Redmonds should be saved because often the GAA is simply about the pride of pulling on the jersey

Redmonds should be saved because often the GAA is simply about the pride of pulling on the jersey
Redmonds chairman, Mick O'Shea, holding a picture of the official opening of Redmond's pitch in 1984.

THE talking point of the weekend was the manner of Nemo's championship elimination.

Castlehaven dumping out the holders was a surprise but the west Cork outfit are always capable of delivering in the big games and their replay against CIT sharpened them up. The Haven have Mark Collins, Brian and Michael Hurley and Damien Cahalane but beyond their inter-county aces they are backboned by David Limrick, Chris Hayes, Seán Dineen and more – some of the most consistent club footballers on Leeside.

Picture: Larry Cummins
Picture: Larry Cummins

Perhaps the bit of extra training and the match with Erin's Isle for the AIB series The Toughest gave them a bit of a lift too? Having Harry Redknapp and a bunch of cameras around could have a been a distraction but clearly Liam Collins and his management team didn't allow it to be.

What was so shocking was Nemo's woeful tally of 0-4 after a scoreless first half. You could say they were always going to find it difficult to replicate their heroics from 2017 which carried them through to an All-Ireland club final but they opening rounds didn't suggest as much.

They hit Clyda for 1-16, even without Paul Kerrigan, and Skibb for 4-16. With Luke Connolly and Barry O'Driscoll leading the line you always expect Nemo to fire. It just didn't happen in Dunmanway.

Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Picture: Eddie O'Hare

With Donncha O'Connor rolling back the years for Duhallow against Valleys, St Finbarr's holding off Douglas – despite the loss to rock-solid keeper Declan Murphy to a season-ending injury – and Carbery Rangers maintaining their outstanding form against Clon, the Haven still have a bit to do to reclaim the Andy Scannell Cup. They're probably slight favourites in their semi-final against Duhallow, while Barrs and Ross is tricky to call. 

That's the glamorous side of club GAA, big crowds, big names, big news.

Redmonds have operated far below those bright lights for a long time, about as off-Broadway as it gets. While their haul of five senior hurling trophies from the early 20th century grants them a significant place on the roll of honour – only Blackrock, the Glen, the Barrs, Midleton and Sars are above them – they are on their last legs.

They have no underage section with the shift in population trends in the city but it would still be a crying shame to see them go the way of Tower Street, the defunct club that captured silverware all the way back in 1888. There's a meeting in Redmonds clubhouse off Barrack Street tonight at 8.30pm with a view to saving them.

The Redmonds hurling team from 1919. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
The Redmonds hurling team from 1919. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

If you were being cold you could simply say that they about to fold because there is no longer a catchment for Redmonds to serve, with Nemo and the Barrs nearby. However, none of their club members are foolish enough to think they can become a thriving hub of GAA for youngsters anymore. What they certainly can do though is cater for adults in the area who want to play Gaelic games.

As a passionate member of the junior B/C brigade I know what joy and fulfilment you can get from playing in the lower grades. Out in Ballincollig you're lining out for the third or fourth team if you play junior B or C so victories are rare enough.

Only last weekend we took a fair tanking from Macroom. The seven goals we conceded didn't reflect too well on my status as the full-back! Thus our Mid Cork Junior C campaign was over at the first hurdle as there is no backdoor (and it's the same at B, which makes no sense because ultimately lads just want to play games).

We'd a few league matches under our belts but with work commitments, the Féile reunion in Semple Stadium and a minor semi-final on Monday night we were short some decent footballers. That's where our management team of Kevin and Ger Bohane, Paul Desmond and John Connaughton, and the club, deserve kudos for entering and getting a side out at the lowest tier.

It would be far easier not bother with a fourth team. Ballincollig did win a junior C title in 2015 and came close a few times when Aubert Twomey was at the helm keeping the show on the road but most seasons pass however without a championship victory not to mind a bit of silverware. 

The Ballincollig team, organiser James O'Reilly and managers Paul Desmond and Kevin Bohane after winning the 2016 Lena Down Junior B tournament.
The Ballincollig team, organiser James O'Reilly and managers Paul Desmond and Kevin Bohane after winning the 2016 Lena Down Junior B tournament.

James O'Reilly organises a Lena Down Memorial Tournament down the club which the Village nabbed a couple of times. That's as glitzy as it gets. Sad as it sounds it genuinely is about just giving your all for your club jersey more than any prospect of glory.

That's what Redmond's have been offering in recent years and could still manage with a bit of support and a buy-in from players who want to take part rather than take over.

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