St Catherines GAA Notes

03 May, 2021

Brief look at club and county situation

By John O'Mahony PRO

We must be making progress. Up to a week ago it’s a word that would hardly make an appearance in a report, but what’s going to determine the extent and velocity of restrictions (there – I’ve said it) are the number of applicable Covid cases, variants of the virus, speed of vaccinations and the ability of hospitals to cope. As we look forward to Monday, April 26 and the reintroduction of non-contact training outdoors and confined to groups of fifteen from age eighteen down.

At local level and all mentors and panellists are aware by now that the U15 allied to the 7 and 7 year olds will be on the pitches on Monday nights. It’s U13 boys along with the 8 and 9 year olds on Tuesday. With minor and the U17 age group on Wednesday. While the U15s will be on again on Thursday evenings with the 13s returning on Friday. In and around seven to eight o’clock to be the time, just listen to your coaches. With the younger age groups again on the pitches between 10 and 12 noon on Saturday - isn’t it great!

A memorable start to the new Cork GAA clubs draw at local level with newly appointed juvenile secretary Lisa Moore collecting a first prize of €20,000 in the Rebels’ Bounty March draw. Mark Lester also winning 250 in the earlier February draw. Next up now with a first prize of €25,000 is the April draw. Set for next Thursday, April 29 which we also believe to be the night for county championship draws. It’s still not clear or indeed confirmed but because of the current situation we may see the lower intermediate hurling championship go on for another year. Watch this space.

Now these notes are being put together last weekend so your much more au fait with goings on at county level by now. We do know that Cork will play defeated All-Ireland finalists Waterford at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday, May 9 in group A of the national hurling league. Twenty four hours previously a competition that explodes to reality with the clash of Tipperary and reigning league, provincial and All-Ireland champions Westmeath and Galway in turn. While for definite Cork along with Down and Dublin will not have any home games in the football league as a result of their Covid training breaches. You do the crime, you do the time! A finalised list of dates, starting times and venues should be published about now. Having waited for the championship draws earlier in the week we know that Munster and Connacht would be covered on Monday with Leinster and Ulster to follow twenty hours later. A closer look next time around. It’s hotting up!

Power cuts
Just beware, in the Ballynoe area at least, of a power cut on Friday coming, April 23 from about 10.30am to 4 that afternoon to make new connections.

Deepest sympathy to the family and extended families on the sad death of Hester England, Ballynoe, over the week.

Enjoy Punchestown next week

It will signal the end of a truly magnificent Irish national hunt season with next week’s staging of the legendary Punchestown Racing Festival. Now if the weather continues to dry up it could trigger any amount of defections. The English opening classics coming up at the weekend clearly shows you how late in the season it is. Expect a few surprise results.

Recent lotto results

Results from the most recent weekly lotto draw which was held on Monday night last, April 19. Numbers drawn being 1, 13, 22 and 25 and the jackpot of €10,400 wasn’t won. Consolation winners on the night being Lizzie O’Leary c/o H.OC, Jerry Fitzgerald, Garrycahera, Ballynoe, Marina O’Brien, Carrigmore, Conna, Irene Flynn, online and Richard Hegarty, Ballymonteen, Ballynoe. Next draw on Monday night, April 26 will have a jackpot standing at €10,600.

Conclusion of the 1993 minor hurling championship

Now unfortunately this piece, being worked on for three weeks doesn’t end in sunshine and smiles. There would be no basking in glory. Using the simple yet unexplained theory that you simply don’t win them all!
Finishing was poor, lacking the essential sharpness as the Saints minus a competitive outing for nearly eight weeks struggled to cope with the renewed challenge of Glen Rovers in a fiery frequently tempestuous county minor A hurling championship semi-final on Sunday morning, September 26. Contrast that approach with that of the city based team who wouldn’t strike a sliotar until earlier the same month in the Seandún section of the competition. That fear of being that bit fresher prevailed and was becoming gradually yet increasingly apparent as the show would move on. No one could question the players attitude though especially after seeing an 0-08 to 0-04 interval advantage. Suddenly and ruthlessly wiped out at 0-08 to 1-05 now just five minutes into an increasingly volatile second half hour. Kieran Morrison goaling a penalty is what lifted the siege, giving further impetus to any flagging confidences and the Saints place in the final was secured wtih a Richie Hegarty goal just three minutes short of the sound of Mick Lyons’ full time whistle. But it was a struggle and certainly wasn’t easy. It ended at St Catherines 2-12 Glen Rovers 1-08.

