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Baker’s county ROAD TO CROKER final odyssey








THE YEAR SJ CAME TO PLAY IN a year in which Kildare hurling has hit the headlines for the wrong reasons, it was still a huge pleasure to bring The Hurler to life for the second year running. This year we have decided to embrace the modern age and produce a digital version of The Hurler rather than the printed magazine of last year. We hope you see this as an improvement on last year and enjoy the magazine just as much in its new format. Once again producing The Hurler would have been impossible without the co-operation of many people, especially the club PROs who sent us articles and pictures. However it is disappointing that some clubs failed to produce anything for inclusion and it is sad that that some don’t see the promotion of the game through initiatives like this as being worthy of time and effort. Those clubs are in the minority though so it would be remiss to spend too long about them. The clubs and members who have contributed have done so excellently and there is plenty of reading for you throughout these pages. A special thanks to the Coill Dubh and Naas clubs who provided moving tributes to much loved members: Jason Dowling, Tony Carew and Denis Hanley. Their memories are deeply cherished and it is important to remember those Gaels who have gone before us, especially at a time of year we are prone to reflection. It is in that spirit Ian Baker looks back on a very special year for him personally and for his club as the Confey goalkeeper recounts the journey to championship glory in 2012. His riveting account of county final weekend will touch a chord with every player and resonate deeply with those who have been lucky enough to go through the same exhilarating experience. If you do nothing else this Christmas, read Baker. There is too much more to mention here but in the year that Seanie Johnston put Kildare hurling on the map, we hope you will take the time to explore the rest of the scenery.

Niall Lanigan, Brendan Coffey


Brendan Coffey Declan Buckley Piaras O Midheach

ON THE COVER Kildare captain Fiachra O Muineachain collects













04 THE BAKER MAN The inside track on this year’s senior county final


16 TONY CAREW Coill Dubh’s giant of the game

06 BACK TO BACK Shane Barry on Maynooth’s return to senior


12 DIVILLY’S DIARY Confey’s Paul Divilly on the life of an inter-county hurler


30 CLUB STARS Team of the year


the NHL Division 2B trophy

34 LILIES IN BLOOM Under-21s capture Leinster crown - December 2012

43 ENQUIRING REPORTERS The view from the stands





29 MEMORY LANE 1969 Kildare intermediates against Cork 31 DENIS HANLEY A true stalwart of Naas 36 JASON DOWLING Gone too soon but never to be forgotten




Stories from the season

Kildare took home a National League title and a Leinster championship in 2012 while Confey and Maynooth lit up the club scene in October


Emotions are never far from the surface when players take to the field and this collection of images vividly portrays the best of what hurling and sport has to offer, clockwise from top left, Kevin and Colm Chan embrace after winning the SHC Final; Mick Purcell is carried off with the cup after Kildare U21s win the Leinster championship; Martin Fitzgerald celebrates Kildare’s NHL victory; Shane Barry walks off the field a happy man after captaining Maynooth to a second successive IHC title; while Celbridge huddle before the start of their All-Ireland under-14 Feile final at Croke Park



10 CELBRIDGE An epic journey on the road to Croker

39 FINAL WHISTLE Fergus Devereaux calls time on his reffing career

32 YOUNG GUNS Bord na nOg report

40 OVER AND OUT Results of the year

33 SCHOOLS SUCCESS Clane crowned Leinster champions after replay

42 WINNERS ENCLOSURE County champions 2012

38 GAMES DEVELOPMENT Coaching and underage development in Kildare





It’s not just an hour of hurling... To play here is to belong. For goalkeeper IAN BAKER, hurling is his sport and Confey is his club. This year he lived the dream and won a senior championship but that’s only the half of it. ”You could wait for a lifetime, To spend your days in the sunshine” Cigarrettes and Alcohol - Oasis



went for a drink the night before the County Final. I know I shouldn’t have but I did. I heard a story once, you’ve heard it too, that two pints the night before a final will help you sleep. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that particular story is untrue. After two pints I’d have played the county final in that undisclosed public house. It’s not that I was nervous. As the match drew closer I became very concerned about the possible outcome and its magnitude. It meant much to me; but it meant much more to others in many different ways. I don’t think we’ll ever realise what the collective exhilaration of winning a club county final means to all involved. At the start of the year I was the beneficiary of a Robbie Connolly ankle injury which regained me a position where I’d spent much of my youth playing. I’ve always enjoyed being a goalkeeper in hurling. You can easily be the villain but the rewards are untold; I enjoy the personal satisfaction of a solid performance in a pressurized situation. I’ve whiled away many an enjoyable hour between the posts. But I don’t think I was ever any good in goals; I just never got out of the way of the ball quick enough, hence I remained. In everybody’s dream of the county final they want to be the hero. In reality, living mine, I just wanted to win. Some part of me wanted to perform for Rob. I owed a performance to many people, including myself, but Rob had been uprooted. I felt it only right that I mind the goals while he holidayed at centre-forward. Sure he‘ll be back before you know it with lots of stories from his trip to the forwards. People can make their own correlation but I wasn’t in good form the morning of the county final. I’d slept poorly. I left the house as soon as possible. Ironically I met Tom Connolly on Cope Bridge and we walked over it together. My bad form was lost on Tom; as he may have been more anxious than I was. He wished me luck. I grunted appreciatively. I was not the first to arrive at the clubhouse. As it was an unusually bright morning many of the team had arrived early. Everything seemed relaxed, like we were embarking on a school trip. Many of the lads pucked around and most chatted. Nobody seemed in a hurry. This was either a good sign or it wasn’t. Not wishing to interrupt and deflate anyone, I sat on a step, smoked a cigarette, drank an isotonic and waited for my turn with our physio. Somebody said Darragh Nolan was waiting on Mick Divilly so I settled in for a wait, and may have even had a second cigarette. I’d been having trouble with my back for some months, but during the sleepless night a phantom hip pain had surfaced. Eimear would fix it though. Tape and words

I don’t think I was ever any good in goals; I just never got out of the way of the ball quick enough”

of encouragement, or as on that morning; placation and understanding. I decided to tape my wrists before arriving in Conleth’s - I’m very particular about it. Uncomfortable taping can be irksome during a game. I remember I was last to see Eimear. I really like Eimear. She helped me greatly that morning, more than she’ll know. I eventually made my way to the bus, hoping to be one of the last few on. Finding a seat on my own near the front, I tried settling. But immediately after sitting down I wandered off. I had a book I didn’t read, food I barely ate and music I didn’t listen to. Kevin Chan hopped in beside me. I told him in no uncertain terms that I wasn’t in the mood for chit-chat. Graciously he understood and we spent what seemed like an eternity travelling to Newbridge. I stopped counting after a 147 cars had passed us out. My mood was steadily rising during the journey and I was never as happy to see St Conleth’s Park. However on arrival the bus driver spent nearly ten minutes trying to get through the narrow back gate of the county grounds and it took every ounce of control not to ask him would he like me to do it for him. But I would find solace in the phrase – it’s not a bus you’re driving. This made me smile and I relaxed immensely as soon as I stood off the bus. I remember hearing the crowd cheering the intermediate match and seeing the marching band bustling about. Although the time of throw-in was approaching, I felt calmer when we arrived in the confines of St Conleth’s. I began to think

seriously about the match. The dressing room in Conleth’s are tiny and could be mistaken for showers. Within seconds they’re filled to capacity. Dropping my gear in the corner I turned heel. I’ve no idea how long it was before the start of the game but I knew we had plenty of time. Ed Holland, our manger, asked me if I was alright. I said I was perfect. We both let that lie slip. Unbeknownst to many I ducked out the back of the dressing rooms and hunkered down, almost hiding, for one final cigarette. Only two people saw me. James Daly, our kit man, who had the good sense to give me a moment. And a little boy of no more than five-years-old, smiling. He held his father’s hand walking into the stadium. He reminded me of a pup pulling on a lead. He looked so happy to be with his dad at a hurling match. I doubt if he knew it was a hurling final. For a split second I recognised myself and remembered my dream of winning a senior county final. I stubbed out the butt and headed for the mayhem that was our changing room. Now you’ll understand why I strapped my wrists in the clubhouse. Without resorting to scenes of a graphic nature, I couldn’t find the light for toilet, which meant the paperwork had to be done in the darkness. My stomach was churning. The atmosphere was palpable, and crowded. It can only be described as organised chaos. Everybody has a job to do. From water bottles to the warm-up, from rhetoric to rubs. It’s utter madness. People still talked. Some even joked. I didn’t. I gave black tape to Padraig Keegan as always, and organised the spare hurls for the fullback line. Rob had three goalkeeper hurls for me too. All told I’d nearly five kilos of hurls. I was the last one out and by the time I vacated with my assorted accoutrements the warm-up was well under way. Rob remained available. My touch was crisp and that felt good. I remember on the Monday night before the Sunday, we trained in Creighton Park and the weather was terrible. It was wet, cold and windy. But after that session I knew we were going to win. Everything went right, for everybody. Thirty yard passes stuck in those conditions. Lads were catching everything. Our touch was sharp and anything that did spill was gobbled up by an eager teammate. Paul Divilly mentioned a story during a meeting we had weeks previous to the final. According to Liam Sheedy, the ex-Tipp manager, hurling is simple: your medal is in the ball – do you really want it? If you don’t want it, stand aside and let somebody else try to win it. That was running through my mind as I warmed up. What do you want to do today? Several minutes later we made our way back into the dressing room. I took off my training top and towelled off. Sweat turns cold rapidly after inactivity and standing in goal in a cold, wet top is not desirable. I always have a fresh top with me to play in. Before I put my jersey on I paused a second taking in the crest and its significance. I had earned the right to wear this jersey, and that gave me a great comfort.




It concreted confidence in my abilities. But then the whole world slows and everything settles. It gets real quiet for a while. Nobody’s joking now. You can see the intensity on people’s faces. For the life of me I cannot remember one word of the team talk. I never can. I completely zone out. I couldn’t tell you if anybody was even shouting. We had talked during the week. Nothing had changed. I just wanted to leave. Liam Dowd patted every player on the back as we left and wished us all luck. That means an awful lot to a player. Normally Eamon Shields helps me with the forest of ash I carry, but I was very aware I wanted to mind them myself. At the start of the year in a league match against Coill Dubh my hurls were moved to the far side of the pitch. By the time I’d found them and headed for the goals, the game had started and Coill Dubh had scored a goal. I’d been lobbed from forty yards; and was in fact closer to hooking the player than I was to catching the ball in the goals. Paul Keegan let the ball sail harmlessly over him to the safety of an empty net in the knowledge that I was correct and present. For as long as I live, I’ll never forget that day. Rightly so, many won’t let me either. That’s why on county final day I decided to keep the sticks with me at all times. After the obligatory team photograph I think we met for the parade. I say I think; maybe lads still pucked around but I waited with my seasoned saplings watching the coin toss. I don’t want to diminish our performance but I think a lot was decided by the winning of the toss. Mick Divilly said he picked the opposite side to last year’s final. Irrespective we started with the wind against us, unlike the previous year where a lightening start by Celbridge pretty much won them the game. The four of us in the fullback line swore our first born to keeping a clean sheet in the opening ten minutes. As I’d never been in a parade before, I felt privileged to be second after the captain. I enjoyed the parade immensely; the noise and the tradition, but never once did I look at the stand. I didn’t even look at Celbridge. At this stage I was wired. The hair was standing on the back of my neck and I could feel the blood coursing through my veins. I spun my hurl several times in my hands as I walked and it felt good; balanced with a new grip. Mick had the good sense to peel away from the parade first and we congregated in the middle of the pitch for the anthem. I have never been so proud to play for my club. Or to play hurling. Or be Irish. As I remember singing the national anthem it runs a chill down my spine. Singing the anthem is so collectively rousing, yet it’s something that’s deeply personal too. You never feel alone when you sing the anthem. I was so wound up I was nearly in tears. We huddled soon after, and this I do remember. Mick Divilly spoke about bodies on the line. He reiterated that today, above all days, was the day to believe it. Our captain, Michael Divilly Jnr, is the hardest man I know. Coming into the game he could barely lift his arms above his shoulders with an injury, and with less than five minutes gone he took a terrible, fair, stroke on the hand. Some days I just wonder about him. If Mick leads, we’ll follow. We agreed on sheer work-rate, intensity and commitment; although in a more colourful language. I don’t remember much of the start. I remember I shook hands with both umpires, that my first puckout was terrible and that a long ball nearly snuck inside the post, sending me crashing into the post in my haste. The rest of the match is a blur. We broke the game down in segments. No goals in the first ten minutes of the first half and no goals in the last ten minutes before half-time. The second half plan was similar but it would have to wait to be put into effect. One segment at a time. The rest of the game is a blur of shouting and fear and noise and excitement. I think I touched the ball more than once. The end of the match was elation mixed with complete and utter exhaustion. It felt like a great weight being lifted off my shoulders. Collectively the team breathes a sigh of relief. The pressure bestowed by a parish, the hopes of all included in the club, to win for everyone;

I have never been so proud to play for my club. Or to play hurling. Or to be Irish.”

We came over Cope Bridge and the bus was pandemonium. Just as we rose over the brow you catch sight of the bonfire burning”

young and old, it’s the greatest satisfaction that one can ever feel. I remember meeting my mother and father after the match. That morning, before I’d left the house, we had argued about something innocuous and unrecollectable, yet in that instant all was forgotten. I apologised, hugged my mother and shook my father’s hand. I’ll never forget the pride in my father’s eyes. The immediate feeling after winning a county final is like those precious seconds in the morning when you wake-up before you realise you’re awake and have to get up. You’re suspended in a cocoon of joy and for those few minutes you’re untouchable. Nothing else matters; nothing. The dressing room afterwards. The excitement was electrifying. The backslapping and camaraderie is infectious. Everybody spills energy and laugher; like children. I remember afterwards, with the dressing room being so small, I took upon myself to stand outside, trying to take it all in, while smoking a cigarette. Of course their bad for your health, and unless you smoke I don’t think you’ll ever understand; but that cigarette was bliss. It felt nearly as good as the shower. A victorious shower is reinvigorating; unlike stuffing your bag after a loss and trying to duck out of the back without talking to anyone. Whenever we lose I keep my helmet on for as long as possible. Somehow I feel that nobody can see it’s me. Being locked in that helmet is what drives me to come back and succeed. After the county final I could have stayed chatting all day. Never underestimate what a hardy congratulation and clap on the shoulder from people you barely know can do for a player. We talked in the dressing room for a long time as a team afterwards; but most lads had an eye on the clock. We wanted to begin celebrating. In what has become custom we went to a local pub just across the road from St Conleth’s. And to our surprise, Celbridge had decided on that course also, though for different reasons. The atmosphere was cordial but everybody could tell that it was too soon after the match, and because we had dinner to attend to, we only stayed for the one. The bus journey was in stark contrast to the one we embarked on that morning. On the way home everybody joked and sang songs. Nobody sat still. Some of us discussed the match; each from out different perspectives. Paddy Keegan sang Saturday night; a rousing song that has become synonymous with winning in Confey. The bus nearly exploded each time he got to the chorus. Tony Hoare has a rendition of something similar about bicycles; but we’d have to wait till the clubhouse for that number. After eating the meal, where several people were thanked and

The hardest man I know: Ian Baker (left) celebrates with Confey captain Mick Divilly holding the cup

Bonfires burning: Confey sponsor Larry Keenahan from Confey tyres at the bonfire on the night of the county final victory others remembered, we started on the final journey to the clubhouse. When we were younger, much younger, after winning a final we would drive around Confey hanging out car windows and sunroofs whilst mangers or proud family members beeped the horn. We would drive around till we were hoarse or the horns stopped working. It was my favourite part of winning. On the evening of the county final the journey to the clubhouse from the hotel is about three minutes. An entire season of injuries, the many pissing wet, cold training sessions and the all-encompassing effort it takes to not only get to a final, but win, can be measured in those three minutes. There’s no better feeling in the world. Some of us started playing hurling together when we were six or seven; I don’t play for a team and I don’t have friends. I have another family and each of them is my brother. We came over Cope Bridge and the bus was pandemonium. Just as we rose over the brow you catch sight of the bonfire burning and the crowd of people milling outside waiting to welcome us home. I’ll never forget that sight. Never. For a brief few moments I did shed a tear. I was becoming an emotional wreck, but it was a day of emotional turbulence. From the prematch anticipation, to the fear and nerves felt while preparing to play, to the complete and unrelenting focus of the game and then finally the joy and relief afterwards; it’s a lot to handle gracefully. The imprint of emotion; on people’s faces, in their voices, how they now carried themselves, it’s ingrained in my memory, forever. As long as I live, I’ll never forget the day I won a county medal playing in goals for Confey. Never. One of the last things I remember was that a pint was thrust in my hand, and the night began in a whirlwind of laugher, singing and dancing. People really smiled, and the woes of the world were forgotten that night. For one night only Confey was the centre of the world and we the players were at the heart of that world. It’s for days and nights like these that I play hurling. No other reason. Everything I’ve ever suffered through playing is soon forgotten when you win, and then given back to you tenfold. It’s not unfair to say that hurling asks and takes so much from you, and the people around you, but when you can share a victory with them, the entire slate is wiped clean ready for next year. Hurling is my sport andBarry Confey is my I wouldn’t Maynooth captain Shane with theclub. IHC trophy want it any other way. Photo: Piaras O Midheach









Ready to go senior After winning back to back intermediate titles, Maynooth are ready to return to the senior ranks in 2013 and this time it’ll be different, insists captain SHANE BARRY

SHANE Barry wasn’t hurling with Maynooth the last time the Crom Abu played senior in Kildare, but he has heard enough of the tales from that disastrous 2010 season to not want to ever have first-hand experience of that numbing era. So bad was it only a couple of years back that Maynooth as a hurling club nearly folded off the back of one mauling after another in both the league and championship. Indeed, it was so distressing for all involved that it was agreed among them at the end of that season that the only way forward for Maynooth was to regroup at intermediate level before they could start their climb back to the top. Barry, a native of Cork who has also played the smallball game in Dublin, was one of a few to join the Maynooth fight two years ago, the first of many impressive steps which have since been taken under the guidance of the great John Byrne, the legendary Coill Dubh figure who has nine Kildare senior hurling championship medals in his back pocket from a glittering playing career. From the off it was never going to be easy for Maynooth, even more so after it was proposed at the 2010 Hurling Board Convention that any club looking to gain promotion to senior would only be allowed to do so provided that they won the intermediate title two years running.

Even though the second teams of Celbridge and Ardclough were the only ones to do just that in the past decade alone, this Maynooth team of the past two seasons – in all facets of their game - is nearly unrecognisable to that of the class of 2010. Byrne’s charges defeated Sarsfields in the 2011 finale to set them on their way towards their ultimate goal, before accounting for Ardclough last October. “The goal at the start of the year, if not two years ago, was to get our senior status back again and, considering how things ultimately turned out, we are more than happy with how things transpired,” explained Barry, a corner-stone of both successes which were Maynooth’s second and third intermediate titles in four years having also won in 2009. “The danger was that we would get too complacent having won the intermediate championship in 2011 but to be fair, it was clear two years ago from our initial meeting with John Byrne that senior status was our number one priority. “We did know back then that that objective was going to be a two-year job considering the rule change so, to give our lads credit, it wasn’t hard for us to come back after last year to prepare once again to win a championship that we had just won a few months previous. “This year was essentially

a case of keeping going and finishing the job that we had started in 2011 and in the process achieving our ultimate goal which we did. If nothing more, we also wanted to prove to ourselves first and foremost that we were good enough, or indeed deserving of the right to play senior hurling by winning the intermediate again.” While it has been a hard slog for Maynooth to get back, Barry has no qualms about the road that he and his team-mates have had to take, admitting that “there is a significant gap between intermediate and senior, one that becomes more evident for players when they make the step up. “We learned that in 2010 and unfortunately Moorefield did likewise last year. It is easier to achieve a certain level for one year but maintaining it thereafter is a different story. We did that at intermediate level over the past two seasons but now we have to take it to the next level. “It is probably the fairest of systems, in that it rewards the more consistent team over a two-year period with promotion. Yo-yoing up and down isn’t going to help any club, whether it is the team moving in either direction or those senior clubs who are there at the time. “But we have earned the right to be back senior; we have proved that 2011 wasn’t




just a flash in the pan because, the disappointments of 2010 aside – and there were many back then – we have now won the intermediate title three times in the last four years (2009, ’11 and ’12). “We’ve got a stronger squad now; we’ve got some very good and promising minor players coming through as well and looking at the overall picture, we are – I feel – in a better place going into 2013 than we were going into the 2010 season. We have earned the right to call ourselves a senior club once again.” While Maynooth have revelled in domestic success, it hasn’t been confined to within the county boundaries. They played, however briefly, in the Leinster Club Junior Hurling Championship last season before returning to it this October where they recorded the club’s first ever provincial hurling championship win when seeing off Dublin outfit St Sylvester’s (0-11 to 0-9). “Winning in the first round of Leinster when we beat St Sylvester’s of Dublin in Clane, it gave us a good confidence boost on the back of us winning the Kildare title only weeks earlier,” continued Barry. “I think Sylvester’s might have come down to play us in the belief that they would have it easier against a Kildare intermediate team but we proved them wrong. That win gave us, as hurlers, a huge boost in hindsight.” Wexford champions Naomh Eanna were the next to make the trip to Conneff Park, Clane to take on Maynooth who, after 37 minutes, led by four points following a quick-fire 1-1 from full-forward Mark Cummins just after the break. While Maynooth gave it their all with a performance that most certainly did please Byrne, an absorbing contest swung in Naomh Eanna’s favour at the threequarter stage, before the Gorey-side held on for a narrow victory. “We would have gone down to Carlow last year only to come out of their very disappointed with how we performed. We felt at the time that we left that particular game behind us,” added Barry. “This year we got beyond the first round and while we were beaten by Naomh Eanna, we certainly gave a good account of ourselves on the day. I don’t think there was any shame to be beaten by a better team on the day and while we were bitterly disappointed to lose given that we gave as good as we got for most, we were more



We’ve got a stronger squad now; we’ve got some very good and promising minor players coming through

than pleased with most of our performance that day but more importantly over the course of the season. “But we came off the field in Clane at least knowing that we had put in an honest effort and that we were only marginally beaten by a better team.” That was then and this is now, as the attentions of Maynooth – and Barry – turn to preparations for what promises to be their biggest challenge yet. “Having spoken to some of the guys who hurled that year (2010), the feeling among some is that that particular side had gone as far as it could; unfortunately that was reflected in some of the results and from what I know that particular time was very tough on the club. “But I think 2013 will be about us bedding ourselves into the senior ranks and getting ourselves, as quickly as possible, up to the pitch of the senior game. “A few quick wins would be nice but we are realistic to know that, having been there in 2010, that nothing is guaranteed. We are not setting ourselves any bold or unrealistic targets like that we are going to go and win the senior championship – a year or two down the line though who knows?”

