St Marys GAA Club breaking new Ground 2002

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The Athenry senior hurling team which regained the Galway title by overcoming Sarsfields at Pearse Stadium on Sunday.

Back row- L- R: Diarmuid Cloonan, Eugene Cloonan, Pa: Higgins, joe Rabbitte, Gerry Keane, Paul Hardiman, Michael john Quinn, Brian Hanley.

Front Row, David Donahue, John Feeney, Brendan Keogh, Michael Crimmins, Shane Donahue, Brian Higgins, Dona! Moran. Mascot: Noel Keogh.

Last August a new chapter began in the life of one of lreland’s most successful GAA clubs as St Mary’s new grounds were officially opened. Over the past I0 years our club has enjoyed much success on the playing field, winning county titles at all levels together with three All Ireland senior club titles and becoming one of the most successful clubs in Ireland.

On Saturday 17 August, 2002 in the history of the club, another milestone was reached when we opened our club-house and grounds in Carnaun. In 1994 the club decided we would have to get another training ground as we had so many teams participating in competition. We rented Coen’s field in Carnaun and in 1998 the Coen family agreed to sell the field to the club. The executive of the club decided to prepare plans for the complete development of the grounds, dressing rooms, gym, meeting room etc. and apply to the Department of Sport for funding. After four years work the club’s dream of having their own clubhouse was realised. This would not have been possible without the wonderful financial support of the local community.

Historic occasion

On Saturday 17August, 2002 another milestone was reached in the history of the club when we opened our clubhouse and grounds in Carnaun Sean Kelly President elect of the GAA performed the official opening of Carnaun grounds. Fr. Tony King performed the blessing of the grounds. Prior to the opening Athenry and Sarsfields played in a special minor hurling tournament for the Colin Conneely memorial trophy. The game was won by Athenry. After the official opening Athenry played Birr in a senior hurling game. Birr was victorious in that game.

The club would like to thank our generous sponsors and the Department of Sport for their financial assistance. Also, our building contractors Johnny Healy, Brian Carroll and Johnny Higgins for their excellent workmanship. We hope that the new facilities will provide the youth of the parish with many hours of enjoyment and continued success.

Minor victory

On the playing front, congratulations go to our minor footballers on winning the North Board “B” league final. In a game that produced many moments of outstanding football and excitement from start to finish, Athenry pulled off a sweet victory over Kilconly. It was a victory this Athenry team no more than deserved having been beaten in this final last year only after a replay. On the day it was a great all round team performance that pulled off this victory. The defence was particularly strong throughout ably led by captain Pakie Byrne and the goal taking ability of Johnny Mernagh and John Ryan stole the day. Scorers: J. Mernagh 2-2, J.Ryan 1-0. M .Quinn o-1.

Promising stars

Congratulations to our under 12 footballers on winning the division 2 North Championship. The group included Dunmore, Caltra, Monivea, Mountbellew and Ballinasloe.

Athenry drew with Monivea who were well beaten by Dunmore. Athenry then went on to beat Caltra, Ballinasloe and Mountbellew. They finished second in the group behind Dunmore.

On October 13th Athenry played Dunmore in the final in Tuam Stadium. Dunmore were hot favourites having already defeated Athenry. After a great game Athenry came out on top, the final score was 1-8 to 0-9. The Athenry team were A. Farrell, D. Connolly, J. Burke {Capt}, D. Glynn, M. Hannon, J. Divilly, M, O’Halloran, N. Gibbons, L. Madden, T. Flynn, T. Divilly, G. O‘Brien, G. Moroney, C. Burke, D. Hanlon.

Subs; C. Fanning, K. Moroney, S. Dooley, D. Loughnane, R. McHale, C. Loughnane, j. Collins, C. White, J. Brody, C. Cleary, M. Mitchell, S. O’Halloran.

Last March our under 21 hurlers won the 2001 championship and on Sunday the 27th Oct our senior hurlers reached the county final for the 5th time in a row. Before a large attendance in Pearse Stadium, Galway, St. Mary’s defeated Sarsfields in a hard-fought match played in difficult weather conditions.

Leo Coffey is PRO for St. Mary’s GAA Club and proprietor of C&C Tractor Spares, Cross St.

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About this record

Written by Leo Coffey

Published here 13 Aug 2023 and originally published Winter 2002

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