The two Air Corps Lieutenant Mohans with their grandmother Teresa (centre), parents Brian and Geraldine and brother Barry (left) and sister Aoife Swarbrick (right)  at the ceremony in Baldonnel. Photo courtesy of Brian Mohan

The two Air Corps Lieutenant Mohans with their grandmother Teresa (centre), parents Brian and Geraldine and brother Barry (left) and sister Aoife Swarbrick (right) at the ceremony in Baldonnel. Photo courtesy of Brian Mohan


Northern Standard  Carrickmacross News Thursday 16th April

It was a proud moment for grandmother Teresa Mohan from Woodlands in Carrickmacross as she saw her twin grandson Frankie Mohan receive his Air Corps pilot’s wings and his commission as an army Lieutenant. There was a double reason for celebration at the Air Corps headquarters at Baldonnel in County Dublin. Frankie was joining his twin brother Eugene, who had been commissioned in February last year, and is already serving in the Air Corps. The two Lieutenants were accompanied by their parents, Garda Inspector Brian Mohan (based in Dundalk) and Geraldine, who is originally from Essexford, Killany.

Brian’s brother Niall Mohan, his wife Lorraine and son Barry, all from Carrickmacross, were at the ceremony, along with his sister Sadie Maloney, now living in Ennis. His brother-in-law Francie Thornton and his wife Anne, also from Carrickmacross, were there along with other family and friends. They included the twins’ sister Aoife, who is married to Dave Swarbrick, an airline captain based in Dubai, and their five months old son Harry.

Lieutenants Frankie and Eugene Mohan with Air Corps Chaplain Fr Jerry Carroll and their grandmother Teresa Mohan from Carrickmacross.  Photo courtesy of Brian Mohan

Lieutenants Frankie and Eugene Mohan with Air Corps Chaplain Fr Jerry Carroll and their grandmother Teresa Mohan from Carrickmacross. Photo courtesy of Brian Mohan

The ceremony at Baldonnel began with Mass celebrated by the Air Corps chaplain, Fr Jerry Carroll from Carrickmacross. He is a former pupil of St Macartan’s College, Monaghan, which he attended along with Brian Mohan. Fr Jerry anointed the hands of the new pilots, who were presented with their wings by the General Officer Commanding the Air Corps, Brigadier General Paul Fry. In the presence of the Defence Forces Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Conor O’Boyle, they were then presented by the Minister for Defence Simon Coveney T.D. with their presidential commissions. The other four class members were

Mark Doyle, David Finnegan, Kevin Fitzgerald and James Northover. During the Wings ceremony, Brigadier General Fry congratulated the new pilots on their achievements and thanked their families and friends for supporting them throughout their cadetship.

Frankie Mohan was one of five in the 31st Regular Air Corps Cadet Class and began his cadetship in September 2012. The first ten months was the most challenging, as it was spent on military socialisation in the Curragh. It involved rigorous physical training, military drills, deportment, field craft and weapons handling.

Frankie went to Baldonnel to begin his flight training in July 2013. This lasted for eight months and involved instruction on fifteen diverse aviation related subjects, ranging from principles of flight to human performance and limitations. The class trained internally in the Flight Training School and externally with the Irish Aviation Authority, qualifying them to EASA Airline Transport Pilots License standard.

Eugene Mohan was one of three members of the 30th Air Corps Cadet Class and began his cadetship in September 2011. He went through the same arduous training and has recently completed his training as a helicopter pilot. Their parents Brian and Geraldine extended a huge congratulations to the twins, who they said had worked extremely hard to achieve their dreams. Eugene, who studied engineering at DIT Bolton Street had applied to join the Cadets on five occasions and never gave up hope that one day he would be an Air Corps pilot. Frankie, an engineering graduate of TCD, gave up a lucrative commercial diving engineer’s job to realise his dream of becoming a pilot. Now the Mohan twins are flying high together, in the service of the state.


Terry Cavanagh

Terry Cavanagh

Congratulations to Tydavnet’s Terry Cavanagh whose entrepreneurial skills have been recognised by the prestigious Forbes magazine. The County Monaghan native, now based in London,  is one of five Irishmen (another being the golfer Rory McElroy from Holywood, County Down) who have been included in their annual ’30 under 30′ worldwide list. There is a montage picture of these ‘young men to watch’ in today’s Irish Times and it looks like Rory’s golf club is hitting Terry on his back somewhere around the shoulder! By coincidence Terry’s parents and aunt were with me in Holywood walking along a short section of the North Down coastal path on New Year’s Day. Terry was included because of his expertise as a video games developer (products such as Super Hexagon and VVVVV). The company he founded is Distractionware. He was home in Tydavnet for Christmas and the New Year.

