Friday, February 17, 2017

THE trains will be running double time from Kent Station tomorrow as hundreds of Mayfield GAA fans make the pilgrimage to Croke Park to cheer on their local heroes in the AIB All-Ireland Club Junior Hurling Championship final.

 

Rebecca Barry and Avia Hegarty, having fun at the Red FM Big Red Bench show, at Mayfield GAA club. Picture: David Keane.

The historic final is Mayfield’s first outing on the hallowed turf, with fans set to relish every long awaited moment. 

“Every young player’s dream, from the moment they pick up a hurley at the age of eight or nine is to play in Croke Park one day,” club chairman John Brennan said.“The team are delighted, and we are delighted for them. “They are a wonderful bunch of lads who are hugely committed and have made many sacrifices to get here. They are also all successful off the pitch.

“We have gardaí, teachers, accountants, members of the army and navy on the team, and they are all role models for the local youth.”

This year’s successes have been hard fought, and Mayfield GAA Club have been working in recent years to cultivate a strong base of younger players through their dedicated training academy and underage teams.

Mayfield parish priest Fr Michael Keohane said that their prayers will be with the team as they travel to Dublin.

“The team are tremendous ambassadors for the club as well as their families, parish and community,” he said.

Mayfield youngsters showing their true colours at the Red FM Big Red Bench show, at Mayfield GAA club. Picture: David Keane.

“The have brought great joy and happiness to the community and really galvanised the whole area behind them. 

“We have been praying for them all year and are certainly wishing them well again tomorrow.”

Mr Brennan says that the club have pulled the whole community behind them, with excitement reaching fever pitch for tomorrow’s showdown against Kilkenny side Mooncoin.

“I’m involved with the club for many years and have seen it grow. When I look back at all of the great men who kept it going in the 60s and 70s, I just wish that they were here to see this day. The whole community have rowed in behind us.

Brothers Jack and Conor McDonagh, enjoying the Red FM Big Red Bench show, at Mayfield GAA club. Picture: David Keane.

“Mayfield United gave us the use of their all-weather facilities over the past couple of weeks so there has been huge support. We’re all supportive of each other because at the end of the day we all have the same mission and that is to foster sport.” 

Two dedicated supporter trains will be running fans up to Dublin tomorrow, the second put on after seats on the first sold out within an hour. With plenty of other supporters planning on making the journey independently, it’s unlikely there will be a soul left in Mayfield for the day.

Win, lose or draw, Mr Brennan says that the team will receive a hero’s welcome home. “The are winners already. They came through many challenges to get here and please God they do it on the day, but they are already winners in our eyes.”

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