Clonoulty-Rossmore Celebrate 1989 Victory
County Senior Hurling Final match program, November 2, 2014
Clonoulty-Rossmore's victory in the 1989 senior hurling championship may have been partly overshadowed in the rest of the county by Tipperary's return to All-Ireland glory after eighteen years in the wilderness, but there is no denying what the success meant to the parish.
There was good reason why this should have been so. It was thirty-eight years since the club won a West senior hurling title and all of one hundred and one years since county honours had been annexed.
There wasn't much inkling of a dramatic breakthrough when the club met Golden-Kilfeacle in the first round of the West senior championship at Cashel on May 28 with Aengus Ryan as referee and gate receipts of £1848. There was a hint of something special about the team the previous year when they defeated county champions, Cappawhite, in the first round but the feeling was dissipated by a heavy defeat at the hands of Cashel King Cormacs in the semi-final.
Clonoulty won easily by 2-19 to 3-2 and went on to an equally facile victory over Kickhams by 2-14 to 1-5 at Golden on July 16. Cappawhite, who looked well against Cashel in the other semi-final, were their opponents in the West final at Emly on August 20. Beforehand Len Gaynor was drafted in as coach and training took on a new dimension as a result. Sessions brought out full numbers, fitness levels were increased, team spirit was improved and a strong desire for success was generated.
The expectation of a rousing contest was reflected in the gate receipts of over £6,000 at Emly. Clonoulty got off to a stunning start and led by 2-3 to 0-0 mid-way through the first half. However, Cappawhite struck back to leave only two points, 2-8 to 2-6, between the sides at the interval. A goal but Peter Hayes soon after the resumption set Clonoulty on the road to victory which they eventually achieved on a scoreline of 3-20 to 4-6. It was a richly deserved breakthrough for the team, with T. J. Ryan as captain and the man-of-the-match award going to Peter Hayes.
The winning side was: Andrew Fryday, David Ryan (H), Cecil Ryan, Noel Keane, Seamus Hammersley, John Kennedy, Phil Shanahan, T. J. Ryan (R) Capt., Kevin Ryan, Declan Ryan, Joe Hayes, Michael Heffernan, Dan Quirke, Peter Hayes, Tommy Kennedy. Sub: John Ryan (J) for Tommy Kennedy.
Clonoulty faced reigning champions, Loughmore-Castleiney, in the county quarter-final at Thurles on September 24. In spite of having the better of the exchanges in the first half, they could manage only a three-point lead, 0-8 to 1-2, at the interval. Loughmore levelled with a John Treacy goal early in the second-half and for a good while the game hung in the balance. With nine minutes remaining Peter Hayes netted to give Clonoulty a three-point lead. However, the lead remained vulnerable until Kevin Ryan scored an insurance point near the end and this gave Clonoulty a 1-14 to 2-7 victory, Joe Hayes had a very fine game.
Clonoulty's next date was with Toomevara in the semi-final at Semple Stadium on October 8. Tommy Kennedy had a goal within two minutes of the start and that score signalled an easy passage for Clonoulty to a half-time lead of 2-6 to 0-1, the second goal coming from Declan Ryan. They eventually ran out convincing winners by 2-12 to 0-5 against an opposition that played way below par on the day. Tommy Kennedy topped the scoring list with 1-3.
The final set up Clonoulty against neighbours, Holycross-Ballycahill, at Semple Stadium on October 22. The build-up to the game was fantastic. Francis Kearney described it thus in his Yearbook article: 'Hurling was practically the only topic of conversation, banners and bunting in green and gold decked the village and every household lofted the colours in flags and a nultiplicity of banners. The hearts of young and old beat faster in anticipation of the great event.
A palpable tension infused the air on the morning of the match. The message 'Declan is Magic' emblazoned on the road at Cross of the Hough by some covert night-walkers, lifted all hearts on the long road to Thurles and epitomised the euphoric spirit of the occasion..'
Clonoulty were slight favourites, The first half was dour and close. Defences ruled but Clonoulty had marginally the better of affairs and retired leading by three points, 0-8 to 0-5, at the interval. Nine minutes into the second half came a crucial score when Peter Hayes swept the ball to the Holycross net. A pointed penalty by Kevin Ryan soon had Clonoulty six points up and seemingly headed for victory. However, Holycross came back in a bid to save the day. They cut the lead to four points and then substitute, Donal Ryan, goaled to leave but a point between the sides and still two minutes to play. At the end the last word came from outstanding centre back, John Kennedy, who pointed a '65' to secure Clonoulty's win by 1-11 to 1-9 amid unrestrained euphoria.
The victorious team was as follows: Andrew Fryday, David Ryan, Cecil Ryan, Noel Keane, Seamus Hammersley, John Kennedy, Phil Shanahan, T. J. Ryan (capt.), Kevin Ryan, Declan Ryan, Joe Hayes, Micheal Heffernan, Dan Quirke, Peter Hayes, Tommy Kennedy. Subs: Paddy Bourke, Alan O'Dwyer, Neil Ryan, John Kennedy, Tim Shanahan, Timmy Corcoran, John Ryan, John Fitzgerald, Philip Quirke, Patrick Ryan.
Selectors: Tom Ryan, Michael Ryan, Owen Ryan. Coach: Len Gaynor.
Referee: John Moloney (Galtee Rovers).
Scorers in the championship:
Kevin Ryan (0-28), Joe Hayes (2-16), Dan Quirke (2-13), Peter Hayes (4-3), Declan Ryan (2-8), Tommy Kennedy (1-10), Michael Heffernan (0-5), T. J. Ryan (0-4), Noel Keane (0-2), John Kennedy (0-2).
For: 11.91; Against: 11-34.
Path to Final:
(28/05/1989) First round: Clonoulty-Rossmore 2-19 Golden-Kilfeacle 3-2
(16/07/1989) Semi-final: Clonoulty-Rossmore 2-14 Kickhams 1-5
(20/08/1989) Final: Clonoulty-Rossmore 3-20 Cappawhite 4-6
(24-09-1989) Quarter-final: Clonoulty-Rossmore 1-14 Loughmore-Castleiney 2-7
(08/10/1989) Semi-final:Clonoulty-Rossmore 2-12 Toomevara 0-5
(22/10/1989) Final: Clonoulty-Rossmore 1-11 Holycross-Ballycahill: 1-9
Clonoulty headed for Munster at Bruff on November 5 but their progress was halted by Limerick champions, Ballybrown, in the semi-final. John Kennedy was missing, having flown out to the U.S. the same morning. The Limerick side led by 0-6 to 0-4 at the interval and went seven points in front on the resumption before a Peter Hayes goal gave Clonoulty hope. However, this was dimned when Noel Keane was sent off for a foul on Terence Kenny and, later in the half, by the dismissal of David Ryan. Down to thirteen players Clonoulty fought like demons to rescue the day and came within a whisker of doing so. Points by Joe Hayes and Declan Ryan left just one between the sides with time almost up. Two minutes into added time a Kevin Ryan free from the sideline about forty yards out veered wide and ended Clonoulty's hopes of Munster glory on a scoreline of 1-10 to 1-9.