The U16 hurling championship got underway on Thursday July 12 th in Raheen with Athenry
getting off to a great start with a convincing win over Craughwell. The full forward line of
Niall Kelly and the Hannon brothers, Cian and Eoin, with some fantastic scores throughout.
Mark Rooney, Sean Mulhall and Cian Dooley were excellent in defence. The game will be
remembered most for Eoin Hannon’s six goals from play. Final score Athenry 7-16
Athenry faced Clarinbridge in round 2. It was a good battle in the first half, with the Athenry
getting a few late scores to make it 1-11 to 0-07 at the break. Enda Murphy and Colm
O’Rourke showing very well for Athenry. In the second half the game opened up. Athenry
had the better forwards and it started to show on the scoreboard. Frank Burke, Colin Higgins
and Eoin Hannon got excellent scores to secure the win. The final score was Athenry 5-25
The group stage of the U16 Championship concluded on July 26 th with a draw against
Carnmore. Athenry led by 0-09 to 0-06 at half time after playing with the wind. Enda
Murphy, Aodhán McDonagh and Colm O’Rourke with impressive first half performances.
With the aid of a strong breeze Carnmore battled back and took the lead in the third quarter
and with ten minutes to go led by 6. The introduction of Conn McGillicuddy made a big
difference for Athenry and he scored a goal and a point in the closing stages to set up an
unlikely comeback. In the last play of the game Frank Burke scored the all-important goal to
level it up. It finished Athenry 2-15 Carnmore 1-18. This put Athenry top of the group.
The semifinal saw Athenry face neighbours Turloughmore and while the margin of victory
was convincing, the game itself was a tough encounter, especially in the first half. Two goals
by Colm O’Rourke were key to Athenry’s win. A good spread of score from the other
forwards and a great defensive display led by Ronan McGlynn and Shay Brady saw Athenry
pull away in the second half. It finished Athenry 2-19 Turloughmore 0-06.
Athenry became the county U16A hurling champions for the eighth time in the club’s history
after a dramatic come from behind win over Kilconieron in Duggan Park on September 7th.
This was a repeat of the 2022 U15A final and like the prevoius year Kilconieron raced into an
early lead. At one point they led by 2-06 to 0-02, but Athenry clawed their way back into the
game with goals by Cian Hannon and Colm O’Rourke, along with some expert free-taking by
Frank Burke. The teams went in at half time with Kilconieron leading 3-07 to 2-06. The third
quarter was tight as the teams traded scores and Kilconieron maintained their lead. The
introduction of Niall McCarthy at half time provided a great boast for Athenry. He scored 2
points from play before he rifled in a fantastic goal.
The final quarter belonged to Athenry. Enda Murphy, Eoin Hannon and Frank Burke never
stopped working and slowly the gap narrowed until the score were level in injury time. Then
in the 61 st minute Aodhán McDonagh picked up a loose ball and drove forward before
handpassing to his brother Éanna who cooly slotted the ball over the bar for the winning
Athenry had many heroes on the day from one to twenty. Shay Brady, Mathew O’Neil and
Ronan McGlynn played really well at the back under extreme pressure from a superb
Kilconieron attack. In the middle Enda Murphy’s tireless work and Éanna McDonagh’s 3
fantastic points from play were crucial to the victory. The work-rate of the Athenry forward
was outstanding. Even when the scores weren’t coming they never stopped working for the
team. Wing back Aodhán McDonagh got the man of the match award for a fantastic display
for skill and courage under pressure.
There was great scenes of celebrations on the pitch afterwards as club supporters, young and
old, congratulated the players and management. Winning a county championship is never
easy. This one was particularly hard won, against an excellent Kilconieron team. Full time
Athenry 3-17 Kilconieron 4-13. Congratulations to the players, manager Paddy Kelly and
selectors Brian Higgins, Shane Donohue and Darragh Loughnane.
Front row (L-R)
Vincent Gannon, Connla Atkins, Senan McDonnell, Rory Haverty, Niall Kelly, Aodhán
McDonagh, Sean Mulhall, Enda Murphy, Conn McGillicuddy, Fionn Atkins, Colm
Colin Higgins, Shay Brady, Eanna McDonagh, Niall McCarthy, Mathew O’Neill, Cian
Dooley, Eoin Hannon, Cian Hannon, Ronan McGlynn, Mark Rooney, Frank Burke, Cathal
Mannion, Rian Doyle
Sad passing of inspiring former Club official Fr. Martin Gleeson
Canon Martin Gleeson R.I.P. (Dunmore)
Fondly remembered around the fields of Athenry Fr. Martin Gleeson left an indelible mark on all who knew him during his ministry in the area. A proud Dunmore man, he brought his passion for Gaelic football with him to Athenry inspiring a generation of young players in the 1960's.
