Last Sunday night the Minor Club and Players, Parents and supporters enjoyed an evening to honour our teams who won Shield competitions at U13, U14, U15 and U16 in 2018. Special guests on the night and who presented each player with a medal were Christy Crá Murray and P J Fitzpatrick, who were members of the very first team from the Minor Club to bring a Championship back to the then fledgling Minor Club.
PJ entertained the audience with his memories of the day when he and his teammates took down the then dominant Club in Clare - Newmarket - as he remembered it from his position as Full-Back. In particular he recalled his decision to call a tactical switch of the 'Bridge corner-backs(using his unique insight into the Blues from his days in Clonmoney NS) just as the Ref was about to throw in the ball. Unfortunately it backfired in the short-term as the Blues scored with a quick ball into the corner forward, from the throw-in! Thankfully the 'Bridge lads prevailed amid great excitement and mounting tension as the match entered the concluding stages. PJ recalled a boisterous crowd edging more and more onto the pitch, and in scenes which were probably similar to the last minutes of Clare's '95 Munster Final win over Limerick, there were fears that the match would be called off and a famous victory denied. However the formidable Dick Barron(RIP) who was over the team, strode down the sideline and in his own inimitable style invited anyone who wanted to stay invading the playing area to take their liberties with him...!! Suffice to say there were no takers, the crowd retreated like the Red Sea waters for Moses, and a famous victory and the seeds for the most successful Juvenile Hurling Dynasty in Clare up to this day, were sown. And so in 2019 it was very apt for the Minor Club, and a good proportion of its current players, to make that connection with their predecessors from yesteryear.
PJ and Christy(from the vantage point of their Senior years!) also encouraged all young Players in the Club to keep Playing for as long as possible, as that is the best enjoyment out of Hurling. Crá, who always has his Coaching hat on, also reminded the Players present to practice their weaker side at every training session and continue the tradition of fine long-striking hurlers which the Club has always produced. Syl O'Connor was an able MC as always and kept the Presentation part of the night moving along in record time as all 4 squads took their turns to be presented to the audience and receive their medals from Christy and PJ.
Minor Club Chairman Michael O'Halloran in his remarks, repeated the points made 12 months ago at a similar Presentation night, that the Shield Teams were an integral part of the present day Minor Club and hugely important for our Players' development as they progress through their teenage years. In particular he appealed to Parents and Players to avail of the opportunity to play, to ensure we have as many numbers near the age as possible, to make the teams a viable entity as they were in 2018. He also reminded those present of the huge Indoor Arena Development Project which is clear to see for all at our Cappa Lodge pitch and which has already cost Hundreds of thousands Euro in terms of site clearance work, Excavation & Foundation work and the vast steel framework which underpin what will be a fabulous Sporting facility. Many Families,individuals and Businesses have contributed towards this visionary development for over 2 years now and we encourage all Families and Supporters to support this through the €5 Weekly Club Lotto subscription, details of which are available through Michael or indeed any Club member or Coach who will help with signing up.
And of course the Club Lotto has been won 5 times in the last 13 months(not to mention the 10 Lucky dip prizes each week it's not won), so the potential for a generous return on your money is there as well as the opportunity to support the only indoor arena of its kind West of the Shannon. So thanks to all who helped set-up and clean-up afterwards as well as the cup of tea and cake. Thanks to all the Management teams and Coaches for their help on the night as well as all the other Personnel who continue to make the Minor Club the strong vibrant presence it is in our Community and County. Thanks also to Michael Ó'Braoin who took the Squad photos on the night. See here