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Dublin: 5°C Friday 4 December 2020

Rival Wexford GAA clubs to settle long-running grudge on the dancefloor

Inspired by Strictly Come Dancing, players from Kilanerin and Castletown will dance up a storm tonight in a glitzy fundraiser.

There is no love lost between Kilanerin and Castletown.
There is no love lost between Kilanerin and Castletown.
Image: Meabh Hughes

INSPIRED BY THE Manure Matrix in Fermanagh, earlier this month, put out the call for the best club fundraiser in the country.

Within 24 hours we had been contacted by Meabh Hughes in Wexford, who told us all about a fund-raising ballroom dance-off that has turned into an N11 Civil War.

Kilanerin and Castletown Liam Mellows in North Wexford, towns that have been divided by the N11 in recent years, have a long-standing rivalry on the Gaelic pitch.

Hughes explained, “This rivalry has been alive and well long before I was born (I’m 26).

“It came to a very serious head in the senior football league final in 1994.” She added:

A fight broke out between two players (this was quite normal), however, this fight escalated quite quickly and as it was along the sideline, shortly every player, sub, mentor and, rumour has it, Mammy were on the pitch in what is known as  the Great Fight of 94′.

“Castletown ran out winners by one point on the day however the consequences of that fight played a huge part in the lives of everyone from both parishes.

“The N11 was now no-man’s land and neither side dared to or indeed wanted to cross it.”

Since that fateful day the sides have met in two further county finals with Kilanerin taking one title [1999] and Castletown victorious in 2010. The cups have not healed the wounds to any great extent but the novel idea of a the dancing fundraiser has seen grudges put to one side.

‘Families torn apart’

With Gaelic clubs seeking to raise money to ensure their very existence, a Kilanerin native approached both outfits with the idea.

The Kilanerin boys (left) are riled up and ready to go.

Hughes takes up the tale, “A number of clubs around the country are doing a fight night fundraiser but for obvious reasons we decided against this.

“We came up with ‘Strictly come Dancing – The Rivals’. We are throwing away the football boots in favour of sequins and sparkles in the hope of bringing home the cup.” She added:

As the two clubs are so close however the girls of the area are involved together under the Kilanerin club. The Castletown girls who play football for Kilanerin will be strutting their stuff for us.

“Families are literally been torn apart here. Its the civil war in North Wexford.”

A number of auditions and dance qualifiers have taken place over the past two weeks but the line-up has been confirmed for the final at the Arklow Bay Hotel, Co Wicklow, tonight.

To add some spice to the whole event, Kilanerin have been drawn against Castletown in the first round of this season’s Wexford Senior Football Championship.

We hope the Castletown competitors do not see this promo video made by their arch-enemies:

YouTube credit: Enda McDonald

For more on the event, check out the Kilanerin Ballyfad and Castletown Liam Mellows Facebook pages.

Does your club have an equally fantastic fundraiser? If so, email

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About the author:

Patrick McCarry

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