Castleblayney hurlers are top of the town
By John Harrington
What’s seldom is wonderful, and that’s why Peter Treanor is determined to enjoy every little thing about Castleblayney’s involvement in Sunday’s AIB All-Ireland Junior Hurling Club Final against Dunnamaggin of Kilkenny.
Most of Monaghan might be stony, grey soil for hurling, but in Castleblayney there has long been a tradition of promoting the game. The club’s achievement in reaching this All-Ireland Final is the culmination of a lot of hard work.
Treanor and his team-mates have toiled in the shadows for long enough so the limelight they’re currently basking in is something to be enjoyed.
“It's unreal, we've never experienced anything like it,” he said. “The town is green and gold. It's pretty special. There's posters going up here and there and seeing your mug up around the town is a bit surreal and strange.
“It's enjoyable, though, definitely. You hear guys talking about getting to an All-Ireland Final only for it to pass them by, so we're just trying to soak it in as much as we can and make the most of it.
“Obviously when we're out on the pitch we train as hard as we can to get ourselves in the best position to go and do well on the day.”
Sunday’s All-Ireland Final is the biggest thing to ever happen hurling in Castleblayney, but Treanor hopes it can be the catalyst for an even brighter future for the game in the town rather than a once off.
“We're thinking that we should be making the most of this while there's a buzz around hurling in Castleblayney because it is traditionally a football town,” he said.
“We organised a few kids to come out and they've been around pucking around with the senior players and we've chatted to a few parents afterwards and they said the kids were buzzing and really enjoyed it.
“Hopefully kids will have this to look up to now, to aspire to, and realise that just because I'm from Monaghan and I play hurling it doesn't mean that I can't achieve great things like playing in Croke Park.
“Hopefully it will be the start of something and not just a once off. We want to push on hurling in Castleblayney and hopefully in Monaghan too.”
They’ll go into Sunday’s match as massive underdogs against a talented Dunnamaggin outfit, but that’s a billing they’re well used to by now.
“I think the only game we were favourites for was the semi-final against Carrick On Shannon and that was one of our poorest performances,” said Treanor. “They put us to the pin of our collar and we were lucky enough to get over the line.
“In terms of Dunnamaggin, they're going to be favourites coming from Kilkenny which is to be only expected. I don't know much about them apart from Noel Hickey's exploits in his county days.
“I know they've had success within the county with Junior, Intermediate, and Senior titles, but I don't know much more about them.
“They don't know much about us either. When the ball is thrown in on the day we'll give it our best and hopefully it'll be good enough.
“We just want to put ourselves in the best possible position to perform on the day.”