County Junior Hurling Champions 1957
Front Row: (left to right) Hubert Conway, Des Conway, Frank Kilkelly, Middle Row: (left to right) Matt Rooney, Pake Ruane, Bill Conway (Captain), Michael Hession, John A Kelly, Tony Waldron, Gerry Cronnolly, Back Row: (left to right) John Crosby, Tom Conway, Paddy Ryan, John Conway, Jim Ruane, Sean Dempsey, Michael Rooney, Peadar Ruane, Frank Healy, Bobby Gardner, Stephen Jordan.
Athenry junior hurlers had an impressive win over Ahascragh in the first round of the North Board championship. At the end of their next game they had five points to spare over Abbeyknockmoy at Tuam Stadium. It was a tough affair on and off the field but five points by Bobby Gardner put his side on course for a place in the final against Annaghdown.
Again at the Tuam venue Annaghdown helped by a strong wind during the first half built up a fine lead of twelve points. Two quick goals, however, early in the second half put Athenry back in contention and with Gardner and Conway asserting control at midfield, they continued to pile on the pressure. At the end they were 6-6 to 4-5 ahead having held Annaghdown scoreless during the second half.
Best for the winners were defenders Mickey Hession and Sean Dempsey, midfielder Bobby Gardner, the Conways, Jimmy Nolan and Frank Klikelly. Team: Tony Waldron, Gerry Connolly, Mickey Hession, Pake Ruane, Sean Dempsey, Bill Conway, John A. Kelly, Bobby Gardner, John Conway, Frank Healy, Tom Conway, Hubert Conway, Frank Kilkelly, Paddy Ryan, Jimmy Nolan.
The County semi-final against Killimor at Gort was a real thriller with the result in doubt up to the final whistle. Athenry aided by the breeze in the opening half had most of the play but had several bad wides and could only manage a one point lead at halftime, the score 1-2 to 1-1.
In the second half the East Board champions took the lead and had a one-point advantage with just over a minute remaining. A long ball from Frank Healy appeared to be going wide of the post and a timely "let it go" from one of the forwards caused the goalie to hesitate and the ball ended up in the net to give Athenry a 2-5 to 2-3 victory. Bidding to win their first title in 41 years Athenry took on Ballindereen in the County Final at Loughrea. Fixed originally for Pearse Stadium the game was postponed because of bad weather and switched to the Loughrea venue. Pake Ruane opened the scoring with a goal for Athenry before Bobby Gardner sent over a massive point from midfield. The first half lasted 43 minutes mainly because referee Mick Quaine had the added burden of stewarding the sideline. He had to deliver a 'homily' to a group of players on the etiquette of the game because they were in danger of losing sight of the primary purpose of the proceedings. Hero of the first half Pake Ruane added two more great goals to give his side a comfortable lead of 3-3 to 0-3 at halftime.
Athenry suffered a setback in the second half when goalkeeper Tony Waldron was injured but his replacement Sean Dempsey proved equal to the task. On the day Athenry were the better side despite the best efforts of Ballindereen's Joe Connors. Athenry finished the game with three Ruanes in the full forward line - Jim coming on as a sub. The Conways, Bobby Gardner, Paddy Ryan and Mickey Hession were far too experienced for their opponents; Tony Waldron until injured played well in goal with backs John A. Kelly and Frank Kilkelly hard to beat. Pake Ruane was an opportunist corner forward and took his goals well with Peadar also doing well.
Team: Tony Waldron, Sean Dempsey, Mickey Hession, Gerry Connolly, John Conway, John A. Kelly, Frank Kilkelly, Bobby Gardner, Paddy Ryan, Frank Healy, Billy Conway, Tom Conway, Hubert Conway, Peadar Ruane, Pake Ruane. Sub. Jim Ruane.
County Board Chairman Fr. Martin Walsh presents the County Junior Cup to Athenry Captain Billy Conway after the 1956 Final. Looking on are (left to right) Frank Rabbitte, Peader Ruane, Tomsie Cannon, Kevin Whelan, Jim Ruane, Mattie Feeney, Joe Rabbitte, Ronnie Payne and Martin Lynch.
