Overall it was a disappointing season as seemingly going well it was a team that lost momentum. Securing a share of the spoils with Glen Rovers towards the end of August meant first team status was retained. Winning their opening six matches on the bounce were able to absorb the implications of their only defeat. Had enough done before eventually losing out to Aghabullogue in the inaugural Red FM sponsored County Premier Junior Hurling League semi-final under the lights at Ballynoe on Wednesday night, November 9th. With the conquerors going on to win the competition outright. Beating Lisgoold in a final eventually decided in Caherlag little over a week later. Game over!
It was only fitting that Chairman Tom Morrison homed in on the first team, they are after all the club’s standard bearers, when addressing the Annual General Meeting of the parent club held in the main hall of Ballynoe Community Centre at 8pm on Friday night last. Going on to thank manager Shane Kearney and mentors. Adding them to be as disappointed and frustrated with the lack of progress as any of us. Something we will do for you after the festivities and juvenile social are over is look at the layout of the new competition coming up in the spring. As the chairman declared it to be ‘a better looking league next year with more games”.
St Catherines heading into injury time seemingly in control. But let it slip and the concession of two late goals initially meant defeat to Castlelyons but more importantly expulsion from the Divisional Junior B Hurling Championship. Manager Ed Galvin had to be commended. Getting a third choice team on the field. Taking part in the Division 4 League and subsequent East Cork Junior C Hurling Championship. There were some great matches in the East One U19 Hurling Championship. It should be clarified after a special congress called for February. Upcoming county convention might even throw some light on it before that. Right now it looks like an age group with no future. Although a few of the younger players came on to it and felt genuine progress was made. Nevertheless, the two crunch games of the year were lost and lost heavily. Defeat to Diarmuid O Mathúnas in the quarter final of the County Junior B Championship. Well beaten by Fr O’Neills in the East Cork Junior B2 Football Championship final. In the course of his AGM address chairman Tom thanked his fellow officers, as well as Cathal Leahy working on the Players Injury Fund, and Kevin Galvin for his expertise with the gym. Under the chairmanship of Billy Neville and the skill and guidance of Pat Hartigan and Thomas Waxer Murphy, the club grounds always look well. Nevertheless, use of the pitch came far too early back in the spring. Stressing the availability of the ball wall while players can run out on the walkway should they so desire. There were four matches under the county board banner at the venue this year. Including senior football and a county hurling semi-final. Highlighting the confidence contained in Ballynoe to be able to stage those bigger games. Brian Davis did a lot of work there. Getting a few new faces into the thick of the action. So necessary now especially with the phone scanning on entry.
Thanks to everybody for their loyal and ongoing support for the Rebels’ Bounty and the weekly lotto draw. Two of the club’s biggest fundraisers. Thomas and Antoinette O’Donnell of T&A are sponsors of St Catherines GAA Club. Likewise, John and Jackie Mulcahy of Mulcahy Steel are sponsor of St Catherine’s Juvenile GAA club.
Reflecting back to the juvenile equivalent of a week previous and again like every club across the length and breadth of the land setbacks arrived at the club door. Assuredly St Catherines would be no different to anyone else in that sphere. In September encountered the sad death of a youthful David McDonnell after an illness borne bravely. While the chairman paid an emotive tribute to this late uncle, Dick Morrison, club president, lifelong club stalwart, departing this earth back in late January. Hopefully his legacy goes on. To quote the late Dick – “Be united going forward”.
Treasurer Richard Hegarty as always presenting a ratified financial report. Again highlighting an issue from the Juvenile AGM re overlapping when it comes to the speeches of the club’s principal officers. It’s unavoidable. Declaring what we pointed out to you last time around and we do so again now. Better to mention it twice than not at all. Would you agree?
At the outset of a meeting which had a sizeable attendance with a few players present and went on for about an hour and a half, secretary Eleanor Galvin presented a thorough review of last year’s AGM held in Conna Hall on Friday night, December 10th. All of 50 weeks ago now. Tempus Fugit!
