Hurling History

History of Kilworth Hurling

Kilworth G.A.A. was first affiliated in 1928 as a football club. The hurling club was affiliated in 1933 and two years later Kilworth captured their first honours when they won the Novice hurling championship at Dromina’s expense. A lengthy period without championship success followed, however some splendid displays in the prestigious Beamish Cup tournament gave hope that the tide would turn in Kilworths favour in the near future.


Beamish Cup Winners - 1953

Following a two point defeat to Newtownshandrum in the Novice hurling final of 1954 and a tame second round loss to Farrahy in the 1955 championship, the decision was taken to take the step up to Junior (A) ranks in 1956. This was a brave decision by the club at the time and whilst it took a few years for Kilworth to make an impact, playing at the higher grade undoubtedly benefited the players.

 

1961 - First Junior Success

Victories over Allow Rovers and a strong Newtownshandrum team saw Kilworth qualify for a Junior final meeting with close rivals Kildorrery which was played at O Connell Park, Mitchelstown in 1961. Two first half goals from Johnny Hogan helped Kilworth to a 3-05 to 1-04 interval lead whilst four second half points from Jerry Keating proved crucial in a 4-09 to 2-07 victory. Tom McCarthy captained the side in a game that is noted for the fact that current club president Bill Hegarty spent the first half in goals before relocating to midfield for the second period following the introduction of minor player Tom Ahern.

In the county quarter final, Kilworth overturned a 2-08 to 2-00 half time deficit to defeat Ballinhassig by 7-04 to 2-09 at Mallow to progress to a semi-final meeting with Mid-Cork champions Eire Og to be played at the Old Athletic Grounds in Cork. A poor first half seemed to have put paid to Kilworths chances as they found themselves some 13 points adrift. Turning to play with the wind however, Kilworth put in a storming third quarter to turn the deficit into a 4 point lead. In a game that seemed to turn and twist constantly, Eire Og rallied to retake the lead following a Tony O Brady goal to which Kilworth replied again following a scrambled goalmouth effort. In the end a long range score form Eire Og midfielder Finbarr Sheehan saw the spoils shared on a 7-06 to 6-09 scoreline.

The replay in Riverstown proved to be an absorbing affair and once again very little separated the sides. In fact it took a pointed ground stroke from Mick Dunne from some forty yards in the 59th minute to level matters and take the game to extra time. The additional 30 minutes produced more of the same and some excellent defending from Mick Dunne, Sean Hegarty, John Finn and Jer McCarthy was required to keep the Eire Og attack in check. At the final whistle, and following some 2½ hours of hurling, Kilworth had qualified for their first ever County hurling final on a 4-13 to 2-15 scoreline.

Played on a heavy sod at the Athletic Grounds, Kilworth lived up to their reputation as the great comeback team of 1961 when they recovered from a 1-04 to 1-00 deficit to draw with Cloyne 4-04 to 3-07 in the County Final. The replay which was again played at the Cork Athletic Grounds on the 17th of December 1961 drew some seven and a half thousand people. Unfortunately Cloyne seemed to have learned the most from the drawn encounter and proved to be too good for a gallant Kilworth to run out 4-06 to 2-04 victors. Whilst defeat was there lot in the county final, the Kilworth 1961 hurling team will be forever remembered as the team that brought us our first North Cork Junior Hurling title.



North Cork Junior A Hurling Champions & County Finalists - 1961

Kilworth once again qualified for the North Cork Junior Hurling final of 1962 where yet again Kildorrery provided the opposition. Played in atrocious weather conditions with gale force winds, Kildorrery raced into a half time 6-07 to 0-01 lead. Like true champions however Kilworth refused to give in and a spirited second half comeback saw the lead whittled down to 7-01 to 6-07 with eight minutes remaining. Regrettably this was to be as close as Kilworth would come and despite laying siege to the Kildorrery goalmouth for the remainder of the game, the equaliser unfortunately would not arrive. It has often been said since that the decision to replace John Finn for the second period came back to haunt Kilworth as his unerring accuracy from frees was sorely missed when Kilworth had the aid of the wind.

