June 11, 2019
Last week-end will long be remembered by the under 14 hurlers of Ibane Gaels. Keady – Lámh Dhearg were welcomed guests in the locality and their players and mentors were loud in their praise of the generous hospitality of the Ibane club and host families.
Ibane began with defeats by Bandon and Four Roads of Roscommon in Barryroe on Friday night. They got their act together against Keady at Timoleague on Saturday morning to record their first win. The remaining games took place at Clonakilty. On Saturday afternoon Ibane took on Naomh Eoin of Sligo and won 3-6 to 1-2 to book their place in the semi-final on Sunday morning. This was a pleasant bonus for the Ibane lads as no team from the club had reached this stage of the national competition before. Michael Davitt’s of Derry were our opponents and though the Northern lads were physically stronger, Ibane played displaying heart and skill and came out on top at the end 1-6 to 0-2. A final in the Feile was indeed bonus territory for Ibane. The opposition was provided by O’Rahilly’s of Down and they were even more physical than our semi-final opponents.
Both teams paraded after Timoleague piper Michael Heaney as the excitement of the occasion began to gather momentum. Ibane were slow to settle and though they had the aid of a strong breeze they were unable to breach a strong Down defence. O’Rahilly’s went in ahead at half time and Ibane faced an uphill battle in the second half. The super human effort exerted by Ibane in the semi-final began to take its toll. Though they battled on and gave their all, they were unable to peg back the scoring advantage of their opponents who deservedly won by 4-4 to 1-3.
Each and every member of the Ibane panel can hold their heads high after a marvellous week-end of hurling. They delighted their parents and supporters with some fantastic displays throughout the three days. To qualify for a final of an All-Ireland competition is no mean achievement. In fact, to put it in context, Bandon and Four Roads qualified for the final of the cup competition with victory going to Bandon after extra time. This shows the quality of opponents that Ibane faced in route to the final.
While much of the action was on the playing fields, the team and their parents were ambassadors supreme, opening their homes and hearts to their Keady guests. They were treated to a gastronomic feast at Courtmacsherry Community Centre on Friday night. After the games on Saturday both the Ibane and Keady players and mentors were bused to Pairc Ui Chaoimh for the Cork and Waterford game. Though Keady had no involvement in the hurling action at Clonakilty on Sunday, they none the less very sportingly came along to support Ibane before being applauded on to their bus by a guard of honour of Ibane players as they embarked on their long journey north after an action- packed visit to the Barony of Ibane. The memory of all the positive vibes will remain long with the young players, their families and proud mentors, Liam Murphy, Thomas Farrell, Tony Crowley and Edward Mc Sweeney after a never to be forgotten week-end.
The Ibane panel: Zac Farrell, Cillian O’Donovan, Diarmuid Mc Carthy, Brian Murphy, David Holland, Ronan Coakley, Taylor Murphy, Olan O’Donovan, Danny Lawton, Mark O’Sullivan, Padraig Mc Carthy, Aaron Glennon, Brian Sheehy, Killian Kirby, Daniel Moloney, Donncha Coakley, Alphie Walsh, Colm Kirby, Joe Crowley, James Crowley, Marcus Kelly, Charlie Twomey, Adam Barry, Dara Walsh, Robert Hennessy, Kevin Hennessy, Luke Murphy.
A large selection of photographs of the weekend can be viewed in the gallery.