For this year’s report Eleanor was quick to point out that with the improvement in the covid stakes there could be now again full attendance at matches. Then issuing an administrative look back through the playing year entailing both codes. Though she would be slightly concerned with the disciplinary side of things. Overall feeling it to have disimproved. Thanking physios John O’Meara and Finola Neville for their unfailing work during the year. Scór was again supported. Particularly at primary school level where some success was attained. During the year, now all but over and Eoin Davis was third choice goalkeeper on the Cork Senior hurling team. Likewise there was Sean O’Donoghue and Oisín Fitzgerald as members of the County Minor U17 hurling team. Laura Hayes, Aoife Hurley, Finola Neville and Ally Mulkerrins bringing further glory to the St Catherines club on the camogie fields of Imokilly Cork and beyond. Great to see and long may it continue. Eleanor always presents a meticulously prepared report. Read out in a clear, concise fashion. Delighted to see her touch on the current wellbeing of two club stalwarts, namely William Kearney and Padraig O’Connor. It might take a while, but both will bounce back.
Now the breakdown on membership is as follows. Adult players and non-players using the gym is €200. Adult player without gym usage is €100. Non-playing adult not using gym and second level students U17 but using gym €60. In the 10 to 17 age group (no gym) membership is €40. While for 9-year-olds down its €20.
Denis Walsh is the newly appointed manager of the Premier Junior hurling team. Ed Kenneally and Ollie Sheehan are selectors. Junior B and C hurling manager is Ed Galvin who now appoints his own selectors. Take note the C team play Championship only. Liam O’Connor again takes charge of the junior B footballers. While more than likely will be putting a second team into the divisional junior C football championship. They wouldn’t be in a position to play league football.
Though not promoting it in a past life, this time around committee members have National Club Draw tickets to sell at €10 per ricket. Major prizes on offer include a Dacia Duster car, cash prizes and loads of All-Ireland packages. GAA National Club Draw for 2023 takes place on Wednesday, March 15th. Oops! Right in the middle of Cheltenham!
Other events coming up
St Catherines Athletic Club are hosting day two of the All-Ireland juvenile and novice cross country championships on Sunday, December 4th. We were told at the meeting that help is required with stewarding. Remember some of those participating take part in underage GAA games as well. Passed that way last Saturday afternoon and the road will be closed in and around that area on the day. Christmas Day could nearly be relabelled Goal Mile Day! Twenty-four hours later sees the staging of the annual Poc Fada on Stephen’s morning. Or Boxing Day for UK readers! Publicised last week, doing so again now, that St Catherines Juvenile GAA, Camogie and Ladies Football Clubs’ Annual Social will be in the Rochestown Park Hotel on Friday night, January 20th 2023. Tickets go on sale pre-Christmas. My God it’s all happening isn’t it!
An idea introduced at the camogie meeting and continued on here whereby all present signed a form stating their availability for help when requested. Here’s hoping!
St Catherines GAA Club secure their committee members subdivided equally between Conna, Glengoura and Ballynoe. A positive response on the night. Hopefully now these are not just names on a page Three weeks of intense administrative activity largely putting the infrastructure of the camogie underage GAA and parent clubs in place. Oh where do we go from here?!
St Catherine’s GAA Club Officers 2023
President – Billy O’Connell, Chairman – Tom Morrison, Vice-Chairman – Ed Galvin, Secretary – Eleanor Galvin, Assistant Secretary – Brian Davis, Treasurer – Richard Hegarty, Registrar – Pat Hartigan, PRO – John O’Mahony, Cultural – Marie Clancy, Medical – Brigid Cotter, Childrens – Ber Feeney, Coaching – Ed Galvin, County Board Delegates – Colm Burke and Richard Hegarty, East Cork Board – Michael Lane. On a Croke Park directive both childrens and coaching officers are automatically co-opted onto the Club Executive.
Bit like the Olympics it’s the taking part that counts. Though nominated no going this time around for Laura Hayes when the PWC All-Star camogie team was announced on Saturday night last. Cork did win four awards. Consolation for Laura Hayes saw her named at centre back on the Reardens of Cork All-Stars.
Saturday, December 3rd, time tbc, Final Division 2 Rebel Og North U16 Football Championship v Douglas (2) at 12noon.
National Gaelic Games scene
RTE are at it regularly. Often at peak viewing time. Frequently of a Sunday. Where else would a fella go or be? Right, let’s hit you straight away with this week’s repeat. Kilcoo, Ballyhale, Ballygunner. All three again very much in the running for best acting Oscar. Put St Thomas and Slaughniel into the mix for best supporting role. As Cork clubs continue to struggle. Even the teams beating Cork clubs subsequently enter struggling territory. Which is even worse. A la Clonmel, Ballyea should ignore that last line.
