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Flogas/Men's Shed Reimagine Drogheda Celebration

Flogas and Men’s Shed celebrate ‘Drogheda’ with Nina Carberry


 Nina Carberry with Michael Molloy, Colm Sweeney, Kevin Dunleavy, Michael Doherty and Bernie Quinn, representing the winners,  Ardara Men’s Shed


Ahead of the much-anticipated  2022 Aintree Grand National, former champion jockey Nina Carberry was the special guest at the prizegiving for the Grand National-themed Flogas/Men’s Shed ‘Reimagine Drogheda competition at the Millmount Museum in Drogheda.

The artistic competition was created by Flogas as energy partner for the Irish Men’s Sheds Association (IMSA). It celebrated a legendary Irish champion racehorse named Drogheda who won the iconic race against the odds. The horse was born and reared in the original Knockbrack House on Donore Road in Drogheda, the site of which is now the head office of Flogas Ireland. 

The overall winner was the Ardara Men’s Shed in Donegal. Using material that included horseshoe nails, timber, Donegal tweed, leather and even bone, the members created a stunning 3D collage in which the media coverage generated by the horse’s surprise win also formed a central part of the piece.    

The prizegiving MC was actor and comedian Joe Rooney of Fr Ted and Killinaskully fame.   Other guests included Flogas brand ambassador for Men’s Shed,  former Olympian David Gillick;  Dom Gradwell, the great grandson of Drogheda’s owner and Enda Egan, CEO, Irish Mens Shed Association.

Despite given no chance by the racing scribes of the day,  Drogheda,  the fearless six-year-old 25-1 outsider and his equally fearless jockey John Gurley,  won the 1898 Aintree Grand National in a then record time of nine minutes and 42 seconds in a blinding snowstorm, in which his last mile was faster than his first.

Flogas invited Sheds and their members on the island of Ireland to submit artistic entries that would symbolise the horse and capture his indomitable spirit. The work could be a painting, art installation, a garden, recycled material, woodwork, collage, sculpture, poem or whatever the imagination suggested.  The competition had been announced in early 2020 but extended due to Covid-19.

The regional winners were Drogheda Men’s Shed, Doon & District Limerick, Kinlough Men’s Shed in Leitrim and Tullyallen Men’s Shed in Louth.  Dundalk Men’s Shed and Clane Men’s Shed were joint runners up.

John Rooney, managing director, Flogas Ireland presented members of the Ardara Men’s Shed with the winning voucher for €2,500. He said, “Congratulations to the Ardara members on their well-deserved win and a huge thank to you to all the other Sheds that submitted top-class entries.  The competition struck a chord with the members, and I think it’s because the Grand National is such an iconic race, few others come close. It takes an incredibly special horse to win it and Drogheda was one of those. The competition is a fitting tribute to his memory.”

Ardara Men’s Shed in Donegal has been active since its formation nine years ago. The members wanted to design a horse in motion, using recycled material wherever they could. They met via Zoom and worked on individual sections at home when in-person wasn’t possible during lockdowns.

Michael Molloy, representing Ardara Men’s Shed,  said, “We’re over the moon to have won. It took us a while to come up with the concept, but once it was agreed, everybody threw themselves into it. The project got us over the hurdles of lockdown and kept our participating members going when times got a bit tough. Winning the competition was the icing on the cake and thanks to Flogas for the wonderful idea.”

The  panel of judges were John Crumlish, chief executive of the Galway International Arts Festival, Vicki Donlon, commercial manager, Horse Racing Ireland, Dom Gradwell, the great grandson of Drogheda’s owner George Gradwell and Flogas brand ambassador, former Olympian David Gillick.