2006 The breakthrough year

On October 1st 1995 Kilworth took on Killeagh in the County Junior Hurling semi final in Ballynoe and despite losing by a single point the future looked bright as it was our 3rd time in 5 years qualifying for the County Junior championship. However over the next 10 years there was to be no silverware with only 2 North Cork finals contested, 1997 and 2004 to show for our efforts and both of them ending in fairly dismal defeats.

The 2004 North Cork final was particularly disappointing losing to Ballygiblin on a day when nothing went right but the year finished reasonably well with a good win in the league final and the general feeling was that the North Cork final was just a bad day in an otherwise good year.

Success came at last in 2005; we ended a 10 year lapse to become North Cork Champions again when we beat Clyda Rovers in the final in Castletownroche on one of the club’s best days in years. While Kilworth lost the County final to Fr. O’Neills by 3 points it had been a very good year with a bright future. In reaching the County final there were memorable days, first in Pairc Ui Chaoimh when we came back from the dead to draw with Grenagh, then beat them in a replay in Buttevant and a superb semi final performance against Mayfield in Pairc Ui Rinn.

The spring of 2006 was successful enough considering the disappointment of losing the County final to Fr O Neills in November 2005. Barry O Neill was still the team trainer as he was in 2005 and from the very start of the year training was going particularly well. There were league wins against Buttevant 2.16 to 1.10 followed by victory against Ballygiblin 2.11 to 0.09. On 19th April 06 we travelled to Castletownroche and came away with a 0.18 to 1.03 victory and even at this early stage training and the performances in the matches’ aurged well for the season ahead. Our next league game was at home to Mallow and won easily 3.21 to 1.05. The 25th of May was to become a significant day even though we wouldn’t have thought it at the time as we suffered only League or championship defeat of the year, a 2.10 to 1.11 League loss to Charleville. However the halftime score was 2.08 to 0.03 in favour of Charleville so there were some positives to come away with at the final whistle. They always say you learn more in defeat than in victory and the timing of this defeat and the opposition were significant.

This setback was followed by good wins in challenge games against Ballygarvan and Ballincollig, 4, 17 to 1.10 and 2.16 to 2.10 respectively.

Our championship campaign started against Glanworth in Ballyhooly on Sunday 10th of June and without being brilliant won 2.17 to 2.05 with Noel Gowen and Damien O Donoghue the goal scorers.

Our next league game was at home to Churchtown and we won 2.18 to 0.15 and 4 days later we travelled to Cashel to take on Golden in Tipperary for a challenge and won 4.11 to 2.07 and also managed 17 wides.

Our second championship game of the year saw us take on our neighbours Fermoy in Ballygiblin on 23th July and after a tough battle we won out 2.12 to 0.12 with the vital goals coming from Paudie Lynch and Damien O Donoghue. The following Sunday July 30th we were in championship action again against Clyda Rovers who had been our opponents in the 2005 North Cork final and we again came out on top this time by 2.16 to 1.10. On the 11th of September we made the short journey to Fermoy to play the North Cork Semi Final against Doneraile and came out with an unimpressive win 1.14 to 2.07, with Adrian Mannix scoring the goal and we also shot 14 wides and came away knowing there was plenty improvement required ahead.

Our next game was to be one of the most significant of the year when we travelled to Kilkenny to take on Mullinavat and while we lost 1.15 to 1.12 we gave probably one of our best performances of the year. It certainly had the team well prepared for the big days ahead.

Shanballymore was the venue for the North Cork final on Sunday 10th September and Charleville who had beaten us in the league earlier were the opposition. Without anyone saying it we were determined to become only the second junior hurling team from Kilworth to win back to back North Cork titles. The only previous time Kilworth managed 2 North Cork titles in a row, 1966 and 1967 that team went on to win the club’s only county title in 1967.

On a perfect day for hurling and following a superb game we eventually got on top in the last quarter to win by 1.17 to 0.12 but it was much closer than the final scoreline suggests. Paudie lynch scored the all important goal late on to finally give us the edge. It was a second half to savour as our players all over the field rose to the occasion and especially our defence who were magnificent all through.

Next up on the 29 of September we travelled to Youghal for a challenge game against the home side in preparation for the county championship and following a good hour’s hurling we won by a flattering scoreline of 5.12 to 1.11 with the half time score 1.04 to 0.06.

On Friday 6th October it was County Championship time again and now it was about going all out to win the big prize for the first time since 1967. First up were Cloughduv in Pairc Ui Rinn on the 6 of October. It was now time to step up to the standard required to win the County championship and the performance under lights on this particular night was top class, running out winners 3.14 to 0.10 having led by 2.05 to 0.08 at half time and the goals coming from Paudie Lynch, Damien O Donoghue and Brian Tobin and Will Twomey at centre back giving a man of the match performance.

On 14th October if was back to Pairc Ui Rinn for the County semi final against Banteer and again following a very impressive display we ran out winners by 2.15 to 1.05 with the gaols this time coming from Adrian Mannix and Damien O Donoghue.

