Senior Hurling Championship
An impressive second half return of 2-12 guided helped Athenry senior team to a 2-20 to 0-15 victory over city side Liam Mellows in a captivating first round match at Gort.
Both teams came into the championship fixture hoping to find the right blend of experience and youth as both sides had a number of promising number of players coming through the ranks.
Points from county footballer Tom Flynn and David Donohue gave them the early initiative. Mellows responded quickly, however, and by the 10th minute, they led 0-5 to 0-2. Tadhg Haran was the main contributor, opening his account with a perfectly executed sideline cut before adding a free and another score from play.
Cathal Keane responded with a superb run and point, but it was Mellows who went in at half time ahead, 0-9 to 0-8.
Midway through the second half, there was only the minimum margin between the teams, 1-12 to 0-14. It was at this stage that Athenry started to dominate and reflect their dominance on the scoreboard.
In the following ten minutes, David Donohue, Conor Burke, Cathal Keane, Paddy Hannon and Aidan Higgins all scored from play to extend Athenry’s gap to six points. Crucially, they were also able to stay resolute in defence, making crucial blocks on the few occasions
that Mellows breached their rearguard.
Athenry could take a lot of positives from their performance. They had eight different scorers while Cathal Keane was hugely impressive. The young forward was nearly perfect from placed balls while his direct running caused numerous problems for the opposition. Credit must also go to the Athenry defence, especially Shane Donohue and Conor Burke, who helped nullify what is a talented Mellows attack.
Athenry: J Grealish; M Monaghan, D Glynn, C Burke (0-1); S Donohue, C O’Donovan, L Howley; C Caulfield, M Hannon; J Divilly, T Flynn (0-3), C Keane (0-8, 0-6 frees); A Healy (0-1), J Carr (2-1), D Donohue. Subs: P Hannon (0-1) for C Caulfied (37 mins), A Higgins (0-2) for M Hannon (45 mins), C Burke for A Healy (49 mins).
The opening game of the group stages went Ardrahan’s way when they recovered from a half-time deficit to earn their expected win over a young Athenry side that battled gamely to the end at St. Brendan’s Park, Loughrea.
The winners seemed to have wrapped up the victory when a Maurice Callanan 65 gave them into a 1-13 to 0-11 lead at the end of normal time but a late Jack Carr goal set up a nervy finish for the leaders who had to withstand a couple of late attacks before referee Michael Haverty’s final whistle brought proceedings to an end.
Athenry were dealt a blow before the game when defender Matthew Monaghan cried off with an injury and they also had to line out without key forward Thomas Flynn. Dermot O’Halloran went into the full-back line in place of Matthew Monaghan and Tom Flynn was replaced by Paddy Hannon.
Slow to get into the game in the opening half Athenry finally began to raise some flags. Cathal Keane (three frees), James Divilly, Conor Caulfield who was having a fine game and the experienced David Donohoe all notched points to establish a 0-9 to 0-3 interval lead.
County star Jonathan Glynn at the edge of the square got Ardrahan back in the game with a goal and a point. When John Greene pointed from play and Maurice Callanan got one from a 65 it was finally looking as if Ardrahan had prevailed when they held a 1-13 to 0-11 lead going into time addedon. However Jack Carr squeezed the sliotar home from a difficult angle to raise Athenry hopes but they were unable to get any closer.
Athenry: J Grealish; D O’Halloran, D Glynn, S Donohue; C Burke, C O’Donovan, L Howley; C Caulfield (0-3), M Hannon; A Healy, P Hannon, C Keane (0-5, 0-4 frees); J Divilly (0-2), J Carr (1-0), D Donohue (0-1).Subs: A. Higgins for Conor Burke (45 mins), Cian Burke for Keane (52 mins).
A score-line of 9-16 to 1-11 is for real as Athenry completed a massacre against Carnmore at Kenny Park, inflicting a 29 point margin of defeat.
The scale of the defeat asked serious questions about the make-up of the Galway senior hurling championship, and the most pertinent of which is why there was should be such a difference between two sides coming through to this stage of the series.
