When Kilworth take to the field in Sundays Premier Intermediate Hurling semi-final against Inniscarra, they will become the first team from the village to compete at this stage of the championship since August 17th 1969. We would hope however that the result will be somewhat different this time around as on that occasion 50 years ago, the men in red gave best to an impressive Youghal side at the Athletics Grounds in Cork.

Kilworth came into the game in confident mood following an impressive 10 point first round win over Shamrocks (6-08 to 2-10) and a one point quarter final victory over Nemo Rangers in Carrigtwohill. Youghal had a formidable side in the 60’s and had been unlucky to lose out in the finals of 1964 to Castletownroche and 1968 to St Vincents. Their side included intercounty players Pat Hegarty & Willie Walsh, both of whom lined out with Cork 3 weeks after the Kilworth game in the All Ireland Senior Hurling final defeat to Kilkenny whilst a seventeen year old Seanie O Leary, who won an All Ireland minor title that year, was selected at left half forward.

The game itself didn’t live up to the pre match expectations as Kilworth unfortunately struggled to get to grips with Youghal’s powerful play during the opening half. A number of pointed frees from Youghal kept Kilworth at arm’s length and a well taken goal from Frankie Keane in the 25th minute turned the tie decisively in the east Corkmens favour.

Kilworth upped their performance considerably on the restart. As they had done so many times, it was Kilworths half back line who led the charge. Johnny Hogan was excellent as he out hurled Youghals intercounty centre forward Willie Walsh and he was ably assisted by left half back Seanie Long and Kieran Casey who was now playing at centre field. It looked for a while like the Kilworth men might get back on terms however the difficulties for the men in red were at the other end of the field as Youghals Pat Hegarty and Johnny Ryan were far too good for the Kilworth forward line on the day. Kieran Casey did manage to get in for two opportunistic 2nd half goals however they proved too little too late as Youghal ran out 1-17 to 2-06 winners before taking the title with a merited win over Cobh in the decider.

(Many thanks to Alan Kenny for putting this piece together.)

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