O’Loughlin Gaels 0-19 to 1-12 Ballyhale Shamrocks
O’Loughlin Gaels GAA are Senior Hurling County Champions for 2016 ..and are more than worthy of their status!. A crowd of circa 10,000 looked on in anticipation of a mighty battle between the two most consistent hurling teams in the county over the last number of years. O’Loughlin Gaels were going in to the game as the underdogs…but today they’re the cats pyjamas!! A raw passion insured this game was never going to have a different result. Our lads played with passion and a belief from the get-go that this was going to be O’Loughlins Day.
It was a nervous first half. The Shamrocks started well. They missed their first two chances but TJ started proceedings with a pointed free on 3mins. Mark Bergin returned the first of his unerring day’s free-taking a minute later before TJ Reid stole past the O’Loughlin Gaels defence for the only time this year and hit a 3 pointer. The Shamrocks got the perfect start…and it would make for a nervous first 30minutes. Ballyhale tried to go for the jugular but O’Loughlin’s defenders were not in the mood. After the goal Mark Bergin returned another converted free and that was much of how the first half unfolded. Each time the Shamrocks threw something..O’Loughlins threw it back!. Paddy Butler caught ball and threw his weight around mid-field time and time again earning himself a point reward before the half was out. His partner at mid-field Paddy Deegan was immense ..while his workrate in the first half served to disrupt any momentum his counterparts might build the second half was going to be Paddys’ to own. Ballyhale were happy to prevent our forwards from building a head of steam and were banking on Mark Bergin having an off day with the placed ball. They should find another bank because Mark’s freetaking was flawless -10 placed balls returned 10 points throughout the game – and Mark deposited every one of them onto the 2016 Champion’s account!!.
At half time the score stood at 0-8 to 1-7. Ballyhale were surely wondering what happened as it was they were under the impression that they were doing all the hurling. TJ’s early goal was proving to be the only difference. But 5 frees from Mark Bergin , including 2 from distance were added to with a point from play by the same player, and ones by Paddy Butler and Sammy Johnston. The deficit was at two points and though the St. Johns’s Parish supporters around Nowlan Park were wondering, the players and management certainly weren’t. They knew there was more to offer. Inspirational words in the dressing room came from new faces and as they retuned to the pitch each player knew there was a job to be done.
No sooner had the ball been thrown in when Martin Comerford laid down the first marker with a point to half the lead. More Ballyhale indiscipline led to another conversion through Mark Bergin and it was all square. The St. John’s support were now believing!. TJ Reid missed a free from 40 yards moments later and the cracks were beginning to show. The O’Loughlin Gaels defence was rock solid. The half back line, as they did in the first 30mins, hunted and harried their opponents to distraction. Brian Hogan was lifting the Tom Walsh cup today and everyone around him knew it. Anthony Forristal had the game of his life, he rose to catch ball and everytime he cleared, it he did with intelligence. Ballyhale did go ahead by three points again as the game began to open up. But that was that..Michael Comerford’s fitness training was beginning to reap it’s rewards. All six backs were on fire. Mark Kelly and Mark Bergin were beavering deep and claiming possession. The three point lead was quickly nullified through Bergin’s faultless placed ball. Another fine clearance from Andy Kearns resulted in Danny Loughnane putting the Gaels ahead for the very first time. The St. John’s parish support were sitting up now..straining their necks…something great was about to happen. But before it did Ballyhale equalized with a minor. Here’s the something great; a fine fetch by Alan Geogheghan took him on sniping run. As he approached the 21 yard line he offloaded towards Martin Comerford ..the ball got away from him but he got control of it close to the sideline under Ardán de Grás. As several hundred supported roared for Martin to pass it crossfield to the unmarked Bergin, Martin just casually struck over his shoulder for a crowd pleasing point into the country end. It was chest pumping time now. Ballyhale did return again but it was to be for the very last time. As the southerners searched for some rhythm a long ball was met by the hand of Anthony Forristal – again!. There was no one else going to win it ..it was his! A little side step, a carry and sublime handpass to the brilliant Paddy Deegan and its over to you Paddy. Paddy fended off his marker and headed for the 40. Danny Loughnane recieved the pass in space and guided it between the posts.. The Tom Walsh Cup was getting closer to St. John’s Park.
Ten minutes remaining and the management turned it on. They introduced Sean Bolger and he immediately rewarded them with a point. The Shamrocks coudn’t deal with the fresh legs and Seanie was in their faces now. Paddy Deegan added to the score board next and suddenly the Gaels were three points to the good. Henry Sheflin struck wide next when it was needed to lift his team and Mark Bergin finished the scoring with his 11th point (10 perfect frees!!).
Three minutes of added time seemed like a lifetime. O’Loughlin Gaels hit two wides towards the country end but it didn’t matter ..so long as the ball was up there they were as good as any scores. Maybe the lads were trying to send the match ball over the road to St. John’s Park. It didn’t matter..once the final whistle sounded it was the Tom Walsh Cup that was heading to Johns Park for one hell of a party.
It was a great win..richly deserved by a great group of players and a fantastic management team. No doubting that the best team won on the day and were surely the best team in the county all year. Well done all…Lovely Lovely hurling!