Intermediate Football Championship
Athenry recorded a narrow win over Moycullen, in their opening game, with full-forward Cathal Fahy scoring two goals, both from play. The second came at the end of a spectacular solo run by midfielder Thomas Flynn.
Athenry led at half-time by 2-7 to 1-4, with Conor Bohan scoring a goal for Moycullen.
Remarkably, they got only one score in the entire second half, a point off a free by Cathal Fahy. Referee Brendan Kinneavy sent off Moycullen full-back Eoin Walsh on a red card late in the game and after the final whistle, he red-carded Moycullen's Gareth Bradshaw.
Thomas Flynn gave a man-of the-match display at midfield and was outstanding from start to finish.
Athenry scorers: C. Fahy (2-3, 0-3 frees), M. Foran (0-2), R. O'Reilly, S. McVeigh, M. Healy (0-1 each).
Against Monivea-Abbey at Corofin both sides battled it out for a quarter-final place. The match ended all square at the end of normal time (0-12 each). Monivea-Abbey started the game strongly but Athenry landed three points from Cathal Fahy (two) and R. O’Reilly and they led 0-6 to 0-5 at the break.
The second half began with both sides trading early points, Fahy for Athenry and Trevor Mullins for Monivea-Abbey. Both teams were guilty of shooting poor wides before Athenry scored two points in a row from Colin Whyte and O’Driscoll, with Cathal Coleman replying for Monivea.
When Paulie Farrell pointed for Athenry, they led by 0-10 to 0-7 midway through the half. Monivea began to win the mid-field battle and they landed three unanswered points from Roche, Kevin Divilly and Jason Finn but Michael Foran pulled one back for Athenry who now led by one point with six minutes to go.
But Monivea finished strongly to take the lead, however, Cathal with a last ditch shot tied the game at 0-12 each and extra.
The first period saw Athenry outscore Monivea-Abbey by two points, 1-4 to 1-2, with scores from Brian Costello, 1-1, O’Reilly, 0-2 and one from Thomas Flynn, while Oran Finn, 1-0, and Roche, 0-2, replied for Monivea who trailed at the break by 1-16 to 1-14.
Ace goal scorer Cathal Fahy fired home Athenry’s second goal on the resumption, but Finn and Coleman replied with a point each for Monivea before Kieran West had the last score of the game to give Athenry victory by 2-17 to 1-16.
They continued on their winning ways with a good 2-13 to 0-13 win over Headford at Raheen to put them top of the Division 4 Intermediate League.
Under 21 Hurling Championship
Athenry defeated Loughrea 1-18 to 1-14 in their Under 21 A Hurling Championship first round replay played at Clarinbridge. As in the drawn game there was nothing to separate these teams at the end of normal time, but Athenry pulled away in extra time and recorded a four point victory.
They had good performances from Darragh Hynes, Dermot O'Halloran, Jack Carr, Cathal Keane, Cian Burke and Mickey Mullins.
In the second round they defeated Clarinbridge 1-14 to 0-12 having dominated proceedings from the start and had built up a five point lead by half time. An opportunist goal from Dara Rohan and a brace of points by the lively MickeyMullins being the pick of the first-half scores.
After the break Athenry continued to pick off their scores with Cathal Keane unerring from placed balls. Clarinbridge did rally late on but strong defending from Shane O'Reilly, Darragh Hynes and Dermot O Halloran in particular, ensured the men in maroon booked their place in the County Quarter-Final.
Athenry: D Fahy, S O'Reilly, OMcLoughlin, K Keady, D Hynes, D O'Halloran, C O'Dwyer, C Flynn, C Keane (0-7, 6 frees), P Hannon, J Carr (0-1), A Higgins, C Burke (0-2),MMullins (0-3), D Rohan (1-0). Subs: C Hardiman (0-1) for A Higgins, R Byrne for D Rohan, D Higgins, D Keane and A Van Niekerk.
The day might have had an arctic hue to it but the final contest for this county under-21 hurling A championship at Duggan Park on Sunday was red hot, as an Athenry side calling in all the old virtues of spirit and resilience – eventually prevailed after a gripping encounter.
A sticky sod, a bitingly cold wind and some vicious showers did not present the ideal setting for this county final, but both sides still managed to produce some flowing passages of play at a quite frantic pace for this time of the year.
