. The reshaping of Ecclesville Forest is essential to prolong its life and will bring many benefits for local wildlife. The forest currently has a structure dominated by dense conifer plantations, with little else growing underneath. By the end of the replanting plan, the area covered by broadleaved native woodland will be doubled to 44% of the total forest, and there will be more open space, which will be managed for biodiversity. This habitat creation project will help deliver goals within the Omagh Local Biodiversity Action Plan and will also contribute significantly to the delivery of the Northern Ireland Biodiversity Strategy.

Police reveal progress in Ronan Kerr investigation POLICE have said they know the identities of the individuals who planned the attack on Omagh police officer Ronan Kerr and made the bomb that killed him. Constable Kerr (25) died in a booby-trap car bomb in Omagh on April 2, 2011. The update on the investigation coincided with the sentencing of another Omagh man, Gavin Coyle (36) from Culmore Park, who was jailed for ten years after admitting having guns and explosives with intent to endanger life and being a member of the IRA. The weapons in question were uncovered by officers investigating constable Kerr’s murder in the weeks after his death. While Gavin Coyle was not charged with offences connected to the murder of Constable Kerr, the search was part of the huge investigation into the killing. The police have said the links to other incidents mean it is the largest investigation in the history of the PSNI, with more actions than the Omagh bomb inquiry - 7,947 items have been seized; 13,936 individuals have featured in the investigation; 11,748 investigative actions have been generated; 123 searches of houses, vehicles and land have been conducted and 14 arrests have been made. The police also seized and analysed CCTV footage from Omagh to

Coalisland, and say they believe they have now identified the man who made the bomb that killed the officer. He is described as an ‘experienced’ bomb-maker who lives in the Republic of Ireland. Detectives also believe they have identified the man who led the bomb team, described as the driving force behind the plan, and said progress has also been made in cases against three other individuals for a series of serious offences linked to Ronan Kerr's murder. They know more about who acquired the component parts used to make the device, including the magnets used to attach the bomb under Mr Kerr's car which came from a sign stolen from a taxi in Omagh three weeks before the attack; and have also established links between the dissident republican group they believe was responsible and 16 other incidents, including the attempted murders of two other police officers. “We have made progress and we believe there is potential to bring other individuals before the courts. But we are not complacent. We recognise the considerable challenges remaining in this lengthy and complicated investigation. “We will continue to pursue a comprehensive forensic strategy through all the strands of these linked incidents to ensure we maximise their investigative potential.,” a statement said.

Would you like to advertise in Omagh Today? Email or telephone Brendan 078 8431 3385 or 028 8075 8078

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Local groups come together for ‘trash’ fashion show TRASH fashion was the name of the game at Omagh Library on Saturday past when two local groups – namely the Omagh Ethnic Communities Support Group and Eyespeak, a group for blind and visually impaired people run by the RNIB – exhibited their work as part of a Community Arts Partnership (CAP) project. Trash Fashion is CAP's eco-aware clothing design project, which uses recycled clothes and materials as the basis for re-branding and re-making items in whatever creative style the participants wish. The talent on show was impressive, from multi-layered and extremely tactile ‘garments’ to intricate embroidery and crafts using the most unlikely materials. An exhibition of the work will be featured for some weeks to come in Omagh Library where members of the public can see the highquality, creative work produced by the both groups. Left: Karolina Wenta with her 'Trash Purse' made from an Egg box while Wioletta Witek puts the finishing touches to her 'Polish News' corset. Right: Rita McGirr who created the countryside scene embroidery picture pictured with Agnes Mullin, RNIB and her husband Francis McGirr.

Bulgaria born Naisha Teneva Jim Hamilton, Brendan Foster, Frances Sweeney, Tutor, Kate with her creation inspired by McMackin, RNIB, Christine Hamilton and Terry McCaugherty display Spanish culture. some of the exhibition products. Left: Aoibhinn Sweeney and Anne Bradley enjoying the Eyespeak exhibition. Eva Galamdos, Nick Cassidy and Rosaleen Crabtree admire one of the many pretty displays at the exhibition . omaghtoday | 7

Working nine to five

Bessie Belle

An Omagh’s girl’s take on life... Well I’m getting into the swing of this work thing. It didn’t take me too long to get used to it after being…let’s just say…’between jobs’ for so many years. I feel like Dolly Parton now; working 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, an hour for lunch and wages into the account at the end of the month…in theory. Unfortunately for me I’ve had to do a lying month so I get nothing, nada, for another few weeks! I know! I am raging! I have never been so broke in my life! I’ve been having to borrow from my mother since the end of December and you can imagine how much the both of us enjoy that dynamic. She’s worse than one of them online loan companies. I would pay the extortionate interest just to get out of massaging her bunions every evening and listening to the tinkling of that bell she’s taken to ringing when she needs something. Honestly, yer man in that ‘12 Years A Slave’ didn’t know he was livin! I had no idea about the lying month until I ended up with no money just after the New Year. There was me all ready for a night out when I went to take cash out of the hole in the wall. Out of nowhere, I came face to face with the two most terrifying words in the English Language: Insufficient Funds. I went down from £50 to £40 to £20 and it turned out I couldn’t even get a tenner out because I had only £6.89 in my account. At first I thought I’d been a victim of

card fraud or something until I found out the truth on the Monday morning. They said they had went over it all in the interview but I’d probably zoned out for the terms and conditions of employment. I’m getting so used to this working malarkey that I’ve already developed the sinking feeling that starts about 4 o’clock on a Sunday evening. I’d forgotten about that. It’s that feeling when you know you won’t have the chance for another lie in for at least five mornings. Of course, on the mornings you could have a lie in, you’re awake from the crack of dawn, while on work days you are still dragging yourself out of bed after hitting the snooze button seventeen times. What’s that about? It’s like reverse psychology we’re doing to ourselves. I now really regret all those times I did stupid things rather than build up my sleep reserves. I should’ve just slept the whole time I had no work. I didn’t appreciate it at the time. It’s true, you don’t know what you got til it’s gone. Boysa-dear, am I ready for a break! Unfortunately I haven’t worked enough to have earned one yet. I maybe should have had a phased return to work to break me in gently but sure hindsight is a great thing. I tell you what, though, there’s nothing like work to focus your mind. I am now focusing my mind on getting a rich man so I can give up work as soon as possible…

Omagh man writes episode for Emmy-nominated kids TV series THERE’S a new favourite among the pre-bedtime TV shows these days; alongside Peppa Pig, Dinosaur Train and bedtime stories on Nick Jr, you’ll find Pajanimals - a colourful bunch of zany characters whose adventures have been dreamed up by a man from right here in Omagh! Late last year we brought you news about Chris Baugh’s forays into film-making and his short drama, Stumpy’s Brae, which aired on the BBC at Halloween – but when he’s not busy making spinetingling tales for grownups, Chris also has a real talent for kids’ TV. Although he now runs his own production company, Six Mile Hill, Chris previously worked for Belfast firm Sixteen South which was involved with the production of several childrens’ TV shows, including omaghtoday | 8

the hugely popular ‘Sesame Tree’ and ‘Big City Park’ – his episode in the latter series even won an Irish Film and Television Award. Building on their relationship with the Jim Henson Company, Sixteen South came on board along with US broadcaster Sprout to produce Pajanimals, featuring four of the most cuddly characters ever – Sweetpea Sue the pony, the excitable duck Squacky, the creative cow CowBella and the optimistic puppy Apollo. By watching their bedtime adventures, young children are encouraged to wind down for the evening and the show also aims to tackle some common bedtime worries such as fear of the dark, losing a favourite cuddly, nightmares, monsters under the bed and loads more that all parents will be able to relate to. Following on from his success on Sesame Tree and Big City Park, Chris became a script supervisor on the new show and even went on to write a full episode of his own. Pajanimals was filmed in Belfast using puppets created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop in America. It first aired in the US back in 2008 and in late 2013 it was announced the series had been picked up by Nickelodeon Jr in the UK. Last June, Sixteen South became the first Northern Ireland company to be nominated for two Emmy Awards in New York, with Pajanimals receiving two nominations in the categories of ‘Outstanding Pre-School Children’s Series’ and ‘Outstanding Directing in a Children’s Series’, although they lost out on the night to Sesame Street.


The Ecclesville Centre in Fintona will be filled to capacity on the 28th , 29th & 30th January 2014 when the annual Q8 Oils Spring

Farm Machinery Show gets underway making it the largest Q8 Oils Spring Farm Machinery Show ever, with an excellent array of tractors, machinery, equipment and associated agricultural products from all areas of the industry on show. This year's event is not to be missed with numerous new launches and an excellent range of machinery and products on display providing a one-stop shop for the farmer and agricultural contractor alike. The 2014 show has had another major expansion and will be bigger and better than ever as every area of the Ecclesville Centre will be filled to capacity with an amazing range of pristine farm machinery and products from across the agricultural spectrum. As well as the trusted favourites many of whom have requested additional space, this year's show sees numerous brand new exhibitors, who have been accommodated by extending the exhibition space even further. In an exciting and innovative development an additional hall has been added off Hall 6 creating provision for additional stands and thereby increasing the range of exhibitors and products to be seen at this prestigious event. “We are expecting a huge turnout over the 3 days,” organiser Andrew Short said. “Scores of products and services will be profiled at next week’s event all in one prestigious venue where real business can be done, making this the largest ever Q8 Oils Spring Farm Machinery since its inception. Fintona is easily accessible from all over Ireland in the heart of the farming community in Co Tyrone." Making up the attendance over the three days will be a mix of farmers, contractors and anyone with an interest in the farming industry. The indoor halls are fully heated and as well as ample free car parking space, there are excellent restaurant facilities. The opening hours of our event have been specifically tailored to allow the busy farmer and contractor to attend the show for an enjoyable afternoon or evening out, whilst still being able to conduct his normal essential work. The show will be open from 12noon to 10pm on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday.

Calling all couch potatoes!

LOSING weight and leading a healthier lifestyle is the most popular New Year’s resolution all over the world – but taking that first step towards improved fitness can be really tough. Pictured at the launch of a ten week ‘Couch Potato to Runner Bean’ fitness programme are Omagh District Council, chairman Martin McColgan, Denise McCallion of the Public Health Agency, Active Communities Co-ordinator Billie-Jo Irwin and coaches Paddy McGrath and Patrick Given. The programme is aimed primarily at people who are currently inactive and who find taking exercise difficult, and focuses on building up physical activity in a gradual and healthy way. It will culminate with participants taking part in the Omagh Half Marathon 5K Fun Run on Saturday, March 29. For further information contact Omagh Leisure Complex. omaghtoday | 9

In a previous card, showing horsemen coming down High Street, I suggested that it could have been connected to the Anti-Home Rule Demonstration of 11 February 1914. In the case of the first two cards they have been certainly taken on that date and I can see no reason why the third card was not also. The reason I am so certain is that this first card appeared in the Tyrone Constitution on 20 February 1914. The card itself has a title but no publisher details. The paper gives the photographer as MacFarlane and Co Omagh, and the location of the scene as Crevenagh Holm. The photos were taken looking towards the Hospital Road area. If they had been taken from the other side then you would see the spires of the churches. The first photo shows some fourteen to fifteen hundred men on parade: men from Omagh, the surrounding town lands and villages. Although the photographer had chosen a good vantage point for the photo he could not include everything. There were 83 transport carts, behind and to the right hand side of the cyclists and just out of range of the lens. The scene is impressive and shows the preparation and organisation that must have gone into this demonstration. It is easy to say that this was all for show, and in a sense it was but more importantly it was a show of force. It was also a clear sign to their own supporters that they were ready to challenge the British Government if they chose to introduce Home Rule. The second photo with a similar caption to the first has the photographer moving closer to the scene and shows more of the crowd attending the demonstration. One way of determining

whether postcards have been taken by the same photographer is to examine the backs. In this case the first two are the same but the third is different. That in itself does not mean that the third was taken by someone else, although it is a possibility. It could simply mean that the photo was processed using a different batch of paper. I have probably explained before that photographers used postcard backed paper to process images; that is why you will see family photographs from the early 1900s with postcard backs. It is difficult to be precise about the number of postcards produced in each batch but is is likely to be in the tens rather than the hundreds. Unless MacFarlane studio kept precise records which have survived, which I very much doubt, we may never know. The speeches at the demonstration emphasised that their quarrel was with the British Government rather than their Nationalist neighbours. Also the newspaper report claimed that people of all political persuasions watched the display. Having left Crevenagh Holm, the parade of men made their way along Campsie, up Market St and High St via Bridge St, Lisnamallard, past Knocknamoe and in the Killyclogher Road to the Swinging Bars where they dispersed. Irish Volunteers mirrored the preparations by the UVF and both groups had opposing political aims. While both groups were prepared to fight the British Government and each other, both ended up fighting together against the Germans as the European War raged into a World War. Unionists expected a rejection of

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Home Rule for their sacrifice while Nationalists expected full implementation as their reward. Many of the men in these photos may well have ended up in France or Belgium, and many will have died there. Ironically, in Omagh, it was the Ulster Herald which initially embraced the War and published 'The Ulster Evening Herald' a daily paper devoted to war news. It stopped publication in 1915 when either war weariness or commercial reality sapped their enthusiasm. After 1916 the political scene

changed completely and the men in these photos, who survived, came home to a changed world. John Redmond saw his policies eclipsed by Sinn Fein and Unionists were forced to accept a home parliament. Soon these cards will be a hundred years old, Omagh’s past cannot be reclaimed but they allow us a glimpse into that past.

