Bere host a great All-Is­land fi­nals

Irish Examiner - County - - Sport - John Bo­hane

BERE Is­land GAA Club re­cently hosted the All-Is­land All-Ire­land foot­ball cham­pi­onships.

The an­nual event for the is­land teams na­tion­wide proved a huge suc­cess re­vealed Bere Is­land GAA ad­min­is­tra­tor Jim Han­ley.

“It was a very suc­cess­ful week­end. There were some great games. Whiddy Is­land player and for­mer Cork un­der­age foot­baller Seanie O’Leary was a class above. He was bril­liant all week­end,” re­vealed the cur­rent Beara GAA chair­man.

Whiddy Is­land emerged vic­to­ri­ous in both the men’s and ladies All-Is­land foot­ball cham­pi­onships cap­ping a great week­end for the West Cork based is­land team. Their ladies team re­gained the cham­pi­onship ti­tle for the sec­ond suc­ces­sive sea­son.

Among the star play­ers on the Whiddy Is­land ladies were Cork mi­nor foot­ballers Rachel and Eve Mur­phy.

“Eve and Rachel are very tal­ented play­ers. They were key play­ers on a very strong Whiddy ladies team. They were very wor­thy cham­pi­ons.”

Jim was pleased with the dis­plays from the var­i­ous Bere Is­land foot­ball teams in both the men’s and ladies sec­tion.

“We were very happy with our progress. Our ladies team had not en­tered a team in re­cent years and they put a lot of work in prior to the cham­pi­onship. They did very well.

“We had a lot of very tal­ented young play­ers on the panel who played very well. This au­gurs very well for the fu­ture.”

The com­pe­ti­tion was once again run off very smoothly. Bere Is­land proved great hosts for all the is­land teams who com­peted in the tour­na­ment.

It takes a huge ef­fort on be­half of the whole is­land com­mu­nity to en­sure the week­end passes off so suc­cess­fully. Jim was thrilled with the vol­un­tary ef­fort dis­played by the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

“A lot of hard work goes on be­hind the scenes in the suc­cess­ful or­gan­is­ing and plan­ning of this week­end. It takes a huge and united ef­fort from every­one in the com­mu­nity.

“The last time we hosted it was back in 2010. We have to make ar­range­ments to en­sure we have enough food and ac­com­mo­da­tion for all the var­i­ous teams and their sup­port­ers etc. Every­one on the is­land played their part in help­ing en­sure the week­end proved so suc­cess­ful.”

The an­nual All-Is­land All-Ire­land foot­ball cham­pi­onships was ini­ti­ated to pro­mote unity among the plethora of is­lands lo­cated through­out the is­land of Ire­land. It was de­signed to bring the is­lands closer and pro­mote their cul­ture on a na­tional scale.

Jim and his Bere Is­land col­leagues rel­ish play­ing and host­ing the an­nual tour­na­ment.

“It was a great idea to bring all the is­lands to­gether. The foot­ball is taken se­ri­ously and is played at a very high stan­dard.

There is a whole other as­pect to the week­end also. We also ran a park run for the first time this year which proved a great suc­cess.

“There is no rea­son for is­lands from all the var­i­ous is­lands not to have more co-op­er­a­tion on a wider ba­sis through­out the year. It has been a great suc­cess since it was es­tab­lished 20 years ago. It has brought is­land peo­ple to all the other is­lands in Ire­land.

“It shows us how peo­ple and in­dus­tries on other is­lands sur­vive. What works for them might also work for us.

“Bring­ing to­gether all the is­lands for a week­end of fun and foot­ball is mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial for every­one. There is a huge so­cial side to it, mak­ing friends and con­nec­tions is vi­tally im­por­tant go­ing for­ward.”

Bere Is­land ju­nior foot­ballers con­tinue to line out in adult com­pe­ti­tion in the Beara cham­pi­onship ev­ery year. Em­i­gra­tion is a con­stant source of worry for Bere Is­land GAA ad­min­is­tra­tors and coaches re­vealed Jim.

“Num­bers are very tight. Our pop­u­la­tion on a per­ma­nent ba­sis is around 180. Our ma­jor chal­lenge is when our play­ers fin­ish sec­ond level ed­u­ca­tion, they leave for col­lege or em­ploy­ment etc and due to our iso­lated lo­ca­tion we are very ex­posed.

“We have one adult team in the club. We do very well. We have al­ways kept it go­ing. Our age pro­file is against us how­ever. The fu­ture is look­ing very tough.”

