All Ireland Poc Fada Finals 31st July 2010

poc-fada1The M Donnelly All Ireland Poc Fada Finals will take place on Annaverna Mountain Ravensdale this coming Saturday (31st). The unique sporting and cultural GAA event which is this year once again sponsored by Martin Donnelly (MD) will also see the All Ireland Camogie and Under 16 Poc Fada contests.

2009 Champion Roscommon’s Gerry Fallon will be there to defend his title.

He faces stiff competition from Ulster Poc Fada Champion Ruairi Convery (Derry), Leinster Champion Eoin Reilly (Laois) Seamus Coffey (Cork) the Munster Poc Fada Provincial winner and James Skehill (Galway) the Connacht Champion. Kilkenny All Ireland winning goalkeeper James McGarry, Wexford’s all Ireland and all star Damien Fitzhenry and Down’s Graham Clarke will also participate in this years Poc Fada which is over a challenging mountain 5km course. Karol Keating (Down), Brendan McNamara (Clare) and Donal O Brien (Mayo) will also be attempting to win the prestigious all Ireland medal for this event. Meaths Neil Hackett is also participating this year.

Waterford’s Patricia Jackman will be back on the famous mountain course to defend her Camogie All Ireland title against the challenges of Connaught Champion – Stephanie Gannon (Athenry, Galway) , Leinster Champion – Voureen Quigley (Kilkerley, Louth), Munster Champion – Jacqui O’Connor (St Ibarrs Shelmeliers, Wexford) ,Ulster Champion – Fionnuala Carr (Down), Armagh Champion – Bernie Murray (Cullyhanna) and Louth Champion – Catriona Cantwell (St. Annes).

The hurlers in this year’s Under 16 Poc Fada are Patrick Nugent Antrim, Sean Barry Waterford, Owen Tracey Galway and Dónall Connolly (Jnr) Louth

Chairperson of the national Coiste of An Poc Fada, Donie Nealon said that a great days completion was expected. “This is a very unique sporting event. We can expect a close contest” said the former Tipperary star hurler and Munster Council secretary. Louth’s Pat Hamilton who serves as secretary of the National Poc Fada Committee reminded all those intending to attend the event that they should come prepared for the rugged mountain course. He also appealed to any local GAA Hurling, Camogie and Football Clubs wishing to assist at the event to contact him.

The full line out will be announced and draws for the Comortas Beirte (Pairs) contest will take place on Wednesday next 28th July at the M Donnelly All Ireland Poc Fada launch in Croke Park.

This year once again an appeal is being made by the organisers to all clubs and individuals with an interest in this unique sporting event to come along on the day and help out with the days. Anyone wishing to take on a role should contact Josie Maguire ( josiemaguire@hotmail.com ) 0871329120 or Pat Mc Ginn ( patmcginn@hotmail.com ) 02830839134. All involved should ensure that they are on the mountain by 12noon.

The Camogie and Under 16 Competitions start at 12.30pm with the senior Poc Fada commencing at 1pm

More information available from www.anpocfada.net

Finalists’ Profiles

Seniors

· Graham Clarke: The Down goalkeeper who plays his hurling with the Ballygalget Club is back on the mountain for this year’s event. Graham has given great service and commitment to hurling and the Poc Fada contest here on Annaverna.

· Gerry Fallon: The 2009 Champion who plays his hurling with Roscommon Club Oran is expected to put up a strong challenge to retain his title.

· Eoin Reilly: The Leinster Poc Fada Champion from Laois is a member of the Portlaoise Club. He visits the 5km mountain course for the first time and is hopeful that he will make a strong challenge.

· Donall O Brien: The Connacht representative is from Mayo and plays his hurling with Ballyhaunis. He faces the 5km Poc Fada mountain course for the first time

· Brendan Mc Namara: The Scariff hurler from County Clare returns to the mountain and would be expected to be challenging for the all Ireland title.

· Seamus Coffey: The Cork hurler is currently the Munster Poc Fada Champion. He is a member of the University College Cork Hurling Club and visits the mountain for the first time

· Ruairi Convery: The Ulster Poc Fada Champion who is a member of the Swatragh Club inDerry returns to the mountain for the second time. Ruairi is hopeful that he can go one better than his second place of two years ago this year.

