Sports

Cumman to Poc Fada

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Cumman to Poc Fada thumbnailFROM left is Kevin Moran, Davy Fitzgerald, Brendan Cummins, Anthony Nash and defending Poc Fada All-Ireland champion James McInerney, pictured with sponsor and supporter Martin Donnelly at the launch in Croke Park.

THE All-Ireland Poc Fada finals in hurling and camogie will be held on the Cooley Mountains on Saturday (August 5).

The competition was first held in 1960 and following a short hiatus from 1970-1980, it returned in 1981 and has been ever-present on the national calendar since.

The unique GAA contest promises to be a great day of sport. Defending senior hurling champion Clare's James McInerney puts his crown on the line against a high calibre field that includes All-Star winning goalkeepers Brendan Cummins (Tipperary) and Eoin Murphy (Kilkenny).

There is no other All-Ireland Final quite like the annual Poc Fada. While it requires the highest skill from the competitors it uniquly gives supporters the opportunity to follow and engage with the best hurlers and camogs as they climb across the cross.

Put simply, the sport is similar to golf, where the aim is to get around the course in as few shots as possible. The main difference being that on Saturday the competitors will poc-out and the course will be rugged mountainous terrain, which will involve high climbs and steep drops. It's a true test for man against nature with breathtaking views as well as a great workout.

M Donnelly GAA All-Ireland Final proceedings will get under way at 11am on Annaverna Mountain, Ravensdale, Co Louth on Saturday.

Cork's Aoife Murra also returns to defend the senior titles she captured 12 months ago. Cathal Kiely (Offaly) does likewise in the U16 hurling competition and he will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of his older brother and current Offaly senior player, Cillian by annexing the title for a second year-in-a-row. The 2015 and 2016 U16 camogie winner, Galway Sarah Healy returns to the mountain but she is taking part in the Senior competition for the first time.

Across all competitions hurlers and camógs from Clare, Louth, Antrim, Derry, Laois, Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Tipperary, Kilkenny, Down, Roscommon, Offaly, Cork and Meath will have the opportunity to compete for an All-Ireland title.

GAA Leinster chairman, Jim Bolger was at the launch in Croke Park last week.

"There are few events in our diary that stand out from the rest of our activities in the same way as the Poc Fada", said Bolger.

"The Poc Fada is a truly unique event held at the picturesque setting of the Annaverna Mountain. It is a real test of skill and stamina. The contestants value the competition highly and given that they participate at a very busy time of the season, both at inter-county and club level, shows the importance they place on their involvement.

"I would also like to thank Martin Donnelly for his continued support of the competition, in what will be the 21st year sponsoring the Finals in the Cooley Mountains."

Humphrey Kelleher, Chairman of the National Poc Fada Committee said: "An Poc Fada is one of our finest traditions and we in the GAA, whether it be at club, county, provincial or national level have a responsibility to cherish and develop it to the best of our ability.

"I am particularly delighted that most counties and provinces have held their competition on mountain courses this year. That gives the final contestants a real flavour for what they will face on the mountain."

Also speaking at the launch President of the Camogie Association, Joan O'Flynn said: "I am looking forward once more to this year's prestigious Poc Fada Finals, which promise to be an exciting event in the spectacular Cooley Peninsula at the foot of the Annaverna Mountain.

"I am very pleased that Camogie players are, once again, part of this outstanding competition. I am really looking forward to a tremendous contest over the very challenging course. Thanks to Martin Donnelly, whose commitment to the Poc Fada goes beyond that of a standard sponsorship."

Martin Donnelly said: "I'm particularly proud to continue my association with the Poc Fada, supporting this wonderful and exciting competition as this is my 21st year sponsoring the Finals in the Cooley Mountain. This year's finals promise to be as good as ever with James McInerney and Aoife Murray returning to defend their titles against very stiff opposition."

 

COMPETITORS

Senior Hurling: James McInerney (Clare), Gerard Smith (Louth), Donal McKernan (Antrim), Ruairi Convery (Derry), Eoin Reilly (Laois), Fintan O'Brien (Dublin), Mark Fahy (Galway), Tadhg Haran (Galway), Brian O'Loughlin (Clare), John Chawke (Limerick), Brendan Cummins (Tipperary), Eoin Murphy (Kilkenny).

U16 Hurling: Ciaran Watson (Down), Adam Donnelly (Roscommon), Cathal Kiely (Offaly), Ryan Renehan (Tipperary).

Senior Camogie: Aoife Murray (Cork), Orlagh O'Hara (Antrim), Faye McCarthy (Dublin), Sarah Healy (Galway), Áine O'Loughlin (Clare), An All-Star Pick to be confirmed.

U16 Camogie: Roisin McCormick (Antrim), Abbye Donnnelly (Meath), Maeve Muldoon (Galway), Molly Lynch (Cork).

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