St. John’s park pitches officially opened

official opening -Wonderful weather, a fantastic feel good atmosphere, thrilling matches (and some more entertaining matches) all played their part in making August 11th 2012 a date that will live long in the memory of O’Loughlin Gaels GAA Club members. The official opening of the two new pitches was to be celebrated and in good old St. John’s Parish spirit it certainly was.

official opening -Wonderful weather, a fantastic feel good atmosphere, thrilling matches (and some more entertaining matches) all played their part in making August 11th 2012 a date that will live long in the memory of O’Loughlin Gaels GAA Club members. The official opening of the two new pitches was to be celebrated and in good old St. John’s Parish spirit it certainly was.

Every O’Loughlin Gaels player from Under 6 right up to Senior in both Hurling,Camogie and Football were afforded the opportunity to play on the new pitches on opening day. Even some past heroes of the past made a come back and played against the all conquering Junior B team of the present day.

A big crowd turned out to watch the final matches of the St. John’s Hurling Street League For All tournament. Six teams played out the three hotly contested finals. On the day 82 boys played a full game of 20 minutes a side. Each boy collected a medal after the finals which were presented by six time All Ireland Medal winner, Martin Comerford. Each boy also received a hurling grip which were donated by Bryan Ryan, Kilkenny GAA hurling development officer.Three finals meant there were three cups and captains and vice captains collected these on behalf of the winners on the day, Castlecomer Road Area, Johnswell and Hebron Heroes.On behalf of Castlecomer Road area team Peter MacNamara and David Fogarty collected the Kavanagh Family Cup which was presented to O’Loughlin Gaels GAA by Alan Kavanagh of Maudlin Street. For Johnswell Conor Kelly collected the cup on behalf of his team and Patrick Folan and Jake Hickey collected for Hebron Heroes.

Many thanks to the parents and mentors who helped on the day and during the street leagues when they were played on green areas in the Parish housing estates.Nick Murphy from Johnswell deserves great credit for loading and loading the goalposts every evening and also Johnny Holohan from Dunmore who did the same when asked. These men also refereed matches and managed teams as did PJ Hickey,John Lawlor,Michael Power, Damien Dowling,Brendan O Leary,Pat O Grady, John Sheridan, Noel Kenny, Ben Fogarty, Ed Gormely, Gerry Buckley,Sean MacNamara,Bryan Skehan, Kieran Maher, Ronan Kelleher, Alan Arnopp, Michael Kinchella,Shane Maher and Eoin Lawlor. Referees and umpires on finals day were players from the O’Loughlin Gaels Under 14, 16 and Minor teams who are always on hand to help their younger club mates and should be highly commended. Thank you to Ben Leydon, Daniel O Connor and Paddy Deegan for reffing the matches.

All in all the St. John’s Hurling Street Leagues For All were a fantastic success and plans are already in place for next Summer’s League.

After the Street Leagues ended President of the GAA, Mr. Liam O Neill opened the new pitches and cut the ribbon alongside club chairman Mick Nolan.The pitches were blessed by Fr. Frank Purcell of St. John’s. Present from Kilkenny GAA County board were Chairman Paul Kinsella,Secretary Ned Quinn,Treasurer Barry Hickey and Development Officer Johnny Comerford.

Tullaroan, one of the oldest clubs in the GAA, then played O’Loughlin Gaels in a very enjoyable senior challenge, which the home side won with a last minute Conor Bergin goal. Specially commissioned trophies were presented to the winning team by the Club President Eamon Doyle and GAA President Liam O Neill. Afterward everybody packed into the club rooms in time for the Olympic Boxing Final featuring JJ Nevin and tucked into the well prepared buffetts prepared by JJ Cullen and his catering committee. Throughout the day parents had left in buns and cakes which were also enjoyed with a coffee or a cup of tea.

Live music lovers were catered for in the lounge on the night while a kiddies disco had the younger ones bopping in the gym. The small bar was a hive of activity with a lot of the club members just delighted with themselves on a job well done and also very proud of what they have now as regards club facilities.

A report on the day itself would not be complete without singling out one person who coordinated the days events. Donal Higgins of Auburn Drive and PROCHEM engineering is a credit to O’Loughlin Gaels . He planned the days events with amazing accuracy, foreseeing any hiccups that might happen. None did because of excellent planning on Donal’s behalf and of course the committee he put in place of John Collins and Paul and Benny Cleere.

