Newcastlewest Retain Limerick Big Ball Club 7's Cup
After many months of preparation, the highly anticipated 3rd annual Limerick Big Ball Club 7's tournament returned. As early as 7.00am on Saturday, June 30th, there was an air of optimism amongst the many volunteers who had turned up at Mick Neville to assist with the final tweaks as the sunshine belted down in force with blue skies surrounding us. The four months of hard graft had been completed, the weather conditions were perfect, if not too warm, it was now time to simply enjoy the feast of football and celebrate the life of local GAA stalwart, Shane Hourigan. After a smooth registration period, followed by the management and referee briefing, the pulsating action swiftly followed, after the national anthem was played throughout the grounds.
To say the competition was fierce was an understatement, with Newcastlewest, St Kierans, St Senans and Rathkeale indicating to be the early 'bookie favourites', with all picking up good wins in their respective group games. Other teams showing early form were Galbally & Mungret. Lunch time followed the competitive Group stages, when players and supporters took some time out to enjoy the various sustenance on offer catered by Rathkeale House Hotel and the vibrant tunes belted out by DJ Ray.
With everyone refreshed it was now down to the business end of the competition. Both Newcastlewest & St Senans advanced straight into the Semi-Finals having secured top spots in their respective groups. The Quarter Finals saw St Kierans paired against Mungret and Rathkeale paired against Galbally. With everything now at stake there was no quarter given or spared, this was now championship 7's knock out football. The players duly responded, St Kierans edged out Mungret on a scoreline of 4-12 to 5-05. Galbally overpowered Rathkeale with plenty to spare on a scoreline of 4-11 to 0-11.
Only three games now remaining. In the first semi-final, Newcastlewest, 2017 Champions, were paired against Galbally, and would once again prove too strong on the day and won on a scoreline of 2-14 to 1-03 to advance to the final. In the other semi-final St Kierans came out on top and accounted for St Senans with 8 points to spare in what was a close encounter until the dying minutes. So down to the final, Newcastlewest versus St Kierans, once again having met earlier in the group, a game that Newcastlewest won by the slimmest of margins. After a tight opening half, Newcastlewest were a point to the good with St Kierans striking the woodwork mid half when a goal looked like a certainty only for James Kelly to deflect the shot. On the resumption, St Kierans tagged on a few points and took the lead only for Newcastlewest to respond and gain the upperhand in the remaining 5 minutes winning out on a scoreline of 2-10 to 0-06. Worthy winners they were, they were the only team to win 100% of their games and nobody can argue with their commitment and dominance on the day. St Kierans can take immense pride from their efforts and did themselves proud on the day.
It was a fantastic day, a day that both players and supporters enjoyed and amidst all the fantastic colour, the feast of football on offer and the celebrations, Shane Hourigan would have been smiling down at Mick Neville Park. Special thanks to all the clubs and teams who made this a great occasion, without you we simply would not have had a competition. Also, special thanks to our caterers, Rathkeale House Hotel, DJ Ray Hogan for blasting out the tunes, special thanks to Downes Eurospar and our match program sponsors for your generous sponsorships. Also, thanks must go to our organizing committee, volunteers, pitch-coordinators and of course all the referees, linesmen and umpires who gave up their day to be with us. Finally, the heartiest of congratulations to Newcastlewest who were crowned 2018 Limerick Big Ball Club 7's champions and picked up the Shane Hourigan memorial cup and an impressive Azzurri voucher to the value of €500. Also, congratulations to Newcastlewest's James Kelly, winner of the €50 Azzurri Player of the Tournament Voucher. Roll on 2019!
Newcastlewest GAA Club - Presented with the Shane Hourigan Memorial Cup in the Limerick Big Ball Club 7's tournament hosted by Rathkeale GAA Club
James Kelly, presented with the €50 Azzurri Player of the Tournament Voucher for the Limerick Big Ball Club 7's tournament, presented by Dave Gilbourne from Rathkeale GAA Club
Club Limerick Draw - June
Unfortunately, we had no winner of the Club Limerick Draw in June, hopefully we will have better luck in July, full list of winners enclosed.
Wednesday 4th July @ 7.30pm
Junior B Football Championship - Rathkeale v Ballysteen in Feenagh at 7.30pm
Sunday 8th July -
JAHC - Rathkeale v St Kierans in Askeaton at 7.30pm
Thursday 12th July - Minor Hurling
Killeedy Tournafulla v Croagh Kilfinny Rathkeale in Raheenagh at 7.30pm
Friday 13th July - JAHC
Rathkeale v Askeaton at 7.30pm venue to be decided
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