Defeat to Kildorrery in a replayed final in 1963 before a tame exit to Mitchelstown in 1964 saw Kilworth enter the 1965 championship with some critics to answer. To their credit, answer them they did and playing a powerful brand of hurling they qualified for that years final against what was regarded to be an excellent Ballyhea side in Castletownroche. Two of the finest hurlers in both the division and county at the time, Johnny Hogan and Jack Russell were direct opponents at midfield on the day whilst future Cork All Ireland winning selector Fred Sheedy lined out at centre back.



North Cork Hurling Final 1965 - Kilworth v Ballyhea at Castletownroche








Two goals from John Carey and a pointed sideline cut from Johnny Hogan saw the teams on level terms at 1-05 to 2-02 at the short whistle. Ballyhea however upped the tempo on the changeover and Kilworth could not live with them as they ran out deserving 2-11 to 3-03 winners. It would be remiss of us when recalling this game not to mention the display of Kilworth goalkeeper Tom Ahern. Tom was one of the best keepers the club has ever produced and his performance in that years final which included an incredible save from the great Paddy Behan, was spoken about for many years after.

1966 – Second Championship Win

In 1966 Kilworth once again found themselves back in the Junior hurling final where they faced parish rivals Araglen at Fermoy.


North Cork Junior A Hurling Champions - 1966

First half goals from Fred Sheedy and Sean O Callaghan added to three Jerry Keating points saw Kilworth lead 2-06 to 0-04 at half time. Further goals from Richie Carey and Johnny Hogan on the resumption kept the Araglen challenge at bay and following the final whistle Kilworth captain Fred Sheedy accepted the Sean O Brien cup from North Cork Board chairman Derry Gowen.

Kanturk sent Kilworth out of the County championship at the quarter final stage but this experience would put Kilworth in good stead for the following years campaign.

1967 – North Cork & County Champions

Kilworth had been the most consistent team in the Avondhu division in the 1960’s and in 1967 they reached their sixth final in seven years. The experience gained over the previous six years stood Kilworth in good stead in the ‘67 final against Freemount as, captained by Johnny Hogan, they ran out convincing winners on a scoreline of 4-16 to 1-08 before going on to qualify for a second County final against Mid-Cork side Cloughduv to be played at the Cork Athletic Grounds.

Playing against the breeze in the first half Kilworth struggled to contain the lively Cloughduv attack and at half time found themselves 7 points in arrears. Fears of a similar result to the ’61 defeat to Cloyne rustled through the Kilworth supporters during the break in play however the Kilworth players and mentors had other ideas. The move of Fred Sheedy from full forward to left half forward proved a masterstroke and a Kieran Casey goal less than a minute into the second half gave Kilworth the shot in the arm they needed. Kilworth continued to pile on the pressure and substitute Patsy O Mahony goaled as the game entered the final quarter to give the North Cork side the lead for the first time. A third goal from Pat Farren extended the advantage however Cloughduv refused to go down without a fight and it took some resolute defending from the full back line of Jim Condon, Lar Flynn and John Carey aided by the stylish play of Sean Long at left half back to maintain their advantage as they ran out 3-11 to 2-07 winners to become Cork County Junior hurling champions for the first time.


North Cork & County Junior A Hurling Champions – 1967

 

Intermediate Hurling 1968 – 1970

In their first year at Intermediate level in 1968, Kilworth had wins over a highly fancied Nemo Rangers side and Shamrocks before a heart-breaking single point third round loss to Glen Rovers at Riverstown. This defeat became even harder to take on the Tuesday night following the game as Glen Rovers withdrew from all County Championships in protest at the suspension of one of their players.

Kilworth again got the better of Nemo Rangers in 1969 but unfortunately had to give second best to a fine Youghal side in the second round.