UNDER 16S PROGRESS IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP-The Nialll Bergin managed O’Loughlin Gaels Under 16 team gave a virtuoso performance against neighbours Dicksboro at the well manicured Clara GAA grounds last Sunday afternoon.Playing into a stiff breeze in the opening half the John’s boys showed they meant business, in this championship quarter final, by leading 6 points to 1.2 after 15 minutes. Star forward Robbie Buckley scored four of them(3f) with Danny Bolger and Ben Leydon raising white flags also. The Boro went ahead with two frees from Andrew Gaffney and their right half forward popped over a good score. With five minutes remaining in act 1 O’Loughlins turned the screw and the Boro conceded four close in frees which were all converted by the brilliant Buckley. On 32 minutes he topped a brilliant opening half performance by finishing brilliantly from the left hand side of the goal to leave the score at half time O’Loughlin Gaels 1.10 Dicksboro 1.5

Wind assisted Robbie Buckley pointed a free in the opening minute of part 2 and then threw over three glorious efforts from the left hand side line. Andrew Gaffney kept the Boro in touch with two frees and their right half back popped over a good effort also. What Buckley could do on the left wing Daniel O Connor could do on the right sideline and, from between the two dugouts in Clara, popped over two great points to leave a good bit of breathing space between the sides. Cian Loy finished the scoring for the John’s boys with two very good hard worked points.

These sides have played each other in two league semi finals which even after extra time in both have both ended level. However Bergin and his fellow mentors ,Brian Dowling,Mark Bergin and Nigel Skehan made some positional switches which seemed to have worked. All in all a very good day at the office for this very talented group of hurlers. Final score O’Loughlin Gaels 1.18 Dicksboro 1.9 .

Team Paddy Mullally, Thomas Gleeson, Daniel O Driscoll, Pa Clifford, Jack Lawlor, Gary Bryan, Eoin Croghan, Ross Butler, Hugh Lawlor, Daniel O Connor(2), Danny Bolger(1), Cian Loy(2), Ben Leydon(1), Robbie Buckley(1.12,8f), Luke Rafter.

UNDER 14S PROGRESS TO LEAGUE FINAL-The Under 14 team Hurling team from O’Loughlin Gaels, under the management of Maurice Nolan gave a sterling display to overcome Kilkenny Feile na nGael champions James Stephens in the semi final of the League last Tuesday in St. John’s Park. The local boys hurled really well all through and ran out deserving winners .However this level headed bunch of youngsters know that this was only a semi final and that they would have to beat a strong Dicksboro team in the final if they are to collect silverware. Even more important is a first round championship clash with, highly rated, Conahy on this Wednesday night. The boys who play in the Roinn C championship will also kick off their championship campaign with a clash against Glenmore.

JUNIOR Bs AND JUNIORS GOING WELL-The Junior B team progressed to the next round of the championship with a 5 point win over Graigue Ballycallan in Tullaroan while the Junior team from O’Loughlin Gaels contested two Northern Junior Championship matches in the past week and had good victories over St. Martins and Blacks and Whites.

SUMMER CAMP-Niall Bergin and his helpers are very busy last week and this week running their very successful two week O’Loughlin Gaels GAA Summer Camp at St. John’s Park. The MacDonagh Junction sponsored camp has 200 children enrolled (the biggest ever number) and each child will get the O’Loughlin Gaels kit , meet star intercounty hurlers and footballers daily as well as learn the skills of the game in a fun filled atmosphere with their friends and neighbours.O’Loughlin Gaels are indebted to Niall and his wife Eilish for organising and running the Summer Camp. I know from speaking to parents that the kids absolutely love the camp. To Niall and his helpers we say thank you and hopefully the weather will be as good in week 2 as it was in week 1.

LOTTO STILL €20,000-The O’Loughlin Gaels LOTTO prizepool is still a whopping €20,000. Numbers drawn on August 7th were 3,6,15,26 and the bonus number was 2. There was no jackpot winner but ten consolation prizes of €40 were won by Monica McMunn c/o JJ Cullen, Seanie Tyrrell c/o Eugene Buckley,Niall Cody c/o Mary Cody,Fergal Brennan c/o Mary Cody, F. Burke c/o Dinny Tyrrell, Esther Maher, Brigid O Driscoll c/o Andy O Driscoll, Sorcha Doyle c/o Eamon Doyle, Jim White c/o John Phelan and Ann Keegan c/o Gerry Buckley.

Tickets costing only €2 are available in shops and businesses all over Kilkenny or from any officially appointed seller.The draw takes place every Tuesday Night in O’Loughlins and all are welcome to attend.