Team: S. Murphy, A. Forristal, A. Kearns, E. Kearns, A. O’Brien, B. Hogan, H. Lawlor, P. Diegan (0-1), P. Butler (0-1), A. Geoghegan , M. Kelly, D. Loughnane (0-2), S. Johnston (0-1) , M. Bergin (0-11, 9f,1'65), M. Comerford, (0-2). S. Bolger (0-1), D. Burke.
B. Leydon, S. Mahony, G. Bryan, S. Bolger, P. Cantwell, e.Grant C. Loy, N. Bergin, T. Gleeson, D. Lenihan, F. Brennan, M. Gibbons, S. Parsons, D. O’Connor, G. Kelly, J. Nolan, P. Byrne.
Manager: A. Fogarty
Selectors: N. Skehan, D. Shelly, M Holohan
Fitness Trainer: M.ComerfordThanks to Team Sponsors Pat Carroll’s Pub for their continued support.
CLUB LOTTO €19,200
There was no winner of last week’s Club Lotto..The numbers drawn were 5, 9, 10, 25 and the bonus number was: 15 . Tickets can be bought from the usual selling agents or by asking at the clubhouse bar. The Jackpot is now at a healthy €19,200..so get yourself a ticket and don't miss out on your chance to win this great prize
POST MATCH GATHERING
There was a hell of a do at St. John’s Park on Sunday evening after the match. Hundreds of the club’s faithful gathered to fete our new heros. From the final whistle Paddy Greene, John Skehan et al were busy in the bar providing ‘refreshment’ for those thirsty and looking to sooth their throats after the previous hours roaring on their charges. Just around 6pm Brian Hogan powered up the stairs with the Tom Walsh Cup in hand and the place erupted. As the players streamed in in ones and twos the crowds didn’t let up…. back slapping and congratulatory words all round - the joy in the club was palpable. Down to the large hall for the celebratory dinner – the morning was dedicated to decorating with white and green bunting, flags, balloons and the place was ready for a party. Fair play to Paddy, John, John Joe and the ladies Committee, Mary, Ann, Madge, Eileen and Margaret for setting up for the 300 strong hungry diners. Then just after 7pm the Team were introduced to the supporters to the sound of the iconic “We are the Champions”. And sure why not - we ARE the Champions!!!. Club founder Fr. Tommy Murphy said grace and the meal was devoured. Chairman Brian Murphy congratulated the lads and thanked everyone involved in the club for their commitment as we munched through our deserts and then it was back up to the bar where the match was played over and over again and relived long into the early hours of the morning. Lovely hurling.
ON-LINE CLUB SHOP
Get your colours for the big day! Last year’s White and Green shop was a tremendous success and this year the On-line Club Shop can provide you with everything you need for County Final Day. It’s well stocked with all your essentials in your favourite club’s colours. Training tops, jerseys, jackets, beanies ..they’re all there just log on to the club website and hit the image to bring you into the shop.
4Oth ANNIVERSARY ‘76 REUNION INVITATION ON SATURDAY
O’Loughlin Gaels Under 14 Feile, Under 16 Hurling / Football and Under 21 Hurling / Football Champions of 1976 will gather in the club on Saturday evening for a celebration and a reunion of minds. They’ll have plenty to talk about plus there will now be an extra guest present to help the celebrations.
The Club will be running a Defibrillator Course open to ALL members. Anyone interested in taking part please text 087 229 8028 to register your interest. You never know.. you might save someone's life!
TAIZE YOUTH TRIP 2017
A youth trip to Taizé in France organised by Ossory Youth will take place from 25th June to 2nd July 2017. A week in Taize is an opportunity for reflection and contemplation and a little step back from daily life. But bringing people together is also the essence of Taize and it is a week of meeting young people from different countries and cultures where new friendships are made. Over 100,000 young people from around the world make the trip to Taizé each year.
The trip is open to Transition year, 5th year and Leaving Cert students. Numbers are confined to 25 young people. For additional information, including cost, and application forms, contact Patrick Bookle, Ossory Youth at (056) 7761200, (087) 2129006 or email@example.com
HANDBALL CLUB VOLUNTEERS
O’Loughlin Gaels Handball Club at St. Johns Park boasts one of the finest alleys in the sport. With two alleys at its disposal it can cater for a large membership. It needs volunteers though …anyone interested in volunteering their time to coach, learn and facilitate juvenile handball at the club can contact Bridget at 0879550193 for further details. Get involved in your club and your local community .
SHANE RUNS FOR CHARITY
Minor/ senior player Shane Mahony (and County Champion!) is doing a Charity Run in side of The Alzheimer's Society of Ireland next month in the Castle Park. This is a great cause and Shane is looking for your support. Shane is doing a charity FUN RUN in aid of The Alzheimer Society of Ireland (Kilkenny region) on the 20th of November in the Castle Park. Registration is 10 Euro and it's going to a great cause.
It's only when somebody close to you is affected by this disease that you realise how important the carers are to them and how much work they do to help. Currently there are about 48,000 people living with Dementia in Ireland. The Alzheimer Society of Ireland aims to improve the lives of people living with the disease and provides support for their families. There has been a lack of funding in recent years and Shane is hoping help, starting with the Fun Run.
Your support on November 20th would be greatly appreciated!! Well done Shane.