Club Secretary Gerald Corbett
Portumna was certainly an unusual venue for Athenry's first round game in the County senior hurling championship against Fohenagh, but it was worth travelling to the Shannonside town. Athenry had a convincing win by 4-13 to 3-3 over the East Galway side. The winners were never troubled and had an easier than expected success.
The goal that wasn't was the significant score in their next game against Turloughmore at Pearse Stadium. The former champions got through by the narrowest of margins as controversy raged over a Jack O'Shea score. The umpire it seemed incorrectly flagged a goal instead of a point. Consequently Athenry followers thought they had won the game and were only told of the error by the referee after the final whistle. Many of the Athenry players too thought they had won and were bitterly disappointed. It was a fine hard-hitting game and the one 'incident' could be excused in the heat of the contest. Two goals by Gerry Kelly and J.J Connaughton pulled back a Turloughmore lead but a goal by John Varden before half time gave his side a comfortable 3-6 to 2-2 advantage.
On the restart Athenry were full of spirit and when J.J. Connaughton added another goal and Michael Mullins a point it was touch-and-go for the rest of the hour. The confusion over the 'goal' added to the excitement near the end and when Eamonn King crashed in a 'real one' just before the final whistle the 'goal' that wasn't caused considerable discussion.
There was some consolation for Athenry in the magnificent performance of their team who were so near to causing a major upset. Athenry's young players were a surprise packet and fought like tigers for every ball.
Team: Eamonn Mullins, Richie Williams, Anthony Freaney, Willie Cummins, Tom Burke, Pat Madden, Michael Treacy, P. J. Molloy, Sean Hynes, Michael Mullins, Tom Qualter, Jackie O'Shea, Gerry Kelly, Eamonn King, J J Connaughton
Athenry got a little revenge in the North Board under 21 Final when they recorded a 5-5 to 4-7 win over Turloughmore.
Team: Kevin Healy, Joe Killeen, Gerry Kelly, Mark Donnellan, Noel Kelly, Luke Glynn, Kieran Barrett, Leo Coffey, Sean Hynes, P. J. Molloy, Paddy Gannon, Michael Morrissey, Eugene Glynn, Vincent Madden, Gerry Connaughton.
Playing with confidence and anxious to wear down the opposition Athenry defeated Craughwell in the County semi-final at Ballindereen by ten points. Against a strong wind, the winners halfback line of Luke Glynn, Tom Burke and Kieran Barrett were outstanding in the first half. A Eugene Glynn goal kept Athenry on par with their opponents and at the interval the score was 1-2 each.
It did not take Athenry long to establish themselves in the Craughwell danger zone in the second period. Two goals by Vincent Maddan and one by P.J. Molloy ensured a place for Athenry in the County final. Mullagh proved far too good for Athenry in a very disappointing final, and, in a one sided contest were easy winners by 3-12 to 0-2.
Athenry Senior Hurling Team 1971
Front Row: (left to right) Sean Hynes, P. J. Molloy, Jack O'Shea, Anthony Freaney, Michael Mullins, J.J. Connaughton, Eamonn Mullins, Back Row: (left to right) Gerry Kelly, Michael Treacy, Pat Madden, Eamonn King, Tommy Qualter, Richie Williams, J.J. Kelly and Tom Burke.