Lámh Dhearg held their annual juvenile presentation at the Devenish Complex on Saturday evening (17th November).
It was the 34th year that the club has celebrated the individual and team achievements of the past 12-months and was a sell-out event.
Distinguished guests for evening included: South Antrim Chairman Frank Caldwell, Fr Kevin McGuckien (PP of Hannahstown St Josephs & St Peters), Fr Martin Peyton, Hugh Kennedy (acting principal of Ballymacward PS), Maeve Martin (ladies senior footballer) and eight time All-Ireland hurling winner and four-time All-Star Michael Kavanagh from Kilkenny.
Before the meal was served and the award ceremony proceeded – defending Antrim Scór winner Maeve McNeill sang the national anthem and a beautiful rendition of ‘Grace’.
2018 proved a successful year for the young Lámhs and a fantastic reel of highlights of the past year were shown before the first awards were presented.
The respective teams were the first to be recognised as the U-10 footballers and hurlers were brought forward. The footballers were successful in a number of tournaments throughout the cross of the year – including the Diarmuid Frazer tournament successfully hosted at the club. The hurlers claimed silverware, winning the shield at St Paul’s Murray tournament.
Our U-12 footballers narrowly missed out on a league and championship double –losing to O’Donnell’s in a league play-off, but had a successful year and claimed the O’Donnell Cup with victory over Rossa at Colaiste Feirste.
While at the same age level at Camogie – there was success at the Ellen Finnegan Memorial Tournament in Castlewellan back in September.
The U-14 footballers were also unfortunate to miss out on a league and championship double – going down to a strong Gort Na Mona side in the Championship final, but gaining revenge to claim the league title after a play-off. They also qualified for the All-Ireland Féile for a second year running after winning the C blitz.
Unfortunately Saturday came too early to celebrate for our U-14 hurlers who claimed the U-14 Division two league with a victory over Brid Og in the play-off final Monday evening past.
Our U-16 footballers had a fantastic year and claimed the South Antrim U-16 Division Two league and title and Championship – missing out on All-county honours unfortunately, after defeat to St Ergnat’s Moneyglass.
When the each of the sides were presented with their trophies and medals the individual awards were presented.
Ronan Webb was recipient of the U-10 footballer of the year, Aaron Kennedy received the most improved player of the year – in hurling Matthew Murray received U-10 hurler of the year with most improved going to Oisin McLaren.
In ladies football – Holly Black was named U-10 football of the year and Niamh McGinn most improved, there was a joint award for U-10 Camogie player of the year between Amelie Annett and Fionnuala Baker.
At U-12 Corey Camlin and Eoin Morrow were named footballer of the year and most improved player respectively – Camlin received a similar accolade in hurling, while Conor O’Neill was named most improved player.
Jodie Peoples and Fiona Christie took the honours of player of the year and most improved at U-12 ladies and for Camogie Dervla McAufield was named player of the year – with Aoideann Boyle named most improved.
U-14 football captain Kieran Fay-Kelly was named U-14 footballer of the year – with Aidan McCague claiming most improved player. McCague would be called back to the stage to claim U-14 hurler of the year and Fiachra Clenaghan was honoured with the award for most improved player.
Robyn Murray and Gemma Richmond received similar honours for U-14 ladies football – Robyn was a member of the U-14 panel who were our first ladies team to reach an all-county A championship final, which is tangible evidence of the quality coaching in ladies football in the club. In Camogie Isla Annett and Anna Curran claimed player of the year and most improved respectively.
The final player of the year and most improved player category was U-16 – Daniel Murray received a double player of the year accolade in football and hurling – while most improved footballer went to Lee Clarke and Aaron McCloskey in hurling.
Sara Kennedy followed in the footsteps of Murray and received player of the year for U-16 ladies football and Camogie – while Clodagh Hayes was named most improved U-16 football and Aoibheann Larkin for Camogie.
The annual Belfast school trips took place in Dublin this year and the club was hugely represented with seven playing participants alongside mentors in both codes – Jodie Peoples, Anna Lowry, Lauren Smyth, Aimee Lynch, Eva Bradley and Conor McConville were all presented with their medals for the occasion.
The final awards of the night were to individuals who made special impacts throughout the year – the Charlie Smyth award for most improved player overall was deservedly awarded to Aidan McCague.
While the U-16 football team were recognised for their marvellous league and championship achievement – receiving the Sam McGarry award for outstanding commitment and desire. Sam’s grandchildren Niall McGarry and Fionn Mervyn were part of the successful squad and it was a proud moment for both.
The Coca-Cola Féile trophy was deservedly awarded to Christopher Tumelty jnr and the Davy McGarry trophy for Youth personality was won by popular U-10 footballer and hurler Ronan Webb.
Aoibheann Larkin was winner of the Youth and Culture award – which was presented by her uncle, respected gaeilgeoir and club chairman Jim Herron.
The evening ended with a disco for that both children and parents enjoyed – thanks goes to the organising committee for their hard work and preparation. Compére for the evening Peter Kane and PRO Paul Buchanan – Michael Kavanagh and our guests for the evening and the players, mentors and their parents – without whom the clubs continued growth would not be possible.