Having accounted for Menlough, Castle Ellen and Coolarne, Athenry minor hurlers had a comfortable 5-6 to 0-2 victory over Turloughmore in the North Board Final. County minor player Kerrill Burke, Eamonn Brody, Michael McNamara, Christy Glynn, Frank Healy and Sean Hession were the best of the Athenry side. They had no luck in the County semi-final and were defeated by Fohenagh.
Eamonn Keogh played at midfield and Kerrill Burke at full back on the Galway minor team defeated by Tipperary in the All-Ireland semi-final by 4-12 to 3-7. Leo Gardner also came on as sub. against a Tipperary team that included the legendary Jimmy Doyle who earlier in the year had won a National League Medal.
Bobby Gardner played at centerfield for Galway against Antrim in the All-Ireland Junior Hurling semi-final, the first inter-County championship match played at Pearse Stadium, and they won by the narrowest of margins one point. They lost to Tipperary in the final at Birr.
In the final of the North Board Junior (B) Championship Newcastle defeated Sean Higgins (Tuam) by 4-7 to 2-2 having accounted for Cussane in the semi-final by the narrowest of margins 2-5 to 2-4. After playing a great first half Sean Higgins's fell away badly in the second period and could not match the speed and stickwork of the Newcastle men. At the interval the Tuam side led by four points but that Christy Glynn, George Moran and Bertie Burns quickly reduced lead to one point with points. A goal by Larry Murphy, who came on as a sub, gave Newcastle the lead. Goals followed by Burns, Moran and another from Murphy to give the winners a comfortable winning margin and their first junior title in over ten years.
Team: Tom Monaghan, Bernie Rohan, Willie Morris, Sean Connors, Kerrill Burke, Paddy J. Rabbitte, Frank Rohan, Eamonn Keogh, Joe Burke, Christy Glynn, George Moran, Tom Sherlock (Capt.), Paddy Morris, Bertie Burns, Tony Morris. Sub. Larry Murphy.
There was no County Junior (B) Championship in 1957.
Few of those who attended the splendidly run Ballinasloe Races at Duggan Park on Corpus Christi will easily forget the outstanding performance of Tommy Madden of Derrydonnell AC. The barefooted star turned out full of heart to run the track-suited brigade from Irelands best clubs clean off their feet in the mile.
To top that Tommy won his heat in the National Championships one mile event with a time of 4 minutes and 20 seconds which was among the best half dozen recorded in Irish Sports meetings during the year. Given similar facilities for training and coaching as those available in any of the leading clubs the man from Derrydonnell might well have been pushing Ronnie Delaney for honours.
On a memorable day in March at Athenry Willie Morris carved a permanent place in the annals of cross country running when he captured the All-Ireland senior crown for the third time. Over six one and a half-mile laps at the Liam Mellows College and before a large crowd the 'leather lunged' runner gave remarkable performance. Running with the same mechanical precision, which won him the 1953, and 1956 titles, after perfectly judging each lap, he sprinted away at the end to finish as fresh as a daisy 23 seconds ahead of Tipperary man Walter Scott.
While the race proved a triumph for Morris it proved a tragedy for his great sporting rival Tommy Madden, who had defeated him two weeks previously. Not fully recovered from 'flu he sportingly decided he would not let the side down and took his place on the Galway team. After running second to the pacemaker in the first three laps he faded rapidly and, though obviously distressed continued on gamely to the finish.
Newcastle qualified for the North Board Intermediate Final with a 2-10 to 2-5 win over Turloughmore in the semi-final. Turloughmore were in control early in the game but Newcastle fought back well in the second half. The Newcastle team included seventeen-year-old Robbie Burke in goal. Paddy Morris, who came on as a sub, scored the equalising goal against Annaghdown in the final with the score 2-7 to 1-10. The replay was again a close affair Newcastle winning 1-9 to 3-1.
