Bob Marley, the Wolfe Tones and much more

KILLEEDY in West Limerick on a wet January Sunday afternoon is probably as local and grassroots as you can go with the GAA.
While there was the Clare versus Tipperary Munster Senior League decider down for decision in the Gaelic Grounds to set some early-season pulses racing as a couple of All-Ireland contenders laid claim to the big game of the day in the province, you could say that the bragging rights belonged to everyone in Killeedy.
All because, there was something homely and heartwarming and completely different about what went down here over the course of this Munster final afternoon, when a couple of Junior B teams had their big day in the rain.
It was in the sense of occasion that the Killeedy club tried to tee up for their patrons who parted with a fiver at the gate; it was in the enthusiasm of the respective supporters who were desperate for a slice of Munster glory; it was everything about the occasion.
For starters, there was the work of the local DJ Killeedy, who in between and during his announcement of the two starting 15s, had a playlist that was eclectic in the extreme. This was a Stopify shuffle to beat all others.
I mean, it’s an educated guess to say that never before have Sean South from Garryowen by Wolfe Tones, Take Me Home Country Roads by John Denver and numerous Bob Marley numbers been on the same playlist and repeated on a loop. It made for a curious backdrop to a Munster final afternoon — with the loudspeakers that blasted out these diverse sounds being a statement that they do things differently in this corner of Limerick.
And the music wasn’t the only thing, with DJ Killeedy going further to say that things are so different in these parts that Christmas is still ongoing.
Yes, that’s what we were told — that Nollaig na mBan of January 6 doesn’t get the honour of closing the festive season in Killeedy but, instead, the honour goes to St Ita’s Day on January 15, the local patron saint, who, we’re told, was a foster-mother to many other saints, among them St Brendan the Navigator. And so, with two days of Christmas still left to run in Killeedy, all that was left was for Cappamore and Inagh-Kilnamona to try and extend their festive celebrations by seizing their big day and navigating their way through wind and rain to the top of Mount Munster.
This is where Grassroots GAA was at — the pride of parish gift-wrapped as a late Christmas present, with the packed covered terrace adding to the impression that this was as good as it could get.
Yes, it’s only a tournament and not an official Munster Council competition like the Senior, Intermediate and Junior A provincial championships, but no one told that to the 30-plus players who saw action on the day or to the supporters who cheered them in such numbers and weren’t slow to raise their voices. Yes, it’s true that real quality was at a minimum during the hour, but that’s not what this was about, it’s not what this whole competition is about.
It’s about giving a voice to Junior B players, about giving them a chance to shine, have that day in the rain, just to see where it might take them.
And while it didn’t bring the Inagh-Kilnamona Junior B’s to the top of Munster, they did walk out onto the Munster final stage with Bob Marley and the Wolfe Tones as backing tracks. (We’ll leave John Denver out of it).
They must stand alone as the only Clare club in hurling history to have such an honour.
How bad (meaning how great), as they say in Clare!


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