Player power inspired take off, and this week a thrilled Kilkenny man was celebrating after striking gold in the Cork senior hurling championship.
Former O’Loughlin Gaels player, Peter Dowling (pictured below), created history with Midleton when they bridged a 22 year gap when capturing the Cork title by beating Sarsfields in the final in Pairc Ui Chaoimh.
Two years ago the 32-year-old took the agonizing decision to leave the club he played with all his life to throw-in his lot with Midleton, where he has been teaching since 2010.
“It is a great honour to be part of the winning team,” the determined midfielder told the ’People after the thrilling 2-15 to 2-13 success. “There is terrific excitement in the area. I feel so lucky. I win a medal after two seasons while others have been trying for ages.”
The maths and PE teacher in Midleton CBS was the oldest member of the squad. Now he joins an elite group of hurlers who won championships in Kilkenny and Cork.
A meeting among the players last November provided the inspiration for the success, according to Dowling, who won senior honours with O’Loughlin Gaels in 2001, 2003 and 2010. Midleton had shown lots of promise, but they had failed to deliver on the field in recent years.
“Basically the players met to discuss why they weren’t able to win the title,” revealed Peter, who attended the meeting. “It wasn’t anything behind the back of anyone in the club. It was the players taking responsibility. I think the inspiration for this success came from that meeting.”
This season Midleton and the Sars have been a cut above the rest in Cork, but it has been a tough campaign all the way, according to Dowling.
“It in an unbelievable feeling,” he insisted. “It was a hectic campaign, and it was great to finish it with a win. It wasn’t easy to leave O’Loughlin’s, but the move has worked well for me. Now I have a Munster championship to look forward to, and that should be exciting.
“I live and work in Midleton, so it made sense to join the club. We, the players in the club, are a very close unit and we do a lot of things together.”
Peter cut his ties with the St John’s Park outfit simply because the travelling to and from Midleton for training and matches had become too much. He was part of the O’Loughlin’s senior panel since 1997. It wasn’t until 2005 that he broke into the team.
He featured with the club in the All-Ireland final of 2011. The following season he swopped the white and green shirt from the black and white of the Leesiders.
Peter was cheered all the way to victory by his family and a group of close friends who travelled to Cork for the big game.
Meanwhile, Dicksboro have thrown together two former Kilkenny under-21 team managers to head up their senior hurling Selection Committee for the 2014 season.
County under-21 boss for the past two seasons, Richie Mulrooney will manage the team. He will be joined on the Selection Committee by Michael Walsh, a former county team manager, Mark Dowling, who played with the club for years and was part of the Clara backroom team that guided to the club to intermediate honours at local, provincial and national level in 2012, and Niall Lacey. Willie Cuddihy will be part of the set-up looking after strength and conditioning work.
The new management take over from the committee headed by Ger Henderson, who stepped down after the championship quarter-final defeat by Carrickshock this season.
Kilkenny had four players picked on the All-Star camogie team. Mairead Power and Edwina Keane were selected in defence while Katie Power and Shelly Farrell won places in attack.
The 2013 All Star - Susan Earner (Galway), Mairead Power (Kilkenny), Sarah Dervan (Galway), Lorraine Ryan (Galway), Edwina Keane (Kilkenny), Therese Maher (Galway), Chloe Morey (Clare), Niamh Kilkenny (Galway), Jennifer O’Leary (Cork), Katie Power (Kilkenny), Niamh McGrath( Galway), Kate Kelly (Wexford), Shelly Farrell (Kilkenny), Elaine Dermody (Offaly), Ailish O’Reilly (Galway).