Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Club Notes - 24th June

Championship 2020
The revised format for both senior championships were ratified by the Co Board last Monday evening. In contrast to recent years we are going to see a short, sharp burst of action with both competitions being run over 4 weeks.  There will be 4 groups of 3 with the top 2 in each group advancing. The hurlers are first into action on Wednesday 5th August versus Ballysaggart followed by De La Salle the following weekend.
It is envisaged the hurling championship will be completed by the end of August allowing the football to commence the first weekend of September where our group opponents will be Clashmore and Ardmore.

Covid 19
All club teams will return to full training from next week. Prior to each teams return respective managers will inform players and parents of their responsibilities as we strive to make things as safe as possible for everyone.
Reeling In The Years
This week we have the 2nd part of Joe Powers recollections of the SF championship victory in 1978. We hope you enjoy it.

On April 29th that year, we played Kill in Stradbally, and had a good victory over a Kill team that were on the way down from great Kill teams of the 60s.
2nd June was our next championship match in Fraher Field against old rivals Stradbally, when we rose to the occasion and won by 2-12 to 1-6. Three weeks later at the Leamybrien venue we played Dunhill, who before the start of the championship were bookies favourites with Stradbally and Mitchells to win the county, we beat Dunhill that day by 1-9 to 1-6.
We were now in the semi-final, and we were being reminded of all the times we came close to victories in the senior championships. Like 1972, S-F semi-final in Cappoquin v Stradbally, a draw the first day and beaten by two points in the replay a week later, or 1969 when in S-F semi-final we drew with Tramore in Walsh park, and three weeks later lost the replay by two points, they went on to win the county that year. In between those two very important games, we lost the S-H final county final to Mount Sion at Walsh Park also, not many teams scored 2-13 and lost the final. In that 1969-year Abbeyside/Ballinacourty were awarded club of the yea. Great for the club, but poor consolation for players and managers that came so close to winning the big ones
After those three good championship victories under our belt, and the semi-final fixed for the 27th August, with four teams left, we awaited the draw. As luck would have it, we drew the remaining favourite John Mitchels, we played a few high-profile challenges before the semi-final.
A big crowd gathered at the Fraher field for the meeting of the John Mitchels team that had won three county championships in the 70s, and a Ballinacourty team seeking a win that would put them into the S-F final for the first time in the club’s history. After a hard fought game, we came out on top, on a score of 0-12 to 0-7.
The stage was now set for the clubs first ever appearance in a county S-F final. There was great excitement around the parish to the extent that large numbers of supporters turned up to watch training, at Cliffe’s field in the Burgery, eager to see how preparations were going for the final. We played a couple of challenge matches, one being away to Ardfinnan, which we won, 12pts to 9pts and gave us a good boost. With flags and buntings decorating all areas of the parish, and newspapers, and some supporters thinking we couldn’t be beaten, it was hard for all involved with the team to keep our feet on the ground, as for the first time in this championship we had been made hot favourites to win for the club, our first ever S-F title.
Sunday 1st October 1978 was the day we had been striving for all year. That morning I found it hard to concentrate on anything, after mass, walking around, couldn’t sit and read the paper, I knew it was nervous tension building, and when we all met up in the dressing room it eased off a bit. While togging off you could hear a pin drop. Then with the rousing speech from Tony, and a big roar from the panel, we burst out the door, and galloped to the show grounds. (This is at the back of stand now, there was no stand there then) The well organised 20-minute drill session had us all fired up and rearing to go.
With the big attendance at the Fraher field looking towards the dressing rooms, for the teams to enter the pitch, Clashmore arrived, to loud cheers from their supporters. With patrons still looking in that direction, we arrived through the small gate at the other end of the pitch, a well hatched plan by the selectors. We were the only team ever to come onto the pitch through that entrance.
During the pre-match parade behind the Dungarvan Brass & Reed band, and Dungarvan Pipe band, the nerves had settled, all the focus now was on win this game and collect the Conway cup and make history for ourselves and for the club.
We had won most of our games that year from the underdog position, now how would we handle the position of hot favourites?
From the time referee John Regan, from Kill, threw in the ball we got straight into the job at hand. “Fight tooth and nail, contest every ball as if your life depended on it” were the instructions given in the dressing room, and I am happy that every man bought into the instructions. We never expected it to be easy, and so it proved, at half time Clashmore led by 2-1 to 0-4. With the chance to regroup, and some tough talking by the management team, who made a few positional switches, we didn’t panic, and about half way through the second half we were a point ahead. With about ten minutes to play we were two points up and fought doggedly all over the pitch to defend our lead, which we did. At the final whistle we had made history, on the score 0-13 Clashmore 2-4.
As the whistle blew it was pure relief, excitement, and satisfaction for the years’ work well done. We were all delighted of course for the supporters and all in the club that had been with us through thick and thin over the years, this victory was for them as well as us. The time in the dressing room after the match was special, to share with the whole panel, selectors and club officials.
The Dungarvan pipe band, fair play to them, had waited for some time for us to emerge from the dressing room, and we, with lots of our supporters walked behind the band to our favourite watering hole, Alice O’Connor’s in the village. We celebrated here for a few hours, before John McGrath’s 40ft lorry with flat trailer arrived. Along with lots of supporters, we scrambled on board with as many as could fit to make our way to Elstead’s pub in Ballinacourty. As we were coming towards the Barnawee bridge we could see the bonfire blazing on the pier at Ballinacourty, the celebrations went on long into the night.

