Four cousins, two cups, one magnificent day

October 23rd, 2016 2:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

Keeping it in the family: Laden down with silverware at Charlie Hurley Park, Bandon on Sunday evening were, from left, cousins Ronan Crowley, John Hayes, Seamus Hayes and Darren Crowley.

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WHEN the victorious Carbery Rangers juggernaut came to a halt at Bandon GAA pavilion last Sunday evening, congratulations, back slapping and general sporting bonhomie was very much in evidence all round. 

As the late Kerry great Paidí Ó Sé was wont to say on the way back to Ventry on the occasion of a Kerry All-Ireland win, ‘let the celebrations begin, we’re taking the canister west’.

Bandon, by bringing home the Seán Ó Suilleabháin Cup, had completed an historic double and Rangers had written their name into the annals of sporting history by bringing the Andy Scannell Cup over the causeway to a great sporting home for the first time.

But that doesn’t fully explain the real raison d’etre for the visit of Carbery Rangers to Charlie Hurley Park. It goes without saying that two of the proudest mothers in Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday last were the Santry sisters, Margaret and Carmel, from The Pike near Clonakilty. 

Padraig and Carmel Crowley are the proud parents of dynamic Bandon duo Darren and Ronan, while Margaret’s legendary sons are the Hayes brothers, John and Seamus. You don’t have to be a qualified family genealogist to conclude that the Crowley brothers (Darren and Ronan (and the Hayes brothers (Seamus and John) are, in fact, first cousins.

And there too, savouring the terrific atmosphere in Páirc Uí Rinn was their uncle Christy Santry, a net-minder for a very good Carbery Rangers junior side in the 1970s and a man of diverse sporting interests stretching across GAA, bowling, greyhound racing and horse racing. 

‘The success story for both sets of brothers had its humble beginnings in the lawn right outside their front door,’ Christy said. 

‘The Crowley brothers honed their skills under the keen eye of their father Padraig in a miniature Croke Park in Carrigcannon and it was a similar story in Burgatia where under the encouragement that had invariably been coming from their late father Jeremiah, Seamus and John Hayes from a very young age had set their sights on one day leading their beloved Carbery Rangers to senior championship glory.’

The day when it was time to step up the plate came for the West Cork cousins in the white heat of Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday evening and the plans that took months and years of hatching were finally about to be realised.

It took men of raw courage to put a half dozen years of near misses, frustration and gut wrenching defeats behind them. Lesser mortals would almost certainly have given up the ghost. 

Yes, Sunday, October 16th, 2016 will finally go down in history as the day when a gallant Carbery Rangers took the canister west.

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