Following their success over Thurles, Sarsfields and newly crowned Cork champions Kilmurry must now prepare for a tussle with Fossa in the Munster Club Junior Football Championship Final. In David and Paudie Clifford the Kerry Champions possess the Haaland and Foden of Gaelic football. Saying it will be a severe test would be an understatement. We wish Liam O’Doherty, Ronan Dwayne and Ballygiblin the very best of Rebel luck when tackling St Kierans of Limerick in the equivalent hurling decider. It might be time to resurrect that excellent Christy O’Connor publication ‘Last Man Standing’!
No club return from the latest Rebels’ Bounty Draw held on Thursday night last. First prize in the November draw going to Kiskeam. Getting very near the really big one though. Now would be the time to strike!
€20,000 Lotto Winner
Congratulations to Regina Hartigan, Conna on winning the €20,000 jackpot when the most recent lotto draw was held on Monday night, November 28th. Sole winning combination of numbers being 7, 19, 22 and 24. Congratulations to Regina on her magnificent victory. The consolation winners on the night were Eileen Neville, Ballynoe, Pat Murphy, Monagown, Ger Cashman, Conna, Laurence O’Connor c/o PH Conna and Jacintha O’Connor Ballynoe. Reverting to a jackpot of €9,200 next draw will be in the clubrooms, Ballynoe on Monday night, December 5th at 9pm.
Though knowing that somebody isn’t well, it’s still a wrench when they depart this life. There was the sad death of John Barrett, Ballymonteen, Ballynoe on Sunday morning, November 20th last, after an illness borne bravely. Known to friends and colleagues as ‘Julian’, a reference to legendary BBC horse racing analyst Julian Wilson. He frequently imitated the equally famous Peter O’Sullivan when describing close finishes. “With the most devastating run!” These days the BBC only offer token recognition to racing, mostly on radio with ITV having the franchise for landline channels allied to what Sky and the separate Racing Channel can offer. Aside from racing there would be the GAA. Both at club and county level. He was a great supporter of the GAA Club weekly lotto draw. Ironically emerging three weeks in a row with consolation prizes just over a year ago. But will be more remembered for winning it twice. Back in the days of the 3 numbered draw a combination of 2, 8 and 18 saw £300 collected at The Big Tree Bar Aghern on Monday February 8th, 1998. Also winning the sizeable jackpot of €15,000 at The Plough Bar in Curraglass on Monday, October 8th 2012. Sole winning combination of numbers that night being 4, 16, 24 and 25. He would have dearly loved to have won it again. It wasn’t from the want of trying!
John was a gambler. Paddy Powers, Midleton favourite venue of choice. One Sunday morning at Mass he leaned over at Communion time – “I’m off to the office,” he whispered. Drawing Davy Regan’s attention – “I didn’t know he worked on a Sunday” - Davy quickly had me in the picture. “That’s the betting office”!
Back in the day he took part in road bowling scores. Nothing whetted the appetite like the game of cards, poker or 45. Be it in the pub or various community halls around East Cork. He was an avid pool player. Nobody did more to promote the game around the Ballynoe area. There may have been better players than John Barrett. But none tougher. He singlehandedly turned the lounge in McAuliffes into a Mecca. A sort of shrine to the game. A charismatic figure, he had a sort of drawing power and everybody loved him. A certain match in Coachford took on cult status over the years. Last time to grace his company was at the U13 hurling tournament final for the Albert Griffin Cup in Ballynoe on Wednesday night, October 12th. Grandson Aodhán was playing.
In McAuliffes he reserved the same presence as the late Bernie. But the show goes on. Over to you Yvonne! No pressure now! You knew John Barrett was going well when out came his rendition of the Bridie Gallagher classic “The boys from the County Armagh”. Oh there’s one fair county in Ireland! It won’t or can’t sound the same anymore. No mistake, an odd tear blotted the page putting these words together. Goodbye Johnny dear! To Mary, Betty, Kathleen, Jerome, Aodhán, Sarah, James, extended family, relatives, and friends we offer our deepest sympathy at a poignant time.
