'We were training in a sheep field with two generator lights'

One of the oldest and smallest clubs in Ireland will compete in the Waterford Senior Hurling Championship in 2020.

'We were training in a sheep field with two generator lights'

One of the oldest and smallest clubs in Ireland will compete in the Waterford Senior Hurling Championship in 2020. Founded in 1885, Ballysaggart were crowned county intermediate champions for the first time on Saturday. They will join parish rivals Lismore in the top flight next season.

“It’s the best day I’ve had playing hurling,” said Man of the Match and Déise forward Stephen Bennett. “The first time ever winning the West a few weeks ago was incredible, but to come down and beat Ballygunner in Walsh Park is unbelievable.”

The Bennetts scored 17 points out of their side’s 1-19 total of 11 for Stephen, four for Kieran and two for Shane. Veteran Eugene O’Brien, who has hurled with the club for 27 years, got the goal. The blue and navy have come a long way since Stephen Bennett first lined out with the adult team.

“I remember starting off playing with Ballysaggart in 2013 and we didn’t even have a field. We were training in a sheep field with two generator lights,” he said. “That’s only seven years ago. We won the junior and we thought it would never be beaten, but to win a county intermediate is absolutely massive.

We’ve got a 43-year-old playing, we’ve got 46 and 47-year-olds on the bench. They’ll get to tog out at senior next year, however that will work out! We’ll worry about that in a few months!

The supporters didn’t want to leave the field afterwards. This victory meant a great deal to everyone at the club.

“I remember three or four years ago one fella told me that he’d die a happy man if he saw Ballysaggart play senior.

“Look, he’ll get the chance now to see them. It’s just unbelievable. At the start of the year, we had nine or 10 fellas training. We just don’t have the numbers. Then we got fellas back in the middle of the year and it’s unreal now to have every fella who’s even half able to tog. I don’t know where we pulled 25 players out of today! On the programme we had names anyway!”

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