In 1970, Kilworth gained some revenge on Glen Rovers as they defeated them in the first round of the championship however, for the second year in a row, they made their exit at the second round stage when they went under to Cobh at the Cork Athletic Grounds.

1971 – A Fourth Title

Despite having performed quite well at intermediate level, after some debate the club took the decision to re-grade to Junior hurling for the 1971 season. Once again captained by Fred Sheedy, Kilworth qualified for the North Cork final at Doneraile. Liscarroll provided the opposition and their no nonsence first time hurling put Kilworth under a lot of pressure and it was no surprise to see them lead by two points at the short whistle. With their backs to the wall Kilworth came out fighting in the second half. Although they had upped their performance it took a somewhat fortuitous goal from a Fred Sheedy free to finally see off the Liscarroll challenge as Kilworth ran out 4-10 to 2-09 victors. Unfortunately Kilworths quest for a second county title in 4 years ended at the first hurdle when they went under to Imokilly side Killeagh after a somewhat disappointing display in the first round at Fermoy.

1972 – 1979 Bleak Years

Despite boasting some fine players, Kilworth failed to add to their tally of North Cork titles during the rest of the decade. A final defeat to long-time rivals Kildrorrery in 1972 was followed by a first round defeat to the same opposition in 1973. A more successful run in 1974 saw Kilworth reach the semi-final where they had to give best to a fine Ballyhea side before Kildorrery once more proved our nemesis in 1975.

In 1976, under the tutelage of Cork great Justin McCarthy, Kilworth put in a massive effort which saw them reach the North Cork Final once again in which they faced Ballyhea at Buttevant. Regrettably the game did not go to plan as the Kilworth attack were never able to get to grips with a teak tough Ballyhea reargard and in fact all of Kilworths scores on the day came from their defence as John Kenny scored 5 points and Johnny Hogan scored a goal from a free in a 1-11 to 1-05 defeat.

Whilst Kilworth tried hard, the remainder of the decade did not see an increase in Kilworths fortunes with a disappointing 1 point defeat to Charlaville following the concession of a goal from a last minute free in the 1977 semi-final being the closest Kilworth came returning to a North Cork final. They did however win the North Cork league title in 1977 when a pointed 65 with the last puck of the game from captain John Kenny saw them defeat Castletownroche on a 2-11 to 1-13 scoreline in the semi final before they got the better of Buttevant in the final.

1980 – Champions Again

Following the disappointment of the 1970’s, Kilworth were determined to return to hurlings top table in 1980. However what turned out to be a very successful year could have been over before it began as it took a late equaliser to force a replay in the first round of the North Cork Championship with Milford. Whilst Kilworth managed to get over Milford in the replay their performance was nothing to write home about and despite further wins over Ballygiblin and Charlaville, Kilworth struggled for the type of consistency that would be needed to win their fifth title against holders Castletownroche.

Played in Buttevant in ideal conditions for hurling, Kilworth almost had to start the game without wing back Kevin McCarthy who jumped the wire to take his place just before the throw in after the car in which he was travelling broke down on the way to the game. What followed was the type of game supporters had come to expect from these two great clubs. The hurling was fast and furious with no quarter asked or given and every score was hard earned. It took Kilworth until the 41st minute to take the lead when Johnny Hogan goaled. John Kenny, Dave McCarthy and Johnny Hogan all had points before a Fanahan McCormack goal finally killed off the Castletownroche resistance. A pointed free from John Kenny ended the game as Kilworth ran out winners by 4-08 to 1-12.

Captained by Dave Hogan, Kilworth set out in search of County honours as they faced Delaneys at Castlelyons. The game remained close throughout and Delaneys, despite being reduced to 14 men, scored the last two points to send the game to a replay.

The return of ace forward Pat Greehy (who had been serving a suspension for the drawn encounter) provided real impetus to the Kilworth attack for the second meeting and his accurate free taking, surging runs and unselfish ball distribution played a major part in Kilworth’s 3-11 to 3-07 success.

