38th Annual Heat of Midleton Over 60’s Talent Competition

By Seamus Whelehan

Charlie McAllister (Organiser and Judge), Humphrey O'Sullivan (Judge) and Paddy O'Brien (Organiser)

The Midleton GAA complex was packed on Wednesday night last, with a local audience eager to see the Midleton heat of the Over 60s Talent Competition.

Wowing the crowds with a flawless rendition of ABBA’s ‘The Way Old Friends Do’, Maureen Laffan won over the hearts of the judges to earn her place in the Semi-final this May.  No stranger to music, Maureen’s late husband Paddy performed in the Dick Cashman Show Band.  Originally from Castlemartyr, she emigrated to Midleton 55 years ago where she is a member of the IMP choir.

On being crowned a ‘victor’ last week, the grandmother and widow said she is “thrilled” to be performing on the same stage as her show band icon.   “I’m honoured, I’m thrilled, I’m so happy to appear on the same stage as Art Supple” said Maureen.   The mother of four was among 11 people in their 60s, 70s and 80s to take part in the Midleton heat, performing a variety of acts including Frank Sinatra songs to Danny Boy and poetry.

Paddy O’Brien, Founder of the Over 60’s Talent Show, said it was a very entertaining evening with a large crowd in attendance despite the bad weather.  “Travelling down to Midleton the weather conditions were so bad that a farmer wouldn’t take a fox out of a chicken coop! But when we got there the hall was packed” said Paddy.

If the Midleton grandmother makes it through the semi-final in City Hall on Tuesday, 7 May it will be a case of ‘here we go again’ as she gets a second chance to perform in front of an audience of over 1,000 people.

On the night 21 contestants will be whittled down to 14 acts, who will perform in City Hall again in June for the finale.   Described as the biggest social event in Ireland for senior citizens, the competition is now in its forty third year.

Established by Paddy O’Brien in 1977 to help combat loneliness and isolation among the elderly, the event has helped raise more than half a million Euro for the Irish Heart Foundation.  The Youghal Heat will take place on Sunday, 31 March at 3:00pm in Brú Na Sí following the successful inaugural event in 2018.  Entrants to the Youghal heat can contact either Canon David Herlihy or Michéal de Butléir.   Although the event is being held in Brú Na Sí, performers are not limited in their repertoire. Paddy says entrants can sing anything from Jim Reeves to Johnny Cash.

This year’s local event are sponsored by Midleton Credit Union.