Now the way the set up was evolving would see Kilworth get the better of Newcestown (1-10 to 0-08) before losing put to Eire Óg on a scoreline of 4-04 to 1-09. So it was back to Watergrasshill on the afternoon of Saturday, October 16 for the then ‘Cork Examiner’ sponsored county minor A hurling championship final. A cold yet sunny, albeit dry afternoon. Referee Con O’Sullivan of Clyda Rovers. In advance we had been publicising it for Sunday. With the whole scenario clearly changing as the week evolved.

Looking back on it now 28 years on but we wonder did the build-up prove distracting? Even though managing to remain on stride with the opposition at 0-04 each to half time having trailed to three unanswered points after six minutes. Again it was 0-06 each eleven minutes into the second half even though you would have to say St Catherines overall weren’t playing well, Not showing any of the sparkle evident from the divisional rounds or from the Glen match just three weeks previous, Again as the saying goes that you only play as well as your allowed play.

One of the real stars for Eire Óg on the day was their razor-sharp goalkeeper David Bradley. Twice denying Kieran Morrison, once on sixteen minutes and again midway through the third quarter with what can only be described as point blank stops. They would be the kind of saves destined to win a county title for you. Catherines couldn’t hold a brief and momentary lead following a goal which at the time was accredited to Ger Lynch now in the largely unaccustomed role of full forward. Entering the fourth and final quarter finding themselves two points adrift. Brian Cotter trimming the margin to the minimum with a delightful point when pulling first time on the sliotar off the surface, Unfortunately one minute later this contest was all but over and virtually decided. Éire Óg goaling a breaking ball after the initial free would come back into play off the upright.

From there to the end it kind of all drivelled away. Score at the finish was Éire Óg 2-08 St Catherines 1-07. Nineteen of a twenty three strong panel tasted action through a five match championship campaign. We hadn’t yet at club level at least adjusted to the manager term. But Billy O’Connell and Dick Hegarty looked after a team coached and trained by Kevin Lane. Apart from who we mentioned, other players to figure prominently in that opposition team included John Healy, Tim Cronin, Killian Sheehan, Joe O’Sullivan, Damien Lordan and Paul Curran. At day’s end and without the treasured prize on show, a tad like hamlet without the prince, all players and substitutes assembled for a meal in the hall of Conna Community Centre. Also present were parents and other club members.

Having been secretary for twelve months at the start of that decade yet Billy Neville was chairman of St Catherines GAA Club at the time and in his address to a sociable gathering stated even in defeat that minor team were excellent ambassadors for the club all season. Batty O’Connell in his role as vice chairman of the underage section of the club singled out the contribution of Dick Morrison over the years. Dick Hegarty and then parish priest Rev Fr John Kelleher PP also spoke.

There were also contrasting fortunes for the players pre and post county final time. In a team captained by Michael Dorgan and St Colman’s lost out to Limerick CBS in the Harty Cup. Martin O’Keeffe and Michael Hegarty also made that team. Yet moving on just one week and twelve from that minor set up of an overall panel of twenty one B hurling decider. There were eight of them on the team with one more introduced as substitute. An East Cork final played in Caherlag on Saturday, October 23. Slowly but surely the wheel was turning in the right direction again, providing a partial boost from the pain inflicted by that minor loss. A result that would provide total redemption especially having lost to Youghal in the corresponding final at Dungourney just twelve months previously.

Éire Óg, some years later, also inflicted a minor championship loss. Off the top of one’s head there have been four championship clashes between the top flight teams of the respective clubs. Éire Óg won three of those and one of those victories came in a replay from 1987. Isn’t it time to put that right?

St Catherines minor hurling team 1993 county final line out

Michael O’Brien, Brendan Noonan, Michael Dorgan, Kevin O’Connell, Paul O’Connell, Martin O’Keeffe, Ger Lynch, Johnny Sheehan, Jim Lane, David O’Connell (team captain), Brian Cotter, Paddy Lane, Richie Hegarty, Kieran Morrison and Michael Hegarty. Sub used was Dessie Lucey. Also on panel: Richard Cotter, Robbie O’Connell, Pat Morrison, Ian O’Connell, Liam O’Leary, Donal Lynch and James Caples.

Easing of restrictions

Hello! It’s the morning of Thursday, April 15 now four days into the initial what can be called gradual easing of restrictions from this third yet seemingly endless lockdown. Schools are open and now we’re allowed to drive around our great and beloved county. You can go to a neighbouring county. But remember to remain twenty kilometres from base. Last week’s blueprint release of what the inter-county season will look like, allied to the introduction of non-contact training from U18 down at the end of the month puts the focus more on upcoming activity. Looking around the parish and there was some recent commendable success around the racetracks. Look out for championship draws coming your way shortly. Also bringing you the latest lotto results. That’s it in a nutshell. Off you go.

