EXILED Irish hurlers returned from Down Under to enjoy a match in Bunclody and to raise thousands of euro for the HOPE cancer support centre.
The Gaelic grounds at Church Road provided the venue for camogie and hurling matches featuring players from the Central Coast club in Sydney pitted against the local crew from The Half Way. The clash of the ash between the two Hemispheres was the brainchild of Shane Furlong from the St. Patrick's club in Camolin and Bunclody's own Gearóid Roberts.
They discovered that many of the fellow expatriates were heading back to County Wexford for a Christmas break and decided to issue the challenge. They had so many volunteers that there were enough Aussie men to put out two hurling sides, as well as one camogie team.
With fine weather on December 29, the novel sporting occasion attracted a big crowd, with spectators treated to a couple of close games. The camogie went the way of the exiles but the locals collected the new cup for the hurling after a keenly contested encounter.
Among the Central Coast contingent were cousins Dylan and James Kehoe who found themselves in opposition to some familiar rivals. Dylan played against his brother Podge, while James was pitted against siblings Barry and Darren, to add family spice to the occasion.
The bill of fare was supplemented by an underage match between the under 14's from HWH/Bunclody and their Duffry Rovers neighbours. The presentations were made afterwards at the River's Edge. The proceeds of the event, one of the first on the programme for ' The Gathering' amounted to €5,700 for HOPE.