During the week I received an all-too-rare comment, a post from HURLER saying that “Ruairi Og will hurl you’s off the park on sunday…” After getting over the initial sarky amusement that someone had homed in on a Googled reference to De La Salle (the school) being the All-Ireland champions (last year), I wondered who ‘Ruairi Og’ was, clearly the latest great white dope of Antrim hurling.
Which (and I’m thinking of making this the motto for this website) shows you what I know. Ruairí Óg is the name of Cushendall GAA. There’s a doctrinal thesis out there waiting to be written on the historiography of GAA club names, and a whole chapter could be devoted to why people come up with names that are never used. I’d heard of Cushendall yet I don’t feel one bit embarrassed that I didn’t know their real name (any more than HURLER should feel embarrassed by not knowing the distinction between the two DLS’s, it should be noted). One of the great clubs of recent times, St Mary’s, are known to absolutely no one as that. And my own club trade under the mouthful that is Michael Mac Craith, a name that I’ve only ever seen unaccompanied by the pregnant explanation that it’s Tramore on the clunky old scoreboard that they used to have in Walsh Park.
So will it be Ruairí Óg (Cushendall) or De La Salle (club) winning through on Sunday? Waterford clubs hold no fear for Antrim clubs, as Dunloy demonstrated in beating Mount Sion in 2003. But De La Salle have shown that they are not hamstrung by the demons that have held back Waterford clubs over the years. I’ll stick my neck out – based on the aforementioned lack of nerves and their gradual ascent towards the top meaning their presence here is no fluke, De La Salle to win. Either way, thanks to HURLER for his / her interest, and best of wishes to the good folk of Cushendall.