Maynooth captain Shane Barry with the IHC trophy Photo: Piaras O Midheach


or much of the last decade, success has been elusive for the adult hurlers of Maynooth but there has been a boom in silverware at the club in the last four years and 2012 was the year that everything came together. After winning the Kildare intermediate title in 2009, the Crom Abu bridged a ten-year gap to their previous senior success and while the following year at senior brought them crashing back to earth with a bang, the rebuilding process since has borne more fruit than they ever could have imagined. With Coill Dubh legend, John Byrne (nine-time SHC winner) installed at the helm for 2011, the club set about not just winning an intermediate championship but building a side fit to compete at senior level in Kildare. Byrne’s impact was felt as early as his first season although there were stumbling blocks along the way, not least a crushing defeat to Sarsfields in the group stage of the championship. However by the final, Maynooth had improved beyond all recognition to lower the Sash and win back the intermediate crown. Byrne, and the club, had ambitions beyond that though and having put away the silverware the team took to the field in Leinster against Carlow Town, a game that was there for the taking only for Maynooth to fade in the final quarter and

Maynooth captain Shane Barry after winning the IHC Photo: Matt Callaghan

let slip a game that should have been won. For that reason and more, Maynooth’s ambitions were greater again in 2012. Winning another Kildare intermediate title was a must for a side desperate to move up to senior but victory over Ardclough in the 2012 county final also provided the opportunity for redemption in Leinster. The day before Maynooth played Dublin champions St Sylvester’s, the club’s second team captured the junior championship after many years of near misses, and that success proved a huge inspiration to the senior side as they kept their composure to see off Sylvester’s the following day in an 0-11 to 0-9 victory – the club’s first ever in Leinster. It was a landmark moment for the club and they stood on the brink of another major success in the following round when they led Wexford champions Naomh Eanna by four points with 20 minutes left. Despite producing their best display of the year, Maynooth fell short by three points in a cracking game that captivated a large crowd in Clane. The year might have ended in disappointment but Maynooth have been thinking long-term since John Byrne took the helm, which means they are able to absorb minor setbacks in pursuit of their ultimate goal. The preparations for 2013 have already begun.





Maynooth - IHC Champions 2012



2-13 1-9

aynooth were crowned junior hurling champions, completing a league and championship double, in Sallins on Saturday (20 October) when they had seven points to spare against Clane in a fantastic display of hurling. A first half goal from Karl Ennis put the Crom Abú in control as Maynooth’s relentless attack racked up 1-6 in the first half - with all the starting forwards getting on the scoreboard from play inside the opening 25 minutes. Points from Philly Murphy, Neil Delaney and Noel Carey gave Maynooth a three-point lead after the first quarter and it wasn’t until the 15th minute that Robbie Eyers opened Clane’s account. A point from Killian Fagan was quickly followed by a goal from Karl Ennis and by the break Maynooth were

Maynooth - JHC Champions 2012

ahead by 1-6 to 0-3. Maynooth maintained their lead after the restart with further points from Ennis, Delaney and Murphy but Clane grabbed a lifeline when John Rigney struck for a goal in the 40th minute. Rigney quickly added a point to reduce the gap to four but Maynooth seized control again when Killian Fagan flicked home their second goal to open up a seven-point lead. From there to the finish Maynooth picked off their scores in style through Delaney, man-of-the-match Mick Bennet and sub Alan O’Toole. MAYNOOTH: Sean Bean; TJ Hogan, Shane Devereux, Conor Coyle; Robbie Moore, Fergie Devereux, Cormac Molloy; Ed Cooney, Mick Bennett 0-1; Philly Murphy 0-2, Karl Ennis 1-2, Neil Delaney 0-4 (3fs); Killian Fagan 11, Sean Lennon 0-1, Noel Carey 0-1. Subs: Alex Birchall for Carey, 41; Alan O’Toole 0-1 for Lennon, 45; Liam Carroll for Hogan, 45; Mark Nugent for Fagan, 59; Ciaran Browne for Delaney, 60.

Maynooth junior hurling captain Shane Devereaux collects the championship trophy from Aidan Sinnott






It was an amazing year for the young hurlers from Celbridge as they sampled Croke Park and the atmosphere of an All-Ireland Final -

Celbridge u14 hurlers at Croke Park (above) and Conor Doyle (left) after scoring Celbridge’s first point in the All-Ireland Final against Kevin Lynch’s

and they lost little in defeat to Kevin Lynch’s from Derry in the decider.

The announcement that Féile na nGael 2012 was to take place for the first time since 1983 in Dublin was met with mixed opinions among the Celbridge Féile panel, a number of whom would have preferred to travel a little further afield. At a meeting of players and th parents on January 27 , the team managers emphasised that the first goal was to win the Kildare Féile and that consideration would only be given to the national Féile if and when the first goal was achieved. Thanks to the co-operation of under-13 team managers Alan Hogan and Vincent O’Flynn, the under-13 and under-14 panels were combined to provide a panel of 30 committed young men who would do themselves proud in the following months. The announcement that Féile na nGael 2012 was to take place for the first time since 1983 in Dublin was met with mixed opinions among the Celbridge Féile panel, a number of whom would have preferred to travel a little further afield. At a meeting of players and parents on January 27th, the team managers emphasised that the first goal was to win the Kildare Féile and that consideration would only

be given to the national Féile if and when the first goal was achieved. Thanks to the co-operation of under-13 team managers Alan Hogan and Vincent O’Flynn, the under-13 and under-14 panels were combined to provide a panel of 30 committed young men who would do themselves proud in the following months. Attendance at training in the early weeks was very encouraging, even in the most unforgiving weather as the panel developed a unity and single-mindedness which gave the mentors great hope for the challenges which lay ahead. We looked beyond the bounds of the county for practice matches and our friends in Lucan Sarsfields obliged on a number of occasions as well as Cuala, St. Judes and Kiltale. Prior to our first Féile match away to Maynooth on March 28th, the panel was allowed to vote for their Féile captain and vice-captain. They chose Conall Ó’Foghlú and Robert Clarke respectively, two young men who were to lead by example. Following a nervous first half, a big second-half improvement saw Celbridge emerge victors over Maynooth by 2-11 to 1-5. This was

followed by a 6-12 to 1-0 win at home against an under-strength Clane side which saw Celbridge qualify for the Kildare Féile final against old rivals Naas on April 29th. The final was played on a bitterly cold and wet Sunday evening in St. Conleth’s Park. It said a lot about the character of both teams as they battled the appalling conditions and each other to provide a thrilling match. Celbridge, playing with the wind, led by 0-6 to 0-0 at half-time and were boosted by an early secondhalf goal by David Cunningham. They held firm in the face of a great fightback by Naas and emerged with a 1-7 to 1-2 victory to lift the Fiachra Hayden Trophy for the first time since 2008. Attendance at training in the early weeks was very encouraging, even in the most unforgiving weather as the panel developed a unity and single-mindedness which gave the mentors great hope for the challenges which lay ahead. We looked beyond the bounds of the county for practice matches and our friends in Lucan Sarsfields obliged on a number of occasions



FEILE NA NGAEL: ALL-IRELAND DIVISION 3 as well as Cuala, St. Judes and Kiltale. Prior to our first Féile match away to Maynooth on th March 28 , the panel was allowed to vote for their Féile captain and vice-captain. They chose Conall Ó’Foghlú and Robert Clarke respectively, two young men who were to lead by example. Following a nervous first half, a big second-half improvement saw Celbridge emerge victors over Maynooth by 2-11 to 1-5. This was followed by a 6-12 to 1-0 win at home against an under-strength Clane side which saw Celbridge qualify for the Kildare Féile final against old rivals Naas th on April 29 . Thoughts soon turned to the national Féile in July and our participation in Division 3. Off the field, the mentors, parents and players came together to embark on a major fundraising drive to ensure that all 30 players would be suitably kitted out, come July. Fundraising events were meticulously planned, sponsorship was sought and gratefully accepted and targets were reached. On the field, numbers at training were consistently high, more challenge matches were played against quality opposition such as St. Vincent’s and the Kildare Development Squad. The panel had over 60 training sessions and matches at this stage. The under-14 league had started at this stage and provided a competitive element to Féile preparations with wins over Éire Óg-Corrachoill and Kilcock. Naas exacted a measure of revenge by winning the league match in Celbridge by eight points, one week before the Féile. However, both teams had qualified for the league final by this time. We had established contact with our host club Fingallians in Swords at this stage. They would prove themselves to be the most welcoming, co-operative, obliging and friendly hosts over the Féile weekend. Led by Féile co-ordinator Derry Murphy and mentor Declan Brady, they agreed to provide accommodation for all 30 panel members. Nervous and excited players and mentors met in Celbridge GAA Club on the morning th of Thursday July 5 and after the obligatory photographs, were waved off by proud and expectant parents on the short journey to Swords. Our first match was against our hosts who, at the time were leading their Dublin Division 2 league and were tipped by many to be promoted as champions – formidable opposition indeed. The Celbridge team were advised of the importance of starting the game well as the games were 20 minutes a side. The players took this on board and settled well with an early

Ciarán O’Shaughnessy goal. They emerged victorious on a 4-10 to 1-4 scoreline. A notable feature of the first day was the willingness of both sets of players to mix and many friendships were soon formed. Both teams travelled to Croke Park for the Féile parade and marched proudly behind their club banners through O’Connell Street to the cheers of family and supporters. Friday saw the arrival of Ballinteer St. Johns and Mount Leinster Rangers in Swords for the remaining group games. The weather had taken a turn for the worse and Celbridge settled slowly against Ballinteer. Having turned around at 0-3 each at the break, the team put in a storming secondhalf performance to win by 1-9 to 1-3. It was then “winner-take-all” as Mount Leinster Rangers had also won their two previous games. Celbridge made the all-important fast start and goals from Tony Archbold and Liam O’Flynn set them on their way to a 2-4 to 0-4 victory. The dream was still alive. It was here that our hosts showed the true spirit of Féile as they washed and dried our jerseys and allowed our players to go back to their homes to “chill out” before returning to the club to prepare for the 7pm semi-final against a Crumlin side who had to qualify via a play-off and make their way to Swords. It says a lot about the hospitality of Fingallians that one of our players suggested that we were lucky to have played all of our matches “at home”!! Celbridge maintained their excellent form, winning the semi-final by 3-12 to 1-0. A feature of the weekend in Swords was the large travelling support which basically took over the banked terrace area of Lawless Memorial Park and meant so much to the players and mentors. Fingallians entertained us for the evening by providing a barbecue and music in their excellent clubhouse. We were joined by our club President, Pat Murphy who stated in the course of his speech that from the moment he walked in, he felt that he was among friends. This summed up the general tone of the weekend where players, parents and supporters of both clubs got along so well. The morning of the final saw us bid farewell to our hosts about 9am for the short-trip to Croke Park. Ahead of us stood Derry side, Kevin Lynch’s who had been equally impressive in beating Kerry, Dublin and Meath opposition over the previous two days. Any previous familiarity with Croke Park built up over many years as supporters seemed to evaporate as we proudly entered the stadium for the first time as mentors and players. We were led to dressing-rooms

Coming down the steps of the Hogan Stand after receiving their runner-up medals beneath the Davin Stand and to save time, did our stretching routine in the service tunnel beneath the stand. 15 minutes before throw in, we passed through the tunnel between the Cusack and Davin stands and onto the Croke Park pitch. We were met by huge cheers from the massive Celbridge support which seemed to have taken over a couple of sections of the lower Hogan Stand. The warm-up passed all too quickly. Vice-captain Robert Clarke stood in for the coin toss as Conall Ó’Foghlú had picked up a leg injury in Swords. The game was on. As in previous games we settled well and early Conor Doyle points gave great hope of ultimate success. Kevin Lynch’s found their rhythm and the quality throughout their side came to light as they scored an early goal and a series of well-taken points to lead by seven points at half-time. Celbridge fought back to close the gap with 1-1 from Aaron Brennan and a Ciaran O’Shaughnessy point but Kevin Lynch’s

Celbridge midfielder Ciaran O’Shaughnessy

finished strongly to run out deserving 2-15 to 1-4 winners. Our players climbed the steps of the Hogan Stand as heroes, in the footsteps of the generations of heroes that had gone before them. GAA President Liam O’Neill shook hands and commiserated with them. Ultimate All-Ireland glory had eluded them, but only on this occasion. Thanks to the club, the players received a wonderful welcome home that Saturday evening. The devastation which followed after the final whistle was slowly replaced by the realisation of what we had achieved. Stories were exchanged about the Féile adventure and suddenly, hurleys were appearing from the bags and sliotars were once again being belted about the training pitch as the disappointment eased. Far from being a post-mortem, the evening became a celebration of what these young men had actually achieved. One week later, we played Naas in the league final. Missing six starters through injury and holidays, we went down to our great rivals by 2-8 to 1-6. Rather than revel in their own victory, Naas managers Richie Hogan and Tony Maher and their players applauded our Féile achievements, a gesture much appreciated on our side. 2012 was a remarkable and memorable year but only due to the collective efforts of fellow co-manager Ken and many more people. The parents, mentors, club officers, sponsors, local businesses and basically anyone who contributed in any way throughout the year can be proud of themselves… But this is all about the 30 players who gave us so many special memories. Their dedication to training and application and skill in the matches was inspirational. These lads have a fantastic future ahead of them. Croke Park beckons..again! PANEL: Tony Archbold, Aaron Brennan, Robert Clarke, John Clarke, Warren Conway, David Cunningham, David Dolan, Aaron Doran, Conor Doyle, Kevin Gorman, Sam Grieve, Paul Hogan, Enda Hosty, Conall Howley, Cian Kavanagh, Seán Lawlor, Seán Leonard, Seán McGoldrick, Paddy Mortell, Matthew Murray, Conor Neville, Cian O’Donnchadha, Liam O’Flynn, Conall Ó Foghlú, Ciarán Ó hÓgáin, Ciarán O’Regan, Aidan Ó Riain, Ciarán O’Shaughnessy, Niall Reynor, Joseph Scott-Cahill.





Hurling prophet from Kildare at work in Ulster A National League title with Kildare and a third senior championship with his club – it’s been quite a year for Confey’s Paul Divilly MONDAY


’m a regional hurling development officer in Ulster, covering Cavan and Fermanagh, so my week begins in Cavan. I’m employed by Ulster Council and based in Breffni Park. There’s six of us in Ulster. One for Antrim, one for Down and then the rest would be split up over two counties. I’m 18 months in the job, I started in August, 2011. I did exercise sport and health studies in WIT, finished that in 2010, took a year out and did a lot of work with Kildare Coaching and Games – I was school-club link in Confey and Leixlip. A vacancy came up then in Ulster and lucky enough I got it. With the job I’m in, some mornings you’d be working off the computer and other mornings you’d be in a school. Three or four mornings I’d be in the schools so I’d be up around 8 and in school for 9. I’d grab a bit of breakfast. During the season I’d be fairly strict on the porridge, banana and some orange juice. It’s an hour at most to any school. You could do three schools in the one day, morning and afternoon and maybe a secondary school in the evening. I’d pack the lunch and bring it with me. It’s much handier because you can judge what you’re actually eating. At the start when I was getting into the job I would have been getting rolls in a deli but after a while you realise it’s not the best for you. Any evening that we’d be training at night, you’d make sure you get a fairly substantial lunch into you. Lunch is at 1 and you’d be finishing training at 9. The mother is making me stuff there now as well, a bit of salad. I’d be ensuring I get my five fruit in each day – apples, pears, bananas, oranges. Fruit is handy for when you’re in the car. I spend a lot of time driving, probably do 1,000 miles a week. You get used to it. The longest journey is if I was in Fermanagh, it’d be a two and a half hour trip to training with the county in Newbridge. Training with the county was Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and when the club started back we did our pre-season stuff on a Monday night. We got personal programmes to do for the first few weeks, a 20minute running session and a bit

of a weights session and you did that two nights a week. The running was varied: it could be fartlek (30 seconds on, 30 seconds off up to a minute and then back down) one night or 50, 20-metre sprints another night. We generally tried to get 6-10 of us to go together. You enjoy it once you have it done.

Kildare’s Paul Divilly in action against Kerry


training with Confey. Some weeks I could be going back to Kildare every weeknight. The Confey football manager was fairly understanding and happy that I was just getting the ball in hand. You’d be involved in any of the ball-work sessions. The heavy work would be at the end and you’d just step out then.


he nights that I’m not training I try to do my club development work. If I’m training Monday, Wednesday, Friday with the county and then I’d be doing my club development work on Tuesday and Thursday but then I wouldn’t start as early in the morning. Any day like that, they’re the mornings you’re getting your administration work done and organising the next school visits. You could be organising gear, you could be doing anything in this job.With club development work you could be delivering a workshop or a course or just having a chat to see where the club is going. It’s our aim to get them hurling. In Cavan we’ve gone the regional route, so you could have three or four football clubs feeding into one hurling club. In Cavan there’s 12-13 clubs at juvenile level. In Fermanagh, there’s four, pushing five. If I wasn’t working this evening, I’d try to pop the head into football



One boot will do for Divilly when he’s playing with Kildare Photos: Piaras Ó Mídheach

f I was going back for a training session in Kildare, it’s an hour to Confey and an hour to Newbridge. The job I’m in it entails a lot of travelling so you get used to it. There are nights where you’re dreading it but that’s part of it. Wednesday night was a session in the gym in Hawkfield with Bertie Sherlock, our trainer. They were fairly heavy going. We’d do a 20-station circuit in the hall and then core work at the end. Lunging, squats, planks, press-ups in the circuit – it would never be the same, it would never get boring. We might do a minute at each

session, some nights it could be 30 seconds. You have five seconds to get to each station. You might have a minute or two at the end of the circuit and then go again. Circuits are tough, you’re happy once you have them done. Bertie is a good man for the core work, he always catches you out then. Bertie would put you to shame with his flexibility and his core strength. Raising the legs off the ground, holding them out and in and off the ground. Bertie doesn’t run out of ideas. You’re tested. I don’t have a lot of time to be watching telly in the evening – just whatever sport is on the telly. I try to get into a box-set, Homeland is good at the moment. 11 is bed time most nights. You’d be tired by then. You’d relax for an hour and after that you’d be ready to sleep.



f I stayed in Confey the previous night, I’d be up at 7 and give myself an hour to get up to Cavan for work again. There’d be football training tonight with




Confey but you’d probably only do one night a week with football. Tonight would the night you’d relax, go to the cinema with the girlfriend. Last film I saw was Argo – it’s fairly good. My girlfriend lives in Leixlip so I could stay in Leixlip twice in the week depending on what’s going on.

