Castlelyons GAA Notes WE 18.5.20 2020-05-21 18:32:00

The minor hurlers of 2015 – a regional victory and county defeat – overall a good year.

Castlelyons 3-15 Cobh 4-08

Castlelyons hurlers won Rebel Óg Eastern Region Minor C Hurling Championship when they defeated Cobh in Lisgoold. With numbers being very tight at this age group our lads entered the C grade which is 12 a side in order that all players would get games this year. 12 aside games can be very open with lots of room on a pitch and we raced into a lead which we held until half time going in leading by 10 points. Cobh came back at us in the second half and after a hard-fought match we won by 4 points on a score of 3-15 to 4-08.

We then had a good win over Kildorrery in the semi-final played in Fermoy and won 4-22 to 2-12.  It was a costly victory as Niall O Leary, Barry Murphy and Conor McCarthy all received knocks and who were we meeting in the big one but Cobh once again. The county final was played on Saturday 27th September 2015 in Castlemartyr in glorious sunshine and a well-prepared pitch.  We went in a confident mode, but a number of our top lads were injured going into the game as with just a week since the semi-final time was not on our side.  We knew this game would be tough as it was a repeat game which Castlelyons had won narrowly after a great game.

Ger Scully the Réiteoir threw in the slioter and like all good refs go out of the way and was anonymous for the game as both teams again served up another tremendous hour of hurling in front of a huge crowd.  However, the old adage that goals win games was definitely borne out as Cobh bagged six got six and Castlelyons managed just two.  This proved the difference between the teams as Cobh took the silverware.

Cobh were tactically set up well as they sprayed the ball to the wings and kept width in their game.  Our lads found this hard to cope with and Cobh got in for a great goal just four minutes into the game and added a point shortly afterwards.  However, we responded well Barry Murphy pointed two frees and ten minutes into the game a mighty long-range fee from Niall O Leary deceived the Cobh goalie and went into the net. Cobh fought back and scored 3 points without reply in the next six minutes.

Seventeen minutes in and Jamie O Leary played a long ball out of defence which Alex Henley ran onto and pointed to level the game again. Cobh fought back and another attack down the flanks resulted in another goal to put them three points ahead again. Mark Spillane caught a high ball out midfield and played a long ball into Alex Henley who made an equally good catch and turned to put over his second point. Two minutes later Niall O Leary made a great solo run from midfield and went for goal. The Cobh goalie made a good save initially but the ball broke to Niall who followed up by striking the ball into the net to put Castlelyons two points up. Cobh again fought back and pointed two long range frees to level the game. In the 26th minute Mark Spillane made a great catch and turn to score a point which nudged Castlelyons into the lead again. This was followed a minute later by a long-range Niall O Leary free to put Castlelyons two ahead. However, right on the stroke of half time Cobh pointed from out on the wing to leave Castlelyons ahead by a single point after a mighty half hour of hurling.

When the second half commenced Cobh immediately got into their stride and raced through for their third goal within two minutes of the restart. Good work between Niall O Leary, Pearse Varner and Mark Spillane freed up Alex Henley who was hurling well and he got his third point in the seventh minute. However almost immediately after this score Cobh again created an overlap down the wing and scored their fourth goal to go four points ahead. Our lads fought back and were unlucky to see a Pearse Varner effort go inches wide of the goals. Cobh tacked on a few long range frees to increase their lead. Jamie O Leary made a great run out of defence in fourteenth minute to score a fine long-range point. Fouls on Niall O Leary, Keith O Leary and Mark Spillane resulted in three long range pointed frees by Niall O Leary to leave two points in it with ten minutes remaining. For the next five minutes both teams battled hard and with Castlelyons committed to all-out attack Cobh scored a breakaway goal in the twenty sixth minute to go five points ahead. Keith O Leary scored a fantastic point from a sideline ball in the twenty seventh minute to reduce the margin to four points. Fair play to our lads they threw the kitchen sink at Cobh for the remaining few minutes, but their defence held firm and the carriage of war wounds from other games took its toll too. A minute into stoppage time Cobh again capitalised with another breakaway goal which put seven points between the teams as the final whistle sounded. Final score was Castlelyons 2-13 Cobh 6-8.

Defeat was tough to take as we had experienced victory in many games, especially the Eastern Region Final, and the win over Kildorrery in the semi-final.  However, the lads gave it everything and even though some of our big players carried injuries, they still played strapped up every way.  Overall, 2015 was a very successful year at minor level and thanks to the lads for their displays and to Jimmy O Leary, the Manager, Shane Hickey, Coach, Dave Hegarty and Ger McCarthy Selectors who worked hard all the year. I can’t say how many of these boys have continued in the game, but I think there are a lot of them and we since have a Cork senior hurler out of the crop in Niall O Leary. 

