The Clara under-13 squad who won the county championship
It is 50 years since Clara GAA club won their first adult championship. At a function in Connolly’s of Dunbell, the under-21 group of 1968 and the junior champions of 1969 were honoured.
Team member present was presented with a framed photograph of the two sides, plus a copy of the match reports from the time. It was a time to look back for a proud club with a big future.
Back in 1968 the under-21 team beat Mooncoin in the final by 2-13 to 2-4. The Kilkenny People report read: “It was a good clean game, and while Clara have earned congratulations on their success, Mooncoin, deserve also to be commended on the very fine effort they made. They were only prevented from getting closer by some almost miraculous saving by the Clara goalkeeper. Clara’s was a real effort.
“The backs were all sound. If John O’Shea stood out at centre-back he was very ably assisted by the Brennan brothers, Pat and David, and Syl Knox in the full-back line and the Prendergast brothers, Michael and John on the half line. Dick Prendergast rose to the occasion at midfield and his fourth brother, Dave was the star of the attack. Others to do well in attack were Paddy Knox and L. Galvin.”
Clara - W. Murphy; S. Knox, P. Brennan, D. Brennan; M. Prendergast, J. O’Shea, J. Prendergast; R. Prendergast, P. O’Keeffe; P. Knox, L. Murphy, D. Prendergast; L. Galvin, M. Knox, J. Gleeson. Subs - P. Byrne for Gleeson; J. Fitzpatrick for M. Knox.
Mooncoin – F. Walsh; M. Mackey, P. Walsh, J. Delahunty; T. Mackey, P. Conway, J. Walsh; J.J. Connolly, J. Fitzgerald; R. Grant, T. Walsh, T. Grant; J Holder, J. Conway, E. Quinn.
Referee – O. Dempsey, Thomastown.
The 1969 final was played in May 1970. Clara beat Tullogher by 1-17 to 2-6.
According to the Kilkenny People of May 1970: “It was a personal triumph for ex-colleges star, Davy Prendergast, their sharp shooting left half forward who hit 15 points, 13 frees.
“It is not unlikely he could have added to this tally if he had tried for a goal from some of the frees, there is such devastating power behind his strong left hand shots.
“Clara had come through a stiff test against Conahy in the Northern final.
Their mentors, who went to Piltown to see the Southern final, must have come away with misgivings as they saw Tullogher sweep Dunnamaggin off their feet. The winners finished in a blaze of glory and had the issue well and truly sealed in the last quarter.
“There can be no denying the merit of Clara’s win.”
Clara - W. Murphy; S. Knox, P. Brennan, D, Brennan; J. Prendergast, J. O’Shea, L. Murphy; R. Prendergast, M. Prendergast; P. Knox, M Meally, D. Prendergast; L. Galvin, T. Brennan, T, Knox.
Tullogher - M. Rellis; J. Healy, P. Grennan, J. Hamilton; J. Grennan, J.J. Barron, J. Cummins; S. Mullally, S. Murphy; P. Croke, R. Gaule, W. Nolan; P. Phelan, T. Doolan.
Referee - Tom Ryall.
Fast forward to 2018.
“What a year Clara enjoyed,” insisted former chairwoman, Carmel Kenny, as she looked back in this article on the year that was.
The Clara under-13 team had a very busy and successful year. It started out on a snowy February morning in Castlecomer and finished on a sunny late September evening in Graignamanagh.
In between, the boys won the football league by defeating a strong Piltown team. They narrowly lost the football championship final to Graigue-Ballycallan.
The hurling campaign was just as successful, with the boys winning the championship after a tough campaign. In the final they beat the Rower-Inistioge by 2-13 to 0-12. They also won the league Shield final.
In between all this, the under-13 boys won the prestigious Sweeney Cup at the Lisdowney Hurling Sevens. Rory Glynn followed in some famous footsteps when named Player of the Tournament.
On the first weekend, Clara scored a convincing win over Carrickshock before beating mighty Kilmacud Crokes (2-14 to 3-2) to qualify for the Sweeney Cup against O’Loughlin’s.
This was a tight battle, but Clara prevailed. Danesfort were sent packing in the semi-final.
The final was against Camross (Laois). The team played but and it looked like Clara were going to lose when they were behind into the closing seconds.
