2023 Hurling Parish Leagues
Sunday September 10th saw the culmination of the 2023 edition of the annual Hurling Parish Leagues in Blarney. 180 boys from U7 to U12 competed across 3 competitions. The emphasis is on inclusion and fun, and these were the main winners across two weekends of action. All competitions were played on a round-robin league basis ensuring all teams were fully involved throughout the 2 days of games.
We had was 8 different teams playing in the U7/8 group, 6 teams in the U9/10 section and a further 6 teams competing in the U11/12 Group.
There were some fantastic games right throughout the U7/8 competition, with a lot of draws and only a score separating most teams. At this age we play ground hurling only and training is focussed on fun games and exercises that develop the skills of striking, dribbling and blocking along fundamental movements. All these skills were on full display in some very close and high-scoring games. After a very close tournament, the Dublin team just about edged out Kildare to win the Brendan O ‘Donoghue trophy, and it was great to have the O’Donoghue family make the presentation to the captains Rian and Conor. There was a medal presented to every player, along with some treats to reward their outstanding effort.
Next up was the U9/10 age group, with 6 teams competing in the round robin across 5 rounds of matches. These lads play full hurling, with 3 points for a goal and 2 points for a point. Again the teams were evenly matched throughout with only 1 or 2 scores separating the sides in most games. There was some magnificent point-taking throughout with Westmeath finally coming out on top just ahead of Offaly and Louth. We then had the very special presentation of a new Cup in honour of former player Barry Russell to Westmeath captains Ruairi and Bradley. It was a great honour for the club to receive this cup in Barry’s name and to have Marion, Anna and the Russell family make the special inaugural presentation.
Onto the U11/12 competition, again with six very balanced teams vying for the Joe Bradley Cup. This tournament was split into Munster and Leinster Championships, with Tipperary, Clare and Dublin advancing to Group A on the final day, and Waterford, Galway and Kilkenny to Group B. There was some fantastic hurling played across both groups with each game being played at full championship intensity. The importance of the Parish Leagues to the players was clear to see with the U12s particularly up for it in their last run out in this tournament. In the end, Clare needed a win against Dublin to take top place, and they put in a huge performance to close it out ahead of Tipperary in second. Joe Bradleys grandson Shane Jordan was on hand to present the cup to captain Ryan.
At the end of the Parish Leagues, hurling was the true winner, and the kids all thoroughly enjoyed participating. A massive thank you to all the coaches, referees, Tim Duggan in the BFS, Norman our piper, to the
families presenting the cups, and all parents and families for getting the kids to the matches. An Bhlárna Abú