By Kevin Regan
Burren Rangers made history on Monday last when they fielded a Minor Hurling Championship Team, and went agonisingly close to making it a winning start.
The team which comprises of players from Ballon, Kilbride, Fighting Cocks and surrounding areas took to the field against Naomh Brid in Leighlinbridge and led for most of the game before narrowly losing out by 1-9 to 1-8.
It was a breath of fresh air to see another team bolster the Minor grade, and this is all down to the hard work of many coaches and parents in the area including former Kilkenny County Hurler Jarlath Bolger.
They also fielded a camogie team at minor level for the first time, and things seem to be going from strength to strength in that part of the county and long may it last.
In fact, Burren Rangers are putting other clubs to shame with numbers alone.
Last week I went over to watch Carlow Gaels u16s play – who take in Naomh Brid, Erins Own and Setanta- against them and despite losing out, they actually had more players to choose from as Carlow Gaels could only conjure up 13 players.
The Gaels may have won, but the fact that Burren Rangers could outnumber the amalgamated side was refreshing from their perspective, but worrying from the Carlow Gaels side of things.
Erin’s Own contested an u14 A Final last year and Naomh Brid reached an u16 A Semi Final, so trying to figure out what has caused the numbers to dwindle has left many hard working coaches scratching their heads in disbelief.
Another encouraging sign for Carlow Camogie came to fruition on Wednesday night when Muinebheag put out a Junior Camogie team for the Carlow Championship and went on to beat an experienced Myshall side by 2-7 to 1-5.
Again this is down to tonnes of spade work done by the likes of Mick Lillis, Ger Power, Christy Cody and many others.
It’s great to see another Town team in the county having the numbers to put out a team firstly, and to be competitive and win games is another added bonus.
If other North county based clubs could field Hurling and Camogie teams it would be a huge step in the right direction for Carlow and would lead to continued success at underage level.
The football clubs may have something to say about that, however Mount Leinster Rangers and Naomh Eoin are very competitive with the Big Ball despite being Hurling strongholds, so there’s no reason why the opposite can’t occur in the likes of Rathvilly and Clonmore.
Then we could really call ourselves a proper dual county.