Small but mighty

Irish Examiner - County - - Sport -

of £10. This mag­nif­i­cent re­sponse showed the de­sire of Bal­ly­hooly peo­ple for a pitch of their own.

Things did not go ac­cord­ing to plan on that site how­ever in 1983 a 10-acre site off the Ra­hard Road was pur­chased for IR£30,500.

Af­ter five years of hard work, Uachtarán na hÉire­ann Dr Pa­trick Hillery opened Bal­ly­hooly Com­mu­nity Sports­field in 1988.

Seven years later, Uachtarán CLCG Jack Booth­man opened the club’s dress­ing room com­plex in 1995.

Since that day, the club added flood­light­ing to one of the pitches and built a hurl­ing wall and small all-weather area. Last year, with the help of a Gov­ern­ment sports grant, a Cork County Coun­cil grant, club sav­ings and a gen­er­ous bene­fac­tor the club was in a po­si­tion to spend over €150,000 re­fur­bish­ing and ex­pand­ing the dress­ing room com­plex while also build­ing a new gym which now caters for over 100 mem­bers.

The com­mit­tee in­volved in that am­bi­tious project were Liam Di­neen, Jim Mc­Carthy, Brian Mc­Carthy, Kieran Mc­Carthy and Pete Sykes and all did amaz­ing work to bring the re­cent projects to fruition.

Like all small ru­ral clubs with smaller num­bers of play­ers, Bal­ly­hoo­ley loses many stars, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing their col­lege years, as many of­ten choose to go abroad on work­ing hol­i­days or take ca­reer breaks abroad while many oth­ers leave the area al­to­gether for em­ploy­ment in other parts of the coun­try or abroad.

This is al­ways a chal­lenge for the club but credit must go to all con­cerned at Bal­ly­hoo­ley for the way they con­tinue to sur­vive and ex­cel de­spite re­stricted num­bers.

Smaller dual clubs will of­ten find it dif­fi­cult to keep both codes strong so cre­at­ing the right bal­ance between hurl­ing and foot­ball is of­ten the ma­jor chal­lenge but again it must be said that Bal­ly­hoo­ley GAA Club has more of­ten than not been able strad­dle this par­tic­u­lar chal­lenge su­perbly.

In the early 2000s, foot­ball came to the fore, and the club won their sec­ond North Cork Ju­nior B Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship in 2001, beat­ing Ballyclough on a score-line of 0-9 to 0-5.

More North Cork Ju­nior B Foot­ball ti­tles fol­lowed in 2003 and 2004 but af­ter good dis­plays, the side was beaten in the county semi fi­nal by Lis­goold in 2003 and Rath­pea­con in 2004.

An amal­ga­ma­tion with Killavullen at mi­nor level [Black­wa­ter Rovers] proved to be a ma­jor suc­cess for both clubs with a num­ber of North Cork B ti­tles in both hurl­ing and foot­ball brought home.

Hurl­ing has again come to the fore in Bal­ly­hoo­ley in re­cent but that didn’t stop Bal­ly­hoo­ley claim­ing the Di­vi­sion 2 Foot­ball League and the North Cork B Foot­ball ti­tle in 2014.

In 2016, Bal­ly­hoo­ley GAA Club fi­nally won a Cork County Ju­nior B Foot­ball ti­tle beat­ing Cobh in Páirc Uí Rinn af­ter two tremen­dous games of foot­ball. Some­times suc­cess comes when you least ex­pect it.

The club con­tin­ues to punch well above its weight in 2017 and de­spite not hav­ing the best cham­pi­onship this sea­son, things con­tinue to look pos­i­tive for the fu­ture. Of course, things can never be taken for granted, par­ticu­ments larly at the smaller sport­ing clubs but, if his­tory is any­thing to go by then it would fool­ish to think that this par­tic­u­lar club isn’t do­ing all it can to make sure that things will still be on a sound foot­ing when the next cen­tury comes around.

For the pa­trons and vol­un­teers that give their time, heart and money to this im­pres­sive GAA Club all should feel great pride for what they have achieved in the in­ter­ven­ing years since Bal­ly­hooly GAA Club first came into be­ing. TH­ESE days, if you want to be con­sid­ered a truly lo­cal, all-in­clu­sive sport­ing club, you must cater for all the com­mu­nity.

Bal­ly­hooly GAA club didn’t need to be told this.

The club has been in­clu­sive for over 50 years, since their first camo­gie club was set up in 1962. The camo­gie team had a few suc­cess­ful years at ju­nior level.

They reached the county semi-fi­nal in 1963, only to be de­feated by St Fin­barr’s.

The club dis­banded soon af­ter, and a num­ber of play­ers joined Fer­moy. Ann O’Sul­li­van went on to win a ju­nior All Ire­land with Cork, in 1968.

Mar­garet Lom­bard was sec­re­tary of the camo­gie club and also a prom­i­nent player.

When the ladies’ foot­ball club was formed in the 1980s, Mar­garet was again at the helm and, credit to her ded­i­ca­tion, she is still very in­volved in GAA ac­tiv­i­ties to­day, as a pro­moter of the Cork GAA clubs’ draw and as an avid sup­porter of Bal­ly­hooly and Cork at all lev­els.

Mar­garet is also a vi­cepres­i­dent of the club.

Last year, the ju­ve­nile club be­gan coach­ing camo­gie up to U18 level. The club has par­tic­i­pated in a num­ber of blitzes in re­cent times and, along with Fer­moy GAA club, is pro­vid­ing a great fu­ture for the younger girls in the area in get­ting into the sport.

In the mid-80s, a ladies’ foot­ball team was founded in Bal­ly­hooly and was quite suc­cess­ful for a num­ber of years.

The pin­na­cle of suc­cess was a County Ju­nior B Cham­pi­onship win over a highly fan­cied Donough­more, in Glan­tane, in 1987. The club went out of ex­is­tence a few years later, but the ju­ve­nile club con­tin­ued to train girls in both foot­ball and hurl­ing, and, in those days, most Bal­ly­hooly U12 and U14 teams con­tained three or four girls on the panel.

The ju­ve­nile GAA also or­gan­ised the occasional friendly or tour­na­ment match against other lo­cal ladies’ teams, but there were never enough play­ers to field teams on a reg­u­lar ba­sis and the Bal­ly­hooly girls all joined the Glan­worth Club.

Glan­worth were one of the best clubs in Cork over the next 20 years, and Bal­ly­hooly girls fea­tured on those suc­cess­ful Glan­worth teams, with a num­ber of them win­ning All Ire­land medals with Cork.

Names like He­len Cody, Therese O’Ke­effe, Mairead Noo­nan, and Joanne O’Brien all shone for the red-and­white. As the num­ber of young girls at na­tional school in­creased, a new ju­ve­nile ladies’ foot­ball club was formed in 2012 and is still go­ing well, coach­ing and field­ing teams up to U12 level.

The fa­mous Bal­ly­hooly GAA Field Com­mit­tee of 1988. L To R Tom Wel­don, James Bar­rett, Ml Kennedy, Frank O’Driscoll, John O’Ke­effe, Seamie Roche, Phil Leahy.

1995 was a par­tic­u­larly good year with Bal­ly­hooly be­ing crowned County Ju­nior A Hurl­ing Cham­pi­ons.

Cork GAA’s Tracey Kennedy at at club so­cial in Jan­uary with cur­rent club of­fi­cers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.