Castlelyons GAA Notes WE Monday 4.5.20. 2020-05-08 15:10:00

Squash in Castlelyons over the years.

The game of Squash had an unlikely birthplace in Fleet prison in London back in the mid 1800’s. The game progressed by some strange route to Harrow School and other select schools in England. It was promoted by the Squash Rackets Association of England and gained in popularity and was then taken over by the World Squash federation as it spread throughout the world. Over the last fifty years the game has sensationally developed into one of the largest, best loved of all sports and is now even part of the Olympics.

Cuman Lúthchleas Gael embraced the game circa 1970 onwards as many Clubs built Squash Courts. This may be due to the fact that the Ban was lifted in 1971. The Ban was in force for many years and had decreed that anyone who played, promoted, or even attended foreign games specifying cricket, hockey, rugby, and soccer would be suspended for up to two years. Sure, there was a piece about “foreign dancing” so weren’t we lucky it was lifted, or we would have no “Strictly Castlelyons” last year. Squash was not mentioned in the Ban and the scene has really changed now as many Clubs have synthetic pitches and rent them out at an hourly rate for soccer as a solid income earner. This benefits all and may be a suitable initiative going forward for our own club too.

Anyway, Castlelyons in the early 1970’s were really progressive and despite boosting a new GAA pitch and Community Centre they did not rest on their laurels  The Committee at the time were anxious to have a game for the ladies and visited many areas in the City to find a suitable game that could be played by ladies and gents, young and old. Finally, Squash was decided on and two Squash Courts were built together with a Members Bar. These extra facilities were opened in 1974 and the Squash Courts were the first in Cork outside the city. Castlelyons became a mecca for the game as it was good for hurling and improving hand-eye coordination, increased strength, and fitness. However, if you got a belt of a ball as it could reach speeds of 150mph in games you could have a sore ass for some time.

Castlelyons had massive numbers on the club ladder and entered in the Cork leagues. Matt Hegarty, James Ronayne and Liam Martin were mighty men in the court those early years and assisted by a few outsiders were the first non-city team to take a Cork league championship in 1980 as they won Division 5 and repeated that fete again in 1985. In fact, at one stage the club had to close membership as the numbers were so high. At that time, the ladies had great teams as well and Moira O’Riordan was excellent at the game.

The game lost its popularity in more recent years as there is a move to the gym, sculpting the body and building a power image. We are now down to one Court but there are still over thirty-two members. David and Barry Ronayne, Martin Duggan and Shane O Neill are joined with Glenville and Kilworth playing under a team called East Cork Select in Division Four of the Munster League. Our top player is Dave Ronayne as he won a Munster Division One League championship with Sundays Well a few years ago and played at number four on the team. This writer has set down only part of the story and would really appreciate any photos or paper cuttings of teams, stories, and fun down the years. The refurbishment of the Centre will take place shortly. So, there is an opportunity for the current Squash committee to ensure a little upgrading of the Court and restructure as there is an outstanding culture and interest in the game in Castlelyons.

Bingo Session with a difference in Castlelyons.

As we all know it can be a full house these times with many families in lockdown. However, for the residents of Kent Terrace and Hillside View the novel approach of open-air bingo has literally brought isolated people together while keeping their distance.

They were kitted out with the bingo books and equipment by the Community Centre Committee. Over the las two weekends Padraig O Brien and his daughter Ellie warmed up the residents with some great songs and entertainment. He then provided the speakers for Claire Barry, Ann Marie Quirke, and Tracey to run the Bingo. provided and while Claire Barry, Ann Marie Quirke and Tracey Cremin ran the Bingo. All the families gave prizes for the raffle and there were two excellent evenings to date. Well done to Padraig and the girls for their work in bringing so much fun to the residents during these serious times.

Intermediate hurlers still focused.

Team sport engenders camaraderie and a bond for all groups and ages, it is so important for kids and teenagers in their development and, indeed, a massive outlet for the adults. It is great to see inter-county players keeping our young players, and indeed GAA enthusiasts in general motivated as they post skill and training challenges online as social isolation measures remain in place to combat the global epidemic of Covid-19. Well done to our own intermediate hurlers who have replicated this at a local level and done tremendous work in keeping our own juveniles going. The restrictions have been ongoing for some time as the 5th May has come and gone and they will be with us for longer.

The government have produced a plan for a return to normality on a phased basis which, of course, is entirely dependent on the demise of this ruthless virus. There is a mention in the plan of “sports leagues with limited spectators” and this has prompted a lot of speculation on a return to the playing fields. There will be an evaluation on the implications of this plan by Cumann Luthchleas Gael later this week and hopefully we will receive more specific detail. However, no plan survives contact with the enemy and this time the enemy is invisible, deadly and could have its own phases if we as a nation do not take extreme caution.

Our intermediate hurlers are training in a singular manner as they take stock of timed runs and training sessions through various technological communications. The lads went through an excellent virtual session last Sunday using that phenomenal software Zoom. Thanks to our captain Anthony Spillane for arranging this kind of stuff. Fair play to Johnny Crowley the coach who keeps in touch with all the lads and plans various training sessions for them. Speaking with Anthony he would dearly love to return to action but not until it is entirely safe to do so. He knows all the lads are keeping fit and in good form. Incidentally, I read there lately about county teams playing behind closed doors and this cute buck had his spake. He made out that playing behind closed doors would really suit one county side as there would be no pressure on them, no tight marking defences and that they were playing the game as non-contact for many years. I do no what team he was talking about, but I would say he still wanted them to toughen up.

Community Centre initiative for charity.

Special thanks to Pamela McCarthy of the Community Centre Committee who arranged 4K4today last weekend. This was a walk / run that could be done over Friday to Monday and done at least €4 to Pieta House a very worthy cause. Pieta are a leading suicide prevention charity. After being forced to cancel Darkness into Light this year, they crucially need funds to keep their free call line open, and to fund counselling sessions which are now taking place through phone support. This all the more important during these uncertain times, many people are experiencing anxiety and feeling worried. The initiative really helped locally in that it promoted positive health and well-being in our own families and community. This was done by walk or run 4K within the parameters of social distancing and 2km limit. Donate €4 to Pieta House by clicking on the link below or texting PH4 to 50300. Texts cost €4 and Pieta House will receive a minimum of €3.60. Thanks to all who supported especially to our intermediate hurling panel who really embraced the initiative.

Congratulations to Darren Tobin and Eimear Kelly.

Best wishes and lifelong happiness to Darren Tobin of our club and Eimear Kelly of Moneyglass, Co. Antrim who recently announced their engagement.

Club Sponsor: ZEUS Packaging Group

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