Sharon Dooley, president of Athlone Toastmasters (guest speaker), and Mags Healy Donoghue, contest chair, Mullingar Toastmasters.

Mullingar Toastmasters club notes

With their annual club International Speech and Evaluation contests, Thursday February 23 was a night to remember for Mullingar Toastmasters. With seven members competing, it was guaranteed to be an exciting and entertaining evening.

Following a warm welcome by fáilte officer, Mary-Frances Cox, contest chair Mags Healy Donoghue took to the podium at 8pm. Her experience and passion were clear as she kicked off the evening.

Mags was an exceptional host – her performance was polished, professional and every detail was considered and under control. With warmth and a smile, she kicked off the first contest – the International Speech contest.

Brian McLoughlin was the first of three contestants with a speech entitled The Happiness Myth. The humour, gestures and facial expressions, along with funny and poignant content, made Brian’s speech a big hit with the audience.

The second speaker was Pat Kenny with a speech entitled Rebel with a Cause. The room fell silent as Pat delivered this thought-provoking speech about, not only a rebel, but a hero to many. He spoke of Vicky Phelan and her fight for justice, for herself, and for all the women of Ireland. The clarity in Pat’s voice insured the message was delivered to all in attendance.

The final speaker was club president Lorraine Murphy with a speech entitled Three Miracles. In it, she told her audience of three miracles she witnessed in her life, the struggles and the wins around them.

As the votes were collected and tallied by chief judge Pauline McCabe and counters Tony Viney and Jacqui Wiley, it was clear it would be a close call. In the end it was Brian McLoughlin who took second place and the winning speech went to Lorraine Murphy.

Sharon Dooley, president of Athlone Toastmasters (guest speaker), and Mags Healy Donoghue, contest chair, Mullingar Toastmasters.

After the break, it was time for the test speech and evaluation contest. Sharon Dooley, president of Athlone Toastmasters, delivered a speech called Oops, I Did it Again. Sharon’s energy and confidence filled the stage as she used props and the audience to have everyone chuckling and thinking. It was a speech that would have been worthy of a competition win.

The contestants in the evaluation competition were double-jobbing as Sergeants at Arms and Counters, Jacqui Wiley and Tony Viney escorted the contestants, Philip Howlin. Niamh Tubridy. Deirdre Bigley. Brian McLoughlin, Pat Kenny, John Waldron and Lorraine Murphy, to another room to compose their evaluations.

Working together, Tony and Jacqui ensured each was called and present to take their turn. One by one the contestants delivered their evaluations, each in their own style and again the room were at a loss as to who would take the trophy. Every evaluation brought something different but relevant to the floor.

Chief judge Pauline McCabe and counters left the room again to tally the scores and John Coyne took the role as topics master with confidence and great topics.

The judges were back and the results were in. Brian was second and Lorraine was first. Lorraine and Brian go on to represent Mullingar Toastmasters at the Area 9 finals in International Speech and Evaluation contests on Wednesday last, 8 March (update to come). The contest will be held online and all are welcome.

Contests require huge organisation and effort, and it couldn’t have happened without people stepping up. Mags Healy Donoghue for organising all contestants and role players, Pauline McCabe for organising all the judges and counters, Damien Rooney and Linda Gavagan on the clock as the timers, the anonymous judges who, even over a pint afterwards wouldn’t spill, and the audience, who make it all magic.

Mullingar Toastmasters meet every second and fourth Thursday of the month, upstairs in The Greville Arms Hotel at 8pm.

New members and guests are always welcome. For more contact, and on Facebook.