IT was a night of celebration as the combined clubs of Ballinascarthy Underage GAA and Camogie held their annual awards night in the Clonakilty Hotel last Saturday night.
On hand to present the medals on a memorable night was Mark Sugrue, who himself has just completed an outstanding season with Bandon, and is currently part of the Cork senior football panel. Not to be out done, the camogie club also had a special guest, rising local camogie star Orla Cronin, winner of her second All-Ireland senior medal with Cork in 2015.
The underage club is in the unprecedented and enviable position of having won 2015 titles in all age groups (U12, U14, U16 and U18).
First up for medals were the U18 hurlers, winners of the county league. Head coach Paddy Crowley received resounding applause to acknowledge his role, having mentored this particular group of players from age six to 18. He had strong backup from mentors Teddy O’Donovan, Tim O’Donovan, John Murray and Patrick Nyhan.
The U16 hurlers received their West Cork championship winning medals. Head coach Johnny Ryan received special acclaim, particularly because he had also coached the U16 footballers to win the West Cork championship the previous year. This panel includes three players from the Plunkett’s club and Johnny praised their invaluable contribution. He acknowledged the great support received from mentors, Denis Nyhan, Martin McCarthy, Peter Dowling Matt O’Donovan, Jim McCarthy, Mike Walsh and Michael O’Driscoll.
Next up were the U14 footballers who won on the double. They won the West Cork championship as well as the Féile county competition. In fact, it was a double double because they had won these same two competitions in the previous year also. The Féile victories provide a particular source of pride for the club, and head coach Stephen Ferguson was credited with having the magic touch, being involved both years. He acknowledged the good back up he received from Tony Lynam and Stephen O’Leary.
Last up for the underage club were the U12 hurlers. Along with near neighbours Timoleague, they finished the season top of the league table – a final was played to determine the winners, this ended in a draw and both teams were deemed joint winners of the league. Coaches Niall Twomey, Kieran McCarthy and Noel O’Brien were on hand to present the medals.
There was special praise for players who represented the club on county teams during the year. Ciarán Nyhan, Brian O’Donovan and Ronan McCarthy were involved in Cork’s U16 teams, Padraig Cullinane and Dean Harte were involved in U15, while Sean Ryan, who is currently part of the Cork minor football panel, received the club’s best wishes for what promises to be an exciting year ahead for him.
For the camogie club, a highlight was their U16s winning the county. They also made presentations to their U12 and U14 teams who also had great seasons. One of the notable achievements for the club was the high level of representation on the various Cork panels during the year. Special presentations were made to recognise these achievements.