THE sun shone and the games matched the great weather as the John Kerins Memorial Tournament finals were held last Saturday.
Now in its 14th year this U11 football tournament is run by the gardaí in memory of their colleague and former Cork and St Finbarr’s goalkeeper John Kerins, who passed away at a young age.
John kept goal for St Finbarr’s for many years and also won two senior All-Ireland football medals with Cork in 1989 and 1990.
He was also a Cork minor selector for a number of years and his dedication to the game was second to none.
Several years ago members of the gardaí decided to hold an annual U11 football tournament to honour his memory.
These two competitions, cup and shield, are recognised as the top honours at this age level in the county at this stage as clubs from all over take part. Games started some time ago, with group stages held in clubs from which the final eight in the cup and four in the shield came through.
In the cup the teams who came through to the quarter-finals were: Nemo, St Finbarr's, Erins Own, Carrigaline, Bishopstown, Valley Rovers, Duarigle Gaels and holders, Douglas.
In the shield it was Mayfield, Crosshaven, Whitechurch and holders, Shamrocks.
The soaring temperatures swelled even further the large crowd that attend these games, with Nemo and Barrs first into action. It took extra-time to seperate these two, with the Barrs eventually coming out on top.
Carrigaline got the better of Erins Own and Bishopstown beat Valley Rovers. In the last quarter-final Douglas came through against Duarigle Gaels.
The first shield semi-final saw a repeat of last year's final, but this time Mayfield were the winners, knocking out the holders. Crosshaven came through to meet them in the final.
In the cup semi-finals again it took extra-time for the Barrs to beat Carrigaline, and a second-half goal saw Douglas get the better of Bishopstown by a point.
The two finals were great games, with Douglas retaining their title and Mayfield making up for last year's final defeat to take the shield home.
Afterwards, one of the organisers, Supt Mick Comyns thanked all those who made the day possible.
“There are lots of people who put in a lot of effort before the finals day and I would like to thank them for all their efforts. To all the members of the gardaí, including the likes of Aidan O'Connor, Tony Davis, Trish O'Riordan, John O'Driscoll and others who all help out, I want to say thanks.
“Also to the Kerins family for their support of this tournament and the grounds staff at Pairc Ui Rinn for their help. I would also like to thank the Ballyphehane Pipe Band who add to the occasion by parading the players before the two finals every year.
“I would also like to thank our sponsors, St Paul's Credit Union, Britvic Ireland and the Evening Echo for the coverage they give the games. And to the referees, this year they were all members of the gardaí – Sgts Chris Cronin and Brendan Barry-Murphy and Cormac Dineen and Damien Craven for officiating during the games.
“Finally thanks to all the clubs who took part and we are already looking forward to next year's tournament,” concluded Supt Comyns.