· Karol Keating: The Portaferry hurler from County Down competes in his first Poc Fada and the Ulster Poc Fada runner up hopes to give a good account of himself over the 5km mountain course. Goes out sixth in this year’s field.

· James McGarry: Back to the mountain for a second time the highly accomplished and respected Kilkenny hurler who plays with his local club Bennettsbridge, will no doubt be determined to make a strong showing.

· Damien Fitzhenry: The Wexford and Duffry Rovers hurler makes a welcome return to the moutain and he is expected to make a strong bid to capture the All Ireland Poc Fada title. Damien has been a great supporter of this All Ireland event for many years

· James Skehill: The Connacht Poc Fada 2010 Champion is from the Cappataggle Club. He makes a welcome return to the Annaverna mountain and is expected to make a strong showing.

· Neil Hackett: The Meath hurler plays with the St Peter’s Dunboyne Club, takes on the 5km all Ireland Poc Fada course for the very first time. Neill would hope to put up a strong challenge to lift the all Ireland title at his first attempt.

Camogie

· Patricia Jackman: The Gaultier & Waterford star is the current champion and Munster Poc Fada winner and All Ireland runner-up from 2006 to 2008. Patricia will be looking to retain the Camogie Poc Fada Cup for another year on this her 5th visit to the mountain.

· Stephanie Gannon: The Connaught champion from Athenry, Galway was the winner of the inaugural All Ireland Camogie Poc Fada in 2004 at the age of 16. Winner of an All Ireland minor title and the camogie young player of the year award also in 2004. Stephanie will be hoping to take the cup home for a second time.

· Voureen Quigley: The Leinster Champion and runner up in 2005, the Kilkerley camogie and Louth Ladies Football star is competing for the 4th time and will undoubtedly be looking to keep the All Ireland Camogie Poc Fada Championship title in Louth this year to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the first Poc Fada in 1960.

· Jacqui O’Connor: The Muster Champion plays her club Camogie with St Ibarrs Shelmeliers, Wexford, runner up in the All Ireland in 2008 and finishing 3rd in last year’s final. Jacqui who captains the 2010 Tipperary Intermediate Team will be looking to ensure that her county continues to dominate the Annaverna mountain by taking another All Ireland Poc Fada title back to Tipperary.

· Fionnuala Carr: The Ulster Champion from the Clonduff Camogie club in Co.Down and is a Down Dual-Star. Runner up in final of 2007 Fionnuala will be a strong competitor for the other finalists.  Ulster’s final was held on Divis Mountain in Belfast, no better preparation for Fionnuala’s quest for All Ireland Honours.

· Bernie Murray: Armagh’s champion is a member of the County Armagh Senior team for the last 6 years and current captain. Bernie who plays her Camogie with Cullyhanna will be eager to add a national title to Armagh’s collection this year after the Hurlers’ Nicky Rackard Cup win.

· Catriona Cantwell: Louth’s champion is a native of Tipperary and plays for St. Annes, in Blackrock, Co. Louth. Catriona who has achieved county honours in both league and championship for both Camogie and Football in Tipperary will be carrying the banner for Louth and aiming to do the Wee County proud on the 50th Anniversary of the first Poc Fada also.

Boys Under 16

· Patrick Nugent: The Ulster Champion hails from the Naomh Eoin club in Belfast and will be well used to the mountainous terrain having won his title on Divas Mountain just on his doorstep.

· Sean Barry: The Munster Champion hails from Lismore in Waterford and will be looking to bring the National title home to The Deise when he visits the Annaverna course

· Owen Tracey: The Connaught Champion is from the Portumna club in Galway and will definitely be fuelled by the epic deeds of The Tribesmen v Tipperary in what may have been the best game of Hurling this year. Galway will be looking to Owen to bring home an All Ireland Title.

· Dónall Connolly Jr.: The Louth champion and Leinster representative is 15 year old Dónall Connolly Jr. who was Louth’s U14 goalkeeper last year. Dónall is no stranger to the Annaverna course as he has for the last couple of years helped out as a Gasóg.

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