Fourth Annual South Kerry Hurling Awards
"Awards Night shows South Kerry Hurling Youth is Key to Success"
By Michael O'Keeffe, PRO of the South Kerry Juvenile Hurling Board
(As seen in the Kerryman newspaper, 3rd December 2014)
On Friday evening last, the South Kerry Hurling Bord na nÓg held its fourth Annual Hurling Awards Night in the Killarney Plaza Hotel. The past year has been an eventful one for hurling in the South Kerry region, with the launch of the Schools Hurling Initiative, the first History of Hurling event in Muckross and much progress made by juvenile teams in the area. Once again, the event enjoyed an impressive attendance even with the Christmas parade and the traffic associated with it. We are very grateful to our main sponsor, O’Donoghue Ring Hotels, who have provided the venue and refreshments for the last four years and to all the various sponsors who were acknowledged on the night for their invaluable support of the event. Our special guest speaker for the evening was Anthony Nash, current Cork Senior Hurling goal-keeper and 2-time GAA GPA All-Star. We were also joined by Jerry O’Sullivan, Vice-Chairperson Munster GAA, Ger McCarthy, Hurling Officer, David O’Dea, Hurling Development Officer for South Kerry and Fionán MacKessy, Kerry Minor Hurling Captain.
MC, John Lenihan opened proceedings with the various introductions and acknowledgements. Eoin Casey, Chairperson South Kerry Hurling Bord na nÓg, recalled the events throughout 2014 and tackled the question of ‘how to strengthen hurling in a football county’ through ‘better games structures’ and ‘nurturing juveniles to ensure senior success’. He sincerely thanked Munster GAA for their support of the Schools Hurling Initiative and all the generous sponsors of the evening’s event. He was followed by Ger McCarthy, who congratulated the South Kerry members of the All-Ireland Winning Kerry Minor Hurling Team. He paid special note to their parents who sacrificed their time to take their son’s to North Kerry for training throughout the year. He acknowledged Aaron Murphy for his dedication and achievements on the sporting field in 2014 and John Lenihan for his work as Kerry U14 Hurling Manager and involvement in the Munster GAA Hurling Steering Group.
Anthony Nash then took centre stage as he gave his views and life experiences to all present. He spoke honestly about the popularity of football and a recent NewsTalk interview concerning the modern athlete playing both GAA codes. Playing both hurling and football for his club Kanturk, he believes that you can play both but the correct structure needs to be in place. He pointed out the value of sport in life and its ability to help a person follow the right path. Making an example of his club team-mate, Lorcán McLoughlin, and county team-mate, Patrick Horgan, he believes that with ‘sacrifice, time and hard work, you can achieve anything’ and that Kerry will one day compete in the Senior Hurling Championship. One particular point that resonated with the large attendance was the importance of all members of a team, from one all the way to thirty, to support their team-mates and push them that bit extra. To close, he encouraged all to help out in whatever way they can for the benefit of hurling in the South Kerry region.
Following Anthony’s uplifting speech, Jerry O’Sullivan spoke of the wonderful game that is hurling. That, in Munster GAA, there exists a plan to promote hurling in all counties; weak and strong and, with the help of clubs like the South Kerry Hurling Bord na nÓg, it makes it all the better in weaker counties. He congratulated the board on the success of the Schools Hurling Initiative and confirmed that Munster GAA would continue to support them in their efforts and is sure that the Kerry Co. Board will do the same. Like Anthony, he acknowledged parents as the key to the success of young athletes and commended them on their efforts.
The first awards of the evening were presented to the successful All-Ireland Minor ‘B’ Hurling winners from South Kerry; Aaron Murphy (Dr. Crokes), Christopher Doncel (Dr. Crokes), Shane Lyne (Dr. Crokes), Jack Lenihan (Dr. Crokes) and Fionan O’Sullivan (Kenmare).
Following this, Anthony made presentations to the other players who represented Kerry at various age groups in 2014;
U15 Kerry: Ciaran Kennedy (Dr. Crokes), Dylan Dermody (Dr. Crokes), Gearoid Fennessy (Kilgarvan) and Christopher Creedon (Kilgarvan).
U14 Kerry: Michael Lenihan (Dr. Crokes), Michael Horgan (Dr. Crokes), Daniel Casey (Kilgarvan), Donal O’Sullivan (Kilgarvan) and Liam Twomey (Kilgarvan).
The U12 South Kerry hurling team received awards for their participation in the Munster Inter-county Club Blitz in the Gaelic Ground, Limerick. Every year, a selection of players from the South Kerry clubs get to play against teams from outside Kerry which is a fantastic opportunity. The various clubs who won the divisional competitions also received their medals; Kenmare (South Kerry U12 League Winners) and Rathmore (South Kerry U13 and U14 Champions). Rathmore were also acknowledged as the juvenile hurling club of the year following their progress over the past couple of years.
In addition to the usual awards, this year saw two additional awards; the Minor Hurling Co. Championship ‘Man of the Match’ Award and the Sports Star of the Year Award. John Mark Foley (Kilgarvan) received the ‘Man of the Match’ Award following his superb display in the final and being named so in the Kerryman, Kerry’s Eye and on Radio Kerry. For his sporting achievement in 2014 including an All-Ireland Colleges Football title, All-Ireland Minor ‘B’ Hurling title and All-Ireland Minor Football title as well as featuring in five county finals, the Sports Star of the Year was awarded to Aaron Murphy (Dr. Crokes).
David O’Dea closed out the evenings presentations with a round-up on the Schools Hurling Initiative and set-out his plans for 2015. There was also a presentation of training gear to the coaches and members of the Garda Siochána, Killarney, of whom we are very grateful to have on board with this initiative.
The renowned raffle was held once again with a vast range of spot prizes which was very well supported. As a bonus this year, a hurley, signed by the entire All-Ireland Winning Kilkenny Senior Hurling team was auctioned. This generated a bit of interest and it was finally bought by Patrick Rowe, who hails from Kilkenny. Thanks to the ticket sellers, to all who contributed and to our sponsors for their generous prizes.
We now also have a new Twitter page to keep everyone up-to-date on the activities of the South Kerry Hurling Bord na nÓg. You can follow us @SKJuvHurling. This is a resource which will be used throughout 2015 as South Kerry Hurling goes from strength to strength. Congratulations to all awards recipients and the successful juvenile club teams in the region with best wishes for another successful year in 2015.