Ballymona, a typical Irish village nestling in the heartland of middle Ireland, rarely attracted much attention outside of its parish boundary. In fact the only once that anybody could remember getting a mention in a national newspaper was when it was referred to as “the sleepy village of Ballymona”. Oh but how all this was to change over those few years from 1980, when both internal and external events set such an explosive combination in place that it rocked the ancient village to its very foundation. The simple love of the game of hurling and the pride it brought it every parish in Ireland was the catalyst which caused conflicts and splits that were never likely to be healed The past history of the team came back to haunt those who had tried to forget. The bloodlines of the proposed new team were still the same and old habits die hard. Visitors looked on the tidy village, with its picturesque church and restful lake out the road as the idyll what a tranquil place might be. But Ballymona had an underbelly shifting back and forth just under the surface. The forces of passion and conquest competed for space whenever there was the slightest vacuum. Old hurler Danny Mahon didn’t want much of anything else; but he was driven by a determination to reinvent the great hurling team that he played his last game at a forty-something year old some sixteen years earlier. Onto the scene comes the Coventry born “Star McGuigan“ the militant republican with the English accent. “Star” could do anything with his hands or his feet on the sporting field, but it was in the pursuit of the local women that young McGuigan got his most gratifying thrills. The ˜troubles in the North” impacted on Ballymona no matter how hard the ordinary people just wanted to get on with their neighbours; both Catholic and Protestant wanted no more from life than to be able to earn a decent week’s pay for a decent week’s work.

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