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Aodh Ruadh reclaim Ryan cup

The annual Alan Ryan/Seamus Grimes Under 16 hurling tournament took place on Monday, as in previous years the standard of hurling was very high as some of the leading teams in Ulster and Connacht competed for honours. Taking part in this year's event were Ballinascreen (Derry, Alan Ryan holders) Cushendall (Antrim), Keady (Armagh) Padraig Pearse's (Roscommon) Four Roads (Roscommon) Tooreen (Mayo, Seamus Grimes holders) and Aodh Ruadh.

The draw had Aodh Ruadh in Group A with Pearse's and Ballinascreen. In our opening game against the Roscommon outfit our lads started well and were playing with confidence when two soft goals before half-time left them facing an uphill battle. Try as the lads might in the second half, they couldn't breach the Roscommon rear-guard and those first half goals proved crucial as they lost 2-5 to 0-6.

We were up against 2013 Féile na nGael Division 3 champions and reigning Alan Ryan holders Ballinascreen in the second game. This was a fiercely contested game and despite having the aid of the breeze we went in at half time trailing 0-4 to 0-0. We were now fighting for survival in the Alan Ryan section, and put in a great second half and began believing that they were fit to compete with the Derry men. Despite conceding a last minute goal we ran out winners of a great game 2-2 to 1-4.

The stage was now set for us to play Four Roads in the semi-final. They had won their three games in Group B and were a big strong physical team. The lads are aware from years of hurling together that semi-finals are for winning and they won another close encounter by three points.

They were now into the final against newly crowned Mayo under 16 league champions Tooreen, and what a final the large crowd were treated to. This game was played at a hectic pace where two teams gave their all to win the Alan Ryan cup, it was nip and tuck throughout and the half time score was 0-2 apiece. Aodh Ruadh got a goal early in the second half, but the East Mayo men replied immediately with a goal of their own. The vocal home crowd were treated to a great finish as the Aodh Ruadh lads threw themselves into every tackle and ran out worthy winners 1-5 to 1-3. This very small panel of 18 players improved as the day went on and were deserving winners of the title. Their discipline and attitude throughout the day were a credit to them and their families.

The Seamus Grimes final was equally as entertaining as first timers to this tournament the famed Cushendall proved victorious against Ballinascreen over in Páirc Aoidh Ruaidh.

So after 14 games of hurling between seven very evenly matched teams all intent on playing hurling as it should be we had our two winners, and another great tournament came to an end.

From the battle fields it was up Aras Aoidh Ruaidh where the Ryan and Grimes families supported by the mothers of the Aodh Ruadh under 16s laid on a feast where over 200 people were catered for. Stories were told and new contacts were made.

John Rooney Chairman Aodh Ruadh Juvenile Hurling Committee thanked the Ryan and Grimes family for allowing them host this tournament, he thanked all the teams who had made the effort to travel on the day. He spoke of his memories of Alan and Seamus and their love of hurling and how they loved to see the game played in the proper spirit and how today's tournament was such a tribute to the two lads.

Eddie Grimes spoke on behalf of the Grimes family and thanked all who made the day such a success, he thanked all the teams and their coaches, he thanked all the referees, lines men and umpires. He presented the runners up medals first to Ballinascreen, he then presented the Seamus Grimes trophy to a delighted Cushendall captain.

Kerry Ryan senior spoke on behalf of the Ryan family, he thanked all involved in making the day happen, he thanked all the catering staff for their sterling efforts all day. He called on his son Kerry to present the runners up medals to a fine skilful Tooreen team. Then came the moment we all waited for as Fr McManus presented the Alan Ryan cup to an exhausted pair of Aodh Ruadh joint captains, Brendan Gillespie and Oisín Rooney.

John Rooney finished off proceedings by thanking the referees Aidan Ferguson (Erne Gaels) and Aodh Ruadh's Peter Horan, both lads had a very busy day and were very consistent throughout and won much admiration from many. John singled out Peter for his dedication in giving up his role as part of the back room team of the under 16s to spend the day reffing. He thanked all who helped on the day, thanks also to Johnny Gallagher and the Park Committee who had the pitches and dressing rooms in great order. Thanks are also due to the club executive and the management teams of the Reserves and Seniors who changed the starting times of their games with Naomh Colmcille and thanks as always to Brian Drummond for all his photography work. John wished all a safe trip home and looked forward to seeing them all again in 2015. We will have pictures from the day's action up on later in the week.

Last modified: Monday, 1 June 2020 at 1:32pm