Ballyhale united in victory and grief

DEARLY departed friends and former colleagues were remembered by Ballyhale Shamrocks when they went into battle in the county senior hurling final on Sunday, writes John Knox.

DEARLY departed friends and former colleagues were remembered by Ballyhale Shamrocks when they went into battle in the county senior hurling final on Sunday, writes John Knox.

Inscribed in black lettering on the hurley of each player were the words ‘RIP Martin and Minty’ as a tribute to dearly departed and fondly remembered former club members.

“It was something we wanted to do,” explained Shamrocks selectors, John Drennan of the silent tribute to the young men who might have been a part of the winning squad.

The gesture was to honour youngsters, Martin Duggan and Sean Malone, who died in a road accident on December 23 last, and to make them a part of the club’s latest avictory.

“We talked about this all year,” Mr Drennan continued. “The club, the players wanted to do something to remeber two players who were very popular.

“They are gone, but they are not forgotten,” Mr Drennan continued. “Two members of the team would be the same age as Martin and Sean and would have been very close friends. Last Christmas was possibly the hardest Christmas anyone ever put in in the parish.

“The tragedy touched everyone. The memory never went away. Hopefully the gesture, and this win, will give the families some sort of lift.”

Nine times All-Ireland medal winner and Hurler of the Year, Henry Shefflin joined in the tributes.

“We lost two great clubmen, and two very promising players,” he said. “Everyone felt, and still does, for the families. It was a nice way to honour the memory of two nice lads.”

The club dedicated what was the 14th championship success to the two young men.

See page 2 ’People Sport.