It is a long time since the children in Kilkenny ran out onto the playing fields in their school colours to participate in Cumann na mBunscoileanna competitions. Some schools played their first and last round of hurling games two years ago. For other schools, they must go back to the football competitions of autumn 2019 for the last time they represented their school team. It’s been a long time indeed, but fear not, the wait is over!
The first round of the Cumann na mBunscoileanna Hurling Leagues were planned for Wednesday March 11, 2020, and as often is the case in the opening round, only a certain number of fixtures were fulfilled. Possibly less than normal back in 2020 as that faithful Wednesday was not the most pleasant of spring days.
In Urlingford, where the home side met Danesfort, the game was delayed due to a downpour and as match referee and Cumann na mBunscol Secretary, Jim Fennelly, remarked – “We met all four seasons in one day! Walking off the pitch, players, mentors, and parents were all frozen solid, but very content to be back in action. Despite the conditions, the game had been good and very exciting. On Thursday March 12, 2020, Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, announced that schools would close with immediate effect. We haven’t played a school game since. It’s been a long time!”
There are a small number of children who may never have got the chance to play in a school jersey in Under 13 competitions and there are a lot of children who will play for their school team for the first time this spring. Thankfully, many children have played with clubs and in club competitions over the last two summers, but as a governing body, Cumann na mBunscol Náisiúnta, took a very careful approach in the return to play.
Jim Fennelly agrees “As schools, we have an important duty of care to the children in our schools, so ensuring their safety over the past two years of the pandemic meant forgoing our schools’ competitions. Thankfully, we are now in a position to return to the fields and how we are looking forward to it. It has been a long wait!”
The ‘Long Wait’ is over. Last Wednesday on March 16, there were 20 games scheduled over three Under 13 league divisions. As Kilkenny schools dusted the cobwebs off the jersey bags and set forth on the annual journey of hope that ends in glory (for some!) in Nowlan Park in June. Added to the three league divisions, there are two cup competitions and three Under 11 competitions all to be played out. The young school hurlers of Kilkenny are going to be busy – Pádraig Walsh and Paddy Deegan, who are both primary school teachers.
INTO Mini-Sevens and Under 11 competitions are also ready to start in the next month. All the fixtures can be found on our new website under the fixtures page. Google Cumann na mBunscol Kilkenny or follow this link - www.cnambunscolkk.com
By the middle of June and after hundreds of games, we will have all our winners. We can’t wait – it’s been a long time!
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