“For as long as I can remember, Blarney GAA has been a major part of my life. The earliest memories I have are of indoor hurling with St. John Cremen and Michael Horgan in the secondary school in Blarney on Friday nights. Coupled with this are the vague memories of the 1999 Intermediate final. Some of my fondest memories with Blarney GAA come with the Parish leagues. This is where hurling really started. All week in school in the old boy’s schools, all we could talk about was the Parish Leagues. ”
It is also here where I have some of my best memories with the biggest influence of my career, and I’m sure my brothers would say the same, my grandfather, Joe Bradley. He never missed a night of the Parish Leagues. He may have shouted the wrong names (one time even calling Joe my sister Kate) at us when trying to encourage us on the pitch but we got the message loud and clear.
I can still remember my brother Joe buying me my first hurley in New Ross, Wexford where my father is from. What you may not know, however, is that my first love is football. Unfortunately, at underage level the football was quite the opposite of the hurling, where in this case it was quite seldom we won. Over the last number of years Blarney has seen a rise in football both at underage and adult level. A major influence on this has been that of Colm O’Connor. For me personally, Tom Hallahan and Terrance Ryan must be acknowledged when it comes to the efforts they put into minor and U21 football throughout my time at these grades.
Over the last number of years playing with the Junior Bs has been a pleasure. It was the first time we really got involved with the legends of the club such as Colm Sheehan, Niall Hayes, Cormac O’ Keeffe and co. Much praise has to be given to Frankie Downey, Donal O’Donovan and Denis O’Donovan who have been the main driving forces of the Junior B team, not just since I have been playing but for long before my time.
Back in August, I took up the role of Secretary in the club. It has only been over the last number of months which I have really began to understand the work that goes on behind the scenes. From hosting championship matches to hosting car boot sales, the work that goes on within the club which may not be seen is phenomenal.
Blarney GAA really is the heart beat of the village and whenever the club is doing well you can feel the buzz all over the village. We are extremely lucky in Blarney to have such a close knit village, which transpires out onto the pitch. From Mairead Sheehan and Dan Dilworth with Club Beag and Club na nOg, to Michael O’ Mahony with the Intermediate team, the running of the club, on and off the field is in tremendous hands.
Blarney GAA has been a major part of my life, even giving me a nickname which is now likely to stick for life, for as long as I can remember and I don’t see that coming to an end any time soon”