Park/Ratheniska-Timahoe Hurling Club provided their membership with very informative and enjoyable night's entertainment to help people through the lull between Christmas and New Year’s, on Monday night last when they hosted an Evening with Derek McGrath in the Timahoe Community Hall.
The brainchild of James Fitzpatrick and the Park/Ratheniska-Timahoe U15 Hurling Management of James, John Ramsbottom, Martin Langton and Peter Barry, the night was essentially an opportunity to bring Derek along to present the PRT U15 B League Winning side with their medals and celebrate what was a very promising and encouraging year on the whole for both this side and the entire Park/Ratheniska-Timahoe Underage Hurling Club.
The newly amalgamated Club has been operating at underage for a few years now, and this year saw them field sides from U6 up to Minor, with them contesting Semi Finals or Finals at every age group, and in A grade at U11, U13 and U15.
Juvenile Chairperson Joe Cunningham welcomed the large attendance to the evening and thanked Derek for being so generous with his time and James for organising and agreeing to MC the occasion. As always, Derek was very forthcoming and honest with his time and thoughts, discussing his formative years growing up in Waterford City and the influence sport had on him and those around him.
He encouraged all the young hurlers in the audience to trust their own instincts in life, to pursue the things that bring them joy and happiness and to allow those around them to do likewise. Derek spoke of the importance of education and the education he received, both from his Primary and especially his Secondary School De La Salle in Waterford City where he continues to teach to this day.
Understandably the chat was largely surrounding his great love of Hurling and its wonderful influence on both his life and Irish society. He spoke of the positives to be gained from sport in general and how important it is to push yourself to be the best you can be. Derek spoke of his own sporting achievements both on and off the field, the heartbreak he experienced in the white and blue of Waterford, but also of the sense of satisfaction and achievement he experienced from pushing himself to be the best he could be, regardless of the outcome.
Of course, the evening was purely down to our U15 Hurlers and their endeavours on the hurling fields of Laois. Despite a small panel, they achieved impressively in 2019, winning the Division 2 of the Hurling League, before moving up into the “A” Championship grade.
They ran eventual finalists Abbeyleix all the way in the opening round, before finding themselves in the Shield where they defeated Rathdowney Errill to qualify for the Final, losing out narrowly to Castletown. Derek praised the youngsters for their hard work and commitment to improving themselves, and reminded them not to take for granted what they have in Park/Ratheniska-Timahoe, two communities bonded together over a love for our ancient game and a desire to provide an outlet for Hurling in our part of the county. As well as their medals, awards were presented on the night to Most Improved Hurler Andy Delaney and U15 Hurler of the Year Conor Fitzpatrick.
Joe Cunningham rounded out the night by again thanking Derek for his generosity, saying how Derek had spent the entire day in Laois with the Minor Hurlers before setting off back for Waterford after the Q & A.
Joe thanked those who helped out with refreshments for the evening, and wished everyone in attendance a Happy New Year, adding how he was already looking forward to the Clubs next social outing, their Awards Night Dinner Dance for our League & Championship Winning Junior Hurlers, in the Midlands Park Hotel on February 8th, tickets for which can be sourced from Michael Miller and Brian Ramsbottom, or any Junior Hurling Panel Member.