BY MARTIN WALSH
A GLORIOUS year in the annals of St James’ GAA Club was reflected upon during the club’s celebrations at Dunmore House Hotel, Clonakilty last Saturday night where the special guest was Conor Counihan, project co-ordinator for the Cork County Board.
The Aghada native was a little bemused at his welcome.
‘At the door I was met by two Kerrymen, then I came in here (function room) and saw all the green and gold and thought (jokingly), this must be bad dream,’ Counihan laughed.
Later, in reference to winning championships, the former All-Ireland winning Cork football manager said, ‘Getting to the top of the mountain is the easy part, staying there is the hard part.’
In reality and on the night, the Mountain was all around him.
Proceedings began as Elaine Calnan, who proved a very capable master of ceremonies, introduced club chairman Niall O’Sullivan.
‘We gather tonight in the spirit of celebration and gratitude for a year of outstanding achievement and success,’ he said.
‘2019 will always be remembered as the year St James achieved glory fulfilling their self belief by winning, for the first time in the history of our club, the coveted junior A football title. Success in the junior A hurling league also gave us another reason to celebrate.
‘We urgently need more people to become involved in various club activities to help progress our club, there is a job for everyone, we need your help'.
Chairperson of Carbery GAA, Tom Lyons congratulated the successful teams both on and off the field and was warmly applauded when he paid tribute to club secretary Liam Evans, who was recognised for his long serving contribution to the club when he received the County Cork Volunteers in Sport award.
‘Ye have fabulous young teams at U12 and U14 coming up but there is a gap between those and up to U21 that will have to be breached over the coming years. It will take hard work from everyone in the parish to overcome that gap until the young lads come through again,’ Lyons said.
Prior to making the medal presentations where he was accompanied by club president John Beamish, Conor Counihan addressed the gathering.
‘There is nothing like winning something with your own club, your home is your home and your club is your club,’ he said.
‘What ye have achieved this year is fantastic, all the heartbreak, it could have been easy to throw the hat in and give it up. You and your community can take fierce credit in what you have achieved here, it is all about you people.’
Other speakers included player/coach Alan O’Shea, football captain Joseph O’Sullivan and hurling captain Micheál McCarthy.
Also, the Players’ Player of the Year award went to Micheál McCarthy (Brittas), a dual player and captain of the hurling team.