Dungourney came through on the other side beating Barryroe by 0.10 to 0.08 in the other semi final on probably the worst day and conditions ever in Pairc Ui Rinn so they were expected to be tough opposition in the County final.

The club’s big day finally came on Saturday night 28th October under lights in Pairc Ui Rinn when we finally became Cork County Junior Hurling Champions on a final scoreline of 0.13 to 0.12.

The team lined out as follows;

1. Kieran Walsh

2. Alan Kenny       3.John Hegarty 4. Damien Mc Namara

5. Maurice Mc Namara 6.Will Twomey     7.Mark O Connor

8. Dion Cahill 9. Elton Pierce

10. Tomas Twomey 11. Brian Tobin 12.Joe Cahill

13. Paudie Lynch 14.Aidrian Mannix 15.Damien O Donoghue

Subs: Declan Tobin for Alan Kenny (injured), James Moakley for Brian Tobin.

Alan Kearney, John Horgan, Aidan Kenny, Noel Gowen, Ned O Brien, Sean Beecher, Justin Aherne, Noel Flynn.


Coach: Pat Greehy, Trainer: Barry O Neill

Selectors: Pat Greehy, Jack Keane, Tony Sheehan, Noel Daly, John Kenny.

Without ever reaching the heights of previous days it was one of those games where a combination of the occasion and a very formidable opposition combined to make life difficult for Kilworth and it is to their credit that despite it all we still managed to get the vital scores in the final quarter when it appeared to be slipping away from us. There is no doubt that the move which saw Adrian Mannix switched from the edge of the square to wing forward was crucial as he got those vital scores. Again as in previous games our defence was superb and with both Dion Cahill and Elton Pierce getting on top in midfield we were creating chances but we made it difficult on ourselves shooting 10 wides alone in the second half. Thankfully the years of bitter disappointments were all forgotten that Saturday night when Kieran Walsh finally received the John Quirke Perpetual Cup from County Chairman Mick Dolan.

It’s hard to believe now 10 years on and thinking of the many great days at venues all over the county and especially in Pairc Ui Rinn, but the second half of that final against Dungourney was pivotal in the clubs recent history. 2006 was finally our breakthrough year.

The following week it was back to Ballygiblin for a league semi final against Castletownroche and an easy win saw us through to another league final this time against Kildorrery in Kildorrery on the 18th of November and after a good hour’s hurling we came out on top by 2.16 to 0.12.

The following Sunday we travelled to Fenor in Co Waterford for our first ever game in the Munster Championship and in this semi final we went on to win easily 4.19 to 0.06 on the 26th of November.

On Sunday 10th of December we were down to play the Munster Final in Bruff but because of extremely wet weather the game was refixed for the following Sunday. Finally on Sunday 16th December we made the trip to Meelick in Co Clare for a Munster Final meeting with Knockshegowna and on a good pitch for the time of the year we won by 4.16 to 1.07 to crown of a really special year in the Club’s history.

Full list of players who wore the Kilworth jersey during 2006;

Kieran Walsh, John Horgan, John Hegarty, Alan Kenny, Declan Tobin, Damien McNamara, Maurice McNamara, Dion Cahill, Elton Pierce, Joe Cahill, Noel Gowen, Aidan Kenny, Paudie Lynch, Brian Tobin, Damien O Donoghue, Mark O Connor, Adrian Mannix, James Moakley, Tomas Twomey, Sean Beecher, Ned O Brien, Justin Ahern, Chris Kenny, Alan Kearney, Mark Kenny, Kevin Whelan, Noel Flynn, Lee Daly, Kieran O Donoghue, Richie O Brien.

Having won the Munster junior club championship before Christmas it was straight back to training in the new year and our first game of 2007 was a challenge game against Courcey Rovers on the 20th January in Kilworth and we won by 2.17 to 2.08 in a very good game for so early in the season.

A week later on the 27th of January we were in Championship action again in Meelick where the opposition this time were Granuaile from London in an All Ireland quarter final and we won easily 5.15 to 0.06 with the goals coming from Adrian Mannix(2) Paudie Lynch, Joe Cahill and Sean Beecher.

This set us up for an All Ireland semi final clash with Danesford from Kilkenny in Dungarvan on the 11th of February on the same day as Ireland played France in the first rugby international in Croke Park but there was to be no happy ending for us and no Croke Park appearance for us as be lost by 2 points on a scoreline of 0.12 to 0.10 , we were 0.5 to 0.2 down at half time having played against the wind but they scored the first 2 points of the second half and we never quite recovered from that. Danesford held out as we went in search of a goal but a 17 year old Paul Murphy who has gone on to be one of Kilkenny’s best players in recent years outstanding in defence.

And so the curtain came down on a truly remarkable year and for the first time in almost 40 years we had Intermediate hurling Championship to look forward to.

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