1967 – Kilworth’s First County Championship Victory

The early ‘60’s

In every GAA club across the country, the first county title is revered and remembered with a special fondness. For Kilworth, that title is the 1967 Cork Junior Hurling Championship. It was won by a group of players who performed at a consistently high level for a decade and who remain for many the standard bearers for our club.

Over the early part of the 1960’s, the Kilworth junior hurlers gathered a loyal following in the local community but their abilities hadn’t gone unnoticed throughout the county and it wasn’t a surprise to see huge crowds turn out to see their games. They played with a flair and style that made them enjoyable to watch and whilst they could be hard and tough when they needed to be, they are remembered as much for their sportsmanship and never say die attitude as anything else.

Whilst in existence since 1928, Kilworth had only a single divisional novice hurling title (1935) to their name by the time the 1960’s came around. However when they travelled to Mitchelstown on September 3rd 1961 for a meeting with Kildorrery in that years Avondhu Junior Hurling final, it represented a changing of the guard in the north Cork division. It was Kilworths first appearance in the decider however over the next 7 years (’61 to ’67), Kilworth played in all but one divisional final.

After Kilworth came out on top in 1961’s final against Kildorrery (4-09 to 2-07), only defeat to Cloyne in a replayed county final watched by over 7,000 people, stopped them from progressing straight to the intermediate grade. It was Kildorrery’s turn to garner their first divisional title in ‘62 when they beat the champions 6-07 to 7-01 in a game played in gale force winds at Doneraile on the 26th of August. A year later both sides made the short journey to Fermoy for the ’63 decider and after a 4-05 apiece draw on September 8th, Kildorrery just about shaded the replay at the same venue on October 6th as their 4-05 total pipped Kilworth, who scored 3-07, by a point.

Having missed out in 1964, Kilworth were back in the final in ’65 when Ballyhea proved too strong on a 2-11 to 3-03 scoreline at Castletownroche. Kilworth were champions again in ’66 beating parish rivals Araglen 4-09 to 2-04 in Fermoy on September 11th and whilst Kanturk proved just too strong in the county quarter final on a miserable day for hurling in Mallow, Kilworth knew that they were now as good as any junior side in the county.

’67 Kilworth’s First

The championship trail for Kilworth in 1967 started out with the club aiming to retain the divisional title for the first time. Divisional league games, a challenge game versus intermediate side Carrigtwohill and tournaments in Conna and Shanballymore among others were all undertaken as preparation at various stages. From a championship perspective, the year started well and early victories were recorded over their conquerors of 1965 Ballyhea at Castletownroche on Sunday June 25th and Shanballymore in the 2nd round on August 6th at Kildorrery. An up and coming Newtownshandrum were the opponents in the divisional semi-final played at a sun drenched Buttevant in late August and after a close first half which saw Kilworth leading 1-03 to 1-01 at the interval, the men in red really turned on the style in the second period to run out convincing winners by 5-07 to 3-02. Pat Farran and Fred Sheedy were Newtowns tormentors in chief as they ended up with 3-00 and 1-04 respectively. Dinny Condon (1-00), Danny Fenton (0-02) and Dave Riordon (0-01) completed the scoring as Kilworth qualified for their third Avondhu decider in a row and their sixth in seven years.

Standing in their way in the final in Buttevant on Sunday October 15th were the men from Freemount. In what was a poor final, Kilworth did all the damage in a first half that saw them leading by 4-03 to 0-02 by the short whistle. Whilst Freemount came more into the game after the resumption, Kilworth were never in trouble and eased to a 4-07 to 3-03 victory after which Derry Gowen presented the cup to Kilworth captain John Hogan.

Back on the county trail, Kilworth didn’t have much time to savour their divisional success as they were back in action a week later against Carbery champions Newcestown. In a game played at the Cork Athletic Grounds on October 22nd, Newcestown were first to register with a point on 9 minutes however Kilworth replied with a goal when Johnny Hogans 70 was deflected to the net by Danny Fenton. Newcestown registered another point from a free however they were rocked back on their heels when Tom Halloran blasted home Kilworths second goal on 20 minutes. A Jerry Keating point rounded off Kilworth’s scoring in a first half that saw them leading 2-01 to 4 points.

Shortly after the resumption Kilworths centre forward Fred Sheedy knocked in 2 quick goals and with the north Cork men still 9 points to the good with 15 minutes remaining following points from Johnny Hogan and Fred Sheedy, it seemed that they would coast to victory. Newcestown however had other ideas and in a purple patch between the 46th and 54th minutes they had 3 goals to level the game at 4-03 to 3-06. Four wides had the Kilworth following fearing the worst before substitute Kieran Casey proved the match winner when he burst through to score Kilworth’s fifth goal. Whilst Newcestown refused to give in, some tenacious defending from Lar Flynn and Johnny Hogan ensured Kilworth got over the line by 5-03 to 3-07.

