Galway All-Ireland Under 21 Hurling Champions 1972
Front Row: (left to right) Luke Glynn, Liam Shiel (RIP), Ned Campbell, Michael Coen, Iggy Clarke (captain), Tom Donoghoe, Tony Brehony and Marty Barrett. Back Row: (left to right) Gerry Kelly, Gerry Glynn, Gerry Holland, Frank Donoghue, Andy Fenton, Michael Donoghue and Frank Burke.
In a heart warming game of swaying fortunes Galway won their way for the first time to an All-Ireland Under-21 Final by defeating Tipperary by 2-11 to 1-11 at Nenagh. In that breakthrough three Athenrymen played their part in Galway's success-Gerry Kelly, Luke Glynn and P. J. Molloy. Whatever their reasons, the selectors, decided to leave Molloy out of the team picked to play Dublin in the final. Their decision surprised many followers of the game and the Athenry star was bitterly disappointed and even considered not travelling to Limerick for the game. Fortunately for Galway he did, and they recorded a historic win over Dublin, 2-9 to 1 -1 0 and won the County's first All-Ireland Under 21 title. Donal Carroll of the Irish Independent wrote "In many ways, it would be wrong to individualise. For this, truly, was a team triumph, yet one couldn't but be taken by the superb show of substitute, P.J. Molloy, whose speed, skill and utter fearlessness were of inspirational stock."
All-Ireland Under 21 Hurling star P.J. Molloy
Luke Glynn at corner back and Gerry Kelly at full back played with great heart and spirit and were deserved winners with Molloy of All-Ireland Under 21 medals. Glynn also lined out with Galway intermediate team against Tipperary on the following Sunday in the All-Ireland Final but they lost by 2-13 to 1-9.
The high standard of under 21 hurling in the County was clearly reflected in the North Board Final at Tuam Stadium when Athenry defeated Turloughmore. A four goal-winning margin for Athenry was not a true reflection of the difference between the two evenly matched teams that fought furiously throughout for the title. There was no doubting the merit of Athenry's win and it was a game that brought individual contributions into focus particularly Athenry's P. J. Molloy and Turloughmore's Gerry Holland. Both players provided some thrilling moments in a highly entertaining game. Molloy with a wholhearted display emerged as the star of the hour soring a goal and six points.
Playing with confidence and style Athenry led by 1-6 to 0-7 at halftime but had to face a stormy wind in the second period. In the 5th minute a goal by Michael Morrissey gave the winners a comfortable lead and when Gerry Connaughton and Gabriel Coffey combined for a brilliantly executed goal the writing was on the wall for Turloughmore. Athenry took the title in champion style with every player playing his part in a comfortable win by 5-12 to 1-12.
Team Kevin Healy, Pat Kikelly, Gerry Kelly, Joe Killeen, Stephen Murphy, Tom Burke, Kieran Barrett, Luke Glynn (Capt.), Gabriel Coffey, P. J. Molloy, Frank Joyce, Sean Hynes, Gerry Connaughton, Michael Morrissey, Eugene Glynn.
Oranmore/Maree defeated Athenry in the County semi-final by 4-9 to 1-6 at Ballindereen. Castlegar grabbed the few chances given them in a thrilling County senior championship first round game against Athenry. The pace was fast and furious throughout the hour and in the final analysis it was the pressure of the opening half that prevented a young Athenry side from exerting their will on the game in the closing stages. Castlegar aided by the wind in the first period used the advantage well despite an well-organised Athenry defence. At halftime they led by 1-6 to 1-2.
Athenry wasted several scoring chances in the second half and had they taken their points the score would be much closer at the end. Eamonn Mullins had a good game in goal with defenders Tom Burke, Tony Freaney and Luke Glynn also doing well. Ray Glynn could not be faulted at midfield with forwards P.J. Molloy, Tom Qualter and Eamonn King trying hard. The final score was 2-10 to 2-5 in favour of Castlegar.
Team: Eamonn Mullins, Richie Williams, Tony Freaney, Noel Kelly, Michael Treacy, Tom Burke, Luke Glynn, Ray Glynn, John Donnellan, P.J. Molloy, Tom Qualter, Michael Mullins, Gerry Kelly, Eamonn King, Gabriel Coffey. Sub: Anthony Poniard.
Though not played until the following year the club's junior team won the North Board League Final defeating Abbeyknockmoy by one point. Points by Gerry Holian and Michael Donnellan and a goal and a point by Sean Redmond gave Athenry a one point advantage at halftime with the score 1-4 to 1-3.
A goal for 'Abbey' put them ahead as Athenry struggled hard to get back into contention. J.J. Kelly their captain moved to centre forward with Jim Jordan going to full back and that move proved to be a match winner. Both players finished well with Kelly getting the vital goal near the end.
Team: Mark Donnellan, Christy Kelly, J.J. Kelly, Christy Morrissey, Leo Coffey, Paddy Gannon, Willie Cummins, Gerry Holian, Stephen Murphy, Eugene Glynn, Sean Redmond, Michael Donnellan, Jim Jordan, Frank Brody, Jack O'Shea Sub: Michael Morrissey.
The minor hurling team had a comfortable 2-16 to 2-8 victory over Skehana in the North Board semi-final but lost to Turloughmore in the final. The under 14team captured the North Board title with a good win over Abbeyknockmoy in the final. Basil Holian and Gerry Dempsey were Athenry's best players. They were defeated by under age experts Killimordaly in the County semi-final by 6-2 to 2-5.
Galway Intermediate Hurling Team 1972