“The worst part of a game is the preparation for it. Time just doesn’t go by quick enough beforehand.”



ounty training on the pitch in Hawkfield. You’d always do at least 50-60 per cent ball work, Bertie tries to bring up the intensity level of how we train with the ball. Outside of that you’d be doing your running sessions. It’d never be a case of drop the hurls and let’s go running. He’d (Bertie) kind of mask the fact that we’re running. Early in the year, it might be longer distance stuff, groups of four and strike the ball across the field and follow your ball. He’d work you fairly hard. Would do 20-metre stuff as well. Conditioned games – possession game, change the size of the pitch or the size of the goals. When you’re training yourself, you don’t have time to be thinking. A lot of the stuff Bertie does I’d enjoy

and like to do a lot of it myself as a coach. Bertie would be very approachable, you’d get on well with him. I’d have had plenty of chats with him about what’s going on. I wouldn’t get on the wrong side of Bertie at the same time. If you’re not putting it in in training, he won’t be hanging around to let you know. There’s no beating around the bush. The coach or the manager isn’t there to be your friend. Early on in the year, the training wouldn’t ease on the Friday night, they’d still work you fairly hard. At the moment we’re training for a fight night in Confey so we’re doing two sessions in the High Performance Unit in the National Boxing Arena. We have to do two running sessions after that. 4K is our

distance pretty much. One night it’s do the 4k as quick as you can, then the other night it’s 400m, 600m up to 1200m to bring you up to 4k.



n my job, a lot of Saturdays are taken up with development squads or running underage squads. You’re in charge of your own schedule, I might take a Thursday off altogether if I’m working Saturday. Generally I’d go up to Leixlip if I was off, probably go for a game of golf in Liffey Valley par-three with my brothers, Michael and Kieran or some of the lads off the hurling team. Michael is the handiest at

the golf. There’d be a bit of craic alright, we’d play for a euro a hole. Saturday nights if there’s a party on, you’d do a flying visit. You’d pop the head in for a few minutes and wish them a happy birthday. You wouldn’t be hanging around all night. You’d pop in early enough before all the craic really starts really and get out of there as quick as you can. You become a good film critic as a result! If you’re not willing to do that side of it, you wouldn’t be playing at inter-county level. It’s not something you’d think about really. It’s just part and parcel of it. You would get a bit of slagging every so often but we’re lucky enough – all my friends would be involved in the GAA side of things anyway.



wouldn’t be one to hang around in bed all day. I’d always be up around 9 o’clock. The worst part of a game is the preparation for it.. I just like to get out on the field and start hurling as quick as I can. Time just doesn’t go by quick enough beforehand. Breakfast is porridge and I’d throw a banana in on top of it. Cup of tea and a glass of orange

juice. I’ll read the Sunday paper – the Independent and head for the sport section. I’d be into all sports. If we’ve a Kildare game at 2, say in Newbridge, we’d meet at 12.30pm or 12.15pm. I travel down with my brother Kieran and Paul Keegan (clubmate) who lives in Celbridge. We’d share the driving around. I’d have two of everything in the gearbag: two socks, two shorts, both sets of boots. Three hurls. I use Burke hurls from Borrisoleigh. He has a template of my hurl and I just give him a call when I need a couple. I’ve a fairly big bás and have a good bit of weight in it. It’s only a 35’ so it’s quite a small hurl for my height. It’s just the way hurling is gone now, a lot of the game is in the air. The long hurl is a thing of the past. After we tog out, it’s onto the pitch for the warm-up. Bertie has everything set up and he runs us through our warm-up. Then we go in and get the jerseys on and then back out for another quicker, sharper warm-up and then we’re ready to go. The speech from Willie (Sutherland – manager) is specific. He’d be very meticulous about what he wants us to do. He wouldn’t be just roaring at you. He’d be talking about who you’re marking and what he wants you to do. Win primary possession is one for the half-forward line. It’s very much on your work-rate. I started hitting the frees this year. The biggest thing with frees is if you start over-thinking them, you’ll miss them. You just need to get up and hit them. You pick a spot behind the goal and concentrate on the pick-up, that’s the biggest thing because you’re just hitting the ball after that. Not getting paid expenses in time wouldn’t be a massive concern. Once we’re funded enough to run a team, that would be bigger thing for next year. We don’t make comparisons with the footballers, it’s completely different. It’s unfair for us to ask to be treated the same as the footballers, it’s the marquee sport in the county and if any man wants to provide funding to football he should be allowed, we shouldn’t feel like we deserve it. We need to have a certain level of support or there is no point running the thing. With Confey, winning the county title was kind of a surprise. The way we had been playing we were inconsistent. Once we were in the final, we always felt we had a good chance. We always seem to have ding-dong battles with Celbridge. It was massive. It was a big one to win. The first county title we won was strange, it was new to you. It was just nice to get back after last year. The first year we were trying to get back for what we did the year before. The work we’d done in ‘06 and ‘07 kept us going for ‘08 (Confey won two in a row that year). In ‘09 the appetite didn’t seem to be there, lads were more interested in holidays and heading away on J1s. We got Liam Dowd and Ed Holland back in and they got us back on track. After we we won the county final this year – we had a pint in Newbridge, in Coffey’s. Then we had a dinner for the team and the selectors in the Springfield and back up to the club. Those days are huge, they’re what we play for.





‘Kildare would have lost in the past’ IT had been such a chaotic ending to the game that Willie Sunderland was still trying to gather his thoughts after the match. “Don’t ask me how the goals were scored, they are just a blank but the green flag went up and that’s the most important thing,” he said. “They didn’t hurl as well as they can hurl. There was no fluency in their play but their workrate was unbelievable and I think that was what kept us in the game as long as we did. To go in a point down at half-time, that was a bonus because we could have been six or seven down. Once they got stuck into it, they got the breaks, took them and pushed on from there and I thought coming towards the end they were really looking like themselves,” he said. “I’m delighted for the players. This isn’t about me, it’s about a group of people, Bertie Sherlock, Don McSweeney, our stats man John, the other selector, Mattie O’Dowd, there is a small group of us but we work damn hard to get results and today I think it is a credit to everybody involved that we have got what we have,” said Sunderland. Kildare have a good recent record against Meath but found the going tough for long periods during the final. “It was never going to be easy. If you’re playing in any competition they will always make it hard for you and I suppose the fact that we beat them in Navan on the first day of the league may have been a surprise to them so they would have went back and worked even harder than they had been before. The lads realised that they were going to have a battle on their hands but, somebody said it here to me today and somebody else said it to me in Navan, those are the kind of games that Kildare would have lost in the past.” “It’s brilliant to have done what they have done but I hope that they can push on from here, it’s brilliant that we can prepare for Derry in the Christy Ring with a trophy in our hands, we are champions of Division 2B. I can say it now, we are a Division 2A team. We’ll take this today, we’ll enjoy it and get back to work later in the week,” he said. Kildare will now play at a higher level for next year and that is something Sunderland believes is crucial for the long term development in the county. “I think it is absolutely vital. I shudder to think what it would have been like to go back today if we had been defeated and had to start this campaign over again next year. You have to test yourself every time you go onto the field and if the players get into that and buy into that then I think we will be okay. They know now that the stakes are raised but I think they are up to it.”

Lilies leave it late

Kildare centre-back Richie Hoban with his daughter Lucy





By Brendan Coffey SUCCESS never comes easy for teams in white. While it was a stress-free finale for Kildare in Sunday’s hurling league final, they suffered 65 anxious minutes to get to that point. A lucky goal from a long-range free turned this tie upside down in the 66th minute. With impeccable timing, Kildare opened the biggest gap (four points) of the game and a minute later, it was a wrap. Martin Fitzgerald netted Kildare’s third goal and the game was gone in 60 seconds for Meath. Having subdued their opponents for most of the game in what was a dogged affair, Meath were powerless to prevent Kildare coasting to victory at the finish. It was a sick way to lose but their 16 wides (nine in the second half) were no source of comfort. Their race was run regardless of what Kildare did in the final minutes. Even with ten minutes to go, Kildare had done most of the better hurling in the second half. Picking up 1-2 from play, Meath relied on a host of frees to stay in touch. The Royals’ resilience was most evident after Tony Murphy flicked home Kildare’s first goal in the 44th minute. That put three between the sides but Meath rallied to register the next three points. They even had a goal ruled out for a ‘square ball’ infringement. By then it was as tight and as tense as it had been during the first, which

ended with Meath a point in front thanks to a scrambled goal in the 31st minute. Without a score from play in those opening 35 minutes, Kildare could hardly complain about that sucker punch four minutes before the break. The Lilies looked nervous from the start and their first touch suggested as much. Meath kept the play tight and it suited them as Kildare were limited to scores from placed balls. It was late in the first half when Kildare threatened to unhinge their opponent’s defence. Twice Martin Fitzgerald was put through on goal but he was stymied on both occasions. His first opportunity in the 29th minute resulted from Kildare’s best move of the half. Conor Kenny made a trademark fetch on the left wing and when the sliotar was shovelled back to David Harney, he quickly switched it into the corner. Fitzgerald took off, racing inside the cover and as he came in from the angle he tried to bat the sliotar home. It looked like a combination of goalkeeper and defender had kept his shot out but the umpire signalled for a wide. Fitzgerald’s protest was in vain. At that stage of a closely fought contest, the Lilies led by 0-6 to 0-5. Five frees - four from Paul Divilly plus a long-range effort from Richie Hoban – were supplemented by a sublime sideline cut from Danny Butler to give Kildare a narrow advantage. When Divilly pointed his fifth free, there was two between them for the first time in the game. But not for long. Less than a minute later, Meath sub

Colm Ó Mealóid scrambled the sliotar to the net after Derek Doran had cut in from the left. It was a messy goal that Kildare could have avoided yet they had left themselves open at the back. Three minutes later they were in trouble again. Stephen Clynch made a fine catch at midfield and he slipped the sliotar inside to James Kelly. As Kelly headed for the goal, Peter Durnin stole away to the edge of the square but Kelly’s handpass was too poor and the ball rolled wide. Had Durnin gathered, he was one-on-one with Paul Dermody. A minute into injury-time, Martin Fitzgerald had another sniff of goal. Tony Murphy burst through the middle to create space for his shot but this time it was saved by Shane McGann. The rebound came to nothing and Kildare ended the half in arrears, 15 to 0-7. When a goal eventually came their way nine minutes after the restart – courtesy of Tony Murphy’s instinctive flick – Kildare seemed set to take control, having carved out a threepoint cushion (1-9 to 0-9). It was anything but easy as Meath piled on the pressure at midfield and fought tooth and nail for every puckout. Their hard work was rewarded with a string of frees from Clynch and Noel Kirby. Kirby’s sixth free gave them a onepoint lead in the 60th minute but it was the last time they held such a position. Kildare equalised with a great score from Mark Moloney and then they took charge by scoring 2-1 in five minutes. The next goal was the turning point.

Richie Hoban launched a free from the left wing that dropped under the cross bar, and then dropped from the hand of the Meath full-back. Before the Royals could recover, Tony Murphy blocked down Stephen Morris and Fitzgerald swept home the loose sliotar. And just like that it was all over. Kildare had won their second league title in four years, once again denying Meath in the final, just like they did in 2009. The challenge now is to bring their league form into the championship. KILDARE: Paul Dermody; Paudie Reidy, Fiachra Ó Muineacháin, John Doran; Kieran Divilly, Richie Hoban 11 (1-1fs), Niall Ó Muineacháin; Danny Butler 0-2 (s/l), Mark Moloney 0-1; Conor Kenny, Paul Divilly 0-6fs, David Harney; Martin Fitzgerald 1-2, Tony Murphy 1-0, Leo Quinn. Subs: Dave Smyth for Murphy, blood sub: 25-27; Johnny Enright 0-1 for Quinn, h/t; John O’Malley for K Divilly, 47; Ross Kelly for Harney, 49. MEATH: Shane McGann; Cormac Reilly, Damien Healy, Stephen Morris; James Togher, Paul Fagan, Enda Keogh; Stephen Clynch 0-4fs, Stephen Donoghue; Sean Heavey 01, Noel Kirby 0-6fs, Eoin Marsh; James Kelly 0-1, Derek Doran, Peter Durnin. Subs: Colm Ó Mealoid 1-0 for Marsh, 19; Ciaran Fitzsimonsn for Donoghue, 41; Nicky Horan for Durnin, 48; James Kelly for Kelly, 64; Keith Keoghan for Heavey, 69. REF: Eamon Hasson (Derry)





After promotion from the league, hopes were high for the championship when Kildare set out on their quest to win the Christy Ring Cup but with two defeats from three games, it was a disappointing end to the season for the Lilywhite hurlers.


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KILDARE were seething with referee Garrett Duffy as Derry won their opening round clash in the Christy Ring Cup on the back of 14 points from frees. Duffy enraged the visiting players with a string of decisions that baffled even the home side. The final free count was 22-9 in Derry’s favour and their final point was initially waved wide before the referee overruled. “It was heartbreaking for lots of reasons,” said manager Willie Sunderland. “We didn’t win the match, we didn’t play as well as we should, officialdom wasn’t what we thought it should be but at the end of the day we have to get on with it.” Despite a promising start in Derry, with a goal inside the first two minutes, the Lilies trailed by 1-11 to 1-9 at the break and it could have been worse had Paul Dermody not saved a penalty. Kildare were completely overrun after half-time and faced a sixpoint gap at one stage. A late rally, on the back of a Paul Divilly goal got them within one but a late Martin Fitzgerald effort went inches wide. KILDARE: Paul Dermody; Paudie Reidy, Fiachra Ó Muineacháin, John Doran; Pa Curtin, Richie Hoban 01 (65), Niall Ó Muineacháin; Danny Butler 0-1, Gavin Tynan; Conor Kenny 0-1, Mark Moloney 0-4, Tony Murphy 0-1; Gerry Keegan, Paul Divilly 2-5 (0-3fs), Martin Fitzgerald. Subs: Kieran Divilly for Tynan, 30; David Harney 0-1 for K Divilly, 50; Johnny Enright 0-3 (2fs) for Butler, 55; Leo Quinn 0-1 for Keegan, 60.

Willie Sunderland


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MAYBE Willie Sunderland reminded his Kildare side of that famous speech from Pulp Fiction at half-time, the scene where Samuel L Jackson’s Jules, a cold-blooded yet evangelical killer, preaches about great vengeance and furious anger. The home side hurled fire and brimstone in the second half as they ripped their opponents apart with a relentless display. They added 2-10 to their halftime tally of 0-11 and restricted

Paul Dermody

their opponents to 0-7, conceding just two in the final 17 minutes, as the Lilies laid their vengeance upon Kerry. It was as good a spell of hurling as any Kildare side has produced in the last decade. Against the reigning champions, and with their championship future on the line, they produced the goods all over the field. Given how much pressure the home side faced in the first half, it was even more remarkable. Kerry could have been out of sight had they converted a string of goal chances yet they were only one ahead at the break. When Kildare took the lead eight minutes into the second half, the Kingdom were stunned and they never really regained a footing in the game. KILDARE: Paul Dermody; Paudie Reidy, Fiachra Ó Muineacháin, John Doran; Pa Curtin, Richie Hoban, Niall Ó Muineacháin; Danny Butler 0-1, Mark Moloney 2-3; Conor Kenny 0-2, Paul Divilly 0-5 (3fs), David Harney 0-1; Johnny Enright 01f, Tony Murphy 0-1; Martin Fitzgerald 0-6. Subs: Gerry Keegan 0-1 for Harney, 65; Leo Quinn for Fitzgerald, 70.


Meath do their homework


HAVING played Kildare twice already this year, it was no surprise that Meath knew what to expect in Saturday’s Christy Ring Cup quarterfinal. Third time around, their game was effective enough to get over the winning line. Even if the previous week’s victory against Kerry had given Kildare a confidence boost, there should have been no complacency going into Saturday’s fixture. When these sides met in the first round of the league, Kildare snaked over the line by two points, winning the final 20 minutes 5-2 in order to do so. Two months later in the league final, it wasn’t until the Lilies scored a 66th minute goal that they pulled clear. Meath were always going to be in contention but this time around they played much sharper, and their first touch was much better. Every time there was a melee for possession, a Meath man came away with the sliotar. It took nearly 20 minutes for Kildare to win a puckout in the second half, as the Royals dropped men back to crowd the landing area. Stephen Clynch’s freetaking was also a factor as he landed five in all, including three from longrange against the breeze in the second half. They were huge scores for Meath at important stages, especially when Paul Divilly had seen a 65 die against the breeze in the first half. Meath dominated the puckout battle in the second half, winning it 18-8, while Kildare scored just once from distance in open play in that half – Meath made much better use of the breeze with at least three of their first half points benefitting from the elements. Having put four goals past Meath in their two previous encounters, one of the most disappointing aspects of Kildare’s display was their inability to create goal chances. On a day when things weren’t going right further out the field, they needed a goal to save them but it never looked likely.

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THE stewards were waiting to sweep the dust out of the Kildare dressing-room as manager Willie Sunderland delivered his postmortem to the players. Once more, their hopes of lifting the Christy Ring Cup had been floored. Amid the discarded debris were a thousand thoughts of what have been. It seemed like it was all over too soon for a team that had given so much, that had played and beaten Meath twice before only to fail when it mattered most. Third time around, it felt like Kildare hadn’t really played at all. There was no litany of wides. No hard calls. No bad breaks. A week previous they hurled up a storm when the season was on the line but this time around Meath were a tempest they couldn’t resist.

Martin Fitzgerald If Kildare were ever going to win this game, they were going to have to do it the hard way. Against a strong breeze in the first half they worked their way in front after 21 minutes but then a lapse at the back gifted Meath a goal and from there the home side never looked back. They scored 13 without reply before half-time and it took them four clear, a gap Kildare could never overcome. KILDARE: Paul Dermody; Paudie Reidy, Fiachra Ó Muineacháin, John Doran; Pa Curtin, Richie Hoban, Niall Ó Muineacháin; Danny Butler, Mark Moloney 0-2; Conor Kenny 0-3, Tony Murphy, David Harney 0-2; Johnny Enright 0-3 (1f), Paul Divilly 0-6 (5fs); Martin Fitzgerald. Subs: Kieran Divilly for Curtin, 40; Ross Kelly for N Ó Muineacháin, 47; Gerry Keegan for Fitzgerald, 57.






N 1987 Coill Dubh won their first Senior Hurling Championship, and this special achievement was honoured by Coisde Iomaint Chill Dara on County Final day in October. That victory was inspired by the imperious Tony Carew. Tony’s family and all who knew him are still trying to come to terms with his untimely death. He was a massive supporter of Kildare hurling, and his absence from that occasion was keenly felt. It is also fitting to remember Peter Connolly, who was the goalkeeper behind Tony on that notable occasion,

Coill Dubh legend, Tony Carew, who died in 2012


reached their peak in the mid 1970s, losing to Tipperary in a National League Quarter final in 1975 and just by four points to Wexford in the following year’s Leinster senior hurling championship. Tony was also a member of the Kildare Intermediate hurling team which defeated Cork in 1969. He was universally acknowledged by his opponents and colleagues alike as an honourable sportsman. Tony served as an officer of Kildare Hurling Board on many occasions. Tony was Chairman of the Development

A HURLING G The imperious Tony Carew was an exceptional hurler on the pitch and one of life’s gentlemen off it - his sudden death was keenly felt in his beloved Coill Dubh and beyond.

and who died unexpectedly in 1989. Tony Carew was a hurling legend in Kildare and had the proud distinction of being selected on the Team of the Millennium. His contribution to Coill Dubh Hurling club, and Kildare hurling is incalculable. He commenced playing at underage level in 1959 and 28 years later he won his first Senior Hurling Championship medal. It was the pinnacle of a playing and administrative career with his beloved Coill Dubh. The club won numerous underage and adult championships prior to the senior breakthrough and indeed almost went out of existence in the early 1980s. Tony served in many capacities and featured strongly in the club’s revival. The “Reds” went on to win The Centenary Championship in 1984. The senior breakthrough came in 1987, 30 years on from the club’s formation. Coill Dubh had arrived on the big stage and the realisation of a dream for Tony Carew. He was to win two further senior championships in ‘90 and ‘93, when he was joined by brother Tommy and son Trevor. Tony had the pleasure of hurling with three of his four sons in 1994 when Coill Dubh were defeated by Naas in the county final. It gave him great pride to see his sons representing Kildare, and they could always be assured of an accurate assessment of their performances. Both Tony and Tommy’s intercounty hurling careers coincided with a halcyon period in Kildare hurling history. Kildare had a marvellous team, backboned by players like Pat Dunney, Johnny Walsh, Bobby Burke and of course Tony and Tommy Carew. They

He was an ex who compe but always proper spiri dignified w gracious lose

Committee when the new field was acquired in Coill Dubh and was named Prendergast Park in 1986. A new generation of underage talent was discovered and nurtured by Tony and Richie Hayden. Success followed, including underage championships and two Féile titles. The under-14s were beaten in the 1991 All-Ireland Féile Final by the minimum margin. Winning the Kilmacud under-16 Sevens was the proof of the exceptional ability of this group of players. Tony continued to be involved with these players throughout their careers. He mixed his playing, administrative and refereeing duties and continued to command respect. He was an exemplary hurler who competed earnestly, but always within the proper spirit. He was a dignified winner and a gracious loser. Tony was also an avid




golfer and racing enthusiast and loved his time in front of the TV following various sporting events in the company of his family. Tony was first and foremost a dedicated and loving family man, who was happiest in the company of his family. He took great interest in the sporting interests and achievements of his immediate and extended families. He gave them great support. He adored his ten grandchildren and that was certainly reciprocated. Tony will be greatly missed by all who knew


Tony Carew was also a well known and respected referee

xemplary hurler eted earnestly, s within the it. He was a winner and a er.

him, however the loss to Mary, Trevor, Niall, Tom, Antóin his brothers Seamus, Tommy and PJ, his sisters Phyllis & Marie, his daughters-in-law Georgina, Michelle, Michelle, Aisling and all of his grandchildren is immeasurable. The popularity and respect for Tony was reflected in the vast numbers that called to the house to pay their respects, many of them colleagues and opponents on the sporting fields. The attendance at the Removal and Burial was a wonderful source of consolation to the family and a testament to the level of respect that Tony and his family are held in.

Ar Dheis De Go Raibh a Ainm Dhilis.

KILDARE SHC CHAMPIONS 1987 COILL DUBH - (back row, l to r) Willie Sullivan, James O’Donnell, Martin Butler, Paddy Browne, Declan Kane, Joe Fox, Peter Connolly (RIP), Tony Carew (RIP), Frank Hynes, John Byrne, Larry Kelly, Michael Hanafey, Patrick Fulton, Colm Byrne; (front row, l to r) Mosh Baker, Enda Bagnall, Kevin Kenny, Martin Hanaffy, Ronan Byrne, Patrick Hanaffey, (capt), Brendan Malone, Tom Smith, Sam Young, PJ Curtin, Richie Hayden, Adrian McGrath.








