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The 1996 Athenry senior hurling championship winning Jubilee team at half time during the 2021 County Final at Pearse Stadium were, back row, left to right: Orla Barrett, daughter of medic Noreen Hanley RIP, Kerril Hanlon, Secretary, Leo Coffey, treasurer, Declan Higgins, Paul Hardiman, Diarmuid Burns, Billy Caulfield, Aidan Poniard, Cathal Moran, David Howley, John Conway, John Hardiman, Gerry Keane, Brian Feeney, Joe Rabbitte, Brian Hanley, Dara Burke, Gerry Dempsey, Liam Howley, representing his father Tom, Selector. Front row: Michael Barrett, grandson of medic Noreen Hanley RIP, Jack O’Shea, Selector, Colin Byrne, Pat Nally, Trainer, PJ Molloy, Manager, John Feeney, Brendan Keogh, Brian Higgins, Eamonn Keogh, Mickey Crimmins, Donal Moran, Pascal Healy, Pat Hession and Darren Higgins, representing his father Pat. Unavoidably absent at the event were Eugene Cloonan, Aidan Cahill, Dermot Monoghan, Liam Hoyne, Emmet Caulfield and Michael Quinn. Paddy Conway RIP was a selector. Featured image compliments of http://athenrygaa.ie/en/

U-16 Football: Athenry had good wins over Dunmore, Tuam and Carraroe to reach its final against hot favourities Corofin. Athenry gave a great team performance to record a major upset by winning on a scoreline of Athenry 2-9, Corofin 0-12. The Athenry team and panel members are: Patrick Gannon, Declan Farrell, Diarmuid Cloonan, Michael John Quinn, Niall O’Brien, Kevin McCarthy, Derek Carroll, Shane Donohue, David Glynn, Tomas Kelly, Kevin Higgins, David Casserly, Kieran Flannery, David Donohue, Martin Coffey, Paddy Quinn, Kieran Corban, Gabriel Freaney, Simon McNamara, Keith Coffey, Cian Burke, Darren Madden, Shane Donohue, Paul Ruane, Martin Brady and Gearóid O’Brien.

This panel is also in the U-16 “A” hurling semi-final.

Under 13 Hurling: Fr. Joe Walsh Cup: Athenry retained this trophy for the second year by recording a comprehensive victory over Abbeyknockmoy on a score of 3-2 to 1 point in the final. Athenry scorers were Matthew Murphy, Christy Cannon, and John Ryan with a goal each while Joseph Kelly and John Brady scored a point each. The Athenry Team are Owen Cahill, Martin Sherdian, Jason Coll, Michael Glynn, Seamus Fahy, John Brady, Darragh Kavanagh, Liam Howley, Brendan Kelly, Christy Cannon, David Carroll, John Ryan, Joseph Kelly, Matthew Murphy, Wayne Connaughton, John Madden, Michael Donnellan, Kirean Kilkelly, Cathal Naughton, Thomas Forde, Cathal Sheridan, Neil Coffey.

Minor Hurling: Athenry reached the semi-final and were fortunate to earn a draw against a committed Castlegar outfit. The score was Athenry 1-13, Castlegar 3-7. Athenry scorers were Eugene Cloonan 5 points, Michael Morrisey 1-1, David Donohue 4 points, Thomas Howley, Aidan Poniard and Richard Brady one point each. Athenry will need a much greater effort to win the replay.

Under 21 Hurling: One game played so far with an easy victory over Ardrahan.

Junior “B” Hurling: The junior “B” team reached the quarter final of the championship where they defeated by a strong Mullagh side.

Junior “C” Hurling: The junior “C” team defeated Sarsfields in the quarter final on a scoreline of 1-9 to 1-5. Athenry scorers were Shane Donohue 1-4, Mixie Donohue 2 points, Michael Morrisey, Kevin McCarthy and Noel McDonagh 1 point each.

Intermediate Hurling: The Intermediate team reached the quarter final of the championship where they lost to a very strong St. Thomas’s side by 2 points at Loughrea.

Senior Hurling: Congratulations to the new 1996 county senior champions. Athenry reached the final after an exciting draw, a replay and extra-time with Clairinbridge. The extra hurling had Athenry in good shape for the county final meeting with Carnmore at Kenny Park Athenry. After a tough but sporting occasion Athenry emerged victors on a scorline of : Athenry 2 – 6, Carnmore 1 – 6. Minor star Eugene Cloonan scored 1 – 4, Pascal Healy scored 1 – 1 and Joe Rabbitte scored a point. The Athenry team who did their parish proud were – Michael Crimmins, Eamonn Keogh, Gerry Keane, John Feeney, Brian Higgins, Brian Feeney, captain, John Hardiman, Colin Byrne, Brendan Keogh, Joe Rabbitte, Pat Higgins, Brian Hanley, Donal Moran, Pascal Healy, Eugene Cloonan and substitutes John Conway and Cathal Moran.

Compliments to manager P.J Molloy and his selectors Jackie O’Shea, Tom Howley, Paddy Conway, trainer Pat Nally and first aid Noreen Hanley. Thanks to everybody including wives and girlfriends who had to make huge sacrifices in order to achieve this success. Commiserations to Carnmore who contributed to a very sporting county final.

Great scenes of jubilation and celebration followed this victory. The Athenry team took great pride in winning the county cup in their own home town. Best wishes to Athenry in the club championship. Great credit is due to the Carnmore players and officials who came to Athenry on the Monday night after the match for a social get together. This epitomises the true spirit of sport and please God Carnmore will have their day of success also.

Players who represented Galway county in 1996

Under 14; Cormac Cloonan captained the Galway U. 14 team in the Tony Forestal Tournament in Waterford. They lost by 1 point to Tipperary in the semi-final. Gearóid Harty was also a panel member.

Under 16: Diarmuid Cloonan, Shane and David Donohue and Kevin McCarthy represented Galway in the Nenagh Co-Op Under l6 Tournament. John Hardiman was team coach and trainer. Galway defeated Limerick in the final by 1-12 to 10 points.

Minor Hurling: Eugene Cloonan, Aidan Poniard and Richie Brady played on the Galway team which were unlucky to lose to Tipperary in a replay. Eugene Cloonan was top scorer for Galway.

Under 21: Eugene Cloonan, Brian Higgins and Donal Moran played on the victorious team which defeated Wexford in thefinal. Eddie Brady and John Feeney were panel members. P.J. Molloy who was “man of a match” when Galway first won this competition in 1972 beating Dublin was also a selector with this team.

Junior Hurling: John Feeney and Emmett Caulfield played on the Junior team which defeated Kilkenny in the All-Ireland final.

Senior Hurling: Joe Rabbitte, Brendan Keogh, Brian Feeney and Gerry Keane won National League medals by defeating Tipperary in May. Brian Feeney gave a sterling performance while making his championship debut against Wexford in the All-Ireland semi-final in August. Jarlath Cloonan was a selector with the team.

Congratulations to the seniors on their win against Four Roads, Co. Roscommon, in the Connacht Club Final. Athenry 1-15, Four Roads 1-8. Congratulations on the London victory lads! I you “showed them who drank the buttermilk!”

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Written by Mixie Donohue

Published here 15 Jan 2023 and originally published December 1996

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