THE always popular Féile hurling and football competitions returned to Leeside this summer.
After Covid saw last year's tournaments cancelled, they were held again in August, albeit in a truncated format and at U15 level instead of U14.
The move up in age tied in with the change of 'championship' grades at national level in GAA, and also facilitated the young hurlers and footballers who missed out in 2020.
The Féile was held in a host of locations and a variety of levels, with the Midleton hurlers and Bishopstown footballers captured the coveted Premier 1 silverware. Interestingly, neither club progressed to the semi-finals of the P1 Rebel Óg championships, which featured Sars, the winners, Glen Rovers, Douglas and Ballincollig in hurling, and Ballincollig, the winners, St Finbarr's, Killeagh and Glanmire, in football.
Féile glory more than offset that for Midleton and Bishopstown however.
Where normally winning clubs in Cork progress to the national Féile, Covid has changed the approach this time out.
Instead, Croke Park and Thurles will stage events to mark the 50th-anniversary Féile celebrations, where the Midleton and Clyda Rovers clubs will be involved.
Clyda Rovers are off to Croker on Sunday, October 24, after teams from the 32 counties were entered into a draw with the prize of a trip to play at GAA HQ.
The Midleton hurlers have been invited to take part in a Thurles-based blitz on Thursday, October 28, with semi-finals and finals taking place at Semple stadium.
John West, sponsors of the GAA’s annual Féile na nÓg (football) and Féile na nGael (camogie and hurling) competitions, says it was delighted to honour its pledge that no child would be left behind following the cancellation of last year’s events.
Throughout its sponsorship, John West has focused on encouraging children to participate in Gaelic games, while emphasising the importance nutrition plays in fuelling young athletes.
John West Féile has brought together thousands of young hurlers, camogie players and Gaelic footballers in a celebration of the GAA’s community ethos through underage competition.
This is the sixth year of John West’s sponsorship of what has grown to become one of the biggest underage sporting events in Europe.
“Féile highlights the importance of sport in children’s lives and that is something John West is truly passionate about,” said John West Ireland General Manager, Peter Rooney.
“We pride ourselves on supporting children taking part in sport and make a conscious and continuous effort to highlight the importance of young people continuing to play into teenage and adult years.
“Féile give us the opportunity to highlight the importance of natural nutrition in children’s diets.
“John West has created a range of products naturally high in protein and Vitamin D, supporting muscle maintenance and normal functioning of the immune system, meeting the needs of young Féile athletes, post-training or after a game.
“The cancellation of the 2020 John West Féile due to Covid came as a big disappointment to hundreds of young footballers, hurlers and camogie players all over Ireland.
“But John West remains proud to promote the philosophy that every player should participate at a level fitting with their age, skills and strengths.”
According to Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael, Larry McCarthy, a Bishopstown native, one of the great benefits of a lifetime involvement in the GAA is the friendships and memories made as a result.
“As a competition, Féile has been superb at living up to this from its very earliest days. To reach its 50th anniversary is a significant milestone and generations of players have experienced the joy of being a part of Féile na nGael and Féile Peile na nÓg.
“I was delighted at the move to the U15 age-grade, which enabled those who were disappointed to miss out last year, due to the pandemic, to have the opportunity to play and be a part of Féile.
“Our thanks to John West for the support they give to assist us in the promotion of this iconic competition and to the national organising committee for ensuring a John West Féile in 2021.”