Buckley Financial Awards 2011

Goleen Gaa Club along with Mizen Rovers had one of its greatest achievements on Saturday night last when it was voted the top club in the Carbery Division. Goleen are the inaugural winners of this competition under the new criteria set out by the sponsors Buckley Financial and the Carbery Gaa Board. Points were awarded throughout 2011 for results achieved on the field of play along with fulfilling fixtures, pitch preparation and discipline during games. We were sitting in third place when this part of the competition was completed back in November. Part two of the competition was a requirement on the Club to submit a portfolio outlining the Clubs off field activities under headings such as fundraising, recruitment, membership, referees, players on divisional and county teams and voluntary activities. This had to be in before the last day of the year. A fine crowdtravelled to the Maritime Hotel on the night for the gala function where the Jnr B team were also in the running for Team of the Year. Up to 350 people attended on the night and the excitement was palpable as MC Paudie Palmer opened the envelope and announced the winner, GOLEEN GAA CLUB. A most beautiful trophy was presented to the Chairman Connie O’Driscoll along with a cheque for €1000. Our club proved popular winners on the night and the goodwill expressed towards us was overwhelming to say the least. Once more the committee thank the many people who in whatever way contributed to the Club winning this award and we commend our players, each and every one of them from u10 to Jnr B, for their part. Photos can be viewed on GALLERIES..

Please click on the link below to read a blog by Diarmuid O’Flynn of the Irish Examiner.


Also the following link to article in Southern Star 04/02/2012



The following article was written by Paudie Palmer when our club won the Buckley Financial Club of the Year 2011.

Last Saturday night the social diary (where would we be without one) had us setting the sights of the Maratime hotel in Bantry for the Buckley Financial Carbery GAA awards. Has the time not come for the Minister for Enterprise to officially recognise the contribution to the economy that these award schemes are making. One could argue that with the number of such events in Cork, being probably the highest per head of population than any other location on the planet,that we are talking about a serious revenue generating operation.

Back to our West Cork version which went along the familiar lines, that was until we came to club of the year. For those of you who may be somewhat challenged on the geography of Carbery we will tell you there are 22 clubs in the division with quite a few of them operating on the higher pastures. This particular category had a complicated point system in place together with each club making a written submission detailing all its activities. The adjudicating panel had met earlier in the month and after serious deliberations 6 clubs were in line to pick up the trophy and a prize fund of 1000 euro when it came to announcing the winner.

This scribbler as MC called out the 6 nominees (Hollywood eat your heart out) and then reached out to the lady with the envelope. It was one of those fancy well sealed ones and with the drums doing the rolling it took a while. Then it appeared and to be honest I was convinced that I had been handed the wrong envelope. Ladies and Gentlemen and all others the club of the year in the biggest GAA division in the land is Goleen. The occupants of the 3 tables in front of me which were populated with natives from the peninsula club went beserk and from there on in there was only one show in town. The club chairman arrived at the podium and had he been spinning the wheel and it stopped at the quarter of a million euro mark I am convinced that this guy would not have been happier. Without a note Connie O Driscoll (he’s a rare one) spoke firstly as geailge and it started with Tá athas mór orm an corn seo a glacadh. Goleen men do not get a huge number of opportunities of such opening sentences.

He went on to praise practically everyone in the function room which included informing Mark Foley a former Cork hurler who had earlier picked up the Hall of Fame award that it was an honour to speak through the same microphone that Mark had used in his acceptance speech. Early on I was under the impression that he was a Jackie Healy Rae type but by the time he had finished I knew they were poles apart. Connie was the genuine article and his people from the Mizen peninsula were also in the special category.

In the course of his address which was both informative and humorous he told us that their president slept with the treasurer, and with the audience now hanging on his every delivery he upped the anti by mentioning that the club runaí and treasurer of their underage club Mizen Rovers also shared the same sleeping quarter but he stated that they were all good people. Now before you think that this place is low in the moral department, his observations were to illustrate the family and community involvement. By the way the first two mentioned were Richie and Liz Barry, the other pair Tim and Anne Murnane.

Can I ask you for a little honesty at this stage and tell me how many of you have ever heard of Goleen GAA club? I thought that. Founded in 1956 they collected their first trophy when winning the South West Junior B in 1959. Since then they have added 3 more to the category. In 1964 as a result of immigration they went into a coma but re-emerged in 1979. For the next 20 odd years their playing pitch was basically the sand dunes near Barleycove. The catchment area which as you would expect in a peninsula is surrounded by water on 3 sides with the measurements reading 12 miles long and a mile wide. Two national schools, one in Lissagriffin, and the other in Goleen village provide the primary educational needs. However with the slash and burn policy been rolled out by the suits these two teacher outfits are in the endangered species and if they go this club might go the same way. Let’s hope such an eventuality doesn’t arise. In 2002 the community purchased some land and began the dream of building a modern complex to rival anything further inland. A five year gestation period was required and in 2007 their impressive complex was officially opened.

The underage section which is known as Mizen Rovers has been doing its fair share to fill its side of the bargain, they field teams at each age group and in 2010 five trophies headed in their direction. The year gone by had them operating at more elevated levels and while victory speeches may have been a little rare they did contest 3 finals. You would be forgiven for suggesting that this last parish before America would be barren land in terms of hurling but as a result of promptings and encouragement by Tomas Mulcahy during a visit in 2002 they have successfully introduced it into the club and 3 of those earlier mentioned 5 titles were indeed iomant ones.

However it could be well argued that there off field activities are just as important. Over the past 12 months they initiated a Care for our players programme. The first aspect had to do with road safety where the club engaged the services of Bantry Driving Academy (well worth a visit) to provide instruction to members of their under 16 team as well as young girls in the parish. This involved the members travelling to Bantry where instruction in all aspects was provided in a simulated control fashion. Back in their complex they used in your face images to get the message across which included serious catching phrase particularly the one More games to play.

The second aspect was dealing with health and wellbeing and to this end the issues relating to suicide and mental health was addressed. Never easy subjects but the club felt it had a role to play and outside expert speakers were invited to attend sessions with the young people and their parents. The third part of the programme had to do with jobs and enterprise and while this was most challenging efforts at convincing the owners of holiday homes in the area to use local contractors and service providers has been very successful.

Back in 1950, and for what reason I’m not sure but somebody erected a timber cross on top of Cnoc an Phuca (the hill of the fairies) as it was known. 17 years later and whether the fairies were involved or not we cannot be sure but a flash of lightening hit the cross which caused it to split in 2 and over time it faded from the landscape. In December of the year just gone a local generous benefactor approached the club with some euros and a suggestion that a new cross be erected. They could have ignored it but no, not this crowd. A church gate collection, a few more donations and the project could be financed. On December 10th forty seven locals of both gender headed up the mountain which is 800 feet high carrying the cross, the last time such an event took place was at Calvary.

It is now called the cross of hope and when it was lit on Christmas night it was another statement that these people are part of a most vibrant community. Now I know why Goleen was the name written on the piece of paper in that famous envelope. Small can be beautiful and maybe size does not matter after all and yes Connie O Driscoll is a legend.



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