Photos to follow…
Corrigan Park played host to eight visiting teams on Sunday: Gort na Mona, Sarsfields, St.Paul’s, Rossa, St.Enda’s, Davitts, Dunloy and Ballycastle who had all brought their Under 8 Hurlers and supporters. With the pitch divided into four, the teams all played nine games each on the small pitches named: Casement Park, Semple Stadium, Nowlan Park and Croke Park.
A little bit of rain did not extinguish the fire in the belly of the young Gaels from all over the county as they hurled their hearts out from 1030 to 130 in Great Spirit. Thanks to former Senior Hurler Colly Thompson the club was looking the part, with flags and blue and white bunting erected throughout the place. The blitz was preceded by the teams being paraded onto and around the field by The Éire Nua flute band, who were excellent in making the children feel special, creating a great sense of occasion to the event.
Hairs standing up on the back of the neck were not only due to the weather; when the band finished playing, Eamonn Ó Faoigáin’s rendition of Amhrán na bhFiann was responsible for setting the pulses racing, as the teams sang loudly under their club banners. What followed was 3 hours of unadulterated Hurling development. With ten teams playing nine matches, each lasting ten minutes (10 x 10 x 9 = 15) it works out at 9 solid hours of under 8 Hurling in total.
It was great to see the support from within the club, especially some of the games being refereed by Naomh Eoin Senior Hurlers Domhnall Nugent, Michael Bradley, Simon Doherty, Ciaran and Conor Johnston who are excellent role models for our younger generation. Conal morgan also falls into this category as he manned the pa system and organised throughout the day, keeping things running smoothly throughout.
The younger generation of Hurling Heroes also assisted in making the day a great success and without them we would have been lost: Eoin Connolly, Peter McCallin, CJ and Odhrán McKenna (Minor), Aaron Bradley and Misha Gough(U16), Odhrán McGrath(U14), Luke Loughlin, Ciaran McShane(U12), Michael Darragh, Conan McKinney, James Wilson and Ronan Donnelly(U10). Many thanks to them all for making the day special for the Under 8s.
Setanta McCallin refereed from start to finish on the day and was a great help in celebrating the memory of his Great grandfather Andy. Andy’s eldest son, Joe presented every player with a medal at the end and each team got a chance to lift the trophy and have their pictures taken with it as winners. Andy’s Great grandchildren Lorcan, Fionn, Oisín, Caolan and Dylan were all representing the under 8s and were a credit to the family as they tried their best in a feast of Hurling (and ham sandwiches) throughout the day.
All teams and supporters were fed and watered through the kind and generous support of the families of the Under 10 and 8 Hurlers. This was only possible through the planning, effort and teamwork of the many who helped make, serve or clean up food for the over 250 visitors to the club on the day. The hospitality and generosity provided by Naomh Eoin was exactly what we as Gaels are all about. Many thanks to Lisa, Lauren, Siobhán, Aoife, Kelly, Janine, Michelle, Linsday, Karen, Margaret, Lisa, Cathy, Michelle, Dolores, Kim, Nuala and Sharon.
Credit to Jojo McConnell who volunteered as photographer on the day, with many pictures taken to remember the day long into the future. Car parking and security were taken care of by Jim Gough, who was ably assisted by Gerry McCann and Jim Donnelly, many thanks to them for doing this unappealing but essential job! A final thank you to all players, mentors and supporters who helped in any way but have not been mentioned so far.
Many thanks from the McCallin family to everyone who helped and to Naomh Eoin in facilitating a great day in memory of ‘Oul Andy’ as many of you may remember him. Club is family, family is everything – Naomh eoin Abú!