Junior cup of joy is a first for Dromtariffe
Hurlers have the X-Factor - in singing, too
The tears of joy at the full time whistle said it all for Dromtariffe supporters after pulling off a famous first time outright victory in the Duhallow Junior A Hurling Championship last weekend.
A powerful attacking performance was key to Dromtariffe writing a new name on the roll of honour.
On a day when the weather would have blessed early summer, the novel clash of Newmarket and Dromtariffe attracted a capacity attendance to Freemount in the first time clash of two great sporting rivals. Host club Freemount did an exceptional job directing patrons into the ground, and such was the volume of interest in the game 600 match programmes were sold out 30 minutes before throw in.
The Newmarket Pipe Band added to the occasion and at the end of the national anthem the fans held nothing back when it came to making their feelings known in terms of support.
From an early stage, the game took on a red and white complexion, and anybody that doubted Dromtariffe's capacity to perform in their first final got their answer with a superb performance. And despite the resilience of a brave Newmarket, they seldom looked likely to rescue the situation - sportingly, they were the first to salute the new champions.
"The feeling is just unbelieveable, it's been pretty tough with a demanding schedule over recent weeks but it's been worth it," beamed delighted Dromtariffe team captain Seán Howard. "Thanks to everybody for their messages in support and best wishes."
Just about anybody with a hint of Dromtariffe blood made it to the Sandpit House on the Mallow-Killarney road for a confluence of joy and celebration that night. And when skipper Howard and his young team climbed onto the stage to raise the trophy into the sky, the magnificent John Joe Brosnan Memorial Cup had arrived to a new home.
Dromtariffe club chairman Gerard Tancred congratulated the team and management for their achievement on a famous day in club affairs. "The club has enjoyed some great days in the past in football but the rise in fortunes of this hurling side is exceptional. Coming up from B level and winning the biggest prize in Duhallow is special for this young side", he said.
Team manager John Howard acknowledged the input of players and various selection committees in the promotion of hurling over the past 10-15 years. "We applaud, too, the involvement of the Boherbue players and their football management," said the manager. "It's been pretty hectic of late. There are so many to thank for this breakthough, but one man stands out, that's our coach, Thomas O'Mahoney.
"The man from Meelin left no stone unturned in guiding us", said John.
The Meelin native wasn't getting carried away, though. His own 23 years playing Junior A hurling brought buckets of experience that culminated in assisting Meelin land the 2011 All Ireland JAHC title from Kilkenny side John Lockes in Croke Park.
"I always believed in this young team, and that's been rewarded on winning a Duhallow title," said Thomas. "Upcoming, there is a county [championship] and I can assure you we won't be just fullfilling the fixture. We could be back here in late October with more silverware."
The party began with a rousing rendition of 'The Black Velvet Band' that would do justice to one Luke Kelly. And clearly evident after a long day and night is that these Dromtariffe players possess the X factor - in hurling and in song.