Under his guidance players and officials laid the foundation for a newly formed parish wide club 'St. Mary's GAA Club' and left an under-age legacy that still remains today. The Club's juvenile players enjoy the thrills and excitement of competitive hurling and football and the all consuming will to win brought to Athenry by Fr. Gleeson in the 1960's.
His unwavering dedication as a priest and genuine care for people is best exemplified by the support he received when he and colleagues Seamus Cullinane and Colm Hillard, set about purchasing a playing field for the youth of the parish. Frustrated at the lack of facilities to practice and train teams Fr. Gleeson announced the purchase of a nine and a half acre site 'Raheen Grounds' for £1,400 a lot of money in the early 1960's.
He stressed that the immediate aim of his committee was to clear the purchase price and appealed to the people of the parish for support for various fund raising activities. As well as organising a weekly silver-circle Fr. Gleeson persuaded local farmers to grow potatoes and raise calves to help fund the project.
In 2017 the Club was delighted to have the opportunity to pay a tribute to the extraordinary contribution of Fr. Martin Gleeson and others during the 1960's. Their achievements on the field were matched by their ability to help establish the Club as a united identity and a prominent position in Galway GAA.
Ar dheis De go raibh a anam uasal.
Congratulations to the Club's Feile Under 15 Hurling & Football Teams
Two outstanding achievements by the Club's Under 15 group of players during 2023 will be long remembered. For the first time ever by a club in Galway, during the same year, they won County Feile na nGael Hurling and Football Titles. Having secured that distinction they then progressed to the National Feile Finals winning the Club's first ever All-Ireland Feile na nGael Hurling Title and were Runners-Up in the football Final.
Athenry captain Shay Brady is presented with the Christy Ring Trophy following the National Feile na nGael Hurling Final at Bekan.
All-Ireland Feile na nGael Hurling Champions 2023
Front Row: (left to right) Fionn Atkins, Anthony Poniard, Caolean Caulfield, Donagh Keogh, Michael Barrett, Ryan Hession, Darragh Fitzpatrick, Conor O’Reilly, Aodán McDonagh, Senan McDonnell, Jack Griffin. Back Row: (left to right) Daniel Moran, Gavin Egan, Jack Madden, Patrick Whelan, Oran O’Shaughnessy, Cian Hannon, Shay Brady, Cathal Mannion, Niall McCarthy, Rory Haverty, Dara Sinnott, Joey McMahon and Connla Atkins.
All-Ireland Féile na nGael Football Finalists 2023
Front Row: (left to right)Connla Atkins, Oran Greaney, Michael Barrett, Aodhan McDonagh, Rory Haverty, CaoléanCaulfield, Conor Reilly, Fionn Atkins, Senan McDonnell, Jack Griffin. Back Row: (left to right) Jack Madden, Anthony Poniard, Shay Brady, Eoin Doyle, Cathal Mannion, Shay O’Driscoll,Eoghan Cooley, Niall McCarthy, Shane Lally, Oran O’Shaughnessy, Patrick Whelan, Cian Hannon, Luc Griallais, Dara Sinnott.
The 24th of June 2023 will go down as a very special day in the history of the Club. It was the day when a talanted group of players and their dedicated management went on to capture a hurling title that had eluded the club since its foundation – the Feile naGael National Hurling crown. Round 1 paired Athenry against a very physically strong and athletic team, the Dublin champions Raheny. After taking time to settle, Athenry entered the half time break with a healthy 5 point lead. With a strong wind to come in the 2 nd half, this lead was extended to 7 points before the game took a major turn. Raheny rattled the net twice and drew level with 5 minutes remaining. However, Athenry displayed great composure to steady the ship andgoals from Shay Brady helped the side to a comfortable 4:8 to 2:3 victory. Niall McCarthy,Cian Hannon and Fionn Atkins were superb up front with an ample supply of ball coming from a dominant backline and midfield in the closing stages.The second group game pitted Athenry against the champions of Wexford- Raparees from Enniscorthy. This game was a pretty straightforward assignment with Athenry running out victorious by 5:12 to 1:2. Following this victory, Athenry now topped the group and had secured a semi-final place against a much-fancied James Stephens outfit from Kilkenny.
