It WAS only in early December 2011 that St Patrick’s (Ballyragget) launched their souvenir publication ‘Bally Boys Abu’ to celebrate their victory in the Kilkenny junior hurling championship.
Since then the club has won the Northern and county under-21 Roinn A hurling titles for the first time, plus it added the All-Ireland club junior hurling crown to their Leinster success.
In the club’s previous publication, a memorable story was unfinished, due to printing deadlines, so ‘Maroon Days’, the latest publication, brings a wonderful few months up to date and ends on a successful note.
The St Patrick’s Communications Committee – Geraldine McGrath, Jim Delaney, Carmel Walsh Kenny, Pat O’Neill, Noel Cummins and Seamus O’Doherty (editor) - has produced another welcome addition to the Kilkenny GAA library.
This publication, in perfect bound A5 size, complete with glazed cover, extends to 104 pages and contains a significant amount of information on all of the games, with previews, reports, analysis and post match comments aplenty. There is also an impressive array of photographs to complement the articles.
The All-Ireland victory
This edition concentrates on the All-Ireland junior hurling victory and the under-21 success, but there is plenty more of interest for members, supporters and hurling lovers generally.
The front cover has an eye catching photograph of the 35 man junior squad, club officers, mentors and back room staff celebrating in Croke Park after the cup had been presented to team captain, Kieran Delaney, by the GAA President Christy Cooney.
The foreword was written by Kilkenny County Board chairman, Paul Kinsella, while club chairman, Philip Kenny, looked back with pride on what people regard as a golden era. There is a detailed diary of the junior team’s activities from early January until just before throw-in on that famous day in Croke Park, along with a report on the emotional welcome home with the All-Ireland cup.
Carmel Walsh Kenny contributed a poem in honour of St Patrick’s and another for a most impressive, sporting and gracious Charleville club. She also wrote about stories and memories shared with her hurling supporting neighbours and explained how the current club crest was acquired.
Carmel took soundings from older Gaels about the change of club jersey colour from green to maroon and shares her findings.
Jim Delaney, the club statistician, provided some interesting facts and highlighted items which were making the news in Ballyragget following the club’s foundation in 1954. He also reported on the junior team’s championship games that season .
There are some words of praise for people who have supported the club’s progress and the sponsors/contributors to the All-Ireland training fund are formally acknowledged.
Geraldine McGrath and Jim Delaney compiled the detailed match previews, reports and analysis articles of the junior games. Club secretary and junior team Liaison Officer, Noel Cummins, provided all the information requested from his official records and he subscribeed faithfully to the maxim: ‘If no one else does it, the secretary must’.
The primary school children’s entries in the club’s All-Ireland final poster competition were also included. Many different and unusual ideas, but always a local win! The winners of the competition were Eoin Ryan at St Ciaran’s and Chieu Phelan at Scoil Bhride.
Pat O’Neill wrote as Gaeilge about the experience of watching the team playing in Croke Park, the joy of victory and the satisfaction of the parishioners with the outcome. Bhiomar ag ceiliuradh le fada !
The historic under-21 Roinn A success was covered extensively by Seamus O’Doherty, who also interviewed the team captain, James Morrissey.
Seamus highlighted the exploits of previous St Patrick’s teams who played in Northern and county finals in the grade, starting with the men of 1979. Interestingly, the only existing photograph of that squad was located by Aidan Brophy, who played against Young Irelands in the Northern final and is currently a member of the club committee.
There are many other items of interest to enjoy. Costing 7 euro, ‘Maroon Days’ represents value for money.
Copies are available at the business premises in Ballyragget, at In Touch, Market Yard, Kilkenny, or direct from Jim Delaney (087-804 3203).