On the following day we again gathered at Elstead’s pub and had a pleasant surprise when Eddie O’ Halloran, and some of his Clashmore team mates arrived to join us which was a nice gesture by them. Later that evening, again on John McGraths lorry, the panel of players were driven around the village, to the delight of loyal supporters along the route, some slurred speeches also took place.
On Tuesday we brought the Conway cup to the Abbeyside and Garranbane schools in the parish, where we got a great reception from teachers and pupils. It was a very proud day for me to bring the cup to Garranbane school, as I went to that school as a boy, and lived at that time just across the road. My son Seamus welcomed us on behalf of the pupils and staff, and when someone suggested we go across the road to my parents’ house to take a photo of the three generations with the cup I was delighted, and still have that treasured photo of course. (I also have the football we played the 1978 final with), in those days the county board supplied the ball for the final, and the winning captain was allowed to keep it, lots of supporters signed it in the week of celebrations after the game, hard to read some of the names now, I have it a safe place, and it’s a lovely souvenir to have of the win.
The celebrations went on for the full week (as I had taken a week’s holiday from work, win lose or draw) it suited me fine. On the Friday night of that week we had a 52 seater bus, which brought players and supporters to Clashmore for a gathering in their pubs to show them respect and appreciation of their contribution to the final.

This was a victory not only for those of us involved but also lots of great club players that might not have been dual players, but were great club men, and we can’t forget the great people, men and women, that represented the club before us, some of them that were involved with this team, as management, club officers, and supporters. With the passing of time we have also unfortunately seen the passing of some great people who were involved in these special days. May they rest in peace.

After the winning of three S-F titles in four years, we never expected it would take 26 years to win the next senior title for the club.  

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Club Notes - 17th June

Championship 2020
Last week the County Board published their proposals for the restructuring of this years Senior Hurling & Football Championships. The proposals were to be voted on at a “Virtual” board meeting on Monday evening last. Following the meeting the draws for the new championship will have taken place so all going well we will be in a position to give a full update on fixtures in next week’s notes.
Waterford’s Greatest Sporting Hero
Over the past number of weeks, you may be aware that WLR have been running a poll to name Waterford’s Greatest Sporting Hero. Club member Niamh Briggs, the extremely talented rugby player, ladies Gaelic footballer and camogie player has made the Top 10 shortlist. The final result will be determined by a public vote and as such we’d urge all club member to please vote for Niamh on the WLR website.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Club Notes - 10th June

Covid 19 Update
Over the course of the weekend Croke Park published their guidelines for a safe return to playing as the country begins to open up. Details of the plan have been widely reported, with the headline dates being June 29th, July 20th and July 31st. Whilst the issued guidance is quite detailed, we’ve surmised below the particulars of each phase as they apply to playing activity, which at the end of the day is what we all want to see.

29th June – All GAA pitches are open. Training to recommence for Adult and Juvenile teams. Small groups (not more than 10 players and 2 coaches in a designated area of the pitch) for non-contact training i.e. running & aerobic exercises.

20th July – All forms of team and group training permitted. This is a return to full contact sessions with no limit on numbers of players or mentors.

31st July – Resumption of club competitions for all grades and levels.