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As it was to where it is now No. 80

Charlie Taggart

There is a timely new CD out by Nora Jones and Billy Joe Armstrong featuring the music of the Everly Brothers. Its title is ‘Foreverly’, and the music therein evokes the twopart harmonies of the Everly Brothers, and reminds us of that country pop duo. The songs on ‘Foreverly’ range from ‘Roving Gambler’ to the Gene Autry penned -Silver Haired Daddy of Mine’. The CD is not just easy listening, but also gives an interesting interpretation to some really old songs like ‘Barbara Allen’. The recent death of Phil Everly (January 19, 1939 - January 3, 2014) gives added poignancy to the music and encourages going and listening to the Everly Brothers again. Billie Joe and Nora give memorable performances and I hope they get together again for more projects of this quality. Many artists, including The Beatles, cite the Everly Brothers as influences and John, Paul and George called one of their earliest groups ‘The Foreverly Brothers’. While talking about her CD ‘Old Yellow Moon’ with Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris mentions the song ‘Invitation To The Blues’, written by Roger Miller, and says it has arching melodies with two voices blending together like the Everly Brothers. The CD ‘Old Yellow Moon’ is back to the old school of country music, with songs like ‘Dreaming My Dreams’ associated with Waylon Jennings, and I have enjoyed listening to it, especially the song ‘Here We Are’. Nora Jones and Willie Nelson sing together on Willie’s highly recommended new CD ‘To All the Girls’. Willie is noted for his many duet partners, and this time he has pulled off something fresh and original throughout the 18 tracks on this CD, using some well-known songs with a few less known partners. Track 1, ‘From Here to the Moon and Back’, with a restrained performance by Dolly Parton gets you interested; track 3, ‘It won’t be Very Long’, with the Secret Sisters, really captures your attention and suddenly you are hooked, and realise that this is one album you will be listening to for a long time to come. All the tracks are excellent, but Willie and Paula Nelson, singing the John Fogerty song ‘Have You Ever Seen the Rain’, is truly delightful - the type of performance you remember for a long time. Every time I listen to this CD a different track stands out and, I could enthuse about each and every one. The Dixie Chicks are currently not working as a group, so Emily Robison and her sister, Martie Maguire, got together as a duo to record songs written mainly by Emily. They call themselves the ‘Courtyard Hounds’ - the title coming from a book by David Benioff – better known as the script- writer for Game of Thrones. The girls say that for them there is no sibling rivalry or acrimony like the Everly Brothers. ‘Amelita’ is their second album and it consists of mainly up-tempo tunes that have received a lukewarm reception up to now. They say that one thing leads to another and I have now gone back to listening to the originals of some of these songs and some CDs I have not listened to in a long time. Two elderly gentlemen were sitting on the seat at the courthouse on a beautiful day in early spring. “It’s a beautiful day,” said one. “That’s true,” said the other, “I’m sorry I’m not still working, so that I could take the day off”.

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& andY

Andy Gordon Isn’t it good to see Charlie right up to date with his country music news! He starts off well with notice of a great CD – ‘Foreverly’. No ifs or buts - buy or download it – you will listen to it over and over again – such a wonderful album! He then gives grizzly Willie a plug, which, while puzzling, is fine with me. But then he sinks to new depths with the miserable Courtyard Hounds – oh dear - and even further with his ‘joke’! While he was listening, I was watching. This time every year the papers are full of nominations for the Oscars, Golden Globes etc, and on TV we are treated to bits and pieces of all sorts of movies. My problem is that most of these films have been and gone by the time I know about them. But not this year! I have been able to see a few of the blockbusters, and have been mightily impressed to see that the hype for them was not misplaced. Alas, in the process of seeing these films, I have had to sit in a variety of cinemas – from the most grand, to the also ran! That’s not to say that the also ran was not a good enough cinema well apart from cutting off the left hand side of the screen! No, my gripe this week is about the other patrons who attend these screenings. Now when it says in the listings that a film starts at 7.45pm, what time would you plan to get there? If you’re like me, I reckon if you would get to the car park about 7.30, to be buying your ticket at 7.35 – seated at 7.40, with just enough time to settle down to watch a few trailers before the start of the main event – right? WRONG!! For a showing of ‘12 years a Slave’ there were people – I use the term loosely - coming in a good 15 minutes after the start of the main event. Not just one or two. No – a constant stream. Each one having to be brought in through the door, meaning that the quiet start to the film was drowned out by the chatter and laughter from the foyer; then shown down the aisle by torchlight and last, but not least, shuffling past those already comfortably seated. As if that were not bad enough, the majority of those in for the show had obviously been so busy during the day that they had missed their dinner, because, as soon as they sat down out came the eats and drinks! Now I admit to the odd small packet of sweets when in the cinema, but nowadays it is buckets of popcorn, tankards of drinks, hot dogs, and worst of all, nachos with melted cheese. All this slurping and munching might be acceptable were it not for the smell that inevitably accompanies these snacks. The whole place smelt like a café! Charlie told me it would not have bothered him at all – typical! But then he explained that his experience of head butting horses near Cookstown, had left him with no sense of smell – as he says, “a little good comes from every happening” – what a man! The film itself did not have the magnificence of ‘Gravity’, or the sheer magic, and edge of the seat feeling of the latest ‘Hobbit’, but was more measured, dealing with an altogether more serious subject. It had the same effect on me as ‘Schindler’s List’ - it left me angry, and I remember back then the audience getting up quietly and shuffling out silently. This had the same feeling – brutal and thought provoking. Entertaining? No, definitely not, but a film not to be missed.

Banish unwanted fat with laser lipo (in your lunchbreak!) WE all have ‘pet hates’ when it comes to our bodies; even the most dedicated of gym bunnies have parts of themselves they’d rather keep under wraps – think love handles, wobbly tummies, dimply thighs – sound familiar? If it does, then you’ll be very excited to hear that Omagh is about to get a brand new weapon in the war on unwanted fat, in the form of the Adipose Clinic. This brand new venture is the brainchild of local couple Gerard and Lynda McNamee and offers laser lipolysis (or AdiSlim) that is completely non-invasive with no discomfort, no bruising and no scarring – just a leaner, firmer you in four weeks! The treatment works by applying four laser pads to the area being targeted – and here comes the science: the laser emits low levels of laser energy, which creates a chemical signal in the fat cells, breaking down the stored fatty deposits and releasing them though the cell membranes. The broken-down fat is then transported around the body to tissues that will use them to create energy – mimicking the body’s natural way of accessing energy reserves. The treatment itself is completely painless and the only sensation is one of warmth in the area being treated, which is caused by the chemical reaction within the fat cells. Because AdiSlim stimulates a natural reaction within the body, there is no risk of damage to skin, blood vessels or nerves. Following treatment clients are encouraged to complete a 30 minute session of cardiovascular exercise such as brisk walking or jogging. This ensures the fatty acids freed by the procedure are fully metabolized by the body and any waste is effectively drained by the lymphatic system, ensuring long-lasting results. The treatment is suitable for use on any part of the body where unwanted fat is stored, with the exception of the bust area in women. The course is eight treatments spread over four weeks – most people see results after the first session and you can expect to lose up to 12cm on average from tummies, arms, thighs and anywhere else you fancy! Treatments are carried out by fully qualified staff using state-ofthe-art equipment developed and manufactured by leading UK medical and cosmetic laser experts, Chromogenex. The Adipose Clinic is also registered with the RQIA, the independent regulatory body for health and social care services in Northern Ireland. For more information and appointments, contact Lynda at the Adipose Clinic, 2, Crevenagh Road, Omagh (upstairs at The Grange Dental Practice) on 028 8224 4290. The clinic is currently offering introductory rates with a course of eight treatments starting at £500.

laser lipo-suction immediate fat reduction cellulite reduction without surgery

to find out more about our treatments and how we can target your problem areas, come along to any of our open days.

open days. thur 30th Jan, 2-8pm thur 6th feb, 2-8pm 2 crevenagh road, omagh, co. tyrone, bt79 0al

028 8224 4290 /

Lynda McNamee in her Adipose Clinic.

Donegal man is closest Irish relative of Meryl Streep A MAN from Dunfanaghy in Co. Donegal has spoken of his surprise at finding out he is the fourth cousin and closest Irish relative of Hollywood legend Meryl Streep. 72-year-old Jimmy Lafferty was given the news by the same researcher who helped trace the Irish roots of American president Barack Obama. Both Mr Lafferty and the actress are descended from Ms Streep's great greatgrandmother, Grace Strain, who emigrated to New York from Donegal in 1862. Ms Streep's daughter Grace is named after the Donegal woman. Mr Lafferty, who runs a holiday home business in the village of Dunfanaghy, said when he found out: "I was over the moon, a very pleasant surprise I can tell you." Ms Streep, who recently won an Oscar for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, was in Donegal in 1998 during the filming of Dancing in Lughnasa. It is understood the researcher who discovered the link is contacting the three-time Academy Award winner to tell her of her Donegal relative.

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It’s a ‘happy new beer’ for Carrickmore man Darren Nugent as he launches his range of craft beers across Northern Ireland…


T’S been over a year in the making, but Carrickmore-based beer maker Darren Nugent finally has a big reason to be cheerful after the first bottles from his micro-brewery Pokertree were snapped up by a host of local licencees last week. Inspired by the growing popularity of microbrewing in England, where he went to university, Darren had a vision of creating his own beer right on his doorstep, using the finest local grain where possible to create artisan products that could be appreciated by anyone, from the uninitiated lager drinker to the beer connoisseur. In late 2012 he got the green light from planners to convert farm buildings near his home into a small brewing plant, and in the intervening period has poured his heart and soul into developing and perfecting his product range – culminating in the launch this month of Pokertree Brewing Company’s first beer, ‘Ghrian’. Ghrian, which in Irish means ‘Sun’ is a 4.5% ABV light golden ale with a pleasing hop kick that makes it stand out. In development for over a year, the beer was chosen by Darren to be the first of four scheduled for launch over the coming months. The new brewer has received fantastic support from the local trade with a number of premises already signed up to stock the product, including Bogan’s, Main Street, Sally’s, The Village Inn, McCann’s, Grant’s Restaurant, ICE off licnces at Gortin Road

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and Mullaghmore, and Strains, as well as The Charm Inn and Centra in Carrickmore. The beer is also being stocked across Northern Ireland, as Pokertree has appointed a distributor who has secured outlets in each county, with the company receiving great feedback to date. The craft beer scene is booming with a number of small breweries popping up across Ireland in recent years. This is part of a wider international movement which has seen the popularity of more strongly flavoured ales gaining in popularity as drinkers are increasingly moving

sold out and wanted 10 more, which was phenomenal! “I think that people really want to get behind local producers and want to see small ventures succeed after a few very hard years for local businesses.” The beers are all made in the company’s own purpose built brewery, which is capable of producing approximately 20,000 bottles a week at full production. All of Pokertree’s Ales are made using natural ingredients, suitable for vegetarians, are unfiltered and don’t use any artificial additives or preservatives. Pokertree Brewing Company products are available for delivery across Northern Ireland now. If you are in the trade and you are interested in stocking Ghrian or any future products from Pokertree – including Red Earl Ruby Ale, set to launch in February - call Darren on 07070131318 or email


away from more mainstream and bland commercial brands. Speaking about the launch, Darren said: “We are really excited to see Ghrian finally on the shelves. After a lot of hard work and a great deal of support from everyone around us we are really happy with the product and are excited about how well it seems to be going down. “For example, one bar we supplied in Omagh ordered a few cases and were then on the phone the next day as they had

To celebrate the launch of Ghrian Golden Ale Omagh Today has teamed up with Pokertree Brewing Company to offer readers the chance to win a case of Ghrian Golden Ale. All you have to do is take a picture of yourself with a Ghrian and post it to Pokertree’s Facebook page or Twitter feed (@ PokerTreeBrew) and tag it OMAGH TODAY for your chance to win!

