As the curtain closed on Nottingham Forest’s 150th season, preparations were underway for another milestone over in the Irish Republic. The Munster Forest Supporters Club were celebrating their 10th anniversary, in County Kerry.
A star studded line up was in place for the dinner dance, with the aim of raising money for local charities. The bash took place at the Manor Inn, Killorglin on Saturday June 11thand was rousing success. Former red, Brendan Moloney was in attendance along with Johnny Fean (Rock Guitarist), Weeshie Fogarty (All Ireland Football winner) and Forest European Cup legend, Colin Barrett. Paddy Goodwin’s band, Holy Ghosts provided the evening’s music; Paddy was the brainchild behind the anniversary idea itself.
Gearoid Lynch, who many of you will know, spent almost a year planning and organising the event. The fact that he managed to entice Colin Barrett to Ireland for the first time in his life is testament to his efforts. Group Chairman Mike Hurley said he was “absolutely humbled” to have the European Cup winner in his home town. Colin thoroughly enjoyed his time in the Kingdom (official nickname for County Kerry), so much so that he’s accepted the mantle of Honorary President for Munster Forest. So if you see him out and about in Nottingham, feel free to call him Mr President!
Munster Forest were formed on June 30th 2006, at Clifford’s Tavern in killorglin. Since its inception the group have grown from 27 members to just shy of the 100 mark today, it is the biggest of Eire’s three branches and is continuing to flourish. The group’s popularity stretches far afield and this was personified by the donations received for the charities. Contributions from as far as the USA were gratefully accepted and a good number of these were from people not affiliated with the football club at all!
Brendan Moloney, currently with Northampton Town was actually present at the official launch back in 2006 and has been an avid supporter of the group ever since. Maloney, who played in the Championship play off semi final for Forest, was the first ever professional footballer to come from County Kerry. Remarkable given that until 1971 soccer was forbidden in the County; Gaelic Football is the number one game in Kerry and it’s no coincidence that the county hold the record number of All Ireland titles.
When you stop and think about factors such as these, you begin to realise how committed these supporters are to the Nottingham Forest cause. Of course, the group members hail from all over the province of Munster and beyond. The group don’t discriminate in any way; allowing in members from all 32 counties and lifting any regimental travel restrictions.
Nearly 100 people (including myself) attended the anniversary gig and the raffle prizes were unbelievable. Lots of signed shirts and books, classic memorabilia, vintage programmes, bespoke photos and much, much more! So it was no wonder that a staggering €3076 was raised for the charities; which were the K.S.P.C.A and Recovery Haven Cancer Support.
Andy Reid donated a fantastic signed photo montage of the current squad and has also been a good friend of Munster Forest since returning to the City Ground, ironic that only this week he announced his retirement from the game. On behalf of everyone at Munster Forest I would like to thank Andy for his fantastic contribution to the club and we wish him all the very best for the future.
No matter how disappointing the past few seasons have been, it’s uplifting to see how many passionate supporters groups we have around the globe. Even more fulfilling is the input from people like Brendan Moloney and Colin Barrett, who obviously value the fans of this great club. Colin was presented with a Killorglin AFC jersey by the Munster group, before his return to England. Not just any old Jersey and not just any old club, they once featured in the Guinness book of records under their former name of Callinafercy. Yes; they once held the world record for the longest ever 5 a side match!
Here’s to the next ten years!