Cussane North Galway Junior Hurling Champions 1963
Front Row: (left to right) J.J. Connaughton, Pat Costello, Joe Coen, Michael Mullins, Middle Row: (left to right) Michael Cooley, Frank Coyne, Tom Tyrell, Pete Feeney, Back Row: (left to right) Pete Greaney, Billy Cullinane, P. J. Ryan Eamonn Mullins, Mattie Feeney, Eamonn Egan, Mattie Higgins, Patrick Cooley, Richie Williams and Mattie Healy.
Few people will forget Saturday 21st September 1961. It was the day of hurricane 'Debbie' that caused considerable damage and destruction throughout the country. With trees down and roads blocked the main problem facing Athenry handballers was 'would the bus the Club had hired be able to get through to Tuamgreaney for the All-Ireland Handball Finals on the following day?'
Gerry Cronnolly and Michael Kelly, after losing at the All-Ireland semi-final stages in 1959 and 1960, had secured a place in the junior hardball doubles final. At Horse-and-Jockey they had defeated Tipperary's Paddy Hickey and Tom Brady in the semi-final with Sean Glynn earning a place in the minor hardball singles final. But Martin Lynch and Boso Hession failed to reach the final of the minor doubles.
The bus carrying the Athenry players and supporters finally made it to Tuamgreaney (after several detours). First into the alley was Sean Glynn who was very unlucky to injure his ankle while leading in the third game and lost to J. Brennan, Kilkenny. It is interesting to note that thirty two years earlier, in 1929, Sean's father Tommy, was defeated in the senior softball singles final by Brennan's father Danny.
With fine victories over Mayo and Sligo in the Connacht Championship, Gerry Cronnolly and Michael Kelly were hard pressed to win by three games to one in a cracking semi-final against Kilkenny's Hanlon and Horgon. In the final the Athenry pair played with confidence and power to win by three games to one. Athenry and Galway had won their first All-Ireland title after a break of twenty-one years.
All-Ireland Junior Doubles Handball Champions Michael Kelly & Gerry Cronnolly
The All-Ireland champions got a rousing welcome home that night in Athenry and the celebrations lasted for weeks. It was fitting that Gerry Cronnolly should win a hardball title, as it was he who was mainly responsible for the revival of the code in Galway and Connacht.
With convincing victories over Monivea and Skehana Athenry minor hurlers qualified for the North Board Final against Newtown. They gained the title with a 5-2 to 2-2 victory over the Abbeyknockmoy side. In the County semi-final St. Augustine's (Galway) the eventual County champions had a convincing win over Athenry.
Team: Frank Connell, Martin Lynch, Morgan Healy, Paul Waldron, Bosco Hession, Joe Mannion, Tony Coffey, Anthony Clarke, Sean Clarke, Martin Curran, J. J. Kelly, Gabe Gardner, Jackie O'Shea, J. J. Madden, Pat Madden.
In the senior hurling championship for the first time Newcastle were well beaten by Ballinasloe at Fohenagh. Though they had already defeated the East Galway side in the league they found the championship game far more competitive losing by 7-5 to 1-4. Turloughmore defeated Newcastle in the North Board championship at Kenny Park by 4-3 to 1-1. From the start both teams entered the fray with a will to win and spectators saw some rousing hurling right up to the final whistle. In the end it was the superior fitness of the Turloughmore men that won the day as they withstood a grand second half rally by Newcastle. For Newcastle Michael Burke had a good game in goal and could not be faulted for the shots that beat him. Best of the backs were Sean Connors, Bertie Burns, T. J. Jordan and Paddy Rabbitte. At centerfield Kevin Rohan and Frank Burke had some great duels with their opposite numbers while forwards Padraic Keogh, Christy Glynn and Tony Morris also impressed.
Cussane proved far too strong for a Shehana-Ahascragh selection and in the end had four goals to spare. The winners were well served by goalkeeper Eamonn Mullins and defenders Eamonn Egan and Frank Coyne with Eddie Treacy, Joe Coen, Michael Qualter and Paddy Cooley most impressive in the forwards. Cussane were winners of an Ardrahan gold medal 1 1-a-side tournament defeating Clostoken in the final by 5-3 to 0-2.
Team: Eamonn Mullins, Mattie Higgins, Eamonn Egan, Richard Cooley, Richie Williams, Michael Cooley, Joe Coen, Frank Coen, Frank Cullinane, Richard Finn, Michael Mullins, Sub: Frank Coyne.
With a lead of five points at the interval against Cussane in the North Board semi-final Newcastle looked like winners, but in a whirlwind second half display the Cussane men were victorious, winning by 3-11 to 0-11.
Team: Eamonn Mullins, Mattie Feeney, Michael Cooley, Eamonn Egan, Frank Coen, Richard Finn, Paddy Cooley, RichieWilliams, EddieTreacy, Pete Feeney, Peter Greaney, Michael Mullins, Robert Cooley, Michael Qualter, TomTyrell. Newcastle objected claiming they did not get the required notification of the game. The Chairman of the North Board ruled the objection out of order on the grounds that the word Tuam on the envelope was not in Irish-it should be spelt T-U-A-I-M.