Seniors just fall short With a new coach on board and an early return to training, Ardclough very nearly won their way back to a county final

THE 2012 hurling year got off to a later than usual start, having to wait until the 10th April before competitive action started. It had proven to be a long and productive winter with training starting back in earnest in November. Personalised and group training plans agreed, the hard work began in the often cold and wet winter evenings. This year we welcomed on board a new manager for the Senior Hurlers in the form of Brian Lawlor. It did not take long for Brian to get the lads into action with a rigorous but enjoyable fitness regime with a lot of emphasis on ball work. Senior League The first game of the year saw the Senior team in action against Commercials(Rathcoole) in a challange game on what was a wet and miserable St Patrick’s Day. This was the first game of a season which stretched from 17th March to the 29th September. The first competitive outing was a home game in the Senior league v Clane which ended in a draw given the deadly accuracy of the Clane freetaker who scored all bar 3 of their scores from placed balls. Seven games were played in the first round of games. This culminated in a great win away to Celbridge in the last round which meant we

qualified to meet Naas in the Semi Final in Clane. Following a titanic struggle we pulled away in extra time to qualify to play Celbridge in the final 3 days later. The final was decided by a number of crucial scores within the last ten minutes with Celbridge winning by a margin of 5 pts. We ended the league with a record of Won 3 Lost 2 Drew 2. We reached our second final in the last 3 years losing out on both occasions to our neighbours Celbridge in two very close encounters. Intermediate League The Intermediate league offered the ideal opportunity to blood some young players who had previously lined out on the Junior team. The results did not reflect the manor of the performances during the league. Despite the fact that we only recorded 1 win there was cause for optimism for the season ahead .Injuries and player availability played a large in the league campaign. Senior Championship The Senior Championship reverted to a two group format for 2012. The groups were based on the results of a preliminary round of games. We were drawn to play Leixlip in this round. This game took place in Celbridge in the week

following the league final defeat to Celbridge. Victory by 5 points followed a sluggish performance. This win qualified us to play in the Group 1 along with Coill Dubh, Naas and Confey. The next game saw us play Coill Dubh in Naas. This game was in the balance until the last 10 mins when Coill Dubh scored two unanswered goals. Much better was to follow against Naas in the next round when we were narrowly defeated by a last puck of the game point. This left us in a do or die game against Confey in the last game. In a tense game we held on to win by 5 points following an excellent first half performance. Victory against Confey saw us qualify to play Celbridge in the Semi-Final in Clane. A sterling performance in which we outplayed Celbridge for large parts of the game ended in last puck of the game heartbreak when Celbridge equalised with the last puck of the game. The replay was fixed for the following week in Clane. Again a trojan effort by the team ended in disappointment when a late surge from Celbridge grasped victory from the jaws of defeat in injury time. Semi Final : Ardclough 114 v Celbridge 1-14 (Clane 22/09) Semi Final Replay : Ardclough

Ard Ceann Fuaid Divsion 2 Feile Shield Winners

3-11 Celbridge 2-18 (Clane 29/ 09) The feeling in the dressing room afterwards was a measure of the hard work and commitment that had been shown all year by all involved in and around the Senior Panel. Intermediate Championship The Intermediate championship got underway with an away trip to Sarsfields. A five goal blitz after half time left Sarsfields reeling and with Ardclough holding Sarsfields scoreless for the second half this built a platform for an encouraging win in the opening game. The signs of progress were there for all to see when we went on to record consecutive wins against Celbridge, Kill and Moorefield to ensure we qualified for the Semi Finals. A dead rubber of a game against Maynooth followed with both teams having already qualified for the semi finals. The semi final saw us drawn against Naas. A dogged defensive performance which showed true grit and determination saw us qualify to play Maynooth in the final. Bitter disappointment was to follow after a very poor performance in the Final in which we failed to do ourselves justice. U-21

Our involvement in this year’s U-21 championship got under way in November in which we played a series of challenge games. Playing as KILLARD we defeated Clane in the quarter final 2-8 to 1-8. We then faced a highly fancied Naas team in the semi final. Following a bright start the game ebbed and flowed with Naas running out victors on a scoreline of 019 to 0-11. Underage We would like to thank Mentors, Coaches, Players and parents for all their hard work throughout the year. This year we fielded teams in both the spring and autumn leagues over the following age groups Spring League: U-8, U-10, U12 and U-14* Autumn League: U-9, U-11, U-13 and U-15* We fielded teams at U-14,U15 and U-16 in conjunction with Confey. These teams played under the name Ard Ceann Fuaid. This amalgamation helped to bring about the following silverware during the year U-14 Feile B Shield Final defeated Naas 2 U-14 Div 2 Shield Final defeated Celbridge 2 U-16 Div 2 Shield Final defeated St Laurences The completion development of the All-weather training and Hurling Wall facility has provided an opportunity for us to provide new impetus to juvenile coaching and allow us to strive to produce a pool of talent for the adult teams of the future. As evidenced by the numbers of children attending juvenile training on Friday night, providing excellent facilities in combination with a good standard of coaching has already began to show a return. This however will only be sustained with the addition of an increased number of coaches, mentors and other volunteers. A big Thank you goes out to Andrew Whelan and the underage hurling committee for all their hard work during the year. Also a big thank you to all the coaches and helpers who give up their time on Friday evenings and on match days to ensure the players of the future are nurtured and catered for. A big thank you also goes to the Parents of all those playing with us.




Although their reign as senior county champions came to an end, Celbridge’s young guns stole the show ADULT Senior It was a tough year for the senior hurlers. The commitment the players have given over the last four years to hurling in Kildare has been immense, both at club and inter county level. Having to prepare and play 3 of their most important club games of the year on consecutive weekends proved to be a tall order for the players. In the preliminary round of the championship Confey defeated Celbridge after a replay. In the round robin Celbridge had wins over Clane, Leixlip and Eire Og / Corrachoill. In the semi-final they faced Ardclough where a last minute point from Tony Murphy forced a replay. The replay will be remembered as one of the best games of hurling played in Kildare for a few years. Having been 2 points down going into injury time, Celbridge scored 1-3 to win by 4 points. A week later Celbridge relinquished their crown when they were beaten by Confey in the county final on a score of 116 to 0-14. Celbridge contested and won the 2011 League final against Coill Dubh in May and went on to retain their title the following month when they beat Ardclough in the 2012 league final. The 2012 league started off with a defeat by Naas but things improved with wins over Coill Dubh, Leixlip, Éire Óg / Corrachoill, Clane, Confey and finished up with a defeat to Ardclough. This meant Celbridge faced Confey in the semi-final whom they overcame to reach the final. Intermediate A hard year for the intermediate hurlers eventually finished in disappointment. The league was run in a very efficient manner, with the intermediates losing a tight semi final to eventual winners Naas. Good victories had come over Naas, Ardclough and Kill in earlier rounds with plenty of old and new faces impressing on various nights. After losing over ten players to the senior championship squad, our intermediate panel was decimated, but an influx of minors and returning faces helped steady the ship. After some good wins, including a memorable victory in Moorfield, poor defeats to



Minors light up the year

Ardclough and Sarsfields left us under pressure to qualify. A morale boosting victory over Naas, kept us in the hunt for a semi final berth. However inexplicably the county board refused to allow us fulfil our back fixture against Maynooth and we were effectively out of the championship on our head to head result with Sarsfields. An extremely disappointing end for all the people involved in trying to promote hurling in this County when the county board stick their nose’s in and stop teams playing matches, degrading the competition for all involved. All in the name of clearing fixture congestion? What about the promotion of all aspects of the GAA and not just one code, hardly fair for players to be treated so poorly, remember our games and players should be more important than the committee room.

continue to mature and be competitive next year. The U-13 team formed part of the Feile panel and now know what it takes to be a successful Feile winning team. The team played in the Autumn league and were very competitive. We all look forward to their exploits in 2013. All our younger teams from U-12 downwards trained and played well throughout the year competing in both the Spring and Autumn North Board leagues. We won some and lost some but everyone enjoyed themselves and learned things during the course of the year. Our U-10 team also had the chance to play in the half time mini games during the Senior final in St. Conleths Park and also participated in a great tournament in Tipperary. The Nursery section continues to attract new members who enjoy learning our national game in a safe and fun environment. Our ethos is that all children should be given the opportunity to play hurling and we are delighted to be able to support this in the best way we can. The Schools Coaching initiative operated across many Celbridge primary schools during the year - this initiative will continue for the 2012 / 13 school year also. It is great to be able to promote hurling in our schools and hopefully encourage more children to take up the game and represent our club. Finally, a huge amount of thanks must go to all our dedicated coaches for dedicating their spare time to mentoring all the teams and for putting in the massive effort involved without our coaches we would not have any teams. Of course the dedication of the young

Underage 2012 was another very busy and exciting year for underage hurling in Celbridge GAA. The pinnacle of the year was of course winning the Kildare Feile and reaching the All-Ireland Div 3 final. It was a great experience for all concerned. Many of this team also had the chance to become involved in the Kildare U-14 Development squad which put in a huge effort throughout the year to enable the lads to play the best from neighbouring counties and have guest training sessions from George O’Connor and Paudie Butler. Celbridge GAA has competitive hurling teams at every age group from U-8 upwards. We reached a number of finals including U-15 (Div 1) which we narrowly lost to Leixlip in a very competitive match. They did themselves and their coaches proud and have plenty to look forward to in the coming year. Our U16 team were disappointed to lose the Div 1 Shield final to Coill Dubh but the team has many talented players and Celbridge senior hurling team no doubt will

hurlers for doing their best and continuing to learn the skills of hurling is the most important element and is why we all turn out week after week in the rain, hail and shine. Thanks also must go to the parents for ferrying their stars to training / matches and who continue to support their children in playing hurling for Celbridge and hopefully for Kildare. I know that everyone involved in underage hurling in Celbridge GAA is already looking forward to 2013 and the promise of success and enjoyment that it will hopefully bring to all concerned. MINOR REPORT 2012 was ultimately a successful year for the club at Minor Hurling level. Capturing the Minor League & Championship double was a considerable achievement. The club should be very proud of this group of players. Minor hurling in Kildare tends to be a fairly fragmented season. There are quite few clubs who are able to field teams at Minor A level. There are simply not enough quality competitive matches throughout the year. Add to this the lack of respect from the County board for the competition. The end result is two competitions with no solid structure culminating in a league and championship final doubled together, taking place in mid-November. The league campaign started at home on a slightly waterlogged pitch against Maynooth. We emerged with a win after a no-frills, workmanlike performance. Our next match was away to St. Columba. Our performance levels dropped

in this match and we were deservedly defeated. We then faced a Naas side at home that was missing a few firstchoice players. The result was comfortable victory for Celbridge, in what was probably our best performance of the year. The attitude, work rate and skill levels were excellent. This win set us up for a League Final against Naas again. The final was postponed all summer due to clashes with various matches. The Championship started with a win in the semi-final at home to St. Columba under lights. With such a long period between our last competitive game and our first championship game, the performance was excellent. Again, the attitude and teamwork of the players was just right, resulting in a deserved victory. The Championship/League Final saw us facing a Naas side eager for revenge. It was a close affair throughout. Space and scores were at a premium. The first half was as tight as you’d expect a final to be. In the second half space started to open up as legs tired and the more skillful and athletic players came to the fore. The result was a very satisfying victory for Celbridge. In all, it was a successful year. But if the club really wants to develop the skills and talents of our young hurlers, it might be an option to consider entering the Dublin leagues. Games and competitive matches are needed to nurture the talented crop of players we currently have. Thanks to Denny Kenny and Fiachra O’Muineachain for their work throughout the year.





Bitter sweet season 2012 will go down as a bittersweet year in the history of Coill Dubh Hurling Club. The club celebrated the jubilee of the first ever Senior Championship title this year. However absent friends occupied the thoughts of most that were there for the presentation on County Final Day. On that morning Jason Dowling, one of the most gifted hurlers to come out of Coill Dubh lost out in his battle against cancer. Jason’s death compounded the feeling of grief that had been in the club since Tony Carew was laid to rest just a few short weeks earlier. Both men featured heavily in the golden era of the club’s history, we extend our deepest sympathies to the families of both men. UNDERAGE Our underage section had a revamp this year with the election of Eamon Dwyer as the new Underage Chairman and Elaine Byrne as the new Underage Secretary. They along with the other mentors have put in countless hours on the training field in order to ensure the continued success of the underage teams. The year saw 60 children attend the annual Cúl Camp, the highest number ever to participate at a camp. The mentors are working hard to ensure that those younger players continue to line out for Coill Dubh. The under-16 team under the leadership of Peter Drennan have really caught the eye in the underage section. Competing in Division One of the league they lost out in the final of that competition to a finely tuned Naas outfit on a bitter morning in Hawkfield. They made amends later in the year when they came from behind to beat Celbridge in the Division One Shield Final for the second year in a row. Peter was also at the helm, with some able deputies, when the under 15 team won the Division 3 Floodlight League against Naomh Conleth’s. SENIOR This year saw Trevor Carew take over the managerial reigns of the senior team with Colm Byrne, Seánie Gordon and Morgan

O’Callaghan as his selectors. The aim at the beginning of the year was to make the senior team a more competitive outfit and although they just fell short of a championship play-off place, there are signs that there is still that hunger and desire to have Coill Dubh back at the top table of Kildare Hurling. Our League Campaign threw up a mixed bag of results as well as a disappointing outcome in the League Final for 2011. However performances towards the end of the campaign were very encouraging and Coill Dubh were confident heading into the Championship Campaign. Coill Dubh opened their account with a victory over Éire-Óg Corrachoill in Clane in a game that courted much media attention in the run up. Coill Dubh then went into the ‘Winners Group’. Ardclough were the next opposition and Coill Dubh’s ability to score goals saw them victorious in that game. Eventual county champions Confey were the next opponents and they showed that day that they meant business when they ruthlessly dispatched a weakened Coill Dubh side. Naas were Coill Dubh’s last opponents in the 2012 championship. The match was played under a dark cloud and for most in attendance on the Coill Dubh side, hurling was not at the forefront of their minds given that the funeral of Tony Carew had taken place a few days earlier. The team gave a gutsy performance, none more so than Ross and Tom Carew. Unfortunately the team came out on the wrong side of a 2 point victory and so ended their campaign. KILDARE The club were extremely proud of our three players, Ryan Casey, Mark Delaney and Declan Flaherty who were part of the Kildare panel that won a Leinster Under 21 title against Meath this year. Mark and Declan also appeared in the All Ireland Final in Semple Stadium in Thurles where Kildare lost out to Roscommon by the smallest of margins. Hopefully the experience will stand to the payers in their future endeavours with Coill Dubh.

Coill Dubh senior hurling team

Photos: Michael Anderson

Mark Grace gets a handpass away in the under-21 final against Naas

Leinster u21 champions: Declan Flaherty, Mark Delaney, Ryan Casey

Conor Gordan in action with the under-16s






County champions once again SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP For the first time since 2008 Confey senior hurlers sit on top of the pile in Kildare hurling following their defeat of four in a row chasing Celbridge in the final played in Newbridge on Sunday October 7th. This was Confeys 3rd senior title in their short history and was ample reward for their efforts follwing defeat to the same opposition in the 2011 final. The season started well in the preliminary round when they were drawn to play Celbridge in the first game and Confey came out on top following a replay after two hard fought games. This put Confey in the winners group alongside Ardclough, Coill Dubh and Naas. Any prospect of an easy ride through this group were quickly dashed when a young up and coming Naas side handed Confey a nine defeat in the first round proper. Confey regrouped and got back on track with a good victory over Coill Dubh but followed this up by losing to Ardclough in the final group game. Things went our way when Naas defeated Coill Dubh and Confey got through in third place to ensure a playoff with Eire Og Corrachoill for the last semi final spot. In a very tight game Confey once again rode their luck and a late late goal from Kieran Divilly ensured a semi final spot against Naas. The semi final was also a very tight affair and two late goals saw Confey avenge the first round defeat by Naas to advance to the final for the second year in a row and the fifth time in seven years. In the final Confey got off to a great start with a goal inside the first minute and kept the upper hand all through to defeat a fine Celbridge side who were seeking a four in a row by four points to bring back the Sean Carey Cup back to Creighton Park for the third time. Great credit is due to the manager Ed Holland, his selectors Tony Hoare, Paddy Keegan and Martin Bermingham, the back room team of Liam Dowd, James Daly and Eamon Shields and physio Emer Fallon. Confey were then drawn to face Meath champions Kiltale in the first round of the Leinster Intermediate Championship but unfortunately could not repeat the county final performance and went down by 3 points to the Meath side. We wish Kiltale the best of luck in the remainder of the campaign. SENIOR LEAGUE Confey had a reasonable run in the

league reaching the semi finals after victories over Eire Og Corrachoill, Ardclough, Leixlip and Clane with defeats to Naas, Coill Dubh and Celbridge. In the semi final they were defeated by Celbridge by 9 points as Celbridge went on to claim the League title. INTERMEDIATE HURLING Confey once again competed in the Intermediate B league and championship. A good run in the league saw them advance to the final where they lost to St Laurences by a single point in Naas. With a large number of players not available during the summer as well as losing a large number to the senior team Confey failed to make the knockout stages of the championship despite some very encouraging performances. COUNTY PLAYERS Well done to the Confey players who represented Kildare both in the league where they won promotion and also in the Christy Ring cup. The players involved were Paul Divilly, Kieran Divilly and Paul Keegan. Also Gary Savage who was part of the Kildare minor squad. CONGRATULATIONS Congratulations to the Confey Ladies Football team on their great double in winning the Senior League and Championship double.

shield final in a great game against St Laurence’s in Hawkfield. Great credit is due to all players who trained and played their part during the season. UNDER 15 For U15 competitions Ard Ceann Fuaid played in Kildare and Leinster Leagues. Great credit is due to all players who trained and played their part during the season .We won the autumn shield final in a U15 tournament hosted by Naomh Conleths. Mentors: Andy Mason, Tommy McCarthy (Confey) John Walsh (Ardlough). U14 Hurling League & Feile The Ard Ceann Fuaid U14 hurlers played in Div. 2 of the Féile and acquitted themselves well winning the Shield final against Nas Na Riogh which was played in Hawkfield. Ard Ceann Fuaid U14 hurlers Div. 2 Féile Shield Winners L-R Back Row – Liam, Brian, Keith, Mark, Paudie, Leon, Dean, Oisin , Andrew L-R: Front Row – Alan O’Reilly, Neil, Cillian , Andrew, Aaron, Fionn, Eoin In the league we also did well winning the Shield final v Cill Droichid which was played in Maynooth. PANEL: Eoin, Oisin, Leon, Paudie, Aaron,Joe, Keith, Liam, Dean, Mark, Andrew Neil, Gerard, Alan, Andrew, Joshua, Fionn,

JUVENILE 2012 has been an interesting year for Hurling in Confey but it has ended with us looking forward to 2013. At the start of the year when we examined our playing numbers it did not look promising and quite a lot of effort was required to ensure we were going to be able to participate at a number of ages groups. Thankfully we met with a group of likeminded coaches in Ardlough and for 2012 Ard Ceann Fuaid was establish as the combination of Confey and Ardlough at U16, U15, U14 & U13 age groups. UNDER 16 For the championship Ard Ceann Fuaid played in division 2. Players from the Under 14 panel joined the panel as some under 16 players were unavailable due to junior cert exam commitments. A good year for all involved with winning the div 2

Ard Ceann Fuaid under-16s

SHC Final man-of-the-match Darragh Nolan with his sons Sean and Cillian Mark Ryan Mentors: Garret Hogan, Mark Ryan (Confey) John Walsh, Andrew Whelan (Ardlough) U13 At under 13 we amalgamated again as Ard Ceann Fuaid. Mentors: Garret Hogan, Mark Ryan (Confey) Andrew Whelan (Ardlough) U9, U10 HURLING Confey had a great year at u9/10 Hurling. The year started off with the U9 indoor league run off in Feb and March. The lads went through this with great games against nearest neighbours Celbridge and Leixlip. This was followed by the outdoor spring leagues which we competed in group 2 home and away with Coill Dubh, Kilcock, Naas and Clane. We came second in this group and were promoted to grp1for the Autumn league. In the autumn league we competed with Naas, Celbridge, Sallins Leixlip and Maynooth. The standard of hurling in this autumn league was terrific and augurs well for the spring league and the future of the code in Kildare. Our U10s competed in the spring league with Cappagh, Coill Dubh and Ardclough. Once again the lads had a fantastic campaign with some terrific duels with the other clubs.

Panel: Luke Cummins, Cian Loughlin, Neil Ryan, Robin Breslin,Ben Fleming, Brian Grimes, Aidan Crean,John Paul Balfe,Sean Loughlin,Paul Divilly,Oisin Reade, Oisin Maher, Brian Keane, Dillon O’Toole, Sean Slattery, Andrew Breslin, Liam Ryan, Cian O’Connor. Finally, to cap off a fantastic year, we played at half time in the county final in Newbridge. The kids think this is now an annual outing for them! One magic moment (among many on the day) was the sight off all the kids running to senior hurler Paul Divilly at the final whistle. Paul had been our coach in local primary school, San Carlo. Mentors: Mick Crean, John Grimes (Confey). U8 HURLING Confey U8 hurling consists of two teams, a mix of U7 and 8s and we have played in group 3 this season. The boys and girls have progressed well together, producing 2 wins and 2 draw matches. They have played against Maynooth 3,Celbridge 2,Cappagh 2 and Ardlough. There has been a good turnout for all our matches from the players and hopefully with more encouragement and support we will see our underage hurling flourish and follow in the same steps as the senior players. Mentors: Ambrose O’Toole, Mattie Cunningham (Confey).