Resumption of intercounty activity

Key dates through early last week were the naming of April 19 as seeing the resumption of collective senior intercounty training, with one week later - April 26 the plan for juvenile training (non-contact and confined to groups of fifteen) to come back. A bit more forthcoming from the powers that be on Thursday evening last. Now we know the national hurling league can resume on May 8/9 with the equivalent football competition kick starting into action one week later and scheduled to start on the week ending May 15/16. There will be no league final in the hurling barring the two teams meeting in the championship. Football league semi-finals and finals are in the mix for mid-June. Then right at the end of the month in both codes provincial championships are down to start. All-Ireland finals to be played mid and end of August.

Now watch out for the draws of both Sam and Liam coming your way sometime in the next week or so. Munster is in the pipeline for airing on the Morning Ireland programme on RTE Radio One on April 19.

Now Cork were crowned Munster U20 hurling champions just pre-Christmas. While the Leinster version involving Dublin and Galway is still outstanding. All teams named were also the last three from U17 level in 2017. Who says young fellows don’t retain their form? Still no dates being mentioned for that or when we will see this year’s competition starting. Vaccine rollout still a key and central issue.

Starting in early September and running right through to mid-November is reserved for club action while the provinces come into play after that. That’s the plan. You must start somewhere of course it all hinges on those Covid figures. We live in hope.

Latest lotto results

Most recent weekly lotto draw went ahead on Monday night last, April 12. Numbers drawn were: 5, 8, 17 and 24 and the jackpot of €10,200 wasn’t won. While the consolation winners were Siobhan Hayes c/o HOC, Susan Murphy, online, Irene Flynn, Carrigeen Hall – online, Esther Power, Ballynoe and Anne O’Gorman, Cois na hAbhainn – online. We’re back on Monday night, April 19 with the jackpot now standing at €10,400.

Horse racing success

Just right now with the way things are, you know yourself with Covid, and horizons must be broadened. Especially now that there’s no action on the playing fields of Ireland. At least horse racing continues to get the green flag. Recently the Spillane’s up in Kilavorilla, which is close to the venue of Ballynoe point to points, enjoyed a double. Goulan Chosen and Wrong Direction ridden by local man, Johnny Hurley winning their respective outings at Cork track on bank holiday Monday last. Meeting rounded off with another local trainer. Sean Aherne and the Paul and Dave O’Connell owned Cobblers Dream taking the €10,000 added Pegus Horse Feed Point to Point flat race.

Later the same evening Billy O’Connell goes to Youghal and Jovial Dash wins the opening 525 race. When your luck is in! Jokingly retorted to him on the phone on Tuesday morning after both successes – “Billy you might be the new Paul Hennessy!” All last week Cloth Cap was the horse on everyone’s lips. Bred by Joe Pratt and the Spillane brothers Mossie and Mark. After some impressive performances at Newbury and Kelso was braced off the board down to outright favouritism for last Saturday’s Grand National at Aintree. Don’t really know what happened towards the end. But for twenty seven fences it just seemed to be going almost perfectly. Subsequently witnessing history. Rachel Blackmore and Minella Times winning the sport’s most famous race. Henry De Bromhead - now every day he goes out nearly creates some sort of unique record. If winning isn’t enough you must throw in second as well. One/two at Aintree one/two in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Throw in a champion chase champion hurdle and champion two and a half Millie Hurdle for good measure. It really is the stuff of dreams.

Sharp Tipperary pundit Kevin Blake questioned on Saturday morning quoted 50/1 on Irish horses filling the first five places at Liverpool’s big race as being the bet of the day. Mark Chapman from his studio chair clearly replied declaring for him to relax. It ain’t going to happen. Leading UK finisher was Black Lio who was actually race favourite four years ago. The year Lucinda Russell won with One For Arthur. Ten of the first eleven home were Irish. They smash records again, again and again! But Matt can be like that sometimes. He talks down to people.

Since Christmas it’s been magic. From Leopardstown and Limerick onto champions weekend in early February. Then it’s Cheltenham and Aintree with Punchestown to come. One question for the real horsey people and having witnessed what appreciate it and Bob Olinger achieved well then how good is Ferny Hollow? Of course all this goes in cycles. Shortly we will be moving from the national hunt to the flat. Coming up soon will be the classics. Slick jumping gives way to raw power and pace. Newmarket, the Curragh and Ascot will be the centre of attention. New stars will emerge as the bacon, cabbage and Guinness brigade make way for champagne, strawberries and cream!

