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Power seals the deal with late strike

Our minors defeated Ballinacourty in the County Minor 'A' final in 2017. This long awaited final which had been postponed on a number of occasions turned out to be a thrilling affair. Goals flowed at both ends with Eoin Dowley impressive for Rathgormack notching 1-1. Rathgormack held a nice lead at the break but Ballinacourty came out all guns blazing in the second half. This was a real test of our lads but they stood up when they were needed. Captain, Stephen Curry, was a menace throughout when linking up with towering full forward Ciaran Power. Our backs were tenacious throughout with Tom Walsh driving the team on from full back. As the game ticked into injury time, we were behind by a point. A high ball was pumped into the square which resulted in a penalty being awarded to Rathgormack. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Up stepped Billy Power who rifled the ball to the net to give Rathgormack a 2 point lead which they held until the final whistle. There were sense of jubilation at the final whistle as we secured our 3rd minor 'A' county title.

Panel: Kieran Guiry, Mark Ellife, Tom Walsh, Kevin Hennebry, Sean Hahessy, Kevin Connolly, Conor Power, Mairtin Power, Billy Power, Ben Kennedy, Stephen Curry (C), James Power, Sam Corbett-Barry, Eoin Dowley.
Subs: Donny Gough, Ronan Ellife, Gerard Nugent, Jack Hickey, Aaron Gleeson (injured)

Management: Denis Hassett, Dec Power, Kenny Hassett

Minor footballers make history

On Wednesday 23rd May 2012 before a large local support, our minor footballers created a little bit of local history when they defeated Dungarvan in the Minor football division 1 county final in Walsh Park to claim our first minor “A” title in 77 years, with the last one coming back in 1935, when I’m sure there was only one level at this grade. This was a deserved victory for this team as they showed tremendous determination & no little skill throughout the field to get the better of Dungarvan. The standard of football on show was pretty good, & with every team in the division losing at least 1 match through the league section, this championship was very competitive. Rathgormack’s hunger & desire for success in this match was the clear difference between the teams in this game as all Rathgormack players on the field fought for every ball in their area & they were full of running & support when we were in possession. We started the game nervously, & despite having a lot of early possession, but taking the wrong options on a number of occasions, we didn’t open our scoring till the 8th minute with a Jason Curry free. Dungarvan had got the scoring underway with a 45 in the 2nd minute. Michael Curry got our first point from play in the 9th minute, but in the next 2 minutes Dungarvan added a point & then the first goal of the match, to give them a 3-point lead. Jason Curry scored 2 more frees in the 13th & 14th minute following some very reckless tackling from Dungarvan, & then in the 15th minute a Dungarvan player was sent to the line when he picked up a second booking following a clash with Michael Curry off the ball. Jason Curry slotted over his best free of the night from close to the 45-metre line as a result, & it was all-square with Dungarvan down to 14 men for three quarters of the match. The Curry brothers continued to have a huge influence on this match when Michael kicked another point from play in the 18th minute to put us in the lead, & 2 minutes later cousin Tony Curry got in on the act with a good point following a good run through the middle. Our influential centre forward William Hahessy, who had come into the match with a hip injury, was beginning to struggle at this stage, & the forwards were re-arrange to move him into full forward. A pointed free in the 23rd minute for Dungarvan left only the minimum between the teams, as we had not made use of the chances & possession which came our way since the sending off, & one feared the curse of the extra man. However the pressure paid off in the last 3 minutes of the half, as Michael Curry had 2 great points in the 27th & 28th minutes with a great goal from Conor Walsh sandwiched in between, as he was played in with a brilliant pass through the middle before finishing well to the keepers right corner under pressure from a defender. Jason Curry completed the first half scoring with his first point from play, his 5th in the first half, in the 31st minute, to send us in on a score-line of Rathgormack 1-10, Dungarvan 1-3, & we were in a strong position to secure the title. Dungarvan reminded us they were not finished yet when they scored the first point of the second half in the 31st minute, & then we were dealt a blow a few minutes later when the injured William Hahessy had to be replaced by Daniel Crotty. Daniel made an immediate impact at corner forward winning the first few balls that came into him & scoring our first point of the second half in the 38th minute. If the Curry brothers were the stars of the first half, then full forward Jason Gleeson & midfielder Liam Mulligan were the stand out players of the second, with Liam winning lots of possession & covering the entire pitch & Jason scoring 3 great points from play in the 39th, 45th & 49th minutes, the 3rd a fisted effort following a good solo run through the defence. Dungarvan had added a point in the 48th minute but we were nine points up entering the last ten minutes, & although were never completely in control throughout the pitch, it looked like we would finish the game out comfortably. Great credit must be attributed to the Dungarvan players & management as they refused to concede the game, & with their excellent full back now playing out around the middle, were he caused us a lot of trouble, they added 3 points in the 51st, 55th 57th minutes to leave us a little nervous. A minute later, a few missed tackles on the stand side allowed them to play the ball across the square where the ball was finished to the net to reduce the gap to 3 points. Dungarvan had all the momentum now as they drove on in search of another goal, which would break Rathgormack hearts, & a few half chances went abegging following good pressure from our defence. Just as the game entered injury time, another Dungarvan attack broke down inside our 45 & we launched a swift counter attack, & when Conor Murray played a hand pass inside the 21 yard line to Jason Curry, who had sprinted the whole length of the field to support the play, he capped a man of the match performance by finishing to the net to put the result beyond doubt. Two minutes later the final whistle went to spark off great scenes of excitement & celebration. Final Score Rathgormack 2-14, Dungarvan 2-8.

