Early Saturday morning, a steady flow of cars was making the meandering journey on country lanes to the Home of the All Ireland Junior Champions 2022. Kilmeena was their destination for what has become an annual event in the GAA calendar for many clubs, particularly in West Mayo. The Paddy Golden Memorial Blitz has become known as a fantastic event for showcasing all that is good about being part of the GAA community. It's an opportunity to meet your neighbours, friends and rivals. It's an opportunity to come together as a parish.
It's also an ideal opportunity for clubs to prepare for participation in future competitions at the various age grades, including observing and evaluating your teams' level of skill development.
Three shields were up for grabs in the boy's blitz across A, B and C divisions including two for the girls competition.
The Kilmeena boys managed to field three teams, one in each division and one team in the girls section. The games got underway promptly at 10:00 am under an overcast sky. Spirits were high, and you could feel the energy from the young players on the grounds. Our boys were very competitive in all of their games, and spectators were treated to some great performances throughout. Our oldest team competing in the A division played some marvellous games beating Breaffy, Achill, Westport and Parke en route to the final. Kilmeena had only one game left to reach the Promised Land, which was against their old rivals Tourmakeady whom they were only too familiar with. These two teams had gone toe to toe on many occasions over the years. It was a wonderful spectacle to watch these young footballers from both sides just going for it, displaying all the skills of the game. No blanket defences here! No negative tactics, just pure, honest football at its best, and it was exciting to say the least. Unfortunately, it was not to be for our boys. Ultimately, Tourmakeady proved too strong on the day and won the A shield. Our boys were disappointed, but we know they have a bright future ahead of them. All the boys did super, and the club is extremely proud of them.
Ballintubber won the B shield, with Achill, the eventual winner in the C section.
In the girls' competition, following some fantastic performances throughout the rounds by all the teams involved, Carnacon girls were crowned champions, defeating Westport in the A final. At the same time, the Balla girls were successful against Louisburgh in the B section.
The day was a huge success on all levels, with many clubs commenting on how well the event was organised. It is a huge undertaking to run an event of this scale in the club, and it involves many putting their shoulder to the wheel. We are lucky in Kilmeena GAA that so many volunteers are willing to give up their precious time so freely for the betterment of our club.
A special word of thanks to "The Golden Family" for their continued sponsorship of this event.
Thank you also to everyone who helped in any way to make the day such a success, especially the following;
Club Chairperson: John Mc Donald, Bord na nÓg Chairperson & Pitch Coordinator: Pete Mortimer, Club Secretary: Mary Slattery, Bord na nÓg Secretary: Noleen O'Grady. Not forgetting the Car parking attendants and tearoom staff in the clubhouse, Tuck shop staff, Registration: Maura Hastings & kathleen Geraty, Our M.C Michael Carney, Photographer: Martin McIntyre, First Aid: Edel Ryder & Will Fahy, Scorekeepers, Referees, Umpires, Coaches, people involved in the setting of the pitches, and all the volunteers who made sandwiches and baked goods.
Report: Brian McManamon.
Padraig Golden presents the Paddy Golden Memorial Cup to the winning captain of the Tourmakeady team winners of the Boys A section.
Carnacon captain accepting the winning Girls A Shield from Charles Golden on behalf of her teammates.
Ballintubber captain, winners of the B section, gratefully accepts the Shield from Pauline Golden,
Patrick Golden was on hand to present the shield to the captain of the victorious Balla team winners of the girls' B section.
The captain of the Achill team, winners of the Boys C Section, proudly accepts the shield from Hugh Golden.
Note: Given the number of match images included in the link above (in no particular order) from the event, it will be necessary to scroll through all the photos to find those relevant to your team.