GAA community come together in memory of Maggie Black

By Shaun Casey

ST John’s Camogie club and the Shane O’Neill’s, Glenarm are coming together to host a tournament in memory of youngster Maggie Black who tragically passed away before the new year. One of the organisers, Niall O’Loan, says that the tournament in Maggie’s name will now be run every year.

“We have one parish but two clubs so it’s St John’s Camogie club and the Shane O’Neill’s Glenarm,” explains O’Loan. “We’re decided this year to run this tournament and we’re going to probably run it now every year.

“There was a young girl in the village, Maggie Black, she was only six and she died very suddenly right at the start of December. Her parents Brian and Sheenagh would be big members of both clubs.

“We thought it would be nice to do something from both clubs together. So, we’re going to run a primary school blitz. It’ll start on the Monday (July 25) evening and run right across Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and then the big finals day is on the Saturday.

“We have nearly 140 kids in our own parish that have signed up to play in it, which is massive for us. There are always festive weeks in the Glens so we’re running as part of the festive week and this Maggie Black Tournament will now be run every year as part of this.

“Both clubs have had their struggles in terms of playing numbers at underage, but we’ve seen a big resurgence in it recently and it’s a way of promoting camogie and hurling back into Carnlough and Glenarm.”

Brian, Maggie’s father, played for Glenarm hurling club all his life and there will be a real family feel to the tournament with lots of help from the wider community.

“Maggie has an older sister who is still in primary school, Eimear, who’ll be playing in the tournament and an older brother Charlie, who we’re hoping will referee. We’re going to use our older players as young whistlers.

“It had a massive impact on the community at the time, it affected everybody. That’s what Brian and Sheelagh want, something to take comfort on, something to recognise that Maggie is always going to have a place.

“We’re going to have four teams in each one of the age groups, nursery, P1, we have u-6s, u-7s, u-8s and then u-11s down. We’re going to make four teams in each one of the age groups.

“Glenarm’s club more or less matches up with the Dublin kit, so they’re going to be Dublin, St John’s more or less matches up with the Antrim kit, so they’re going to be Antrim.

“Then we’ll be getting a loan of shirts from Loughgiel who are going to be Cork and then we’re getting Cushendall shirts and they’re going to be Galway.

“We’ve got massive support from everyone within Antrim and there’s other counties out there that have offered to give us shout outs from senior players and stuff like that the week of the tournament to build the promotion of it.”

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