The ‘poc fada’, or ‘long puck’ has been a fairly regular competition on the GAA calendar of events since 1961 when Limerick’s Vincent Godfrey won the inaugural event. The event was not held during the 70’s but made a welcome return in 1980 and has been played every year since then.
The National Poc Fada is held usually in early August each year at a mountain course over the Cooley Mountains in County Louth. Over the years, senior inter county goalkeepers have been to the fore on the roll of honour for this competition. Most notable was Cork’s Ger Cunningham who won seven titles in a row from 1984 to 1990. Tipperary goalkeeper Brendan Cummins has been successful on four occasions. Ulster’s only winner was Gerry Goodwin from Tyrone who was successful in 1982.
Ulster GAA introduced a Provincial Poc Fada over a mountain course in 2006 when the competition was held at Carn Togher, which lies close to Slaughtneil in County Derry. Down’s Graham Clarke was successful three years running before Derry man, Ruairi Convery won last year’s event. Graham Clarke has been unlucky on a couple of occasions in the National event where he has been just beaten into second place on two occasions.
The 2010 event, which is sponsored by O’Neill’s, will be held on Saturday 5th June at 11am over a new course at Divis Mountain, which is close to Belfast. Presentations will take place at 2pm in Lamh Dhearg GAC Clubrooms.
Divis at 478 metres (1,562ft) and Black Mountain at 390 metres (1,275ft) form the dramatic backdrop to the city of Belfast. The mountains were first open to the public in June 2005, giving the people of Belfast access to the mountains that were in private ownership for decades.
The mountains offer spectacular views across Antrim, Down, Armagh Tyrone and Derry. The Mourne Mountains, Strangford and Belfast Loughs, the Castlereagh and Holywood Hills and the Sperrins are all visible, as are the coasts of England, Scotland and the Isle of Man.
From M1 motorway:
- Leave M1 motorway at Junction 2 (Stockman’s Lane).
- Take the A55 (Outer Ring), signed Falls.
- Go straight across first two roundabouts.
- From dual carriageway, turn left on to Upper Springfield Road (B38).
- Continue for about 2 miles to Cumann Lamh Dearg for changing rooms.
- Leaving Lamh Dearg club turn left and drive for about 0.5 miles before turning right on to the Divis Road.
- Continue on the Divis road to the car park, which is located on the left
- The course is a short walk opposite the car park
The event will involve individual categories in both Hurling and Camogie, as outlined below, and also a team event.
Hurling: Senior, Veteran (Over 40) and Under 16
Camogie: Senior and Under 16
The entrants from each County will form a County Team of five. The three best scores will be added together to give the team score for the team event.
The Lamh Dearg club from Antrim will provide changing rooms for participants and the club rooms will be used to provide refreshments after the event.
All competitors must bring their own spotter to the event. Rules and a map of the course will be provided on the day of the event.
For more information contact Michael McCullough on michael.mccullough.ulster.gaa.ie