BY JOHN NEWMAN
ALREADY applauded for his footballing feats during 2017 in these sports pages, the year ended in more silverware for Kilmacabea hot-shot Damien Gore.
After another impressive season, and some wonderful displays for his club and the Cork minor football team during the year, the 18-year-old was presented with a Cork City and County Youth Sports Award before the Christmas period.
Damien now follows fellow West Cork recipients and present to praise him, his family, and club were Deputy Lord Mayor (City) Cllr Joe Kavanagh, whose parents hail from Skibbereen and Clonakilty, and Deputy County Mayor Cllr Joe Carroll, who when playing with his native Dohenys, recalled many competitive games against Kilmacabea.
Former Irish international athlete John Buckley (sponsor) also recalled many happy days at Leap Sports where he jokingly ‘showed a clean pair of heels to the best that Leap could provide’.
Donie McCarthy, Carbery GAA Board Secretary, praised his club for nurturing him to this stage of his career, and ‘he now joins a previous winner Darren Sweetnam of GAA and rugby fame’. Club chairman Dan Hourihane stated that ‘from an early age, Damien had great talent and we are very proud of him and hopefully he will have many fruitful years ahead’, while the chairman also acknowledged the work which their former coach Kevin O’Driscoll had put in over the past five years in the development of the players.
Damien was accompanied at the function by his parents, Michael and Geraldine, family members and friends.
Damien, who started playing with Kilmacabea when he was just six years old and who has Meath footballing blood, really came to prominence at the age of 11, when the Kilmac team won the U14 West Cork, County B and County Féile in 2010.
In 2016 he captained the minor team that won the minor double double – Rebel Óg West league and championship and county league and championship (minor C grade). He has now played with Cork at U14, U15, U16 and at minor level for two seasons – in 2016 Cork minors went to the All-Ireland quarter final against Donegal.
In 2017 Cork beat Tipperary in the first game, with Damien the top scorer with 1-5. However in the semi, Kerry proved too strong.
At club level 2017 was a fantastic year for the Kilmac club in which Damien played a huge role. Champions of the South West U21 B championship with victories over Ballinascarthy, Kilbrittain and Bandon, and playing at full-forward Damien scored a total of 1-31.
Then came sporting history for the club when finally after 129 years, they won the West Cork junior A football championship, with victories over Diarmuid Ó Mathúnas, O’Donovan Rossa (second team) on a score of 0-16 to 1-6, when Damien made his junior debut with a personal tally of 11 points. Then after wins over Ballinascarthy and St Oliver Plunketts they reached the Carbery final on Sunday, September 10th against Kilbrittain, and following a tremendous and tense contest Kilmacabea inscribed their name on the Mick McCarthy Cup for the first time and recently added the league title for 2017.
Damien, who spoke eloquently at the award presentation, will now go forward for the overall prize of Cork City and County Youth Sports Award 2017 at a gala function in early February.