M Donnelly Leinster Poc Fada Finals 2011
Wexford, Carlow and Offaly take the Honours at the Curragh!
Wexford’s Mark Butler took the Senior Mens title in the Leinster Championship while Lyndsey Condell of Carlow reclaimed the Leinster Camogie title. In the Boys Under 16 Poc Fada Final Cillian Kiely of Offaly won the title.
Weather conditions for the Leinster Finals were close to ideal for the Hurlers and Camogs, although a little damp underfoot, everyone involved relieved that the rain which had persisted throughout the afternoon had finally moved on. In all there were 30 competitors for the Camogie, Senior Mens and Boys Under 16 events.
In the Senior Men’s event 10 competed with Meath the only county not represented. Longford’s Eoin Donnellon was unfortunate not to arrive for the start due to a car problem enroute (echoes of the first All Ireland in 1961 when Ollie Walsh was in a similar situation), arriving as the last of the groups were approaching the finishing line. Eoin Reilly of Laois was there in defence of his 2010 title.
The Camogie Final had 9 competitors with last year’s champion Voureen Quigley determined to hold on to the title for 2011. In the Boys Under 16 competition 11 of the province’s counties were represented, Longford’s Cian Kavanagh was also delayed in getting to the venue. Counties were paired up with Senior, Camogie and Under 16s from each pairing starting in turn. This new format for the course received many compliments from the participants, stewards and spectators.
The competiveness of the pairings was evident especially in the Dublin-Wexford group where Fintan O’Brien and Mark Butler went poc for poc around the course with the final distance over the finishing being decisive. Louth and Meath were paired together with the defending Camogie champion Voureen Quigley paired up with Meath’s Emma Tormey from the Ashbourne-Donaghmore club. How good a Louth-Carlow pairing would have been to see Voureen and Lyndsey Condell go head to head, the distance that seperated both was 12 metres to Lyndsey’s advantage.
Another pairing of note was that of Westmeath-Offaly where second placed Pat Burke competed with Steven Guilfoyle. In the Under 16s the pairing of Cillian Kiely and Luke Loughlin from the Delvin club in Westmeath seemed a good match although Cillian was having non of it, he was chasing the seniors coming home in 23 pocs two pocs clear of Luke and the other Hurlers in his category, level on pocs with the top three senior hurlers, exceptional!
The Curragh course was set out in four stages with three turning points (where the competitors had to make sure they passed through the “”gates”” so accuracy counted). One would be forgiven for thinking that the Curragh would be easy to traverse but with the ditches, dips, hillocks, gorse and soft ground there were plenty of obstacles to occupy the Hurlers and Camogs as they made their way around. Even overhead cables and electricty poles came into play on the evening. All three categories completed the same distance with the course measuring 2.12km.
The organisation of the finals was fantastic with compliments pouring down on the Army Base’s C.O. Col. John Courtney who retires this year, for all he has done to facilitate the competition. George O’Connor and Lester Ryan of Leinster GAA provided all that was required for a great evening’s sport for contestants and spectators.