Hamilton High School Bandon still punching above their weight
By John Harrington
Hamilton High School, Bandon, have a proud tradition of punching above their weight when it comes to Post Primary Schools GAA.
They’re a relatively small school of around 400 boys, and yet manage to consistently compete for top honours in both Gaelic football and hurling, winning provincial and All-Ireland honours in both.
They’re located in an area of Cork more traditionally know as a power-base of Gaelic football, but the school has always given equal billing to hurling and reaped the benefits of that approach as their presence in Saturday’s Masita GAA Post Primary Schools Senior ‘B’ Hurling Final attests to.
“We’re very much a dual school,” says Tiernan O’Driscoll, joint manager of the team that will play Coláiste Naomh Cormac from Offaly in Saturday’s Final.
“I suppose we'd be considered one of the best teams in West Cork in hurling. We feel it's our duty to promote hurling and represent West Cork.
“It can be challenging to combine both codes, there's no doubt about that. But, to be fair, we work well with the coaches of the football squad and our local clubs and find a way.
“The clubs are great in that respect. They help us out a lot in terms of releasing players for crucial games.
“I think it's important for young fellas to experience a wide range of sports. Different sports can complement each other. Basketball is huge in Kerry and that obviously benefits their football.
“I think it can only be positive that they're involved in different codes, different sports. They can bring all the positive aspects from those different sports to whatever they're playing that day.
“When you come into Hammies you know it's a very football and hurling oriented school. A lot of fellas would know that from their club backgrounds. They would know that and they want to excel at that.”
Hamilton High School have showed both class and grit on the way to this Final, overcoming Castletroy College after a ferocious battle in the Munster Final and then getting the better of Holy Rosary College of Mountbellew in the All-Ireland semi-final.
They’re up against another quality outfit now in Saturday’s Final in a Coláiste Naomh Cormac team that includes a number of the Offaly team that reached last year’s All-Ireland Minor Final, including Player of the Year, Adam SCreeney.
“There are some quality players there, there's no doubt about that, but we'll relish it,” says O’Driscoll.
“Obviously we want to play the best teams and if you get to an All-Ireland Final then you're going to be playing the best team in your grade.
“So the lads are really looking forward to it and on the day they're going to give it their best game. That's all you can really ask for.”
Saturday, March 18
Masita GAA Post Primary Schools Paddy Buggy Cup (Senior 'B' Hurling) Final
Hamilton High School Bandon v Coláiste Naomh Cormac, Kilmallock, 2pm.