Champions of the past: The Ballinascarthy team that won the South West junior A hurling championship in 1989. Front, from left, Michael Ryan, Kevin Ryan, Donal Murphy, Conor Nyhan, Seamus Walsh, Liam Deasy (player and selector), Colman Murphy, Ger Crowley
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BALLINASCARTHY GAA Club held a function in the community hall recently to mark the 25th anniversary of the club’s first junior hurling title in 1989.
In addition to this major milestone in the club’s history a number of other successes in the same decade were also celebrated.
The players involved in the 1989 campaign were the product of the Pedlars Cross Underage Club which was founded in 1973. The underage club was the platform for many talented players who would emerge from the juvenile ranks and take their place on the adult hurling and football teams.
The final against Newcestown, who were hot favourites and beaten county finalists the year before, was played in ideal conditions at Ballineen with Bal never letting their opponents settle.
The full time score was 1-9 to 0-7 and when the final whistle was sounded there were amazing scenes of jubilation as captain John O’Donovan accepted the Flyer Nyhan cup for the first time.
The 1989 win will always have a special place in the club’s history and the county championship which followed saw wins over Ahabullogue and Kinsale resulting in a first county final appearance.
Unfortunately, it resulted in a heart-breaking defeat to Clyda Rovers after a replay in Cloughduv. The first game at Páirc Uí Chaoimh will be remembered for the standing ovation both sides received at the end of the game following the incredible efforts of both teams on that day.
After all of that, the year was still not finished and Newcestown were again the opponents as the divisional league title was added.
In what was described by The Southern Star as the ‘game of the year’, which needed two periods of extra time to separate the teams, Bal edged home on a final score of 0-17 to 2-9.
The recent anniversary night also remembered the first and, to date, only U21 (A) hurling title in 1982 when, after three previous years of going so close, the team finally captured the title after a narrow two point victory over Kilbrittain.
The following year (1983) it was the turn of the football side to take centre stage. The year, however, started out with eyes firmly fixed on the hurling title following a fantastic win over favourites Barryroe in a nine-goal thriller at Timoleague.
The team bowed out of the hurling championship and six days later concentrated their efforts on football.
An eventful campaign saw a fortunate opening round win over Kilmacabea, three quarter-final games against Clann na Gael, a semi-final win over Newcestown and a final against Gabriel Rangers.
In what The Southern Star reporter described as ‘the greatest comeback in the history of the competition’, Bal reversed an eight-point deficit at half time to defeat Gabriels.
John O’Donovan was also captain of the 1983 winning side and on that famous day in Rosscarbery gave a colossal performance in a man-of-the-match display.
In 1986 the club won an U21 double, taking the championship title in both hurling and football following wins over Skibbereen and Kilbrittain respectively.
In 1989 the same feat was repeated in hurling with a hard-earned win over Kilbree in that U21 hurling final.
The decade will also be remembered for the opening of the new playing grounds in 1983 at Reacarrigeen by Jack Lynch.
A booklet detailing the highlights of each of those winning years was presented to each player/selector on the recent celebration night. A selection of photos and other memorabilia from the decade were also displayed.
Many thanks to all those who helped organise the night’s events including those who brought and served refreshments.
Champions of the past: The Ballinascarthy team that won the South West junior A hurling championship in 1989. Front, from left, Michael Ryan, Kevin Ryan, Donal Murphy, Conor Nyhan, Seamus Walsh, Liam Deasy (player and selector), Colman Murphy, Ger Crowley (coach) and Micheal McCarthy. Back, from left, Edward O'Flynn (selector), Jerry Ryan, Richard O'Flynn, Patrick Nyhan, Paul Kingston, Paddy Crowley, Frank Dullea, Barry O'Driscoll, John Kingston, Denis Nyhan and Conor Murphy.(Photos: Paddy Feen)