1967 The champions began the defence of their county title with an impressive victory over Abbeyknockmoy by 4-7 to 1-5 in the North Board Championship. Following the game there was a state of panic among the Club’s minor players when Abbeyknockmoy lodged an objection. The County Board ordered a replay fixed for Mountbellew but Abbeyknockmoy failed to field a team and Athenry were awarded the game. They recorded a good win over Turloughmore in the next game winning by 6-6 to 3-2 and had a runaway win over Skehana in the North Board Final. With the final score 6-11 to 0-4 and six of the previous years championship winning side in their lineout, Athenry were always in control, and certainly gave notice that they intended to hold on to the title. It was one way traffic too in the county semi-final against Liam Mellows at Kenny Park. The home venue had little effect on the outcome as Athenry were on top in all sections throughout the hour, winning by 10-5 to 1-6. Impeccable displays by midfielder Christy Coffey, fullback Gerry Donoghue, halfback Tom Burke and opportunist corner forward Vincent Madden gave Athenry a comfortable victory. The County Final was played at Pearse Stadium and Athenry retained their title, defeating Mullagh by 5-2 to 3-3. The winners were well on top in the opening half and led at the interval by 2-2 to 0-2. The second half was far more competitive as Mullagh fought back into contention but a goal by Vincent Madden clinched the title for Athenry near the end. The stars of the game for Athenry were fullback Gerry Donoghue who was as solid as a rock, Ray 19 66 Athenry caused a major upset when they reached their first ever County Minor Hurling Final by defeating Portumna in the semi-final. The Portumna side had no answer when Athenry piled on the pressure. Three goals by Ignatius Madden and two by Juno Barrett put Athenry ahead but goals by Frank Canning levelled the scores with just over five minutes remaining. Tension was at its peak when Ray Glynn pointed a free from seventy yards to give his side the lead again, which they held until the final whistle. In glorious sunshine, on September 18th, at Kenny Park the home team won their first county minor hurling title defeating Castlegar by 6-5 to 3-3. Starting favourites the Athenry side was slow to settle but nevertheless looked the better side from start to finish. Goals by John Joe Brady and Michael Coffey in the first half gave Athenry a halftime lead of 2-3 to 1-5. On the resumption Castlegar launched an all out attack but Tom Howley saved brilliantly in the Athenry goal. With John Connolly doing trojan work for Castlegar at centreback, and proving to be Athenry’s biggest obstacle, they had to improve as the game progressed. Willie Cummins pointed from a free before the bustling Ignatius Madden put the home team further ahead when he banged in a goal. Christy Coffey added another point and, after a fine solo run, Johnny Crosby passed to opportunist Michael Coffey for another goal. The dust had barely settled when Juno Barrett with the best score of the day, shook the net with a ground shot from forty yards. It was now ‘Cashels’ turn, John Connolly goaled from a free with Gerry Glynn adding a point from play. Athenry however, were too far ahead and to clinch the title Michael Coffey completed his hat trick with another goal before the final whistle. Tom Howley could not be faulted in theAthenry goal while Tom Long played a captain’s part at right full back and his long crisp clearances were a feature of the game. Gerry Donoghue was like a rock at full back and Jim Jordan in the other corner was a staunch defender. County minor Willie Cummins enhanced his reputation at wing back as did centre half Ray Glynn and wing back Paddy Gannon played himself to a standstill. Anthony Poniard and Christy Coffey were magnificent at midfield and gave a good supply of the ball to their forwards. Eamonn Mullins held his own against John Connotly with Juno Barrett and John Crosby playing havoc with the ‘Cashel’ backs. Michael Coffey was an opportunist corner forward as was John Joe Brady in the opposite corner with big full forward lgnatius Madden having a hand in most of the Athenry scores. Under the watchful eye of Johnny Crosby Snr. the team, in the weeks before the final, had trained in the Tennis Court Pavilion on the Tuam Road. There was total shock when Johnny took the hurleys off the players ten days before the game. It was fitness training and massages every night with his magic potion of olive oil mixed with turpentine. County Minor Hurling Champions MINOR FINAL LINEOUT 1966 1 Tom Howley, 2 Tom Long (C), 3 Gerry Donoghue, 4 Jim Jordan, 5 Paddy Gannon, 6 Ray Glynn, 7 Willie Cummins, 8 Anthony Poniard, 9 Christy Coffey, 10 John Crosby, 11 Eamonn Mullins, 12 Juno Barrett, 13 Michael Coffey, 14 Ignatius Madden, 15 John Joe Brady, 16 Luke Glynn, 17 Kevin Connolly, 18 Johnny Mullins, 19 Johnny Healy, 20 Chester Redmond, 21 Alfie McNamara, 22 Noel O’Grady 23 Noel Kelly. MANAGEMENT: Martin Maloney, Pake Ruane, Thomas Lally, Jim Ruane, Gill Ruane, Fr. Martin Gleeson, J.J. Kelly, Gerald Corbett, Michael Quinn, Bobby Gardner and John Crosby.