Imokilly side Aghada provided the opposition in the County semi-final which was played at Riverstown. Playing with the aid of a stiff breeze, Kilworth had an awful opening to the game and conceded a somewhat soft goal from Aghada’s first attack. Pat Shanahan got Kilworths first score of the game with a point on five minutes and he followed up with a superb goal two minutes later when he sent a blistering shot to the Aghada net. Just as they were starting to get on top, the Kilworth defence conceded a second sloppy goal and at the short whistle Kilworth seemed to be in a precarious position as they turned to face the elements on level terms. A much improved Kilworth defence took to the field in the second half and despite the strong breeze they limited Aghada to just four points. At the other end of the field, a Johnny Hogan goal allied to the accurate free taking of Pat Greehy saw Kilworth run out 2-11 to 2-07 winners.

The County Final was played on the 16th of November on what can only be described as an extremely heavy pitch. In fact it was a credit to both teams that they served up such a thrilling encounter despite the underfoot conditions. 1-01 from Pat Shanahan in the first half saw Kilworth lead 1-04 to 1-02 at the change of ends. Despite now playing into a stiff breeze Kilworth continued to play well and by the fortieth minute had extended their advantage to 2-05 to 1-04 following a Johnny Hogan goal. As the game entered the final quarter however, Kilworth began to feel the effects of losing 3 of their starting players as both Fanahan and  Pat McCormack were forced to retire injured alongside Jimmy Lynch who had picked up a nasty facial injury in the first half. Gradually Newcestown made inroads on the Kilworth rear-guard and having equalised at 2-05 to 1-08 it was hard to see any outcome other than a Newcestown victory. Tom Shanahan, John Kenny, Christy Callaghan and Jimmy Hanlon continued to battle to the end but when the final whistle went it was Newcestown who were promoted to the Intermediate grade for 1981 on a 1-12 to 2-06 scoreline.


Kilworth v Newcestown – County Junior A Hurling Final – 16th November 1980 at Pairc Ui Caoimh. Referee M. Flaherty

 

1983    Title Number Six

Three years later in 1983, Kilworth were back in the limelight once again as they qualified for another North Cork Final. Captained by outstanding keeper John Joe Shanahan, Kilworth got the better of a tough Charlaville side in the final which was played at Doneraile. On a day in which 4 sets of brothers took to the field for Kilworth (John Joe, Pat & Tom Shanahan, Kevin & Dave McCarthy, Johnny & Dave Hogan and Mossie & Pat McNamara) the decisive score came some nine minutes from time when Tom Shanahan latched onto a Pat Greehy free to send an unstoppable shot to the Charlaville net. The win saw Kilworths Johnny Hogan pick up his sixth North Cork Junior Hurling medal some 22 years after he had won his first in 1961.

Having been drawn against Imokilly side St. Catherines in the County Championship, hopes were high that Kilworth could replicate the team of 1967 and bring the county title back to the village. On a wet and windy day in Rathcormac, Kilworth made a fantastic start as the led 1-03 to 0-00 after 10 minutes. A second goal from Michael Gowen, saw Kilworth go into the break leading 2-03 to 1-03. Unfortunately 20 second half minutes elapsed before Kilworth managed to get back on the scoresheet. By this stage St. Catherines had built up a sizeable lead and despite a spirted finish which saw Jerry Flynn score 1-01 in a three minute spell, St. Catherines ran out comfortable 5-12 to 3-04 victors.


Kilworth v St. Catherines – County Junior A Hurling Championship 1st Round – 2nd October 1983 at Rathcormac. Referee M. Flaherty


1984 – 1990 Tough Times

Defeat to Kildorrery in the first round of the centenary year championship was Kilworths lot in 1984 and whilst a successful run took them back to a third final in 6 years in 1985, they had to settle for second best in a replayed final defeat to Clyda Rovers. Further defeats to Milford in the championships of 1988 & 89 before a disappointing loss to Castletownroche in Fermoy saw Kilworth go seven years with little in the line of success. The club refused to throw in the towel however and the efforts made at juvenile level over that period were to stand us in good stead through the early and mid 1990’s.

