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On the Crest of a Wave!
Athenry’s hurlers achieved the ultimate honour in club hurling on St. Patrick’s when they captured the Club All-Ireland and took the Tommy Moore Cup home to Athenry for the ﬁrst time. The historical occasion will never be forgotten in Athenry, as it puts the club on a par with other great clubs such as Sarsfields, Kiltormer and Castlegar who previously won this cup. Athenry struggled at times to win the County Cup, but proved they were worthy ambassadors to represent Galway hurling as they gave their best displays in the All-Ireland series. Athenry had comfortable wins over Four Roads of Roscommon in the Connacht final, St. Gabriels of London and Camross to reach the final against Wolfe Tones of Clare.
A large group from Athenry travelled to London for the game against St. Gabriels. An easy victory for Athenry contributed to an enjoyable weekend. The St. Gabriels club hosted a meal and entertainment for Athenry after the game. The Athenry chairman, Leo Coffey, made a presentation to St. Gabriels on behalf of the club, while Tommy Duane, a former Athenry man, made a presentation to PJ. Molloy, his cousin, on behalf of St. Gabriels. The Athenry group can be very proud of the way they conducted themselves on the trip.
The only minor hiccup for that week-end was when the bus that carried the Athenry group broke down late on Sunday night. Despite the best efforts of the poor old bus driver, ably assisted by John Hardiman, who made sure the horn was working, mechanics Joe Rabbitte and Paul Hardiman as well as director of operations, PJ. Molloy, failed to get the bus going. Eventually, everybody got back to the hotel by taxis. There were some good stories and good laughs afterwards about the incident.
Athenry continued their rigorous training plan after Christmas and played a lot of challenge games for their meeting with Camross, in February in the All-Ireland club semi-final. Athenry gave an exhibition in this game in poor weather conditions that completely overwhelmed a poor Camross side. As a result, Athenry were ﬁrm favourites to take the trophy on St. Patrick’s Day. The favourite’s tag in a final can be difﬁcult to handle, but Athenry had a trump card to deal with that.
PJ. Molloy had been through it all before and knew what it takes to keep everybody focused on the job at hand. P.J., with a professional approach, coupled with a striving for perfection in everything he does, must now he be surely crowned as the new King of Athenry. Athenry gave a wonderful display in Croke Park and won with three points to spare. What can one say to this wonderful achievement? To Leo Coffey and his fellow club officers, to PJ. Molloy and his back up team, to Brian Feeney and his panel of 30 players we salute you all and we thank you for the wonderful entertainment and achievements of the past year.
To prove that Athenry can achieve, at any level, Johnny Melia’s side won the Juior “C” Championship by beating Kilbeacanty in dramatic fashion. Athenry were two points behind and time was almost up when Kevin Higgins scored a brilliant goal which left Kilbeacanty devastated. A feature of the junior side was the Donohue and Glynn father and son combination. Unfortunately, the fathers are considering retirement now because their ages re publicly revealed after that ﬁnal.
The Athenry club is deeply indebted to Tom Cloonan and Sean McGovern for their vision and commitment to under age hurling in Athenry for the past ﬁfteen years. Athenry has had a lot of success during period and progressed to the senior team, capturing the club final on St. Patrick’s day. Tom Cloonan must be a proud man to see his son Eugene giving ‘a man of the match’ display in Croke Park.
Congratulations to Tom Carr who was elected joint treasurer of the club for 1997. Also congratulations to Pat and Patricia Higgins on the birth of their baby daughter. Good wishes and a speedy recovery to Bobby Gardiner who was unable to attend the match due to illness. Sincere sympathy to Juno, Dan, Rose and Rachel on the death of Ann. Ann was a great Gael and a great supporter of Athenry hurling. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam.
Signed Mixie Donohue, Club PRO.
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Written by Mixie Donohue
Published here 19 Jan 2023 and originally published May 1997
The Athenry Journal
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