On the same weekend Michael Ellard died. He was an ex-intercounty minor and U21 panellist involving both codes in the early to mid-sixties. He worked for The Cork Examiner, later The Examiner, now Irish Examiner. Colleagues from those sports pages, names you would have been familiar with would include Dick Brazil, Barry Coughlan, Tom Higgins, Brendan Mooney, Pat Keane, Jim O’Sullivan and Brendan Larkin. He would have been a regular feature at GAA, both club and intercounty games in his time and played with na Piarsaigh, based on the northern Leeside outskirts. Would you believe spent an hour in his company, consumed two delicious pints in discussing the fabulous entertainment being provided by Cork teams. It was the morning of the first Sunday of August 1987. The venue was the bar of the International Hotel in Killarney when on exiting made a beeline for Fitzgerald Stadium where the Rebels were about to dethrone the Kingdom in the replay of that year’s replayed Munster Football Final. Suffered a puncture in Castletownroche on the way back. But it mattered little. All was right with the world again! Ah memories, priceless!
Then only last Thursday Sean McCague died. Monaghan man, and on Saturday February 3rd 2001 there was an open day for the province of Munster on the redevelopment of Croke Park. Various dignitaries addressed that sizeable gathering including then association president Sean McCague. On the same day we had a question and answer session with such luminaries as Pat Daly, Liam Griffin and Sean Boylan. Each club was restricted to 7 names with 1,400 in attendance subdivided into 5 groups on arrival in from Connolly Station. Club delegation that famous day was Dave Hoare, John G Barry, Dan Hoare, Margaret Whelan, Ed Galvin, Pat Lane and John O’Mahony.
Thinking about it and Pat O’Brien, Ballynoe has been involved with the St Catherines Club for close on six decades. Often felt there was still some potential unfulfilled with Pat. There’s more in there. But it’s not coming out. This week we sympathise with Pat on the passing of his mother Theresa in Ballydehob last week. Ar dheis Dé to raibh a anamacha dílse.
Club Championship draws made at County Convention
Championship draws in both codes were made at the County Convention held at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday evening last. Down from the intermediate A grade and Meelin now receive top billing in group C of the Premier Junior Hurling Championship. Russell Rovers are seeded two in a group which also contains St Finbarrs and St Catherines.
Newly crowned county senior hurling champions St Finbarrs are top rated team in section C of the new competition. Other teams in the group being Newtownshandrum, Kanturk and Sarsfields. Beaten finalists Blackrock are in with Glen Rovers, Midleton and Bishopstown. While newly promoted Fr O’Neills share group B along with top seeds Erins Own, Douglas and Charleville.
Bride Rovers and Killeagh are in group A of the Senior A Hurling Championship. Also involving na Piarsaigh now down from the top flight and therefore top seeds in A group which also contains Inniscarra. Two teams each from Avondhu and Imokilly constitute group two of the championship. They being Fermoy, Mallow, Cloyne and Carrigtwohill. Top rated team in group A of the Premier Intermediate section are Castlelyons with Bandon, Ballincollig and Dungourney also in there, Likewise Castlemartyr top the rating in group C, followed by Ballinhassig, Watergrasshill and Kilworth. While group A looks like the pick of the bunch involving three teams from the East in the Intermediate A Hurling Championship. They being Youghal, Lisgoold, Aghada and also Aghabullogue.
Reigning holders Nemo Rangers top the rating for group B of the senior football championship. Also in with them are Ballincollig, Carrigaline and Eire Óg. Likewise beaten county finalists St Finbarrs are top seeded team in group C of the competition followed by Mallow, Douglas and St Michaels. While at the other end of the scale St Oliver Plunketts down there in Ahiohill top the rating for group B of the all-county junior B1 football championship. Draw for which was also make. Then come St Catherines, Crosshaven and Castlelyons. We will take a look at the new hurling league structure in the new year.
Advancement of this year’s provincial club championship
Of course club championship draws for competitions effectively eight months from the starting line. But one likes to know the fringes of the future at least. As all of this year’s competitions are now at the All-Ireland stage. Having progressed from county finals through their respective provincial campaigns in recent weeks. With one large weather scare at the end. Not one game had to endure the rigours of postponement or deferral. Touch wood, not even the Cork county senior hurling final!