 

1991 – Return to the Top Table

1991 saw Kilworth qualify for a first North Cork Final in 6 years where they were opposed by their conquerors of the previous year, Castletownroche. The game was seen as being very difficult to call and a huge crowd turned up in Ballyhooley to see these two great rivals take the field. The early exchanges played out as expected and there was little to separate the sides in the run up to half time. In the second period however, the Kilworth half back line of John Kiersey, John Sheehan (who captained the side) and Jack Keane began to dominate and they sent a plentiful supply of ball to their forwards. Gradually, the Kilworth attack made inroads into the Castletownroche defence and as the half wore on it was clear that there would only be one outcome. At the final whistle Kilworth claimed their seventh title by 1-16 to 1-08.

Having received a bye in the first round of the county championship, Kilworth were paired with Aghada in the semi-final which was played at Watergrasshill on the 6th of October. As in the years ’61, ’71 and ’83 however, East Cork opposition proved too strong for Kilworth as Aghada ran out convincing 4-09 to 0-05 winners on a day when the Avondhu men never played to their potential.


North Cork Junior A Hurling Champions - 1991

 

1993 – So Close but Yet so Far

An early defeat to Dromina in 1992 was a set-back to Kilworth, however they did not have long to wait in order to gain some revenge as they qualified to meet Dromina in the 1993 North Cork Final at Mallow. Played in wet conditions, a late late Mikey Gowen point took Kilworth to a 2-11 to 2-10 victory in a hard fought encounter.


Junior A Hurling North Cork Champions & County Finalists – 1993

A single point (2-09 to 1-11) victory over Meelin in the quarter final followed by a 1-09 to 0-07 point win over Glen Rovers on a day when the Kilworths full forward line of Pat Greehy, Pat Shanahan and Sean Carey accounted for all of Kilworths tally, saw Kilworth qualify for their fourth ever County Junior A Hurling Final.

Wearing the black and amber colours of divisional side Avondhu, Kilworth took on Mid Cork Champions champions Blarney at Pairc Ui Caoimh for the right to compete at intermediate level in 1994. The Muskerry men were a very capable side and had Kilworth under pressure from the outset. Brian Sheehan at mid field and the O Donoghue brothers at wing back and corner forward were imperious on the day as Blarney maintained their advantage into the second half. Whilst Blarney were undoubtedly the better side, the Kilworth supporters will always wonder if a different outcome may have transpired if Pat Shanahans bullet like effort which hit the crossbar in the second half had been 2 inches lower. Unfortunately however the sliotar rebounded to safety and Blarney went on to take the title on a 2-10 to 1-09 scoreline.

1995 – Title Number Nine

Having lost to near neighbours Fermoy for the only time in the clubs history at adult hurling level in the 1994 North Cork Junior Hurling Final on a scoreline of 2-08 to 0-06 at Glanworth, Kilworth were intent on making amends the following year in 1995. However in the semi-final, again against Fermoy, they found themselves 0-04 to 0-00 behind after some 10 minutes of play. A severe leg injury to corner forward Will Hegarty resulted in a long break in play mid-way through the first half. On the resumption, the sight of their player being stretchered from the field seemed to give Kilworth an added impetus and they gradually fought their way back into contention. With minutes remaining a long ball into the square was met by captain Noel O Brien who sent it to the back of the net for a famous victory. 

Kilworth, wearing green jerseys due to a clash of colours with Charlaville, entered the North Cork Final at Killavullen with high hopes of returning home with a ninth title. Things did not go to plan during the first half hour however and it took a stern talking to at half time to ensure Kilworth took to the field in the correct frame of mind for the second period. The half time chat seemed to do the trick however as Kilworth proved to be too strong for their opponents in the second period and eventually they ran out convincing winners on a 3-14 to 1-9 scoreline. Hopes of reaching a second County Final in 3 years were dashed at Ballynoe however when East Cork side Killeagh went on a late scoring spree to defeat us at the semi final stage in Ballynoe.


