Thursday, May 28, 2020

Club Notes - 27th May

Reeling in the Years
In conjunction with the ongoing YouTube matches, here in the notes we are going to take a weekly journey back in time to revisit events in our recent and not so recent past.
We start this week with the year we contested out 1st Senior Hurling final 1955.

1955: Busy Year
It was, perhaps, 1955 that fully established Abbeyside as one of the glamour clubs of the county and confirmed the all-round strength of playing membership and organizing personnel. Yet that may seem paradoxical since it was a year in which nothing was won save the Western Minor Hurling championship.
The impression was created mainly by the spectacular and exciting Co Senior Hurling final contest with Mount Sion. Neutrals were made aware of a power in the game, where down the years, an ordinary junior hurling club had been expected. Indeed, the contesting of the senior and minor hurling finals that year was a very long stride away from the image of a modest junior club projected no more than seven or eight years previous.
Though not winning a Co. Championship, it was easily the busiest year for Abbeyside, for every team went a long way. The club secretary was publishing semi apologetic remarks in late October that it had not been possible to run the Club’s Juvenile League as well as they could due to the ongoing demands of the minor and adult teams.

Senior Hurling
The campaign kicked off with a resounding victory over local rivals Dungarvan on a score line of 5-09 to 0-02. This was followed up with a similar results against Ballyduff (7-06 to 1-02) & Tourin (5-04 to 1-05) respectively to set up a first final appearance where Mount Sion lay waiting. The match was played in Fraher Field on 09th September and summed up by a local scribe –
“Had Abbeyside not been dogged with less hard luck, Mount Sion might not have won their 11th title. The defections of Paddy Browne and Anthony Hayes, due to incidents in the Ballinacourty-Stradbally football games of the previous Sundays, were a big loss to the Village XV, as both of these had proved their worth in the earlier games of the championship. The loss of Browne on Sunday was especially felt as in his role as full forward he had bagged many goals during the eliminating matches, and many felt he would have turned in a few more goals against Regan had he been eligible to field out.
It was a heart-breaking result for the Abbeyside fifteen who, following an early point by Mount Sion, went into the lead and held it for more than three-quarters of the game. With a seven point lead following a goal in the 11th minute of the 2nd half Abbeyside looked set to bring off the sensation of the year. However, it must be said that Mount Sion, although definitely rattled – particularly in the first half – never panicked and their consistency coupled with the opportunism of Seamus Power, who roamed loosely around centre-field in the last quarter of the hour, picking off valuable long-range points, brought the ultimate reward.”  

                                                   L. Whelan
T. Collender                                  A. Flynn                                    L. Fraher
N McGovern                                 G. Flynn                                    L. O Dea
                                    T. Barry                       J. O Connor
P. Whelan                                     D. Whelan                                P. Clancy
J. Hogan                                      A. Foley                                    J. Clancy

With the massed bands of Connra na Gaelige, Dungarbhan and Abbeyside scouts there was a touch of Croke Park about the whole occasion that delighted a great crowd that paid a record gate of £455.

(The Abbeyside team that took the field that day contained 3 players who would end their playing careers with All Ireland senior medals.)

Junior Football
Following the previous years controversy, which entailed a phantom free, appeals and counter appeals up to Munster Council level, a refusal to field in an ordered replay and an abandoned Senior Football Final, Ballinacourty went at it with renewed courage in 1955. However, it seemed that some malign fate was always to deprive us. The team won through to the Western final in impressive style, but collapsed in the final itself, showing nothing of their earlier form. Final score Geraldines 3-03 Ballinacourty 1-03.
                                                     P. Whelan
J. Morrissey                                    J.Cashin                                      J. Terry
M. Hogan                                       D. Whelan                                   J. Hogan
                                    G. Ahearn                   J. O Connor
M. Burke                                        J. Clancy                                     P. Clancy
A. Flynn                                         P. Browne                                    G. Foley

