As I made my way back from Hightown yesterday my thoughts wandered back to a conversation I had with a colleague following All Saints opening game of the season against Ardoyne in the ACHL Division 4. I had just witnessed my home club suffer a 3-19 to 1-5 defeat to Ardoyne and I despaired at the performance and worried about just where we were going with hurling in the club.
Four days later All Saints were on the wrong end of a 13 point defeat to Latharna Og in Larne though thankfully I didn’t witness that defeat but it appeared things were far from well on the hurling front.
So what do you do if it’s broken? You fix it and slowly but surely that is just what the hurling management and players have done. A few key players had quit because of the lack of numbers at training but those players have returned and a number of young players have come on board and the team got down to serious training and preparation.
The turning point came with a big win over St. Agnes on the 23d May when All Saints recorded an impressive 3-22 and they followed that win up with wins over St. Brigid’s and Eoghan Ruadh before edging out yesterday’s opponents at Falls Park to make it four wins on the trot.
Lamh Dhearg brought that win to an end as the eventual league winners edged out the Quinn Park side 1-14 to 1-12 in Ballymena but many felt it was All Saints best performance of the season. They went on to lose heavily to the same opposition in the division 4 league final but regrouped for the championship.
That defeat to Latharna Og in the league was avenged in the championship semi-final eight days ago and yesterday’s win over Loch Mor Dal gCais in the Junior B final at St. Enda’s was the icing on a season that can define our future.
So what have we learned? There is no substitute for hard work and regular training. The skills required in hurling can only be taught and polished on the training ground so let everyone concerned make that commitment.
We have good U15 and U17 teams competing successfully in their respective leagues so the structures are in place to push on for promotion next season and test ourselves at a higher level. The Junior A championship is just around the corner and provides another opportunity to measure our progress against better opposition.
In the meantime let’s take a look back at yesterday’s action and celebrations which I’m told went on for a while and congratulations to all concerned in yesterday’s success.
Na Naomh Uile Abu