MARTIN Scally is a long way from home right now but he doesn’t need to look far to find reminders of West Cork.
The Clonakilty clubman moved to Vancouver last month and joined up with a local GAA club, Cú Chulainn. It’s the ideal way to find your feet in new surroundings, Scally says, and he also found a few more West Cork natives who have swapped home for Canada.
‘John O’Sullivan and Sean Buttimer from Mathúnas, and Paddy Whelton from Courceys, they all play with Cú Chulainns,’ Scally explains.
‘There’s a very strong Cork community over here, and a very strong West Cork community too. The GAA community is huge here.’
All four West Cork men are involved with Cú Chulainns, a hurling-only club founded in 2019 but already with good numbers, and recently it won its first-ever piece of silverware. In fact, it won two: junior and intermediate hurling titles. Scally played his role in the intermediate win, coming on at wing back as a sub.
‘We were playing JP Ryans GAA Club in both finals, and the senior final had been played before I came over. It was a big finals day last Sunday with men’s and women’s football, hurling and camogie, and there was a big crowd,’ Scally explains.
‘Cú Chulainns had never won a trophy before last weekend, but we won two – the junior and intermediate. Paddy Whelton from Courceys was on the junior team that won. Then John O’Sullivan, Sean Buttimer and myself were on the intermediate team and we won by eight points.
‘John Sull scored one of the best points I’ve ever seen! He caught the ball out by the sideline from a puck-out, didn’t look at the posts but shot over his shoulder and scored!’
Just after the final whistle, when both teams were shaking hands, Scally discovered that another West Cork man was on the field, but in the colours of JP Ryans.
‘It was only when we took off our helmets that I saw Brian O’Donovan from Ardfield was with them. I didn’t know he played with them until after the game,’ he says.
So far, Scally’s loving his Canadian adventure.
‘It’s an amazing lifestyle over here,’ he says, and now he has another GAA medal to add to the collection.