As the calendar year of 2009 draws to a close, White’s Cross GAA reflects back on another year of outstanding success on the field of play, but not without a sense of disappointment too. However we cannot dwell too deeply on all that just yet, as at the time of print, we still have teams involved in the latter stages of four different competitions!
The Junior A footballers had the proud distinction of putting back-to-back championship titles together in the Seandún Division but will still look back on their year with regrets too. Having atoned for their county quarter-final defeat to Cloyne in 2008 by seeing off the same side in the 2009 equivalent, their county semi-final defeat to Glanworth by the minimum margin, disappointed all involved. However they can take consolation from the fact that Glanworth in turn went on to win the county final, and indeed White’s Cross GAA wishes the North Cork side the very best as they have the huge honour of representing the county in the Munster Junior Club Football Championship.
History will record these years as a golden era in the annals of White’s Cross GAA. This Club, that had never in its history contested an A grade divisional decider, has competed in 4 finals in the last 5 years, and won the coveted crown on 3 of these occasions. Team captain Paddy O Brien, in his victory speech, singled out team coach Finbarr Kiely for special praise, and spoke of his immense enthusiasm and work ethic with the team.
At the time of print the Junior A footballers have also qualified for the League final, where they meet St. Michaels. In the semi-final they saw off the challenge of the same opposition as they had in the same stage of the championship – Nemo Rangers. However the fact that our lads were involved in championship fare until recent times was evident, as the Nemo challenge wilted towards the end of this battle, which took place at the immaculate Whitechurch new pitch. Our superior fitness showed, and when Murt Kelleher scored the game’s only goal 10 minutes into the second half, there was only going to be one winner. In the end it finished 1:13 to 0:6.
The curtain raiser to that JA League semi-final was a meeting of the same two clubs in the JB League semi-final! However there was no shortage of goals in this encounter and the second White’s Cross side had 4 in all, with corner-forward Damien Murphy helping himself to a hatrick, in an outstanding 4:8 to 1:5 victory. Our Junior B side were very disappointed to exit their championship at the first hurdle, losing out to Passage, but have shown consistently well since February in the league. Under the guidance of Laurence Burke and John A Mulcagy, the experience of seasoned campaigners such as captain Jonathan Kenneally and brother Damian, Martin Kelleher, Kevin Fennessy, Derek O Connor and Paul Finnegan has been blended very well with the youthful drive of Richard Sherlock, the Osborne brothers George and Michael and Darragh Keane to create a formidable opposition. As well as qualifying for the league decider, where they await the winners of Douglas and Ballinora in the other semi-final, the team has also qualified for the semi final of the Seandún Cup against Bishopstown. This fixture has fallen foul of the recent bad weather but it is hoped that it will be played off very soon, to ensure some sort of close-season – remember the 2010 league competition will be scheduled to commence on the first Sunday of February!
The A team has also qualified for their cup semi-final, a cup steeped in history as the McSwiney Cup is named after one of Cork’s great servants – Terence McSwiney. In 2009 near-neighbours Carraig na bhFear stand in our semi final path, as we strive to win this competition for an unprecedented seven consecutive times! Considering that the Club had never previously won this competition prior to 2003 is further testament to the achievements of this particular team