Anyway, as if proof was required it’s Kerry who sit very much top of the pile in the football world. Adding all three club provincial titles to that All-Ireland won back in July. All plundered what for them would be nearby Carigoon over the weekend. First out of the blocks saw Kerins O’Rahillys edge over the line in the senior decider. With a hard-earned final victory over Newcastlewest. Twenty-four hours later the supporting roles duly arrived. With a haul of 1-14 between them, the Clifford brothers again lead the charge with Fossa proving altogether too strong for Rebel representatives Kilmurry in the junior equivalent. Similar story with Rathmore seeing off na Piarsaigh in the Munster intermediate club football final later on the same Sunday afternoon. Astonishing. Elsewhere Kilcoo surrendered their provincial and All Ireland titles. Watty Grahams, Glen of Derry exacting revenge on a loss inflicted 12 months ago by winning the Ulster club senior football championship decider.
You know Mallow was the sporting capital of Ireland last Sunday afternoon. Cross town and out the Killarney road, champion chaser Energumene kick-started his season with a resounding victory from a weakish field in the €60,000 hilly way chase. His place at the top is already confirmed.
A great weekend too for St Colmans. Beating age old rivals Midleton CBS in the Cork Colleges U16 hurling final. That was played on the 4G pitch at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Friday afternoon last. They were captained by Fionn Lardner whose grandfather Tom was on the St Catherine’s team that won the East Cork junior B FC for the first time. Beating Glenville in the 1969 final played in Carrigtwohill. Current club player John Temple donned the number 12 jersey in last weekend’s county colleges hurling final.
National League fixtures confirmed
Rebel Cork’s National League matches publicised on these pages initially on November 10th and updated still further one week later in both codes, were fully ratified on Thursday last. There may have been some minor tampering here and there. But not enough to upset your Sunday roast. It’s all very tight Moving on week after week with league finals scheduled in both hurling and football for the first weekend of April.
We’re into the commencement of the football championship through all four provinces on week ending April 8th / 9th. Now at the moment the plan is to play the Munster and Connacht senior football finals on Sunday, May 7th. One competitive. One not. A term also being used for the Leinster and Ulster finals seven days later. Provincial football finals over the years particularly those of Munster and Leinster have been lopsided affairs. Sure the decider down south last summer was a final in name only. There is every chance of it happening again. What then? Then we have the new All-Ireland group stages, featuring four groups of four teams. That starts on week ending May 20th/21st. With what are termed the new preliminary quarter finals set for the 17th/18th June. Quarter finals proper are fixed for week ending July 1st/2nd, to be followed two weeks later by the semi-finals. 2023 All-Ireland senior football final has been pencilled in for GAA headquarters on the afternoon of Sunday, July 30th. Do we understand all that now? In theory yes. Now if we could just have a trial. A sort of dummy run. Sure look, the picture will be clearer after we get through the other side.
What’s certainly competitive, no questions asked are the round robin stages of the provincial senior hurling championship. That starts on week ending April 22nd/23rd. Now here’s an interesting one. Both Munster and Leinster senior hurling finals are down to be played on the same day. That was not the situation heretofore. Passionate hurling men would invariably take in the two. Leinster on the Saturday and off to the Munster the following day. Next year’s date for both provincial offerings to be Sunday, June 11th. Presumably 2pm/4pm. All-Ireland quarter finals on Saturday, June 24th, semis on Sunday, July 9th and All Ireland hurling final in Croke Park on Sunday, July 23rd. That’s the season in a nutshell. Clubs take over after that.
Well done to the U19 hurlers of Bride Rovers
All competing clubs would have started their campaigns round about Wednesday, March 30th, football league on the first week, hurling the next. Really not much time for negotiation with a lot of these players making adult teams in both codes over the weekend. That was the way it was right up to the first week of May.
It looks as if Bride Rovers would have played Fr O’Neills in mid-August. Catherines and Watergrasshill were in Dungourney on the 21st. So with adult hurling topping the agenda at that time it was Saturday, October 1st before a date could be settled on for the East One U19 hurling championship final. Fixed for Watergrasshill. Victory going to the Rovers in what remained a competitive match to 50 minutes. A fair gap resurrected itself again before playing Owen Gaels. Then Newtownshandrum in the county final. Ten of St Colman’s first team doing so well in Callaghan and Harty Cups are made up of Bride Rovers and St Catherines players. So they were getting games. Realistically though it could have taken four months to run off a championship which may not be around next year. A long time keeping players fine-tuned and focused. They succeeded in doing so and congratulations go to Bride Rovers on a well-earned victory.
