It's not just middle aged men chasing a white ball. It's much more important than that!
Published by Anthony McNamee on 29th February 2016.
— Update 3rd March: Revised Rules and Teams —
A few queries were raised about the tournament rules, and it was agreed to relax a couple of the more stringent rules to help keep play moving. The revised rules can be downloaded here.
Also, a big welcome to An Riocht, who will replace Rostrevor in Group 4.
No Cover Charge for the Day – Donations are Welcome
First of all, it’s probably worth reminding everyone that there is a two-fold purpose to the day.
The first is to remember our dear friend Mo Fearon. The second is to help raise funds for the Southern Area Hospice and Marie Curie charities that were so close to his heart and helped him through the final years of his life. Any proceeds will be divided equally between these two cancer charities.
Please give generously on the day. In 2015 we raised £13,000. That’s the bar we’ve set. We must go higher.
The Football Tournament: 1.00pm – 3.30pm
We are hosting 16 sides in this year’s tournament, including last year’s finalists The Loup and Killeavy, plus an increased local flavour courtesy of Mitchels, Burren and Saval. A fine selection of Ballyholland Harps legends will, of course, also be chomping at the bit on the day. Plus, our senior football manager Steven Poacher is lining out for the Mitchels, and his motormouth ways should ensure a queue of men lining up for the chance of a swipe at him.
The group matches begin at 1pm sharp, and the final will take place at 3.15pm sharp. Let’s be honest, it’s going to be cold out there, so we will be operating a “no slippages” policy. The rule of thumb is that when the hooter is sounded, the ball will be thrown-in… whether the teams are ready or not.
Teams must arrive in time for registration at 12pm sharp. A full set of rules and fixtures are available to download from this page.
Children’s Entertainment, Activities and Stalls: 1.00pm – 5.00pm
One thing we’ve learned over the years in Ballyholland is that happy children make for happy parents.
This year’s children’s activities – bouncy castles, obstacle course, games, face painting, stalls, plus loads and loads of sugar – will take place in the new Community Centre, from around 12.30pm.
There will be direct access to pitches 3 and 4 from the Community Centre; indeed if you’re early enough you’ll be able to watch pitch 3 directly from one its breakout rooms.
Food and Refreshments: 12.30pm – 5.00pm
There will be a burger and hot dog stand by the pitch side and the old portacabin changing rooms have been converted into a little coffee and tuck shop and will be selling teas, coffees and snacks all day.
There will also be an ice cream van and tuck shop at the community centre for the children.
Prizes and Entertainment in the Club: 4.30pm – 7.00pm
The football prize-giving will take place around 4.30pm in the club rooms, followed shortly by some live music and banter with Decky. Based on last year, this is when the day’s footballers will be at their most tender, until the long forgotten pain of knocks and bruises slowly eases through liquid anaesthetic.
Live Music in the Club from 8pm
The brilliant BackBeat are strutting their stuff at 9pm sharp, before handing over to DJ Marko G who will help us ring in the wee hours.
There will be a £5 cover charge for charity on the evening, and drinks promotions will run throughout the day and night.
A full house is expected… don’t be late. Genuinely, don’t be late. Seriously, you probably won’t get in.
The Big Raffle and Auction
To help bump up the charity fund, a superb raffle will take place later in the evening in the club.
But you can of course buy your tickets at any time of day – look out for Méabh Cunningham, Cathy Mulholland-Shields or Cathal “Slip” McCartney, who will always have a book in hand.
- A Celtic FC top signed by Jay Beatty
- A night for two in the Croke Park Hotel, Dublin
- A £50 voucher for the House Bar and Kitchen in Belfast
- Four tickets for the Night of Comedy at Narrow Water Castle
- £100 voucher for Jigsaw, Belfast
- Meal voucher for Fitzpatricks, Carlingford
- Makeover by Joanne Doyle, makeup artist
- Set of Irish scenery prints by photography Marc Lawson
- 2 x Beauty gift sets
- Bottles of wine
An auction will also take place on the night, for two weekends away.
Parking (and Walking)
In order to create a safe environment for children, parking/access will be heavily restricted within the club grounds.
While parking will be available in the Community Centre, Murphy’s Yard and at Rascals and Ruffians, given that we are hosting visitors from all across Ireland who actually do need their cars, our locals are encouraged to leave the wagon at home, and let their feet lead them to the club and back.
Wrap Up Warm
If we learned one lesson from the inaugural Mo Fearon Cup, it’s that Ballyholland can be an unusually cold place during March. Please wrap up warm. Add more layers than you think. There will be cloakroom facilities in both the Club and Community Centre.
Sport on TV
A spot in front of the wood burner will no doubt be sought by many. Perhaps not a vintage day of sport, but Spurs are hosting Arsenal in a potential EPL title decider at lunchtime, while Tyrone v Derry and Dublin v Cork in the National Football League at 7pm should provide a few talking points.
It’s expected that around 10pm, innumerable plans will be underway for finding a party house or two to watch Conor McGregor take on Nate Diaz at UFC 196. But, it’s equally expected that nobody will actually be awake when he does his thing at 4.30am.