Juvenile Presentation

29 Jan 2007 by Gilbert Williams

On last Friday January 26th a large crowd gathered in the Western Pass for the presentation of medals to the u-14 hurlers who won the North Féile and Championship finals in 2006. The Martin Kennedy Trophy for the North Championship, The Maher Cup for The Féile, The Martin Cunningham Shield for the Roscrea tournament and the Shied for the Burgess u-13 tournament were all proudly on display. Guests of honour were Seamus Hennessy and Eoin Hogan who won All-Ireland minor medals with Tipperary in Croke Park last September. Also in attendance were Anne McGrath secretary of North Tipperary Bord na nOg, the officers of the senior club: chairman Connie Grace, secretary Kay Cahalan, treasurers Carmel Daly and Michael Cahill and the assistant treasurer Denis Cahill; the officers of Thomas MacDonagh Park Committee- chairman Roche Williams and secretary Michael Banaghan All the juvenile selectors were present as well as a large group of parents. Former All-Ireland senior medal winner Tom McLoughney was also there and in fine fettle.

Gilbert Williams, chairman of the Juvenile Club, acted as Fear a’ Tí for the evening. He extended a special welcome to everybody and he paid tribute to all the juvenile mentors from u-8 to u-16 for their dedication. Gilbert thanked the senior club for their help and support and paid tribute to the outgoing officers Len Gaynor and Philip Quinlan for their co-operation and assistance during their term of office. He congratulated the u-14 hurlers on their achievements and complimented them on their discipline and attitude. Gilbert recalled the achievements of Eoin and Seamus and said that they were two of the most talented and most modest juvenile hurlers to ever play for Kilruane MacDonaghs. The other speakers Connie Grace and Fr. Tom Hannon expressed similar sentiments in their contibutions. Seamus Hennessy said that Eoin and himself were honoured to be asked to present the medals. Five years ago both of them had won Feile and championship medals as well. Seamus expressed the hope that in the not too distant future some of the u-14’s would play on the senior team with Eoin and himself.

Gilbert Williams then introduced each member of the panel as follows:          

David Reddan was captain of the team in the North Final. He was in goals for the victorious North u-14 team in the Peadar Cummins tournament. David also wore the number one jersey for the county team. He has won North & county medals with Kilruane School and he played in Croke Park on All-Ireland semi-final day 2005. Normally a goalkeeper, David starred at centreback and centre field and was a deadly accurate freetaker.

Justin Cahill captained the team to win the Feile final in the unusual position for him of goalkeeper, due to injury. He was also a member of both the North & County u-14 teams. Justin has won North & county medals with Ardcroney School and lined out with the Tipperary Primary Game team in 2004. A versatile player who is equally at home in attack or defence, he had another outstanding year for Kilruane MacDonaghs.

Robert Ward was our goalkeeper when we switched David Reddan outfield. Normally a skillful and accurate forward he proved to be very reliable between the sticks. Robert was leading scorer when Kilruane School won the county seven-a-side in 2005 and he also had the honour of lining out with the Tipperary Primary Game team. To cap a great year for him he was on the Nenagh C.B.S., team which won the county first year final.

Eoin Burns was our right corner back in all our games. He was the most improved player on the panel and finished the year with a storming game in the county final. Eoin has a North football championship medal with Cloughjordan School. His father Joe won a North u-14 hurling medal in 1978 and his grandfather the late Tom Burns was a selector with various successful juvenile sides in the seventies.

Wearing number three at fullback was Eanna Hogan. He was as solid as rock at the edge of the square. Eanna didn’t pick that toughness up off the road as he is the son of Enda Hogan. He was outstanding in the North final against Toomevara, making spectacular catches and delivering lengthy clearances. Eanna won a North football medal with Cloughjordan School. A player with a great attitude, it will take a very good corner back to deprive him of a place on this year’s minor team.

Right corner back wearing number 4 was P.J. Cleary. P.J. was a rugged tough defender having his best game in the county final against Durlas Og. He also had a great year with the u-12’s and Ardcroney school, where he played in a variety of positions. P.J. is also a successful handballer where his partner is Kieran Cahill 

Right wing back was Alan Darcy. Alan has shown tremendous improvement since u-12 and he firmly nailed down the number 5 jersey as his own this year. He gave total commitment in every game and any forward who got a score off him, earned it. Alan captained the u-13 hurlers to win the Burgess tournament.

Left wing back was David Williams. He follows in a fine family tradition. His father Pat won an u-14 medal in 1980 and his brother Thomas won one in 2001. David had a very successful year, lining out with the Tipperary Primary game team, captaining Cloughjordan School to win the North hurling championship and winning a county medal with Nenagh C.B.S. first year team.

Eoin Williams lined out at centre field. He won a county seven a side medal with Kilruane School in 2005 and played in the exhibition game on All-Ireland final day in Croke Park the same year. He has also won North & County hurling medals with his primary school. Eoin relies on skill and craft at midfield, or so he tells me, where he forged a great partnership with David Reddan.

Right half forward was Robert Austin.The u-14 championship replaced the old u-15 competition and Robert is following in the footsteps of his father Ivan who won an u-15 medal with Kilruane MacDonaghs in 1970. He is also a cousin of Philip Austin who played on the Tipperary u-21 team. Robert always played with great spirit and heart, and his play exemplified and typified the attitude of the entire team.      