The entertainment rating was high for the crowd of around 1,500 but if this match had been played on the dusty sod of a September day, it surely would have been one of the hurling spectacles of the year on the domestic scene.
Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry entered the contest as slight favourites given the overall balance of their team, but once Athenry corner forward Aidan Higgins fired home their first goal after six minutes, Billy Caulfield's charges were never again to lose that lead.
Goals in tight matches are like hot Cognacs hitting cold bellies and by the time referee Eoin Shaughnessy sounded the final whistle shortly before 3.30, those two major scores had been enough to see Athenry over the line.
Like all losing finalists in tight games, Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry will have their regrets as they look back on how this encounter unfolded with their biggest sighs of despair probably concentrated on the closing minutes of the match when they spurned at least three decent point scoring opportunities.
Chances taken and chances missed...on such thin lines are county finals won and lost, but Athenry's nose for goal and some mightily determined defending, made them deserving winners of a contest that was always precariously balanced.
The outcome was a reversal of the result between the two sides in the 2011 Minor A Final but Athenry will probably be the first to agree that there was scarcely a puck of the ball between them. In the end, Athenry's resolute defending, their opportunist goals and the opposition's late burst of wastefulness represented the main differences between the sides.
Enda Gannon was very solid between the posts for Athenry while their defenders were all in the heroic category, with Dermot O'Halloran outstanding at full back, while Paddy Hannon, Darragh Hynes and Ciarán O'Dwyer also caught the eye.
Oisín McLoughlin and Dean Healy at midfield, also epitomised the work ethic of the side, while up front Cathal Keane's accurate free taking, plus the opportunism of corner men Michael Mullins and Aidan Higgins,were vital factors in the success.
Athenry: E. Gannon; R. Byrne, D. O'Halloran, K. Keady; D. Hynes, P. Hannon, C. O'Dwyer; O. McLoughlin 1-0, D. Healy; C. Hardiman, C. Keane 0-4 (all frees), D. Rohan; M. Mullins 0-2, D. Fahy 0-1, A. Higgins 1-0. Subs.: A. Van Niekerk for Rohan (45), C. Flynn for Fahy (54).
Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry: M. Fahy; P. Hodgins, G. McHugo, S. Flynn; J. Whelan, P. Killeen, B. Conroy; P. Breheny 0-
1, C. Cunningham; J. Blake, N. Moloney, J. Conroy; K. Farragher 0-1, S. Moloney 0-7 (6 frees), J. McLoughlin 0-1. Subs.: C. Breheny for Farragher (56).
Referee: Eoin Shaughnessy.
The minor hurling team had a great 5-11 to 2-8 win over Kilconieron in their Championship game played at Craughwell. Athenry
were quickest out of the blocks and thanks to two Conor Gillen goals, had built up a commanding lead at the end of the first quarter.
The men in maroon continued to pick off some neat scores and the interval saw them leading on a scoreline of Athenry: 3-5 (14 points) to Kilconeiron's 3 points.
The second half followed a similar pattern and despite the concession of two late goals, Athenry ran out comfortable winners.
Athenry: S. Madden, C. Byrne, I. O'Shea, S. Parr, C. Moran, R. Byrne, C. Flynn, C. Moran, R. Hardiman, R. Shaughnessy, J. McGough, C. Gillen, L. Conneely, P. Corcoran, C. Burke, S. Coleman. Subs used: L. O'Grady, C. Moran.
The minors were defeated by Loughrea 2-16 to 2-10 at Ballinasloe. Loughrea dominated the first half and led at the break by seven points but Athenry put in a storming second half. Thanks to goals from the impressive Liam O'Grady and Cian Burke they entered the final quarter leading by two points.
However Loughrea regrouped and proved too strong in the end.
Under 16 Hurling
Athenry Under 16 hurling team defeated Turloughmore 2-13 to 1-8 in their A1 Championship game played at Raheen.
The visitors started the strongest and had built up a four-point lead but a neatly taken goal from Paddy Holland ensured Athenry
went in at the break only a point in arrears.