Return of the Fit Ups
One feels you must have various people on the go all the time to update info on what’s going on elsewhere. We’ll look after GAA business ourselves! Keep you in the loop. Let one know what’s going on in other sports or whatever. In the case of drama in the Ballynoe area that person would be Liz Higgins. Sent a text last week on possible plans now that Covid doesn’t appear to be that great a threat. Within a minute the phone rings. Now there’s efficiency! Well, the big news is that the Fit Ups are back. Productions include The Parish, Turf/Gombeen, The Rocks Abawn and Back for a Laugh. It starts on the second week of January and Ballynoe Community Hall is again one of five venues settled on in the north/east Cork area. Others being Mitchelstown, Bartlemy, Youghal and Fermoy and it runs until February 5th. It promises to be a feast of top-class theatre. Giving it another shot next week. Wouldn’t want you forgetting now. What with Christmas and all!
Dancing with the Stars
Sorry but surely that title can’t be right. Stars? Some of the contestants aren’t even household names. Looking like a show on its last legs. No pun intended.
Latest lotto details
Results of the most recent weekly lotto draw from Monday night, December 12th. Numbers drawn were 1, 3, 27 and 28. There was no jackpot winner. Consolation winners were Cotter Family Ballynoe, Adam O’Keeffe Fermoy, Aoife O’Brien Shanagarry, Sonny O’Shea c/o Fisherman’s Rest Conna, and Helen Lane Curraheen Conna. Next week’s draw on Monday night, December 19th when the jackpot will be €9,600 will contain festive bonus prizes in addition to the regular consolation draw. Call it the Christmas lotto draw. It will take place in the Clubrooms, Ballynoe at 9pm. Everyone is welcome.
St Catherine’s GAA Club sponsors
T&A Building and Civil Engineering Contractors, Ballynoe are sponsors of St Catherines GAA Club. Mulcahy Steel are sponsors of St Catherines Juvenile GAA Club.
Brief reflection on festive season
It’s the morning of Thursday, January 5th 2023 in wishing GAA patrons everywhere a happy new year as we briefly reflect on club happenings over the last fourteen days or so. Starting with the lotto draw containing festive bonus prizes and eventually held on the night of Tuesday, December 20th. Strictly speaking not a GAA function though Páirc Naomh Caitríonaigh is the venue for the AIB Goal Mile on Christmas morning. Twenty-four hours later saw the staging of what is now labelled the Dick Morrison Annual Poc Fada. Held on the Ballynoe/Conna road on Stephen’s morning. Using poetic licence we extend it out to Friday, January 20th when the annual Juvenile Social made a comeback at Rochestown Park Hotel. Then we can term the Christmas season over. Ok, off you go, read on.
Christmas lotto details
Results from the Christmas lotto draw derailed by 24 hours as a mark of respect to the late Davy Regan, a vice-president of the club when passing away, and held in the clubrooms on Tuesday night, December 20th at 9am. Numbers drawn were 11, 18, 28 and 29. There was no winner of the jackpot. The consolation winners were Aaron Neville, online, Mrs B, Conna, Mark Lane, online, Sam Ahern, Shanakill, Curraglass and Noel Buckley, Rathdrum, Ballynoe. Festive bonus prizes in honour of the Christmas season went to Tom Fitzgerald, Ballynoe, Ger Morrison, online, CMP O’Brien, Ballynoe, Kal Moroney, Conna and Donal O’Leary, c/o PH Conna. We thank you for your support of both Rebels’ Bounty and the weekly lotto draw, two of the club’s biggest and ongoing fundraisers. We’re a small bit behind. Catching up in due course. At time of submitting report the jackpot was €9,800.
National GAA Club Draw
Again just to remind patrons that tickets for the annual GAA National Club Draw, the object of which is to raise funds for the promotion of the GAA at club level, are available. Major implication is that 100% of all sales stay within the club. There are some savagely attractive prizes on offer including an all-new Dacia Duster car, a cash prize of €2,000 and All-Ireland hurling and football final weekend packages. Tickets cost €10 and the draw will take place on Wednesday, March 15th 2023. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Annual AIB Goal Mile
There was the arrival of Kevin Hayes and Steve Dunning together with the promotional material containing the slot for your financial support. Duly the families came in the gate and from 10.30am to 12 midday Pairc Naomh Caitrionaigh on Christmas morning would be one of the few venues in the county staging the annual Goal Mile Challenge.
