Last weekend was a very significant weekend, with ANZAC Day being the focus in Australia.
Football Far North Coast was proud to again use our game to connect with the broader reflection by contesting six finals to decide the winners of four men's ANZAC Day Cup competitions and two Callan McMillan Memorial Shield titles.
Lismore Richmond Rovers FC was the first club to win one of the six prestigious trophies on offer during a big weekend of football, when the club secured the Callan McMillan "B" trophy against Ballina on Friday night.
Maddison Little from Rovers was outstanding in defence helping her side to a 2-0 victory and deservedly named player of the final.
Lismore Workers FC and Pottsville Beach FC contested the inaugural Men's Open C trophy, also on Friday night, with Pottsville Beach FC eventually prevailing, on penalties, over the more fancied Redmen. T
The Pottsville Beach FC goalie Troy Schramm, was the hero for Potty and was named best on field.
Saturday finals were played at two venues and at Skennars Head, the strong Lennox Head Sharks scored in the first minute against Rovers, then dominating the game before eventually winning 4-0.
Coach Shane Barton was delighted that his squad, with no less than three of his sons, Layton, Kurtis and player of the match Patrick, performed so well in the Open A final, giving the club the first title in this competition since winning consecutive titles in 2010 and 2011.
The Open B final was played at the newly furbished Colley Park Casino and the home club raised the trophy by defeating Rovers 5-1.
Casino Cobras Joel Pillar was best on field, from a host of impressive players.
The Callan McMillan Memorial Shield "A" Division final on Sunday brought the 2020 grand final winners Lennox Head FC up against rivals Byron Bay FC together.
The Sharks did well to keep Byron Bay FC to two goals and the James Gill and John McKay coached side was deserved winners to claim the club's first "A" Division title since 2008.
Ali Dean was almost excited as her mother by being named best on field.
The sixth and last final for the weekend was a much anticipated clash.
There is often a story behind the story and so it was last weekend. The two finals played last Sunday at South Lismore and the other finals, were absolutely a sombre remembrance of past sacrifices, but this year encompassed an additional moment to ponder.
On this occasion, many within the football community, most notably the South Lismore FC family, came on Sunday with a heavy heart.
The news that came only days before the final that highly respected 2019 South Lismore FC winning coach Cameron Hyde, had sadly succumbed to his battle with cancer, at age 31, ignited an emotion that was clearly difficult for the young South Lismore players to contain as they took the field against Byron Bay FC.
With the shirt of their late mentor appropriately adorning a chair in the Technical Area and his name included on the match sheet, the Celtics boys joined with Cameron's parents Rod and Christine, partner Tara and young daughter Lennie, on field to observe a minute's silence before kick-off.
The burden of grief would prove to be a divine inspiration for the South Lismore FC side and when captain Bodhi Estreich climbed high to head home the first goal after about ten minutes, one sensed that the influence of Cammo from above, would guide his charges to do him proud.
The Celtics took a one nil lead to halftime and two goals to Murray Towner in the second half sealed the deal.
A late penalty to Byron Bay FC was not enough to impact the result and the sound of the fulltime whistle was the catalyst for tears and an outpouring of emotion rarely seen after a local football match.
It was my pleasure to invite Cammo's parents and partner Tara to accept their personal winner's medallion and to present the medals to the South Lismore players, coach Rick Austen and Cammo's great mate and assistant coach Paddy Kable.