Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

GAA: John keeping it in the family

Antrim county board chairman John McSparran fulfilled a very pleasant task just recently when he presented a trophy to his own club captain Robert Paul Laverty.





Cushendun's triumph in the Antrim Intermediate Hurling Championship final over St Paul's (4-11 to 1-10) certainly had considerable resonance for the wider McSparran family.



Three of John's brothers - Brendan, Paddy and Paul - were in the side while his father is the club president.



It's 15 years since Cushendun last claimed the Intermediate title and John is particularly delighted that several members of that side are still doing the business for the club where it matters most - out on the park.



"I think it is a tribute to the loyalty and commitment of these players that they are still wearing the jersey with pride. Their experience has paid dividends. They are certainly doing their bit to keep the hurling flag flying where the population is dwindling because of the inability of young people to get planning permission for homes," says John McSparran.



It was in 2000 that Cushendun were last in the decider but they made no mistake this time. Just 24 hours before attending his home club's stunning success, John had been at the Special Congress vigorously leading Antrim's opposition to the HDC proposals for the new-look All Ireland Championship.



"Cushendall's win certainly helped to erase some of the stress occasioned by the debating chamber," smiles John.



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