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Jack Wyer Memorial Tournament Success

posted 29 Sep 2015, 08:57 by Kenneth Fox   [ updated 29 Sep 2015, 09:30 ]
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Sincere thanks to the Wyer Family and Ballinamere/Durrow GAA Club who organised the tournament as a tribute for Jack Wyer who died (age 11) in a tragic accident in April, 2014. Jack was from Ballinamere, Tullamore, Co Offaly and died after he was struck by a car shortly before 9am as he crossed the road from his father's home to visit his grandmother before school. Jack was known in the locality for his ready smile, friendly nature and ability with a hurley.


The Moycullen Club would like to extend their thanks to Pat Cleary who invited the club to compete in the competition and much appreciation to the dedicated Co-ordinator, Carina, who has to be commended for all her hard work. We would also like to thank the referees Carina & Pat for officiating the games and to the hospitality shown. It was a privilege and an honour for Moycullen to be asked to participate in this tournament which remembers such a young and inspiring hurler. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam.

The tournament consisted of six teams (Ballinamere-Durrow, Shinrone, Cappataggle, Birr, Monegal & Moycullen). The blitz format of 15-minute a-side commenced in Durrow pitch with a throw-in at 11.35am on Saturday morning against Monegal. With Daragh Kyne as their captain, the Moycullen boys showed great pace & accuracy and this allowed their coach, Dave Kearns, to rotate the boys throughout the game and give each player game time. It was ironic that Monegal's best player was the pacey and skillful Vanston Worrell who once played for Moycullen and was happy to see his old clubmates again, however, he alone could not stop the Moycullen team in their tracks and the game ended in a comfortable win of 4-10 to 0-4 for the boys from the West.

With just a 5 minute break before the next game, Captain Aaron McDonagh had to regroup his team and did not even have time to go in for the toss of a coin before the ball was thrown in for the semi-final. The boys knew that they were up against a tougher opposition against the Birr team who equalled us on strength and ability. This game was intense and the clash of the ash was definitely on the cards with hard knocks coming on either side, yet our boys kept on going. There was a disallowed goal that hit the stanchion on the inside of the goal which the hometown umpire did not signal and this meant that we were three points down with just two minutes to go. But justice prevailed and our boys showed true character and eventually young Diarmuid Davoren fired in a much needed goal, resulting in a draw of 1-3 to 1-3 at the final whistle. This meant that extra-time was required to determine who would reach the Cup Final of the tournament. At the half-time of extra time, the teams were still level pegging but there was no doubt that our boys wanted to reach that cup final and won out in the end to a scoreline of 2-4 to 1-With tired and sore limbs, the players, management and their supporters boarded the bus and headed to the nearby Ballinamere pitch for some lunch and much needed tea! The Plate and Shield Finals were played while our boys got some rest, liquids (and sugary buns) and enough time for their captain, Liam Seoighe, to lead them in their stretching exercises before the Cup Final commenced shortly before 3pm.

With their team mate, Jack Wyer (RIP), on their minds and playing in their home pitch in front of a local crowd, it was obvious to everyone that this Ballinamere-Durrow team and management wanted more than anyone to win this cup and this was evident in the early stages of the game when they came at us with sheer force and led by 7 points within 10 minutes. However, with superb spirit and team work, our boys fought back and added to their scores, reducing the deficit to just 4 points at half-time.

It is hard to describe the scene during half time but passionate speeches and encouraging words from Dave Kearns, Mattie Donohue and Caoimh Davoren were inspirational and they asked the lads to "believe in themselves, give it everything they had and not to leave it behind". During the second half, there were quick changes made by management which turned the game, however, we were met with discrepancies about goals and even our animated umpire, Mattie Griffin, did his very best to convince the ref that the goal was good but it was not allowed. Side nets were hit, frees were missed, goals conceded, blows were hard but our lads never hung their heads, they just kept on plugging away, dug deep and came out with a draw of 2-4 to 2-4 at the final whistle and for the second time that day, they had to face yet another 5 minute a-side extra time.

At this stage, the onlookers on the sideline were exhausted just watching the game and could only imagine how these young lads felt. Once again, they were asked by their management not to give up and rely on eachother for support. The halftime score at extra-time showed a lead to Moycullen of 0-1 to 0-0 and the boys were told not to let this lead fade, however, Ballinamere-Durrow boys were just as determined and scored 1-1 in a short time giving them a two point lead with just one minute to go. But within 30 seconds from the end of the game, we were rewarded a free and as our captain Liam Seoighe stood over the ball, coach Dave Kearns could be heard calling across the pitch "land it into Diarmuid" and sure enough, the accurate pass resulted in Davoren catching the ball and rocketing the net! We jumped for joy but held our breath as the game continued and we felt that the referee would never blow his whistle. We knew that Ballinamere were going to try and score at the other end of the pitch but our steadfast defenders made sure that nothing past them and there were scenes of celebrations when, for the very last time, we heard the final whistle blow and the cup was ours!

It was a very emotional scene as we watched tears of sadness in the eyes of the Ballinamore-Durrow boys and listened to Pat Cleary speak about the kind and caring Jack who was a keen hurler and missed by all who knew him. It was also very difficult to watch Jack's father as he presented the Cup to the Moycullen Captain, Liam Seoighe, who also followed with a passionate and heartfelt speech, thanking his coaches, his team mates and the Ballinamere-Durrow team for a great tournament and a tough match.

This win meant a lot to this bunch of Moycullen lads who were unfortunate not to reach the Galway U12A County Final this year and throughout the day they played as a team and celebrated as close friends - this was obvious during the scenes of celebrations seen in the video clip of the dressing room. Thankfully, the coach had remembered to pack his change of clothes!

Thanks to everyone who travelled to support the team and all who helped out on the day with officiating as umpires, fist aid duty, carrying the hurls, time-keeping, photography & video footage and to our very patient bus driver, Vivian. Thanks also to parents and players who couldn't travel on the day but sent best wishes, said prayers and sat patiently by their mobile phones waiting to receive the update text messages. A special word of thanks to those who arranged the welcome home bonfire in the village which just finished off a perfect day! Well done again lads & keep hurling.
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