Club marks milestone in style

ELAINE FURLONG

BANNOW/BALLYMITTY GAA Club celebrated its 125th birthday in style over the course of the June Bank Holiday Weekend.

The club's grounds in Grantstown were thronged for three days for a series of matches and events marking the momentous anniversary of the club.

The weekend's celebrations, for which the club was blessed with beautiful weather, also marked the opening of Bannow-Ballymitty's hugely impressive new indoor sports arena.

The action kicked off on Saturday morning with blitzes for under-6, under-8 and under-10 teams, with the home team welcoming clubs from all over Co Wexford for the competitions for young boys and girls.

There were a huge number of entertaining games played before a large crowd of spectators, comprised mainly of proud parents!

The underage action continued on Sunday and moved its way up the age grades before the two main matches of the weekend, with the men and women from the home club taking on their counterparts from Wexford district neighbours St Anne's.

St Anne's prevailed in the ladies football clash, but Bannow-Ballymitty came out on top in the men's match, winning the Fr Harry Sinnott Cup.

The cup dedicated to the memory of the former parish priest and club stalwart had been in use at the under-12 grade in the county since 1999, but is no longer needed for that purpose, so Bannow-Ballymitty put it up for this game to keep it in use and it may now be competed for an annual basis once more.

All the club's teams from the youngest up to the adult ranks saw some action over the weekend and all the participants received certificates for their participation in the 125th anniversary celebration games.

The action on the field was followed by a hearty barbeque on Sunday evening and there was also a huge crowd present for a concert in the new sports arena, where the Dublin City Ramblers topped the bill.

However, the band were slightly upstaged by the contribution of a group of the club's hurlers and footballers who had been training hard off the field in recent times for their performance in the concert and they put on an impressive and entertaining 30 minutes variety segment, which proved a big hit with their audience.

There were more matches again on Bank Holiday Monday, but the main event of the day was at 2 p.m. when GAA President Christy Cooney officially opened the new indoor sports arena, which has an excellent playing service and fantastic facilities and has been proving a huge addition for the club.

Mr Cooney was effusive in his praise of Bannow-Ballymitty GAA Club in his address, while also speaking at the launch were Leinster Council Chairman Martin Skelly, County Chairman Ger Doyle and Club Chairman Paddy Hannon.

Taking full advantage of the weather, the club put on another barbeque on Monday evening, bringing a wonderful weekend of celebrations to a close.

A committee in the club is currently looking at producing a book documenting the club's successful 125 years and have been busy gathering information, photos, medals, cups and all sorts of items of historical significance for what should result in a most interesting read!

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