It was a year full of highs and lows, and plenty of talking points, as Tom Lyons captures in his A to Z guide of West Cork GAA in 2015
A for amalgamations. A growing trend in West Cork GAA, with more to come in 2016. Is there another, better solution for falling numbers?
B for Brian. First there was Hurley who just couldn’t rediscover his scoring, killing touch for Castlehaven in the county final and then there was Shanahan, outstanding full back for Carbery Rangers all season.
C for Castlehaven. They will agonise forever about the way the 2015 county senior football title slipped through their fingers, against a Nemo Rangers side that proved to be far from world-beaters.
D for divisions. Are they on the way out thanks to county board policies or have Carbery signalled their intent to go down fighting?
E for enjoyment. Where is the enjoyment in playing hurling league finals in mud and gutter, in freezing rain on cold November nights in semi-darkness? The South West Board will have to do better than this.
F for finals. All county finals now played in Páirc Uí Rinn but Ballinascarthy showed for the South West junior final, despite being played in terrible weather conditions, that country clubs can host finals with style and perfection too, as did Clonakilty in the Munster junior football semi-final.
G for goals. The ones that Castlehaven missed or had saved in the two county finals and the one that won the replay for Nemo. Also the class hat-trick that Mark Sugrue scored in the county junior final as Bandon beat Iveleary to gain promotion to the intermediate football grade for 2016.
H for hurling. Or the lack of it in West Carbery and the lack of support from the county board in the promotion of hurling west of the Viaduct. Where there’s a will, there’s always a way.
I for Irish. Lip-service being paid to the language by the GAA according to outgoing Carbery Irish Officer, John O’Brien, but, hopefully, there will be a big improvement in historic 2016.
J for John. Corcoran, ex-chairman of the South West Board, who finished his term in December. He lent class, expertise and no little style to the position for three years.
K for kicking. A 2015 South West junior football final between Bandon and Kilmacabea that was full of good, honest, kicking football and highly enjoyable as a result. Bandon continued in like vein against Templenoe in the Munster semi-final, another really decent football game.
L for Lilywhites. The sleeping giants of West Cork junior football, Bandon, roared into life in 2015 to capture a badly-needed county title, but are they really serious about their football yet?
M for managers. A thankless job with too much attention by the media and where you can now, like the soccer, be fired in mid-GAA season.
N for nearly. The boys of Kilmacabea still waiting for the elusive first South West junior A football title but, oh so nearly getting there last season in their first-ever final.
O for outrageous. The decision by the county board not to allow Carbery participate in the county U21 hurling championship, while feathering their own nest by initiating a premier county U21 hurling championship because some clubs demanded it.
P for promotion. No need to win a county the hard way, like Bandon did; just wait for the county board to put you up on a whim.
Q for quash. The decision by the county board to quash relegations from 2015 and to postpone all relegations for two years. Barryroe hurlers didn’t look that gift horse in the mouth.
R for relegation. Clonakilty skirted with it in the senior football championship and league and were then rewarded by having their relegated junior team promoted to intermediate. Strange.
S for senior. On the double, Newcestown for 2016, after their marvellous win in the premier intermediate hurling. The eyes of the county are on them for the coming season to see how they fare.
T for three. The number of West Cork officials now on the executive of the county board, the biggest representation ever from Carbery. Now to wait for Kevin O’Donovan, Noel O’Callaghan and Donal Leahy to start pulling the right strings.
U for unbelievable. Cork footballers’ display against Kildare in the play-offs after such a promising league and drawn Munster final. Then the excuses from the county board, unbelievable
V for vacant. A lovely new Páirc Uí Chaoimh that threatens to bankrupt the GAA in Cork and will probably lie vacant for most of the year. Is this really promoting Gaelic games in Cork?
W is for walkovers. Two of the three South West hurling league finals ended in walkovers this season. Are we serious about hurling in Carbery or just paying lip-service?
X for x-factor. Clonakilty had it in the South West junior hurling final, a marvellous display against Mathuna’s, but where did it disappear to in the following outing against Cloughduv?
Y for yesteryear. 1916 is the year in question and, hopefully, we will see the clubs of West Cork celebrate the centenary with imagination and style.
Z for zenith. The most perfect display of hurling we saw this season, at the peak of their ability, Newcestown’s demolition of luckless Valley Rovers in the county premier intermediate hurling final in Páirc Uí Rinn. Perfection.