Against Abbeyknockmoy in the final a Cussane player was ordered off but did not leave the field. As a result the referee called off the game. At a meeting of the Board the title was awarded to Abbeyknockmoy and the player involved was suspended.
Hurricane Debbie fails to prevent Handballer's success
After a tough senior hurling championship game at Pearse Stadium Athenry and Kilconieron ended level with the score 5-6 each. Two goals by Bobby Gardner in the second half kept Athenry in the game and they went on to win the replay. They were no match however for a very strong Ballinasloe side in their next game losing by 4-8 to 0-1.
Athenry senior hurling panel: Bobby Gardner, Martin Rooney, Tom Conway, Morgan Healy, Anthony Freeney, Joe Mannion, Sean Dempsey, Hubert Conway, J. J. Kelly, Gabe Gardner, Colm Hilliard, Boso Hession, Leo Gardner, Tommy Lally, Peter Briggs and Jack 0 Shea.
After a thrilling game at Athenry Newcastle defeated Abbeyknockmoy in the North Board Intermediate championship by 2-11 to 3-6. With fourteen men for most of the hour, Newcastle became North Board champions when they defeated Cussane by one point at Kenny Park. "Playing wholehearted hurling the neighbouring teams provided some fine entertainment, and much to the 'enjoyment' of the followers a few minor flare-ups during the hour' stated the Connacht Tribune.
Newcastle started well and were dominant until one of their players, Noel Keogh, was sent off. Many spectators disagreed with the referee's decision because it appeared to most that he sent off the wrong player.
After the interval Cussane came back with a bang, and their attack spearheaded by Frank Cullinane availed of every opportunity. J. J. Connaughton put them ahead after fifteen minutes with a goal. A Jack 0 Shea goal was all Newcastle needed to start their rally and Cussane had no answer to their onslaught. At the end Newcasle were winners by 2-6 to 2-5.
Kevin Rohan played a fine game in goal for Newcastle and got good cover from T. J. Jordan, Paddy Joe Rabbitte and Frank Burke. Eamonn Keogh and Jim Cloonan were impressive at midfield with forwards Jack 0 Shea, Michael Burke and Padraic Keogh also doing well. Eamonn Mullins had one of his usual brilliant games between the posts for Cussane with backs Frank Coen, Richie Williams and Eamonn Egan also at their best. Frank Cullinane when moved to the forwards was a constant threat with Pete Feeney, Robby Cooley and Pete Greaney trying hard.
Team: Kevin Rohan, Patsy Burke, Sean Connors, T.J.Jordan, Frank Burke, Paddy J. Rabbitte, Frank Rohan, Eamonn Keogh, Jim Cloonan, Robbie Burke, Padraic Keogh, Michael Burke, Noel Keogh, Bertie Burns, Jack 0'Shea
Newcastle lost to Moycullen in the County semi-final by 7-5 to 5-4.
Under the name 'St. Patrick's' both Clubs joined for a senior hurling team but were defeated by Cappatagle 5-4 to 2-4 in the first round of the senior championship.
Cussane defeated Newcastle by 8-6 to 5-4 in the North Board intermediate Final at Athenry after being awarded their first game against Abbeyknockmoy following an objection. A great rally in the last five minutes confirmed the destiny of the North Board title in one of the best games seen at the venue during the year. Hard knocks were given and taken throughout and prompt action by the referee in ordering a player from each side to the line prevented further trouble.
Michael Mullins, with four goals and a point, was Cussane's man-of-the-match, closely followed by Joe Coen with two goals and Pete Feeney with 1-1.
Team: Eamonn Mullins, WillieCullinane, Richard Finn, Eamonn Egan, Frank Coen, Frank Coyne, Patrick Cooley, Michael Cooley, Richie Williams, Peter Feeney, Peter Greaney, Michael Mullins, Pat Costello, Mattie Feeney, Robert Cooley.
In the County semi-final they defeated Fr. Tom Burke's by 5-4 to 4-6 and in the County Final. Killimordaly were the victors by 3-12 to 4-7.
Connacht Railway Cup Hurling Team 1961
Front Row: (left to right): Tom Conway, Ned Dervan, Tony O'Gorman, Tim Sweeney, Joe Salmon, Jimmy Conroy, P. J. Lally. Back Row: (left to right): Leo Gardner, P. J. Lawless, Seamus Gohery, Sean Meade, Paddy Fahy, Gerry O' Malley and Jimmy Duggan.
Members of the Derrydonnell Athletic Club who were guests at New York Galway Association Ball in the Manhattan Center on St. Patrick's Day 1961
American President John F Kennedy visits Galway (Eyre Square) in June 1963 - Photo: Stan Shields