Down hurling stalwart Conor Woods and Cavan camog Emma Mulvaney are the 2023 Ulster Poc Fada Senior Champions, following the final held in Glenarm yesterday evening.
Challenging weather conditions had initially threatened the event, but fortunately the clouds cleared, and 26 competitors and over a hundred spectators made their way onto the mountain for the eagerly-anticipated contest.
The competition featured four categories: Senior and U16 Hurling, and Senior and U16 Camogie.
Ballycran man Woods emerged as the winner in the Senior Hurling category, completing the course in 25 pocs and 126 yards to defeat Liam Watson of Loughgiel and Antrim.
At the halfway point, the top four competitors were separated by just one poc and a few yards, with all senior hurlers finishing in nine pocs plus yards.
The Under 16 Hurling competition saw Sean Óg McLaren from Naomh Pól, Antrim, retain his title as the champion of Ulster. He completed the course in 27 pocs and 95 yards, finishing ahead of both Paul McNicholl from Baile na Scríne, Derry, and Oran McAnareney from Ballela, Down, both of whom finished with 29 pocs and 61 yards.
In the Senior Ladies category, Emma Mulvaney from Castletara in Cavan secured the title, completing the shortened course in 22 pocs and 31 yards, narrowly beating Danielle McCourt from Ballyholland, Down, by just four yards.
Tiarná Kelly from the Baile na Scrine club in Derry successfully defended her Under 16 Camogie title from last year, finishing the course in 21 pocs and seven yards, four pocs clear of her competition.
Following the event, all participants and spectators were invited back to the Shane Uí Neill clubrooms for refreshments and the presentation of awards. Each of the four winners received an Ulster Medal and a £50 O’Neill’s voucher sponsored by Ulster GAA & Ulster Camogie.
Ulster Vice Chair, and Chairperson of the Hurling Committee, Michael Geoghegan expressed gratitude to Terence Mulvenna and Shane Uí Neill GAC for their hospitality and the fantastic venue.
Thanks were also extended Ulster Camogie, emphasising the significance of both Camogs and Hurlers in making the event a success. St Johns Ambulance was acknowledged for providing medical coverage, and John McIlwaine received recognition for his photography services.
The Ulster GAA hurling coaches and Hurling Committee Secretary Kieran Farmer were also thanked for organising the event and supporting the completion of the County Poc Fadas.
Lastly, appreciation was expressed to all the participants, parents, spotters, referees, staff, and spectators for attending the event. Despite initial concerns about the weather, the event was highly enjoyable and successfully concluded. Especially acknowledged were those who travelled long distances, expressing hope that they had a positive experience and would return for future events.
Congratulations were extended to all the winners, and it was announced that four counties from Ulster would progress to the All-Ireland Finals. The provincial winners would have the opportunity to compete against the best in Ireland on Annaverna Mountain, located in the Cooley Range, Co. Louth, on Monday, August 7th.
Ulster GAA wishes the best of luck to all the participants.