St. Catherines GAA Club News

04 December, 2014

St Catherines GAA
A look back at the U16 year
Just before we do what the headline says, we give you the results from the most recent lotto draw which was held at The Plough, Curraglass on Monday night last, December 1st. Numbers drawn were 10, 11, 20 and 28 and there was no winner of the €18,400 jackpot. Consolation winners being Peggy Murray, Nora O’Brien, c/o PH, Conna, Jill H, c/o The Big Tree, Aghern; Kal Moroney, Conna, and Audrey Leahy, Scully, Mallow. Next week’s draw at McAuliffe’s, Ballynoe on Monday night, December 8th now has yet another record accumulated jackpot. Now standing at €18,600. We are striving to start the weekly draw much earlier, so far so good, keep up the good work.
Can we just congratulate co-ordinator Billy O’Connell, his wife Margaret and son Paul on the success of Indian Temple at the point-to-points in Ballindenisk on Sunday afternoon last. Well done, now read on.
A brief look back at the U16 year
What must have seemed like a season that would never end at U16 level has finally drawn to a close. Just two football matches would be played in the pre-exam segment when the league fixtures emerged round about the end of January, resulting in a heavy defeat to Glenville at Fouhy Park towards the end of February. Balanced by an equally resounding win for the Saints in Whitechurch a month later. That meant three months or more would elapse before this particular competition would resume. Allowing for a challenge match with our neighbours Castlelyons be played prior to the eagerly look forward to commencement of competition proper. Still would you believe the weather would prove a spoilsport and the proposed opening fixture with Kiltha Óg would be derailed, temporarily at least. Which meant St Catherines played their first match in section one of the U16 A hurling league against Cobh at Ballynoe on Monday evening, April 14th with a 7pm start. It was level at half time, 1-03 apiece. But a hat-trick of Owen O’Neill goals secured a comfortable enough success at the end. Final score 4-08 to 3-04. Off to a winning start, very reassuring.
We were able to slot the lapsed Kiltha Óg game in just two evenings later at Castlemartyr. Comfortable enough to half-time when ahead on a 3-07 to 0-05 scoreline. But it was a second half overshadowed by a horrendous injury picked up by fullback Niall O’Callaghan. Impact of the tackle allied to the crashing fall meant a shattered collarbone would keep the sterling defender out of the equation until the early autumn. Catherines still doing enough to win. Final score 5-09 to 0-13.
Even St Vincents weren’t easy up in their own pitch on the last Tuesday evening of April. Still the winning run is maintained on a 4-10 to 3-10 scoreline.
No games after that for a while, as the examinations take hold and wouldn’t resume again until the third week of June, football in Rathcormac v Bride Rovers. On the following Sunday morning Erins Own were visitors in a round four U16 A hurling league match at Ballynoe. Players are free of exam pressure now; they are more focused on the games, as at the back of one’s minds the opening round of the championship is forever looming large. Although fixed in the master plan for late July, both St Catherines and Bride Rovers together wouldn’t be mad about that date. So was brought forward with the mutual agreement of both clubs. At administrative level there would be no hitch with that. It’s putting games off or back is where the problem arises. A surging third quarter performance which yielded a tally of 4-07 without reply secured a handsome win for the Rovers, on an end scoreline of 5-13 to 5-03.
While an under strength Erins Own were down for the hurling league match in glorious conditions on the following Sunday morning. There would be no doubt about this one. An emphatic win for the home-based team. Finishing up 5-18 to 1-11. Assuredly nobody was reading too much into that lopsided scoreline. We would be cuter than that!
Carraig na bhFear were then overcome (1-14 to 0-08). A few more collective gatherings and then downhill all the way to the first U16 A hurling championship match. Catherines drawing the short straw and its off to Belgooly on Monday evening, July 14th. Facing Sliabh Rua who are always difficult opponents, be it knockout or whatever. Catherines down to fourteen players for the major part of the second half, put to the pin of their collars, emerging with a hard earned 2-09 to 1-10 win. Straight away the full time whistle was only just blown, we agreed for the following Monday evening with Kiltha Óg for the quarter-final. A decision which mildly angered the board, as they were working for the Sunday with the venue appointed. Following a meeting at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on the Tuesday night, we would be relocated to Shanagarry. Just to point out to you all, first round matches are on a home and away basis. Neutral venues apply subsequently. Easier said than done! Although conceding four goals, somehow the Saints always looked the better team and were deserving winners. It would finish up 3-14 to 4-06. On we go! Or so we thought! What we didn’t know was we were about to go down a very dark road indeed. One that didn’t seem to have any turning and that’s the truth.