Eire Og sevens team SENIOR Manager - Stuart Gleeson. Trainer - Pat Williams. Selectors - Joe Dempsey, Pauric Kenny Following a very poor league campaign a determined effort was put into championship. It has been the best year the club has had at senior level in a long time. We reached the quarter and were unlucky to be beaten by Confey in injury time. JUNIOR Manager - Chubby Curran. Trainer - Pat Williams. Selectors - Joe Dempsey, Paddy Nolan. We did not enter a junior league team, concentrating on championship only and did very well getting to the semi final stages. Like a lot of clubs we are unfortunately losing a lot of players who have no employment here in Ireland and have to travel abroad. Under 21’s Manager - Joe Dempsey. Selectors Chubby Curran, Paddy Nolan Unfortunately, beaten in the first round this year. MINORS Manager - Chubby Curran. Selectors - Joe Dempsey, Paddy Nolan A great championship campaign getting through to the final, but unfortunately beaten by a very strong Clane team. County teams representatives from

Éire Ó/Corrachoill Senior - Paul Dermody. Minor - Gary Johnson, Danny Boyle, Niall Connolly, Declan Keane and Evan Dempsey JUVENILE The 2011-2012 season was a very successful one for the juvenile section of the Club. The under 14 team qualified for Féile. This was a magnificent achievement for the club and reflects the strong commitment given by the players, their families and the team’s coaches. Thanks are due to the Féile Fundraising Committee and all parents that assisted and contributed to the Féile Fund. The club is looking forward to moving onto its new state of the art pitches at Donore. Fundraising is an issue and will become more so in the months and years ahead. Members and parents are asked to support fundraising in any way they can. All support is greatly appreciated and will contribute to providing better facilities for all. The club would like to extend sympathy to all associated with the club that suffered bereavement during the year. If anyone has an unused hurling helmet or small shin guards in any condition the under 6’s would appreciate them for use by newcomers to the club. If you are interested in coaching underage hurling teams please contact a club member. Also if you know of any aspiring hurlers within in the surrounding parishes please

encourage them to take up the game. New members are always welcome. UNDER 13 The under 13’s competed in division 2 of the North Board Autumn League. They performed very well winning three out of five games. A number of under 12s joined the team and certainly were not out of place. This will be our feile team next year and hopefully they can emulate this year’s team. Thanks to all coaches for their hard work. UNDER 14 In January we started indoor training with Dave Bursey in the Community centre to keep fit during the Winter. With challenge matches coming soon after, we then started our journey to the Féile. We played Leixlip in Division 2 final on 24th of March in St.Conleths Park. Following a magnificent display of hurling, we won with a scoreline of 2:07 to 1: 02. UNDER 15 This year our U/15 team was competing in Div 1 of the league. This was a very competitive group with three of the best teams in the county in the division. Although our lads won no games, they can be very proud of themselves as they all played very well in all games. Our U/ 15s also competed in the Hawkfield Conservatories blitz hosted by

Sarsfields. Winning our group we qualified for the final against a very strong Michael Dwyer’s team and in a great final our boys came out on top. Finally, our U/15 are currently competing in the Leinster U/15 League. UNDER 16 The Under 16 team had a good but disappointing year, reaching two finals and beaten in both. In the U.16 Div 2 League Final, they had a great game against Clane, ending in a draw at full time and losing out in extra time. In the U.16 Championship Div 2 final, they met a strong Naas side, who

Eire Og at Croke Park

they had beaten convincingly in the early rounds of the championship. But it wasn’t to be in the final, Naas won narrowly by 2 pts. I would like to thank the panel of players for their commitment and hard work during all our training sessions and matches throughout the year. They represented their club with honour. Special thanks to all the parents for all the support they gave to the team and to the management. It was great to see so many parents at all the matches. A special thanks also to all the officers of the Juvenile and senior club for all their help and sponsorship during the






It was a successful year for the hurlers, young and old, in Kilcock ADULT This year we built on the steady progress made by Kilcock Hurling over the past number of year’s , the Junior Championship victory in 2010 and the Junior Shield win in 2011, again we followed up this year by capturing the county Intermediate B championship title with a well merited win over St Laurence’s. This is a hurling milestone for the Kilcock as it is the first time the club has won county hurling titles in three successive years. Such success does not happen overnight and much credit must go to a dedicated few who persevered to keep the small ball game alive at adult and juvenile level in a predominant football club INTERMEDIATE Brendan McGlinn stepped down as Intermediate team manager after a three year stint. Brendan has and still is doing trojan work at underage level. As such the search for a new manager was a club priority .Noel McMahon was approached and alongside his roll as manager of the Kildare under/ 21 team he agreed to manage the team on the condition that all players made the required commitment and adopted a positive mindset required to win a championship. His backup team were Fergus Smith, Pakie Bowe and Mick O’Brien. Training started in mid January; this was supported by a number of challenge games against local clubs and some neighboring Meath teams.

Kilcock’s Feile Shield winning team

LEAGUE We won our first League match against Leixlip under lights in Leixlip.We lost badly away to Comfey nd in our 2 league game. In our next match at home we had an easy victory over a weakened Broadford side. Ros Glas beat us by two points in Monasterevan and we defeated St Laurences at home in the final league game. However we did not make into the semifinals, after finishing on level points with Ros Glas they got the nod because they had beaten us previously.

Kilcock team that played St Laurence’s

Eoin Bailey

Shane Speillman

CHAMPIONSHIP We got off to a great start in championship with a comfortable win away to Leixlip and a hard fought win at home against Comfey. A surprise defeat away to Broadford played in difficult conditions highlighted the point that no match should be taken for granted. Next up was a home game against Ros Glas which we had to work hard in all departments to win .This win made sure of our top four spot. Our last championship match away to St Laurances ended in a draw, a fair result considering the game was played under atrocious weather conditions. We defeated Ros Glas in semi-final; the team played well as a unit and in the finish ran out comfortable winners after a strong second half performance. In the county final against St Laurence’s fixed for Hawkfield. Kilcock won a hard fought game with a score of 3-8 to 1-7. Two goals in the first half and a super goal from Mark Gannon in the second half paved the way for this victory. To their credit the Larries

battled hard and made us work all the way to the final whistle. Well done to one and all that helped make 2012 a year to remember for Kilcock Hurling. Can I use this opportunity to thank Bowe Haulage for their generous sponsorship of Kilcock Hurling for the past number of years. UNDERAGE FEILE A SHIELD The highlight of the year was our Féile Shield victory in Newbridge versus Maynooth. In the group stages of the competition the team played Clane, Maynooth, Naas and Celbridge . As the season progressed our hurling and confidence improved and the final against Maynooth gave the team the opportunity to reverse an earlier defeat in the group stages. The final was played in perfect conditions in Newbridge. The majority of players on the team had all gained the vital experience of playing and winning a Féile B final the previous year. The game itself proved to be an epic with Kilcock eventually coming out on top of a game that ebbed and flowed throughout. Paddy Bermingham and Jason Gibbons provided a strong defensive spine to the team. In midfield Danny Coss Heneghan and David Murphy ran themselves into the ground. The crucial goals were provided by Eoin Reidy and Cormac ‘The Bullet’ Daly who bagged two. Cian Duke was as consistent as ever from placed balls. It was a well deserved win for the team who worked hard in training during the year. UNDER 15 The under 15 team competed in Division 2 of the autumn league with matches being played under lights on Friday nights in Hawkfield. Having been beaten narrowly by Naas in our opening game, we responded well with a comprehensive win against Ard Ceann Fuadh. In a most win game against Maynooth to qualify for the league final we were unfortunately beaten by a single point. Our superbly spirited second half comeback although ultimately unsuccessful bodes well for the future of this team. This league provided much needed competitive hurling for players such as Conor Byrne, Darren Droney, James Murphy, Paddy Barker, Conn MacDunphy, Declan Toohey and Eugene O Sullivan. This team is also competing in a Leinster League which will be run on Friday nights in November. Kilcock will play againt teams from Meath, Carlow, Kildare and Wicklow. Moving on to our other underage teams we are now fielding teams at 9, 10.11, 12, and 14 in the League and North Board competitions, the solid work being done at nursery level is no drought an important factor. All these teams gave a good account of themselves with the standard improving from year to year. Well done to all the mentors and coaches involved, thanks to their commitment and effort the future progress of Hurling within the club looks very bright.



LEIXLIP - LEIM AN BHRADAIN Adult hurling in Leixlip is at a crossroads with a core group of about 17 players willing to do what is necessary to continue to play senior hurling in Kildare. There is another group of players who want to casual hurling with little or no training involved. After the relative high of 2011 Leixlip managed to win 1 league game and drew 1 championship game. Emigration, retirement and injuries had a big impact on team performance. Good progress continues at underage level under direction of Tom Melville juvenile hurling chairman. The U15 hurling squad continued to impress in all competitions and is now the bench mark for all underage hurling teams. Leixlip are now fielding at least one team in division 1 at most age groups. It is great to see the continuation of the street leagues which took place throughout in all housing estates. Also very encouraging is the continued development of underage hurling in association with academy started by John Divilly and Trojan work by all underage coaches. SENIOR While only winning one league game against Clane, Leixlip lost a number of league games by less than 3 points and finished above Éire Óg/Corrachoil in the league table. In the Championship which reverted back to a winners and loser grouping. In the first game Leixlip drew Ardclough losing by 7 points in a game where Leixlip had chances to win the game. In the losers group with Leixlip were Celbridge, Clane, and Eire Óg. Leixlip’s first game was against Eire Óg which we drew on a score of 1-7 to 10 points again game that Leixlip should probably have won. Next up in Celbridge despite a good start Leixlip suffered a large defeat of 4-20 to 14 points. Again injury robbed of some keys players. Next was Clane who gave Leixlip a walkover. Eventually after some discussion Leixlip got a playoff game v Eire Óg which we lost by 1 point after a very exciting game that could have went either way. The hap hazard nature of hurling fixtures in Kildare robbed of 2 significant players on the day that may have swung the game in Leixlip favour. Again another nearly season. Next year with further emigration the senior hurling panel is further depleted, the question for Leixlip Adult hurling is what to do to remain competitive. One suggestion is possibly get players with hurling background to commit to playing hurling and football for Leixlip Club. Other Club members may have suggestions as to where Adult hurling may recruit more players.

Leixlip u15

Intermediate B Intermediate B progress ended on a disappointing note losing out in the semi-final of league and championship. During the season the team gave 2 walkovers one in the League to Confey and to St. Laurences in the championship. The Intermediate B league was played separately from the Intermediate A. The teams in the league were Kilcock, Confey, Broadford, Leixlip, Ros Glas, and St Laurences. After poor opening game v Kilcock Leixlip beating Broadford, St. Laurences and Ros Glas and unfortunately giving a walkover to Confey ending up with 5 points as a result of a point loss for the walkover. The League semi-final v St. Laurence was played on a wet foggy night on a back pitch in Moorefield in early June. Leixlip lost the game by 2 points after not taking all chances that came their way. On to the championship, the opening game at home to Kilcock which we lost by double scores after a bright start. Next up was Ros Glas where Leixlip lost on a score of 3 – 18 to 10 points. In round 3 at Home to Broadford, the team played their best game winning on a score of 4 – 14 to 4 – 10. Round 4 v Confey was played under lights v Confey which Leixlip won on a 6 – 11 to 5 -10. Leixlip now qualified for the semifinal and were paired with St. Laurences for the second time. After starting poorly missing some easy scoring chances Leixlip were only 5 points down at half time. Leixlip needed an early goal in the second half to get into the game, but instead St. Laurences continued to score points from frees and play to maintain their lead. Even when Leixlip got a goal it came too late to change the result. MINOR St. Columba entered Minor division 1 league of Maynooth, Naas and Celbridge. Won 1 league v Celbridge, lost heavily to Naas and by a point to Maynooth. To date Minor hurling league final has yet to be replayed. The division championship changed format from previous years, now with 2 semi-finals, Final and shield final. If keeping with other years St. Columba drew Celbridge away, while the team played well, they lost on a score 4 – 12 to 3 – 9. Celbridge were always in control, getting heart breaking goals at crucial to maintain their lead. At time of writing we are in Shield final v Maynooth. A number of players opting to play football only cost the panel dearly robbing the teams of some physical strength and attacking flair. I still think this is a worthwhile effort with minor hurlers playing at the highest level


Leixlip u13 Division 2 league champions hurling within Kildare. Hopefully those players will go on to play Senior hurling for both Confey and Leixlip. I feel minor hurling was poorly treated this year. Six days notice for a championship game was very short indeed. When was the championship league system changed ? Probably did not influence the result in the though. UNDER 21 This is a team capable of winning the championship with several strong hurlers making up the ranks. St. Columba went on to win the B Championship where they defeated St. Laurences on a scoreline of 4-9 to 0-7. UNDERAGE Academy & U8 The academy was well attended with 60 – 80 (4 to 8 year olds) turning out each Saturday. With greater numbers attending the academy and wanting to play hurling we fielded 2 U8 teams in a series of ground hurling blitz’s in Feb / March and in the U8 outdoor league which ran from April to June for which we had over 30 players 1 team made up of actual U8’s and the other U7’s and some U6’s. The older team played Div. 1 and had 13 actual U8’s playing great hurling & being reasonably competitive in all games, but struggled against stronger clubs, Naas, Celbridge. The younger team had 12 – 17 players each week & as half these were actual U6’s they found the league they were in very competitive. The Autumn leagues for both teams were much more competitive and the games much closer, registering a win and a draw against the stronger clubs

(Celbridge and Naas) for the 2004 team U9 This was the 1st year that there was an U9 league in both the Spring and Autumn & having 12 actual U9’s we played in Div 1 in both the spring and Autumn leagues & it was the 1st time a number of the team played full hurling. Where possible we played 12 – 13 aside ensuring all the guys got maximum game time. Although competing well, we are struggling in Div 1 for this group, being beaten comprehensively by the stronger teams in the group. U10 With 18 U10’s and 14 U9’s playing hurling we fielded 2 teams with the 1st team being an U10 team competing in Div 1 and the second comprising of the U9’s and 3 – 4 of the U10’s who had just started hurling. The Div. 1 played 10 league games winning 7 and loosing 3 narrowly. The most encouraging aspect being the narrowing of the gap between the stronger and the perceived weaker players. With the majority of the Div. 3 team lifting and striking for the 1st time they were boxing above their weight and competed very well playing 6 games and winning 2 of these. With over 30 players eligible to play U11 (U11’s & U10’s) we fielded 2 teams for the 1st time in the Autumn U11 league. Rather than mixing players we left all players playing with their own age group and played the U11’s in Div 1 and the U10’s in Div. 2. The U10’s played in div. 2 of the U11 Autumn league. Even though they

played a number of actual U11 teams they performed very well winning 1 game, drawing 1 and losing the other 3 by 1 – 2 scores. U12 This is a very young team with only 4 actual U12’s and the remainder all U11’s. We played in division 2 and competed very well finishing joint 2nd with Éire Óg/Corrachoill. U13 Similar to U12’s our U13’s were also a very young team with only 5 U13’s, 4 U12’s and the remainder of the panel made up of U11’s and a few U10’s. Rather than picking a panel we gave all the U11’s the opportunity to play U13 as better to have a large group of interested players than worrying each week if we had a team or not. We played in Div. 2 which we won! This was a great achievement with such a young team. While this will be a very young féile team next year the experience the U12’s and U11’s will get will stand to them when they are competing to win the féile in 2-3. U14 – U16 U 14 team played in Division 2 which was the right decision as we had not a full compliment of actual U 14’s with the squad made up of U11’s, U12’s & U13’s/U14’s. We lost out in the final to Éire Óg/Ballymore. The League was a different matter where we won beating Clane in the Final and so had something to show for all the hard work. We competed in the U15 League from Oct 1st and eventually won out in the final against a very determined Celbridge team which was played on a bitterly cold evening, in Hawkfield, not conducive to Hurling. For U16 We played in Division 1 which would prove to be a daunting task as we had only 3 proper U 16’s and the rest of the panel made up of 13’s, 14’s & 15’s. Nevertheless the competition proved to be a great test for all our players with some very good performances and the bonus of 13 quality games with a Shield Final & playoff for the shield championship thrown in. In summary underage hurling is in a very healthy state, we have great numbers from U11 down and while the numbers are light from U12 to U14 we are still very competitive with the younger lads boxing above their weight in U13 to U16. With the U15’s and 16’s going from strength to strength it won’t be long before we’re back challenging for minor and U21 titles.






A year to remember Their first win in Leinster coupled with championship success for their two adult sides - it was a memorable hurling year in Maynooth


t was a monumental year for hurling in Maynooth with a repeat success at intermediate level while the juniors, bolstered by a crop of youngsters, captured a league and championship double. With a move back up to senior in 2013, Maynooth made another major step before 2012 was out by winning their first ever game in the Leinster championship. After a 100 per cent record in the intermediate league, Maynooth’s form took a dip in the final where they were beaten by Naas but they regrouped for the championship and qualified for the semi-finals without much fuss. A comprehensive victory against Sarsfields set up a county final date with Ardclough and although it wasn’t their best display of the year, Maynooth did enough to retain their intermediate title. The juniors were enjoying their best ever year as they the championship crown to a league title they had won in scintillating fashion against Sallins earlier in the year. On the same weekend that the juniors captured the championship crown, the intermediates made history by winning Maynooth’s first every hurling game in the Leinster championship courtesy of a wellearned 11-9 victory against Dublin champions, St Sylvester’s. Against Wexford’s Naomh Eanna in the next round, Maynooth produced their best display of the year to take a four-point lead early in the second half. However the Gorey side came good in the final quarter to eventually pip Maynooth by three points. At underage level the under16s reaching their county final was the highlight although they were beaten in the decider by Naas, it was great to see them progress to the final. The under14s meanwhile were beaten in the Feile Division 1 shield final. The minors had a frustrating year due to the lack of games at this level and that was no help, especially stepping up into the A grade in 2012. With the season dragging on until November, the minors qualified to play St Columba’s in the shield final but there was to be no joy here either as the game had to be abandonned early in the second half. The under-21s had just two weeks together before their opening round championship clash with Coill Dubh and having competed at the B grade the previous year, it was also new territory for a lot of players. Despite dominating the first half, the Crom Abu’s shooting let them

down and they were eventually made to pay for too many missed opportunities as Coilll Dubh finished strongly to take the win. Great work continues in the Maynooth hurling nursery thanks to Pat O’Meara, Pat Power, Martin O’Grady and Fiontán Ó Loinsigh, and it’s there that huge numbers are starting to come through. Below is a report from the under-7s: Before the summer, 2005 born boys attended hurling training on Saturday mornings alongside 2005 born girls as well as children born in 2006 and 2007. Since August 2012, training for 2005 boys has taken place separately on a Friday evening. Training takes place for 2 hours with the first hour devoted to football and the second hour devoted to hurling. Organising the training of hurling alongside football has helped maintain a high attendance at hurling training in a county where football has traditionally been the dominant code. This has had a positive knock-on effect on attendance at hurling matches organised against other clubs. Of the 35 boys attending football training for the first hour on a regular basis, 33 also regularly attend the second hour which focuses on hurling. Two other 2005 born boys attend hurling training on a regular basis

with the 2004 born boys giving a grand total of 35 2005 born boys who are currently training and playing hurling matches on a regular basis. Parental involvement in training and organisation of matches is very satisfactory. The number of parents who have voluntarily completed a foundation course in the coaching of hurling also suggests that these parents have a long term commitment to continuing to assist in promoting hurling in the club. A number of matches were organised in the spring. Since August 2012, matches were organised on eight separate match days. This included two separate matches against Commercials (a hurling club based in Dublin) and Edenderry. ‘Matches’ typically involved a number of seven or nine a side games. The emphasis was on participation and enjoyment for children from both Maynooth and the opposing club. Maynooth competed well against all opposition. This included a number of matches in the Under 8 North Board league in which Maynooth participated with an Under 7 only team. All of the 33 children who attend training regularly received an equal number of invitations to play in matches against other clubs regardless of their ability.

Rian Uhlemann and Conor O’Grady with Maynooth intermediate captain Shane Barry (above) and Maynooth’s under-7s (below), who lined out against Leixlip this year





MIXED YEAR AS SUCCESS REMAINS ELUSIVE Adult 2012 was a mixed year for the adult hurlers in Sallins. While the club continues to grow at an impressive rate, the lack of silverware persists, hanging over the club and its more senior players. Tipperary native Sean Darcy took over the reigns as manager and ably supported by Eric Hardiman and Tom Coughlan hopes were high of ending the long wait for a county title. A policy of seeking and nurturing young native Sallins hurlers was promoted early in the year and this proved hugely successful as the year progressed. Training was reenergised and reinvigorated by new faces and methods and there was a renewed life in the club. Pat Smyth was selected as club captain while Paul Kelly was named vice captain. On the playing field, the year was launched with a “team bonding” trip to Gorey to play Naomh Eanna, the home of the clubs founding father, Tony Molloy. Early league form was good with an opening day draw with St. Laurences, an away win against Naas followed by a home win against Maynooth. Having already qualified for the semi final a depleted panel lost out to Clane in Clane. A home league semi final against Naas was the reward for finishing second in the league. On a fine day for hurling, Sallins came out well on top against their near neighbours. Despite injuries, the home team took full advantage of the good conditions to power home to victory on a score line of 2-14 to 8 points. A final against Maynooth was next on the horizon. Sallins travelled to their northern Kildare opponents full of belief and expectation. A tough, hard tussle ensued with neither side giving way. The game swung in many different directions before Sallins opened up some daylight between the teams midway through the second half, however a late Maynooth rally looked to have sealed victory with time nearly up only for Sallins to point a last gasp equaliser off the hurl of Ronan Dowling to send the game to extra time. Again extra time was a tight affair but eventually Sallins, who were still much depleted by injury, just ran out of gas at the death and Maynooth went on to record a victory on the score line of 3-17 to 4-9. While a loss was disappointing, the future looked bright. The Championship started only four days after the heartbreak of the league final. A

nervous away win to St. Laurence’s was only guaranteed with the help of some desperate, last ditch defending in the final few minutes. A trip to Donore and a poor defeat to Éire Óg/CorraChoill in round two emphasised the necessity to re-evaluate the direction of the team. Round three provided the moral boost and confidence needed to banish the demons of a sluggish start to the championship. A good win over Naas was backboned by a young spirited Sallins team. The mix of youth and experience proved just right on the day. That confidence was to become even more evident in round four when the team produced their best performance of the year to beat Maynooth in Maynooth. The win was made possible through pure guts and determination. These attributes, added to the undoubted skill and ability of the panel, make the Sallins team a force to be reckoned with and makes people outside the club sit up and take notice of the good things that are happening in Kildare’s smallest club. With semi-final qualification already assured, an experimental team took to the field against Clane. For the most part Sallins were the better team but a late surge by the Clane men saw them claim a draw with the last puck of the ball. Everything going well, Sallins looked in great shape going into a semi-final against Maynooth, but as usual not everything went well. The worst nightmare for a small club is a long layoff between matches towards the end of the season. With challenge matches hard to come by, the impetus or momentum that was building was lost during the six weeks without a game. Still, confidence was high leading up the day. Injuries were clearing up and the mood in the camp was, as usual, very good. Unfortunately the performance on the day was flat but to the credit of the team, Maynooth, who were the better team, were made to fight all the way to the end for their triumph. While the end to the season was disappointing, the club is stronger today than we were in January and growth has been a continual feature of the club, year on year. Of the fifteen that started in the Championship Semi Final, seven were Under 21 and a few more experienced championship action throughout the summer. Management’s policy of bringing through players like Emmet Ralph, TJ Gordon, Philly Cluxton Curley, Conor Herbert and Oisin