Team: Robbie Burke, Bernie Rohan, Sean Connors, Bertie Burns, Kerrill Burke, Paddy J. Rabbitte, Frank Rohan, Eamonn Keogh, Frank Burke, Christy Glynn, Padraic Keogh, T. J. Jordan, Joe Burke, Pete Morris, George Moran. Sub. Tony Morris.
Annaghdown lodged an objection but it was lost at the North and County Boards. In the County semi-final Newcastle's hopes were shattered when midfielder Eamonn Keogh cried off the team because of injury. West Galway champions Moycullen proved too strong and won 2-4 to 1-3.
Officers of the Newcastle Club in 1958 were as follows: Chairman: James Corbett; Vice-Chairman: Bertie Burns; Secretary: Eamonn Keogh; Assistant Secretary: Kerrill Burke; Treasurer: Christy Glynn; Assistant Treasurer: Willie Morris. Cussane drew with Headford in the first round of the North Board Junior (B) Championship at Corrandulla but were successful in the replay and went on to qualify for the final against the previous years beaten finalists Sean Higgins with a victory over Monivea. At Tuam Stadium they just pipped the homeside in the final minutes of a hard fought game. Trailing by a point in the closing stages they piled on the pressure and forced a '70' in the last minute, which was flicked to the net for a dramatic victory.
Cussane were best served by backs Mick Finn, Bill Cullinane and Frank Coen; at midfield Joe Coen was in spectacular form in the second half with forwards Mattie Feeney and Mattie Fitzpatrick also doing well.
Team: Tom J. Egan, Frank Coyne, Mick Finn, Willie Cullinane, Frank Coen, Mattie Higgins, Mattie P. Higgins, Joe Coen, Michael Cooley, Mattie Feeney, Mattie Fitzpatrick, Mattie Caulfield, Tom Nohilly, Richard Finn, Johnny Lally.
In the County semi-final they easily defeated Cois Farraige by 3-4 to nil but in the final lost to Beagh with the score 5-6 to 3-0, Joe Coen scoring their three goals in a disappointing performance.
Athenry's Conway Brothers
Athenry made their senior hurling championship debut with a two points win over Ardrahan at Kenny Park, 3-8 to 4-3. On a poor day and a heavy pitch Sean Dempsey gave one of his best displays for the Club at centreback. The winning goal came in the final minutes when Athenry were awarded a 21 yard free. Billy Conway walked up to take it and just as he was about to stoop to lift the ball he stepped over it and Bobby Gardner whipped it to the net for an opportunist goal to give his side a well deserved victory.
Gort were Athenry's next victims losing by 6-5 to 1 -1 1 at Pearse Stadium and Athenry qualified for the County semi-final. A large following turned up at Clarinbridge for the clash with Castlegar the championship specialists. Athenry never came to grips with the West Galway side and went under by 1-9 to 1-3. That margin would certainly be much larger but for the splendid display of goalkeeper Joe Burke.
Athenry Panel: Joe Burke, Mick Quinn, Tom Conway, Peter Briggs, John Conway, Sean Dempsey, John A. Kelly. Bobby Gardner, Des Healy, Hubert Conway, Billy Conway, Leo Gardner, Frank Kilkelly, Paddy Ryan, Mickey Hession, Gerry Cronnolly.
In a closely contested game in May 1959, Athenry defeated Newcastle in the North Board League by 2-5 to 1-4. In the championship old rivals Cussane were Newcastle's opposition in a game best forgotten. Newcastle won with a score of 1-9 to 1-3. After an objection that stated that Paddy Morris, who came on as a sub. did not give his name to referee Jack McGrath, the North Board ordered a replay.
Cussane went into an early lead of eight points in the replay but Newcastle fought back well to trail by only one point at the interval. The second half was tough and hard with Newcastle emerging winners by three points 4-8 to 4-5. Several of the Newcastle players played well but the match winners were Tony Morris who scored three goals and Joe Burke who had a goal and five points to his credit.
In the next round Newcastle had a comfortable nine point will over Annagdown 3-6 to 2-0 to reach the North Board Final against Abbeyknockmoy Christy Glynn opened the scoring for Newcastle against 'Abbey' and after an evenly contested first half they led by two points.