Panel: - Michael Buckley, Keith O Leary, Red Walsh, Shane Moroney, Jamie O Leary, Shane Baragry, Niall O Leary, Mark Spillane, Pearse Varner, Niall Riordan, Alex Henley, Barry Murphy, James McCarthy, Thomas Stephenson, Jack Ronayne and Cian Donnellan, (Capt) Conor McCarthy(injured),  Andrew O Neill(played in second half)

Two men from the team hit the big time from an academic and sporting perspective 

Two men hit the big time from that minor team from an academic and sporting perspective later on. Michael Buckley, a member of the above panel was among those awarded All Ireland Scholarship at the University of Limerick sometime later. This is a most prestigious scholarship sponsored by billionaire philanthropist J P McManus and is awarded to high achievers. Michael was studying Economics in UCD at the time. This scholarship is designed to facilitate Michael build on his success to date and continue to strive for excellence in his ongoing studies and future career. Niall O Leary went on to win two county senior hurling medals with Imokilly at centre back.  He was on the Reardans Senior Hurling All Stars in 2017 and 2018.  Niall received a Bórd Gáis Energy Under 21 Hurling all-star for 2018 as he was outstanding for the Cork Under 21’s and he later won a Fitzgibbon Cup medal with UCC and is currently a Cork panellist.

It said in the Papers.

After the All-Ireland final it is always a week of post-mortems, writings and even parables by preachers.  Kilkenny had retained the title by beating Galway 1-22 to 1-18 and  I came across a few interesting pieces courtesy Damien Lawlor of the Sunday Independent 13th September 2015 that may be worth sharing with you where the writer gives the example of finding young students lining a hurling pitch – does this happen in many places, but they do it in Kilkenny.  Also, four players back at work one day after the All-Ireland final and finally a fellow a fellow who showed patience and commitment to make the senior team all in Kilkenny.

“Tuesday afternoon at St Kieran's College and five young students are busy lining one of the hurling pitches, painting white lines onto a pitch for the next generation of Kilkenny hurlers to train on” .........

“It’s 4 pm and another school day comes to an end. Inside, four of the victorious Kilkenny panel - Michael Rice, Lester Ryan, John Joe Farrell, and Michael Walsh - have all returned to work, just one day after they won the All-Ireland title...........

“Patience was a virtue too. But then again, they (Kilkenny) are long since the kings of that discipline. Think of the arduous route that Kieran Joyce(4 senior medals) had to negotiate on the way to establishing himself - a road that involved a spell with the Kilkenny footballers, three seasons with the Kilkenny intermediates and a time at UL where he learned to add to his game”..........

The summer of 2020 will be a test for our teenage members.

Well for so many of our teenagers there were no exams this year, all formal sporting training and games suspended, and the normal places of entertainment like nightclubs all shut down.  Make no mistake about it the public in general have done very well during the face of such an awful pandemic. However, this shutdown of normal outlets has undoubtedly impacted on many of us including our underage teams.  The summer will be a test of all and especially our young people as the flush of summer jobs and formal entertainment is at an all-time low.

Health and well-being is so important for the young people. I think it was the butterfly that said in one of Hans Christian Anderson’s books that just living is not enough one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. We all look forward to a nice fine summer and bloom in some freedom again as hopefully pitches may be open all going well in late July. Meanwhile there are two months that can be filled with some online sessions and coaching sessions for young people and it is great to see that the GAA are supporting through recently issued guidelines providing the club has safety guidance and good practices are in place.

When this writer was checking it was great to hear that our own juvenile committee have held some zoom meetings and assessed their early sessions skills guidance that they did in the initial few weeks for the young people.  They are about to commence other activities so let us hope the young people will participate and receive support all round.  Also, the feasibility of Cúl Camps are being considered at present with a date a start pencilled in towards the last week of July.  Just to note that the Camps will be dependent on a whole range of matters and there is no definite decision to date.  Well done to our adults who keep focused by coming together for regular sessions while staying apart which is good for mind and body. One thing for sure when we go back to the fields there will be a gradual training non-contact start, with a requirement for hygiene and sanitization and clubs must be ready whether it is next week, next month or next year. So now is the time to prepare, have our facilities in good order and market the games to the community.

Club Main Sponsor: ZEUS Packaging Group.

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