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.

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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