Athenry started the second half in determined fashion and a well worked Eoin Caulfield goal put them into a commanding lead and they finished off the last quarter in impressive fashion with excellent scores from Ciaran Hardiman, Luke Conneely, Aaron Leggett and Eoin Caulfield.
Overall this was a very good team performance with Ian O'Shea and Sean Coleman outstanding in defence, Adam Conneely
worked hard in midfield and in attack Ronan Hardiman, Martin Cullen, Eoin Caulfield and Ciaran Hardiman stood out.
Athenry: P. Rabbitte, J. McCullough, I. O'Shea, M. Loughnane, C. Byrne, S. Coleman, N. Keogh, A. Conneely, D. Daly, E. Caulfield, L. Conneely, M. Cullen, C. Hardiamn, R. Hardiman, P. Holland. Subs used: A. Leggett, R. Kindregan, E. Healy
Under 14 and Féile Hurling
Athenry’s Under 14 A Hurling Team defeated Clarinbridge in the Toddie Byrne Féile na nGael at Pearse Stadium, crowning a
magnificent weekend for the young men in maroon and white.
Victories over Ballygar, St. Thomas’ and Loughrea in the group games set up a semi-final game against neighbours Turloughmore.
In a closely fought game Athenry emerged winners by a four point margin and set up a final against Clarinbridge who were on course for four titles in a row.
The final turned out to be an a thriller and an excellent exhibition of juvenile hurling. Athenry starting strongly with a brace of Adam Kelleher goals and a magnificent effort from Eoin Caulfield the difference at half-time.
Athenry took up where they left off in the second period and maintained a healthy lead. Clarinbridge battled bravely and cut the lead to three points as the final whistle loomed. Athenry finished the strongest though and points from Cillian Lawless and Adam Kelleher closed the game out on a scoreline of 4-7 to 2-6.
Captain Noel Keogh accepted the Toddie Byrne Cup on behalf of his team mates and thanked manager John Hardiman and mentors Brendan Madden and Mark Tully for their guidance during the year.
Eoin Caulfield deservedly received the ‘man-of-the-match-award while others to impress were Goalie Paddy Rabbitte, Conor Tully, Jack McCullough, Shane Quirke,Cillian Lawless, Adam Kelleher and Brandon Lee.
Athenry: P. Rabbitte, J. O'Connor, C. Tully, C. Hynes, R. Keane, S. Quirke, E. Flaherty, N. Keogh, C. Lawless, C. Hardiman, J. McCullough, B. Lee, E. Langan, E. Caulfield, D. Parr, S. Cunningham, M. Higgins, D. Noone, A. Kelleher, C. Burke, D.J. Somers, E. Lawless, K. Langan, A. O'Brien , M. Hardiman.
The U14 hurlers’ opening game in the National Féile na nGael with Middleton from Cork was a close fought affair with Athenry unlucky to concede two late goals. Next up was Dicksboro from Kilkenny and this game followed a similar pattern to the first game with the game only slipping away at the end.
Disappointed but undaunted the Athenry lads defeated Abbeyside from Waterford in the Shield Semi Final and comprehensively defeated Inagh from Clare to land the Feile Shield.
The Club’s C1 Under 14 Hurling Team had a great 4-5 to 3-6 win over Oranmore/Maree in the County Final played at Kenny
Park. Athenry laid the foundation for this win in the first half with Alan Cahill and Kelvin Langan both registering goals to put Athenry two points up at half time.
The home side hit a purple patch after the break with the lively Langan and Cahill pair getting in for a second goal each. Oranmore fought back strongly and had reduced the deficit to just two points as the final whistle approached. But, try as they might, they couldn't breach the Athenry rearguard with man-of-the-match Dean Treacy making some outstanding saves in the Athenry goal.
In the Under 14 A Hurling Championship Athenry booked their place in the County Cup Semi Final with a workmanlike performance to defeat Loughrea 1-13 to 1-4. The winners were the stronger team throughout and scored some fine points from play with Cillian Lawless unerring from the placed ball.
Scorers for Athenry: C. Lawless (6 points), B Lee (1 goal and 2 points), A Kelleher, C Hardiman, E Caulfield,M Higgins, D Parr (1 point each).