Perhaps the best performance from this team came in the semi-final. Never allowing the Kilkenny team to settle, Athenry held a commanding 1:4 to 0:2 point lead at half time. The defence was being marshalled superbly by Rory Haverty, Aodan McDonagh and Shay Brady throughout the game. When the ever-threatening Cian Hannon scored a superb individual goal in the second half, a place in the final was within touching distance and although James Stephens threatened, the defensive performances of Jack Madden, Connla Atkins and Mikey Barrett, alongside those mentioned earlier helped Athenry to secure a final place on a scoreline of 2:6 to 0:2.
With Carrigtwohill from Cork winning the other semi final by a point against the Tipperary champions Thurles Og, it meant Athenry now faced the Cork champions. The game was preceeded by the Galway camogie champions Turloughmore capturing the National A title, and seeing such joyous celebrations certainly whetted the appetite of the Athenry players, management and supporters.
The final began at lightning speed and Athenry showed some early nerves. Failing to secure primary possession in the middle third was proving problematic and this enabled
Carrigtwohill to race into a 4 points to no score lead. However, Athenry soon settled and got on the scoreboard with a neatly taken point. This was followed up by an expertly taken goal by Cian Hannon and another fine point from play to leave Athenry leading by 1:2 to 5 points at half time. The second half belonged to the eventual winners and they restricted their opponents to a solitary score from play while adding five points of their own to run out by 1:7 to 0:5 winners. The final whistle sounded to joyous scenes with supporters of St Mary’s
Athenry showing their jubilation at the return of another All Ireland title to the fields of Athenry. Shay Brady accepted the cup on behalf of the team to rapturous applause from the Athenry support. Over the course of the day Athenry had many heroes. Cathal Mannion did not put a foot wrong in goals all day keeping 2 clean sheets in 4 games. In addition to the defenders listed above, Conor O Reilly and Dara Sinnott defended with vigour throughout the day, Donagh Keogh and Jack Madden got through a mountain of work at midfield while Senan McDonnell played in a variety of positions to great effect all day. When the pressure was on in games the contributions of Shay Brady, Aodan McDonagh, Anthony Poniard, Cian Hannon, Fionn Atkins and Niall McCarthy were significant. Indeed, the role of the subs such as Joey McMahon did not go unnoticed by many observers at the game. The management team of Pete Atkins, Richie Brady, Gerry Mannion, Donal Moran and Colin Morrissey deserve a special mention for their work with these boys since u6. Their time and effort over the years paid off on Saturday!
On Saturday July 2nd we went back to the Connacht Gaa Centre of excellence in Bekan Co. Mayo looking for a historic Féile double and while we didn’t achieve it, we came mighty close. Our footballers, also playing in Division 1 were in a very though group with Killmacud Crokes (Dublin), Carryduff (Down) and New York. First up was the Dublin champions and it was a tight encounter, ending in a 2-01 to 0-07 draw - Niall McCarthy, Cathal Mannion, Cian Hannon and Senan McDonnell with the scores. Jack Griffin and Shay Brady also featured well in this one. Next up was the Down champions and our first win of the day, 3-04 to 1-03. Two first half goals by Cathal Mannion and Cian Hannon gave us a great start. Anthony Poniard got the third with a cheeky lob over the Carryduff goalkeeper. Eoin Doyle also pointed well in the second half. With the group finely balanced we needed at least a draw against New York, who had beaten Carryduff in the previous game. We got the win, but it was a battle to the end. Cathal Mannion and Niall McCarthy with the crucial goals. It finished Athenry 2-05 New York 1-02.
So, we were now through to a semi-final against Westport, who had topped the other group. Crokes topped our group on score difference. We would be up against it for most of the game, but with Cathal Mannion bagging another goal and Cian Hannon flicking a free kick to the net, we were still in it. Niall McCarthy got another goal in the second half and it finished Athenry 3-00 Westport 1-06. Extra time would be difficult on both teams. It was now after 5 o’clock and the bodies were tired. The lads, with Shay Brady and Shane Lally to the fore, gave it everything. We scored 3 points in extra time from Anthony Poniard, Eoin Doyle and Niall McCarthy, but it wasn’t enough. Westport finished the victors – 2-08 to 3-03. We left disappointed but proud of the players. We got to the last four of the competition, won county Féile and have a county championship semi-final to look forwardto. Congrats to the players, their parents and Aidan Greaney and his management team.
