BY DONAL WHOOLEY
WEST Cork clubs were to the fore when the Rebel Óg trophies were handed out in 2018.
Last year was another very successful year for Rebel Óg as it continues to endeavour to develop the skills and enjoyment of younger players in Gaelic Games.
The commitment of players, club mentors and parents ensured that approximately 6,000 games in the age-bracket 11 to 18 were played countywide under the auspices of all the Rebel Óg regions, in addition to the various blitzes and fun-days from U10 downwards.
The development squads continue to make progress, winning inter-county tournaments with a number of successes at national level. The U14A hurlers (two different teams) captured the Tony Forristal and Sonny Walsh tournaments, while the U15 and U16 football squads both captured their national tournaments which was the first time this happened in the same year. The U15 and U16 hurlers also won inter-county competitions while the Cork West hurlers won the Celtic Challenge. In addition, the Cork West U15 footballers won the Humphrey Kelleher inter-county tournament played in Millstreet and the Adam Mangan National competition played in Offaly. The real challenge now is to bring this talent through to senior level.
At club level, there were nearly 100 county competitions decided. The honours were divided between clubs spread right across the county and West Cork clubs had quite a successful year, being involved in many of the concluding stages.
Midleton, beaten finalists in 2017, went one step further in 2018 to capture the Minor Premier 1 hurling championship in addition to the U15 Premier 1 title with Bride Rovers taking the Minor Premier 2 honours.
Éire Óg had a great year, winning the Minor 2A, U16A and U15 Premier 2A hurling titles as well as the Premier 2 U15 football championship. St Finbarr’s are beginning to reap the rewards of the huge work they have put in at underage level in recent years, taking the U14 Premier 1 double and adding the Féile hurling title for good measure.Although Bandon were defeated by Kiltha Óg in the Minor A hurling final, they were victorious in the Minor Premier 2A football championship and also took the U16 Premier 2A football league. Gabriel Rangers brought a further Premier football title west when they captured the Premier 2 championship. Bantry showed promise in capturing the U13 Premier 2A football league.
Clonakilty completed a fine league/championship double in minor A football as did Castlehaven in U16A football. Naomh Abán took the minor B1 football title to add to the U15B2 title captured earlier in the year. There was great excitement n Kealkil a few weeks ago when St Colum’s won their first-ever county minor title when they defeated Newmarket to win the B2 football championship.
Adrigole looked impressive in taking the U14B2 football title while Crosshaven were the winners of the U14B1 championship.
In U16 hurling, Sarsfields and Ballincollig respectively retained their Premier 1 and 2 titles while a very skillful Ballinhassig side took the U15A hurling honours. Kinsale looked very good also in capturing the U14A hurling championship with Cloughduv adding the U14B2 title to their Féile win at that grade. Ballygarvan had a good year at U15, contesting two championship finals before eventually capturing the Premier 2 hurling league in the age group.
Carrigaline completed a notable football double when they won the U15 Premier 1 and U14 Premier 2 competitions with Valley Rovers taking the Premier 2A football in the same age group.