'ALWAYS make sure to enjoy the game of hurling whether your club is winning or losing' - just some of the wise words from AllIreland winning Kilkenny star, Richie Hogan, when he addressed the youngsters of Crotta Coiste na nOg on Saturday night.
The All Star hurler was the special guest at the club's annual awards night at St Senan's Sports hall in Mountcoal on Saturday night, where he praised parents, players, mentors and supporters of the club for their commitment throughout the year. He told the youngsters that the key to their future success would be learning to embarce and enjoy the game, in good times and in bad, and that learning to enjoy playing is most important.
After an inspiring speech, the two-time All Ireland champion got down to the business at hand - the presentation of medals to the underage players who brought great success to the club in 2012. Among the recipients were the U8 and U10 panels who had success in the North Kerry B U10 Blitz; the U11s who competed in the North Kerry A U11 Championship and the U12s for their success in the county U12 League Division 1. Also honoured on the night were the U13 team who took part in the Rose Cup A and NK U13 A Championship, along with the U15s who participated in the North Kerry U15 Division One championship.
Chairman of Coiste na nOg Chiarraí, Eamonn Whelan, told the crowd of almost 250 guests that it was great to see so many young players playing the game and acknowledged the hard work that has gone on over the years and is now beginning to show dividends at underage level. Senior chairman, Paddy Weir, meanwhile, said it was great to see so much success at underage level in the club, saying this augurs well for the future of Crotta hurling.
Also full of praise for the youngsters, their coaches, parents and mentors was Crotta Coiste na nOg assistant secretary - and MC for the evening - Paul O'Donoghue, who gave special mention to secretary Plunkett McElhatton, treasurer John O'Mahony and PRO Mike PArker, who he said had given so much to the underage club in 2012.
A number of additional presentations were made on the night, including the Hall of Fame Award which was presented to club stalwart, Mike Hickey, who has put so much into the Club over the years. Scor Officer Ann Mahony was a very worthy winner of the Club Person of the Year, while Shane Nolan was voted Senior Player of the Year Shane Nolan and Minor Player of the Year went to Tom B McElligott Jnr.