|County Under 21 A Hurling Championship 2019
Front Row: (left to right) Brandon Lee, Conor Tully,, Jamie Treacy, Darren Collins, Donal Parr, Shane Quirke, Liam Egan, Paddy Holland, Cillian Lawless, Mark Moran, Emmet Ruane, Cathal Page. Back Row: (left to right) Dean Treacy, Matthew Treacy, Ian O'Shea, Eoln Lawless, Jack McCullough, Noel Keogh, Paddy Rabbitte, Alan Haverty, Jack Dowling, Ronan Kindreagan, Ciaran Hardiman, Mark Hardiman, Ronan Hardiman, Eoln Caulfield, Martin Cullen and D J Somers.
Athenry’s Donal Parr, left, is presented with the County Under 21 Hurling Final ‘Man-of-the-Match Award’ by sponsor Liam Challoner. On the right Michael Larkin Hurling Committee Chairman presents the Under 21 Cup to Athenry captain Ronan Hardiman.
Under 21 Hurling
If the Club’s Junior A team brought pride and glory to the Parish then their achievements were possibly outdone by a heroic Under 21 side in front of a vociferous Athenry crowd at Kenny Park. Displaying an insatiable appetite for hard work coupled with brilliant defending and some clinical score taking that resulted in a fantastic four point victory over raging hot favourites and near neighbours Clarinbridge.
Athenry: Dean Treacy; Jack McCullough, Ian O'Shea, Ciaran Hardiman; Conor Tully, Shane Quirke, Eoin Lawless: Martin Cullen (0-1), Noel Keogh; Conor Lawless (0-1) Ronan Hardiman (captain 0-2), Donal Parr (1-5, 0-5 frees), Darren Collins (1-0). Paddy Rabbitte, Eoin Caulfield. Subs: Brandan Lee. for Darren Collins.
Athenry County Junior A Hurling Champions 2019
Athenry’s captain Eoin Donnellan, left, is presented with the County Junior A Hurling Cup by Hurling Committee Chairman Michael Larkin and on the right Conor Cannon receives the ‘Man-of-the-Match Award’.
The Athenry team that won the County Senior Hurling Championship in 1994 was honoured at the County Final in Pearse Stadium.
1994 - 25 Years Ago - Athenry’s County Final success marks beginning of great rivalry
Happy memories of 1987 were rekindled and the heartbreaking near misses in three county finals were swept aside as Athenry senior hurling team powered their way to County Cup glory at Duggan Park, Ballinasloe, twenty-five years ago, on Sunday 30th October 1994. As often happens in finals, the formbook was torn to shreds when outsiders Athenry ended Sarsfield’s magnificent two-year reign as county, provincial and All-Ireland Club Hurling Champions. It also signaled the beginning of an intense rivalry between the two clubs and their decade long dominance of the Galway Senior Hurling Championship.
Sharing eight of the following ten county titles between them - it was easy to see the relief and satisfaction among Athenry players and supporters when team captain Pat Higgins stepped up to receive the County Cup from Hurling Board chairman Tom Callanan. Having enjoyed remarkable success at under age levels in the 1980’s and early 1990’s winning a county senior championship had narrowly eluded Athenry since their sole success seven years earlier.
This time there was no disputing their merited three-point victory, 2-6 to 0-9, after sixty minutes of tough, hard and uncompromising hurling where both sides strove might and main for success. A crowd of 12,000 saw Sarsfields put in a terrific late rally but a superb Athenry defence and the tactic of crowding out midfield, making scoring difficult, foiled Pakie Cooney side’s three-in-row dream.
In their opening game, Athenry defeated Loughrea after the East Galway side got off to a good start and opened a four-point gap. But the winners without ever hitting top form put on the pressure. Paul Hardiman in defence was at his best and Declan Higgins, making a welcome return after a serious knee injury, also giving an encouraging display. In the next round they easily accounted for Kilconieron, winning at the end by sixteen points 3-15 to 0-8 and had no difficulty either against Pearses’ scoring 0-20 to 1-4 to qualify for the knockout stages with a group game against Sarsfields to be decided. Four points down with as many minutes left to play it looked bad for the challengers but a few fine points by Brendan Keogh levelled a low scoring game at 0-11 to 1-8.
Mullagh were Athenry's surprise opponents in the quarter-final, this time there were no mistakes and Athenry ran out easy winners scoring 2-14 to 1-7. The same could not be said about the semi-final against Kinvara at Loughrea. The south Galway side got off to a flying start and looked like causing an upset. They were five points ahead when goalkeeper Michael Crimmins made a spectacular save that denied them a goal. Athenry eventually got going and picked off some excellent scores. Goals by Joe Rabbitte and John Conway helped open a lead of five points with time almost up but Kinvara were not finished and narrowed the gap to one point before the final whistle. The experts who gave Kinvara no chance were now writing off Athenry's prospects against the All-Ireland Club Champions who turned on the power play to easily overcome a strong Kiltormer side in the other semi-final.
