Athenry All-Ireland Champions – Christmas 2000

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Athenry’s All Ireland Final success against Doora-Barefield in Croke Park was the outstanding achievement in a remarkable year for Athenry G.A.A. Club. Athenry gained sweet revenge on St. Patrick’s Day over the All Ireland Club Champions who had beaten them in that agonising defeat the previous year. Joe Rabbitte who captained the team accepted the cup on behalf of his team-mates and the Parish of Athenry on that memorable day. In a fine speech he thanked Pat Nally and his selectors and the panel of players and all who had made the day possible.

The Senior team had beaten Abbey-Duniery in the County Final, Toreen in the Connacht Final and overcome a very good Birr side in the All-Ireland Semi-final in Thurlas to get to the Final. Our congratulations to all concerned.

The panel, under the same management, did not get much of a break before the 2,000 County Championship started. The County and All Ireland Champions got off to a great start with an easy victory over Clarinbridge by 01-13 to 00-10. Athenry next played Killimordaly and after Killimordaly playing very well in the first half Athenry eventually ran out easy winners by 02-17 to 01-09. We then had a comprehensive victory over Turloughmore by 04-17 to 00-12 and in their final match of the group Athenry defeated Kinvara by 04-23 to 01-09.

Athenry played Abbey-Duniery in the quarter final and after a great struggle won by the narrowest of margins by 02-14 to 03-10. Carnmore found Athenry too hot to handle in the semi-final and Athenry, after playing exhibition hurling, ran out easy winners by 00-18 to 01-07.

In the final against Sarsfields, Athenry had to rely on all of their experience and ability to gain the upper-hand on a gallant Sarsfields team in what was a great game of hurling in terrible conditions. Athenry have now won ‘Three in a Row’ County Championships, a feat last achieved by Turloughmore three and a half decades ago.

During the course of all these matches Athenry had many Stars from Michael Crimmins in goal to Brian Hanley at centre field. The ever-young Pat Higgins, to the extraordinarily gifted Brian Feeney, Joe Rabbitte the captain, who led by example, none more so than in the match against Abbey -Duniery. The twins, Shane and David Donohue, who played such a big part in the success story of Athenry hurling down the years and John Feeney, at corner back, who had a wonderful County Final. The two Keoghs Eamonn & Brendan and the other set of brothers Cathal and Donal Moran. To Eugene Cloonan who had such a wonderful year and especially in the County Final when scoring 02-10. All the panel played their part in this marvellous year and our thanks must go also to Pat Nally Manager and selectors Mattie Gannon, Martin T. Kelly and Jackie O’Shea.

The intermediate team got to the quarter final where they were narrowly beaten by Kiltormer. They had wins over Killimor, Beagh, Kilbachenty and Castlegar in their group matches. The Junior A team competed in a very strong group of Kiltormer, Loughrea, Liam Mellows and Ballygar, as did the Junior B side when competing against Sarsfields, Pearses and Loughrea.

The Minor Hurling team competed well before losing the play-off match to Portumna by one point. The Under 21 team beat Gort in the first round before going down to Castlegar in the quarter final of last year’s competition.

Congratulations to John Hardiman on winning back to back All Ireland County Minor Hurling Championships. This is a remarkable achievement by any standard and we wish him well in his efforts to win Three in a Row. Well done to Brian Feeney, Paul Hardiman, Michael Crimmins, Brian Higgins, Brendan Keogh, Eugene Cloonan and Joe Rabbitte (Captain) who represented their County in the Senior Hurling Championship and on winning the National League this year. Jarlath Cloonan who was a selector for the team who won the League and the Railway Cup competition and in his tenure won 14 matches in a row – our congratulations.

Well done to David and Shane Donohue and Diarmuid Cloonan on their outstanding performance in this year’s Under 21 All Ireland Final.

The final phase of Carnaun Pitch development is about to commence, our thanks to Tony Coffey, Bobby Gardiner and all on the F.Á.S. course for their great work. Our best wishes to all who won our Lotto draw and well done to our Lotto committee who work so hard to secure the club’s future.

Thanks to all our supporters who purchase the tickets every week. Thanks to our Main Sponsor Brendan Lynskey and all our other sponsors who have supported the club during the year.

The Golf Classic was an outstanding success this year and this will go ahead again next year.

Bereavements – Sincere Sympathy to the family of Paddy Conway who was a great Athenry hurler and selector on the senior team. Also, to the Qualter family on the death of Keith a marvellous young man who will be sadly missed. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamacha dílis!

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About this record

Written by To be confirmed!

Published here 10 May 2023 and originally published Christmas 2000

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