- WIN - WIN - WIN - WIN -

Men's Breakfast with Archbishop Martin

MORE than 60 local men recently attended what has become a hugely popular event in Omagh – the sixth annual Men’s Breakfast, held in the hall of Omagh Methodist Church. The event draws in men from various churches across the Omagh District not just for a delicious cooked breakfast courtesy of Gordon and Barbara Moore, but also to hear from a range of interesting speakers, whether simply men from within the membership, or other speakers such as the President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, Rev Kenneth Lindsay, the Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry, Ken Good and just

last Saturday (January 18) the speaker was Archbishop Eamon Martin the Roman Catholic Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh. Archbishop Martin gave a most interesting talk including reference to the role of his mother and late father in encouraging him in the faith. He also touched on the ‘abuse scandal’ that had come to light in the church and the difficulty of engaging meaningfully with young people many of whom look to social media for their contact with others. Any men interested in details for further Men’s Breakfast meetings can contact John Buchanan on 07734 823 752.

Pics: Ed Winters

Church Unity Week

Clergy who took part in the Omagh Churches Forum's Christian Service participants from the community and health sector who Unity week service in the Sacred Heart Church, Omagh on Sunday joined in readings at the Church Unity Week Service which was evening. Following the Service guests and clergy had refreshments entitled ‘Christian Caring in the Community’. in Trinity Presbyterian Church Hall. omaghtoday | 15


E N T E R T A I N M E N T . . .

Friday 24th Jan DJ Shai Doors open 10pm.




prizes for best fancy dress!!







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HEN/STAG & PARTY PACKAGES AVAILABLE RUE 028 8225 7575 | UNA VITA 028 8224 4440

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W A new year and a new column here in Omagh Today...... There's no getting away from the rich musical heritage that the town and district of Omagh has. From Frank McCrory to Jimmy Kennedy, from Frankie McBride to Frank Chisum and from Brian Coll to Donna Taggart, this part of the world has produced many singers, songwriters and musicians, and that's not counting the number of promoters, 'roadies' and others who earned a living from the music business. All genres of music have had their stars from this community, we have had our fair share of showbands, orchestras, rock bands, pop bands, traditional, indie, traditional rock, punk and of course the genre that's back with a bang - country. We have witnessed a mass revival of country in the last two years with a glut of young entertainers making it cool to be a country fan again. Not since the heady days of packed houses for Brian Coll, Philomena Begley, Big Tom and Co in the latter stages of the showband era has country enjoyed such success. Yes Daniel O'Donnell was there through the late eighties and nineties, we had the influx of the American country, Garth Brooks et al and certainly there were still plenty of followers of our own brand. The emergence of Nathan Carter, Derek Ryan and Lisa McHugh after the success of Mike Denver and Robert Mizzell has raised the roof and that's great for the industry


CARTER AGAIN He can do no wrong at the moment and once again Nathan Carter has done it again. His latest single 'Simple Life' is on course to be a hit and the video featuring Nathan himself is a work of art. It features Nathan playing a role far removed from his own stage persona and enjoying a night out at a Nathan show. It's not just the work that has gone into the storyline but the quality of the production and its crispness on screen. It goes to prove that if you're going to produce a video for the expanding country TV market it's worth doing it with a bit of class and doing it right..............a word to the wise for all those planning videos. omaghtoday | 18

e have a few of our own newcomers now too and in coming editions they will feature in this pages but we start this new column on the local country music scene with a man whose popularity has not waned since his days playing the pubs and clubs of Omagh and Tyrone with the Melody Boys. That's some thirty odd years ago you know, but it's twenty five years as a professional entertainer and recording artist for Dominic Kirwan - and he is still going strong. To mark his silver jubilee Dominic will take to the highways and byways of Ireland, the UK and further afield in the next couple of months. Dominic signed with the Ritz label under the guidance of Mick Clerkin in 1989 having been on the road with the Melody Boys and the Las Vegas Band before he got his break. The release of 'Try a Little Kindness' came that autumn and the rest, as they say, is history. It's been a stunning career for the Omagh man, from tours with Charley Pride, Don Williams and Tammy Wynette to sell out UK and Irish tours in his own right. Dominic has a style that has been impossible to pigeonhole in those 25 years; comfortable with a ballad or a showband classic, at ease with country or a pop standard Dominic has made his own mark, his own take on so many songs. He has been as busy as ever over the past year but 2014 will be a milestone, "It's hard to believe it's been 25 years, so many songs, so many tours, so many miles but it certainly has been rewarding, its been an incredible journey, one I could certainly not have done without the fans. I have been blessed to have had such a loyal following through the years and I really hope I will meet a lot of them over this special year," enthused Kirwan who has certainly not lost his energy for the business. Dominic has been busy in the studio too. Plans are in place to release several singles and a new album to follow on from what was the Irishman's busiest year in the studio in several years. In the

past twelve months three singles and a four track EP went on general release while at Christmas 'A Winter's Tale' and 'Joseph's Lullaby' from Dominic's Christmas album "One Bright Star" received extensive radio plays around the world. To coincide with the 25th Anniversary Tour Dominic has re-released Over My Shoulder, as the man says himself, its an apt choice for airplay as he's literally looking over his shoulder at the past 25 years. Dominic will kick start the celebrations with an Irish concert tour through January until March, the tour broken up with the annual Caribbean cruise in mid February. The new concert show for 2014 is centred around the 25th anniversary, a night of nostalgia as genial Mr Kirwan rolls back the years, belting out many of the songs that has made him a household name. It will be a night to celebrate, savour and enjoy Dominic Kirwan at his very best. Relive the magical moments of one of Ireland's finest entertainers. In his own inimitable style Dominic will be joined by some very special guests in a show worthy of a visit for fans, for newcomers to the Omagh man's vocal talent and for music lovers alike. This is a show not to be missed It will be a massive year for Dominic but what of the future? The good news is that Dominic has no intention of letting up..."We have taken a break from the dancing scene, we'll still be doing the odd one but our focus is on this exciting new concert show, we have been working hard on the songs, I have looked and listened at the back catalogue and I hope to bring some of the oldies back into the shows through the year. I still enjoy what I am doing and as long as that feeling lasts I will continue, it really doesn't feel like 25 years and if the next 25 are as good, I certainly will be happy - old but happy!"

ON STAGE... BACK ON THE ROAD "The Band is Back in Town" Local music fans will have a chance to welcome back a man who took a break from touring for a few years, before the end of this month. Michael English and his new band are back on the road and they will be coming to the Mellon on the last day of January. It's the Kildare man's return and it's marked with an exciting new album as well, that new release is on the shelves from February 1st but it's likely he will have a few copies on sale at the Mellon. Michael started performing at the age of eleven and was an overnight success, a first album in 1997 shot the young man to the top. Several other albums have followed and so too did the awards. Best Album in 2010 and top selling album accolades in 2008 and 2009. The business has been tough but with a refocus and with an exciting new band as well as a great single "The Band is Back in Town" fans of the County Kildare man will be loving his return.



inally in this our first Country Matters in Omagh Today the very best of luck to Angela Reid, Patricia Maguire and Barry Devlin, all from Tyrone who are featuring on TG4's Glor Tire. Locals will be out a clean fortune though voting for the talented bunch as they attempt to progress.



Following the opening introduction show, the nine concert programmes are recorded ‘as live’, followed by a review edition and then three elimination programmes where we will lose two contestants per week. This all leads to the grand final which will feature three finalists.

t comes as no surprise that one of the new kids on the block is a young nephew of Dominic's. Gareth Pritchard is no stranger to local stages, he has been doing the local scene with his father Brian and his brothers for several years and recently has been working on the road with Dominic. Last year he decided to go for it and has released a double A side single 'Can you feel it?' by Don Sampson and Ricky Lynn Gregg has received plenty of airplay and "Whenever you come around" has proved this young Omagh man will have plenty of success.

The judging panel can save one of the three contestants with the lowest vote but the public vote is hugely important too.

Check out our feature on Gareth, his newly-formed band and his plans for 2014 over on page 30!

The popular country ‘n western talent show returned for another 15 week series last week. It features nine of Ireland’s best performers as they each mentor a new contestant in a quest to win the Glór Tíre title. Each contestant will perform a duet and solo with their mentor within their concert programme, they all performed with the house band during the introduction programme last week and will again in the recap and elimination programmes. The very talented presenter Aoife Ní Thuairisg fronts the show with the judging panel, broadcaster John Creedon, singer-songwriter Caitríona Ní Shúilleabháin and another great singer-songwriter and former Eurovision winner Charlie McGettigan.

Your votes will count but the local vote is certain to be split but as they say in these parts vote early and vote often.......... omaghtoday | 19

Omagh Players - Lost in Yonkers

The Omagh Players enjoyed an extremely successful three night run in the Strule Arts Centre last week with their production of the Neil Simon classic play, ‘Lost in Yonkers’. Wonderful casting and impressive attention to detail in the set and costume department added to the effect in this comedy/drama focusing on the difficulties faced by two young brothers forced to live with their stern grandmother and eccentric aunt Bella. The quality of the performance on stage was reflected in the audience’s reactions and the two things combined resulted in a fantastic production of which the Players should be really proud.

CALLING ALL RADIO ENTHUSIASTS! IN this digital age we hear lots about texting, blogging, tweeting and skypeing; there is not much talk about tried-and-trusted forms of communication like the good old-fashioned radio – and you’d be forgiven for thinking that radio is the preserve of an older generation, without much interest in modern technology. You’d be wrong, though: because amateur radio is a serious passion for people all over the world – and even further afield! Here in Omagh, the West Tyrone Amateur Radio Club is a thriving organisation attracting new members all the time, and as part of their commitment to promoting amateur radio to the wider public through events, education and training, the club is holding another amateur radio foundation course, followed by an exam. Amateur radio is all about the skill and fascination of communicating using radio. Radio amateurs have their own communication satellites, talk to the international space station and are at the very cutting edge of technology in many areas. Amateur Radio operators come from all lifestyles. They are all ages, sexes, income levels and nationalities. Whether they prefer Morse code, voice communication on a hand-held radio, or computerized messages transmitted via satellite, they all have an interest in what's happening in the world, and they use radio to reach out. Because amateurs share the radio spectrum with other users and can transmit any time to anywhere on Earth or in space, as well as designing and constructing their own transmitters and antennas, there are certain regulations, practical skills and safety concerns it’s important to know about. The exam covers National and international regulations, operational procedures, basic understanding of radio theory

and safety and has three levels; foundation, intermediate and full. All three levels permits users to use the radio spectrum, but the more advanced levels allow users more knowledge in building their own radios and antennas. The venue for next foundation course will be in the Technology Centre, Spillers Place, Omagh. The course will be held on two consecutive Saturdays – February 15 and 22, followed by an evening exam on February 24. It is open to both male and females of all ages (disabled facilities are available) All course materials will be provided. There is a fee of £50 which covers the full course and a short exam. You can download an application form from the WTARC website, Please send completed forms to the address provided. Students will be required to attend the club monthly meeting on February 4 to register and sign up for the course. You will be contacted in relation to the registration.

Friends for life

Young ladies who were enjoying a ladies night out and a 'kinda reunion of the class of '98 in the Coach Inn on Saturday night. omaghtoday | 20




Images of Omagh & District from times past... Left: Back in May 1987 pupils, teachers and friends of Lisconrea P. S. organised a sponsored walk for the Kelly Hannigan Appeal. £1900 was raised which was a fantastic sum back then. Below left: Drumquin guys and dolls at a function in the Royal Arms . . . . . . 25 years ago. Below: A well stocked McCrystal Bros shop in Fintona back in 1988. John and Winnie and staff had the experience and variety to fit-out men, women and children in the most fashionable outfits of the time. Left below: Willie Loughry, better known as Rock Stewart, entertaining dancers during the ‘80s. Willie gave audiences value for money with outrageous shows featuring Dracula, Frankenstein, Rasputin, zany Bride and Groom, and Highland drummer to mention a few.

