Wednesday, 20th September 2017
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Football Championship Kicks Off

Since the Millenium the JJ Kavanagh sponsored Waterford Senior Football Championship has been dominated by three clubs namely, Stradbally, Nire and Ballinacourty. On just four occasions have we seen a final without two of the three. In 2000 Nire began this dominating by the "big three" when they defeated Kilrossanty 1-11 to 1-8. The following the Reds of Stradbally beat Rathgormack 1-13 to 2-4. In 2003 Stradbally again annexed the title at the expense of Tramore 1-11 to 0-8 and in '07 it was Ballinacourty who took home the Conway Cup at the expense of Ardmore 3-4 to 1-7. This year the three clubs are again at the head of the market with title holders Nire a point ahead on the books. That said and not withstanding the fact that the three clubs have kept a "shutout" as far as the rest of the county is concerned, there have been a number of surprises in GAA National competition in recent years. The Allianz National Hurling league has been won by a county from the lower division for the past three years. Waterford set the ball rolling in 2015, Clare in 2016 and probably even more surprisingly the way Galway completely demolished a highly fancied Tipperary this year. In the National Football League final the majority of pundits and indeed neutrals fancied Dublin to come through against Kerry but, lo and behold it was the Kingdom, minus Gooch, who survived. So back to our domestic championship where one cannot but admire the magnificent effort of the "winning three" but, perhaps there is a surprise waiting in the wings.

The competition gets underway this weekend when Reigning kingpins, Nire, take on Clashmore/Kinsalebeg in Fraher Field on Friday evening at 8pm.

The men from Clashmore have been knocking on the door in recent months but have also shown an inconsistency in games. This will be a huge test against the Ballymacarbry side who beat all and Sundry in 2016, culminating in a 1-17 to 0-8 win over Ballinacourty. On present league form Clashmore/Kinsalebeg would appear to have a real chance but one also knows that there is an incredible difference between championship and league.

On Saturday evening in Kill at 7pm Kilrossanty and Gaultier will face off. This one is very difficult to gauge. The men from the Barony have not seen much league action as yet while their opponents have played twice with one win. Both clubs have been rebuilding after some lean years and no doubt a win here would be a huge boost for the rest of the championship.

A double header at Leamybrien on Sunday will see Portlaw and Ballinameela in action at 1.30pm. Both teams have come up from the Intermediate ranks over the past two years. Ballinameela were the first to make the jump up in 2015 when they came through their final on a 1-12 to 2-7 scoreline against Bonmahon. On the other hand Portlaw, more recognised as a hurling club, made the leap in 2016 when they accounted for Geraldines 2-4 to 0-8. The Tannerytown have the unique distinction of playing in both the Senior Hurling and Senior Football championships in 2017. A superb achievement for the town.

The second game in Leamybrien will see Ballinacourty and Rathgormack in action at 3.15pm. The former, following the disappointment of their 2016 county final will be looking to redouble their efforts this year in trying to reclaim the Conway Cup which they last held in 2013. Facing them Rathgormack, a club that have annexed county titles at under age level but have just failed to bring that form into the senior competition and one has to go back to 2001 for their last Senior Final appearance.

Another double header at Fraher Field on Sunday with Ring, perhaps one of the most improved teams in the competition, facing Brickies. While league form can mean little when championship comes around, both clubs have seen action with Ring two points from two games and Brickies one point from one game. Very little to go on with a 6pm start. We'll certainly know quite a bit more after the weekend.

The last game scheduled for "football weekend" will see Stradbally out against Ardmore at 7.30pm. The two clubs met at quarter final stage in 2016 where unbeaten Group One winners Stradbally beat Ardmore (0-12 to 1-7). The men from the "Big Strand" having finished fourth in group 2. The Stradbally lads have been setting the pace in the league with two from two but as i said there may yet be some surprise results. After all that is what the game thrives on.

COACHING AND GAMES DEVELOPMENT SNIPPETS

Congratulations to Dunhill National School in hurling and Fews National School in football winners of the recent Primary Skills. The runners-up were Ballyduff National School Kilmeaden in hurling and Gael Scoil Portlairge in football. The winners of both codes go forward to the Munster Primary Skills which takes place in June. Well done to all who took part.

In the Post Primary Under 14 Hurling and Senior Football held in April it was a success for St Augustines who came through against St Declan's Kilmacthomas on a 6-9 to 1-9 scoreline. Late goals near the end of the opening half gave the St Augustines a lead which they held throughout.

In Carriganore the under 14 Hurling A and B Finals saw De La Salle compete in both divisions. The city outfit faced Mean Scoil San Nioclas in the B final who won on a very convincing 7-11 to 1-9. Indeed it was a terrific month for Mean Scoil San Nioclas as they annexed the Munster under 16 1/2 Football the previous week.

In the 'A' final De La Salle were hoping to retain the trophy they won last year as they faced Ard Scoil na Mara. De La Salle were ahead at the break 2-5 to 0-3 and hard as Ard Scoil na Mara tried they just could not pull back the deficit and the holders came through on a 4-12 to 0-7 final scoreline. A special thanks to Abbeyside / Ballinacourty and WIT Arena for the superb conditions at their grounds.

A reminder to all that the Kellogg's GAA Cul Camps are fast approaching with the opening camps in early July. Again as stated before there are 41 camps in 2017 with the County grounds hosting the final week. Early booking is encouraged and all who book before June 1st will have their Summer camp gear from coordinators before the school holidays. Contact your local club for further information or book direct on kelloggsculcamps.gaa .

Remember Waterford Coaching and Games development is on both facebook and twitter for all the latest happenings.

DEISE SUPER DRAW

Waterford GAA clubs are now in the process of signing up members for the New Deise Super Draw which begins in Ballymacarbry on Wednesday 10th May. With bigger, all cash prizes and a top prize of €12500.00 the draw has become a real financial lifeline for all the clubs of the county.

You can join the Deise Super Draw by contacting your local GAA Club. Remember 70% is retained by your club. There are six draws (one each month) at just €15.00 per draw. Don't miss out on this opportunity to help your local GAA club put in place facilities which our young players deserve.

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