GAA | Twenty-four teams come from far and wide to play in ‘Bammel’ Malone Blitz

Twenty-four teams from 13 counties took part in the fourth annual Michael ‘Bammel’ Malone Blitz at Fr McEvoy Park in Cooley last Saturday.

Buses and coaches started to arrive from 9am with each club greeted and welcomed to the peninsula by club chairman Adrian Sheelan, Bammel’s son Cormac and blitz organiser Gerry Fearon.

While all the teams were arriving the ladies were busy getting the refreshments ready in the function room for the guests with each and every player receiving a goodie bag on the day.

At 9.40am, the parade of participants began, led by local piper Vinny Murray, before all the teams faced the flag for the national anthem which was sung brilliantly by club member and internet sensation Leah Kirwin who had brother Noah by her side.

The games got underway and by noon the group stages were decided with team mentors summoned to the function room for refreshments and to see who their club was drawn against in the quarter finals.

Before the mentors departed, Cooley Kickhams’ chairman and juvenile chairman said a few words before presenting each club with a plaque to mark their visit to Cooley.

A highlight of the day was Brian Rafferty interviewing all mentors and guests. This footage will be put on a DVD by camera man Leo as a keepsake of the event.

When play resumed, the final pairings saw Trillick from Tyrone face against Culloville from Armagh in the cup final with St Loman’s of Westmeath meeting Omeath outfit Cuchulainn Gaels in the shield final.

After some brilliant football in both games, Trillick and St Loman’s were victorious and the future of the GAA is bright if the standard of football shown in Cooley on Saturday is anything to go by!

Speaking in his interview with Brian, Greg Blaney — a former All Ireland winner with Down — said that the Bamell Malone Blitz is the best his St Brigid’s, Belfast side has taken part in, in terms of the professional manner it was run, both on and off the pitch.

The Michael ‘Bammel’ Malone Blitz could not take place without the help of many people and the entire Cooley Kickhams committee pulled out all the stops to make this event the best in the north east. And with the club’s new pitch set to be ready for next year ready, organiser Gerry Fearon is already planning for 2018.

His ambition is to see a club from every county take part, along with an overseas team, to compete alongside the likes of Ballyboden, St Enda’s, Slaughneil and St Loman’s along with a host of other local teams in the near future.

The organisers would like to say thanks to all the sponsors who gave goodies towards this blitz and a special mention must go to Kevin Smith for the professional way he set out his fixtures and pitch selections, so much so that each team remarked how they didn’t have too much of a break between games.

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