In the midst of Athenry's hurling euphoria of 1977 an invitation was issued to the Club to visit London and play St. Gabriel's. Reluctantly the Club had to forego the invitation due to commitments at home. However, in February 1978 the Club was able and willing to travel. In conjunction with the trip, the first ever abroad by the Club, the organising committee thought it fitting to produce a booklet, giving news of various Parish activities. "Athenry '78 Review" proved to be very popular both at home and in England with over a thousand copies being sold in a week.
The trip coincided with the Athenry and District London Association Re-Union Dinner, and up to sixty people travelled on what was a very enjoyable and successful weekend. Athenry defeated St. Gabriel's by 1-8 to 2-3 in a tough senior hurling game.
Unfortunately the senior hurlers fell at the very first hurdle in the county championship, beaten 4-9 to 4-5 by Gort at Ballindereen. It looked good for the previous years beaten finalists when they led by 2-4 to 0-3 at the interval, which was a fair reflection of their superiority.
A goal for Gort shortly after the break was followed by another when a sideline cut from 35 yards went all the way to the net. Those goals put the South Galway team back into the game and they got a great boost when Sean Devlin tapped a rebound off the crossbar into the net. P. J. Molloy rallied Athenry and levelled the scores with a goal to put them back in contention, but another 'soft' goal for Gort in the 49th minute ended Athenry's hopes and Gort held on for a well deserved win.
Team: Mark Donnellan, Anthony Poniard, Tom Cloonan, Mattie Gannon, Luke Glynn, Michael Treacy, Ray Glynn, Gerry Dempsey, John Burke, P. J. Molloy, Gerry Holian, Basil Holian, Michael Poniard, Stephen Cloonan, Willie Cullinane, Sub: Jack O' Shea.
The Club's under 21 hurlers, after an impressive display against Gort in the first round of the County Championship, were shocked when the referee gave the result after the game. The Athenry players and officials were sure they had won by two points and were being congratulated by the Gortmen when the referee gave the result as a draw 4-6 to 2-12. It appeared he credited Gort with one of Athenry's points. In the replay goakeeping problems contributed to Athenry's poor performance arid defeat, 8-6 to 3-9 being the final score.
It was certainly a heartbreaking year for the Club's junior footballers. in the first round of the championship they were fixed to play Sarsfields at Mountbellew, a fixture that clashed with a hurling game. The Club requested a change of time but were unsuccessful and as a result were forced to field without a number of key players. As a result the team made their exit from the championship with a poor performance.
With fine wins over St. Thomas's, Craughwell and Loughrea Tones qualified for the League Final again against Sarsfields. The game was fixed by the South/East G.P.C. but they failed to notify Club Secretary Torn Coffey or publish the fixture in the local papers. The first the Club knew about the game was at 11.30pm on the night before the game when the Secretary received a message about a change of venue from Loughrea to Clarinbridge. Sacsfields turned up and were awarded the game and cup. The Club appealed against the decision but were unsuccessful at a hearing by the CPC. They claimed notice had been sent by hand and despite a strong case put by the Tone's delegates who pointed out that the Club never failed to field before and would certainly not fail to field for a final had they been notified. A request for a refixture was refused by the GPC and Sarsfield's delegates.
This was the most disappointing aspect of the year and Tones as a result decided to affiliate to the North GPC for the following year. Athenry confirmed their ranking as one of the county's leading camogie teams when they convincingly defeated Castlegar in the county final by 4-11 to 0-2.
Experience was the deciding factor in their victory and with Teresa Duane in sparkling form they had built up a 3-6 to 0-2 lead at half time.
It was not as one sided as the score might suggest in the second half. Castlegar, playing with the wind, turned in a better performance and were unlucky with a number of scoring attempts. Stars of the Athenry win were Anne Duane an Anne Delaney in defence, Midge Poniard and Una Jordan at midfield and Teresa Duane and Anne Morris in attack.
With no Connacht Championship Athenry were through to the All-Ireland semi-final against old rivals Buffers Alley at Athenry. The Wexford side were very fit and always seemed to have a loose player in the forward line. In a closely contested battle Buffers Alley were deserving winners by 2-6 to 0-8.
Team: Breda Coady, Noreen Treacy, Gretta O'Brien, Anne Duane, Anne Delaney, Una Jordan, Midge Poniard, Mary Daly, Marian Freaney, Midge Hobbins, Ann Morris, Teresa Duane.