Now through to the County semi-final, Kilworth found themselves again in Buttevant, this time up against their conquerors from the year previous, Kanturk, on November 12th. On a perfect day for hurling despite the time of year, Kilworth spent much of the first half pinned back by the strong play of county footballer Mick O Loughlin along with Sean O Connell, Charles O Loughlin & Sean O Shea and found themselves 1-04 to 1-01 in arrears at the short whistle. On the resumption Johnny Hogan and Jerry Keating continued to take the fight to the Duhallow champions and improved performances from Fred Sheedy, Kieran Casey and Tom Halloran allowed Kilworth to draw level by the 50th minute mark on a score of 2-04 apiece. With the game hanging in the balance and with time closing in, two of Kilworths all-time greats, Fred Sheedy from a 50 yard free and then Johnny Hogan knocked over the match winning scores to take Kilworth back to the county final for the first time since 1961 by 2-06 to 2-04. For the record the Kilworth scorers on the day were: Fred Sheedy 0-04, Kieran Casey & Pat Farran 1-00 each, Johnny Hogan 0-02.

Sunday November 26th 1967 at the Cork Athletic Grounds has gone down in the annals of Kilworth GAA Club as the day of days. Whilst every county title is special, there can only ever be one “first” and it is more than fitting from a Kilworth perspective that the hurlers of 1967 will forever hold the honour of opening Kilworth’s account on the county champion’s role of honour.

It is often said that the Cork County Junior Hurling Championship is the most difficult of all to win. Meetings with familiar neighbouring rivals within the division must first be surmounted before taking on the best of the rest from the other divisions, more often than not late in the year, when the weather has made open free-flowing hurling much more difficult. It should also be remembered that back in 1967 there were only 3 grades of hurling in the county with no second chances. The magnitude of Kilworths win is further enhanced when you consider the calibre of teams they encountered along the way. Three of the teams they defeated went on to win the county championship themselves over the next 3 years (Newtownshandrum in 1968, Kanturk in 1969 and Cloughduv in 1970). In fact two of the four remaining teams that Kilworth played that year became county champions in their own right by 1980 as Ballyhea and Newcestown went on to claim county honours.

The following is the report from the Cork Examiner from Monday November 27th 1967.

First Junior Hurling Crown for Kilworth

Kilworth 3-11

Cloughduv 2-07


Kilworths long wait is over. At Corks Athletic Grounds yesterday, they won the county junior hurling title for the first time when they came from behind in a dashing second half to whip a Cloughduv side who looked to have made sure of the trophy at the interval when they led by two goals and a point.

But the fortunes of the game changed remarkably in the second half when the new champions opened with a lightening goal from the throw in and followed with an equally fast point. Thus did Cloughduv have their handsome interval lead decimated and they never quite recovered, rally though they did to the inspiration of Teddy Mahony who played his heart out at centre back in this period.

The scores transformed Kilworth into an unstoppable machine and so well did they put themselves to the task of saving the day that in this second half Cloughduv could only add two points to their interval tally and one of those scores came from a free.

Trailing by 0-04 to 2-05 at the break, Kilworth’s first minute goal was worth its weight in gold. It could not have come at a more appropriate moment and resulted from a masterly pass back by corner forward Paddy Farran to big Kieran Casey who blasted a great ball to the Cloughduv net. Army man Fred Sheedy who had all the champions first half points, three from frees, followed with an immediate point, and Kilworth were on their way to their first county title. More points brought them to within a point of Cloughduv and then midfielder Tom Halloran cut in a sideline puck which substitute Patsy Mahony finished to the net just as the game entered the last quarter. Casey clipped over a point quickly and the final hammer blow came within minutes when a Casey centre was sent to the net by Paddy Farran. There were 12 minutes left at this stage with Kilworth ahead by 3-09 to 2-06 and Denny Condon rounded off the hour with two more points that left Kilworth indisputably the better finishing team.

As a game the final was almost all that could be wished for. The hurling was hard and clean, and the Kilworth fightback as Cloughduv sought desperately to hold their lead in the second half made it memorable. In the opening quarter it was neck and neck and point for point as both sides sent over three points. Noel Dunne, who had four points altogether, edged Cloughduv into a four to three lead before Teddy Mahonys free lobbed into the square and went straight to the net amid a welter of flying hurleys. After 19 minutes, full forward Michael Walsh doubled Cloughduvs second goal and a Dunne point from a free left them in a commanding half time position, particularly when it is remembered that three of Kilworths first half points came from frees.

But the north Cork men, without star player Jerry Keating, showed their real metal in their glorious second half when Jim Condon, Johnny Hogan and Sean Long in the defence and Casey, Sheedy, Condon and Farran in the attack found top form.

