Seandún division ready to host hurling and football at Ballinlough again

Seandún division ready to host hurling and football at Ballinlough again

Darragh Kerins, Nemo about to hand pass despite the attention of Alan Cadogan and Paul Beale in the 2014 U21 football championship. Picture: Dan Linehan

THE City Division GAA Board has been a vibrant unit of the association for as long as one can remember.

Their headquarters at Ballinlough is a complex that the division should be very proud of, a venue that serves all of the clubs very well and a place where fans can enjoy games in comfort, having a wonderful view of the proceedings.

However, like all other divisions across the county, they face challenges this season that have not been encountered before.

In fact, it’s an unprecedented situation and prior to a couple of weeks ago those charged with overseeing the games were in limbo like everybody else.

But that’s all about to change and the grounds of the clubs around the city are starting to buzz again with players preparing for championship action.

City Division chairman Mick Higgins is following in the footsteps of some top people who filled the position and the Na Piarsaigh clubman is optimistic that the season, condensed as it may be, will be a success.

“This is something that we haven’t faced before, in fact, at one stage it looked like we’d have no season.

“But it’s starting to get up and running again and we’ll prepare accordingly.

“You could say it’s all systems go but we have to wait on what the County Board does first, how they are going to go with their schedule of fixtures.

“The senior and intermediate clubs must play first for the clubs to know where they stand. Some of our participants are the third team in a club so we have to wait for them.”

Higgins, a former Na Piarsaigh club chairman and a very experienced administrator, believes that there will need to be co-operation and common sense applied by everyone to endure that the division will have their representatives ready for county championship action when that time comes.

“Yes, the time frame this time is much shorter and that will present challenges, the games will have to come thick and fast and clubs must be prepared to play when they are required.

“We have a lot of competitions in the city to get through. Obviously, the junior A hurling and football competitions are our flagship competitions and we’ll want the champions in those grades ready for the county competitions.

“It is going to take a lot of planning and we have to work around what the county board does. As I am speaking to you there would be no point in setting down dates until we know what their schedule is.”

Bishopstown's, Shane O'Neill reaches out his hurley to block the Glen's Patrick Horgan in a 2004 minor hurling clash at Ballinlough. Picture: Gavin Browne
Bishopstown's, Shane O'Neill reaches out his hurley to block the Glen's Patrick Horgan in a 2004 minor hurling clash at Ballinlough. Picture: Gavin Browne

Higgins, who is in place at the top table for five years, believes that the availability of pitches could be a problem but that’s something they’ll have to work around too.

“We have a fabulous venue in Ballinlough and that has served the division very well down the years.

“That will be used for the bulk of our championship games but we must be mindful too of the fact that the nights will be drawing in and we don’t have lights at that venue.

“That might mean starting games earlier and that won’t be easy on players, coming almost straight from work and going out to play.”

Guidelines will be put in place for all clubs and divisions and the city chair told the Echo that they will adhere to whatever they are.

“At this point in time we don’t know what the attendance levels will be but that is something that should not be a problem.

“The use of dressing rooms by players will need addressing too but that’s the same for every club and division.

“We are fortunate here in the city that there has always been a good input by the clubs and on our executive, I believe we have eight clubs represented.

“To repeat myself, there will have to be ‘give and take’ on the part of everybody. Once we are in a position to know where we stand we will fire out our schedule of games.

“We’ll need the co-operation of clubs with lights and I’d be confident that we’ll have a season to remember even if it’s totally different this time.”

The divisional board will not be represented on the county senior championship, Seandún will not be taking part in either hurling or football.

That, of course, will be a problem for a lot of the divisions, getting players released but as far as the Seandún board is concerned it will be full steam ahead sooner rather than later.

“Everybody is raring to go and it will be great for everybody to have the opportunity again to get to Ballinlough or wherever to watch a game of ball.”

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