After the restart Padraic Keogh gave Newcastle supporters plenty to cheer about with a goal which was followed by a point from George Moran. Abbeyknockmoy then launched an all out attack, which yielded a goat by Malachy Dolly. But Newcastle's Joe Burke confirmed the destiny of the title with three fine points in as many minutes.
Team Captain Bertie Burns had a sound game in goal with the half back line of Morris, Rabbitte arid Rohan not giving an inch to their opponents. Earnonn Keogh and Frank Burke fought a terrific battle at midfield against Abbeys' King and Kavanagh. Joe Burke was Newcastle's man-of- the-match and he got good support from Christy Glynn and Robbie Burke. The full forward line of Morris, Keogh, and Moran showed great promise.
The County semi-final was against Carnmore at Clarinbridge with the North Board champions winning easily by twelve points 6-8 to 4-2. The absence of key players Joe Burke and Tony Morris for the County Final against Eyrecourt reduced Newcastles scoring power considerably. Most of the team played well but Eyrecourt emerged winners by 1-5 to 0-4. Having been defeated by Castlegar in the previous year's senior hurling championship semi-final, Athenry sought revenge in their first round game against the same opponents at Gort. The County champions got a real shock and, in a thrilling game were held to a draw 3-6 each. Athenry were two goals ahead with less than fifteen minutes remaining but were reduced to 14 when the referee ordered one of their side off for a minor offence. Castlegar battled back to level the scores almost on full-time and were lucky to earn a replay. Athenry proved themselves one of the best senior teams in the championship, possessing plenty of strength and courage and with a little more mobility would surely have won.
Athenry scorers were Billy Conway 1-1, Frank Kilkelly 1-1, John Conway 0-2, Hubert Conway 02, Tommy Fay 1-0.
The County champions got off to a great start in the replay, and had six points before Bobby Gardner opened Athenrys account with a point from a free. At halftime Castlegar had a comfortable eleven-point lead but the challengers quickly reduced that lead early in the second half and the prospect of a rousing finish looked on. A 'soft' goal however for them and a few bad misses by Athenry forwards ended their comeback bid. Castlegar were razor keen to advance further in the competition and went on to win by 3-14 to 2-7. Young Leo Gardner and the Conway brothers were Athenry's best players.
At Dunleer Co. Louth, Willie Morris retained his All-Ireland cross-country title and led Galway to victory in the team championship. Morris ran in his bare feet over a course, which included 400 yards of freshly ploughed land. He did not at any stage show the slightest sign of distress. He covered the distance in 52 minutes 29 seconds and was followed over the fine 40 seconds later by Tommy Madden. It was 'Derrydonnell's Day' according to the Irish Independent, five of whose runners were among the scoring six of the Galway team, with Bernie Rohan finishing fourth.
Galway Minor Hurling Team 1957
Includes Newcastle's Kerril Burke (Back Row second last) and Eamonn Keogh (Front Row last)
Galway All-Ireland Hurling Finalists 1958
Front: Fintan Spillane, Joe Sammon, Jimmy Duggan, Seamus Cullinane, Tim Sweeney, Fergus Benson, Tom Conway, Billy O'Neill. Back Row: Jim Fives, Mike Sweeney, Joe Young, P. J. Lawless, Pat Joe Lally, Tommy Kelly, Pakie Burke.
Old Church Street Hurling Team 1959
Front Row: (left to right) John Joe Brady, Luke Glynn, Raymond Glynn, Joe Curran. Middle Row: (left to right) Tony Curran, Alfie McNamara, Seamus Lynch, Tom Howley, Joe Whyte, Liam Kenny. Back Row: (left to right) Charles Taylor, Martin Maloney, Michael Joe Clarke and Brian Pollard. Background: Noel Flannery.
Winners of the 'Àrchbishop's Cup' at Laragh Sports: Tommy Quinn, Tony Corley, Jimmy Quinn and teacher Donal Kennedy
Old Church Street, Athenry in the 1950's