Western Champions
The minor hurlers who at the time were affiliated as Abbeyside Rovers had a fine campaign that brought them all the way to the Co Final played in mid-October. The path included victories against Naomh Nicolas, St. Garvan’s Rovers before triumphing over Cappoquin Rovers on a score line of 3-07 to 0-05 in the Western Final. Unfortunately, Na Risigh proved to strong in the Co Final running out 6-05 to 0-02 victors. We would have to wait another 15 years before claiming a 1st title at this grade.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Club Notes - 20th May

Reeling In The Years
Last Saturday evening we relived one of the greatest days in our club’s history when the Munster Club Senior Football semi-final versus Kilcummin was the feature in our Reeling in The Years series. Thirteen years seem to have passed in the blinking of any eye and amongst the excitement and outpouring of emotion it was great, if somewhat bittersweet, to see once again some good friends who have been called before us. What a truly remarkable weekend that was, beginning with the Junior footballer’s victory in the Co Final and culminating in celebration in one of the most storied sporting arenas in Ireland.

In the immediate aftermath of the County final it was really a case of job done. The primary goal for the year had been achieved and the realisation that there was a Munster club championship to be played took a little while to sink in.  Pakie let the lads enjoy themselves for a few days before training resumed. Truth being told there wasn’t a massive amount of work done prior to the game as there was the small matter of a Western U-21 hurling final to be played, and won, on the Saturday. It was more a case of keeping the eye in and staying fresh. We also unfortunately picked up a number of injuries along the way and plans were put in place to overcome this.

First port of call that weekend was Fraher Field where John Foley and his team captured the Junior Football county title with a 0-06 to 0-05 victory over Rathgormack. It was a fantastic start to the weekend and shortly afterwards the supporters bus departed in great spirits. Rumour has it there was no radio on the bus, but that didn’t really matter as Mickey Organ started singing at the Causeway Bridge and didn’t stop till Killarney. While at home the players relaxed and settled in for an early night the tourists took full advantage of the famed Killarney hospitality.

The team hit the road early on the morning of the game to the sound of Westlife’s Greatest Hits. Not a unanimous choice by any stretch of the imagination, but Gavin proved he was the ultimate team player by resisting the urge to throw the CD and Furry out the window. The mood was relaxed as lads played cards, chatted amongst themselves or slept. There was no sense of nerves or pressure as the common perception was Waterford teams don’t travel to Kerry and win. What were the chances of these youngsters from Ballinacourty changing that??

Meanwhile up the road, a few fresh heads wandered the streets looking for a welcoming hostelry to help them jump start the day. The appropriately named Failte opened their doors and so was established as the staging point for the day. A trickle of arriving supporters soon turned into a steady stream and before long the place was reverberating to the strains of “Up The Village”. It was as if the whole parish had decamped to The Kingdom for they day.

The team bus pulled up in plenty of time before throw in and the 1st thing that hits you walking into the ground is “Jaysus, that’s Ballinacourty’s name up there on the scoreboard in Fitzgerald Stadium”.  Still there was no great feeling of nerves or pressure, we’re on the big stage now and we’re going to express ourselves and enjoy it was the attitude.
Back at the Failte, the Dr Crokes team who had won the Kerry league the day before, had joined the masses. Doc was in his element back in the spiritual homeland, while Greg was deep in conversation with Eoin Bronson, no doubt advising him how to improve his game, and with it win his 4th All Ireland. Tucky, Feile, Matthew and Benny were in another corner taking it all in and all the while The Gooch was doing his best to accommodate all requests for autographs and photos. “Ye have a great chance to beat them” he insisted. One or two might have tipped across the road to Ladbrokes on the back of his optimism and took advantage of very generous odds of 7/1.

The match itself was extraordinary in the fact we completely dominated and outplayed Kilcummin in every area apart from the scoreboard. However, going in level at half time having played against the wind the feeling in the dressing room was this was an opportunity that wasn’t going to slip through our fingers. FiFees’s wonder strike settled the nerves somewhat and when Podge slotted home to put us 5 clear with a few minutes to go the roof nearly came off the stand.