Dick Morrison Annual Poc Fada
First entering the fray at Christmas of 2016, this event was held for the sixth time in seven years on Stephen’s morning of a year just ending. For obvious reasons 2020 would be the year to miss out. Just in case you’re counting. Entries were taken in the local community centre from about 10.45am and about 130 individuals comprising about 40 teams set off on the road from Ballynoe to Conna for the staging of the annual Poc Fada. Now elevated still further to the Dick Morrison Annual Poc Fada in memory of the great man who virtually dedicated his whole life to his beloved St Catherine’s Club. Being a youthful member of the junior hurling teams of 1952 and ’53. Lining out on the divisional winning Junior B hurling team of 1954. Catherine’s first choice team at that time and it being the third occasion in seven years claiming the honours. Adding to titles won in 1948 and ’50. He played centre field on the historic team of ’57. First time the Saints won the East Cork Junior A Hurling Championship. At administrative level was treasurer of the club for close on 50 years and having been appointed at the end of 1993 was Club President at the time of his sad death in January of last year. It’s only fitting he will be honoured and remembered.
Overall adult winners of a competition where sliotars were supplied and teams of three took part were Patrick Roche, Ed Sheehan and John Mulcahy. It being the third time Muller was on a successful combination as himself and Pa Roche formed two-thirds of the winning team in 2018. Success at U17 level going to Cian Dunning, Dylan Murphy and Jake Bryan. Likewise Shay Wallace, along with Tadgh Walsh and Sean Walsh in the U15 age group. Success on the double for Cillian McCarthy, Tomas Morrison and Rena Morrison. Winners of the U13 category and deemed overall winning combo at juvenile level.
Mental health fun run/walk
Hopefully patrons assembled in their numbers for the mental health fun run/walk organised by Ballynoe Community Council and held in Knockaceo Woods near Leahy’s Open Farm around 12 midday on Saturday last, which was New Year’s Eve.
It’s sad at any time. But there is something especially poignant about a death at Christmas. Davy Regan passing to his eternal reward on Saturday, December 17th is a case in point. There really shouldn’t be a problem recalling the time of occurrence. Davy was a lifelong follower of the club and wouldn’t be afraid to express his views. He supported all fundraising ventures promoted by the club. Since covid paid us a visit he would invariably ring the doorbell on a Monday between 2.30 and 3.30 with his family members’ and neighbours’ weekly lotto contribution. If it would go beyond that, just ring Margaret and she would sort it. Having given vent to his feelings Davy would then hand over the tickets along with an apple cake. Sometimes he had tomatoes. I must have been doing something right! Davy and Paudie Galvin were officers of the juvenile club through the 70s and 80s. Both have moved on as have Toss Morrison, Dan McCarthy and Dick Morrison, a legendary figure in club circles. We won’t see their likes again. Ironically both Paudie and Davy won cars in the old Cork GAA Clubs’ Draw. Paudie’s was a Citroen Xantia. Davy won a black Open Corsa. No matter what match St Catherines played Davy would be parked as close as possible to the goal posts in that wine Toyota. Don’t get caught behind him coming home!
Son Barrie served the club well. He was fullback on the county winning intermediate team of 1994. Also making the county junior panel on a Cork team beaten by Clare in the Junior Hurling Championship of 1995. Kieran Morrison making his senior championship debut the same day. A double header played at a rain-lashed Limerick. Grandsons Niall and Shane are current players. As are granddaughters the Mellericks with the camogie club. We express our grief and sadness to Rena, Barrie, Marie and extended family members at this time.
Twenty-four hours previously the enigmatic Frankie told us he would at the end of the year (2023). But following a win for Liberty Dance in a novice hurdle at Thurles on the afternoon of Sunday, December 18th Davy Russell announced he was retiring with immediate effect. They know don’t they? Having gone through hell and high water you feel at 43 Davy couldn’t absorb another injury. He won’t have to now. A product of the point to point field, we remember Davy watching videos of the day’s racing in the now extinct Leahy’s Bar in Ballynoe. Attending the pre-Cheltenham quiz in The Winners’ Enclosure and spinning the wheel for the club lotto draw one night in The Fisherman’s Rest where he often pulled pints. Davy wasn’t a drinking man himself. He finished up with a tally of 1,579 winners between his country and the UK. Ranking him ninth in the league of overall winners between the two countries. He rode 22 Cheltenham festival winners. Though one can recall at least three other jockeys on board, Davy will always be associated with Tiger Roll. He won a Cheltenham Gold Cup aboard Lord Windermere for Jim Culloty who won three as a jockey aboard Best Mate. Hopefully Davy enjoys his retirement. Though he could be back in some other shape or make. You see, it’s hard to keep a good man down.
