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Ballinamere and Durrow GAA Clubs celebrate a ‘momentous year’

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Ballinamere and Durrow GAA Clubs celebrate a ‘momentous year’ thumbnailBallinamere/Durrow pictured as they celebrated their Offaly Minor "A" Hurling Championship success at their awards presentation evening Saturday last, joined by members of management and special guest Joe Brolly.

THERE was a fantastic mood of celebration in the Tullamore Court Hotel as Ballinamere and Durrow GAA Clubs staged a joint dinner dance last Saturday night.

The clubs held the joint dance to mark a 2017 of unprecedented success - Ballinamere won the Intermediate and Junior Hurling Championships, Durrow won the Senior 'B' Football Championship and their amalgamated underage club, Ballinamere/Durrow won the Minor Hurling Championship.

It was only fitting that the clubs decided to join forces for their big celebration. While Ballinamere and Durrow are separate GAA Clubs, they are effectively joined at the hips. Ballinamere cater for hurling only, Durrow football only with footballers from Durrow hurling with Ballinamere and vice versa.

One could not have triumphed without the other and the sight of young players from each area mingling and enjoying the night together showed the wisdom of the decision some years ago to pool their resources.

The special guest was Derry football folk hero and RTE analyst Joe Brolly, whose wit and story telling proved to be a big highlight of a very memorable night. Brolly spoke about the importance of the GAA Club in his own community in Derry during the Troubles but he expressed concern about the current direction of the GAA.

The controversial pundit referred to the professional preparations of a lot of inter-county teams and voiced his concern about the "work life balance of players".

"You have county players retiring from their job because of football or hurling. They are not developing as people and at 31/32 years of age they are starting out, and also have a sense of entitlement," he said.

Asked about his impression of Ballinamere and Durrow, he said they have done magnificent work at underage level and this has led to adult success. He added that they are working together as a dual club and he referred to the example of Slaughtneil in his own Derry where they have enjoyed such great football and hurling success with 13 dual players.

The Ballinamere/Durrow minor hurling manager, Michael Duignan acted as master of ceremonies and used the words "momentous" and "phenomenal" to describe their year. He also spoke about the enormity of their achievements, comparing them to hurling strongholds in the south of the county.

Chairman of Ballinamere/Durrow Minor Club, Eoin O Cealleachair expressed a special thanks to the players for their "effort, skill and determination".

The minor hurling medals were presented by Offaly hurling goalkeeping legend Jim Troy, a resident in Durrow. He said he was not surprised by their success as there were players in the field every time he passed it.

Assistant secretary Pat Horan represented the Offaly GAA County Board - there were apologies from chairman Tommy Byrne. He stated that the clubs have gone from "strength to strength" and their success is a welcome development for Offaly GAA.

Chairman of Ballinamere GAA Club, Donal O'Brien described it as a year of "special achievement" and said it was a very proud year for all in the Ballinamere and Durrow area.

Chairman of Durrow GAA Club Charlie Kelleher spoke of his pride at Durrow reaching senior status and he talked about the respect and co-operation that existed between the two clubs.

In all 63 players received adult medals with a number of players receiving three and two medals while one, Billy Fogarty, Durrow, received all four medals. Matt Geraghty of Durrow introduced the adult players and took the opportunity to express his disappointment at the fact that Ballinamere or Ballinamere and Durrow didn't win the club of the year while Durrow were the only adult championship winners that didn't have the player of the year in their grade (the senior B footballer of the year went to Nigel Dunne of Shamrocks).

The formal part of the evening concluded with special presentations to the Durrow senior B manager, Michael Ennis and his wife, Kathy; the Ballinamere junior hurling manager, Alan Scully and his wife, Thrish; the Ballinamere intermediate hurling manager, Shane Hand and his wife Amanda; and the minor hurling manager, Michael Duignan and his partner, Aisling Fennin.

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