Above: Carrickmore youth club established a non alcoholic social club in the early 80’s. Pictured are a selection of the energetic and charming hostesses. Left: Our Pio presents Daniel O’Donnell with a gold disc to celebrate sales of 25,000 copies of his 'I Need You’ LP. The presentation took place in the Inter Counties Hotel, Lifford which was stuffed to the rafters with Daniel fans. That was in 1988. omaghtoday | 21

With Chloe Kerr

LOGO MANIA FOR SPRING One of the biggest trends for spring/summer 2014 is a hark back to the 90s – slogan tees, sweatshirts and bomber jackets. Think old school New York streetwear. Slogan tees and sweaters were very popular on the runways for this season, with Alexander Wang and DKNY setting the pace with loud, in-your-face designs and slogans. Despite being stuck in the 90s, SS14 has gone for the clean minimalism of that decade, a shift away from the grunge looks we have been seeing in recent months - so in a season bursting with street flavour, it comes as no surprise to see logo tees and shouty slogans hitting the high street. Slogan t-shirts and sweaters are a very versatile item of clothing, great for day or night. For a daytime look you can team them with a faithful pair of skinny jeans and a plaid shirt over the top, super casual, but super cool – very off duty model. For a more feminine look, wear with a skater skirt for a cute juxtaposition of style, and team it with Spring’s ‘it’ shoe, the loafer. For night-time wear with wet look leggings, or a skater or body con skirt, a blazer, and of course, your trusty high heels. However you wear your slogan tee/ sweater, remember to have fun with it – 90s nostalgia isn’t meant to be taken seriously! For makeup trends however, the grunge look is still very much in play. Smoky eyes and bright lips are the perfect compliment to your shouty sweater. Oranges, light greys or prune tones are great choices for an edgy look. The best part of the grunge makeup trend is that perfection is not required nor encouraged, which means there’s no need to worry about getting everything just right! omaghtoday | 22

OMG! OAF, NIAO & ODC! We’ve had some news regarding the Hydro-Electric Turbine which Omagh District Council (ODC) commissioned in the River Camowen to supply electricity to power Omagh Leisure Complex. Last August, Omagh Angling Forum (OAF) contacted the Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO), outlining our concerns about the possible effects the scheme might have on the river and its environs. Our admin spokesperson described in some detail the shocking effect the Turbine had on its initial test-run. We also highlighted the imbalances apparent between ODC’s projected cost of building the Turbine and the actual cost incurred - in excess of £800,000 - for a huge piece of engineering which was to lie dormant in the river for well over a year after its supposed commissioning. OAF asked NIAO to investigate every aspect of ODC’s handling of the project and indeed they did! They questioned the cost of the project and the delay in commissioning it and recommended a “comprehensive post-project evaluation” to see what went wrong and any lessons that could be learned from the whole sorry episode. The Chief Local Government Auditor has stated that her office will keep the project under review and may report further on it in the future. In reply, ODC stated that the Turbine had been working since last November (the auditor’s inspection report was published at the end of October) and was so successful that they had generated enough electricity to power the Leisure Complex and had enough left over to sell on to the National Grid. Their spokesperson also declared that they have already started the post-project evaluation and indicated that they would have initial findings in a year’s time, although a proper evaluation of the viable economics of the project would be considered over “a longer term basis”. In rugby parlance, we hope ODC hasn’t tried to kick our concerns into touch, although I wouldn’t be surprised! The Weigh Inn Angling Club held a fly fishing comp on January 12 at Birchwood Fishery in Drumquin. It proved to be a good day out and a total of 79 fish were caught in terrible conditions. Well done to Cahir McGovern (pictured, centre) who won with 15 fish; Raymond landed heaviest rainbow and Bob heaviest steelhead on the day. The Club wish to extend their thanks to Birchwood Fishery for their help throughout the day and for doing the BBQ and providing tea/coffee throughout the day also. The Club are taking new members this year and organizing pike, sea (5) and trout outings over the coming months. Yearly membership £10 and membership forms can be picked up at The Weigh Inn. A final note just to mention that the Drowes has given up its first salmon of the year, despite the river still running high. Eoin McManus landed her from Lennox's Pool on the 7th of January. To date (18th) it has been the only fish landed on the Drowes. Tight lines! MC

Omagh Today Pinboard Welcome to the Omagh Today pinboard! Whether you’re a business owner or a local shopper you’ll find plenty of offers here over the coming weeks to tickle your fancy – advertise your company’s discount offer or product promotion for just £25 per issue with no minimum sign-up period, or simply keep your eye out for great offers from the businesses and shops you regularly visit, cut out the coupon and present in store to save £££s! Email ads@omaghtoday for more information.

ADVERTISE HERE FOR ONLY £25 AND SEE YOUR BUSINESS GROW. Call Brendan on 07884313385 or Pat on 07712840985 or email

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Blush envelope clutch, Accessorize Silver and lemon clutch, M&S.


Powder blue mini satchel, River Island.

Ice blue metallic cross-body/ clutch, Dune.

Camel leather shoulder bag, Radley.

Black studded tote, Paul’s Boutique.

Black and tan tote, Accessorize

Large spot tall tote, Cath Kidston.

UGG home for 2014

Normally it’s kind of strange when your favourite brand starts branching out into new areas, but when we heard that Ugg Australia were planning to extend their range of sheepskin cosiness from our footwear to our homes, we got really excited! The new home interiors range is set to launch later this month and includes snuggly chunky knits as well as sheepskin rugs, cushions and even some leather pieces – and the best bit? Prices start from just £17!

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Hot pink tote, Miss Selfridge

Tan leather tassel tote, Moda in Pelle

Calling all

brides-to-be! The word on the grapevine is that there were lots of diamonds under lots of Christmas trees in the Omagh area this Christmas and if you’re newly-engaged or soon to be wed then you definitely don’t want to miss Northern Ireland’s latest brand new bridal inspiration blog, The Promise! Blogger Emma has more than ten years’ experience in the bridal industry and what she doesn’t know about wedding style isn’t worth knowing – so why not let her take all the hard work out of sourcing everything from your dream gown to those quirky finishing touches that will get your guests talking? Visit www.thepromiseni

Angela and mentor to entertain in Omagh

FINTONA’s Angela Reid will take to the stage with her Glor Tire mentor Michael English when he visits Omagh later this month on his Ireland-wide tour. Local songbird Angela is a regular face on stages around the district and was delighted to be chosen as one of nine contestants on the TG4 talent show for 2014. Her mentor, Michael English, is originally from Kildare and has been singing since childhood – an appearance on the Late Late Show catapulted him to fame in Ireland when he was a boy and he has gone on to become a household name, touring all over Ireland, the UK and America. Michael will appear at the Strule Arts Centre on January 31 (tickets £17.50, 8pm start) and afterwards will travel on to the Mellon Country Hotel where he and Angela will also entertain guests until the wee small hours!

Incredible line-up awaits at Newtown drama festival

THEATRE goers are looking forward with great anticipation to the opening of the 2014 Newtownstewart Drama Festival on Thursday, February 20. Running for nine nights, this year’s festival hopes to build on the runaway success of last year’s event with an incredible line up from modern classics like ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘Who`s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’, to new and powerful dramas such as ‘Any Given Day’ and ‘Curse of the Starving Class’ and not forgetting of course those who like a good laugh ‘The Gingerbread Lady’ and ‘Little Gem’. The talented cast and crew of the performing groups are once again travelling from all over Ireland, from as far away as Cork and Waterford to as close to home as Ballyshannon and Pomeroy. Tickets are now on sale and with season tickets available for all nine nights at only £40, and 4 night tickets available for just £20, it really is a week not to be missed. Bookings can be made by ringing Paul on 07510698404 and all other information is available online at www. .


The organisers of the Newtownstewart Drama Festival 2014 have kindly given us two season tickets worth £40 to give away to one lucky reader (and whomever they decide to take with them! To be in with a chance to win simply complete the coupon and return it to Omagh Today, 79 Moylagh Road, Beragh, BT790UN on or before Friday, February 15! Name: Address:

Tel No:

Mummy Diaries Children of the revolution I’ve been wondering this week how many parents feel it’s their duty to protect their kids from the ‘digital revolution’ for as long as possible. A friend of mine was ranting on Facebook about her four-year-old wanting an iPad and how she feels as though she has to try and stem the technological tide for as long as possible, like a tiny little mummy with her finger in the enormous dam of the internet, and Apple. I do find myself getting freaked out about what the world is going to be like when my children are young adults, making their way in life. I mean, we all know we can’t hold back progress; I’d be willing to bet that before the boy has finished primary school, the iPad will be a classroom staple in the same way as pencils and paper were when I was ten. My younger sister nearly fell off her chair laughing at me when I told her that when I went to university, hardly anybody had their own computer and we all used to schlep to the library to check our emails or use MSN Messenger – remember that?? Even when I first started working as a reporter, I didn’t have internet access at my desk. Now I rely on a ‘device’ for nearly everything – work, socializing, shopping, reading – and I can only imagine that when I’m a granny my grandchildren will laugh at my antique Kindle and I will be hankering after the good old days when you could order Tesco over the internet and have it delivered to your door in a real van by a real man. By then Tesco will probably be reading your mind and then dropping groceries into your garden via drone, and everyone will have forgotten how to use the proper phone or how to speak to other humans face to face, and we will all have calluses on our fingers from tapping keyboards all day and then we will all die from antibioticresistant superbugs spread via touchscreens in every public place known to man. So yeah, technology’s great and there’s no point standing in the way of progress. But for flip’s sake, do they have to mess with everything? I was on Instagram (you see? I have no life outside of the internet) the other night and I noticed a picture of my friend’s kid (and here I should add this is a person I ONLY know online) playing Jenga. But not just any old Jenga, no – Jenga ‘Boom!’ And seeing this photo inspired me to get out our old non-boom version of Jenga to play with the kids, and they absolutely loved it. From two to 32, regular old no-frills Jenga is a big hit in our house. That got me thinking about why they felt Jenga needed another dimension. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – right? Except it now seems that if it doesn’t require 2xAA batteries then it must be broke, and it requires fixing post haste. Because Jenga isn’t the only game that’s had the Boom! treatment, my friends. There’s Twister Dance, where you plug in your iPod and learn dance moves by stepping on the coloured circles; Connect 4 Dunk where you use ‘souped up launchers’ to flick things called ‘kwods’ into a tower; the Rubik’s Cube’s ‘cool cousin’ Rubik’s Race, and electronic Scrabble Banter which is possibly an oxymoron in its own right. Then of course there’s the fact that for every board game, a version has been invented for your games console or computer – so instead of storing all those bulky boxes and keeping track of tiny plastic dice and counters, you only have to find space for the console and half a dozen DVD boxes. Handy, eh? Not so great in a power cut though. I’m not sure what to do about it. Is there any point sticking one’s finger in the dam, making sure your kids have played cards and non-boom Jenga and can entertain themselves without battery-powered devices? Or is that the same as continuing to send letters in the hopes of a backlash against email, or picture messages in some sort of feeble attempt to undermine WhatsApp and Snapchat? It’s never going to happen, is it? I think I’ll hang on to the Jenga though. I’m going to need something to keep me amused when my eyesight gets too bad to read the screen of my iPhone 65S. omaghtoday | 25

Dear Aggie I think I must be married to the tightest man in Tyrone – maybe the world! It started out with just wee things like complaining if I spent too long talking to my mother on the phone and making me and the kids turn off lights and appliances when they weren’t in use but over the ten years we’ve been married it’s turned into a real obsession. He has us wearing extra jumpers in the house instead of turning on the heat, buying stuff in bulk just because it’s on offer – you could hardly leave your coat lying on a chair or he’d have it away to the 50p per kilo place and the other day I caught him hoking through my underwear drawer after he watched some American show that said old tights were perfect for recycling odds and ends to make your own ‘soap on a rope’! I’m just about at the end of my rope – what should I do? Scundered in Sixmilecross Dear Scundered, I have a sorta mixed feelins about your wee letter love. You see, I grew up in war Our resident agony aunt times and in them days ye just couldn’t afford to be wastin things because nobody had much. I remember we used to have a wee thingymajig and you put all your scrag dishes out down-to-earth ends of hand soap in and when it was full you put the lid on and pressed it down hard advice for all your woes... and hey presto, a new bar of soap! These days the young wans have this ‘disposable culture’ we’re always hearin about. Nobody saves up for anythin any more; they see something they want, stick it on the credit card and the next thing ye know it’s out of fashion so they turf it in the bin and the whole thing starts again. I don’t mind tellin ye I have roll-ons in my drawer that I’ve had twenty years but the young girls these days are all buyin feather trimmed brassieres and knickers you could floss yer teeth with, and sure the half of them fall to bits the first time you put them through a spin cycle! So I can see where your fella is comin from when it comes to waste and makin the most of what ye have. But that said, I can understand why the whole thing would be frustratin’ for you too. It’s one thing tryin to make your money go further and quite another makin everybody miserable just to save a few pennies – I can just picture your wee ones all happed up in their jumpers and the radiators stone cold. Life is for livin and money is for spendin and if yer lucky enough to have oil in the tank then there’s no reason to sit in the cold. Convincin him of this fact might not be so easy, though. I suggest you purchase some of them dental flossy knickers and a nice feathery brassiere. Explain to him that you don’t want to catch yer death and will therefore only be able to model them for him in a nice warm room, and see if that changes his mind. Good luck, Love Aggie

Stagefright Murder Mystery Stagefright Theatre Company, Omagh are well into rehearsals with their forthcoming production, ‘Nightmare’ by Norman Robbins. Breaking new ground, for the company, with a thriller in the style of a whodunnit. A wealthy old lady is at the centre of everyone’s attention and suspicion falls on the many characters in a web of deceit, lies and murder. Can you solve the case? A rare opportunity of a wonderful night’s entertainment. Booking now at Strule Arts Centre, Omagh for Fri 21st and Sat 22nd Feb. 2014. omaghtoday | 26

Martin Taggart is thirty and engaged Left: Popular Drumragh footballer and birthday boy Martin Taggart with his parents Siobhan and Brendan and sisters Michelle, Katrina and Edel at his 30th in the Coach Inn on Saturday night. Marty with his pretty fiancĂŠe Nicola Glass.

