This week's club notes

November 7, 2018

SENIOR FOOTBALL Retiring team manager Philip Smullen did the cur i láthair of the award winners chosen at senior level. Seán Horan was deemed Clubman of the Year while James Leonard was the choice as Footballer of the Year. Philip spoke of them as people with whom it had been a pleasure to work, however he added as a rider that this did not imply that there were not occasions on which he had judged it appropriate to go outside the dictionary for words in his dealings with them.

Seán, he told us, set an example for his teammates in his commitment to and in his participation in training. Philip did say, nevertheless, that Seán's involvement in pastry making had a tendency to interfere with his punctuality! As for James, Philip praised the excellence of his leadership on and off the field, an attribute he averred fitted him ideally for the role of captain. In exemplifying James' importance to the team Philip drew attention to the manner in which its performance degraded in the championship quarter-final replay when James had to leave the field with a serious facial injury. Before James' departure, Philip said, the trend of play pointed to an Éire Óg win as being the most likely outcome but thuit an tóin as ár seansanna on his leaving.

Philip finished by congratulating the hurlers on their successes and by wishing all the best for the coming season.

JUNIOR FOOTBALL The person on whom fell the pleasant task of doing the honours at Junior A and Junior C levels was John Wynne, a mentor with the Junior As. The players singled out at Junior A were Conor Monahan (Clubman) and Declan Hogan (Player) and those at Junior C were Daniel English (Clubman) and Gary Elliott (Player).

JUNIOR A In introducing Conor to the audience John momentarily treaded dangerous diplomatic waters when he described him as being no longer in the flower of his footballing youth. Happily, a quick segue into the subject of Conor's role in the team's 2013 campaign brought John into the safety of the shallows. He told us that Conor's on-field contribution belied this end of an era portrayal and that his lethal left foot had lost none of its capacity to find the back of the net. John added that his input had an important bearing on the team's being a top player in the grade – Éire Óg were unfortunate not to have qualified for the penultimate stages of the league. We further learned that Conor's choice as Clubman also rested on his commitment during the year and on the inspirational experience he brought to the squad.

While the accolade of Player of the Year places the emphasis on the player's performance, John felt that he could not but make reference to Declan's loyalty and commitment to the club over the years from when he played u-10 for Éire Óg. John opined that anyone who had seen Declan in action could not but have been taken by his enthusiasm and no-holding-back engagement. These qualities of his play which glowed with undimmed ardency in 2013 had him filling a lead-by-example role in the team and made him a worthy recipient of the award.

JUNIOR C The idea of having a Junior C team originated with Daniel who saw it as both offering underage footballers a less demanding route to the adult game and as presenting older players like himself with a chance to continue playing the 'bit of Gaelic' in a less competitive environment. The Junior Cs, under John Keane, were beaten by Arklow in a very exciting and entertaining final in Ashford. That Daniel's idea bore fruit on the field and in enticing quite a few players back into the game owed much to his unstinting endeavours.

John spoke of Gary and said he was hopeful that it would not be long until he would graduate to the higher echelons. We heard that Gary had played a prominent part in all of the many games in which he participated during the season and that his goal-scoring exploits had played a large part in bringing the team to the final in Ashford. The year saw a growth in Gary's maturity and in his understanding of his role as a team player.

MINOR FOOTBALL At minor level the contributions of James Cranley (Clubman) and Anto Byrne (Player) were recognised. The two are dual players and their inputs in both hurling and football were enormous so their designations, one would venture to say, are more or less interchangeable. James' delicacy of touch and his evasive and scoring skills were a delight to watch while Anto's strength and wholehearted commitment were vital in giving the team a cutting edge.