North Cork Junior A Hurling Champions - 1995

 

1996 – 2004    A Third Famine

Having played in 4 of the previous 5 North Cork finals, Kilworth started the 1996 championship as favourites to retain their crown. The early rounds went as expected and as Kilworth faced off against Shanballymore on a wet evening in Fermoy in the semi-final, nothing less than a comfortable victory was expected. Despite making a number of changes from the quarter final win, the game seemed to be going according to plan up as far as half time as Kilworth opened up a sizeable lead. As the weather continued to deteriorate in the second half however, so too did the Kilworth challenge and at the final whistle, much to the disbelief of the Kilworth supporters, Shanballymore ran out 1 point victors.

Kilworth commenced the 1997 championship in determined fashion and playing a fast brand of hurling, qualified for the North Cork semi-final again, this time against Dromina in a game to be played at Kildorrery. What followed was one of the best Junior hurling games ever played in the division. Both teams went at it hammer and thongs. The play was of an exceptional standard and the result was up for grabs until the final puck of the game at which time Kilworth led by 4-15 to 4-13. The performance of the Kilworth full forward line, who scored 4-12 between them, was superb on the night and full forward Will O Donoghue finished with a personal tally of 2-09. Having come through such a quality game, it was expected that Kilworth would make up for the loss to Shanballymore the previous year as they faced the same opposition in the ’97 final which was played at Ballygiblin. Shanballymore lost the services of their star full back Connor Hannon before the game and this only served to strengthen the consensus that Kilworth would prove to be too good on the day. Unfortunately for Kilworth however, Shanballymore did not read the script and with Donie Curtain outstanding they were always in control as Kilworth put in a below par display to lose out on a scoreline of 2-11 to 0-12.

Over the next six years Kilworth struggled to make any meaningful impact on the championship. A heavy defeat to Charlaville at Shanballymore in 1998 was followed by a loss to Dromina in Kilavullen after a 2nd replay in 1999. A disappointing 2000 first saw Kilworth drawing with Dromina on a scoreline of 0-13 each in Ballyhooley. Kilworth had requested a free weekend on the following weekend as a number of our players were out of the country however the board insisted the game go ahead. Kilworth appealed the decision to the county board and whilst the saga was drawn out for almost three weeks, it ended with Kilworth being disqualified from the competition. Dromina, having been awarded the game, went on to record a 2-12 to 1-11 victory over Fermoy in the final at Ballyclough.

A heavy defeat to Charlaville in 2001 was followed by a 0-14 to 3-03 defeat to Dromina once again in 2002 in a game that saw Dromina finish with 14 players and Kilworth with 12. In 2003 Castletownroche defeated Kilworth in a third round game at Glanworth by 0-16 to 1-12 and Kilworth found themselves at their lowest point in number of years.

In 2004 a new management team of coach Pat Greehy along with selectors Pat Shanahan, Jack Keane, John Kenny and Noel Daly came on board in an effort to revive Kilworths fortunes. An increased effort from the players and some shrewd selections from those in charge saw Kilworth qualify for their first North Cork Hurling final in some 8 years where they faced neighbours Ballygiblin in the final at Ballyhooly. Having performed so well in a number of games along the way including the scoring of two late points to beat Fermoy by the narrowest of margins and a replayed victory over Kildorrery, Kilworth never got to the pitch of the game in the final and were defeated on a 0-14 to 2-06 scoreline. Despite the disappointment, the hunger and desire shown by the young Kilworth panel during the season was something the team could cling to over the winter months and it augered well for the coming years

2005 – Return to Form

Kilworth commenced the 2005 championship having gone 10 years without a title, the longest period without a win since their first victory in 1961. A first round victory over Fermoy in Castletownroche was followed by a more difficult than expected game with Harbour Rovers in Ballyhooley. Fermoy, who had come through the back door were defeated again in the quarter final at Araglen whilst a somewhat facile 1-15 to 0-04 victory was recorded over Ballyclough in the semi-final in Shanballymore.

