Bonfires blaze for victorious Bandon

The bonfires were blazing in Bandon on Saturday following the town’s U19 rugby team scooping the All-Ireland title — although the players have been urged to mind the celebrations ahead of another final this weekend.

As many as 400 supporters travelled from West Cork to Naas for the game against Navan, with Bandon emerging victorious by 15 points to three.

As one supporter, Tom Hickey, put it yesterday: “They’re over the two moons, not just the one.”

The cup win is the biggest since the club won the Munster Senior Cup back in 1886, after being founded in 1882.

Club vice-president Damian Healy said the victory had meant a few sore heads in the town yesterday — but not for the players, who have another date with destiny this coming Saturday in the South Munster Cup against Highfield.

“They are an exceptional bunch of guys,” Damian said of the squad, mostly from Bandon but with players coming from surrounding areas like Kilbrittain and Newcestown.

“We came back down last night to be greeted by bonfires. This is really the first major title the club has taken, ever. The whole town has been decked out in blue and white, we have had well wishers from the GAA club and all the business people in the town — it’s been phenomenal.”

Tries by Christian Mulcahy and the superbly named Mighty Okafor were added to by the boot of Richard Walsh, the latter one of a number of Bandon players already called up at underage level by Munster.

Bandon has teams playing from under-seven level upwards and yesterday Damian Healy said it is possible more celebrations are planned by the town authorities, although “I haven’t a clue”.

As it turns out, the town’s mayor, Cllr Gillian Coughlan, said efforts were already underway to organise a reception to mark the team’s “wonderful achievement”.

It might not be the last bonfires Bandon sees this week.

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