and Ruairi O’Domhnaill along with already established youngsters Brendan Moran, Dave Quirke, Frankie Quinn and Eoin Ennis has fortified the club into the future. The first Sallins Under 21 team in many years has been formed this year under Pat Kinsella, Marcus Looney, Paul Smyth and Paul Kelly. The aim of this team is to promote the game even further and give unseen or hidden talent a chance to blossom. The seniors will also experience there first involvement in representative hurling as they carry the hopes of Kildare hurling in the Leinster Special Junior Hurling Championship. It is a great honour for our club to be able to take our place at the provincial table and hopefully represent both club and county as best as we can and maybe even bring home a trophy to the county. The mission for 2013 and beyond is to strengthen the bond between the club and the village and more importantly the schools in the area to develop a club that can build on the past 10 years. Sallins Hurling Club has for a long time relied on local “ex-pats” for the survival of the club; it is now time to start the hand over to the next generation. Added to this young tide are many of the earliest members of the club who are still very active. Club stalwarts like Brendan O’Brien, Mick Dagg, Michael Minchin, Eric Walsh, Mark O’Dwyer, Conor Williams, Gerry Glendon, Conor Bracken, Bryan Coen and Mark Dillon will not be satisfied to end careers without some honours which surely should add even more determination and resolve to bring silverware back to the banks of the canal in 2013. UNDERAGE Underage Hurling in Sallins continues to grow in terms of participation and on field success. In 2012, Sallins entered hurling teams at all ages from Under 8 to Under 13. At Under 14 & Under 15, Sallins & Kill entered a combined team, St. Patricks. In addition, mini-games were organised during the year with neighbouring clubs for our Under 6s & 7s. On the playing field, the highlight of 2012 was the victory of St. Patricks in the Kildare Feile Division 3. This group of lads played in the same competition in 2011 while they were still under 13 and in spite of a number of heavy defeats, they came back in 2012, won all of their group stage games followed by a comprehensive victory over St Conleths

in the final. The Under 14 panel was Ciaran Fannin, Sam Raggett, Eoghan Noonan, Jamie Rawlins, Paul Farrelly, Darragh Doyle, Kevin Foley, Michael O’Mahoney, Joey Kirwan, David Foley, Sean O’Domhnaill, Scot Chamney, Aaron Croke, Conor Dalton, James Collins, Cian O’Doherty, Padhraic Ennis, Mathew Farrelly, Darragh Brennan. Special congratulations must go to Kevin Foley in making the Kildare Under 14 hurling squad. This is the first time in many years that a member of our club has played on a Kildare county hurling team. We hope that Kevin will be the first of many. The highlight of the year for our Under 8 hurlers and their parents was their trip to Croke Park in August organised by club mentors in conjunction with Kildare GAA Games Development. Almost 30 boys and girls got the opportunity to play a game on the Croke Park pitch as well as visiting the dressing rooms, the presentation area and having their photographs taken with InterCounty hurling stars. Our Under 11 Community Games hurling team retained their Kildare Championship this year before being defeated by the very strong Dublin champions in the Leinster Championship. The clubs key objectives are to give the children the skills required to play hurling, to ensure that all players get as much match time as possible and above all ensure they are enjoying themselves. The club organised a very successful two day Hurling Camp at Easter with over 100 boys and girls aged from 6 to 14 attending coaching sessions over the two days with a number of Kildare County Hurlers as well as full time coaches from around the country. This was a great learning experience for our own coaches who attended. In addition to the Hurling Camp, during the year the club organised a number of other coaching sessions with external coaches. One of the highlights was the visit of Wexford legend George O’Connor who passed on his vast hurling experience to both our underage players and our coaches. The club is fortunate to have a group of dedicated hurling coaches, many of them parents of juvenile players and we would like thank these coaches and mentors for all of their hard work during 2012.



t Laurence’s Hurling Club train every Monday from 7-9. Our numbers continue to improve at underage with great effort being put into our youngest members. We field an u8 u10, u12, u13, u14 and u16 teams. This is of course due to the hard work of a very small group of dedicated people. The high point for our u8 hurlers this year is when they were invited to play in Croke Park. A group of over 30 travelled by bus for this special day and a great time was had by all. The only age group that we did not field this year was minor and some of our players togged out with Éire Óg to get a few games. Last year was our first year to field a team at u21 and we reached the semi final. This year we went one step further, reaching the final where we went down bravely to St.Columbas. 2012 was our first year to play at Intermediate level having won the Junior A County Title last year. This team has continued to improve and following a fantastic battle with Confey we scraped home by a point to win the Intermediate B League. The team then prepared for the championship and unfortunately after a very brave battle in Hawkfield we lost the championship final against Kilcock. Another first for Laurence’s this year was to field two adult teams, along with our Intermediate panel we also fielded a Junior panel. Although we did not win any silverware at Junior level it is a great achievement to field two adult teams only a few short years after we won our first adult title in 2008. Hopefully we can build on that progress next year.







The photo above is taken from the Examiner on Monday, 13 October, 1969 - Kildare’s Mick O’Brien and Cork’s Frank Kellegher fight for the ball, watched by Seamus Gillen (Cork) and Tony Crew (Kildare) during the All-Ireland Intermediate Hurling final at Thurles





Confey toppled Celbridge to win the senior championship while Maynooth had success on the double with back-to-back intermediate titles as well as the junior crown. THE HURLER selects the team of the 2012 Kildare club hurling championship. 1 Shane Nolan (Maynooth)

9 Paul Divilly (Confey)

MADE his debut with the club’s first team this year and nailed down the position with a string of top class displays. Was Mr Dependable between the posts all season and really came to the fore in the county final as well as the Leinster championship.

UNDOUBTEDLY the most consistent player in the county, his free-taking alone would merit inclusion on any team of the year. Was a major player in all three games against Celbridge and were it not for him, Confey’s name wouldn’t have been on the Sean Carey at the end of 2012. His strength has always given him an edge but this year his skills really set him apart.

2 Fiachra O Muineachain (Celbridge) STEADY and dependable – a tower of strength in the full-back line. Good in the air and good on the ground, he fights tooth and nail for every ball and makes life hell for any visiting fullforward. Also captained his county to national league silverware earlier this year. 3 Paul Keegan (Confey) CLASS act, brings a sense of style to the full-back line. Maybe not the fastest in the world but any lack of pace is more than made up for an acute sense of where to be at all times. Rarley caught out of position and was immense in the county final, protecting the Confey goal like there were members of his family behind him. 4 Pa Curtin (Celbridge) A real stick merchant who is just as effective coming forward as he is when on the back foot. A good manmarker, his defensive skills were a huge asset for his club this year while his attacking forays gave the side an extra dimension. 5 John O’Malley (Naas) Was a rock at the centre of the Naas defence all year, launching numerous attacks for the blue and whites. Although played through the centre with his club, in order to accomodate an oustanding performer we’ve handed him the imaginary number five shirt - a real lynchpin for Naas as they reached a county semi-final. 6 Mick Divilly (Confey) THE hardest man you’ll meet according to those who play with him in Confey and there was no doubt how ferocious he was in the county final, hurling up a storm with the kind of style and panache that is almost a throwback to an older era. The first name down on any Confey team sheet. 7 Sean Higgins (Maynooth) A class act throughout the season, Higgins can play in any line of the field as he seems to have a sixth sense for picking up possession. Plays with incredible maturity for such a young player and always seems to do the right thing - one to watch for the future too. 8 Martin Fitzgerald (Ardclough) Talisman for his side this year, really matured as a senior player for the club in a pivotal position where his ball-winning abilities were seen to great effect alongside his renowned scoring ability. From frees he was steady and assured and really delivered for his side when they needed him this year.

10 Colm Chan (Confey)

SHANE NOLAN (Maaynooth)

THE BREAKDOWN 8 5 -- Sarsfields Confey 4 - Celbridge

2 - Ardclough 2 - Naas

2 - Maynooth













Ball-winner in the half-forward line to great effect especially in the county final. Popped up time and time again with vital possessions in the final and was very close to winning the manof-the-match award. It was easily his best display of the year and he provided it when it was needed most. 11 John O’Neill (Confey) Another big, ball winner from the Confey alf-forward line, O’Neill was a pivotal figure in their march to the county title. Procuded a dominant display in the final, always a bustling presence in the Confey attack, offering them a big scoring threat as well as a physical one. 12 Peadar Downey (Naas) Playing most of his games at wingforward, this Tipp native certainly was a huge asset to Naas in his first year with the club, consistently putting in top displays in the championship, giving many a wing-back trouble. Will hope to take his club one step further at least next year.





13 Gerry Keegan (Celbridge) What more can be said about this incredible young talent. Has all the skills and a few more you’ve never even seen before. Maybe not at his very best in the county final but he was dazzling at various stages throughout Celbridge’s march to the final.













14 Conor Kenny (Celbridge) His loss next year will be hugely felt because he is one of the best target men around - brilliant in the air with hands like a bucket and a brilliant finisher when in the mood. Delivered some brilliant performances in 2012 and popped up with the most vital of goals in the semi-final replay against Ardclough in injury-time. 15 Tony Spain (Ardclough) The ageless wonder - at 35 he is still banging in the goals and breaking opponent’s hearts. Against Celbridge this year he was inspired, scoring goals in both semi-final meetings including what looked like a stunning winning strike at the death until Celbridge snuck home in injury time. A physio by trade, maybe that’s how he keeps himself coming back each year as effective as ever.





A true stalwart Tipp






legacy that will continue whenever sportspeople and townspeople meet - especially in his adopted home.


n Saturday 27 October the town of Naas lost one of its gentlest, dedicated and most passionate citizens with the passing of Denis Hanley. Known to hoards of Juvenile hurlers as the 103-years-old coach, Denis left a legacy that will continue whenever sportspeople and townspeople meet. A native of Templemore, Denis came to Naas in 1962 working for the post office. He quickly immersed himself in helping others with the Lakeside Residents Association, Care of the Aged, Tidy Towns Committee, Naas Community Council, Naas CBS and St Mary’s Convent school Committees and Chairman of the Parish Council. His generous spirit and sense of community was infectious as many new members came on board with his gentle encouragement. As a Tipperary native his love of sport was infused from an early age and many an evening was spent as Denis fondly and modestly reminisced about past glories and past failures with an uncanny accuracy that came from the heart. He played many games for his Post Office, gracing Croke Park on a number of occasions. His love affair with Naas GAA began in 1979. Since then he has served as coach, Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary, most recently Chairman of the Juvenile section. Since 2004 he has coached hurling to the children in Scoil an Linbh Íosa Ballycane, Scoil BhrÍd and St Corban’s. Generations of hurlers can recall the first time they proudly took up the hurley only to be castigated with the shout of: “Keep your strong hand on top!” For many years Denis was a fixture at all Naas’s hurling games recording every player’s position, who scored what and who missed what. Looking back on these archives brought a glint to Denis’ eye as it settled many disputes that players had wished had been forgotten. The Hurling Féile competition was like a pilgrimage for Denis and his cohort of buddies as they took in the highways and byways viewing and commenting on upcoming talent. A talented hurler would be noted and their progress monitored annually. As Secretary to the Féile when hosted by Kildare he did a professional job admired nationally. Along with GAA Denis was an avid golfer and eagerly looked forward to the Thursday “Rob” in Naas Golf club. His many friends there recall his passion, pride and frustration as the gap between theory and practice was always a challenge. Not too many years ago Denis went to the Doctor for a check up. Asked if he was taking any exercise he replied: “I played 18 holes of golf yesterday and 18 the day before that, carrying the bag each time.” The doctor closed the file and called for the next patient. To some being a perfectionist and holding high standards in life can be onerous or divisive. Denis had these standards that he set and achieved with confidence and an ease in life. To us, his avuncular style,

Eddie Lenehan presents the late Denis Hanley (right) a framed photo of the 2011 winning under-21 Naas team of which he was manager at the club’s awards night in 2011

Asked if he was taking any exercise he replied: “I played 18 holes of golf yesterday and 18 the day before that, carrying the bag each time.” The doctor closed the file and called for the next patient.”

smile and hand of friendship were always welcoming. He beamed with understated pride at his garden, jam and marmalade, breads, fine tastes for coffee and the many wonderful journeys he made abroad wit Laura, especially to Italy. A simple query: “How did you get on ?” was the catalyst for an encyclopaedic account of all aspects of his trip. Most of all Denis was dedicated to his family. His fondness and love for Laura was enduring as he always kept a close eye on his watch when apparently in free abandon away at matches. He loved going home to chat about the day’s events. Catherine, Ray and Gavin were

always spoken of with contentment and the father’s knowledge of a loving family. A new lease of life came to him with the births of his grandchildren: John, Ruth and Sarah. It was a well-worn path to Clontarf. He beamed recalling their progress, a smile, slight shake of the head and a chuckle that brightened his life. Denis was a gentleman in the most traditional and honourable sense of that person. A raconteur, sportsman, community activist, husband, father and grandfather and a great friend.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.






A BUSY YEAR FOR UNDERAGE ANOTHER comprehensive schedule of hurling competitions were completed on plan in 2012 – many thanks to all clubs and officials for your cooperation in making this happen by. While we will keep the schedule under review for further improvements, the current schedule seems to be working effectively. Over the past few years, we have seen the introduction of servasport which has really enhanced the management of competitions and enabled clubs to see upcoming fixtures and their position on the league tables. 2012 also saw the introduction of the U15 hurling league in October and the cross border U15 hurling competition in November – both great additions to the calendar. We continued to run Hurling competitions in groups of 6 teams on a round robin basis with 1st and 2nd placed teams going to a final. This meant that the round robin games were competitive as there was no room to slip up. U14 FEILE HURLING CHAMPIONS A Celbridge (Naas) A SHIELD Kilcock (Maynooth) B Eire Óg (Leixlip) B SHIELD Ard Ceann Fuaid (Nas Na Riogh) C St Patrick’s (Naomh Conleth’s) SKILLS Cian Bracken (Leixlip)


elbridge represented Kildare in the Féile na nGael in Dublin in June. We were selected to send a second team to Feile this year, so Éire Óg/ Chorrachoill also represented us in the national Féile.

U16 HURLING LEAGUE Started early April with Finals mid May in St Conleths park. Again ran very well for most clubs. We did not run a division 3 this year but expanded division 1 & 2 instead. We needed a playoff to separate the top teams for finals. CHAMPIONS Div 1 Naas (Coill Dubh) Div 1 Shield Celbridge (Leixlip) Div 2 Clane (Eire Óg) Div 2 Shield Nas na Riogh (St Laurence’s)


Started end of May until Early July. Division 1 & 2 ran very well. We also had a division 3 this year. Not all games were played on time in division 2, and the final was delayed to facilitate clubs. However, this lead to problems and took away from the occasion on finals day in St Conleths/ Hawkfield. We should not move finals in future.

One of the under-14 development squads that took part in a blitz in April

CHAMPIONS Div 1 Naas (Celbridge) Div 1 Shield Kilcock (Eire Og) Div 2 Leixlip (Clane) Div 2 Shield Ard Ceann Fuaid (Celbridge) Div 3 Rosglas (St Patrick’s) .


Started Mid Aug with finals at the end of Sept. Again, this competition ran to plan. We thank clubs for their cooperation which gave our players meaningful competition during the summer. Div 1 Naas (Maynooth) Div 1 Shield Coill Dubh (Celbridge) Div 2 Nas na Riogh (Eire Og) Div 2 Shield Ard Ceann Fuaid (St Larence’s)

U15 HURLING LEAGUE As mentioned earlier, we formalised out U15 hurling league during Sept under lights. This format worked well. Thanks to county board for the use of Hawkfield and to the clubs who supplied floodlit pitches in particular. We will retain this format for next year. CHAMPIONS Div 1 Leixlip (Celbridge) Div 2 Nas na Riogh (Maynooth) Div 3 Coill Dubh (St Conleth’s)

U12 ALL COUNTY BLITZ There was no U12 all county competition this year as the north and South board competitions acted as registration competitions. Well done to all clubs for making this a successful year for underage hurling – sticking to the fixtures plan was key to achieving this. Well done to our development squad players & mentors who represented the county with distinction in 2012 also - keep it up.

2012 also saw the introduction of the U15 hurling league in October and the cross border U15 hurling competition in November – both great additions to the calendar.”

Another under-14 development squads that took part in the April blitz




Kilbeggan shown no Mercy by classy Clane

Scoil Mhuire, Clane - Leinster champions





PHYSICAL prowess and a magnificent full-forward line were the crucial factors at Cusack Park, Mullingar on Thursday afternoon, as Scoil Mhuire, Clane saw off Mercy Secondary School, Kilbeggan. Thursday’s replay was as absorbing as the first outing a couple of weeks ago, though for Clane – last year’s defeated finalists – a strong first half was enough to land them the title. Forwards Ethan O’Donoghue and Simon Healy were on fire, and centre-back Sean Christiansen at his imperious best, as they overpowered their Westmeath opponents in key areas. Mercy led 3-1 after six minutes but after nine minutes, Clane’s Mikie O’Reilly shot over what appeared to be a perfectly legitimate point – but it didn’t stand, as some bizarre umpiring persisted at the Dunnes Stores end. On more than one occasion, wides were signalled by a green flag! Another Clavin free put Kilbeggan three ahead, but as the quarter-hour mark approached, Clane took control. Healy’s second free reduced the arrears, and on 14 minutes, he latched onto a pass from Ethan O’Donoghue before driving a low shot past Mercy netminder, Sean Maher. Kieran Glennon levelled matters with a point, but a brace from Healy (one a free) put Clane in command again. Liam Varley kept Mercy in touch but at the other end, a long ball from Clane’s Cathal Egan was caught by Ethan O’Donoghue, who turned his marker and kicked to the Kilbeggan net. Egan added a point to put Kilbeggan five adrift, but a free from Clavin narrowed the gap. Subsequently, Clavin was lucky to stay on the field when he was booked for a wild hook on Clane’s Conor Gordon; he was even luckier after a similar foul in the second half.

Clane led 2-6 to 0-7 at the break but Kilbeggan began the second half in ideal fashion, with Kieran Glennon finishing a short run with a low shot to Paddy McKenna’s net. At the other end, Cathal Egan hit the crossbar with a rasping shot. Finn Moore (Clane) and Glennon (Mercy) traded scores, before the latter was booked for hitting the ball away as the ref whistled for a foul. A free from Clavin on 39 minutes was negated by two frees from Egan but Kilbeggan always kept within touching distance. Although the Kildare side led by three, it was Clane who were on the ropes. Their outstanding goalkeeper, Paddy McKenna, stopped a fierce shot from Kieran Glennon, but Michael Heeney was on hand to point the rebound. Tensions simmered as Kilbeggan looked for a late leveller, but a foul by Liam Varley earned him a booking, and Clane a crucial free, which was converted by Cathal Egan. In that same 59th minute, tireless Ethan O’Donoghue skipped forward to put Clane four points to the good. Kilbeggan showed dogged resistance though, and their hunger finally manifested. Varley put Kieran Glennon through on goal, but Clane ‘keeper McKenna’s outstretched hurl stopped turned a certain goal into a point. McKenna’s heroics stopped Mercy again seconds later, and as the Short Grass outfit cleared their lines, the sliotar broke to Tommy Cribbin, who pucked a fine insurance score from the left wing.


SCOIL MHUIRE, CLANE: Paddy McKenna; Cathal McGrath, Sean O’Rourke, Diarmuid Crowley; Andy Malone, Sean Christiansen, Conor Gordon; Tommy Cribbin 0-1, Mikie O’Reilly; Conor Martin 0-1, Finn Moore 0-1, Zak Boland; Cathal Egan 0-4 (3fs), Ethan O’Donoghue 1-1, Simon Healy 1-5 (3fs). REF: Ciaran Groome (Offaly)





AET EVEN after playing an extra 20 minutes these two sides could not separated. As well as scoring the same totals, both teams finished with 14 men after an entertaining game boiled over on a couple of occasions. The red cards came in extra-time with Clane’s Zak Boland the first to go when he collected his second

Clane’s Cathal Egan

th yellow card in the 65 minute. Four minutes later, Mercy midfielder Aaron O’Brien joined him on the sidelines, having also clocked up a second yellow. Meanwhile the game hung in the balance as both teams gave their all in the pursuit of victory. At the end of normal time, a free from Clane’s Simon Healy rescued the Kildare boys and left them level at 2-5 to 1-8 having led for most of the second half. Mercy were in control at half-time thanks to a th 15 minute goal from corner-forward Paddy Doody, leaving them 1-4 to 0-3 clear at the break. That lead didn’t last long though. Within 30 seconds Healy had the sliotar in the Mercy net and two minutes later, Clane full-forward Ethan O’Donoghue had netted a second to give Scoil Mhuire the lead. Cathal Egan quickly added a point to complete a brilliant scoring spell for Clane – 2-1 in four minutes – but sadly their shooting was to prove their Achilles’ heel for much of the game. At half-time, they had nine wides and there were seven more errant shots in the second half. If they had even converted a fraction of those opportunities they would have been out of sight before the end. Instead Mercy grew in confidence as they game wore on and a free from centre-forward Shane Clavin st in the 51 minute gave them their first score of the second half. Another Clavin free reduced the margin to the minimum and with time running out, the Westmeath side struck two brilliant points in as many minutes from Kieran Glennon and Michael Heeney. When Clane’s Sean Christianseen put a free wide in the final minute it looked like Scoil Mhuire’s chance had gone but three minutes into injury-time they got a reprieve. Simon Healy struck a difficult free sweetly between the posts from the right sideline and the teams had to prepare for extra-time. Mercy struck first after the resumption when Clavin pointed a free – one that had been awarded against Zak Boland and which led to his red card – but Clane equalised thanks to a superb score from Cathal Egan in the right corner. A third point from Michael Heeney put Mercy in front by the end of the first period by which stage both sides were playing with 14 after Aaron O’Brien got his marching orders. The final ten minutes were frantic and although Clane had plenty of chances, their wastefulness in front of goal was costing them dearly as they hit another seven wides, adding to the 16 from normal time. With time almost up they finally closed the gap and again it was their freetaker, Simon Healy, who came up trumps with a free from the 45. With that score came the final whistle and relief all round as both sides live to fight another day.