Consternation reigned following two other quarter-finals. Namely Valley Rovers v St Vincents and Inniscarra against Glen Rovers. By now we are into the first week of August. There are expulsions. Then we hear of re-instatements, objections and appeals. This was how it was going to be. A loss to Aghinagh after extra time in a cracker of a football championship match and a hurling league final loss to Cloughduv in Kinsale, helped focus the mind. But after a few days again frustration would set in, not really knowing when these players would taste action again. By now Coiste na nÓg, the board organising under age affairs in the county, are running the competition. It’s no longer in the hands of the Rebel Óg East. Just imagine the task team manager Billy Neville and fellow selectors Noel O’Brien and Kieran Morrison are entangled in. But you must give them credit while this intolerable situation remains in the doldrums. They sought out meaningful and relevant challenge matches. What else could they do? They were rewarded with competitive games against Lismore, Na Piarsaigh, Abbeyside and Midleton. Results are irrelevant as it’s all about bringing the squad together and attaining a much sought after decent performance. Eventually, as it does in these sort of things, the ice broke! Action would resume on the fourth week of October. Hallelujah brother!
Glen Rovers would record back-to-back victories over Inniscarra and Erins Own in turn. They would play St Catherines in the divisional semi-final at Caherlag on the afternoon of Sunday, November 2nd. Truth is you can’t beat playing matches. Who then could blame anybody for making the opposition the favourites. Truth is, that is not how it panned out. It was 0-10 each at the sound of the fulltime whistle. Twenty minutes extra time required. Ten minutes a side. Look all matches have defining moments and while we may be over simplifying the matter, there is no doubt a point blank Rory Galvin stop allied to which he would point a lengthy free shortly afterwards and some heroic Kevin Geary goal line defending, were central to the end result. Success for the Saints. Final score 0-17 to 1-12. This was a huge result.
Victory aside it meant we would be out now the following two weekends at least as Rebel Óg East finalists are also guaranteed a shot at the county. This may not always be the case. It depends on what division has the most A graded teams at the relevant time. In many ways playing the matches in November could well have helped the team. There wasn’t any overlapping with other age groups. They were picking up an amount of support they mightn’t have had earlier on. Being the only team from the club left in action. People were bursting for a place to go and the weather conditions couldn’t have been better. As we said though last week, as well Cloughduv would be the team’s nemesis. Three finals. No win. Both divisional finals, league and championship. Banteer were overpowered in the county semi-final at Fermoy. But the hat-trick of defeats followed in the county final again against Cloughduv at Ballincollig the following weekend. Eoin Wallace absent from the halfback line through injury was no help. But that’s only clutching at straws, Cloughduv were better.
That then should give you a brief synopsis of what went on this year. There was a certain romance about being out Sunday after Sunday. Remember mid season this wouldn’t happen. There would be serious overlapping at fourteen and minor level. That’s how it is with small enough rural clubs. So in that respect they had the playing pitch to themselves. But overall though the whole situation was most unsatisfactory and mustn’t be allowed happen again. Remember we will go back over the U14’s year on the lead up to the annual social.
Munster Minor Draws
What might have slipped through the net, were the draws for next year’s Munster minor and U21 championships. We will give you the minor draws for now. With Cork facing Limerick in the quarter-final of the football, Clare are playing Kerry. With the winners to meet in the semi-final. Tipperary and Waterford are on the other side. Winners to play round robin qualifiers in the other semi. Likewise, it’s Cork v Limerick and Waterford v Tipp in the hurling quarter-finals. Clare awaits whoever emerges from the Waterford/Tipperary game in one semi. While whoever comes through the Cork/Limerick game meets the round robin qualifiers on the other side of the draw.
U21 draws to follow next week.
Club Sponsor
T & A Plant Hire, Ballynoe are St Catherines GAA Club sponsors.