Imokilly Notes

16 January, 2022

Imokilly GAA Notes.

By Kieran McGann, PRO East Cork Board.

Barry Hickey an Imokilly man taking care of the coffers in Kilkenny.

Down the years we have seen Kilkenny win many great battles as Brian Cody wearing that iconic baseball cap strode the sideline driving them on accompanied by massive support from from the stands and terraces.  The winners are feted as legends, and Kilkenny have 36 senior All Irelands wins and were runners up 27 times. It appears their hurling tradition and toughness goes back to the Statute of Kilkenny in 1366 when the English Crown forbade a game at that time which men call hurling with great clubs and a ball on the ground out of which many evils and maims arose.  They outlawed it in Galway too in with the Statute of Galway in 1527. This great tradition is helped and nurtured by leaders down the years in the county board and among them for the last 23 years is a man from the Uí Mac Coille Division namely Barry Hickey.

Barry was born and reared in Curraglass, Conna, Co. Cork just two milles from Tallow, Co. Waterford.  In fact, he attended Tallow NS.  Ned Power, his teacher at the time and a famous Waterford goalie brought the Liam McCarthy cup to the school in 1959 when Waterford won the championship.  There was a few more Cork lads at the school too.  He later went to St Augustine’s in Dungarvan and was in the same year as fellow Cork lads Pat Hegarty, Youghal / Cork hurler, Gerry O’Sullivan Cloyne, later Chairman of Imokilly, Cork and Munster and his brother Timmy O’Sullivan who is still very involved with Cloyne. Barry joined the Munster & Leinster Bank after a while in Skerries College.  He played with St Catherines at underage in hurling and football and he made the St Catherines team for the East Cork Junior hurling final of 1972 against Dungourney in Castlelyons.   He moved on to Limerick for a while and then to the AIB in Callen, Co. Kilkenny.  His passionate love for Cumann Lúthchleas Gael and especially the administrative side of it meant that he immersed himself in John Lockes Club, Callen as they laid out another pitch and won a minor title.  During this time, he met and married Katleen from Kilmoganny and they have three in family.  Barry was awarded the clubman of the year twice in Kilkenny as his administrative work for the Association was recognised. He was later brought onto the Kilkenny County Board as Development Officer and after nine years in that role he took up the position of Treasurer, a position he has held for the last 15 years.

He has enjoyed some great days with Kilkenny during his tenure and seen Brian Cody leading the Cats to loads of medals including a fair bag of All Ireland ones too.  Barry was a selector on county minor and under 21 teams and remembers Mark Foley playing a blinder as Cork beat them well in a final in Birr.  Back the days when they had the great side with huge crowds turning up to see training Nowlan Park they decided to hold a collection going in one evening.  That evening ten thousand attended the training session, so they made some money.  However, they had to close the attendances at training it disrupted the panels preparations.

The winning of a senior All-Ireland sends a blast of enthusiasm from one end of the county to the other and helps youngsters take naturally to the game. But there can be no half measures as the top of the tree does not grow of its own accord and keeping it going requires a strong outfit behind the scenes. Barry sees this in his fellow officers as they work hard on preserving a strong structure to ensure good conditions and have a shared mindset to do what is best for Kilkenny. He agrees that running the Association in any county is heavy work nowadays and he takes a bit of pride in the fact that all officers and those involved with the Board are volunteers apart from one person doing office work a few days a week. Indeed, he mentions many famous names and among them Ned Quinn and Pat Henderson who are still working so hard. He agrees that Kilkenny is a small county and is deeply rooted in Cumann Lúthchleas Gael.  So, their real focus is upholding that interest and tradition by ensuring teams are well looked after in the intensely competitive sphere of our championship games.  

We spoke about the Concerts and Kilkenny held many in Nowlan Park over the years as they had a double Bruce Springsteen, Andrea Bocelli, Rod Steward and many more. Barry sees the Concerts as a plus.  While pitch can get damaged temporarily the people of Kilkenny and beyond can see Nowlan Park as far more than hurling mecca.   It is a source of revenue for the Association, and he believes they bring a feel-good factor about the place.  Kilkenny has many hotels, and they fill up for a Concert, the revellers’ part with a few Euros about the place while all have a good time. He remembers having a Kilkenny jersey ready for Bruce Springsteen to wear at the Concert, but Cork beat them the day before in Thurles and that put a stop to Bruce wearing the jersey on stage.

For Barry Hickey the road of life has taken him from Cork to Kilkenny and no doubt he has found great enjoyment along the way.  Hurling is one game where the process of change comes with the passage of time.  There is one consistency and that is Kilkenny are always a hard team to beat. While Barry takes care of the coffers for his adopted county, he has a great passion for his homeplace in Curraglass and Cork.  An able and humble man whenever there is a clash between the Rebels and the Cats, he stays on the middle road.  Go n-éirí an bóthar leat a Bharra.

Great value for all in the Rebel Bounty 2022.

The Rebel Bounty 2022 Draw is open to purchase tickets.  No doubt your Club Coordinators will be in touch. There are 360 cash prizes as €500,000 will be given out over 12 draws to be given including a first prize of €100,000 in December 2022.

Sales are going well and there is a mighty opportunity to maximise Club sales before the deadline of the first draw at the end of February. The Committee have now decided to extend the "Early Bird" offer of free entry to a draw for All Ireland Hurling and Football tickets for all online purchases to Monday, January 24th at 6pm.  This draw supports the Rebels, it is an excellent source of revenue for the Clubs and, of course, massive value to those who join for a small investment over the 12 months.  The support committee is always available to liaise with clubs who require any advice or support on sales.  If you have any queries, email rebelsbounty@gaa.ie

Short Divisional Fixtures Calendar for 2022.

The Fixtures Calendar issued by the County Board should be studied by all members.  There were excellent county championships in 2021 in both hurling and football and all went well in the Divisions too.  However, this year’s calendar has cut the Divisions to just seven weeks making it very difficult for a round robin set up and a possible return to a straight knockout.

The Divisional Chairperson's and Runaí met with the County CCC recently and negotiations are ongoing.  We in the Imokilly Division would need eleven clear weekends to complete to complete our Junior A Hurling and Football Championships. The County Board cannot increase the seven weeks as they are restricted by the Munster deadlines. The GAA CCC in Croke Park have brought the All-Ireland Club Finals into January 2022 thus bringing the Munster deadlines forward into October.  Consequently, it may not be possible to change the seven-week timeline for Divisional Championships. 

The Officers of the East Cork Board met to discuss these latest changes. Accordingly, the seven weeks (July 24th to Sept 4th) may need to be ringfenced for the Junior Hurling Championships. The Junior Football Championship is the primary issue. For this to be a meaningful competition we wish to retain the round robin system whereby each team would get a few games.  Accordingly, our Runaí, Daniel Lane, has prepared some options for review by the Clubs, and it would be appreciated if they met and discussed these timely. Clubs can return their views or suggestions on how they wish to complete the championships to the East Cork Board for the next meeting. No doubt the fixtures calendar will be discussed at County Board meeting as the problem is the same for all Divisions.

Comhbhrón.

We wish to off our sincere condolences to Michael O Brien and family and to Jerome O Brien and family on their recent bereavements.  Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamacha dílse.

East Cork Board Main Sponsors.

East Cork Oil - Hurling

Michael O'Connor Motor Factors - Football