The final saw Kilworth take to the field against Clyda Rovers in Castletownroche with high hopes of recording a long awaited victory. The opening exchanges were close and it took Kilworth a long time to settle. The switch of Will Twomey to centre back with Alan Kenny going to the corner mid-way through the first half was a telling move and with young Paudi Lynch finding his range in front of goal, Kilworth eased away for a comfortable 4-17 to 1-12 victory.


North Cork Junior A Hurling Champions - 2005

In their first outing in the County Championship in 10 years Kilworth met Mid Cork side Grenagh in Pairc Ui Caoimh in the quarter final. Played as the second game on an extremely heavy pitch, Kilworth struggled to find their rhythm and were reduced to 14 men when Dion Cahill received his marching orders before half time. A second sending off for Paudi Lynch a short time into the second half left Kilworth seemingly dead and buried. Despite the best efforts of Joe Cahill who put in a powerful second half performance, Kilworth found themselves 0-13 to 0-08 in arrears with some 6 minutes remaining. It was at this point however that Kilworths midfielder Elton Pierce stepped forward. In a display that is still talked about to this day, Pierce scored 5 points from a whole host of angles and distances to shock the Mid Cork champions and to gain an unexpected draw for his team. The replay was played in Buttevant a week later and this time Kilworth were much sharper all over the field. Despite the concession of an early goal, Kilworth proved to be the more balanced side and ran out close but deserving winners on a scoreline of 0-11 to 1-06.

City side Mayfield provided the opposition in the semi final at Pairc Ui Rinn. Will Twomey gave one of his best displays in a Kilworth shirt from centre back, particularly in the final quarter as Mayfield searched in vain for an equalising goal. Kilworth held on however to qualify for their first final since 1993 by 1-12 to 2-06.

The final against Fr O Neills which was played under lights at Pairc Ui Rinn on Saturday the 19th of November 2005 proved to be a very tight affair. Scores were hard to come by and both defences were on top throughout. Fr. O Neills were quickest to settle and gained an early advantage only to be pegged back by Kilworth as they came into the game more as the half progressed. Try as they might however, Kilworth could not manage to get in front and their determined second half performance in which they threw everything at Fr. O Neills was not enough to avoid a 0-15 to 1-09 defeat. An interesting fact that was noted after the game is that Kilworths score of 1-09 was the same as that scored by the '93 team in their County Final v Blarney and it amounted to the same cumulative score as the '80 team (who scored 2-06) against Newcestown. 

2006    A Second County Title

Having been beaten in the 2004 North Cork Final and the 2005 County Final, Kilworth’s sole aim at the outset of the 2006 season was to continue their progression and take the next step in reclaiming the Cork County Junior Hurling crown for the first time since 1967. Victories over Glanworth in Ballyhooley, neighbours Fermoy at Ballygiblin, Clyda Rovers in Balyholey and Doneraile in Fermoy saw Kilworth qualify for their third final in a row against Charlaville to be played in Shanballymore. There was little between the teams in the opening stages with Charlaville going in at half time leading by 0-09 to 0-07. The switch of Damien McNamara to full back mid way through that first half to mark Charlaville danger man Mervyn Gammell proved to be a master stroke by the Kilworth management as McNamara went on to have one of his most memorable days in a Kilworth shirt. With little separating the sides early in the second half a fantastic diving last ditch block by McNamara on Gamell spurred on the Kilworth challenge and they upped the tempo considerably in the final quarter. The decisive score of the game came after full forward Adrian Mannix won a long clearance from Mark O Connor before giving an inch perfect pass to Paudi Lynch to score an excellently worked goal with 14 minutes remaining. Other than Damien McNamara, Dion Cahill who uncharacteristically played the entire second half without his helmet, and Paudi Lynch, who won his second consecutive North Cork Final Man of the Match Award played very well for Kilworth who ran out 1-17 to 0-12 winners.

