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Team Geaney are winners alright

THEY danced like nobody was watcing, grabbing whoever happened to be standing alongside them for a quick step across the tarmac.

And when there was nobody there to dance with, then they waltzed with their bicycles.

Denis Geaney and his Team Geaney charity champions had a day of laughter, music, dance, song, soft ice cream, hard saddles, strong tea and incredible camaraderie as they embarked on a 180km cycle around the Ring of Kerry to show their support for a specialist medical unit that saved the life of their great friend.

Gene Tangney spent the past four months in the intensive care unit of University Hospital Kerry after contracting coronavirus and he faced – and won – a major uphill struggle to enable him to live to tell the tale.

Batt O’Sullivan, Derry Healy, Christine Tangney and Siobhan Tangney step it out at Coomakista with Mike Cronin and Mike Doyle supplying the tunes

Though frail and in need of rehabilitation and ongoing treatment, Gene was discharged from hospital at the weekend just in time to wish those setting off on the Ring cycle the very best as they set about raising funds for the ICU unit in Tralee.

To date, the fundraising effort has raised close to €20,000 and donations are still pouring in. To donate to the GoFundMe https://gf.me/u/ygcrtc before the end of August.

Adhering to strict social distancing restrictions and with limited numbers, the cyclists set off from the Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney on Saturday morning and what a day they had.

Talented musicians Mike Cronin and Mike Doyle accompanied them, as did members of Gene Tangney’s family and a dedicated support crew, and they caused quite a stir at Coomakista where great Killarney characters Batt O’Sullivan and Derry Healy waltzed with their bicycles.

The wandering minstrels continued on the road to the landmark Siopa Dubh in Castlecove where Carmel Galvin delivered an emotional rendition of the Rose of Tralee before taking to the dance floor with Killarney gentleman farmer Seanie O’Donoghue who was dapper, as always, in his sailor’s cap, trendy waistcoat and fetching bow-tie.

There to support the cyclists were Gene Tangney’s family including his dad Michael (Dyke) Tangney (centre) daughter Fiadhna, son Feidhlim, Irene, Susan and Siobhan, Joanna, Claire, Sinead, Michelle and Gareth

More singing and dancing was enjoyed in Sneem before the last stop at Moll’s Gap, followed by a great welcome home at the INEC in Killarney.

Organiser and Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle founder, Denis Geaney, said it was the enjoyable charity cycle in his 37 years involved in the event.

“For Gene, this was so important and receiving the wonderful news on Saturday morning that he had come home gave us more reason to sing and dance our way around the Ring of Kerry,” he said.

He praised the kindness and hospitality shown by everyone, from the Red Fox Inn in Glenbeigh, the Market House in Caherciveen, Brendan and Carmel Galvin in the Siopa Dubh in Castlecove and Patrick O’Donoghue and his team at the Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney.

Denis also thanked the support crew of Jimmy O’Callaghan, Ned Buckley, Connie Hurley, Declan Tangney, O’Sullivan’s Bike Shop and Chris Manton, the brilliant musicians Mike Cronin and Mike Doyle and Sergeant Gearoid Keating and Garda Donncha O’Brien who kept them safe on the roads.

Pictures: Valerie O’Sullivan. Click on individual images for details

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