Kilkenny claim All-Ireland IHC
Hearty congratulations to the fine Kilkenny intermediate team, who won the intermediate All-Ireland hurling final against a Limerick selection at Thurles, Co Tipperary, on Saturday afternoon last on a score of 1-16 to 0-13.
There was a huge effort put into winning this one; it was the first of four All-Ireland that the county may win this year, so there was great pride and indeed pressure on them to achieve this win against a very strong Limerick team (led out by former Clare County star Ciaran Carey). Nothing was gotten easily in this game as both team battled it out for the title. The Kilkenny boys just kept on playing, with powerful displays, and overcame their opponents in the end.
The team is managed by Mullinavat club man Pat Hoban, himself a Black and Amber All-Ireland medal winner, and he has many from the South Kilkenny area on his team. They included Pat Hartley, who has already picked up All-Ireland under-age medals. The Tullogher great was joined by Mark Phelan, a former Kilkenny senior hurler from Ballyfacey, Sean Cummins, Michael Grace and Kieran Joyce from the Rower/Inistioge club, Niall Walsh of Slieverue (whose late grandfather Tom “Builder” Walsh was one of the great exponents of the game, playing club hurling for Slieverue and with the famed Carrickshock team). From the Graiguenamanagh area came Niall Kennedy, Cathal Dunne, Peter Cleere and James Cahill. Windgap club was represented by Philly Lonergan and from Mooncoin intermediate team came Eoin Hennebry. All of them played their part in securing this first All-Ireland Kilkenny win by their GAA team (with a possible three more), not to mention the girls that might come the Black and Amber way during this hurling and camogie playing season.
It is still only a short few years ago that we traveled up to Nowlan Park, Kilkenny, to see a young Willie O’Dwyer of Mullinavat line out for the Kilkenny senior hurling team and make his debut against Clare in a National Hurling League game that marked the commencement of a glorious senior career at county level for this quiet and unassuming young man. It came just a few months after a great minor All-Ireland display. On that day he was joining fellow club man Walter Burke, who had been on the Kilkenny panel for some years prior and had given sterling service. Willie has now become a regular on the Kilkenny panel and has played major roles in most of the Kilkenny games. On Sunday week next, Willie (like many of his team colleagues that have been under Brian Cody’s care) will be going for their fifth All-Ireland victory. For Willie O’Dwyer, it could mark his third Liam McCarthy Cup success. He has trained hard, and has also given great service to his native club and has lined out for them in all competitive games this year, while at the same time as continuing a most rigorous and testing training programme with Kilkenny. We wish him well on Sunday week and likewise to all of his team colleagues. His parents John and Mary richly deserve the many congratulatory messages that they have received and should be very proud and honored to have a son associated with Kilkenny glory and going for his third All-Ireland medal. We will be shouting all the way for you, Willie!
Best of Luck!
Up the Cats and the best of luck also to all the Kilkenny players, led by Knockmoylan man James “Cha” Fitzpatrick, this year’s captain, and to the still young and talented Carrickshock player, Richie Power, and fellow club men John Dalton, John Tennyson, Michael Rice, to Glenmore’s Richie Mullally, to Ballyhale’s finest player of all time, Henry Shefflin, and to Kiltorcan brothers Eoin and PJ Reid, and a welcome return from injury to Michael Fennelly from Castlebanny, to Dunamaggin defender Noel Hickey, and to all the members of this talented and great hurling team, the very best to luck against our near-neighbours and friends Waterford, in what promises to be an epic and historical hurling All-Ireland final.
Games between them in 1957, 1959, and again in 1963 are now historical for many. I can still, however, see that great roadside sign reading ‘Fleming, Buggy, Sutton: Up Kilkenny’ a reference to Mick Fleming, then a player with Kilmacow, the late John Sutton from Rahard in Mullinavat, and Paddy Buggy of Slieverue, who later went on to become president of the GAA in its centenary year.
These games were played with a very high standard of skill and fitness, with Kilkenny winning two and Waterford one. Waterford therefore have to catch up, and Kilkenny have the opportunity to make history with a three-in-a-row victory. Kilkenny will be favourites on Sunday and the marking by players from both sides will be intense. Most, if not all, of this great Kilkenny team have been here before and have collected their medals and All-Stars, so in one sense the pressure is on the lads in the Black and Amber. They have shown great dedication and a new hunger for success, and we are perhaps seeing the greatest Kilkenny team under Brian Cody ever to grace a hurling All-Ireland. We are proud of each and every one of them. Cill Choinigh Abu!
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