Hurling: The claims of its devotees that hurling is the aristocrat of field sports was shown to have some substance in the championship games between Cork and Tipperary (56 scores) and Wexford v Kilkenny (35 scores).
The two games delivered in excitement, with the scoring in each match retaining the game-could-go-either-way closeness in a tennis-head-swivelling scoring exchange over the seventy minutes.
One might say that the Munster semi-final, while still maintaining the warrior ethos of the sport, was very much a game for the purist with the full panoply of hurlings multitude of skills on display whereas the Leinster match, a contest no way short on skill, was more to the taste of the clash of the ash aficionados.
When one considers the small population base of iomaint, it surely reflects well on it as a sport that it can produce contests of this calibre, contests that there is no doubt would not be out of place in any of the worlds sporting arenas.
As is evidenced on Saturday mornings when in excess of a hundred six to seven year-old boys and girls are regularly seen in the clubs groundsag baint spraoiout of belting the sliotar about, Eire Og is doing its bit to widen the base.
Hurling is a game that requires a hardiness that many other games do not a swung caman can be a frightening sight for a young child new to the game so it is important that children are introduced to the sport in an environment in which they do not encounter an off-putting physicality. An Eire Og parent who was acting as an umpire in a recent underage hurling game informed these notes that he had brought to the attention of the referee that one of the opposing players was using the hurl for purposes other than the striking of the sliotar but the referee totally ignored him. Another parent corroborated his story. They both feared that this aggressive behaviour of pulling across players, if not stamped out at all levels but particularly at juvenile level, will cause players and their parents to walk away from the sport.
No one wants to return to the bad old days of Wicklow hurling (of which stories abound) when player safety was not the number one priority.
ARP Junior and u-11 hurlers visited Greystones recently to play the locals in their respective leagues and had mixed fortunes. The u-11s won a very exciting game 3-02 to 2-01 while the adults went away sorrowing. The junior game was a good open and honest contest in which the superior fitness of Eire Og told in the last 10 minutes.
The senior camogie team played a practice game against Avoca in Avoca on Thursday night last. They were beaten but the improvement in the standard of their play was a source of great satisfaction to their mentors. The highlight of the game was the 1-1 score from play by underage mentor Suzanne.
PEIL NA MBAN U-12. It was great to hear that 8 of our u-12s were part of the county squad which took part in the recent Leinster Inter-County Blitz.Three Cill Mantain teams took part and there were 2 Eire Og cailini, Jane Merren and Aisling Roche, on the team which was beaten by 1 point by Laois in the final. Jane who is a key member of the u-14 and u-12 teams has recently been plagued by a calf injury and has only been operating at half throttle in her last few games. On Tuesday in Carnew in the penultimate round of the league she played most of the game in goal. For the last 10 minutes she was moved outfield and almost turned the game around Eire Og lost by 4 points. She was unable to play in the final of the blitz and her loss was severely felt.
The Eire Og girls who travelled to Carlow were Ciara ONeill (daughter of Feile mentor Peter), Aleesha Campbell, Sophia King, Jane Merren, Aisling Roche, Abbie Smullen, Ellen Phelan and Ellen Byrne.
Playing with the county squad was a great experience for these cailn: it involved a number of collective training sessions which proved hugely beneficial to their football and the outing to Carlow was a very enjoyable occasion.