CORK fans are hoping Ciarán Joyce will be able to maintain his incredible run of success next year.
After impressing for Midleton CBS in the Harty Cup win in 2019, the Castlemartyr club man has hoovered up trophies, back-to-back Munster and All-Ireland U20 titles, as well as county glory in the LIHC and IAHC ranks. Hopes are high he can make the step up to the senior ranks and though eligible for U20 again next season, it's more likely he'll feature for Rebel manager Kieran Kingston.
He was recently honoured with the latest 96FM/C103 monthly GAA award, hosted by joint sponsors the Rochestown Park Hotel, in the 17th year of the scheme.
The outstanding 19-year-old has enjoyed a stellar summer in the red and although the crest on the jersey may have alternated, he consistently hit excelled for club and county, which has led to a senior call to pre-season training.
From his first days lining out with Kiltha Óg at U8 level to his rise through the age ranks to minor level with the Castlemartyr/Dungourney combination, he has been producing Man of the Match displays.
Joyce is the fourth member of East Cork club to be honoured with a 96FM/C103 monthly award, following on the footsteps of the Lawton brothers, Brian and Barry, who were feted for their exploits with UCC, and Darragh Moran who was honoured for his displays for Midleton CBS. Appropriately Brian Lawton and Moran were amongst the Castlemartyr contingent present at last week's presentation lunch, which was splendidly hosted by General Manager Tom Tobin and the team at Rochestown Park Hotel.
Cork County GAA Board were represented by outgoing PRO Joe Blake and vice-chairman Pat Horgan, who spoke glowingly of Ciarán's achievements over the past 12 months. Meanwhile, awards co-ordinator Finbarr McCarthy also paid a rich tribute to Ciarán highlighting his double-winning feats with club and county in what he described as a truly memorable year.
As for the unassuming young man himself, he took his latest honour very much in his stride, thanking all who helped him in any way, the organising committee and also highlighting the work of the Castlemartyr committee for all their efforts to drive the club on behind the scenes.
In what was a good week for the Joyce family, Ciarán's father Carey managed the Kiltha Óg team that won U18 silverware with victory over Erin's Own.
Overall, the Joyce household is a busy GAA stronghold. Ciarán's younger brother Darragh lines out with Kiltha Óg, Castlemartyr and Midleton CBS, while sister Aoibhe is part of the Inch Rovers team that won the recent Senior B ladies football title and will line out this weekend against Rathmore in the Munster Club Championship final in Mallow.
For the Castlemartyr club, after a season of great success, it's time to wind down ahead of the club's AGM early in 2022 and the exciting prospect of Premier Intermediate hurling. Two years further down the road in 2024 the club will celebrate its centenary.
There are two more individual monthly awards still to be presented in the annual roll of honour for the 96FM/C103 Rochestown Park accolades.
Strictly speaking, the word monthly is used loosely this year as due to the Covid pandemic and the disruptive nature of the past two years, both seasons have been rolled into one and there will be one gala banquet early in the new year.
In 2004 Graham Canty was honoured with the very first monthly award on the back of captaining Ireland in the compromise rules series in Australia. Cork's All-Ireland winning hurling captain Ben O'Connor received the inaugural overall GAA Sports Star of the Year in that year.
A long the way in the intervening years there were a galaxy of household names recognised including recipient number 100, Michael Shields of St Finbarr's. The latest winner Ciarán Joyce has certainly put his name up in lights after some magical days in 2021.
Look out for him in 2022.