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The 18th of June was a typical summer’s morning. As we arrived in the Square in Athenry full of hope and expectation, you could see the excitement and determination in the players’ eyes. As our supporters waved us goodbye we finally acknowledged the tough weekend that lay in store in Waterford.
After a tiresome journey by 6 p.m. that evening we were all safely with our host, Buffers Alley, County Wexford. This was the start to an unforgettable weekend.
Our first opposition was our host Buffers Alley. In poor weather conditions we defeated the local side by 2:8 to 0:l. We then set off at 11.OO a.m. for a one and a half hour journey to defeat Drum & Inch of Tipperary. It was a tough physical match but our skill and determination saw us to victory. Final score was 4:2 to 0:3. Our third game of the day saw us qualifying for the semi-ﬁnal defeating a poor opposition Portlaw by 10:3 to 0:0. There were no serious injuries at the end of the day and everyone was looking forward to the following morning for our All-Ireland Semi-Final against Butlerstown of Waterford. We were now halfway there and Stage 1 was completed with two more stages to overcome.
Arriving at Roanmore Clubhouse it was very disappointing to hear that the Craughwell boys had been narrowly beaten in their Semi-Final but however we still felt we could do our County proud. As we ran on to the pitch the familiar faces of the supporters that had travelled from Athenry lifted our spirits and made the task easier for us. This was an exciting game and good display of Camogie skills and determination saw us through to the All-Ireland Final on a 3:5 to 1:2 scoreline. This was Stage 2 completed. After lunch the Féile parade was completed also. Our final opponents would be Rathnure of Wexford on Sunday.
Sunday June 2lst, 2.30 p.m. This was judgement day for Athenry. We burst out onto the pitch with great belief. It was very heartening to see many of our supporters there. We were first to score with a free from Mary Keogh. Rathnure gave a good display and forced our goalie Emer Morrissey to give two 30s which they scored. We then got another point from play by Rosemary Naughton. Sarah Donoghue then scored a great goal and the half time score was 1:2 to 0:3. Then we got two pointed frees by Mary Keogh and Rathnure exchanged points before Sharon Quirke rounded two defenders to score a goal. The final whistle. A 2:5 to 0:4 victory. Stage 3 was completed. Homecoming: The cup was ﬁnally ours. The bonfires blazed on the way home. We had an exceptional panel with Emer Morrissey, Fiona Coffey, Gillian Murphy, Alice Poniard, Martina Molloy, Regina Glynn, Darelle Coen, Emma Costelloe, Rosemary Naughton, Mary Keogh, Sarah Donoghue and Sharon Quirke.
The other panel members, Aoife and Ellen Caulfield, Tracy Feeney, Cara Glynn, Elaine Healy, Sarah Mulkearns, Sandra Laffey, Orla Ryan, Yvonne O’Brien also played their parts when substituting for injured players during our five games.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our Chairman, Des Coen, President, Dan Whelan, Treasurer, Noreen Hanley, First Aid, Moira Coen, all the under 16 and junior mentors, our two selectors, Midge Glynn and Noreen Treacy, all our supporters and everyone else involved in our success. But there is one man we are all indebted to, Mixie Donohue, he was the man who trained us, the one who believed in us, who advised us and was the man who made our ‘one dream in life’ come true.
Written by Sharon Quirke & Mary Keogh
Published here 26 Feb 2023 and originally published December 1997
The Athenry Journal
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