2-14 1-16

Conor Kenny was the toast of Kildare hurling after striking a sweet shot to win the Leinster under-21 title


ONOR Kenny was the toast of Kildare after his match-winning intervention sealed the county’s second Leinster under-21 A title in four years in the most dramatic style possible. The supremely talented 19year-old Celbridge star hit Kildare’s last three points, including a quite majestic effort with the last puck of the game to clinch the win but once again Noel McMahon’s team did it the hard way. A 29th minute goal by Meath full forward Anthony Healy left Meath four points ahead at half time, 1-10 to 1-6, and try as they might, Kildare just could not eat into that until lead until there was just 11 minutes left on the clock. Just as a 48th minute Sean Gainey goal turned the semi final against Westmeath in Kildare’s favour as they came from seven

points down, Philip Cocoman’s brilliantly taken effort following Mark Delaney’s pass flipped this game on it’s head. Finally, Kildare had clawed their way back into the game and with just one point separating the teams the game was set up for a thrilling finale. Tom Raleigh replied immediately but the superb Ross Kelly, one of ten Naas players who saw action on the night, pointed from the stand side to leave the minimum in it once more. Kildare were dealt a huge blow though five minutes from the end when another of their star players, Conor O’Hehir, pulled up with a hamstring injury. The loss of the grandson of the legendary sporting commentator Michael O’Hehir was immediately felt when Mark Delaney missed a chance to level the scores with from a 45 metre free. Previous to that, O’Hehir had been deadly

accurate from dead balls but Kildare attacked again and won another free close to the goal with just a minute left on the clock. This time free taking duties were left to Conor Kenny and he easily pointed to tie the scores for the first time since the 15th minute and set up a couple of minutes that he nor any of his team mates will ever forget. It was all Kildare by now and another attack yielded an injury time 65. Kenny again stepped up and sent the ball soaring over the bar as the Kildare sideline celebrated what they thought was a Leinster title. The drama was only getting started though. From Meath goalkeeper Conor Murray’s puck out, centreforward Mark Sullivan brilliantly won possession and seemingly broke Kildare hearts with a stunning point. By now, the clock was ticking

past two minutes injury time and most of the crowd had settled for the draw but from Cormac Gallagher’s clearance Conor Kenny once again showed his aerial ability by rising to fetch the sliotar from the clouds despite pressure from Damien Healy. It looked like Meath had learned from Sullivan’s score seconds earlier at the other end as four defenders ushered Kenny to what looked like safety on the right touchline. They weren’t banking on what was coming next though. Kenny made light of the difficult angle, the distance and the pressure of the Meath defenders as he sent the ball over the bar for a breath taking point. Murray rushed for the ball to take a quick puck out but there was time for no more and referee Maurice Flynn called for the ball to signify Kildare as Leinster winners.

KILDARE: Cormac Gallagher; Ryan McGrath, Mark Carter, Darach MacDonnadha; Sean Christianseen, Mick Purcell, Shane O’Flynn; Kevin Whelan 0-1, Ross Kelly 0-2; Declan Flaherty, Conor Kenny 0-6 (1f, 1 65), Philip Cocoman 1-0; Conor O’Hehir 1-5 (3fs, 1 65), Mark Delaney, Sean Gainey. Subs: Liam McDonagh for Whelan, h/ t; Ross Bergin for Christianseen h/t; Ryan Casey for Gainey, 48, Fiachra Lohan for O’Hehir, 55 MEATH: Conor Murray; Padraig Maguire, David Foley, Niall Weir, James Kelly 0-1, Damien Healy, Tom Raleigh 0-1; James Toher 0-9 (6fs), Stephen Morris 0-1; Shane Brennan, Mark Sullivan 0-2, Damien McGee 0-1, Adam Gannon 0-1, Anthony Healy 1-0, Padraig Kenneally. Subs: Ciaran Fitzsimons for Foley, 54. REF: Maurice Flynn (Kilkenny)




‘We probably left it behind us’

Heartbreak for Lilies ROSCOMMON




By John Ryan KILDARE’S search for a first ever under-21 All Ireland hurling title continued after Roscommon snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in Semple Stadium, Thurles on 15 September. Having recovered from a seven point deficit that stood early in the second half to lead by three with 11 minutes remaining, it appeared that Kildare’s well-timed charge had dashed Roscommon’s hopes. But in an exciting, drama-filled game that swung from one end to the other, Roscommon mustered one last hurrah coming down the home straight that saw them draw level with seven minutes remaining, before shooting what proved to be the winning scores in the 59th and 62nd minutes via the hurls of Robbie Fallon (free) and Naos Connaughton. While it was a bitter way for Kildare to lose the game, it was nonetheless a fitting way for it to climax in such a thrilling fashion. The sides were level on six different occasions over the course of the 60-odd minutes, with Roscommon having enjoyed leads of six and seven points in either

half. Understandably, there were plenty of nerves and mistakes in both team’s play, with Kildare arguably the guiltier of the two. Despite Kildare’s Conor Kenny pointing the first score of the game inside the first minute, a fifth minute goal from wing-forward Robbie Kelly propelled Roscommon into a 1-2 to 0-2 lead. Kenny was Kildare’s go-to man early on but despite the Celbridge youngster striking his third of the game in response to the Rossies’ goal, the Lilywhites’ progress continued to be hindered by basic errors. They were duly punished by the men from the west who, after Fallon (free) and Liam Kilcline pointed, plundered their second goal of the game in the 12th minute. Fallon punished an all too common defensive uncertainty before sweeping home to an empty net. Befitting of such a stage though, the game gradually came to life and subsequently opened up, gathering much momentum off a second goal in as many minutes, this one scored by Kildare’s Conor O’Hehir who squeezed home an angled effort, before the Naas clubman’s partner in the full-forward line, Gerry Keegan, followed suit in the 14th minute to level matters at 25 apiece.

In keeping with its tit-for-tat nature nothing could separate the sides approaching the interval, before centre-forward Niall Kilroy – part of the Roscommon side beaten in the U-21 All Ireland Football final by Dublin earlier in the season – landed his first two scores of the game, both from play, that afforded his side a 2-9 to 2-7 half-time lead. An improvement in Kildare was expected upon the restart and it seemed that they had found something during the break when the dazzling Keegan and Philip Cocoman both pointed inside the first two minutes to leave the minimum between the sides. Yet, an under-rated Roscommon were as defiant as they were effective, and with Kilroy exploiting space, he pointed either side of a third Roscommon goal that was scored by Connaughton. 3-12 to 2-9 down with 23 minutes remaining, Kildare needed something special to resurrect their hopes and got it immediately in the form of a goal, made in Celbridge, and finished by Kenny. That kick-started the Lilywhites’ best spell of the game, one that yielded successive points through Keegan (two), O’Hehir, Martin Fitzgerald and Kenny (two) by the 49th minute that established a 3-15 to 3-12 advantage.

However, rather than pushing on, Kildare took their foot off the gas and were duly punished by Fallon (two) and ‘keeper Noel Fallon (free), who both found their range to restore parity, before the former – with two minutes of additional time signalled – pointed Roscommon one to the good. Connaughton doubled that lead two minutes into time added on. In need of a goal Kildare created one final opportunity seconds later only for Noel Fallon to deny sub, Declan Flaherty. Liam McDonagh’s subsequent ’65 – intended to be dropped into the square – was marginally too big and as the sliotar cleared the crossbar, Kildare’s last chance of rescuing the situation had gone. KILDARE: Cormac Gallagher; Ryan McGrath, Mark Carter, Darach MacDonnadha; Shane O’Flynn, Mick Purcell, Kevin Whelan; Liam McDonagh 0-1 (65), Martin Fitzgerald 0-3; Philip Cocoman 01, Conor Kenny 1-6 (2 65s), Ross Kelly 0-1; Conor O’Hehir 1-1, Gerry Keegan 1-3, Mark Delaney. Subs Fergal Conway for Kelly, h/t; Sean Gainey for Delaney, 39; Declan Flaherty for O’Hehir, 48. REF: David Copps (Cork)

NOEL McMahon was in a despondent mode when he spoke following Kildare’s All Ireland under21 B Hurling Championship final defeat. “We probably left it behind us, seven points down early in the second half but then we went three up with ten minutes to go,” said McMahon, whose side were firm favourites going into the tie. But we just didn’t kick on and then they (Roscommon) got a couple of soft frees there at the end, especially the first one. But look, we had enough chances and probably should have had three or four more (scores) before halftime.” Kildare won’t have too far to look for reasons as to why they lost this. Twice they afforded their opponents two sizeable leads in either half, while their patchy performance was littered with too many basic errors. “We gave them a six-point lead after giving away two very handy goals early on which didn’t help our cause,” continued McMahon. Then we got ourselves back into it but even when we went in two points down at half-time (2-9 to 2-7), I always felt that once we went ahead that we would kick on, because we done all the hurling after they got their third goal. But maybe we just rested on our laurels when we got our noses in front?” McMahon refused to dismiss the possibility that his charges struggled to deal with their favourite’s tag, not to mention that the game itself was being beamed live to televisions sets around the country. “The first five or ten minutes the lads were slipping and sliding here, there and that and everywhere whereas they (Roscommon) weren’t,” admitted McMahon. “It’s hard to know what to put it down to, whether it was or wasn’t nerves. But we knew that we were favourites going out, so maybe that is what had the lads up tig’tht. We expected to win it if we hurled to our potential because we weren coming down to make up the numbers but they (Roscommon) weren’t going to give up easily either. “The first 15 minutes we were six or seven points down having not gotten into the game - we had three points from Conor Kenny and that was it. We were just falling over the ball, dropping it out of our hands and this and that - when you are playing in an All-Ireland final you are not going to get away with that. “Their No 11 (Niall Kilroy) caused us no end of problems until we got Shane O’Flynn on to him, which worked and after scoring 16 without reply to get in front, I thought that we were going to go and win it. But we gave away frees and they then scored them.”





One of their finest Reds He was one of the sweetest strikers of the ball they ever saw but sadly they won’t get to see him again. Coill Dubh bid farewell to JASON DOWLING, whose life was cut tragically short after a sixmonth battle with cancer.


oill Dubh Hurling Club lost one of its finest hurlers with the death of Jason Dowling on 7 October. Jason lost his six-month battle with cancer at the young age of 35 leaving his family and the entire hurling community of Coill Dubh and Kildare in a state of shock. Jason had been at the funeral of his long-time mentor Tony Carew a couple of months earlier and indeed had been in good form at a benefit night that was held for him at the end of August. Thankfully he was able to enjoy that All Ireland Preview Night in the company of his friends and family and got to chat many of the people who had stood beside and in opposition to him on the field of play for many years. Jason was a brilliantly talented hurler. He was one of the sweetest strikers of a ball that you will see and his ground hurling was simply sublime. From the time he was 14 he could strike comfortably off both hands, convert 65s and hit line balls. He won leagues and championships with Coill Dubh from Under 12 through to senior. He played on the Coill Dubh team in 1991 that narrowly lost the All Ireland Under 14 Féile title to Kilmoyley of Kerry. Jason was a key member of the Reds’ U16 7a-side team which made history and brought huge honour to the club by winning the Kilmacud Crokes All Ireland title defeating current Offaly Senior champions Kilcormac Killoughey in the final. Meelick Eyrecourt and Ballyboden St Enda’s were other notable scalps en route to the final. Sadly Jason is the second member of that team to go to his eternal reward following the death of Fiachra Hayden in a car crash many years ago. Jason went on to produce a man of the match

Coill Dubh 1994 minor champions where Jason (centre) won the Man-of–the Match award

display when Coill Dubh captured their only Minor Championship title in 1994 defeating neighbours Éire Óg CorraChoill. He also achieved great success and much acclaim at underage level with Kildare. He was a member of the Kildare U14 team that captured the Tony Forristal tournament in Waterford as well as the U16 team that captured the All Ireland B title in 1992 and the Minor team that again XXXX. Jason quickly progressed to the Coill Dubh and

Jason Dowling


Kildare senior teams. He represented both with great distinction at adult level and indeed he even made an appearance against the Lilies one season as work took him to London. Jason won 5 senior championships with Coill Dubh and will always be remembered as one of the finest exponents of the game that the club has ever produced. He was certainly a feared opponent, as he could mix great strength and aggression with his wonderful skills. While not the tallest of players, he possessed great power and seemed to follow the mantra that the bigger they are the harder they fall! Many an opponent was quickly brought down to size, but all who stood beside or against Jason had a huge respect for him and his talent and this was very much in evidence by the great turnout of former teammates, coaches, referees and opponents at his funeral. Those who witnessed Jason in action could never expect that illness would strike him down at such a young age, as he was one of the genuine hard men of the game! Jason died much too young, but he achieved a huge amount during his short life. Jason bore his illness with great dignity. Many of the traits that he displayed on the field of play were to the fore as he battled cancer. He was tremendously brave throughout and maintained his great sense of humour right to the end. Jason leaves behind him a loving but broken-hearted family and a very large circle of friends. He will be deeply missed by his loving partner Caroline, his daughter Lily-May, his parents John and Esther and his three sisters Glenda, Niamh and Charlene.

Ar Dheis Dé Go Raibh a Anam Dílis





Jason captained Kildare to the 1991 Forristal Cup in Waterford

COUNTY CALLING Left: The Coill Dubh contingent on the ���� Kildare minors: (Back, lr) Tony Carew, Noel Young, Damien Byrne, Jason Dowling, Alvin Connolly; (Front, l-r) Damien Behan, Tom Carew, Niall O’Callaghan




CUL CAMPS The Kellogg’s Cúl Camps are run annually in Kildare by Kildare Coaching and Game and the majority of clubs in the County host a camp. The Kildare model sees each club appointing a Club Cúl Camp Co-ordinator who then works with the Kildare Cúl Camp Co-ordinator, David Murphy, and the other Games Development Administrators to promote and plan the camp at each club. Over the past number of years the success of the camps have grown exponentially with this summer seeing record numbers of children attending camps in every corner of the county. The camps themselves, which are held in both hurling and football clubs, provide boys and girls an action packed and fun-filled week of activity during summer holidays which revolves around maximising enjoyment and sustaining participant involvement in Gaelic Games. All activities at each are games based and are organised in an age appropriate manner with a view to: Optimising learning; Enhancing friendships; Improving physical and psychological well being; Promoting schools and club links among our clubs. The key features of the Kildare Kellogg’s Cúl Camp model are: The camps are structured so that a different aspect of the game is worked on each day The programme involves coaching specific skills of the game and the opportunity is given to children to put into action what they have learned through small sided games On the last day of the camp a blitz is organised to provide each child with an introduction to Go Games and competitive games. The Kildare Coaching and Games committee would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank all those involved in making our Cúl Camps such a marvellous success. Special mention must go to our Clubs, our Club Cul Camp Coordinators, parents and in particular the children themselves.



This year sees us embarking on our Seventh year of our club coaching in primary school initiative. This scheme brings coaches, linked with the local clubs, to the primary schools of County Kildare to encourage fun, skill development and participation in Gaelic Games. This initiative is a joint venture between our county board and our local clubs. The scheme sees coaches visit their school for 50 hours coaching. These coaches are a great asset in our schools helping to forge greater links between clubs and schools, and also helping the recruitment of children to local clubs. 56 club school links were held in 2011 / 2012 for both football & hurling. Why should your club have a club school link programme? Most communities have parents and children who do not know what clubs are in their area - personal contact is the best way to promote your club. Posters are not enough! Youngsters are more likely to get involved if they know what, and particularly who they’re dealing with – if they have already seen club coaches in the familiar surroundings of their school and coaching and blitzes they are more like-


ly to attend the club! (As they already know the coach & Club!) MY CLUB SEEMS INTERESTED IN THIS INITIATIVE BUT NEED TO DISCUSS IT FURTHER, WHO CAN WE CONTACT? Contact any of the GDA’s and they will be delighted to help you out in whatever way they can. The contact details are as follows: Declan O’ Toole 087 6642369 David Murphy 087 2661438 Tadgh Fennan 0868070808 James Devane 087 6714573 Noel Mooney 086 8932317 25 Primary school teachers from Kildare attended a coaching course in Maynooth PP from 2 to 5 July. Areas covered were enhancing Delivery of the P.E. Curriculum through Gaelic Games topics covered: Introducing GAA to Primary schools Early childhood – Nursery & Fundamentals stages Games Specific Skills Teaching Introduction to FUNDO learning resource material: ‘Class room to Playing field’ Specialised equipment, usage and safety ‘Raising the tempo’ – Warm up activities Introduction to GAA Céim ar Aghaidh Step ahead resource pack Maximising space: Hurling wall, hall and yard games

COACH EDUCATION COURSES The following courses were undertaken over the past 12 months in Kildare: 4 X Hurling Foundation Courses (Certified) 1 X Hurling Award 1 Adult Courses (Certified) Clubs wishing to hold a foundation course any time from January to December 2012 / 2013 must make contact with one of the county coaches to book a date due to new regulations from Croke Park and National coaching Ireland all course must be approved going forward, don’t allow your club lose out.

CROKE PARK U-8 teams from St Laurances and Sallins Clubs had the opportunity to play in Croke park on Monday 20 th August. The initiative, now in its fifth year allows clubs involved to get a stadium tour and also participated in a Blitz on the hallowed turf with with over 1400 children from all around the province getting the opportunity to play on the Croke Park Pitch. All players thoroughly enjoyed their day and despite the lack of sleep on the lead up to the day, they all did themselves proud on the field. Tales of goals and points scored by young players will no doubt be recounted for years to come by the participants! County Schools of Excellence and Development Squads. The Aims of Development Squads: To identify, develop, monitor and evaluate players in all of the age groups Enable players to maximise their potential Provide players with a more challenging level of training and development Provide players the opportunity to train within their own area within a more structured and quality environment Improve the qualities of players across all levels of the game Special thanks to our team mentors, guest coaches, clubs, panel members and to all out going Development squad mentors for their hard work and valuable time. This is very much appreciated. Kildare have squads at U14/15/16 in Hurling


COACHING STRUCTURE Kildare Coaching & Games Staff undertake the following as part of their workload: Visit clubs Club Audit Develop Club Coaches Increase player participation and team participation Coach education, Foundation, Level 1 , Code of Ethics, County Coaching Conference Regional Blitz, Skill Competitions Develop the establishment of effective Club/School Link coaching programme Young Referee course Transition Year Courses Help with sourcing funding Cumann na mBunscoil work Ensure schools are participating in all competitions Coaching workshops/clinics Coordinate Hurling & football Development squads at U14, 15, 16 Develop and coordinate more centres for Vhi GAA Cúl Camps Go Games Devise Halloween and Easter coaching programmes for schools and clubs Source the development of Post Primary school Clinics during the summer for players 13-15 years of age Advising clubs in the area of coaching structures and devising an effective coaching programme Involving – recruiting volunteers to help clubs Oversee and coordinate the appointment of Club Coaching Coordinator Organise and plan internal leagues / Parish Street Leagues




DEV’S FINAL WHISTLE FULL TIME This year’s senior hurling county final marked the final game of Maynooth referee Fergus Devereaux’s career. Fergus is 54years-old, he’s a HR executive with Vodafone. The Wexford Native has been living in Maynooth since 1987. He played both hurling and football for Tara Rocks in Gorey and has played football for Maynooth winning a Junior medal in 1995. He has held various roles within the Maynooth club,including a six-year stint as Chairman. Fergus has been reffing within Kildare and atinter county, his highlight been fourth official at a minor and under-21 all-Ireland final and also took charge of a league game between Kilkenny and Antrim a number of years ago. Fergus has five children: Naoimi, Shane, Fergie, Chloe and Oisin and also has five grandchildren. He is married to Bridgid, a Wexford native from Kilrush.