Centre half forward was Niall O Meara . Niall played with the Tipperary Primary Game team in 2005. It was a great year for the O Meara family with Brian wining minor and u-21 medals and Mark winning junior medals with Knockshegowna. Niall, who is known to his friends as Bill, is also a handy handball player.

Thomas Cleary made the right half forward position his own and it was while wearing the number 10 jersey he played his best hurling. He was injured early on in the season but when he returned to full fitness he played superb hurling having a particularly outstanding game in the North Final. Thomas captained the team to victory in The Martin Cunningham Tournament in Roscrea .

Right corner forward was Kieran Cahill. Kieran had a great year. He gave outstanding displays forArdcroney School and was leading scorer for Kilruane MacDonaghs u-12’s. Kieran had the honour of playing with the Tipperary Primary Game team and he also enjoyed handball success. He was a great goal poacher and scored some vital goals, none more important than the winner against Clonmel Og in the county semi-final.

 What can I say about James Sullivan, which won’t be libelous. I think I can say without fear of contradiction that he is the shyest and quietest player on the team. He started the year as centre forward but spent most of his time the edge of the square where he used his strength and power to great effect. James scored one of the goals of the year in the great win against Newport in MacDonagh Park. He caught a long delivery inside the defense and he absolutely buried it in the roof of the net. Pat Williams is still trying to fix the hole in the net.

Top of the left was a player with the same name as the famous cyclist from Carrick-on-Suir, Sean Kelly. Sean was the speed merchant on our team and had his best game of the season against Roscrea when he slotted over four points from play. On that evening he hurled like Eoin Kelly. Sean has won North and County medals with Kilruane School and is also said to be a good judge of a greyhound.

Jack Peters was our reserve goalkeeper and he also played outfield on a number of occasions. He was in goals when Kilruane School won the county seven-a-side county title in 2005. Jack was top scorer for Kilruane school when the won the recent North Football final.

Raymond Kelly was one of eight u-12’s on the panel. He has won a county seven-a-side medal with Kilruane School and was a key member of the side which won the football final last month. It comes as no surprise that Raymond is a keen golfer as his father is the professional in Beechwood .

Ian McSherry is a skillful hurler who has won North and County medals with Ardcroney School. He was also a member of the Borrisokane Community College first year hurling team which won the County B final. He is one of thirteen members of the panel who is underage again this year.

Simon Delahunty is another player who has shown great improvement in recent years. When brought into the side he always gave of his very best. Living beside the Golf Club in Beechwood, Simon is said to be a deft swinger of a club.

Patrick Ryan had a great year with the u-12’s and also played some outstanding games with Ardcroney School. He has worked hard at his game and his skill level has improved dramatically. Patrick is a fearless competitor. You’d never have to tell him twice to pull ….. once is enough.

Aidan Boyle was one of seven Kilruane MacDonaghs players who played in the Go Games exhibition game in Croke Park in 2005. He is one of the most skillful juvenile hurlers in the club. Aidan captained the u-11’s to win our own tournament. His father Liam won a North u-14 medal in 1976 when Kilruane MacDonaghs beat Toomevara on a 3-8 to 1-2 scoreline, very similar to last year’s score.

Dean O Meara has won North hurling and football medals with Cloughjordan School. Dean’s father Liam won an u-14 medal in 1978 and his grandfather the late Billy O Meara was coach to the successful 1989 and 1990 sides.

Andrew Brennan, known as the Rock, has also won North hurling and football medals with Cloughjordan School. Midway through the season Andrew took voluntary retirement or maybe he went into voluntary liquidation. He made a welcome return at the end of the year and featured on the successful u-13 side. I think the taxman forced him to return.

The selectors and first aid man were then presented with a crested club jacket in recognition of their contribution to the u-14’s success. They were introduced as follows:
Jimmy Cahill has done great work with the u-10’s in recent years and last year he stepped up to the u-14’s. Jimmy won an u-14 medal in 1976 and 1978. 1976 was my first year as a juvenile selector. Jimmy says that I was a poor selector back then and that I haven’t improved much since. Jimmy also commenced refereeing last year and already he has handled a number of finals.
Kevin O Brien won u-14 medals in 1989 and 1990. Kevin has been a selector for the last two years. Kevin is the youngest of the selectors and consequently has to do most of the running around the field. And as the youngest he gets most of the blame when things go wrong.
Since Fr. Hannon came to the parish he has been involved with various teams. Kinnitty in county Offaly was his first parish. He won a number of county medals with Kinnity and he also captained them to victory in 1978. He also spent time in Castleconnell Parish in Limerick where he coached the young Ollie Moran of Ahane.
I (Gilbert Williams) was the fourth selector and I hope I did some good and not too much harm.
Our first aid man was Dinny Reddan. Dinny comes from a family which has given great service to Kilruane MacDonaghs. His father Jack won North senior medals in 1940 and 1944. His brothers Jim and Phil won North and County senior medals in the seventies and his late brother Paddy, God rest him, was on the first club team to win the u-21 championship. Dinny is now famous as David Reddan’s grandfather. Dinny never missed a match or a training session and is one of the unsung heroes of our club.

Connie Grace then presented a sports voucher to both Eoin and Seamus. Gilbert Williams thanked Lil O’Meara Bantiss who sponsored a set of jerseys for the Juvenile Club. He also announced that The Abbey Court Hotel had agreed to sponsor kit bags for the u-14 team. He also thanked Rose Cahill and her staff for the excellent arrangements on the night. Photographer Bridget Delaney was on hand to take a selection of photographs. It was a very successful and enjoyable night with young and old having a great time.

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