Ardee Golf Club played host to a lively gathering on Saturday night as John Mitchels GFC and Stabannon Parnells launched their duel ‘Strictly Rivals’ event, a twist on the usual Strictly Come Dancing dance event format.
The launch night saw the participants – consisting of dancers from all over the area, not just Ballybaile and Stabannon – paired off ahead of the big night on Saturday March 11th at the Nuremore Hotel in Carrickmacross.
In front of a packed function room, the night’s MC Mark Lowth took charge of proceedings and explained the pairing off process before each dancer met their partner – who they’ll be working tirelessly with in the practice room over the next six weeks. Some appeared more happy with their coupling than others!
There were some lively entrances, including Robert ‘Bert’ Cunningham, Fra Sands and in particular Bernie Lynch, who gave a preview of what we can expect on the big night by showing off her moves.
The night wasn’t shy of some sporting rivalry either, with Fra Sands taking to the microphone to rally up the Mitchels dancers and supporters before waving their jersey aloft. It wasn’t long before the Stabannon dancers responded though, channelling Conor McGregor by proclaiming “We’re not here to take part, we’re here to take over!”
In Strictly Rivals, a huge 20 couples will dance for judges scores and votes, with ten each from the respective clubs. These are the couples:
Couple 1. Emma Tuite & Niall Conlon – Stabannon
Couple 2. Sean Sweeney & Megan Minogue – Mitchels
Couple 3. Fintan Martin & Aoife Doran -Stabannon
Couple 4. John Durnin & Anne Keeley – Mitchels
Couple 5. Eamonn Gallagher & Bernie Lynch – Stabannon
Couple 6. Gary Myles & Lisa McGuire – Mitchels
Couple 7. Patrick Butterly & Helen Reilly – Stabannon
Couple 8. Robert Cunningham & Linda Durnin – Mitchels
Couple 9. Mark Faulkner & Julie Campbell – Stabannon
Couple 10. Ella Nulty & Martin Duffy – Mitchels
Couple 11. Mags Briscoe & Martin Bannon – Stabannon
Couple 12. Sandra Halpenny & Rory Durnin – Mitchels
Couple 13. Robert Callaghan & Lee Kingsmith – Stabannon
Couple 14. Mark Durnin & Rachel Kane – Mitchel’s
Couple 15. Colm Giggins & Carol Cluskey – Stabannon
Couple 16. Deirdre Commins & Fra Sands – Mitchels
Couple 17. Mary Lynch & Barry Lynch – Stabannon
Couple 18. Margaret Comey & Alan McCormack – Mitchels
Couple 19. Aine Murphy & Sean Halpenny – Stabannon
Couple 20. Chris Cunningham & Katie Matthews – Mitchels
No secret has been made of the deep-seated rivalry between local clubs John Mitchels and Stabannon Parnells, and this event – a slightly different take on the popular Strictly Come Dancing format – will see these players, club members and supporters of both teams engage in their biggest encounter to date; testing not only their stamina, agility and fitness but their rhythm, style and moves off the field.
In a twist on the traditional Strictly Come Dancing format, 40 dancers will take to the stage, 20 each representing the Mitchels and the Parnells, who will do their very best to win over the votes of the audience and judges – as well as having to go a step further and win the dance-off for the club they are representing.
Training is already underway and it hasn’t taken long for things to start heating up. Many of the dancers are “showing a lot of potential,” said dance coach and choreographer Gavin Quigley last week.