Ballygarrett relishing unexpected adventure
By Cian O'Connell
It has just turned into one of those daring and dramatic campaigns for Realt Na Mara, Ballygarrett.
Winning the Wexford Intermediate A decider brought unbridled joy and entry into the AIB Leinster Junior Championship.
That a provincial decider has been reached merely adds to the sense of satisfaction and hope sweeping through the club presently.
“It has been unexpected,” Ballygarrett’s Jack Hobbs says as Saturday’s encounter with Conahy Shamrocks edges closer.
“Since the County Final now we have been on a roll, we have gathered momentum. We have played two games since the County Final, we beat the Carlow and Westmeath champions. We got two good wins.
“We have a small enough club, this was only our second ever time winning a County Final at adult level. Before that the farthest we got was to a Semi-Final in 2004.
“This is our first ever Leinster Final. We won the Intermediate A in Wexford, but we go into the Leinster Junior competition. There is a great buzz around the place, with the flags and the schools. It is good.”
Suddenly all sorts of possibilities are beginning to open up for Realt Na Mara with Hobbs encouraged by the progress being made in the underage ranks recently.
“We have small numbers, but in the last couple of years it has improved a lot,” Hobbs remarks. “We are starting to get to Semi-Finals and Finals, but we have to join up with a couple of ages. In the last couple of years it has started to improve with good work going on.
“Sometimes we are in the top tier, but usually we are in the second division. We have a couple of clubs around us with small numbers. The last couple of years it is improving.
“This is helping, we went to the schools after the County Final, and we went to a couple of medal presentations. So it was great excitement for the kids.”
Hobbs has been struck by the willingness and support of other clubs in the locality. “We have three clubs from around us, who have helped out with their facilities,” Hobbs states.
“They have better lights and they have offered their pitches to us. The whole county is getting behind us. The three pitches we use, we would have played them teams in the Championship this year, but they have helped us out when they can.”
Playing matches against opposition from outside Wexford is a new and exciting challenge which Hobbs and his colleagues have embraced.
“It is a completely different game,” Hobbs remarks. “You are so used to playing teams in your own county you then don't know anything about the other team. You are just going in blind, you do the best you can and just play. It is enjoyable.
“We have been picking up momentum, it wouldn't have been expected for us to reach the County Final. It is just after taking off for us and hopefully it is not stopped on Saturday.”