TENDING TO THE FUTURE Kildare senior hurling captain Fiachra O Muineachain (top) at a Cul Camp in Coill Dubh during the summer while Wexford legend George O’Connor visited a training camp in Hawkfield (left and right) and Kilkenny coach Martin Fogarty doing a coaching session with the Kildare development squads in St James’ Park, Kilkenny





COUNTY GAMES Keogh Cup 1/4 Final Kildare 1-16 GMIT 1-17 Allianz Hurling League Round 1 Meath 0-13 Kildare 1-12 Allianz Hurling League Round 2 Kildare 0-24 London 0-15 Allianz Hurling League Round 3 Roscommon 1-12 Kildare 5-19 Allianz Hurling League Round 4 Kildare 7-30 Armagh 0-7 Allianz Hurling League Round 5 Mayo 1-20 Kildare 0-19 Allianz Hurling League Final Kildare 3-13 Meath 1-12 Christy Ring Cup Round 1 Derry 1-22 Kildare 2-18 Christy Ring Cup Round 2 Kildare 2-21 Kerry 1-16 Christy Ring Cup Quarter Final Meath 1-16 Kildare 0-16 Leinster MHL Round 1 Kildare 2-17 Wicklow 1-6 Leinster MHL Round 2 Kildare 1-13 Westmeath 2-10 Leinster MHL Round 3 Kildare w/o Offaly Leinster MHC Round 1 Kildare 2-13 Carlow 1-19 All Ireland MHC ‘B’ 1/4 Final Kildare 9-22 Mayo 2-2 All Ireland MHC ‘B’ C Semi Final Kerry 1-20 Kildare 3-12 Leinster U21 HC ‘A’ Semi Final Kildare 2-15 Westmeath 0-15 Leinster U21 HC ‘A’ Final Kildare 2-14 Meath 1-16 All Ireland U21 ‘B’ Championship Kildare 5-17 Kerry 1-12 All Ireland Under 21 ‘B’ Final Kildare 3-16 Roscommon 3-17

CLUB GAMES SHC Preliminary Round Ardclough 2-13 Leixlip 1-9 Naas 2-17 Clane 1-10 Coilll Dubh 1-18 Eire Og 1-12 Celbridge 0-15 Confey 1-12 Replay Confey 1-12 Celbridge 0-13 Round 1 Naas 4-12 Confey 3-6 Coill Dubh 3-11 Ardclough 0-15 Celbridge 2-16 Clane 3-9 Leixlip 0-10 Éire Óg 1-7 Round 2 Naas 2-10 Ardclough 1-12 Confey 2-16 Coill Dubh 0-11 Celbridge 4-20 Leixlip 0-14 Éire Óg/ Corrachoill 1-15 Clane 0-12 Round 3 Naas 0-12 Coill Dubh 0-10 Ardclough 2-14 Confey 0-15 Celbridge 0-18 Éire Óg 2-10 Leixlip w/o Clane Losers’ Group Playoff Éire Óg 2-11 Leixlip 1-13 Semi-Final Playoff Confey 2-8 Éire Óg 0-12 Semi-Finals Confey 3-13 Naas 1-13 Celbridge 1-14 Ardclough 1-14 Replay Celbridge 2-18 Ardclough 3-11 Final Confey 1-16 Celbridge 0-13 IHC A Round 1 Celbridge 2-11 Kill 1-11 Sarsfields 0-6 Ardclough 5-7

Round 2 Maynooth 1-16 Sarsfields 0-9 Moorefield 2-7 Celbridge 0-15 Ardclough 1-13 Naas 1-5 Round 3 Kill 4-11 Moorefield 1-10 Naas 1-12 Maynooth 0-9 Celbridge 1-12 Ardclough 4-6

EYES ON THE PRIZE Kildare under-21 sub goalkepper Paddy McKenna admires the Leinster championship trophy as captain Mick Purcell (6) looks on Photo: Carol Ryan

Round 4 Sarsfields 1-6 Naas 1-11 Maynooth W/O Celbridge 0-0 Ardclough 1-13 Kill 0-6 Round 5 Celbridge 0-9 Sarsfields 1-11 Kill 2-6 Maynooth 0-13 Moorefield 1-5 Ardclough 2-10 Round 6 Maynooth 5-20 Moorefield 2-8 Sarsfields W/O Kill 0-0 Naas 0-8 Celbridge 0-11 Round 7 Moorefield 1-14 Sarsfields 3-16 Kill 1-10 Naas 2-12 Ardclough 0-13 Maynooth 0-17 Semi Finals Maynooth 2-17 Sarsfields 0-7 Naas 0-6 Ardclough 0-11 Final Maynooth 0-12 Ardclough 1-4 IHC B Round 1 Confey 3-13 Broadford 2-6 St Laurences 0-12 Ros Glas 1-11 Leixlip 1-9 Kilcock 2-18 Round 2 Ros Glas 3-18 Leixlip 0-10 Kilcock 2-13 Confey 2-11 Broadford 1-6 St Laurences 0-18 Round 3 St Laurences W/O Leixlip 0-0 Ros Glas 1-10 Confey 2-10 Broadford 4-10 Kilcock 2-11 Round 4 Leixlip 4-14 Broadford 4-10 Kilcock 1-12 Ros Glas 2-8 Confey 0-16 St Laurences 2-14 Round 5 Ros Glas W/O Broadford 0-0 St Laurences 0-13 Kilcock 1-10 Leixlip 6-10 Confey 5-9 Semi Finals St Laurences 1-11 Leixlip 1-7 Kilcock 3-15 Ros Glas 2-11 Final Kilcock 3-8 St Laurences 1-7 Junior Championship Round 1 St Laurences 2-9 Sallins 1-14 Clane 2-10 Maynooth 2-3 Éire Óg W/O Naas 0-0

Éire Óg 0-7 Maynooth 3-14

Round 2 Maynooth 4-11 St Laurences 2-10 Clane 2-10 Éire Óg/Corrachoill 3-13 Sallins 2-17 Naas 0-8

Final Clane 1-9 Maynooth 2-13

Round 3 Naas 1-5 Maynooth 1-17 St Laurences 0-2 Clane 1-12 Éire Óg/Corrachoill 0-15 Sallins 0-11 Round 4 Clane 1-7 Naas 0-12 St Laurences 0-0 W/O Éire Óg Maynooth 0-9 Sallins 2-10 Round 5 Naas 8-9 St Laurences 3-8 Sallins 1-11 Clane 0-14

Semi Finals Maynooth W/O Naas 0-0 Éire Óg 1-15 Clane 1-18

Minor A Championship Round 1 Celbridge 4-13 St. Columba 3-8 Naas 2-13 Maynooth 0-8 Final Celbridge 0-15 Naas 1-8 Minor B Championship Round 1 Clane 3-14 Coill Dubh 2-6 Coill Dubh 4-8 Éire Óg 2-12 Round 2 Éire Óg 4-4 Clane 2-9

Final Clane 5-9 V 1-11 Éire Óg

Final St Columba 4-9 St Laurences 0-7

Under 21 A Championship Round 1 Maynooth 0-4 Coill Dubh 2-10 Clane 1-8 Killard 2-8

Intermediate A League Round 1 Maynooth v BYE Ardclough 1-13 Sarsfields 2-13 Kill 3-8 Celbridge 2-23 Moorefield 2-4 Naas 1-16

Semi Finals Coill Dubh 2-10 Celbridge 1-7 Naas 0-19 Killard 0-11 Final Coill Dubh 0-6 Naas 1-9 Under 21 B Championship Round 1 Kilcock W/O Broadford 0-0 St Laurences 3-9 Éire Óg 1-12 Semi Finals St Columba 2-14 Kilcock 0-3 St Laurences 2-10 Sallins 0-3

Round 2 Kill v Bye Celbridge 5-16 Moorefield 2-8 Naas 2-14 Ardclough 3-6 Sarsfields 0-10 Maynooth 1-14 Round 3 Sarsfields v BYE Ardclough 2-11 Celbridge 4-12 Maynooth 1-8 Naas 1-5 Moorefield 2-15 Kill 2-13 Round 4 Moorefield v BYE



KILDARE HURLING 2012: RESULTS OF THE St Laurences 2-12 Confey 1-15 Round 5 Broadford 3-3 Ros Glas 4-8 Kilcock 1-12 St Laurences 2-10 Confey W/O Leixlip 0-0 Semi Finals St Laurences 2-8 Leixlip 2-7 Confey 3-9 Ros Glas 1-9 Final Confey 0-13 St Laurences 0-14 Junior League Round 1 Sallins 4-9 St Laurence’s 3-12 Maynooth 4-16 Clane 3-10 Round 2 St Laurence’s 1-5 Maynooth 2-14 Naas 0-10 Sallins 3-11 Round 3 Clane 2-14 St Laurence’s 0-5 Maynooth 2-15 Naas 2-6 Round 4 Sallins 3-8 Maynooth 2-8 Naas 3-9 Clane 0-14 Round 5 Clane 2-8 Sallins 1-6 St Laurence’s 3-4 Naas 3-11 Semi Finals Maynooth 0-14 Clane 1-6 Sallins 2-14 Naas 0-8 Final Maynooth 3-1 Sallins 4-9 Minor Div 1 League Round 1 Celbridge 0-13 Maynooth 0-8 Naas 4-14 St.Columba 0-9 Round 2 St Columba 1-7 Celbridge 1-5 Maynooth 2-6 Naas 1-16 Round 3 St.Columba 1-6 Maynooth 0-12 Celbridge 3-24 Naas 0-8 Final Celbridge 0-15 Naas 1-8 Minor Div.2 League Round 1 Éire Óg 1-13 Clane 2-11 Round 2 Coill Dubh 1-13 Éire Óg 1-13 Round 3 Clane 1-15 Coill Dubh 0-3 Celbridge 0-7 Maynooth 3-8 Kill 2-8 Ardclough 0-10 Naas 5-13 Sarsfields 0-11 Round 5 Naas v BYE Ardclough 2-11 Moorefield 2-7 Maynooth 2-15 Kill 1-3 Sarsfields v Celbridge Round 6 Ardclough v BYE Celbridge 3-21 Naas 3-10 Kill 2-10 Sarsfields 2-12 Moorefield 0-6 Maynooth 2-14 Round 7 Celbridge v BYE Maynooth 2-13 Ardclough 1-11 Naas 1-13 Kill 2-10 Sarsfields 3-16 Moorefield 3-9 Semi Finals Maynooth 1-8 Sarsfields 0-6

Celbridge 2-13 Naas 1-18 Final Maynooth 0-5 Naas 1-7 Intermediate B League Round 1 Broadford 0-9 Confey 115 Kilcock 1-10 Leixlip 1-7 Ros Glas 1-11 St Laurences 4-16 Round 2 Leixlip 3-5 Ros Glas 0-12 Confey 4-20 Kilcock 2-5 St Laurences 1-17 Broadford 0-4 Round 3 Leixlip 3-16 St Laurences 2-10 Confey 2-14 Ros Glas 1-5 Kilcock 7-21 Broadford 1-8 Round 4 Broadford 0-8 Leixlip 2-12 Ros Glas 1-8 Kilcock 0-8

Final Clane 2-15 Éire Óg/Corrachoill 2-4 U-16 League Div.1 Round 1 Naas 1-14 Ard Ceann Fuaid 1-4 Celbridge 0-10 Leixlip 2-10 Coill Dubh W/O Maynooth 0-0 Round 2 Celbridge 2-5 Naas 2-8 Leixlip 1-7 Coill Dubh 3-6 Maynooth 1-7 Ard Ceann Fuaid 0-7 Round 3 Coill Dubh W/O Ard Ceann Fuaid 0-0 Maynooth 2-9 Celbridge 4-8 Leixlip 1-5 Naas 4-15 Round 4 Leixlip 2-15 Maynooth 3-11 Ard Ceann Fuaid 1-1 Celbridge 8-18 Naas 4-10 Coill Dubh 1-4 Round 5

Naas 2-9 Maynooth 1-2 Ard Ceann Fuaid 0-3 Leixlip 8-14 Coill Dubh 2-9 Celbridge 4-7 Play-Off Coill Dubh 3-11 Celbridge 2-12 Shield Final Leixlip 0-10 Celbridge 1-12 Final Naas 1-10 Coill Dubh 0-8 Under 16 League Div.2 Round 1 Naomh Conleths 0-0 W/O Ros Glas Clane 0-0 W/O Éire Óg/Corrachoill St Laurences 2-6 Nas na Riogh 8-10 Round 2 Éire Óg 2-11 Nas na Riogh 2-8 Ros Glas 5-6 Clane 8-11 Conleth’s 0-0 St Laurence’s 0-0 Round 3 Éire Óg 0-0 Naomh Conleths 0-0 Ros Glas 2-2 St Laurences 4-4 Clane 2-11 Nas na Riogh 2-5 Round 4 Ros Glas 0-2 Éire Óg 0-12 St Laurences 1-3 Clane 4-5 Nas na Riogh 0-0 Conleths 0-0 Round 5 Clane 0-0 Naomh Conleths 0-0 Nas na Riogh 4-10 Ros Glas 2-6 St Laurences 2-4 Éire Óg 2-13

Clane 2-11 Nas na Riogh 2-5 Round 4 Ros Glas 0-2 Éire Óg 0-12 St Laurence’s 1-3 Clane 4-5 Nas na Riogh 0-0 Conleths 0-0 Round 5 Clane 0-0 Naomh Conleths 0-0 Nas na Riogh 4-10 Ros Glas 2-6 St Laurences 2-4 Éire Óg 2-13 Shield Final Nas na Riogh 4-10 St Laurences 1-6 Final Éire Óg/Corrachoill 3-11 Clane 7-9 U14 Féile Div 1 - Round 1 Kilcock 1-2 Naas 3-7 Celbridge 6-12 Clane 1-0 Round 2 Clane 2-2 Kilcock 1-9 Maynooth 1-5 Celbridge 2-11 Round 3 Kilcock 2-3 Maynooth 7-4 Naas W/O Clane 0-0 Round 4 Celbridge W/O Kilcock 0-0 Maynooth 2-5 Naas 3-11 Round 5 Clane 0-0 W/O Maynooth Naas 0-0 Celbridge 0-0

Shield Final Nas na Riogh 4-10 St Laurence’s 1-6

Shield Final Kilcock 3-4 Maynooth 0-5

Final Éire Óg/Corrachoill Clane 7-9

Final Celbridge 1-9 Naas 1-2

Under 16 Championship Div.1 Round 1 Leixlip 1-9 Clane 2-5 Naas 6-15 Coill Dubh 2-2 Celbridge 1-9 Maynooth 3-6

U14 Féile Div 2 - Round 1 Nas na Riogh 1-1 Leixlip 3-16 Ard Ceann Fuaid 3-6 Éire Óg 5-10 Coill Dubh 0-0 W/O Ros Glas

Round 2 Maynooth 1-10 Naas 4-8 Clane 2-5 Celbridge 7-9 Leixlip 2-11 Coill Dubh 4-6 Round 3 Celbridge 5-11 Leixlip 4-8 Maynooth 4-15 Coill Dubh 1-6 Clane 0-0 W/O Naas Round 4 Leixlip 4-13 Maynooth 4-12 Naas 2-12 Celbridge 2-9 Coill Dubh 2-11 Clane 2-9 Round 5 Celbridge 2-14 Coill Dubh 2-8 Leixlip 1-5 Naas 4-21 Clane 0-0 W/O Maynooth Play-Off Maynooth 4-6 Celbridge 1-8 Coill Dubh 6-11 Leixlip 3-9 Shield Final Coill Dubh 2-7 Celbridge 0-11 Final Naas 2-14 Maynooth 2-4 Under 16 Championship Div.2 Round 1 Naomh Conleths 0-0 W/O Ros Glas Clane 0-0 W/O Éire Óg/Corrachoill St Laurences 2-6 Nas na Riogh 8-10 Round 2 Éire Óg 2-11 Nas na Riogh 2-8 Ros Glas 5-6 Clane 8-11 Naomh Conleths 0-0 St Laurences 0-0 Round 3 Éire Óg/ 0-0 Naomh Conleths 0-0 Ros Glas 2-2 St Laurences 4-4

Round 2 Éire Óg/Corrachoill W/O Coill Dubh Leixlip 4-12 Ard Ceann Fuaid 5-3 Ros Glas 0-22 Nas na Riogh 0-23 Round 3 Éire Óg/Corrachoill 2-8 Ros Glas 0-3 Leixlip W/O Coill Dubh Ard C-F 2-4 Nas na Riogh 3-9 Round 4 Nas na Riogh 0-0 Éire Óg 0-0 Ros Glas 1-2 Leixlip 4-4 Round 5 Ard Ceann Fuaid W/O Ros Glas 0-0 Leixlip 0-0 Éire Óg/Corrachoill 0-0 Shield Final Ard C-F 5-6 Nas na Riogh 3-3 Final Éire Óg/Corrachoill 2-7 Leixlip 1-2 U14 Féile Div 3 Round 1 St Laurence’s 0-0 W/O St Patricks Athy 3-5 Naomh Conleths 3-5 Round 2 St Patricks 5-10 Athy 3-8 Naomh Conleths W/O St Laurence’s Round 3 Athy W/O St Laurence’s 0-0 St Patricks 2-8 Naomh Conleths 1-5 Round 4 Naomh Conleths W/O Athy 0-0 Round 5 Athy 0-0 St Patricks Final Naomh Conleths 0-3 St Patricks 2-5









KILDARE HURLING 2012: THE THREE WISE MEN Instead of bringing gold, frankincense and myrrh these men have nothing to dispel only their thoughts and there may not be any magic contained in the gifts of the Kildare Magi – Brendan Coffey (Sports Editor – Kildare Nationalist), Tommy Callaghan (Sports Editor – Leinster Leader) and Cormac O’Malley (Sports Editor – Liffey Champion). Just like their Biblical counterparts, they are peripheral to the main event though they often have a good view of it. And sometimes they even make a little sense.

1 Was it a good year for hurling in Kildare?

BRENDAN COFFEY It was a mixed year at best for everyone in Kildare GAA. The senior county team disappointed in the championship after showing early promise while the under-21s really should have won their all-Ireland. At club level, it was good to see it so competitive at senior level and there are now three or four teams with realistic chances of winning. There have been far worse years

2 One thing you could change about hurling?

More teams and more matches. The health of the game rests with the players and the more the merrier. An expanded Leinster league might be a help because at minor level there is simply not enough games for players and that’s when young lads will lose interest.

Perception. There’s a perception out there that hurling in the county is not good to watch, is lacking in quality. A lot of the time that stems from ignorance. I think if more people got out and supported club hurling in Kildare they would be very surprised by the standards.

I would love to see a specialised hurling coach/coordinator in the county, plus I would dearly love to see a Kildare schools team entered into the Leinster A Hurling championship. Westmeath have done it this year and I believe it would be huge for players in the county to get to play against the top teams from Wexford, Kilkenny and Dublin.

3 Hurling highlight of 2012?

The under-21s dramatic Leinster final win against Meath was huge for all concerned and a great boost for every hurling person in the county. There are many fine young players in the county and they just need the opportunity to express themselves at a higher level.

In Kildare it was the senior’s win over Meath to win the Division 2B title last spring and the Under 21’s victory in the Leinster final in Newbridge. The climax to that game and Conor Kenny’s winning point was fantastic. At national level my highlight was the re-emergence of Galway.

While the under-21 victories against Westmeath and Meath were brilliant, I still have to pick the second half display against Kerry in the Christy Ring Cup in Newbridge. It was a stunning display. That second thirty minutes against Kerry, who were talked about in terms of progressing to the Munster Senior Championship, showed the potential that exists in Kildare.

4 Biggest let down of 2012?

The seniors championship defeat to Meath was a huge setback – the writing was on the wall long before the finish in that game. Kildare seemed powerless to pull themselves through when things weren’t going their way. For the work that was done in training and the commitment of the players, there was a sense the team never produced all that they could.

Losing to Meath in the Christy Ring Cup. Kildare were well capable of beating them as they proved in the league but once again they failed to do it in championship hurling, a curse that has been with Kildare for many a year now.

The manner the year petered out against Meath, but also the fretting over finances for next year at a time when they should be looking forward and preparing for a step up to a very competitive Division 2A.

5 Is GAA doing enough for hurling in counties like Kildare?

Hurling is the minority game in most counties and for that reason it should be prioritised – like it has been in Dublin – instead the game is starved of resources and often treated like an inconvenience. There should be a national actionplan for the development of hurling.

Not at all and the reduction in the hurling budget, by the County Board, shows that. Some officials and powers that be pay lip service to the promotion of the game but hurling is not a cash cow in Kildare and therefore it seems to pushed to one side.

Not enough. There really should be greater work done to help the coaching side especially.

The physical demands of both games are similar and kids grow up playing both. It is a great tradition but the modern fixture calendar doesn’t facilitate dual-stars. It’s the GAA’s loss because we don’t get to see a fabulous hurler like Cork’s Aidan Walsh play more often. There are always genuine cases and marriages of 7 Should convenience that diminish the GAA bond between players from person and place. I would like to see regional county teams. How many fine hurlers never get stronger counties play to play at a higher level? There are enough good hurlers in the country for more than a handful of with Kildare? strong teams.

6 Is there room for dual players at inter-county?

The speed, how quick things happen. The speed 8 Best thing of movement gives the game an electricity that about hurling can keep you heated on a winter day and almost send you over the edge with excitement in the white heat of championship.

9 Worst thing Fouling. Football might be under the microscope about hurling for tactical fouling but hurling has a bigger

problem that is not being addressed. Kilkenny’s swarm-tackling approach has brought about a culture in which it’s acceptable to foul a player in possession. There is a difference between crowding a player and chopping across his hands – referees are not clamping down on this.

10 Hope for 2013?

Kildare to win the Christy Ring championship.



I don’t think 2012 was as good as 2011 was for hurling in the county. Winning the Division 2B title was obviously the highlight and the Under 21s Leinster victory was a high point but Kildare’s Christy Ring campaign was disappointing. At club level it was great to see Confey break Celbridge’s reign but I would have like to have seen them make more of an impact in Leinster.

2012 was good in many ways with promotion from Division 2B for the seniors but the defeat to Meath in the Christy Ring put a bit of a downer on the season. The under-21s they really put a pep in the step but just couldn’t seal the deal in the final against Roscommon. The lasting legacy of 2012 though may well be the finances available to the hurling fraternity for next year and beyond. If there isn’t investment put in all the bright dawns of the past twelve months may count for nought.

I don’t think so. The commitment and dedication needed to be involved in one county team is immense. I don’t think it’s humanly possible to give two teams such attention and commitment.

You would love to say yes but to give a player the best chance at inter-county level he needs rest and playing for two masters that is rarely possible. We’ve seen it done to an extent in recent years but they are falling between two stools and given the demands at inter-county level now, I feel it’s just not a reality.

It can certainly only strengthen the so called weaker teams. Take David Kennedy for example, he brought an awful lot to hurling in Kildare. In saying that I would only be in favour of it if local players didn’t suffer as a result.

In the past I would have said yes but I really don’t know if it is the best idea anymore. There should be enough players in a county who want to pull on the Kildare jersey and fight for the cause. Maybe if there was a limit put on the number of “imports” it might work, 2-3 per panel, but I would always prefer to see home-grown players on the team.

It’s uniqueness. There is no other sport quite like it in the world. The level of skill is a joy to behold at times and as a nation it’s something we should always be proud of.

Seeing the greatest team of all time in Kilkenny at the minute and realising that there are other counties out there who can and have beaten them. Hurling is at a level beyond anything it has been before.

That the weaker counties don’t really get to play during the height of summer. The Christy Ring, in my opinion, is played off way too early. It’s almost like the competition is a nuisance to the GAA and they want it over and done with.

It is still very much a second class citizen in most counties.

I’d love to see Kildare win a championship, I’d love to see them bring back the Christy Ring Cup in 2013.

That we won’t be talking about finances during the year and we won’t have to hear stories of players not receiving expenses or not getting meals after training. Hopefully a Christy Ring Cup will finally come to Kildare as well. And that Mark Moloney stops giving out about everything I write!






The Hurler  

Kildare GAA Hurling Yearbook

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