Five Irish in Forbes '30 under 30'   Photo from The Irish Times

Five Irish in Forbes ’30 under 30′ Photomontage from The Irish Times

I started writing about Terry over three years ago when he won a video games ‘Oscar’ for his game VVVVV at the Indiecade festival for independent game develpers in Los Angeles. So here’s a blog I published in October 2010, shortly after my retirement from RTÉ News:

Congratulations to Terry Cavanagh from Tydavnet in County Monaghan on winning an award at the Indiecade showcase for video games in Los Angeles (Culvert City). The game he developed VVVVVV won the most fun and compelling game at the festival. This is how I described his success in the Northern Standard :

“A Monaghan man has achieved international recognition in the computer games world for developing the most fun and compelling video game. Terry Cavanagh from Tullyvogey in Tydavnet picked up the prize at a festival in Los Angeles for independent games creators.

Terry Cavanagh

A former pupil of St Macartan’s College in Monaghan, has been making games since he was at  school. He moved to the university city of Cambridge in England six months ago as he said  he felt isolated in Dublin where there was no “indie scene”.

This award is an important breakthrough for him in a market that is dominated by global companies. Another game developed by him has also proved popular, Don’t Look Back. He has been described by one trade journal as “one of the industry’s brightest up-and-coming independent developers”.

His game VVVVVV was one of 32 games short-listed by 160 international jurors from over 350 submissions in the annual international festival of independent games (IndieCade) held at Culver City outside Los Angeles. It’s the main showcase for independent games developers from around the world, where they can meet collaborators and investors.

While established companies measure their budgets in millions, independents have to raise their own capital, sometimes putting their life savings into projects in the hope of creating a global success.

Terry found it was difficult at first to get financial support for this type of work and was unsuccessful in seeking enterprise funding in Monaghan. But that did not deter him and having arranged a bank loan he was able to embark on his creative projects. He can now boast that his creation is the most fun and compelling computer game on the market this year.

In the game, players imagine themselves as the fearless leader of a team of dimension-exploring scientists, who are separated after inadvertently crashing their ship.

VVVVVV uses smart, interesting puzzles and a strong world and environment, supported by simple visual design combined with awesome music.

The IndieCade festival helps to encourage innovation in interactive media. It includes games producers from Europe, Australia, Asia, Latin America and other countries.

News of Terry’s success in LA delighted his parents in Tydavnet. Peter, a retired Garda, and Patricia, a former psychiatric nurse, were proud he had won his own “Oscar” in what is a very competitive industry.”


Martin McAviney

Martin McAviney

It’s been an important weekend for the GAA in County Monaghan. First there was confirmation that the new Uachtarán Chomairle Uladh (President of the Ulster Council) is Ballybay man Martin McAviney. Many in the border area and the Press Golf Society will remember the great work done by his late brother John, a photographer.

At the same time, the GAA Ard Stiúrthóir Paraic Duffy was back in Monaghan to attend a gala ball organised by his alma mater, St Macartan’s College, where he was also the Principal for many years. It was celebrating the 100-year history of the GAA in the College, which includes winning the MacRory Cup on nine occasions, but not since 1956 although they have appeared in two finals in the past decade. On Wednesday week (27th February) the “Sem” will take on St Paul’s Bessbrook (Armagh) in the semi-final of the competition under lights in Armagh (7:30pm).

Martin McAviney is a member of the Pearse Brothers club in Ballybay. He is a member of the Club Committee and a Club Trustee. He has previously served as Club Secretary and Club Chairman and received the Coiste Chontae Mhuineachain Senior Official of the year 1984. He joined the Monaghan County Board as Ulster Representative in 1987 and held the position until being elected as P.R.O. of Comhairle Uladh in 2004, a role he carried out very effectively.

During his term as P.R.O., Martin was awarded the Ulster GAA Writers Communications Award in 2005. Martin took up a position of Cisteoir (Treasurer) of the Ulster Council in 2007, and in March 2010, he was elected as Leas-Uachtarán (Vice President). On his first full day in the new job, Martin was at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh to watch the interprovincial hurling and football semi-finals, previously known as the Railway Cup.

The competition was reinstated to the GAA calendar last year, but has failed to attract the support it used to get in the 1950s and 60s when large crowds would turn up at Croke Park on St Patrick’s Day for the finals. The club finals have taken over the slot and continue to bring in the numbers, but it seems the appetite for interprovincial competitions has faded, judging by the attendances at the semis. So the final of the football competition at Croke Park next Sunday has now been fixed to coincide with AIB Club junior final. The hurling final will be a week later.

Joe Kernan

Joe Kernan



Nice to see former Armagh boss Joe Kernan back in action as coach of the Ulster football side. He expressed his concern at the low attendance, given the quality of football on display. Monaghan made an important contribution to the Ulster side with Conor McManus scoring four points. The team was captained by Scotstown’s Darren Hughes, whose brother Kieran came on as a substitute.

Darren Hughes, Ulster

Darren Hughes, Ulster