The scenes at the final whistle are difficult to put into words. Just pure joy and elation and a connection between players and supporters that can only be found in a GAA club. Sporting passions and emotions at their rawest and truest. The pride we had in these players and our club was best epitomised by the emotional interview given by our much-missed Chairman Tony Mansfield. He always had the right words to capture the mood and even for a man who had won so much at a national level you could tell this was one of his proudest days.

The bus journey home was a somewhat livelier affair and on arriving in Macroom the players were cheered into the hotel by the supporter’s entourage who had made their way by convoy from Killarney. Afterwards it was on to the Village where celebrations went on long into the night and possibly even the Monday!!

Great times and great memories. Hopefully when we return to the playing field we will create new memories that can be shared with the next generation.

Thanks to all who have contributed or helped out in any way in the Reeling in The Years series so far. To Pakie, Mark and John, all the way from Perth, for their contributions. But we would especially like to thank former President and Kilcummin clubman Sean Kelly for taking time to chat to us last Saturday.

We will be taking a break this week but will return on Saturday 30th with the 2011 Co Final.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Club Notes - 13th May

“May you live in interesting times” goes the saying. Well Spring is spent and there hasn’t been a sliotar pucked or football kicked in anger. If not quite interesting, we are certainly living through times that are unprecedented in any of our lifetimes.
Championships at all grades should now be in full swing, the field should be a hive of activity 7 days a week and debates and conversations around team selections, great performances and controversial decisions should be filling the streets of the village. Instead we find ourselves in a continued state of stasis.
This will pass and when it does, we will pick up where we left off. Until then however it is vital, we continue to adhere to the published guidelines to ensure the safety of the most vulnerable in our community.
As of now the official guidance is that we can expect a resumption of games on the 20th July. We will plan towards this date and ensure we have everything in place to safeguard the health and safety of our payers and mentors when the time comes.
Until then please take care of yourselves, minding both your physical and mental health and continue to look out and care for those around you.

Recent Activity
Whilst club activity has been severely curtailed it certainly hasn’t ground to a complete halt. All over the country it has been a thoroughly uplifting experience to see the response of members of the community to this time of adversity. And so, it is with our own members. Over the course of the past 2 months we have seen fundraising initiatives to benefit various charities and local causes. Amongst these were our quiz night where proceeds were shared with Dungarvan Community Hospital, the response to which was overwhelming (literally to the website) and the joint Doitfodan effort with our good friends across the bridge.

Aside from this, members are still very active throughout the parish helping out where needed and available to provide assistance to any who may need it. And just a reminder the list of club volunteers is available on our Facebook page.

One positive aspect of the shutdown has been it has afforded us the opportunity to perform some badly needed remedial work on the club pitches. Given the sheer volume of teams and players it is natural there will be a large amount of wear and tear. But with the work put in over the past few weeks our teams will have a surface unrivalled awaiting them when we get back to action.

  Reeling In The Years
Hopefully you were able to tune into the 1st of our Reeling in the Years evenings last Saturday when we had a rerun of the victorious 2007 Senior Football Final versus Ardmore. This coming Saturday all roads lead to famed Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney where Kerry representatives Kilcummin lie in wait. Please tune in to our YouTube channel at 8pm to relive one of the greatest days in the clubs history.

Club History
Abbeyside / Ballinacourty GAA Club was formed in 1967 as a result of the amalgamation of Abbeyside Hurling and Football Clubs and Ballinacourty Football Club. It is situated within the Parish of Abbeyside, Ballinroad and Garranbane. Located on the eastern side of the River Colligan, it forms the northern and eastern shorelines of Dungarvan Harbour from Abbeyside Church to Ballinacourty Lighthouse
Development Fund
Abbeyside/Ballinacourty GAA Club has been growing at a dramatic pace over the past 10 years with the population of our parish increasing rapidly. We must ensure that we have the best facilities for all our players. We want to ensure that the next generation have the facilities that they need and deserve. We are asking supporters and friends to support this project over the next five years.
Strategic Plan
Past generations have had their visions for the future of our club. These are our current aims and with these achieved we hope to hand on the club to future generations in the same healthy state it was passed onto us.
Abbeyside/Ballinacourty GAA Club, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland.
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