“WE are still here, still active and still kicking."
That's the message from the chairman of Ballyphehane GAA club Timmy Walsh after the city club enjoyed a very successful season last year.
Ballyphehane claimed two football championship titles last season.
They won the County Junior C football title after they secured a comfortable win against Freemount, while they also claimed the Seandún Junior B Football title after defeating Douglas by one point at Ballinlough.
Walsh, the long-serving chairman of Ballyphehane, said 2022 was a historic year for the southside club.
“Last year was a great year for the club. We made history really. We won the Junior C county title after we beat Freemount.
"That was a huge win for the club, the players, and the management team. It was the first time we had ever won a county title.
"It was a very proud moment for the club. We had unbelievable celebrations after we won the county title.
"We also won the Junior B city championship after we beat Douglas,” he said.
“Beating Douglas in the Seandún championship final was also a great win,” said the club official.
“We are a junior club and to take on the senior clubs and beat them is a great achievement.
"The rules are after changing and they are allowed play senior players which makes it tougher.
"We have won this divisional championship a few times in the past so it was nice to add another triumph.”
Ballyphehane will now be operating in the Junior B county football championship this year after their success in the C grade last season.
The club chairman said they will be fielding a second adult team this year in competitive action to cater for the growing playing numbers in the club.
“Because of the success we enjoyed last year we have now entered a second junior team this year because our numbers have increased so much. A lot of players have joined the junior football panels for this year which is great to see.
"We will be playing in the Junior B county football championship this year which will be a tough grade. There are a lot of good teams playing in this competition but it is exciting.
“We are really looking forward to this year. The players are training hard and they are eager to enjoy a successful season.
"Steven Buckle is the manager of the junior team and both the players and the management team are putting in a huge effort. They are training hard ahead of the new season. Steve is a young lad and he is putting in a huge effort,” he added.
Ballyphehane GAA Club has a proud history in football, ever since the club was first registered in 1957 under the title of Fr Matthew's.
The club's home is The Green based on Tramore Road.
There is currently no hurling in the club, and they have no underage football teams playing competitively. Maintaining playing numbers has always been an issue.
“We used to have hurling in the club but we don’t have it anymore. We have no underage football teams, but we do football for lads from the age of 12 down.
"At one stage we had three U13 boys teams but it fizzled out.
"I coached our U10 football team five years ago and they were brilliant. We had 22 players. 12 of them went to the Barrs.
"A good few of them are not playing football anymore.
"Ballyphehane is an old parish and we are stuck between the Barrs and Nemo so we have a battle to keep going.
"Soccer is very strong as well. They are all drawing from one area. The numbers are sparse so our aim is to keep increasing these numbers this year.
“We have a U10 team who take part in Go Games and we have lads from the age of five playing for us.
"We can’t get enough players to fill a team. We go into the local schools as well coaching, which is all voluntary.
"We also have a ladies football team. We have players lining out with Cork ladies football underage teams.
"We have started a Gaelic4Mothers & Others team as well. They have been a great addition to the club and they are doing very well,” he added.
He has served in numerous roles with his beloved Ballyphehane and as chairman for 35 years.
“It is all about enjoyment and helping out in the area. It is vital to provide a platform for kids to play sports. There is also a social aspect. It is a great club to be involved in. Every player we have is treated the same.
"There is a good atmosphere in the club. There is great loyalty to the parish. It is a close-knit club.
“Ballyphehane is a great area and we have a great GAA club. It is the biggest parish in Cork.
"It goes up to the airport and nearly into town. There are a lot of new people moving into the parish who we hope will get involved in the club,” he added.
“Everything is a battle for us but we take every battle as it comes,” said the club chairman.
“We drive on and keep going as best we can. There is a great spirit within the club.”