Fifth Annual South Kerry Hurling Awards
"Countywide Structure Needed for Success of Hurling" - Ciarán Carey
By Michael O'Keeffe, PRO of the South Kerry Hurling Bord na nÓg
(As seen in the Kerryman newspaper, 2nd December 2015)
On Friday evening last, the South Kerry Hurling Bord na nÓg fifth Annual Hurling Awards Night took place in the Killarney Plaza Hotel. This year has been one of the most historic for hurling in South Kerry with the U16 South Kerry team winning the County Hurling Championship following a tightly contested final with Crotta O’Neill’s that went to a replay. The bad whether didn’t deter the crowd either, with an impressive turn-out to join with the award recipients celebrations. We are very grateful to our main sponsors, O’Donoghue Ring Hotels Group, who have provided the venue and refreshments for the fifth year running and also to all the generous sponsors who were acknowledged on the night for their invaluable support towards hurling in South Kerry. We had a very appropriate special guest speaker this year in the form of former Limerick Senior Hurler, 3-time GAA GPA All-Star and newly appointed Kerry Senior Hurling Manager, Ciarán Carey. Also joining us for evening were Tom Keane (Kerry Coiste na nÓg Chairperson), Ger McCarthy (County Hurling Officer), John Griffin (Kerry Senior Hurling Captain), David O’Dea (GDA for Hurling in South Kerry) and Tadgh O’Donoghue (South Kerry Senior Hurling Chairperson).
Eoin Casey, Chairperson South Kerry Hurling Bord na nÓg and MC for the proceedings, opened with the various introductions and acknowledgements. In his opening words to Ciarán, he mentioned that two inter-county managers previously spoke at the annual awards and in both cases, took their teams to All-Ireland Finals – a good omen for Ciarán in his new role. Eoin recalled the events throughout 2015, the growth of hurling in Firies and the re-birth of juvenile hurling in St. Pat’s, East Kerry. Also, the great sport exhibited in the Dr. Bill Mangan Memorial U10 Tournament in Muckross with Kenmare winning the Cup, Rathmore claiming the Shield and St. Pat’s victorious in the Plate final. Further notable victories included: Kilgarvan U12 topping the Division 2 Co. League: Phase 1 and the South Kerry League; St. Pat’s, East Kerry U12 topping the Division 3 Co. League: Phase 2; Rathmore U14 winning the South Kerry Championship; and Kenmare/Kilgarvan reaching the U16 Co. League Division 1 Final. The highlight of the year was the combined South Kerry U16 team who won the Co. Championship for the first time. He praised the players who wore the green and gold of Kerry in the various divisional squads and also noted the hurlers who displayed equal skill on the football field winning the All-Ireland Minor Football Championship; John Mark Foley, Daniel O’Brien and Gavin White.
He stated that the promotion of hurling is the primary focus of the group. The School’s Hurling Initiative was launched two years ago and has been an unqualified success. Clubs are reporting an increase in numbers and this year saw the biggest Cumann na mBunscoil competition with 16 teams playing across 3 divisions. The initiative does not come for free and he thanked all the schools, parents and supporters for their generosity in the fundraising efforts. He stressed the need for funding from the Co. Board, Munster Council or Croke Park to ensure the scheme survives, otherwise the burden of continually fundraising will burn out all involved. David O’Dea was acknowledged for his hard work and support to all the clubs in the area and thanks to the coaches, referee’s and parents for their efforts throughout the year. He finished by wishing Ciarán Carey and John Griffin the best of luck in 2016, acknowledged all the sponsors who support the South Kerry Hurling Bord na nÓg and to John Lenihan and Michael O’Keeffe who organised the event.
Afterwards, Tom Keane congratulated the board for their success on and off the field and the tremendous victory for the South Kerry U16 team. Following his speech, he presented the U16 County medals to captain Micheál McCarthy (Kenmare) and the South Kerry U16 team. Ger McCarthy then took the podium and expressed apologies for Co. Chairperson, Patrick O’Sullivan, who was unable to attend. He commended the South Kerry board for their work and various competitions held throughout 2015 and also, to the Killarney Camogie Club who are strengthening year upon year. He encouraged more coaches and players to get involved with the County Development Squads and praised John Lenihan for the success of the U14’s and wished him the best with the U15’s in 2016. He congratulated the various award winners, especially Jack Lenihan on winning a further All-Ireland Minor ‘B’ Hurling Championship with Kerry this year. He thanked David O’Dea for his continued efforts in the promotion of hurling and wished Tom Keane the very best on the big task of hosting the Feile Competition in 2016. Ger finished by presenting the South Kerry U12 League and U14 Championship medals to the respective teams. David O’Dea then provided a brief account of the School’s Hurling Initiative and the success of the fundraiser which Cullina National School won earlier this year.
The special guest speaker, Ciarán Carey, started by acknowledging the attendance and the quality of awards being presented on the evening. Since arriving to Kerry, he has noticed the great amount of work being put in by hurling boards and coaches but believes that unless a structure is put in place, it will become stunted and stay right where it is now. A new structure may come with changes but that’s what is needed for hurling to progress in the county and this may have to come from the top. The biggest jump is from minor to senior – what is there for a player to help them progress to senior? He reflected on his own hurling life; as part of a family with 9 siblings who all played hurling / camogie with their club and county in some cases. But Ciarán wanted to be the best and that’s what motivated him. He complimented the South Kerry clubs and acknowledged how difficult it is to keep it going. What’s important for players is to dig-deep, concentrate on your hurling and skill development and bring yourselves up a level. It all starts in the schools and clubs, from a young age. He congratulated the award recipients on their achievements and left them with the question, ‘where to now?’. He encouraged them not to throw the towel in but to persevere and set your goal to be the best.
Following a break for refreshments, the Dr. Bill Mangan Memorial U10 Tournament medals were presented to the teams by Dr. Patricia Mangan. The individual awards for Kerry squad members were presented to the following age groups;
U14 Kerry: Michael Lenihan (Dr. Crokes), Michael Horgan (Dr. Crokes), Padraic Looney (Dr. Crokes), Tom Doyle (Dr. Crokes), Jack Foley (Kilgarvan), Eoin Fitzgerald (Rathmore), Tomás Holohan (Rathmore), Fionn Holohan (Rathmore).
U15 Kerry: Donal O’Sullivan (Kilgarvan), Daniel Casey (Kilgarvan), Liam Twomey (Kilgarvan).
U16 Kerry: Dylan Dermody (Dr. Crokes), Gearoid Fennessy (Kilgarvan) and Christopher Creedon (Kilgarvan).
Kerry Minor (All-Ireland Minor 'B' Hurling Champions): Jack Lenihan (Dr. Crokes)
Special presentations from the South Kerry Hurling Bord na nÓg were then made to John Griffin in appreciation for the work he done as GDA for Hurling in South Kerry and to Ciarán Carey for being our special guest this year. During the course of the presentations, we held our raffle for a wide range of spot prizes which was very well supported. Thanks to all the ticket sellers, to all who contributed and to our sponsors for their generous prizes.
You can keep up-to-date on the activities of the South Kerry Hurling Bord na nÓg on Facebook and also follow us on Twitter @SKJuvHurling. Hurling news, coaching tips and club information can be found on our website: southkerryhurling.com. Congratulations to all awards recipients and the successful juvenile club teams in the region with best wishes for another successful year in 2016.