Small but mighty
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.