Minor hurling championship campaign 1993

We more or less tried to create the origin of the team when we were last with you. Where did they come from? What was the expectancy level like? But first things first and before a ball could be struck there was the Munster minor hurling championship. A Cork team featuring club players Johnny Sheehan and Kieran Morrison in its line out. They started off with a six point win (2-12 to 0-12) over reigning holders Waterford at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in early April. Before annihilating Kerry in a mismatch of a semi-final at Kilbrin three weeks later on April 28. On the other side Tipperary played three matches. Easily disposing of Limerick then getting the better of Clare in a replay. Thus setting up our final which was played at Páirc Na nGael, Limerick on Sunday, July 4. American Independence Day, Hallelujah brother! But there was no reason to celebrate here! Victory for the blue and gold (1-12 to1-09). Initiating a double for the home of hurling preceding a resounding success over the banner county in the subsequent senior final.

Overall though that minor form didn’t hold up that well. Tipperary were well beaten by Galway who themselves lost out to Kilkenny in the All-Ireland final later in the year. Also on that Cork minor team were Michael Ryan from the Barrs, Seanie McGrath and Eoin Coleman of Youghal now a proficient referee for both the East Cork board and Rebel Óg. That puts an end to the setbacks for now as in goes the sliotar and the East Cork minor A hurling championship of 1993 is under way. Facing Bride Rovers in the first match at Castlelyons on Tuesday evening, July 13. Catherines holding down a three point lead at 0-04 to 0-01 after quarter of an hour. Before back to back Brian Cotter points sixty seconds apart from the twentieth minute marginally extended it at 0-06 to 0-01 to the interval. But two Rovers goals in a six minute spell between the 39th and 45th minutes were retaining that competitive feel to matters. They would come perilously close to a third. When the game’s defining score materialised. Saints’ goal booted home by David O’Connell as a late Richie Hegarty point rounded off the scoring with the saints advancing on an end 1-12 to 2-02 scoreline.

A litany of opening half points with then U16 player Paddy Lane among the contributors meant the Saints were able to absorb the enforced departure through injury of Johnny Sheehan after ten minutes in building up a half time lead of 0-08 to 0-02 in the semi-final. Third quarter goals, two of the soft variety with Michael Hegarty, David O’Connell and Jim Lane. The scorers effectively put this one sides championship to bed. Only second half score conceded was a goal from a free against a disappointing yet fancied Cloyne fifteen who had beaten Fr O’Neills in the previous round, Can’t really pin down the exact date of when this match went ahead. You see U16 and football were also floating around, But it was wither Thursday, 22 or Thursday, July 29. Make up your own mind. Castlemartyr was definitely the venue where it finished up at St Catherines 3-11 Cloyne 1-02. They may have been Cloyne Rovers because of the Russell Rovers connection.

Subsequently recording a surprisingly easy victory over Watergrasshill in the eventual divisional final. Let there be no doubt it was played on the evening of Tuesday, August 3. Dominating right from the outset and were ahead at 0-11 to 0-3 to the twenty five minute mark. Half-time scoreline in the Saints’ favour standing at 0-12 to 1-03. Early points on the change of ends from the sticks of Dave O’Connell, Richie Hegarty and Paddy Lane extending that well-earned advantage that bit further.

Catherines absorbing the implications of conceding a second goal with a goal of their own. Probably the match defining score finished off by Michael Hegarty on forty nine minutes. On the night contributing a tally of 1-04. All from play. Final score St Catherines 1-22 Watergrasshill 2-05. To Dan Kearney, then vice chairman of the board and himself a proud ‘Hill man the honour of presenting the winning trophy to Dave O’Connell captain of the successful St Catherines, team referee was the now sadly departed Georgie Crowe (Cobh), match played on a pristine Lisgoold surface.

Seem to recall or it’s somewhere in the mind of heading to the Big Tree afterwards for tea and sandwiches. For the players, certainly a representation of the panel anyway we met just a day later up and around Páirc Uí Chaoimh for the Oasis concert. So the spiral is still an upward curve. Yet delays would be expected now for the county rounds of the competition. Still there would be the equivalent football championship to be going on with. While you can well appreciate a number of these players would be involved at U21 level as well. As it was it would be all of fifty four days elapsing before St Catherines would face Glen Rovers in a sometimes fiery county semi-final. Match played in Watergrasshill on Sunday morning, September 26. So be patient, we will list full panel next week, for now ‘don’t look back in anger’!

St Catherines GAA Club sponsors

T&A Building and Civil Engineering Contractors are club sponsors. Mulcahy Steel are juvenile club sponsors