CLAREMORRIS GAA Club will host a four county Under 21 football tournament next weekend, Saturday, January 20 and Sunday, January 21. Four of the leading counties in the country will take part in the tournament, namely Mayo, Kerry, Dublin and Tyrone.
Mayo will play Kerry in the first semi-final at 1pm with Dublin taking on Tyrone in the other semi-final at 2.30pm. In the event of either game finishing level extra-time will be played to decide a winner.
The final of the competition will be played on Sunday, January 21 at 12 noon with a third and fourth place play-off to be played at a venue to be decided.
Claremorris GAA club held a very successful ‘Gold Medal’ tournament in the 60s and 70s that became famous all over the country in attracting some of the best club teams in the country.
It was strongly felt within the club that something similar should be attempted in order to lift the profile of the club early in the season. After some deliberation and consultation it was decided to hold the Under 21 tournament with a strong possibility of hosting a club ‘Gold Medal’ tournament later on in the season.
Next week’s tournament will be sponsored by local builder suppliers company MMH Ltd. The Managing Director of the company, Padraig O’Mahony, said he was delighted to be associated with the tournament and was happy to help raise the profile of the club when approached.
“I feel this is potentially a very attractive tournament, bringing together as it does four of the leading football counties in Ireland. They have all performed very well in the competition in recent years with Mayo in the position of All-Ireland champions at the grade. I was glad to help the Claremorris Club out as they do a lot for the young boys and girls in the locality,” added Padraig.
Aidan Brennan, who is deeply involved with the Claremorris club, spoke along similar lines saying: “We felt the time was right to give the club a lift, particularly so early in the season. Hosting a tournament as prestigious as this will help to lift the profile of the club coming as it does at the beginning of the football year. We have big plans for the club going forward, one of which hopefully will see us resurrect the former Gold Medal tournament later on in the season or something similar.”
The Chairman of the club, Eamon Dalton, complimented and thanked MMH Ltd for their generosity in sponsoring the tournament saying: “On behalf of the club I wish to thank Padraig O’Mahony and MMH Ltd for coming on board with us for what should be a very exciting tournament. We feel the prospect of four high profile football counties should prove a great attraction for football followers within the county.”
Referees for both games will be Marty Duffy (Sligo) and Declan Corcoran (Mayo).
MEANWHILE, Claremorris GAA Club will hold their Annual Dinner Dance on Friday, January 26 in the McWilliam Park Hotel, Claremorris.
The demand for tickets has reached an all-time high with almost two weeks left before the event. Several awards will be presented on the night.
The club has selected one of its greatest ever footballers, Mick Connaughton, for the ‘Hall of Fame’ award. Mick is a great choice for the award as he was potentially one of the best players Mayo ever produced before his career was cut short with a serious knee injury. He played in all grades for the county and was a star with the Mayo senior team during their huge clashes with Galway in the 60s. His display in the Connacht final against the Tribesmen in 1966 at Castlebar was arguably his finest hour.
Unfortunately his career was cut short with a serious knee injury that occurred shortly after that Connacht final of 1966.
Mick went on to manage the Mayo Under 21 team to All-Ireland success against Kerry after a replay the following year and came back from injury in 1971 to win his third county senior title with Claremorris. He later turned to refereeing with success and took charge of many Senior Inter County games.
Two ‘Special Merit’ awards will be presented to Sean Fitzpatrick and Patsy Farragher for their services to the club down the years. The Ladies ‘Hall of Fame’ award will also be presented on the night. The Master of Ceremonies for the evening will be none other than Michael Commins of The Mayo News.