Saturday 10th September 2022 saw a great milestone achieved with the official opening of our Commemorative Wall and Community Walkway. Club Chairman Billy Caulfield is pictured with club legend Mike Quinn who cut the ribbon. This fundraiser campaign was launched in the Raheen Woods in October 2019 following on from the purchase of a field adjacent to the club grounds in Carnaun. Having commenced fundraising and got a fantastic response we unfortunately had to postpone due to the onset of the Covid19 pandemic. It was relaunched in 2021 and was successfully concluded with the sale of 588 name plaques. This development project was to fund the construction of 2 new pitches and a community walkway. The walkway is now open and has proven to be a great public amenity. Work has also started on the 2 pitches and they will see games in 2023. The sale of 588 plaques is a testament to the great GAA community we have in Athenry and to our commitment to improving the facilities for all our players.
Emmet Caulfield (Chairman), David Donohue, Shane Donohue, Brian Farrell, Gearoid Harty, Joe Keane, Joe Kelly, Declan McGlynn, Paul Murphy, Cormac Sinnott, Mary Ruane Somers & Mark Tully.
Athenry Under 15 Hurling Feile County Champions 2022
Féile na nGael U15 Hurling was held over the weekend of April 17th and we are delighted to finish Division 1 champions for 2022. With 5 games packed into 4 days, there is no margin for error. We started the week in a group of 4 teams, 3 of which have an All-Ireland club title on their roll of honour – Athenry, Clarinbridge, Portumna and Michael Cusacks. We won all three games, with a good margin to spare in the end, but all were well contested games and only made safe in the final quarter. We then faced Kilconieron in the semi-final. This was repeat of the under 13 final of 2020 and U14 semi-final of 2021 and it was another fantastic battle. A final score of Athenry 3-12 Kilconieron 1-10 in a 40 minute match was a credit to both teams. On the other side Craughwell had come through a very difficult group before beating Kinvara in their semi-final. A packed Kenny park was the setting for the final and It was little between the teams in the first half. After the great week of weather, the rain came half way through the game making conditions difficult. It was our lads who took the initiative in the second half with some fantastic points and a great defensive performance. The final score was Athenry 1-10 Craughwell 1-03. There were too many standout performers to mention over the week- different boys stepping up in each game. In all 19 boys started in the 5 games and many more came on as subs. The two that didn’t were Vincent Gannon and Riain Doyle, who were both ruled out through injury. In his acceptance speech captain Frank Burke paid tribute to his team mates, who he described as first and foremost his friends. It was this friendship and togetherness that have been the hallmark of this team since they were very young and they have now delivered 4 county championships for the Club – U12 and U13 in 2020, U14 in 2021 and now Féile. All this time they have been coached by Paddy Kelly, who was managing teams before these lads were born. His enthusiasm and passion for hurling came through in every performance and he savoured this victory like it was his first. Paddy was supported by a great coaching team of Peter Atkins, Giles Warrington, Darragh Loughnane, Brain Higgins and Shane Donohue. We will now represent Galway in the national Féile na nGael competition in Dublin beginning June 25th. Also representing Galway will be Athenry Camoige club who won their final the following day.
Galway Feile na nGael Under 15 Hurling Champions 2022
Front Row: (left to right) Cian Hannon, Brandon Burke Keaveney, Conla Atkins, William Egan, Jack Madden, Dara Costello, Colm O'Rourke, Niall Kelly, Frank Burke, Niall McCarthy, Rory Haverty, Aodán McDonagh, Harry Conway, Cathal Mannion, Fionn Atkins, Michael Barrett, Senan McDonnell, Daragh Naughton. Back Row: (left to right) Mathew O'Neill, Jake Mulveen, Vincent Gannon, Eoin Hannon, Shay Brady, Cian Dooley, Eanna McDonagh, Colin Higgins, Ronan McGlynn, Enda Murphy, Sean Mulhall, Mark Rooney, Riain Doyle, Dylan Donoghue, Conn McGillycuddy, Patrick Whelan and Conor O'Reilly (missing from photo Ronan Hogan)