Hollie Walls celebrates her sixteenth

Above: Hollie Walls with some of the guests at her 16th birthday bash in the Mellon Country Hotel on Saturday night. Top Left: Birthday girl Hollie Walls with her father, Tony and little sister Abbey at her 16th birthday bash in the Mellon. Left: Hollie with boyfriend Ryan Duffy at her 16th in the Mellon on Saturday night. omaghtoday | 27

Social life in need of a boost? Your guide to what’s onMartin in Omagh district this fortnight... By Claire





Needing no introduction around these parts, country heartthrob Nathan Carter has had a tremendous year to date. His new album ‘Where I Wanna Be’ topped the Irish Charts and he’s made numerous TV appearances, most recently on the prestigious Late Late Show on RTE1. Nathan's new album release follows the phenomenal success of 'Wagon Wheel', the title track of which has been one of the most requested songs ever on Irish radio – and his brand new DVD entitled ‘Wagon Wheel: The Live Show’ is already proving to be a major hit with fans! Nathan is really looking forward to playing Strule again, as it is one of his favourite concert venues and it's going to be a great night of good country music, so book your tickets now to avoid disappointment.

{WHAT’S ON?} Your at-a-glance guide to upcoming events 18th January

The Village Inn, Killyclogher, Country Music Night with music by Curtis Magee

21st January

The Weigh Inn, Omag, entertainment by Mo & The Martyrs Three, 10pm.

24th January

Mantis on Main Street – Aladdin Theme Party with prizes for the best dressed and spot prizes on the night! Over 18s only.

24th January

RNIB Information Day, Omagh Library, 10am1pm, free. Tea and coffee provided.

25th January

National Fit Club event, Gortin Glens Forest Park - 5K walk for kiddies and family, also 5K walk faster pace and 5K run. Starts 11am, followed by music, picnic & 20m fitclass for all. Everyone welcome.


25th January

For one night only Flash Harry recreate the magic of Queen at Strule Arts Centre. Party to classic tracks including 'Bohemian Rhapsody', 'I Want To Break Free', 'A Kind of Magic' and 'Radio Ga Ga' - a guaranteed good night out. The band have entertained audiences across Ireland, Britain and America for twenty years. They have played the largest venues in Britain and Ireland, including three memorable sell outs at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast, so don’t miss your chance to catch them right here on your doorstep.

26th January

The Village Inn, Killyclogher , Country Music night, music by Bonnie Stewart Duo. RSPB Big Bird watch, Gortin Glens Forest Park, 2-4pm, free.

31st January

Charity Leg Wax & Head Shave, Hogshead, Omagh. Fundraising event to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Society. Great night’s craic guaranteed.

8th February

Campsie Playing Fields, Omagh – The Kids Actifit Challenge in aid of Team Noel for London Marathon 2014, £2.50 per child

13 February



Join Mountfield Scottish Country Dancers for their Burns Night Celebration at Mountfield Hall (37 Fecarry Road, Omagh). The celebrations will start at 8pm with entertainment from local Pipers, accordion players, local artists and traditional food. For further information and to purchase tickets contact Stephen Patterson on 07775 650 682. There will also be celebrations in the Parish Hall, Newtownstewart at 7pm, led by Ardstraw & Baronscourt Youth Council with entertainment by the Newtownstewart Ulster-Scots Highland Dancers. For further information contact Irene Spratt on 07923 365 725. omaghtoday | 28

Ladies night and Fashion show in aid of Denamona Pre School, Silverbirch Hotel, Omagh.

15th February

Omagh Golf Club Charity dance with music by the fabulous Joe Moore.

16th February

Omagh Wheelers Valentine’s run – Leisure cycle aimed at leisure cyclists, and will be led by experienced riders at varying speeds. 30 and 50 mile routes available, departs Youth Sport Omagh at 9.30am.

16th February

Omagh Wheelers Reliability Trial 2014. This event, whilst a leisure event, is aimed more at racing cyclists and those with a high level of fitness and is either 50 or 70 miles. Departs Youth Sport Omagh at 9am.

If you would like us to include your entertainment in the 'What's on?' guide, email details to ''. A small charge may applicable for non charity events.

MUSIC AND CRAFTS AT STRULE ARTS CENTRE Strule Arts Centre’s Spring Programme is jam packed with shows and events and has something for all the family. This is proving to be our most popular programme to date so book your tickets early to avoid disappointment! We have a fabulous line up of music and entertainment over during the next month for everyone in the district. We welcome a host of musicians to the Strule Arts Centre in January including Robert Mizzell, Flash Harry - The Music of Queen, Nathan Carter, Conal Gallen with his show A Bit on The Side, and new to the Strule and a different type of entertainment for the young and old - The American Wrestling Roadshow to name just a few. Local music lovers will not want to miss the unbelievable The Ultimate Eagles on the 30 January. A Celebration of 40 years of Eagles Music - The Ultimate Eagles Spring Tour 2013 will take to the stage with Christian Phillips, Danny Vaughn, Michael Lawrence, Chris Childs, Ryan Aston & Chris Wright Covering The Eagles music is not a thing you attempt to do half-heartedly. The songs are deceptively complex, particularly the vocal

arrangements and more importantly, the songs are revered throughout the world. One look at the Ultimate Eagles, collective experience, musicality and professionalism, and it’s so east to understand the band’s simple yet bold mission statement; to play The Eagles music better than anybody, anywhere. Second only to The Eagles themselves ... come and see them and judge for yourself! Also new to the Strule on the 13 February will be a night of great music and great food with A Jazz Supper. Bob Quick and his new band 'The Little Big Horns' is a brand new 8 piece swing band made up the finest players around Omagh, Donegal, Derry Donegal and Fermanagh. Coupled with this upbeat music will be a night of traditional Italian antipasti. This really is going to be a night to remember miss it at your peril. Valentines Day is fast approaching and the staff at Strule want you to join us for a romantic and soulful performance from Grainne Duffy and Her Band on the 14th February, and the Strule and we will give you a Free Glass of Prosecco on arrival. Relax and enjoy the music in the intimate and dimly lit cabaret setting in our Auditorium.

UPCOMING EVENTS PERFORMANCES Robert Mizzell Thursday 23 January @ 8.00pm £20.00 ' Mum Says: Just say No' Saturday 25 January @ 8.00pm £8.00 Despicable Me 2 - Cert U Saturday 25 January @ 11.30am £3.00 The Ulimate Eagles Thursday 30 January @ 8.00pm £18.00 Flash Harry Saturday 1 February @ 8.00pm £16.50

23 Jan - 6 Feb 2014 A Jazz Supper Thursday 13 February @ 8.00pm £14.00 GALLERY Tyrone Open submission Exhibition Saturday 25 January - Saturday 01 March @ 10.00am - 5.30pm WORKSHOPS Stage Starz Juniors with Orlagh Simmonds and Stuart Gibson Thursday 27 February - 3 April ( 6 weeks ) @ 4.30pm - 6.30pm £50.00

Nathan Carter Wednesday 05 February @ 8.00pm £25.00 A Bit On The Side with Conal Gallen Friday 07 and Saturday 08 February @ 8.00pm £20.00

Box Office: 028 8224 7831 or Book Online:

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Omagh’s Gareth Pritchard prepares to take his debut album on the road… MOVE over Nathan Carter and Derek Ryan, there’s a new kid in town – and he’s from right here in Omagh! Ok, ok – so local singer Gareth Pritchard is a fairly new addition to the Irish country music scene, and he’s WAY too modest to compare himself to stars as bright as Carter and Ryan; but with an impressive country music pedigree (his maternal uncle is none other than Dominic Kirwan, and his father Brian was a popular singer and guitarist when Gareth was growing up), there’s no doubt that this talented local lad is one to watch! As well as watching his dad and his uncle on stage from he was knee high to a grasshopper, Gareth’s been singing since almost before he can remember; he was a regular face on stage at the annual Feis Thir Eoghain and in the school choir both at St Colmcille’s Primary at later at the Sacred Heart, where he also got the chance to appear on UTV’s school choir of the year competition. “I’ve always felt pretty much at home on the stage,” he says, “and my family has been very influential in that! I do remember when I was quite young getting nervous and not wanting to sing but once I got up I was OK and I enjoyed it. “I grew up listening to country music too. My biggest influences would have been Garth Brooks and Vince Gill, but there would have been The Eagles and Buddy Holly in there too! Later on I discovered Brad Paisley and he is definitely one of my favourite country artists today.” In his teens Gareth began playing as a two-piece with his dad, gaining great experience and confidence which meant that once he passed his driving test at 17 he was ready to strike out on his own. He formed his first band, called ‘Kicking the Dust’, with some friends, and again this allowed him to get out on the road and begin building contacts and gaining experience in front of live audiences. During this time Gareth was also working as a joiner, but when work dried up his career took a different and very exciting turn as he was invited to join his uncle Dominic on tour as a sound engineer. Although essentially a backstage role, this allowed Gareth to gain first-hand experience of life on the road, with all its trials and tribulations: “We toured around all over England and Scotland, Jersey, did cruises on the Mediterranean and even went to America. It was great experience but it also let me see what life on the road is really like. If you’d never done it you would probably think it’s a great lifestyle but actually it can be pretty tough – there’s a lot of long hours travelling to your venue, then you’ve to set up, do the gig, dismantle everything and pack it up, grab a few hours sleep at your hotel and then you’re back on the road again. It takes a bit of getting used to – but

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it didn’t put me off.” Knowing that he was always keen on playing and singing in his spare time, it wasn’t long before Gareth started opening shows for Dominic, and this ignited his desire to get into the studio himself. “People started asking for my CDs after the shows and that’s when I decided I wanted to save up and record a single of my own. A guy I know called Liam McGinty does recording so I went to him with the song I wanted to do, ‘Teaching Me How to Love You’, and we took it from there. It’s a really interesting process actually – there were musicians as far away from Nashville recording for it and sending their stuff over by email, and the Benn Sisters did the backing vocals, and then finally I recorded my vocal over the top. Once I had the single recorded and out there, things started to change pretty quickly for me.” The song won two awards from Irish Radio Leeds for Best Single of the Year, and for Best Male Vocalist of the Year and was played all over the world, placing well in many country music charts. It also gave Gareth the confidence he needed to take things to the next level; a second double A-side single -

‘Can You Feel It/Whenever You Come Around’ – followed soon after to rave reviews, and Gareth is currently putting the finishing touches to his debut album, due out in early March. And he’s planning to put all those years of touring experience to good use too, as he’s currently forming a band with which to take the new album on tour. “It’s going to be a four or five-piece outfit,” he explains. “I got chatting to Declan Quinn [of LCM Promotions] and he said he was impressed with the response to my singles, and we both felt there’s a niche in the market for my kind of stuff. I’m under no illusions that it might not work out but if I don’t give it a go now then I never will so I’mjust going for it. We are in rehearsals at the minute and we’re hoping to head out on the road at the end of February or start of March. “Of course it would be great to have the same sort of success as Nathan and Derek; I know both of them quite well and they are both good guys who have done so much in terms of breathing new life back into the country scene, and they’re always willing to give a hand to newer artists like myself which is great. It would be great if I got even a fraction of the following they have but I’m just going to be myself and not get any big ideas! I’m just a normal guy and I’m not planning to change, I’ll give it my best shot and whatever happens, happens!” Gareth is planning a local launch for his new album and full details will be available in due course on his Facebook page or website (coming soon). In the meantime you can catch him when he appears on the bill of ‘The International Voices of Country Music’ tour alongside Nashville’s Collin Raye and Billy Yates, and Irish star Roly Daniels. The show comes to the Great Northern Hotel, Bundoran on February 19 and the Millennium Forum, Derry, on February 20 (doors 7pm for 8pm start). For full details and booking visit - promotional rates are also available at the Great Northern Hotel in Bundoran and the Tower Hotel in Derry. WIN!! WIN!! WIN!! Thanks to the lovely folks at LCM Promos we have four pairs of tickets to the International Voices of Country Music Tour, featuring Gareth Pritchard along with Collin Raye, Billy Yates and Roly Daniels, to give away!! There are two pairs for February 19 in Bundoran and two for February 20 in Derry (accommodation not included). To be in with a chance of winning simply complete the attached coupon - don’t forget to specify which night you would prefer – and return it to Omagh Today, 79 Moylagh Road, Beragh, BT790UN on or before February 12. Winners will be notified by phone.