Under 14 Football Championship
Athenry's Under 14 footballers had a great 2-8 to 2-6 victory over Monivea-Abbey in their Division 1 Championship game played in Carnaun.
The home side started very strongly and had the ball in the net on two occasions in the first half to build up a commanding seven point lead at the interval.
However Monivea-Abbey dominated the opening period of the second half to overcome the deficit and take a one point lead into the final quarter.
Athenry regrouped and finished the stronger to win by two points, and they will now play Moycullen in the next round.
Athenry: M. Leggett, R. McNeilis ,C. Hynes, C. Naughton, B. Lee, S. Quirke, R. Collins, P. Rabbitte, E. Caulfield (0-2), E. Flaherty (1-0), D. Noone (0-2), C. Hardiman, J. O'Connor, R Leahy (0-2), N. Healy (1-2). Subs: D.J. Somers for M. Leggett, A. Haverty for B. Lee, B. Lee for J. O"Connor.
They had a 3-8 to 3-7 victory over Moycullen in the Quarter-Final played at Carnaun. In a most enjoyable, free-flowing game, both sides traded scores in the first half but two well taken goals from the excellent Eoin Caulfield separated the sides at the interval.
Moycullen gradually made inroads into the Athenry lead and forged ahead as the game entered the final quarter but the home then scored a goal and three points without reply and despite conceding a last-minute goal they held out to secure a well deserved win.
The U14 footballers also reached the Féile Shield Final winning all their group games to put them into the semi-final
where they comprehensively defeated Carraroe. The final against Caherlistrane at Pearse Stadium was a close fought affair, but despite a great effort from the lads in Maroon and white they eventually lost out by two points.
Junior Hurling Championship
The Junior A Hurling Team got their campaign off to a winning start with a 1-18 to 2-11 victory over Mullagh in their first round game played at Killimor.
Two evenly-matched sides traded scores in the first half with Athenry leading at the break by two points. They were the more economical in front of goals and fine scores from Cathal Hardiman and Mickey Mullins stretched their lead to four points in the final quarter.
The Athenry defence held off a strong challenge from Mullagh in the closing minutes to run out winners.
The team maintained their unbeaten run with a 1-17 to 0-14 win over Skehana. The first half was an evenly matched affair with a well taken Dara Rohan goal the difference at half time. Athenry started the second half strongly and built up a commanding lead to eventually win out.
Athenry: E. Gannon, D. Moroney, D. Carroll, B. Loughnane, B. Higgins, E. McGowan, G. Mo-roney, E. Caulfield, K. Madden, D. Rohan (1-3), P. Toomey (0-4), S. Kelly (0-1), D. Loughnane (0-1), D. Fahy (0-1), M. Mullins (0-7). Substitutes: C. O'Dwyer, K. Keady.
Tommy Madden R.I.P.
Athenry mourned the passing a legend and one of the county’s greatest ever middle-distance runners. Tommy Madden, from Derrydonnell, Athenry, excelled in several sporting disciplines most of all, athletics, where he proved to be one of the top middle-distance runners in the country during the 1950s and '60s. He also won a County Galway Intermediate Hurling Championship medal with Newcastle in
Thomas Flynn's goal
Athenry clubman Thomas Flynn, though on the losing side, played a great game for Galway footballers in the All-Ireland quarter-final against Kerry in Croke Park scoring one of the goals of the season in the process.
In the 31st minute, midfielder Flynn picked up a hand-pass from Gareth Bradshaw, set off on a solo-run from midfield, shook off Declan O’Sullivan and kept going and going before sliding the ball under the despairing dive of Kerry goalkeeper Brian Kelly almost with casual nonchalance.
Sean McGovern School of Hurling
The Club’s 8th annual Sean McGovern School of Hurling was again very successful. which caters for boys from 6 to 16 years of age, living in the parish of Athenry.
This annual event honours the late Sean McGovern, who dedicated over two decades of his life to coaching underage teams and caters for boys from 6 to 16 years of age, living in the parish.
As a testament to Sean’s influence, many of the wonderful coaches involved in this important hurling event began their hurling careers under his gentle guidance.
Many boys participated in last year’s event which was thoroughly enjoyed by both participants and coaches.