Brilliant win for buoyant Barndarrig!
Barndarrig 2-15 Bray Emmets 2-5
Winning this Junior ‘A’ hurling crown meant an awful lot to the Barndarrig team and community; the roar that greeted the final whistle and the fact that dozens of family and friends were still chatting and taking photos as darkness descended over the Newcastle GAA Club pitch provided the proof of just how much.
‘I’m immensely proud,’ said Barndarrig’s Brian Walsh who has tasted many heavy defeats while battling the ‘traditional’ hurling clubs and officialdom on the road to this success.
‘The last time we played Bray here we were in the Intermediate championship and they gave us an awful scutching, we never mentioned it until we said we’ll finish the championship here and see how it plays.
‘At the start of the year we had 10. Truth be told we rounded up lads to play teams, we had 24 at the last training session and I had 32 jerseys inside, of which I filled 28. Hurling is alive and well in Barndarrig. And that more than the silver in the middle of the table pleases me. That said, I’ll enjoy the silver too.
‘This means a huge amount to Barndarrig. They’re a passionate people.
‘Look at them out there, there’s happiness and laughter out there. And if I can have a few extra young lads with hurls in their hands over the next few weeks and months; we had the under-11s training with us on Monday night, there were 15 of them and it was probably one of the best training sessions we had, just to see the happiness in their eyes and to see the happiness in our lads’ eyes, just to teach them a few little things, lifting the ball, striking the ball,’ he said.
It didn’t take long to realise that Bray Emmets were up against it in this clash in Newcastle. However, they benefited hugely from two first half goals which Barndarrig will feel should never have went in. Brian Walsh said that it was a super game overall.
‘A super game. Nip and tuck in the first half. We kind of gave them a softish goal, but we hurled some lovely stuff. Jacques McCall only passed a fitness test before the game, we weren’t sure, he’s heavily strapped up. He had a very good first half. The backs played well. We weren’t playing a whole lot into the full-forward line, but anything that went in we were getting something from it,’ he said.
From a low point of four hurlers training under lights in March to the high of a panel of 31 throwing their weight behind the Barndarrig dream for hurling success in August, it was a long journey for this young team. Brian Walsh said it’s a ‘powerful’ thing to be part of.
‘And the panel, it’s just really powerful, 31 lads in jumpers, it’s really, really good. There are a few auld lads, myself, Tom (Doyle), but that’s it (the rest are young). We’ve been training with three and four and five, but that was March. You hope they are (coming back eventually). Then you start, the clocks change, the evenings brighten, and you go again, lads come back, they get new balls, the like new balls, you get them new t-shirts, they like new t-shirts, any kind of auld bribery I can work I’ll work.
‘These same lads will be out on Sunday (in the football), Knockananna on Sunday evening and the focus moves on,’ he added.
Where would this Barndarrig hurling team be if they gave themselves three or four years of serious work with the hurling?
‘It’s a good question. If the lads applied themselves, we’d certainly be competitive in Intermediate, but we’d need to apply ourselves. And that application needs to be there from the start of the year. Four training at the start of the year doesn’t work. Lads need to be in the field. It’s common sense, you need to be hurling to be able to hurl.
‘Wouldn’t it be a dream to go back Senior, in three or four years maybe, because the age profile of the team is good enough to do that. We have a whole lot of under 11s coming through and we have to keep it alive for them,’ he added.
Barndarrig’s Bill Dickenson said: ‘It’s great for the club, for all the older men and for all the younger lads coming up. We struggled at the start of the year to get lads out with college, injuries and one thing or another but we got them all together it’s great to have that win under their belts and hopefully we can get all the lads to step up next year in Intermediate.
‘We have loads of talent and we have a lot of youth and hopefully we can get those lads to step up. It’s great to see the community celebrating.
‘The boys put a big effort in, they got their reward. Barndarrig is a small community, great heart in it, it’s a pity it’s a Wednesday night. My take is it doesn’t matter whether it’s Senior of Junior C, the lads train all year and when they get to a final they should get their big day in Aughrim, county grounds, fenced off with all their umpires and linesmen.