17th October – Intercounty competitions to take place no sooner than this date.

So, there we have it, at long last we can see light at the end of the tunnel and players, managers and mentors can begin to put solid plans in place. At this time, we are still unable to say what format the new championships will take. This is a decision that will be made by the County and Divisional boards. Hopefully now that this roadmap is in place this will be forthcoming shortly.

In terms of spectators, this is still a little bit up in the air also and will be dependent on government guidance in relation to social distancing. Once there is any information available, we will of course communicate this to members.

To facilitate this timetable there is a quite considerable amount of work that needs to be done in the background. This will entail ground and facilities preparation down to the individual responsibility that must be taken by each player. Prior to the return we will ensure everyone is fully aware of what they need to do to ensure they and their fellow players and coaches are safe.

We’re nearly there folks.

Reeling In The Years
We have something a little different for our feature this week. Joe Power takes us on a trip down memory lane to his playing days, and in particular 1978, the year he captained the club to our 1st senior title. Huge thanks to Joe for taking the time to put this together, we hope you enjoy it and part 2 will be in next week’s notes.

I am still honoured to have been appointed by the committee of the Abbeyside/Ballinacourty GAA club to captain a great group of players, that went on to win the first ever S-F county title for our club in 1978, and to be retained as captain to defend the title in 1979. I think that I was an example that you don’t have to best player to be captain, but to show leadership and commitment on and off the field.
At the age of 32 in 1979, I felt that I was feeling the pace, and wear and tear over the years was catching up on me, so I made it clear to the selectors that I wanted to be regraded to the junior ranks, which did happen.

So, in 1980 and with due respect to the juniors, I enjoyed the easier going pace, especially with training. The senior football team were surprisingly beaten by a well organised Tallow team early in 1980, so it was a quiet year by our standards for the club.

In 1981, when I was working in the Quigley Magnesite factory in Ballinacourty (for younger readers, where the Gold Coast golf course is now) I was told that there was someone looking for me at the gate entrance, so I made my way there, to discover it was the late great Tony Mansfield. Now Tony had been manager of the S-F team since 1978, with his selectors Mattie Power and Vincent Mulligan, and they were still there in 1981, Eddie Cashin was our captain that year. Ned Keane was chairman in 1978. Tony’s mission on that day in January 1981, was to coax me back to the senior panel for that year’s championship, with his gentle persuasion, as only Tony could do, telling me so and so was injured, and the lads coming through were too young, I accepted his challenge, and thanks to him I picked up my third S-F county championship medal, one month short of my 35th birthday.

I won my first medal with the club in about 1960, which was in the street leagues hurling final, when Willie Dunphy, from Knocknagranagh, captained our rural area of the parish team, to beat Bella Beatty’s team from the village. The final was played in what was then known as the show field, behind the stand in the Fraher field.

Most of us that went on to win that historic S-F title in 1978 had come through the ranks with the club from juvenile level, winning western and a few county titles in hurling and football. In 1963 we lost the minor football county final to Tramore, and in 1967 we lost the inaugural u-21 football West final to a group team by a point, and they went on to win the county. It would have been a nice one for us to win, having won the inaugural u-21 hurling county title in 1966.

At the start of the 1978 S-F championship we would have been considered outsiders, which suited us down to the ground.

With Ned Keane as chairman, the committee appointed Tony Mansfield as manager, with Vincent Mulligan and Mattie Power as his fellow selectors. They drew up a panel and a plan, and explained it to us at our first players meeting, they drilled into us the fact that if we gave total commitment to their plan, and made sacrifices, one in particular was that if the wife was going to bingo (which was a big thing at the time) on Tuesday or Thursday night you would not be available to mind the children, as you were training, some fellows were looking at one another at that one. Another one that sticks in my mind from that meeting was Tony making clear to us the importance of putting in the effort at training, as the hole in the wall in banks was only coming in at that time, he said if you go to that hole in the wall and press all them buttons you will get nothing out unless you have been putting it in, I used that saying a lot when involved as a selector with other teams later on.

Training was going well, with a programme being given to a few lads that were working outside the county, we were all together at weekends, and played a few challenge matches inside and outside the county, A new set of Ballinacourty jerseys were purchased by the club, hopefully for a new beginning.

Joe Power leads his team in the parade
before the 1978 County Senior Football 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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