Moving on rather than off is Ronan Collins who will be an huge loss to the national radio service. Coming on board when Radio 2 was launched back in ’79 with the likes of Dave Fanning, Marty Whelan, Barry Lang, Jim O’Neill and the late legendary Larry among others, before securing a Radio 1 slot. Where he has been to this day. As well as being a capable singer and proficient musician himself, Ronan Collins really knew his stuff. No bluffing there. Don’t like bluffers. Replacement made. Louise Duffy and best of luck there. Wonder should RTE like a football club have made a bid to bring back Ian Dempsey. Now there’s an idea!
Promised brief look at new first team league structure
We kind of knew that a fully integrated programme was coming. But the emergence of that cursed coronavirus prevented its introduction until now. As a new league programme will be commencing at county level for 2023. Progression will be allowed at all levels. First of all the senior leagues will be made up of six divisions of ten teams each. That goes for both hurling and football. There is an exception because twelve teams constitute division six for this upcoming season. But the relegation of four teams at year’s end, with two teams coming up will resolve the imbalance. Now take note of the next statement. Follow it carefully. There will be full promotion and relegation between all levels. So it could happen that a junior A or B team could climb all the way to division one of the senior leagues through successive promotions. Backing that up a senior team could drop to the junior leagues after a series of relegations. Thus championships and leagues become fully decoupled. Top two teams meet in all six league finals. Both teams will be promoted. Bottom teams go down. All leagues work on the same schedule. In other words, separate weekends for both codes. Colm Burke, St Catherine’s delegate to the Cork County Board tells us we should be up and running on week ending March 4th/5th. Along with St Catherines in a revamped division four league will be Aghabullogue. Ballinhassig, Ballyhea, Cloyne, Kildorrery, Lisgoold, Milford, Valley Rovers and Youghal. Confirmed at the annual general meeting was the appointment of Denis Walsh as Premier Junior hurling manager. Fellow selectors to be Ollie Sheehan and Ed Kenneally.
Looking at what one might describe as an imposing list and what wiggled its way immediately into one’s mind were the titanic struggles enjoyed with Ballyhea over the years. A hurling force up that part of our beloved county. Before Newtownshandrum and Charleville. County senior finalists in the centenary year of ‘84 and again in 1995. Sunday June 23rd, 1996 a famous day in the annals of Saint Catherine’s GAA club in what we like to think was its most successful year ever. St. Catherines paired with the defeated finalists from the year before in what was a second round encounter played in Fermoy. Victory for the Saints. Recording a first ever championship victory at Cork County Senior Hurling Championship level. On an end scoreline of 1-16 to 2-12. Celebrations go on long into the night and early morning. Even the papers were delivered when walking home with The Examiner in hand, raided from Billy Walsh’s paper bin next door. Surreal, returning having read the match report before you hit the pillow! A paper never paid for! Oops! Bit late now!
Then came those back-to-back victories over the Avondhu based outfit in Kildorrery from ‘98 and ‘99. Three matches. Four years. Three wins. There were also some tempestuous league outings. There was a dodgy ending in 2011. Twelve months later, Ballyhea were winners in Ballynoe. Finishing up at 0-11 to 0-06. Going on to win the division two Intermediate League that year. Beating Meelin in the final. Since then gradings have varied and paths didn't cross. Ballyhea are still doing well and appear to have plenty of players. They beat the Barrs in the recent interdivisional Junior B Hurling Championship final and players such as Stephen Dennehy and Neil Ronan figured. That day (Saturday, November 19th) picking up the Dan Hoare Cup.
Ex-treasurer and vice-president the late Dan was president of the County Board when passing away in January 2016. He served as treasurer of the Munster Council for a four year period. Sat on various Croke Park committees and remains to this day St Catherine’s most successful administrator.
St Catherine’s GAA Club sponsors
T&A Building and Civil Engineering Contractors, Ballynoe are sponsors of St Catherines GAA Club. Mulcahy Steel are sponsors of St Catherines Juvenile GAA Club.