‘As well as that, a final on a Wednesday night? ‘A cup over there, thirsty men wanting to drink out of it, some lads rushing off to work tonight, it should be a weekend, it should be a Saturday or a Sunday. Taking nothing from Newcastle, lovely pitch, but there should be more respect for the competition,’ he added.
Brian Walsh was spot on when he said that Barndarrig produced some lovely hurling in this Junior ‘A’ decider. Their performance over the course of the hour suggests that this team, this small but proud club, could achieve significant progress and success with the small ball in Wicklow if they seriously applied themselves.
The appetite for that progress most certainly seems to be there if the turnout of supporters and the passionate and vocal Barndarrig sideline is anything to go by and the reaction to Andrew Kavanagh’s opening score from a free in the opening moments of this game set the tone for the rest of the evening.
Barndarrig led by 1-9 to 2-4 at the break, with Bray goaling in the 11th minute through an Andy Conway groundstroke after a poor puck out and in the 16th minute when a James Anders free wasn’t dealt with by Tom Doyle in the Barndarrig goal.
Barndarrig had their own stroke of luck in the 12th minute when a Martin Cullen free caught Barry Cowan by surprise and went in off the Bray goalkeeper’s hurl.
Andrew Kavanagh’s four points in that opening half (three frees) and his strong play and athleticism were key to Barndarrig’s position at the break but perhaps most significant for Barndarrig were the three points fired over from the hurl of half-back Jacques McCall.
These three scores were quite simply outstanding and worthy of gracing any level of hurling. All three were long range and all three lifted the Barndarrig players and supporters in a manner similar to points scored by a certain Tullaroan hurler by the name of Tommy Walsh.
Bray Emmets were certainly contributing to a very lively and entertaining game of hurling and had three points from Andy Conway and one from James Anders to compliment the two majors to leave them well within reach of the Barndarrig men.
But Barndarrig’s start to the second half was electric. Points from Paddy Redmond and Andrew Kavanagh (two, one free) pushed Barndarrig out to a 1-12 to 2-4 lead before Bray bagged their solitary score in the second half through a James Anders free after Andrew Conway had the ball in the back of the Barndarrig net seconds after referee Jason Redmond had blown his whistle for a free for the Bray corner-forward.
Paddy Redmond, who had an excellent second half, pointed for Barndarrig and their second goal after 14 minutes of the second half killed the game as a contest when Oisin Doyle’s shot found its way to the back of the Bray net.
Credit to Bray Emmets they tried several options to get a foothold back in this game such as pushing full-back Conor Doherty up to midfield but the Barndarrig defence, marshalled by Kevin Cullen and Shane Whelan stood firm and extra points from Oisin Doyle and Andrew Kavanagh (free) topped off a fine evening of hurling in Newcastle where we just night have witnessed a serious rebirth of hurling in the community of Barndarrig.
Who knows where Wicklow hurling could go if this improvement was followed by more small clubs around the county.
Scorers – Barndarrig: Andrew Kavanagh 0-7 (5f), Martin Cullen 1-1, Oisin Doyle 1-1, Jacques McCall 0-3, Paddy Redmond 0-3. Bray Emmets: Andy Conway 1-3, James Anders 1-2 (3f).
Barndarrig: Tom Doyle; Michael Cullen, Kevin Cullen, Michael Doyle; Jacques McCall, Shane Whelan, Michael Owen Byrne; Jonathan Devereux,Andrew Kavanagh; Paddy Redmond, Bernard Quinn, Michael Murphy; Martin Cullen, Greg Doyle, Oisin Doyle. Subs: Jonathan Nolan, Philip Kinsella,Wayne Costelloe, Brian Walsh, Nicky Sinnott.
Bray Emmets: Barry Cowan; Danny Eglington, Conor Doherty, Ed Keating; Jordan Lee, Sid Hunt, Shane Anders; Karl Lacey, Ronan O’Brien; James Anders, Enda Ford, Conor Benville; Andy Conway, Brian Duggan, John Ward. Subs: Mark Lyons, Dan Kennedy, Tony Jackson, Enda McHugh.
Referee: Jason Redmond (Arklow Rocks).