Strule Dolphins take on dry land with 5K fun run AS the weeks count down to the opening of Omagh’s newly refurbished swimming pool, there are few people more excited than the kids of the Strule Dolphins swimming club who have endured almost two years of exhausting travel to pools in other towns as they endeavoured to keep their competitive edge. From committee to parents to the kids themselves, tremendous commitment has been shown by all during this difficult period – and while the club is now on the home straight towards having excellent facilities right here on their doorstep, for now they are still travelling to Cookstown and Strabane on a regular basis and understandably, this carries a financial toll for the club. To help offset the transport costs, Strule Dolphins are organizing a fundraising 5K fun run around Loughmacrory lake on Sunday, February 2 at 2pm and are encouraging the whole family to come along! Registration is from 1pm on the day and the cost is £10 per adult, £5 for secondary school pupils, £2 for primary school kids and £25 for a family entry. Whether you walk, jog or run this promises to be a great afternoon’s craic guaranteed to get the blood pumping! All proceeds will go directly towards helping this local club which is contributing to better health and wellbeing for local children.

Name: Address:

Tel No: Which night?

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Arthritis Care Dinner Dance

William McCrea, centre, chairman of the Omagh branch of Arthritis Care with top table guests Kate Fleck, director of Arthritis Care NI, Carmen and Pat McGeever, Rosemary McGarry and Errol and Elaine Thompson at the recent annual dinner.

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Fintona W. I. dinner in Valley Hotel

Inner Wheel members hold ‘frugal lunch’ for charity

Members of Omagh’s Inner Wheel club – the womens’ division of the Rotary Club – celebrated the organisation’s 90th anniversary on January 10 with a ‘frugal lunch’, the proceeds of which will be donated to Women’s Aid. Throughout the world, Inner Wheel are celebrating the occasion in many ways with the clubs in Great Britain and Ireland holding a ‘Wheels Project’. This project invites clubs to hold an event with a ‘wheels’ theme - the Omagh Inner Wheel members and friends choose to collect toys with wheels which were presented to Saint Vincent de Paul and the Salvation Army at their Christmas dinner.

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Well hello there, and happy New Year te ye’s all! I hope ye all got over Christmas – no real snow yet but mind last year when we had blizzards on intae March and April! With the turn of the Calendar again I am goin te take a wee look back over the ramblins of 2013 – a review of the year I suppose ye’s call it.

loved to have visited the old Reform Stores or even Doherty’s Shop in Mountjoy.

In May I delighted that the weans are ‘back home’ again in Arvalee School and I sent them and their teachers and parents my best wishes.

returned to the Mart Site in April and they were puttin the finishin touches to building a Café Nero at the showgrounds right on the same place where HM Carpets and the Krusty Fayre stood next to the Omagh Town Club, which is now the Riverside Chinese restaurant and many many years ago was Hook’s Opticians.




Tesco announced that they weren’t goin to build as many superstores and that they were lookin at buildin ‘locals’ or convenience stores – I commented that the next thing they will be openin a Pollock’s Supermarket or Reform Stores again and Crawford & Wilson’s will open up and thon delivery system for the change will enthral a whole new generation of children – you know the one where the money and invoice are ‘sucked’ up to the office and the change is delivered back again with the receipt – had to be seen to be believed.

March I recalled when the local shops sold maybe eggs and milk to neighbours who weren’t farmers and neighbour looked after neighbour and more importantly the meat that they ate could have been seen in the fields next door. It was slaughtered, butchered and matured on site - and beef from cattle was beef from cattle! And that society is supposed to be educated in responsible animal husbandry and farmers had been forced to comply with regulation after regulation to ensure that meat is sourced to the farm it originated in – great – but Old Barnes was confused that horse meat was being served up as beef! I commented that perhaps we should bring back businesses like the Old Model Bakery (which was located on or near the site of the New College) whose motto was 'Purity and Quality' and what you got was exactly what it said on the tin – or the bread bag and that even in the days of the old abattoir behind New Brighton Terrace, the only horses seen would have been the ones goin past to be shown by local show jumpers. In the same month the new footbridge at Lisanelly had ‘Bucklerooed’ (use of the worst pun in history) as they were winching it into place. But in the interim it’s been repaired and all is good.

April There was heavy snow and biblical snow drifts in the north west of the province and the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher passed away. I commented that history showed Mrs T in a visit to Omagh on the 12th September 1989, where she met members of the local Ulster Defence Regiment dressed in full battle dress. It also occurred to me that as a daughter of a greengrocer she probably would have omaghtoday | 34


The G8 summit had taken place in Fermanagh and St Lucia was used as a prison - history will show there was no prisoners right enough - but I recalled that St Lucia was leased by the War Department in 1875 and up until its forced closure in 2007 St Lucia was a working army base and Omagh proudly held the title as a ‘Garrison Town’ for 132 years, serving the country through two world wars and the worst of the Troubles, and that the Queen Mother herself visited the Queen’s Dragoon Guards on the site in July 1965.

I reflected on the fact that the Oasis project was to kick off in the car park at the bus depot. For a full year the car park would be closed and when they are finished Omagh District Council’s dream of a recreation area on top of the existing car park and a gateway to the town would become a reality, in partnership as well with the new improved Omagh Leisure Complex. As I write they still haven’t commenced works but I am told they are imminent.


I talked about t’internet shoppin and that things were simpler years ago when you bought your stuff locally, although heaven forbid if the missus’ didn’t get her shoppin day in the Big Smoke and a wander round BHS or Anderson McCauley. I wondered where traditionally over the years you would have shopped for toys for Christmas and asked ye’s te mind Toys and Prams in Campsie selling toys and bicycles and Hornby and Scalextric! And that on Castle Street Gormleys was also a toy shop which stocked Hornby and Scalextric too, but in later years Gormleys owned a shop in the town centre called Grumble Bee which sold some toys but more so sports equipment, and that the shop itself was Pollock’s Supermarket years and years ago and now houses Menary’s. Candy Devine and Downtown turning on the towns lights on a Saturday evening (minus the mess of shaving foam) and home for tea, mince pies and the Val Doonican Christmas Show. Folks, it seems apt that I should end with Val Doonican and shades of the seventies because from what I seen the telly over Christmas this year was peppered with repeats of classic TV from that era. Some lament about it and say why would you show such telly thirty years after it was aired. Well how many people don’t reminisce at Christmas about their Christmases past and also about absent friends and relatives – surely this is part of the season and to me the old classics tie into this sentiment – sure why else would Slade get £800,000 in royalties each and every Christmas – but friends it is a blimmin’ great song after all! Enough! Talk in February.

In July I asked how many of ye’s still call Gormleys, Eakins (pronounced Ache-ans) or call the Junction at Spires Art Charleton’s Corner - or even remember when where Kiddies Corner is now (beside the Sweet Shop) was Continental Cars and sold Opels. From Opel cars to Opal Fruits, I mused (couldn’t resist that one). I stated that the biggest invention I’d seen over the years is thon deckin due in no small way to the advent of pressure treated, nearly everlastin, timber but more due to a man called Alan and a woman called Charlie. Thanks to the program Groundforce in which Alan Titchmarsh and Charlie Dimmock remodelled people’s gardens in 3 days and decking became a modern phenomenon. Every second garden has one and there were more men in the country claimin te be horticulturalists and insistin on watchin Groundforce or havin it ‘taped’. But that the traditional ‘Gardener’s World’ brigade reckoned it was more to do with Charlie appearin each and every week in a soakin wet T-shirt without a brassiere!

August I reflected on the closure of Prentice the Motor People in Omagh and that their vacated premises as well as that of the ‘Mini garage’ and the old Carpetworld building was sadly a reflection of the country at present. But that ‘on in the road’ the old Co-op or (CWAP) if you hail from Belfast was thriving as Home Bargains, ASDA was flyin as was Lidl’s which since then has opened again having been fully renovated. I wrote that Omagh’s Brian Coll was reported to be putting the finishin’ touches to his biography which was to be launched in early October. Supermoto



Barnes of the Gap


INGREDIENTS 1 cup of fruit (I used sultanas) 1 cup of black tea 1 cup of sugar 4oz / 100g margarine

I was at a recent party and picked up a piece of fruit cake that was actually smiling at me on the plate. I couldn’t wait for the plate to do its rounds again to get another piece, but true to my luck the last piece was lifted just before it came my way! So disappointed but not to be beat, I enquired who made the cake and lo and behold I knew the lady in question well. That lady was Kathleen Colton from O’Kane Park, and my next mission being to get one for myself, with no problem at all, Kathleen baked me one and it quickly disappeared as well. To take my cheek to the next stage I wondered would Kathleen give me the recipe and allow me to share it with Omagh Today readers, and Kathleen being her unselfish self gladly obliged, so thank you Kathleen for doing this and sharing your secret.

Put all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then let the mix cool. Add 1 egg and 2 cups of self raising flour. Pour into a 2lb loaf tin or 7inch round/square tin and bake for one Thanks to Marie Wilson from Omagh hour at 180C/350F/ who sent us this photo of scones she made for her family! Apparently they Gas Mark 4. This is a simple disappeared like magic, and her dad’s but most delicious friends at Ulsterbus are now demanding cake one that can some more made! be made quickly but really tastes of class - you could add spice or add nuts etc but this is my favourite. Hope you enjoy.

Gerry’s bowled over by baking business at Omagh Academy OMAGH Today’s Wee Buns had the privilege last week of attending plan more in the future. the weekly board meeting of the ‘Mini Mixers’ Young Enterprise “The big one in Foyleside on 31st January will be our test,” company at Omagh Academy. Led by their Managing Director states Nathan. “We won the mystery shopper award at the Nathan Garrett, the team got down to business, agreeing previous last one in December so we are looking forward to the next minutes, updating on any outstanding issues, updating on weekly one.” sales against projection, issues around IT and website, financial The Mini Mixer kits are available at the school or contact Sales reports and business development. Director Ellen Short on 07860 655031 or Omagh Today and we will Gerry said: “It was an amazing insight into the workings of a real arrange for your kit to be picked up. business idea put into action in a professional manner, and real life situation. This was no made up performance, this was real the group set out under the guidance of Miss Sarah Jane Fahy and Elaine Fyffe from Omagh Chamber as their Business Advisors to come up with a business idea and deliver it from start to finish. After the meeting I had the opportunity to speak with the owners of the company.” With an initial investment of £15 from each elected Director, the Company Directors sat round the table in September 2013 to discuss a business idea that would make them successful entrepreneurs. Nathan explained that many an idea was talked about but it was the brainchild of Richard that set them alight: “All the Great British Bake Off and other programmes around baking led us to believe that a start-up bakery kit would be a market winner so we set out to develop what is now known as the ‘Mini Mixers’ baking company,” he said. “Our Mini Mixing kit is designed to attract the 3 to 8 year olds and consists of a kit already made up to allow these young people to start baking. Baking is very enjoyable, is therapeutic and has an element of learning as maths calculations have to be used in weighing your flours etc. After a few weeks sourcing product, pricing and working on a profit margin we launched our Mini Mixer kit. The kit consists of a mixing bowl, hat, apron, cutters, spatulas, spoon and whisk; also included are recipes to get you Sample Gerry's fayre at The Melting Pot, started and the kit retails at £6.99.” The Mini Mixers have attended a number of trade fairs and

Omagh Enterprise Company Restaurant

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around the

community Our fortnightly look at what’s happening in your local community

Search is on for Omagh’s 2013 sporting stars THE search is on once again for the cream of Omagh’s sporting crop, as nominations open for the annual Omagh Sports Awards, organised by the Omagh Sports Forum. The awards, which aim to recognize and celebrate the achievements recorded by sports persons throughout the Omagh District during 2013, were officially launched at Strule Arts Centre last week Speaking at the launch, Omagh District Council chairman Martin McColgan said: “Omagh District Council, in partnership with Omagh Sports Forum, is delighted to again announce the holding of its Annual Sports Awards event. Nominations of sports persons are invited from clubs, schools, individuals and indeed all those interested in sport for the seven categories of award. Don’t miss the opportunity to nominate someone worthy of recognition!” Vice Chair of Omagh Sports Forum, Sandra Magee went on to explain that the awards will include an individual winner in each category: “In addition to nominees receiving recognition by being invited to attend the awards, they will also have to opportunity to win the category they were nominated for. The other main awards to be presented will be the Councillor Desmond Anderson

Memorial Cup for Service to Sport, and the John O’Hagan Cup for Coach of the Year Award,” she said. “We are aware that a large number of sports persons within the Omagh District who have recorded great success during 2013. We look forward to receiving nominations from their clubs, schools, coaches and mentors.” The categories for nomination are as follows: Disability Sports Person Award (Male & Female); Senior Sports Person Award 18+ (Male & Female); Senior Sports Team Award 18+ (Male & Female); Junior Sports Person Award 12-17yrs (Male& Female); Junior Sports Team Award 12-17yrs (Male & Female); John O’Hagan-Coach of the Year Award (Male & Female); Cllr. Desmond Anderson-Service to Sport Award (Male & Female). The Omagh Sports Awards will be held on Thursday, March 27 in The Strule Arts Centre. Nomination forms are available from Conor McCrory, Sports Development and Recreation Officer, Omagh District Council, The Grange, Omagh, BT79 7BL (Telephone 028 8224 5321 ext: 208) or may be downloaded from Completed nomination forms must be returned to Mr McCrory by Sunday, February 23.

