Dermot Naughton Memorial Blitz

Shandrum - -- Dermot Naughton Blitz last Saturday in Newtown

Shandrum – — Dermot Naughton Blitz last Saturday in Newtown

Last Saturday saw the annual Dermot Naughton U10 Hurling blitz held in Newtownshandrum. This event has grown in stature over the past number of years and this year’s staging was a great occasion. Teams from Galway, Clare, Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford and Cork were all represented on what proved to be a fantastic day’s hurling.
Newtownshandrum Juvenile Club is very proud of being able to host an event such as this in a fitting tribute to a great clubman. A lot of planning goes into preparing for an event like this and a number of people deserve a great deal of credit and thanks. A tournament committee was formed in order to ensure the smooth running of the day. Shane Naughton took charge of inviting the various teams and ensuring that the day ran to the scheduled timetable.
Friday evening saw nearly as much activity as the day of the blitz itself. John Geary set up the four pitches in his usual methodical fashion, ably assisted by Alan G O’Brien. Cora Ryan had the task of ensuring that the hall was set up for the following day and she had a team of helpers too many to name. A big thanks to Joanne O’Brien for producing the programme for the blitz – it was perfect and had the lovely touch of having all the teams’ crests included. There was a real buzz around the place and it was great to see so many different people chipping in. As always we have to salute small Billy- he was probably the first man to arrive Friday evening and the last to leave Saturday afternoon. He is always on hand to help out and the Club is lucky to have such an asset.
Saturday morning arrived and so did the buses! Thanks to Peter Reidy and all the stewards who ensured that the team coaches were able to park safely and that all were pointed in the right direction. David O’Connor was our nominated First Aider for the day and it’s good to have somebody of his calibre to call on. Mark O’Mahony was our MC for the day and ensured that all teams were directed to the correct pitches and all matches started on time. The all important scoreboard was manned by Alan G and he compiled the results as they came in. A big word of thanks to our referees including Cathal Naughton, most of whom were Senior Club hurlers giving their time  to the Juvenile Club the day before their own Championship game. Similarly we were able to call on umpires, consisting of some of our older juveniles. There was a break between the group matches and the finals and players, coaches and supporters alike adjourned to the hall for refreshments. Cora managed the catering requirements brilliantly, co-ordinating the many volunteers. A big thanks to all the parents who provided home baking and other treats. I hope that I haven’t forgotten to thank anybody but apologies if I have- it was a massive team effort.
On the pitch, our lads represented the club with great distinction. We won all our group games, beating Mungret, Ballyduff Upper and Sixmilebridge. The boys have been progressing nicely all year under the watchful eyes of Liam, Fergal, Pa, Conor and Matthew and hurled their hearts out all day showing impressive skill levels and no little determination. Loughrea emerged from the other group with wins against Ballyhea, Murroe-Boher and Toomevara. The final was a great game with both sides evenly matched  and producing a high standard of hurling. Although the sides were level at half time, an excellent Loughrea side emerged victorious in the end. A large local crowd had gathered to watch the lads and they gave our boys a great ovation at the end, no doubt appreciating the skill and passion shown by our youngsters.
Liam Ryan spoke at the end of the blitz and praised all the teams for the excellent standard of hurling and sportsmanship that had been on display all day. As a club, we are delighted to have the capacity to host such an event and the ability to run it so efficiently. It’s great to be able to foster such good relationships with clubs from other counties and look forward to developing our ties even further. It was lovely so see so many locals of all ages from aspiring siblings to proud grandparents and all ages in between! Most importantly we’re sure that Dermot was smiling down on the day, beaming with parish pride.