The sides lined out in the County Final with two-man full forward lines. Athenry’s Pat Higgins and Sarsfield’s Peter Kelly were withdrawn to midfield with a result there was little fluent play on a damp sod. It took the teams some time to settle in a dour low scoring first half with only one point being scored from play. But in a devastating two-minute spell immediately after the re-start Athenry hit their rivals with two goals and a point that, as it turned out, decided the destination of the Cup for the year ahead.
Those golden goals by Joe Rabbitte and Brian Hanley with a Declan Higgins’ point swept Athenry six points clear and gave them a cushion that they badly needed when Sarsfields piled on the pressure. Cathal Moran closed his side’s account early with a point from a free and Athenry’s huge following had to bear over twenty minutes of intense tension and anxiety before finally referee John Joe Corcoran (Castlegar) took them out of their agony by blowing the final whistle.
For the winners, victory was sweet and just reward for their endeavour and commitment. The doubts about their ability to translate under-age success into senior were being thrown at them each passing year. It was a tough examination of Athenry’s character facing the All-Ireland Club champions but they were tipped early in the year as being the biggest threat to Sarsfields’ prospects of winning the county title.
Team manager, former Galway hero, Brendan Lynskey and his selectors Noel Kelly and Jackie O'Shea, who were also assisted by Pat O'Toole, had their homework done. The team's aspirations were well nurtured by their mentors who instilled character and self-belief in their own ability into the side.
From the start the tactics were right, they opted to play Brendan Keogh as a third midfielder and the New Inn side had no answer. The Tiaquin man had his finest hour in the Athenry jersey while Gerry Keane, who made a welcome return to the side, after being out of the game for two years with injury, played a stormer at corner back. Beside him Eamonn Keogh and the experienced Gerry Dempsey never put a foot wrong. The half back line of Pascal Healy, who sent a rousing sideline cut between the posts from in front of the stand, Brian Feeney and Paul Hardiman gave their best performance of the year.
At midfield John Hardiman, who had the difficult task of marking All-Star Joe Cooney, could not be faulted. Beside him Lisheenkyle’s Pat Higgins played a captain’s part from the start until the end and his brother Declan scored one of the best points of the game. Others to impress were new-comers goalie Michael Crimmins, Brian Hanley and Boston based Brendan Morrissey who returned earlier in the year from the USA with a county medal foremost on his mind.
Joe Rabbitte took his goal well and was in the thick of the action for most of the game, the same could be said for Cathal Moran who played very well when moved to mark Padraic Kelly. His younger brother Donal came on in the closing stages and played his part but the loudest cheer of the day was for the great P.J. Molloy who made his final appearance in an Athenry jersey. Others who lined out in the earlier rounds of the senior championship were Tommy Morrissey, Gerry Rabbitte and the unfortunate John Conway who was ruled out because of injury.
As the curtain came down on 1994 the Club’s players and supporters had plenty reasons to celebrate, especially the unique achievement of winning, five of the main county hurling titles at senior, under 21, minor, under 16 and under 14. This would not be possible without the perseverance of players and the dedication of the Club’s many great coaches, mentors and officials over several years. Their shared loyalty to the Club, one another and unity often at difficult times was amply rewarded.
It was ‘as good as it gets’ for lots of Athenry people but there were higher mountains to climb for the players and officials with many more happy memories to come for St. Mary’s GAA Club followers in the years ahead.
Athenry: Michael Crimmins; Gerry Dempsey, Eamonn Keogh, Gerry Keane; Pascal Healy (0-1, sideline cut), Brian Feeney, Paul Hardiman; John Hardiman, Brendan Keogh; Joe Rabbitte (1-O), Brian Hanley (1-0), Cathal Moran (0-4, all frees); Brendan Morrissey, Pat Higgins Capt., Declan Higgins (0-1).
Manager: Brendan Lynskey. Selectors: Jackie O’Shea and Noel Kelly.
Minor Hurling Team into County Semi-Final
Athenry Minor A hurling side qualified for the county Semi-Final thanks to a well deserved victory over Castlegar at Pearse Stadium. The winners started well and built up a 4 point lead midway through the first half however Castlegar battled back and only one point seperated the sides at the interval. Athenry took the game to Cashel in the second half and were rewarded with some lovely points. With their defence getting on top and conceding little Paddy Rabbitte cut through to plant the ball in the Castlegar net to give Athenry an unaissable lead and they ran out deserving winners.
Final score Athenry 1-19 Castlegar 0-10.