Bere Is­land un­der­age play­ers gen­er­ally line out with Castle­town­bere un­der­age teams be­fore they re­turn to their beloved Bere Is­land. There are very pos­i­tive signs for the fu­ture with re­gard the progress of their pri­mary school teams.

“We had an U8 team for a small while, but our num­bers are tight so the un­der­age play­ers nor­mally play with Castle­town­bere.

“The Sciath na Scol team in the lo­cal pri­mary school are do­ing very well. There is a big ef­fort be­ing put into them.

“Bren­dan Mur­phy and John Mullins amongst many more are do­ing great work with the young kids. They reg­u­larly get to fi­nals in the Sciath na Scol which sug­gests a bright fu­ture with these play­ers com­ing through.

“We also had a very suc­cess­ful Cúl Camp this year with a big num­ber par­tic­i­pat­ing.

“This is all very pos­i­tive stuff. Hope­fully this emerg­ing young gen­er­a­tion will take it on and con­tinue to play for Bere Is­land go­ing for­ward.”

GAA fa­cil­i­ties in Bere Is­land are very im­pres­sive with the club boast­ing state of the art fa­cil­i­ties.

“Tra­di­tion­ally all the is­lands pos­sess very good foot­ball pitches. Ten years ago we put a lot of money into our pitch and built a club­house.

“We have done a lot of fundrais­ing and this year we are now debt free which is great. It is an as­set for the whole com­mu­nity.

“We have a great com­mu­nity spirit. We are con­stantly look­ing to build on it.” BERND LENO is ready to grasp the op­por­tu­nity with both hands as an in­jury to Petr Cech opens up a chance for the goal­keeper to es­tab­lish him­self as first-choice at Ar­se­nal. Cech limped out of the 2-0 Premier League win over Wat­ford on the stroke of half­time hav­ing pulled up in pain fol­low­ing a goal-kick.

Leno, a sum­mer sign­ing from Bayer Lev­erkusen, re­placed the Gun­ners cap­tain to make his league de­but and pro­duced a cou­ple of smart saves as a late Craig Cathcart own goal and a Me­sut Ozil strike earned the points for Ar­se­nal.

The 26-year-old has had to be pa­tient for his chance to im­press head coach Unai Emery, who has pre­ferred the ex­pe­ri­enced Cech since tak­ing over at the Emi­rates Sta­dium.

Now he is ex­pected to turn to Leno, who is ready and rar­ing to make his mark in the Premier League.

“Now Petr is in­jured — I don’t know how long for — I have the op­por­tu­nity to play more games and show the coach my qual­ity.

“It is a big chance for me, I don’t want to say it wrong that I am happy for Petr to be in­jured, I think al­ways it is a bad feel­ing so I feel sorry for him but now I have more op­por­tu­ni­ties to play and I will con­cen­trate on the games.”

While it was a sur­prise to some that Leno did not in­stantly take his place as Ar­se­nal’s num­ber one, Leno ad­mits it may now be ben­e­fi­cial for him to have been eased into life at a new club. “I wanted to play all games, the first games against City, Chelsea and West Ham,” he added.

“It’s dif­fi­cult to sit on the bench but the coach said to me don’t be dis­ap­pointed or sad, just train hard.

“He has worked with many goal­keep­ers and, like I said be­fore, the goal­keeper is a very spe­cial po­si­tion. It needs a lit­tle bit more time for your per­son­al­ity and con­fi­dence and feel­ing with the de­fence.

“I was calm and worked very hard ev­ery day. I’m happy that the coach gave me some games in the Europa League and Carabao Cup.

“He said to me it’s good to get a feel­ing for the team and also for the foot­ball be­cause it is dif­fer­ent and needs a lit­tle bit of time. The coach gave me the time. I didn’t play so many games so the two games in the Europa League and Carabao Cup were very im­por­tant for me to get the con­fi­dence with the de­fence, get a feel­ing with the team and also for the play­ers to play from the back. in the cups.”

Leno is likely to play in Ar­se­nal’s Europa League tie against Qarabag in Azer­bai­jan to­mor­row, although Emery may be tempted to wrap him in cot­ton wool and se­lect Emil­iano Martinez in­stead.

One of the Bere Is­land teams that took part in the re­cent All-Ire­land series which they hosted.

The sec­ond Bere Is­land team at the All-Ire­land. De­spite the small pop­u­la­tion, the club put a huge ef­fort into field­ing teams.

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