Starring • Declan (Tom Hanks ) Harte • Gerry (Matt Damon) Claffey • Jackie O'Connor The Screenwriter • Paul (Huston) O'Sullivan The Director • Andrew (Spielberg) Griffith Supporting Cast • Siobhan O'Brien • Liz McCarthy • John McCarthy • Ruth Kelly • Elaine Foster • Anthony Buggy • Ciaran Balfe • Oisin Balfe • Gerry Halligan • Sandra O'Leary • Jennie Hickey • Ita Fitzmahony • Colin Smith • Michelle Kat McEvoy • Suzanne Deignan • Deirdre Morris Perth • Stefan Ray • Louise Walsh The Plot It is the morning of September 14th after months of rigorous planning and hours of relentless training, a carefully crafted invasion plan of Curracloe beach by open sea veterans is put into action. Heavy seas and high winds had hampered a previous attempt on Curracloe but this time, clear skies and a calm sea meant that D-day had finally arrived. A crack squad called ‘the NAC masters’ are specially assembled for the final push for victory. The squad gathered from early morning in different rendezvous points across the city. Stopping at Blanchardstown, Fairview and the Burlington, the bus driver wonders how this motley crew would survive the long day ahead and who would make it home unscathed. An army marches on its stomach so supplies for the long journey are loaded on board. Roll call complete, Sergeant Harte shares the marching orders for the day. A 3 hour journey to Curracloe, a 1.5 k Swim, the presentation of prizes and a final rendezvous at French’s pub in Gorey, no one is to be left behind. There is a nervous tension in the bus, veterans of past swims, reassure novices unsure of what is in store. The squad mascot, Oisin, passes around jellies and jokes in equal measure. On arrival the brave crew are welcomed by free coffee and refreshments from the locals. A quick reconnaissance trip reveals a gorgeous beach and ideal conditions for the swim. Tales of unseen jellyfish dangers unsettle the squad but undeterred Declan galvanises his troops and the race is on. The swim starts out to plan although it is clear that in the initial stages of the race that a stiff tide will have a significant bearing on the final outcome. Huge but harmless barrel jelly fish lurk beneath, reminding swimmers of the potential presence of more belligerent foe. Approaching the half way mark, it is clear that all is not as it should be:- The half way buoy has come loose from the anchor and is drifting towards shore. Leaving the rest of the squad behind, wily corporal Gerry Claffey realises the situation early and adjusts course in time to come in a creditable 4th in the men's race. However it is the ladies race where the honours are really won. Despite a stiffening current, Jackie powers to second in the ladies race followed shortly thereafter by the doughty master Siobhan. Elaine and Ruth swim with trademark resolve to finish in 13th and 17th to secure the Ladies Team prize. Weary from the days exertions, spirits are revived with soup and sandwiches at the Curracloe Hotel, courtesy of the Wexford Masters. With prizes secure, the squad are emboldened for the final assault on French’s pub in Gorey. Rehydration is a priority and the team quickly gets to work. The retreat from Gorey is not without incident. The war weary veterans load onto the bus for home only to find some of their number missing in action. Determined not to leave any man behind, Sergeant Declan Harte launches a brave search and rescue mission to gather his squad together. Cheers filled the bus for home when Declan returns with Jackie and Anthony in tow. Thankfully they also manage to demonstrate their resourcefulness by getting battered sausages and curry chips for the trip home. Elaine takes charges and quickly sets about the task of doling out the grog to the troops. The squad returns home to contemplate yet another honour filled year. Siobhan - ladies master of the year, Liz - ladies vet of the year and to the men's team of the year for the 5th year in a row, a fantastic feat, never achieved before. A great day to finish a great open sea season.

© NAC Masters