Athenry: D Treacy, R Collins, E Lawless, J Dowling, M Hardiman, S Quirke (capt) ,B Haverty ,A Haverty, D Parr, P Rabbitte, A O Brien, R O'Donnell, E Ruane, B Lee, J Treacy. Subs used: D Morrissey, K Langan, R Jennings, E Brady and E Feeney.
Senior Hurling Championship
Athenry seniors may be classed as a developing side, but entered into the summer months off with a perfect record of two wins from two that placeed them top of Group 1 in the Senior B Hurling Championship. A late Noel Keogh goal helped them past Beagh two weekends beforehand, but their viictory this time around was more commanding in nature. James Divilly and Conor Burke set the tone from the halfback line, the duo contributing a point apiece and were complicit in Athenry's second goal, where Keogh was again on hand to apply a finishing touch to what was the best move of the match.
They recorded their third group win, defeating Ahascragh-Fohenagh, but had to withstand a strong second half fightback from 10-point deficit to secure their place in the knockout stages. Goalkeeper John Grealish smothered a late goal opportunity to level the game and Athenry weathered the storm.
Galway capture first Camogie League Title
Galway produced a performance fit for the occasion to dethrone four in-a-row-chasing Kilkenny and capture a first National League Division I Camogie tite in four seasons at Croke Park. The Tribeswomen were very impressive and well-organised throughout, and were more dominant than the two-point winning margin may suggest. Kilkenny were pedestrian in comparison, playing second fiddle to Cathal Murray's charges for long spells and went eight points down at one stage, a lead the winners never fully relinquished.
Three-in-a-row for Galway Minor Hurling Team
Three is the magic number or at least it was for Galway as they captured a first ever three in-a-row of All-Ireland minor hurling titles at Croke Park in what amounted to a facile 11-point victory over Kilkenny.
No joy for Presentation College in Post Primary School's Final
There was no joy for Presentation College in the All-Ireland Post Primary Senior A Hurling Championship Final at Tullamore.
The Senior Hurling Team had a six point win 4-13 to 2-13 over Ahascragh/Fohenagh at Loughrea to keep their Championship hopes on track.
Great Under 6 Hurling Blitz with Craughwell. Thanks to all the boys, their parents and coaches for a great effort.
Mary McGovern R.I.P.
St. Mary's GAA Club was profoundly saddened to hear of the passing of a great club stalwart Mary McGovern. Mary and her husband Sean were great servants of the club over many decades and were to the forefront in setting up and running the club's Lotto.
Two Athenry Under 12 Hurling teams played in the Killmacud Crokes Juvenile Hurling Tournament.
The Athenry A team narrowly lost to Waterford's Ballygunner in the final but the B team were successful against the hosts B team. Well done to all the players, manager Paddy Kelly and his mentors
Under 12 team that won the Michael Brennan Trophy in Ballygar
Athenry County Minor A Hurling Finalists 2019
Athenry County Junior C1 Hurling Finalists 2019
Conor Murphy of St Kieran’s, Kilkenny (left) and Presentation College’s Shane Quirke with referee Johnny Murphy before throw-in in the All-Ireland Post Primary Senior A Hurling Championship Final at Tullamore.
Congratulations to Carnaun National School winners of the Division 1A Hurling 11 a side Final against Kiltullagh on a score line of 7-10 to 3-6 at Loughgeorge. Well done to all the players and team management
Galway All-Ireland Senior Camogie Champions 2019
Galway All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Finalists 2019.
Galway National League Division 1 Camogie Champions
Back: Laura Glynn (Sarsfields), Molly Mannion (Mountbellew-Moylough), Niamh Murphy (Clarinbridge), Laura Ward (Sarsfields), Karen Kennedy (Mullagh), Leanne Freaney (Athenry), Niamh Hanniffy (Oranmore-Maree), Sarah Healy (St. Thomas'), Heather Cooney (St. Thomas'), Sarah Dervan (captain, Mullagh), Catriona Cormican (Cappataggle), Dervla Higgins (Athenry), Maria Cooney (Sarsfields), Niamh McGrath (Sarsfields), Lisa Casserly (Balllnderreen), Ciara Murphy (Clarinbridge), Mairead Dillon (Kilconieron), Anne Marie Starr (Killimor): Front: Catriona Lee (Castlegar), Ellsha Broderick (Castlegar), Carrie Dolan (Clarinbridge), Catherine Finnerty (Mountbellew-Moylough), Sarah Spellman (Sarsflelds), Ava Lynskey (Ardrahan), Noreen Coen (Athenry), Niamh Kilkenny (Pearses), Ailish O'Rellly (Oranmore-Maree), Tara Kenny (Sarsflelds), Emma Helebert (Balllnderreen), Shauna Healy (Ardrahan), Lorraine Ryan (Kiltullagh-Killmordaly) and Aolfe Donohue (Mullagh).