Pierce Flynn, Park Hotel presenting Jamie Barron with the Sport Star Award for August. included are Paddy Joe Ryan, Chairman Co. GAA Board, John O’Connor and Kieran O’Connor, adjudicators. Photo: Sean Byrne.
After a stunning man of the match performance that saw him score 2-1 from play (from midfield) in the All-Ireland SHC semi-final win over Cork in Croke Park, Waterford hurler, Jamie Barron is the Park Hotel Waterford Sports Star of the Month for August.
An All-Star in 2016, the Fourmilewater man continued his brilliant form in 2017 and is nominated for another All-Star Award and Hurler of the Year at next month’s awards. This is Jamie’s first Park Hotel award and he joins an illustrious list of GAA winners of this award stretching back to 1991.
“I’m delighted to get this award but it’s definitely on behalf of the team and how well we did in August in the semi-final against Cork. This is a great award, very prestigious when you look at all who have won it before me so I’m just delighted to accept in on behalf of the lads.”
There’s no doubt that the All-Ireland semi-final win over Cork in Croke Park was a special day for every Waterford hurling supporter but it was an extra special day for the Fourmilewater man who scored 2-1 on the day to cap a brilliant personal performance.
“Yeah it was a very special day for sure. I think there was a stage there after Cork had a man sent off when it wasn’t looking too great for us but we turned it around fairly quick and we went from two points down to five up in the space of three or four minutes. It was a great day and for once we went into the last five minutes knowing we had it won and that took a bit of pressure off us and allowed us to enjoy those last few minutes even more.”
There’s no doubt that the goal Jamie scored after taking a great cross from Austin Gleeson will stand out as one of the highlights of the hurling year for Deise fans. “A fella like Austin is one of very few players who could pick out a pass like that and for me it wasn’t too hard to get it and hit it into the net. They are special moments that we look back on later in life but it was fantastic at the time and hopefully we’ll have many more memories like that.”
Looking back at the year as a whole, there’s no doubt that the long awaited first win over Kilkenny since 1959 stands out for Jamie and all Deise fans.
“It was very special. I think after letting an eight point lead slip we were so determined going out for extra-time that we would do anything it took to get over the line and we said to ourselves that we’re not leaving here with another loss or it could be another 60 years before we get a chance to beat Kilkenny and I think our panel really showed their worth that night and thankfully we got the job done.”
MOVING ON TO 2018
Jamie admits that it’s been difficult to come to terms with the All-Ireland final loss but it has made them more determined than ever to bounce back.
“It’s been a very difficult period but I think we’ve moved on now at this stage and now we’re looking forward to 2018. We’ve shown that we’ve come on so much over the last few years and if we can continue the progress that we’ve been making year on year then we’ll be there or thereabouts again next year, hopefully.
On his All-Star and Hurler of the Year nominations, Jamie said “oh yeah it’s nice to be recognised for those awards but I think it’s even more satisfying for your family, club mates and coaches who have put in such an effort over so many years to help me and all the other players nominated to get where we are.”
Presenting the award, Pierce Flynn of the Park Hotel congratulated Jamie on a wonderful performance against Cork to win the Park Award. He also congratulated him and the rest of the Waterford players on a great season and expressed the hope that they will bounce back again and go one step further in 2018.
On behalf of the adjudicating committee, Kieran O’Connor, congratulated Jamie on his award and wished him well with his All-Star and Hurler of the Year nominations, as did County Board Chairman Paddy Joe Ryan who said they were very proud of Jamie and the whole Waterford team for their exploits in 2017. Paddy Joe also thanked Pierce Flynn and the Park Hotel for their support and hospitality and wished the hotel and the awards all the best in the future.