A piece of history was made by the club on Saturday at the Strandhill/Coolera GAA Club in Sligo when our u13 team participated in won the 2023 Táin Óg League. Having had a tough few games in the play-offs with teams from Longford, Roscommon and Sligo, the lads knew the finals weren’t going to be easy having previously lost to their semi-finalist opponents Strandhill/Coolera who had home advantage. The home team came out of the blocks early with some great speed and skill and before long the visitors were facing into a 7 point deficit. But, as is typical of Ballyvary teams, the lads didn’t throw in the towel and with a demonstration of the finest hurling and self-belief, they fought their way back into the game and a late score saw them into the final.
Neighbouring side Easkey saw off Longford’s Clunguish to set up a final meeting with Ballyvary. Ballyvary had also lost to a very talented Easkey team previously in the competition but buoyed from their previous game, Ballyvary were up for the challenge. It was an absolutely thrilling encounter, hurling at it’s finest. It looked for a while as if Ballyvary might have to settle with the second spot but yet again, the lads stuck at it, and clawed back score for score and as as the thunderclouds gathered over Queen Maeve’s Tomb on Knocknarea, the lads struck like lightning just before the final whistle and the coveted TáinOg shield was coming back to Mayo.
Team manager, Simon paid tribute to the lads after on a victory to which every single one of the 18 strong panel contributed. Many of the players are young and have another foew years left at this category. Great credit to Simon, Jack and all the coaches who made themselves available on the side-line, and have been nurturing their skills and self-belief over the past few years. Huge credit to the parents and supporters who came along on the day.
It does represent another pivotal event in the clubs history. 2023 was the year that the club fielded its first senior team. As players get older, other sports and activities can seem more enticing making it more difficult to field teams at this age and up. We wish all these lads many years of enjoyment and success in the maroon and white, and breaking into the county panels.