Athenry County Under 14 Feile Hurling Champions 1992
Athenry Under 14 Hurling captain Richard Brady with the Joe Salmon Cup
Richard Brady receiving the 'Juvenile Player of the Year Award' from Fr.
Athenry's prominent position in Galway juvenile hurling was very evident during 1992 and the outstanding performance was the under14 teams triumph over Loughrea in the County Final at Ballinasloe by 2-6 to 0-7. The large crowd was treated to a most exciting struggle before Richard Brady became the second Athenry captain to receive the Joe Sammon Cup- the first was Brian Feeney in 1984.
On the way to the final the Athenry side defeated Carnmore, Sylane, Turloughmore and Castlegar and so qualified for a show down with the hot favorites Loughrea. Playing into the wind the lakesiders settled quickly and took the lead 0-4 to 0-2 after ten minutes. A goal by Diarmaid Cloonan put Athenry ahead and they led by 1-3 to 0-4 at half time.
The second half proved to be just as tight as both defenses took control. The decisive score came four minutes from the end when Athenry's Mattie Egan broke through for his team's second goal.
The historic town of Athenry became the capital of Ireland for juvenile hurlers when over 3500 players from all over the country gathered with their parents, teachers and trainers for the 22nd annual Feile na nGael. It was a mammoth task for a small town to host the festival that in the past was based in larger cities and towns. The Feile Committee that organises the event included Mary McGovern. It was by any standard a huge success with the parade on the Sunday through the streets one of the most colorful occasions ever witnessed in the town.
The clubs guests for Feile na nGael were Kilkenny champions Graigue-Ballycallan. Athenry defeated the visitors by 2-8 to 2-3 and followed up this victory with an easy win over Castlegar. However Ballyboden St. Enda's of Dublin proved too strong for Athenry in the next round. The game was in the balance at half time, but injury to their outstanding captain Richard Brady broke Athenry's resistance and the Dublin side ran out easy winners.
The under 16 team coasted into their county championship final, with the semi-final against Portumna the only tight game. In the final against Loughrea the defence was caught napping and conceded two goals in the first few minutes. They never recovered and some players seemed out of form. Loughrea held the initiative and won comfortably by 5-5 to 2-8.
A week later Athenry gained some measure of revenge when the under 15 team piped Loughrea after extra time in the Feile na Coirbe Final. Outstanding for Athenry were Emmet Caulfield, Aidan Poniard, Stephen Kelly, Donal Keane, Raymond Treacy, Mattie Egan, Aidan Cahill and corner forward Diarmuid Burns who scored 3-1.
Under 14 captain Richard Brady led the Galway under 14 team to a great victory in the Tony Forestal intercounty competition. Richard's teammates Aidan Poniard, Eugene Cloonan and Liam O'Brien were also to the fore on a great weekend in Waterford.
Five Athenry players Joe Rabbitte, Brendan Keogh, Gerry Keane, Brian Feeney and Cathal Moran were on the Galway team that defeated Wexford by 2-10 to 1-10 in the National League at Pearse Stadium. County champions Kiltormer won the All-Ireland Club final defeating Birr by 0-15 to 1-8 at Semple Stadium Thurles.
Kikenny ended a brave bid by Galway senior hurlers in a heartbreaking final ten minutes of a fiercely contested All-Ireland semi-final. Going down by four points 2-13 to 1-12 on a day that Joe Rabbitte and Brendan Keogh had no luck.
It was the same story in the under 21 semi-final for Brendan and Cathal Moran as Offaly avenged their defeat of the previous year with a 3-17 to 1-5 win.
However in the Oireachtais final against Waterford played at Dingle Brian Feeney, Paul Hardiman, Brendan Keogh, Joe Rabbitte and sub. Cathal Moran collected medals as Galway were convincing winners by six points 1-13 to 0-10. Brendan Keogh received the R.T.E man-of-the-match award for his outstanding display at midfield.
Athenry captured the senior open draw title with a well-merited win over Maree/Oranmore who relinquished early dominance and re-awoke too late. Played at Kenny Park the home side was slow to get into their stride and were a point in arrears at half-time. They got down to business early in the second half thanks to a Cathal Moran point and a stirring one from Joe Rabbitte. An excellent goal by Brian Feeney who latched onto a loose ball and shot from a narrow angle into the roof of the net.
Richard Burke brought Oranmore/Maree back to within two points but it was Athenry that finished with a flourish and were unlucky to have a Pascal Healy goal disallowed. The final score was 1-11 to 1-8.
Team: Patrick Hession, Eamonn Keogh, Michael Cahill, Gerry Dempsey, Gerry Keane, Brendan Keogh, Paul Hardiman, Brendan Morrissey, John Hardiman, Brian Feeney, Tommy Morrissey, Cathal Moran, Dermot Monaghan, Joe Rabbitte, John Conway. Subs: Ronan Kilcommins, P J Molloy, and Pascal Healy.
Athenry were always in control in their opening championship game against Mullagh at Duggan Park and opened an early gap of ten points. At the end the score read 1-17 to 2-7 but it was a display that Athenry were not entirely satisfied with despite the fact that victory was never in doubt. There was a tendency to perform only when nessary and the concession of two penalties on the few occasions that the backs were stretched was also a cause for concern. On the plus side the positioning of Brendan Keogh at centerback and Brian Feeney at centerforward worked well while Joe Rabbitte showed what a huge asset he is at full forward.
There was departure from hurling championship tradition when Athenry played Liam Mellows at Tuam Stadium as a curtainraiser to the Galway V Mayo Connacht football semi-final championship clash. Although having to field without Gerry Keane and Billy Caulfield Athenry had a comfortable enough victory. An eight point winning margin 1-17 to 1-9 reflected their superiority at the end even if they were made fight hard for long periods having trailed by 1-8 to 0-8 at halftime.
The winners came out for the second period with all guns blazing and the forwards got into top gear. Pascal Healy, Cathal Moran, Dermot Monaghan and Joe Rabbitte proved more than a handful for the Mellows defence. At the other end Patrick Hession made a few fine saves and with Gerry Dempsey, Michael Cahill and Brendan Keogh formed a strong defense and only conceded one point in the final ten minutes.
A couple bizarre sideline decisions by Athenry were a contributory factor when losing to Carnmore by 1-13 to 0-13 at Turloughmore. Viewed by many as an opportunity squandered, having been well outplayed in the opening half Athenry were still only two points in arrears at halftime. They produced their best bout of concentrated hurling in the third quarter to erase into a four-point lead with eleven minutes remaining. To all intents and purposes the game looked wrapped up, especially as Carnmore had not scored in the second half.