Abbeyknockmoy take the Aodh Ó Dálaigh back to Galway

Under 12 hurling
4 October 2015

The annual Aodh Ó Dálaigh under 12 tournament took place on Sunday, we had a great day's hurling as seven teams took part. This tournament is in existence since 1982 and has grown in stature year by year. It is at a level now where top teams from Antrim, Galway and Armagh are willing to travel long distances to compete in it. The following teams took part this year Tuam and Abbeyknockmoy from Galway, Cushendall and Loch Mor Dal gCais from Antrim, Keady from Armagh, Drumcliffe from Sligo and Aodh Ruadh.

Group A based in Father Tierney Park was made up of the two Galway teams along with Keady and Loch Mor Dal gCais, while over in Páirc Aoidh Ruaidh Cushendall, Aodh Ruadh and Drumcliffe were in action. The first round of games saw Abbeyknockmoy defeating Keady in a close affair, Tuam had a convincing win over Loch Mor Dal gCais and Cushendall were too strong for Aodh Ruadh. The second round saw wins for Abbeyknockmoy over their neighbours Tuam, Keady had a good win over Loch Mor Dal gCais, while hosts Aodh Ruadh were too strong for their Sligo neighbours Drumcliffe. The final round of group games saw the impressive Abbeyknockmoy have a big win over Loch Mor Dal gCais, Keady were too strong for Tuam and claimed second spot in group A, Cushendall claimed their second win with another convincing win over Drumcliffe.

The stage was now set for the semi finals of the Aodh Ó Dálaigh Shield which saw Abbeyknockmoy up against Aodh Ruadh and Cushendall taking on Keady. Try as hard as they could the Ernesiders were not able to match the very impressive Galway team. In the other semi final Cushendall pulled away in the second half to make it to the final. All present agreed that the two best teams on the day had qualified for the Ó Dálaigh Final. In the Primary School Shield semi-final Loch Mor Dal gCais had a big win over Drumcliffe to set up a meeting with Tuam in the final.

Both finals were played simultaneously in Father Tierney Park and there was a large crowd present for the Ó Dálaigh final as both Cushendall and Abbeyknockmoy had a large travelling support. This game promised to be a classic and it didn't disappoint, two fully committed teams gave their all to claim the title, there was only three points between the teams at half-time in favour of the Galway men. The crowd grew for the second half as supporters were treated to a serious game of hurling, Cushendall equalised early in the second half from a 20 metre free. The Abbeyknockmoy lads who claimed the Galway Shield the previous evening really threw everything into the second half and their touch was admired by all. Their ability to hit the net proved the difference, but great credit to the proud men from the famed Antrim club, they never gave and they fully played their part in making this the most memorable underage hurling game seen in Father Tierney Park for many a year. The full-time score Abbeyknockmoy 5-4 Cushendall 1-5.

The Primary Schools Final was also a great game, but Tuam's greater experience and better all round squad ensured that they made history by becoming the first club to claim the three in a row. The first half was close, but it was clear early in the second half that Loch Mor Dal gCais were just not strong enough for the Galway lads who ran out convincing winners. So came the end of a great day's hurling which saw both titles head to north Galway and a new name appearing on the Aodh Ó Dálaigh Shield.

From the playing field it was up to Aras Aoidh Ruaidh for the presentations and refreshments for all provided by the mothers of the Aodh Ruadh lads. Chairman of the Aodh Ruadh Juvenile Hurling Committee John Rooney thanked all the teams for the making the effort of coming to Ballyshannon and putting on such a display of hurling. He spoke of the late Hugh Daly, in who's memory the tournament is played, and of the contribution he made to the GAA in Ballyshannon, Donegal and Ulster and how this tradition is being carried on by his family. He thanked all who had helped out on the day umpiring. He thanked referees Chris Kelly and Sylvie Maguire. He thanked the ladies who had put on such a feed for everyone. He called on Niamh Mac Diarmada Priomhoide Gaelscoil Éirne to present the Primary Schools Shield on behalf of the local national schools. Niamh spoke of the work Aodh Ruadh do promoting GAA in the local National Schools, she complimented all the teams on the standard of hurling, she then presented Loch Mor Dal gCais with their runners up medals, before a delighted Tuam captain accepted the Primary Shield.

Tom Daly, on behalf of the Daly family was next to speak, he thanked the Juvenile Hurling Committee for organising this tournament annually and of how proud the family are of this tournament. He spoke of how it's great to see teams from Antrim and Galway coming to Ballyshannon to compete in this tournament, he also spoke of the high standard of hurling that we had witnessed on the day. He presented the Cushendall lads with their runners up medals before presenting the Aodh Ó Dálaigh Shield to the Abbeyknockmoy captain to the delight of their team and management. That brought an end to another great tournament and already teams have expressed their interest in 2016.

Thanks to all who helped make the day such a success, thanks to Johnny Gallagher and the Park Committee, many thanks to Brian Drummond and Tara Keenaghan for their excellent photography throughout the day capturing all the action. We have pictures from the tournament up on aodhruadh.org.

Aodh Ruadh Image Gallery

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Last modified: Monday, 5 October 2015 at 10:07pm