13 brothers starting for Waterford club in Munster final this weekend 1 week ago

13 brothers starting for Waterford club in Munster final this weekend

Ballinameela GAA club has only 90 members.

Of those 90, 45 of them have left their playing days behind them. You would think survival is the name of the game for a GAA club with only 45 playing members but Ballinameela, the small club tucked away in West Waterford are doing just fine.

All things considered, they're absolutely flying.

Across both codes, the dual club have won six adult titles since 2009. This year, their under-11 hurlers joined up with local club Geraldine's under the banner of St Oliver's and they won the Division One country league title.

Ballinameela have been punching above their weight for years but the best is yet to come.

That famous crop of under-11s are being marked out already and they will be arriving down the line sooner rather than later but for the moment, every single soul in Ballinameela, in Mountstewart and even in Aglish will be focusing on the game that takes place this Sunday down in Mallow.

The Ballinameela junior hurling team won the Waterford county title a couple of months ago and they've done that growing Déise reputation no harm in Munster so far anyway, beating Limerick champions Tournafulla in the semi-final.

Let's not forget, Waterford clubs have a rich history in this competition. Another of the county's clubs, Ardmore, emerged from that ever competitive junior championship last year before going on to lift Munster and All-Ireland titles later on. Ballysaggart, similarly won Munster and made it to an All-Ireland final in the grade a couple of years ago.

Those clubs are neighbours of Ballinameela's in the west and there's no doubt about it that the west of Waterford is rising.

This time around, it's Ballinameela's day in the sun and their junior hurlers are chomping at the bit for the challenge Cork's representatives Cloughduv will hit them with on Sunday.

To beat Ballinameela though, Cloughduv will have to cut through blood and they'll have to cut through some very thick water too.

That's because of their starting 15, 13 of them are brothers while another two of their panellists are cousins.

  • Five Phelan brothers
  • Three Curran brothers
  • Three Looby brothers
  • Two Culloo brothers
  • Two Shines (Cousins)

The last member of the starting 15 is Liam O'Brien and he's a first cousin of Waterford senior star Tom Devine.

They say hurling's in the breeding and that certainly applies to Ballinameela, the little club who also somehow are able to field two football teams in the Waterford championships.

For now though, the focus is on the small ball and unsurprisingly, the whole place is buzzing for Sunday, as club member Conor Mulhall told us recently.

"The place has gone hurling mad. The bunting is out everywhere, the youngsters all over have flags in one hand and hurleys in the other. It's great, the GAA is a part of everything in the community and it keeps all the lads together," he said.

One more big push on Sunday and they'll make history.