Huge effort in Mid-South region ensures underage GAA for 160 teams from U12 up

Huge effort in Mid-South region ensures underage GAA for 160 teams from U12 up

Picture: Larry Cummins

THE box-office competitions in underage GAA are the Premier 1 and 2 club tiers and schools competitions like the Harty Cup and Corn Uí Mhuirí.

That’s only the tip of the iceberg in terms of hurling and football across Rebel city and county.

The Mid-South region of Rebel Óg caters for 48 clubs drawn, primarily from the traditional Muskerry, Carrigdhoun and Seandún divisions. This area was redrawn after a review of juvenile affairs last year.

The board operate competitions at U12, U14, U16 and minor, while the clubs with larger numbers of the age at U13 and U15 compete in the Premier grades centrally.

Still, that encompasses a staggering 160 teams, heading to 3,000 boys and teenagers. A serious operation, which draws in more than 700 adults, a veritable army of mentors and coaches volunteering to keep the show on the road each week.

In the Covid-19 world, that is more important than ever and in the tight window which started in mid-July until this month, the Mid-South Board will have organised 386 matches.

As was the case nationwide this summer, with leagues postponed, all competitions were switched to the round-robin system, guaranteeing every team three or more games.

A variety of play-offs are going on this week and next, with semi-final and finals, including plates and shields, to the tune of 97 matches spread across the four age-groups.

Board chairman Martin Lynch explained they have been particularly grateful to the effort club committee members have put in during such an unusual season:

“There are 48 club secretaries and the club delegates along with the board officers who organise and coordinate all of the competitions. It’s important to credit all of the people in all of the clubs who have all of the venues in such good order.

“The volume of matches from underage up to the county board adult competitions is astonishing since July and the GAA grounds have been in fantastic condition. That was all the effort put in by groundstaff during lockdown."

Fixtures are co-ordinated every two weeks, with board officers in constant contact to ensure the season has progressed smoothly to date.

For Blarney club man Lynch, the contribution of referees in such a hectic schedule has been critical to the success to date.

Colm Vaughan, Mid Cork; Mark Maher, City Division, and Brian Coniry, Carrigdhoun, have kept them supplied with officials.

“We have a very good working relationship with all of the referees’ groups, thus ensuring that improvements are continuing. Niall Barrett’s appointment as the adult referee’s coordinator and Diarmuid Kirwin as the juvenile coordinator has given a fresh impetus in refereeing standards and recruitment.”

Lynch explained the effort going in all around Cork deserves to be highlighted.

“We’re just one of five Rebel Óg regions, along with the Central section, West, North, and East, so what we’re doing is multiplied by five across the county and I don’t think people realise how much hurling and football is being organised for young players. Is that not community service at its best?”

Mid-South Rebel Óg officers: Chairman, Martin Lynch (Blarney); vice-chairman, Gearoid Ó hEalaithe (Cill Na Martra); secretary, Liam Cotter (Kilmichael); referees’ secretary, Maura Ring (Aghabullogue); treasurer, John Brennan (Éire Óg); assistant treasurer, Yvonne Kidney (Tracton); PRO Antoinette Kidney (Tracton); CCC Member, Michael Lordan (Éire Óg).

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