They pulled the match out of the fire and Clara joint captains, Ben Murphy and Zach Lawlor lifted the cup. The score in the final was 5-6 to 3-11.
Rory Glynn was chosen as Player of the Tournament, following in the footsteps of Liam Ryan, Conor O’Shea, James ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick, Henry Shefflin and Richie Hogan.
The Lisdowney Sevens panel - David Barcoe, Seán Carrigan, Rory Glynn, Conor Hoyne, Cian Kelly, Ned Langton, Zach Lawlor, Ben Murphy and Shane Walsh.
The Clara under-12 team book-ended the year by winning the Shield at the Gowran and Ballycallan tournaments.
This group showed great skill, determination and fight all year, never giving up despite coming under severe pressure in several matches. They simply refused to be beaten.
The panel included David Barcoe, Harry Boyle, Liam Carrigan, Philip Carrigan, Seán Carrigan, James Cody, Seán Cooke, Ben Crow, Dillon Cummins, Tommy Delaney, Alex Firbank, Conor Galvin, Rory Glynn, Ross Gormley, Conor Hoyne, Bill Kealy, Cian Kelly, Hugh Kelly, Ned Langton, Luke Lawlor, Zach Lawlor, Adam Matthews, Diarmuid Matthews, Ben Murphy, Joe Power, Daniel Ryan, Shane Walsh.
The dedicated management team was Stephen Lawlor, John Carrigan and John Brennan.
The junior D team enjoyed a great year, playing 10 league games - five at home - followed by a championship in which they reached the county final. The competitions ran from May to September and the players saw plenty of action.
There was great involvement during the season, with 32 players togging out at different stages, including a few selectors.
At the start a walkover was given to Graignamanagh. Then there was a win over James Stephens before suffering a loss against eventual table toppers Kilmacow.
After that Clara went on a fantastic run, overcoming Dicksboro in a 49 point thriller, Conahy three times between league and championship, The Village again and Graignamanagh after coming from 15 points down in the first half.
The Clara dander was up. They travelled to Kilmacow with only 15 players and grab a vital draw after being eight points down only 10 minutes into the game. They finished second in the league to Kilmacow.
After beating the Rower-Inistioge in the championship semi-final, Clara took on classy Mooncoin in Nowlan Park, but they came up short.
The Clara camogie girls were not to be outdone.
The Clara under-16 camogie team annexed the title, beating Mooncoin, Tullaroan and St Martin’s in the semi-final before facing Danesfort in the final. By snatching goals at the right time, Clara powered to a 3-7 to 0-7 victory.
The panel included Claire Murphy, Aisling Fitzgerald, Lucy Cody, Laoise Nolan, Rachel Whelan, Katie Ryan, Anna Walpole, Siobhan Treacy, Lucy Walsh, Keara Ryan, Orlaith Farrell (capt), Peig Carrigan, Rachel Heeran, Grainne Glynn, Emma Shortall, Emma Corr, Leah Phelan, Alva Power, Erin O’Connell, Ada Phelan, Ellie O’Reilly, Grace Barcoe (inj). The management team was Paul Cody, David Shortall, Coleman Ryan and John Heeran.
This club competed in the minor C camogie 12-a-side competition. They had a squad of 17 players under the guidance of Martin Treacy, Gemma Dowling and Barry Power.
Team captain was Aoife Tracey. Only four players are over age for next year’s minor competition.
The team won one league match, but turned things around in the championship. They produced some great performances, particularly the semi-final victory over Graignamanagh (3-9 to 1-14).
In the county final Clara lost to Ballyhale by a point (3-10 to 3-9) after a hard fought battle. The players have every reason to be proud of what they achieved.
The intermediate team reached the final for the second year in a row, but were beaten by Young Irelands (Gowran).
Clara LGFA also did well, reaching a number of finals and claiming the under-16 and under-17 finals.
Off the field Clara have two new referees to join with current referee James Barry; Lester Ryan (snr) and Leah Phelan. Leah, it is believed, is the first female GAA referee in Kilkenny.
Also, club member Caroline Clifford was presented with a Healthy Club Hero Award by current footballer of the year, Brian Fenton.
For more on Kilkenny People sport read here.