Whitechurch hurlers geared up for the biggest day in club's history

Whitechurch hurlers geared up for the biggest day in club's history

Peter Blake of Whitechurch breaks away in the All-Ireland semi-final. Picture: Don Moloney/Press 22

Rory Noonan


SUNDAY All-Ireland Junior B Club hurling final: Whitechurch v Upperchurch Drombane, Ballyseedy, Limerick, 2pm.

HISTORY beckons for Whitechurch GAA Club as they play in the biggest game in their history.

They will take on Upperchurch Drombane from Tipperary, in the All-Ireland Junior B hurling final at Killeedy in Limerick.

It has been a long season for the club, but a win on Sunday would make it all worthwhile.

Two weeks ago they cruised past Craanford Fr O'Regan's, by 1-19 to 0-5, in the semi-final, but they know that Sunday's game will be a far tougher affair.

With a back door system in place they find themselves facing the side they beat in the Munster final and you can bet Upperchurch Drombane will be hell bent on revenge.

Nothing would please them more than getting the better of Whitechurch, something they are well aware of.

Manager of Whitechurch, Donal Hegarty, said it's really a case of the same for both sides.

“Physically it was the toughest game we have had so far, they are a strong team and are well able to mix it. They probably caught our lads a bit at the start of the Munter final but we know what to expect now,” he said.

“We know their dangermen and the same can be said from their point of view, they know our big players and no doubt will have their homework done. I'm sure they are looking forward to having another pop off us and would be only too delighted to gain a bit of revenge.

“But we have told the lads that opportunities like this don't come around too often and they have to go out on Sunday and give it everything and I have no doubt they will. It's important too they enoy the occasion and that should help relax a few of the nerves.

“As a management we are delighted to have guided a team to the final, but it's all down to the 25-30 fellas who have played across this campaign. They are the ones they have put their bodies on the line and no doubt they will do the same on Sunday.

“The support around the village has been incredible as well and it's the talking point everywhere. The local school has all the windows decked out in the club colours and it's great to see. But it's all about what happens on the pitch on Sunday and we have to give it everything to have any chance.

“I reckon if we played each other 10 times it would end up five apiece, there really is nothing between the sides. Hopefully, the small margins will go our way and we will be celebrating and bring an All-Ireland trophy back to the village,” concluded Donal.

To get to the All-Ireland final they beat close neighbours Rathpeacon in the first round of the Cork championship, local rivals White’s Cross in the next round, Bantry Blues in the quarter-final and a fancied Dromtarriffe team in the semi-final.

They then took on Killavullen in the county final and it certainly was a dramatic affair for them. Deep into injury-time they pointed from a free to earn a replay and won the replay to finally win a county title.

Munster was a different affair as they received two walk-overs and went straight to the final, defeating their opponents on Sunday in a close game. Two weeks ago they were in control from start to finish to reach the All-Ireland final.

Darren Hussey, PRO of the club, said: “The team has a great mix of experience and youth with all players coming up through our underage section. This is no mean feat when you consider that most of the current team, players like Sean Keane, Peter Blake, Padraic Dennehy, Ciarán O'Gorman, Jack Kelleher, captain Killian Ryan and Hugh Woulfe weren't even born the last time the club played in a county final.

“The commitment that all 26 players have put in has been incredible. Indeed, it is not just the players, manager Dónal Hegarty has been a stalwart in Whitechurch GAA for many years, also playing in that 1988 final.

“The effort and countless hours put in with fellow selectors James Hegarty, Eamonn Gough, Rory O’Donoghue and Tim Mulcahy will hopefully reap their just rewards on Sunday.” 

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