Masons Present Cheque

Joan Hamilton, Care for Cancer, recieves a cheque for £1,200 from M. Ex. Comp. Brian Edwards, a member of Clogher R. A. Chapter. This money he had received from the R. A. Chapters of Londonderry, Donegal, Tyrone and Fermanagh on his resignation as District Assistant District Grand King. Included in the photo are M. Ex. Comp. William McLain, the District Grand King, M. Ex. Comp. Ray Hetherington, Assistant Grand King, M. Ex. Comp. David Blair, District registrar, together with past and present officers of the district and Grand Chapter as well as companions from Clogher and nighbouring chapters.

Copper piping and radiator stolen, Fintona Detectives in Omagh have made an appeal for witnesses to come forward. They are investigating a report of a burglary at Dromore Road, Fintona. Copper piping, five radiators and fittings were taken. The incident was thought to have happened sometime between January 8th and 14th. Anyone who can help police with their enquiries is asked to contact them on 0845 600 8000. Alternatively information about crime can be passed anonymously via the independent Crimestoppers number on 0845 600 8000. omaghtoday | 36

Family fundraiser for PCUK KIDS of all ages are being encouraged to get active to help local woman Kerry Irvine with her fundraising efforts ahead of the 2014 London Marathon in April. Along with her own personal trainer Raymond Whalley, Kerry has organized the Kids Actifit Challenge, a morning of fun activities designed to get young bodies active in aid of a great cause – Pancreatic Cancer UK. The event takes place at Campsie Playing Fields on Saturday, February 8 at 11am and children aged eight and over are being encouraged to form teams of five to compete in an obstacle course with the winning team being awarded the inaugural Noel Irvine Memorial Cup, in memory of Kerry’s husband, who died from pancreatic cancer in 2011. There will also be medals for the first, second and third placed teams. There will be fun activities for younger kids and the rest of the family too – these include face painting, lucky dip, beanbag challenge, craft table, bottlebag grab, balloon pop, hoola hoop challenge, space hopper challenge, beat the goalie, tin can alley, Deal or No Deal and a table with fruit to make your own fruit kebabs and tray bakes or cupcakes! This promises a great morning’s fun for a great cause, so why not come along? For more information call 07725 477630.

Marathon runner Dympna Family donates over £1,800 to movie fun Dromore Day Centre on Saturdays at Strule!

Local woman Dympna McGowan from Dromore presents a cheque for a fantastic £1,825 to staff from Dromore Day Centre after she raised sponsorship for competing in the Dublin Marathon. Dympna is a member of the Knockmany Running Club and was inspired to fundraise for the centre in appreciation of the care and support provided to her father Pat McCusker. She expressed her appreciation to her family and friends for their fantastic support and encouragement and also the local businesses in Dromore for their generosity. Jo Devlin, Western Trust Day Care Services Manager, added: “We are absolutely delighted with this donation which will benefit all our clients who attend the Centre.”

Gortmore Day Centre Staff say thank you to William!

WE’VE all looked out at the winter weather on a dreary Saturday morning and wondered how on earth we’re going to keep the kids entertained all day – and now there’s one more option thanks to a fantastic idea from the management at the Strule Arts Centre! Every Saturday morning at 11.30am the centre will be screening a family movie – ranging from classics like Mary Poppins and Annie to modern classics like Toy Story – at the bargain price of £3 per ticket or £10 for an adult and three children. The lecture theatre at Strule is the perfect venue for kids of all ages to enjoy the film and you are even welcome to bring your own popcorn for a fun and frugal morning’s entertainment – the perfect antidote to weather-induced cabin fever! The first in this series of ‘pick ‘n’ mix movies is the fantastic ‘Despicable Me 2’ which will be screened at 11.30am on Saturday, January 25. This hilarious animated adventure sees the return of Gru who is retiring from the life of a super villain. His world is turned upside when he is asked to deal with a powerful new super criminal, Eduardo. Gru and the hilarious minions must use their unique talents to save the day. Cert: U; Run Time: 93 minutes. Children must be accompanied by an adult. For more details or a full programme of films, contact the Box Office on 028 8224 7831.

Mary’s cheque is ‘grand’ for MS Society

Mary Owens presenting Joe Doran, chairman of the Omagh Branch of the MS Society, with a cheque for £1000. The money was raised at a recent event which Mary organized with her family at the Flaxmill Centre in Drumduff.

Sixmilecross sewing stars Talented Lynn Moss, Samuel Moses and Kirsty Ewing show off their handy work with W. F. Marshal Education Centre officials Iris Ewing, Ruth Robinson and Beth Giles.

Staff at Gortmore Day Centre staff recently held a celebration to acknowledge Dromore man William McConnell’s thirty years dedication to the Day Centre. Sean Gormley, Senior Day Care Worker, who has known William over the past thirty years and Phyllis Kelly, Gortmore Day Centre Manager, said: “William is great and he is valued by everyone in the Centre and we are delighted to present him with a certificate of our appreciation for the work he has done. William works at the Centre every day Monday to Friday and assists staff with maintaining the grounds and general duties.”

Sewing class stars Nicole Moody, Lucy Ewing, Zena Short, Jay Moffitt and Richard McFarland with tutors Iris Ewing, Ruth Robinson and Beth Giles at the W. F. Marshall Education Centre, Sixmilecross. omaghtoday | 37

Noel C Moore - fab at forty

Noel C. Moore celebrated his 40th in style, with friends and family, in the Village Inn on Saturday, 11th Janurary. Noel, who has worked tirelessly to raise funds for a Bustani Primary School in Kenya, is pictured top left with his parents Chris and Evelyn. Centre: with his sisters Ruth, Adaline and Joyce and right with his nieces and nephews. Below with friends. To date Noel has raised ÂŁ19,500 to help rebuilt eight much needed classrooms and water tanks for the Kenya school. The fundraising was further boosted by ÂŁ3,700 by generous friends at his birthday bash for which Noel is most grateful. If you would like to help Noel in his quest for funds telephone him at 07803300776.

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Galaxy of country stars to grace the stage at Silverbirch Hotel A GALAXY of country stars will take to HILLVIEW PRODUCTIONS the stage in the Silverbirch Hotel on Presents Thursday, January 30 for the launch of Omagh’s newest event Thursday, 30th January, 2014 management company, Hillview Productions. Silverbirch Hotel, Omagh Top of the bill for Commencing at 8.00 p.m. the evening is Joe Moore; needing no Artistes taking part in the Concert . . . introductions, ‘Mr Country’ as he has become known has amassed almost 20 years’ experience in the music business and is Joe Moore regarded by many as the best country singer in Northern Ireland. With a number of CDs and DVDs under his belt, Joe has gained popularity Jacqui Bannon Billy McFarland across Europe and also in Australia and this talented songwriter is also currently putting the finishing touches to Country Features Ian Coalter Kenneth Neely his latest album, due for release next month. Ticket – £10.00 Tickets are available from Silverbirch Hotel Also appearing on the Reception desk: 5 Gortin Road, Omagh, County Tyrone night will be Jacqui Box office: 028 8224 2520 Bannon. Jacqui hails from Enniskillen and is a well established entertainer, who has appeared on stage with many of Ireland’s top performers. Her versatile voice allows her to sing a wide variety of songs, from traditional country and western, Irish country and gospel to American country, pop, rock and Motown. The songbird is also a highly talented songwriter and has included many of her own compositions on her albums. During 2011, Jacqui was chosen to take part in the competition Glor Tire on TG4 and she performed well enough to reach the semi-final of the television show. Last year, she was also featured on the popular ‘Hot Country’ programme on the Showcase channel. Billy McFarland has just celebrated sixty years in the music industry – a remarkable achievement by any standards. His velvet voice and golden trumpet playing have brought pleasure to many people down through the years. The Ahoghill man has played in most of the major venues in Ireland, England and Scotland. He is one of few to have regular full houses in the world famous Galtymore Ballroom in London. Further afield, he has had the honour of performing in such places as New York and Philadelphia. Robbie Pearson and Florence Given – from Irvinestown and Fintona respectively - make up the popular group, Country Features. The duo have been together on the country music scene since 2005, when they met at a talent competition. They have performed regularly throughout Ireland, Scotland, Shetland Islands and Spain. County Features have won many awards including ‘The Best Irish Country Duo’ at the inaugural Ulster Country Music Awards ceremony held in Ballymena, County Antrim. The final act on the bill is the second performer from Dungiven, namely Kenneth Neely. He started his career at the very early age of eight and has played in different venues all over the country. After leaving his high school education, he became a professional piano player in The Shaun Loughrey Band. The County Derry/Londonderry musician then moved on to play steel guitar in The Stephen Smyth Band. Kenneth has backed many artistes, including Gloria, Nathan Carter and Lisa McHugh. Recently, he has gone solo and as well as being a very talented musician, he has a superb singing voice. His most recent album is entitled ‘Ball and Chain’. Compere for the evening is Ian Coalter - better known as ‘The Wee Man from the Moy’ – with his unique brand of quick-fire Ulster humour and experience as a compere, comedian, after dinner speaker and storyteller making him the ideal person to bring this wonderful evening’s entertainment together. The event gets underway on Thursday, January 30 at 8pm. Tickets (priced at £10.00 each) are available from the Silverbirch Hotel, tel: 028 8224 2520.


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Mountfield's Des McFadden celebrates his 60th

Mountfield's Des McFadden who celebrated his 60th at a surprise party, organised by his family, in Des with wife Geraldine cut the Birthday boy Des McFadden with the Mrs Geraldine and weans the Village Inn on Saturday night. specially created McFadden digger Shane, Shauna, Julie, Emmett and Laura at his birthday party Des is pictured with his mum Kathleen. cake. in the Village Inn on Saturday night.

Birthday boy Des is joined by his mum Kathleen, Uncle Paddy, sister Maureen and brothers Kieran and Aloysius.

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Two Castles Boxing Club Fight-night Pictorial

Would you like to advertise in Omagh Today? Email or telephone Brendan 078 8431 3385 or 028 8075 8078 omaghtoday | 41

New table tennis club opened in Omagh

The new Omagh Table Tennis Club was formally opened this week by Omagh District Council Chair, Martin McColgan and Omagh Sports Forum Chair, Bert Wilson in the presence of the members and a number of the country’s leading table tennis officials. The Club, which opened its doors to membership last September and has been operating successfully in St. Columba’s Church Hall since then, resurrects the sport in the town after an absence of some 25 years. The club is sponsored by two businesses, Des Flanagan Investment Solutions and Meyler Pianos whose owners, Des Flanagan and Richard Meyler are treasurer and secretary. Ken Strong, Club President and International Director of the Irish Table Tennis Association, thanked them for their very generous sponsorship without which the club could not have purchased the equipment required. The Chairman of the Club is Manu

Marechaux. Special guests at the opening were Mrs Joy Moore and Mrs Patsy Harkin whose late husband, William and Seamus, contributed so much to the sport through their leadership of the former Omagh YMCA and St. Colmcille’s Clubs. Present also were Mrs Pat Hunter, Irish Chairperson, a native of Omagh and member of the YMCA Club and Mr Arnold Morgan, Chairman of the Ulster Branch of the Association and a native of Clogher. Following supper, an exhibition of high quality table tennis was provided by former Irish Champion and No. 1, Amanda Mogey against former Ulster Under 21 Player, Mervyn Funston. The evening concluded with a period of coaching for the junior players by Amanda and Mervyn.