Back on the county trail for the second time in two years, Kilworth got the better of Cloughduv in the quarter final in a game played under lights at Pairc Ui Rinn by 3-14 to 0-10. The semi-final proved to be a similarly one sided contest as Duhallow champions Banteer were never able to cope with the power and pace of Kilworth who recorded a facile 2-15 to 1-06 win.

The final, which was Kilworths third game of the campaign to be played under the Pairc Ui Rinn lights proved to be a dogged affair. Both teams defences were well on top throughout and at the short whistle the sides remained deadlocked at 0-08 apiece. The second half progressed in similar fashion to the first and a single point was the most that seperated the sides at any stage. With space at a premium and the sides deadlocked as the clock ticket through the second minute of injury time, Adrian Mannix who had been moved from full to left half forward, won a ball in front of the Kilworth dugout before going on a cross field run to score a famous championship winning point from 45 metres for a 0-13 to 0-12 victory. Unbridled joy and emotion poured from the stands on all sides of Pairc Ui Rinn as the final whistle sounded moments later as finally, at the fourth attempt, the team of 1967 was emulated and intermediate hurling was once again in store for Kilworth.

With Kilworth hurling now on the crest of a wave, further success was had when we defeated Knockshegowna of Tipperary in the Munster club final at Meelick in County Clare on the 10th of December. Unfortunately however, Kilkenny outfit Danesfort who's team included future Kilkenny stars Richie & Paddy Hogan and a 17 year old Paul Murphy, ended Kilworth’s progress at the semi final stage of the All-Ireland bringing the curtain down on an historic campaign


Kilworth v Knockshgowna – Munster Junior A Championship Final – 10th December 2006 at Meelick, Co. Clare

2012 - A First Intermediate Title

Having competed consistently at intermediate level for a number of years (beaten finalists in 2009 by Valley Rovers in addition to semi final defeats to Fr O Neills in 2007 and Kilbrittain in 2010), Kilworth finally reached the holy grail in 2012 following victory over a gallant Kanturk side. To reach the championship final victories were recorded over two great North Cork rivals, Dromina in round 1 and near neighbours Fermoy in the quarter final before defeating west Cork side Argideen Rangers in the semi final, after a tough tense game at Pairc Ui Rinn on Saturday September 29th.

The final itself was played on October 14th 2012 and saw Kilworth lock horns with a Kanturk side which featured current and future Cork senior hurlers Anthony Nash, Lorcan McCloughlin and Aidan Walsh. The game was an exciting encounter which saw Kanturk race into and early 1-04 to 0-00 lead. Gradually Kilworth clawed their way back into contention and aided by goals before and after the half time break from Paudi Lynch and Noel McNamara they went on to be crowned Cork County intermediate champions for the first time in the clubs history on a scoreline of 2-15 to 2-13.

County Intermediate Hurling Champions & Division 1 Hurling League Winners - 2012

Kilworth went on to play Ballinhassig (who had recently captured the Premier Intermediate championship title) in the Division 1 hurling league final the following weekend on Saturday October 20th at Riverstown. Having aleady beaten the premier champions in the league stage of the competition, Kilworth entered the game without any fear and proceeded to produce what many have said was the finest display ever produced by a team from the little village. On a night when every player from goalkeeper Kieran Walsh to those who entered the fray as substitutes hurled out of their skins, Ballinhassig who were perparing for a crack at the Munster club championship, simply had no answer to the North Cork men who ran out 1-14 to 0-11 victors.

 

Kilworth’s Championship Winning Captains

1961    Tom McCarthy

1966    Fred Sheedy

1967    Johnny Hogan

1971    Fred Sheedy

1980    Dave Hogan

1983    John Joe Shanahan

1991    Johnny Sheehan

1993    Oliver Sheehan

1995    Noel O Brien

2005    Alan Kenny

2006    Kieran Walsh

2012    Brian Tobin 


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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