FRIDAY will be a special night for underage teams across Cork.
They will come together to celebrate their achievements as the annual Rebel Óg awards banquet will take place at the Clayton Hotel, Silversprings.
These awards were a fixture in the calendar for a number of years but weren’t held since January 2020 due to the pandemic.
They were lucky as they got in ahead of the outbreak but in 2022 the monthly awards returned, from which an overall winner will be picked on Friday night.
They are called the Rebel Óg awards but there is more to them than that. The instigators wanted all aspects of underage GAA affairs to be considered for selection.
So football, hurling, camogie, ladies football, handball, and Scor competitors, at club, county, and school levels are all considered potential monthly award winners.
There has always been and will continue to be, an independent judging panel whose decision is final, and the officer of Rebel Óg have no say in who wins.
This is done to ensure all nominees receive fair treatment to protect the integrity of the awards.
Mick Evans is chairman of the judging panel and for 2022 he was joined by Ciaran Sheehan and Bríd Stack as his fellow judges.
Every month they had tough decisions to make with a wide variety of winners.
Amongst the monthly winners were the likes of the Cork U16 and minor camogie teams, Cork minor ladies football team, all of whom won All-Ireland titles.
Add in the likes of St Mary’s High School, Midleton, and St Francis College, Rochestown, also winners at All-Ireland level in school competitions.
At club level you had Youghal honoured for a great year at underage level, which saw them winning several county titles. Sarsfields U16 hurlers won the U16 Premier 1 championship, to see those players win county titles for the third year in a row, having won U14 and 15 previously.
Ballincollig and Midleton were also honoured, as were the handballers of Ballydesmond with their four handballers enjoying success at national level on a number of occasions. Douglas minor sides were another winner, as they completed the minor Premier 1 double, the first club to win both titles in the same season in more than 20 years.
So picking an overall winner out of that lot will have been another tough decision for the judges and no doubt one that they will have taken time over.
Also on the night a Hall of Fame recipient will be announced and like the overall winner that will remain a secret until then.
But no matter who wins all these young players will have a night to remember at the black tie event and it was always an occasion that all looked forward to.
Chairman of Rebel Óg, Michael O’Mahony, said “It was great to see the awards return for 2022 and also to see the overall banquet back. It’s a chance for these underage players to meet on a social occasion and no doubt some will go on to play for Cork at senior level together.
“I would also like to thank our main sponsor, Clayton Hotel, Silversprings, for their ongoing commitment to these awards. Also to Cummins Sports, award sponsor, and toand RedFM, our media partners for their support as well.
“We are all looking forward to what should be a great night on Friday night.”