LIMERICK’S All-Ireland hurling title win has spurred the growth of a new hurling club.
Up and running since April, Athea GAA club officially launched it’s underage hurling nursery last Sunday in the presence of the Liam MacCarthy Cup.
Already over 50 young boys and girls have picked up hurleys for the first time.
"The catalyst was certainly the All-Ireland win. There was hurling here in the 80s and much earlier than that but for 30 years it has been dormant. It’s very easy enthuse children to play hurling at the moment when their heroes are all from Limerick," explained Athea chairman Paul Curry.
"There was never a better time to introduce hurling into a traditional football stronghold," said Curry.
"Down through the years we had an association with Templeglantine and Tournafulla to a lesser extent for our club players to play hurling, but the logistics meant that very few continued to hurl," outlined the chairman.
"We are starting out to develop through a nursery and starting with children aged 6-12 so that we can offer hurling to all in our club and indeed some clubs around us. Now the opportunity is there is there to play hurling and we have nine or 10 coaches and with the help of the County Board we are going to up-skill them too," he said of the volunteers.
"Our intention is to develop players up until as have U14s. We hope to play U6, U8 and U10 blitzes later this Summer and hurling is now played in the school and they have already had three games," he outlined.
he club chairman paid tribute to the sponsor of their hurling nursery – Athea native and London resident; Thomas O'Mahony, Managing Director and owner of Maylim Limited.
“All this would not be possible without our sponsor, who has set up all the youngsters with hurleys, helmets and also provided sliothars and jerseys. Without his input we would not have been able to get it all off the ground so fast,” said Curry.