Team: Sean Clancy, Brian Connolly, Padraig Hunt, Quan Butler, David Connolly, Dean Kirwan, Jonathon Flynn, Michael Curry (0-4), Liam Mulligan, Jason Curry (1-5), William Hahessy, Conor Walsh (1-0), Tony Curry (0-1), Jason Gleeson (0-3), Conor Murray. Subs: Daniel Crotty (0-1) for William Hahessy, Robbie Flynn for Tony Curry. Subs not used: Eoin Norris, John Cullinane, Kevin Mulkearne, James Nugent, Gavin Sheehan, Declan Hennebry.

Everyone associated with the club would like to congratulate all the players for a terrific campaign, & an achievement they can be very proud of. County titles are very difficult to win, with a Division 1 title being particularly so for a rural club with limited numbers. Many good players who played for the club down through the years were unable to win this title, which puts the achievement in perspective. All the players involved are well capable of assisting & improving our adult teams over the rest of the year, & hopefully as many as possible will do so. The club would like to congratulate team manager Brendan Curry, & selectors Owen Gleeson & Joe Murray, on a job well done. It was a particularly enjoyable night for Brendan & his wife Josephine, who is also heavily involved with the club for many years, as their sons Jason & Michael had a major bearing on the outcome. Owen’s son, Conor Murray, who is not yet 15, also played his part on the night & throughout the campaign. Well done again to all involved, & as Brendan said in the dressing room afterwards, YOU’VE MADE HISTORY!!

Scenes of celebration as team captain, Michael Curry accepts the cup from county board chairman, Tom Cunningham.

Jason & Michael Curry, with their father & team manager, Brendan, & their mother, Josephine, after the match.

The team with selectors Owen Gleeson, left, Joe Murray & Brendan Curry, Manager.

The lads celebrate with young supporters & fans.

Previous County Minor Title in 1935

Details are listed below of the last Rathgormack team, back in 1935 to win the minor county title.

In their first game they beat Mount Sion a team with two youngsters destined to achieve fame in the world of the GAA. Pat Fanning who would become President of the Association and John Keane one of hurling’s greatest heroes of all time.

Next they defeated Kill  before winning the East Waterford title by beating St.Stephens of Waterford city. The historic county final victory was won over the Western champions, Stradbally.   

Rathgormack Minor Football Champions 1935 

Front Row (L/R), M. Hennebry, D. Cleary, D. Kirwan, T. Hahassy (Trainer), M. Veale, P.Butler(Capt), T.Hogan, J. Foley. Back Row, T. Walsh, P. Curry, M. Whelan, J. Cronin, J. Halpin, J. Foley, W. Curran, M. Quinlan, J. Kirwan, R. Skehan, P. Kirwan, M. Curry, P. Hogan, M. Mc Cormack, M.Quinlan, T. Roche.

  • Football was played in the picturesque village of Rathgormack before the foundation of the GAA in 1884. It was one of the first parts of the Déise to be affiliated to the new national sports organisation that came into existence and apart from one or two rare instances it has remained steadfast to the associations aspirations.
  • In the late 1880's and 1890's the club was officially known as the "Clodagh Campaigners" denoting the national feelings of the time-Parnell and the land league and the river that flows through the parish.
  • County Senior Football Honours came Rathgormacks way in 1909 and again in 1910, 1912, 1913 and 1918. They contested Senior finals in 1920, 1924 and 1930 without success.
  • The club went a number of decades without senior success but did win the 1934 Junior Title and in 1935 brought home the first County Minor Football title to the parish.
  • Two football clubs existed in the district between 1936 and 1940 and ironically met in the first round of the 1936 championship.
  • The club went into a sharp decline in the 1940's but came back again with a flourish and of course with their neighbours from Windgap produced many a great football team in that era.
  • Real revival signs occurred in the 1960`s and in 1963 Junior Football Divisional Honours came back to Rathgormack and was followed in 1964 by County success.
  • During the 70's intermediate triumph was achieved and they have remained serious contenders for senior glory ever since. The Club did not always confine itself to football and during this period boosted some fine hurling teams winning Divisional Honours at junior level in 1977.
  • The Club acquired its own property in 1982 & it was declared officially open on the 2nd June 1984 (Centenary Year) and it was a unique project at the time, being clear of debt. 1984 was a memorable year on the field with the Club winning the County Intermediate title to regain its Senior Status, which it has maintained since.
  • In the 1990's the Club concentrated solely on football while its sister club Clonea concentrated on hurling. Both clubs along with the parish of Windgap continue to assist each other in both codes. The Club regained the premier title and brought home the Conway Cup after a lapse of 9 decades in the 1990's. County Final wins in fact came their way in 1995 at the expense of neighbours Kilrossanty, Gaultier a year later and a truly memorable triumph over Stradbally in the 1999 decider.
  • Nowadays the club lends its support to a successful Ladies Football Team, Comeragh Rangers.
  • In 2005 the club grounds were extensively re-developed and officially named and dedicated to the memory of one of the clubs most dedicated sons the late Johnny Curry of immortal memory - his contribution to the club and association remains immeasurable.
  • As part of the GAA`s 125 year celebrations, the Club launched a comprehensive record of football in Rathgormack, The Spirit of Rathgormack - The History of Football in Rathgormack 1884 - 2009.