Omagh District Council Chairman Martin McColgan, Richard Meyler, Ken Strong, Des Flanagan, Manu Marechaux and Councillor Bert Wilson.

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JOINING a gym can be a daunting prospect, especially if you’re new to exercise or are self-conscious about your fitness and your body – so finding a place where you feel comfortable is half the battle! Dromore man Hugh Donnelly set up his personal training business, Sports Specific Training and Fitness, just over a year ago and having received great feedback from clients, earlier this month he branched out further by opening his own premises on Dromore’s Church Street - with the aim of taking the fear factor out of going to the gym.

Forget vast, harshly-lit torture chambers filled with scarylooking machines and even scarier-looking Lycra-clad fitness fanatics; at SSTF there’s a much more homely appeal that caters for everyone from experienced athletes to complete beginners and everyone in between. With its colourful walls adorned with inspirational phrases, the gym boasts a large open floor area for mat work and also a range of group fitness sessions that include HIIT cardio, Fab Abs, Circuits & Core, and Active Agers senior fitness. With a full array of equipment including Swiss balls, medicine balls,

dumbbells and steps, this is a versatile space that is further enhanced by a wall-mounted comprehensive display of exercises for you to enrich your SSTF experience. Updated every other day, the whiteboard includes workouts for beginner, intermediate and advanced athletes and takes all the guesswork out of your exercise – simply complete the steps (and the reps!) and see the results for yourself. There’s also a daily challenge for those who like to push themselves a little harder. At the rear of the gym you’ll find brand new, top of the range equipment including treadmills, cross trainers and bikes, boasting the latest touch-screen technology, internet access and interactive features including preset workouts with ‘street view’ technology to alleviate the boredom associated with indoor exercise. Whichever area of the gym you’re using you can avail of expert guidance at any time from Hugh to ensure your workout is always safe and effective. Finally there’s the personal training suite, a dedicated space for those clients wanting a one-to-one experience in private surroundings. Here, Hugh works with fellow trainer Shona to offer a completely tailored service that’s perfect for those with major body hang-ups, or even those working towards a very specific fitness goal. Personal training sessions are available from 6.30am and the gym is open to all from 9am-9pm so there’s a slot for everyone no matter what your schedule. Hugh is keen to work with people from all walks of life, from local sporting teams to busy mums and older people – he’s already got a number of clients using the gym as part of their rehabilitation following a stroke, proof, if proof were needed, that it’s never too late to reap the benefits of a more active lifestyle. Add nutritional advice including diet plans tailored to various objectives – weight loss, muscle gain etc – and all bases are well and truly covered at SSTF. During January the gym is offering taster sessions priced at just £4, with membership packages taking effect from February and starting at just £20 per month, including a class of your choice each week. For further details call 07786 375730, search for Sports Specific Training and Fitness on Facebook or simply call in for a look around and a chat. You’ll be glad you did!

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TheSideline Local sport insights from Paddy Hunter...

Pics: John Stafford

WHILE Ulster Rugby are making the headlines for their Heineken Cup exploits, local 'egg throwing' enthusiasts have also been flying high with Clogher Valley's first team seemingly on the brink of a second Qualifying One league crown after beating title rivals, Portadown 19-10 away from home on Saturday past. Not to be outdone, Omagh Accies first XV are also impressing and sit second in the division below after defeating Randalstown 29-3 away, while their second string won their 12th consecutive league match of the season on Saturday.

Omagh Academy's rugby team are also on the up after defeating Dungannon Royal School 20-14 in the first round of the Danske Bank Schools' Cup and they now face a trip to Belfast High School this coming Saturday in the next stage of the competition. Turning our attentions to more spherical balls and to the game of soccer, and it's Strathroy Harps who are flying high in the Fermanagh and Western League after a 4-1 win over Shelbourne on Saturday. Goals from Patrick Nugent (2), Ryan Sharkey and Kevin Sloan earned the win that sent them second in the top flight, one point behind leaders, Enniskillen Town United, who they visit this coming weekend. Beragh Swifts didn't enjoy such a profitable outing this week, losing 4-1 to a Niall Donnelly-inspired Tummery Athletic. The right sided midfielder scored twice before being forced out with a knee injury. There was good news for 20-year-old Omagh lad, Caolan McAleer at the weekend when he netted his first goal for Airdrie in Scottish League One. His 'screamer' from 20 yards won the game against Dunfirmline and could help them stay in the division. On the Dr McKenna Cup scene, Tyrone marched on to yet another final after beating a wasteful Derry side, who missed six clear goalscoring chances, 2-13 to 1-13, thanks to goals from Niall McKenna and Peter Harte. They face Cavan in the decider at Brewster Park, Enniskillen, this coming Saturday. Inside and on the green baize, brothers Paddy and Ciaran Barrett were celebrating winning the Ladbrokes Omagh and District Snooker League's Limited Doubles title after beating Eugene Armstrong and Shane Loughran 3-2 in the decider. Another local hoping for success is Sacred Heart Boxing Club, Omagh, fighter, Tiernan Bradley, who is one bout away from ealing a place at the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships, which take place in Sofia, Bulgaria, in mid-April. The 16-year-old faces Aidan Walsh in the 60kg Irish Open Youth Championship final this Friday night, the winner earning a place on the plane to eastern Europe!

Tummery defeat Beragh 4-1

THERE was misery for Beragh for Beragh Swifts at the weekend when they visited Tummery Athletic, only to have any lingering hopes of a title challenge firmly extinguished. Goals on 26 and 30 minutes by Tummery midfielder Niall Donnelly set the home side on the road to victory – though it was bittersweet for Donnelly when a knee injury forced him to the sidelines on the stroke of half time.

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A free kick by Paddy McKernan made it three after half time, and when Donnelly’s replacement Enda Ferris grabbed their fourth, it was lights out for Beragh. A goal by Beragh’s Kuric put the visitors on the score sheet, and although spectacularly well-judged, it was too little, too late.

Omagh men flying high after victory over league leaders LESS than a year ago it looked at though it might be the end of the road for Omagh Men’s Hockey Club as they struggled to attract enough players to be able to field a team for their weekend fixtures in Senior League 2. But after crisis talks last summer and a last ditch effort to save the club from folding, it appears that some green shoots are appearing – and incredibly, the team is in contention for promotion from its current league this season. A difficult decision to drop down to Junior League 6 – where they play against the second strings of some of Northern Ireland’s most successful and well-established clubs – has revived the club’s ailing fortunes. Currently sitting third in the league with 24 points and two games in hand, Omagh have benefited from the arrival of five new faces into the squad this season, and this much-needed new blood has revitalized the team and made them genuine contenders for promotion in the spring. Saturday saw Omagh in a convincing 4-2 victory over league leaders, Portadown. In arguably Omagh's biggest game of the season to date, the men produced a fantastic first half display on Saturday to beat the league leaders. After the disappointment of losing last weeks match away to Bangor, Omagh knew victory was needed to keep them in the title hunt. Straight from the whistle, the home side came firing out of the blocks and took a crucial early lead when a slick exchange between Martin and Mackay resulted in the captain’s effort finding its mark in the Portadown goal. The intensity that Omagh were showing was too much for the youthful Ports side to deal with and ten minutes

in they made it two when Geoff Hawkes slotted home a penalty flick. Omagh's midfield were dominant with Young, Sproule, Martin and Mackay orchestrating proceedings. Tommy Mackay made it 3 for Omagh when he burst through from midfield, beat two defenders and cracked a well placed shot into the back of the goal to cap a fine solo effort. Keeper Bob Hawkes made a crucial stop to see Omagh into half time with a clean sheet. The home side maintained pressure in the second half with a powerful early goal by Geoff Sproule to make it four. Portadown responded later in the half, opening their scoring with a well worked short corner, followed by a penalty flick to make the final scoreline 4-2. All 13 Omagh players deserve credit for producing a fine team performance and most importantly getting the 3 points that keeps them in the mix at the top of the table. Next week Omagh can take a week off from league action when they begin their Junior Shield campaign away to Saintfied. Omagh Team: B.Hawkes, G.Hawkes, M.Quinn, B.Stevenson, A.Forbes, G.Sproule, C.Martin (capt), T.Mackey, A.Young, M.Bates, J.McCutcheon, D.Little, D.Taylor

Tyrone in McKenna Cup final on Saturday evening

Tyrone remain unbeaten in 2014 - Tyrone 2-13 Derry 1-13 TYRONE kept their unbeaten start to 2014 intact and held on against a determined Derry side at Healy Park to make it through to the McKenna Cup final against Cavan on Saturday night in Enniskillen. The Red Hands started strongly with a Niall McKenna goal after just 20 seconds. The defending champions eased into a seven-point lead with Darren McCurry and Conor McAliskey on target. Tyrone led 1-06 to 0-05 at the interval and restored their seven-point cushion when Harte netted a 42nd-minute penalty. Emmett McKenna, Conor Grugan and PJ Lavery helped Tyrone maintain their lead. Derry wasted several goal chances before Emmett McGuckin netted in the 59th minute. The last time the Breffni County reached the final was also against Tyrone in 2000, which Cavan won. Tyrone are looking to claim the trophy for the third successive year. The final will take place at Brewster Park, Enniskillen on Saturday evening with a 7.30 throw-in. omaghtoday | 45


A MASTERPIECE IF there was an award for the best toy ever invented, there is absolutely no doubt that Lego would be a nominee (and hot favourite for the prize!) From three to 33, put a pile of those colourful little bricks in front of anybody and they just can’t resist creating a masterpiece – and for one artist, that’s literally what he did! Italian artist Marco Sodano was inspired by the many colours of Lego – which now includes bricks in lots of pastel and neutral shades as well as primary colours – and decided to recreate some of the art world’s most famous masterpieces in bricks! The resulting models when viewed from above look as though the paintings have been pixelated on a computer! Can you guess which famous works of art his models are meant to be? And Marco Sodano isn’t the only Italian artist making waves on the internet with his Lego creations – there’s also Marco Pece, who posts pictures on his Flickr account of his Lego interpretations of famous paintings. Unlike Sodano, however, Pece works in 3D and his masterpieces involve a combination of old-fashioned building and modern technology as he uses Photoshop to combine the various elements of the Sodano’s Mona Lisa (original images – adding the figures to the backgrounds, for by Vincent Van Gogh, 15--) example! He says it takes him on average nine days to complete each construction. Why don’t you have a go at recreating some artworks using Lego? Maybe you could make a Lego picture of your favourite Disney character, or somebody from your favourite book?

Italian artists recreate iconic paintings using…Lego!

Girl with a Pearl Earring (original by Johannes Vermeer, 1665)

Nighthawks (original by Edward Hopper, 1942)

The Last Supper (original by Leonardo da Vinci, 1495)

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Pece’s Mona Lisa

Pece’s Girl with a Pearl Earring

American Gothic (original by Grant Wood, 1930)

If you have a cute pic of your pet, our readers would love to see it. Send it to pat@ or Tel: 07712 840985

Dean Maguirc College 'Open Day' for primary 7 pupils

Yvonne Allen, what can we say?! We will just agree that Chloe and Gizmo are the two luckiest dogs in the country. Sittin' up there waiting for their Christmas dinner in their personalised Emma Bridgewater bowls.

Mr. T. McCann introduces Primary seven pupils to the Dean science class at the Dean Maguirc College, Carrickmore open day for primary seven pupils on Monday. Schools from the Altamuskin, Beragh, Carrickmore, Drumduff, Galbally, Kileenan, Loughmacrory, Pomeroy, Recarson, Greencastle, Killyclogher, Mountfield, Gael Scoil na gCrann and Gortin all enjoyed meeting the teachers and their introduction to the big school.

Ronan Mc Cann's wee Alfie is sad 'cause he does not have a tail and when height and size were being allocated, he must have been behind the door. Poor wee Alfie.

Bernie Donaghy has a brazen cat although she claims it is just a Bruce Springsteen fan and just loves playing air guitar to “Glory Days�

Over on the Fintona Dromore border in the townland of Meenagar lives a dog called Murphy who just wants his pic in Omagh Today. We are happy to keep Murphy happy but, beware Murphy, Patricia is on the warpath . . . . . . and your cosy days in the utility room are numbered!!

Technology and design teacher Daniel McKenna shows the visitors some of the wonderful and useful items which have been made in the Dean classes.

Art teacher Miss O'Hanlon with Conor McCann, Music teacher Jayne Kennedy with some of her Megan Clarke, Aine Lucas and Leo Quinn admiring Having fun in the Dean gym. students and P 7 visitors in the music room. some of the Dean masterpieces. Home Economic teachers Alicia Kelly and Edel McKenna showing young students how to make a tasty and healthy fresh fruit salad. In the maths class. omaghtoday | 47