Cloughduv, who were unlucky enough to lose their centre back John Dunlea after about 10 minutes of play, were excellently served by the aforementioned Teddy Mahony and Noel Dunne and by the Kelly brothers, Jerry and county minor Connie in the forwards and by John Hickey and Francis Long in defence.

The scorers were;

Kilworth: F Sheedy 0-5; K Casey 1-2; D Riordan and J Hogan 0-1 each; P Mahony & P Farran 1-0 each; D Condon 0-2

Cloughduv: N Dunne 0-4; C Kelly 0-2; J Kelly 0-1; T Mahony and M Walsh 1-0 each

Kilworth: L Shanahan, J Condon, L Flynn, J Carey, B Russell, J Hogan, S Long, T Halloran, D Fenton, D Riordan, K Casey, D Condon, R Carey, F Sheedy, P Farran. Subs. P Mahony for R Carey

Cloughduv: S Mahony, D Brien, J Hickey, M Keane, F Long, J Dunlea, E Kelleher, T Mahony, N Dunne, T Kelly, J Kelly, N Cronin, C Kelly, M Walsh, J Long. Subs. B Slyne for Dunlea, L Nash for Slyne.

Referee: F Murphy Blackrock

The Intermediate Years

Having been promoted to the intermediate grade for 1968, Kilworth made their presence felt straight away when they turned a 4 point half time deficit into a 7 point win over Nemo Rangers in Midleton in the first round (3-09 to 3-02). Patsy O Mahony was scorer in chief with 3-01 whilst Fred Sheedy and Bob Honahan had 3 points each and Dinny Condon and Danny Fenton with a point apiece closed out a first win for the north Cork men in the grade. Now through to the quarter final, Kilworth put in an excellent display against the famed Glen Rovers at Riverstown in early July. Fred Sheedy with 1-03, 0-04 from Dave Riordan, 1-01 from Danny Fenton and a goal from Jim Condon however wasn’t enough as the city side won out with a point from a last minute 70 (2-12 to 3-08).

A one point win over Nemo Rangers again, this time at Carrigtwohill, in April 1969 saw Kilworth through to a quarter final meeting with Carrigdouhn side Shamrocks on the May weekend. Whilst Shamrocks were quick out of the blocks with 1-01, Kilworth drew level by the 10th minute before taking over completely thereafter to run out 10 point winners (6-08 to 2-10). Patsy O Mahony and Pat Farran had 2-00 apiece whilst Kieran Casey (1-02), Mick O Loughlin (1-01), Fred Sheedy (0-04) and Dave Riordan (0-01) completed the scoring. On the 17th of August, Kilworth faced the defeated finalists from 1968, Youghal, in the semi-final at the old Cork Athletic Grounds. Youghal were a star studded team at the time and counted Cork seniors Willie Walsh, Pat Hegarty, Seanie O Leary and John Ryan among their starting 15. Gallant displays from Johnny Hogan, Seanie Long and Kieran Casey who bagged both Kilworth goals were not enough to get the better of the east Cork men and Kilworth bowed out at the penultimate hurdle (1-17 to 2-06). Whilst Youghal went on to take the title, beating Cobh in the decider, Kilworth’s run to the ’69 intermediate semi-final remained the furthest a team from the little village has progressed in county championship hurling until the feat was finally surpassed in 2019 when the side reached the championship decider before going under to Fr O Neills.

In the first round in 1970, Kilworth gained revenge for their defeat to Glen Rovers in ’68, when they got the better of the city outfit by 3-07 to 2-08 on May 24th at Riverstown. Danny Fenton (1-02), Christy Callaghan & Jimmy Hanlon (1-00 each), Johnny Hogan (0-02), Dinny Condon, Tom Condon and Sean Casey (0-01) were the Kilworth scorers on the day. Back in their 3rd quarter final in 3 years, Kilworth unfortunately ran into eventual champions Cobh on the 7th of June at the Athletic Grounds. On a sweltering day, Cobh put in a powerful first half to go in leading 3-06 to 3 points at half time. A fourth goal just after the break put paid to Kilworths chances however as always the north Cork men battled to the end with Tom Shanahan and Johnny Hogan best on a difficult day for the men in red.

1971 – Back to Junior

Despite performing admirably at intermediate level, the club took the decision to regrade to junior for the 1971 season. Captained by Fred Sheedy, Kilworth once again qualified for the divisional final, where they recovered from a poor first half to get the better of Liscarrol at Doneraile by 4-10 to 2-09. Unfortunately a poor second half, albeit with the advantage of the breeze saw Kilworth bow out at the county quarter final stage to Imokilly side Killeagh in Fermoy on October 24th. 1-02 from Fred Sheedy, 1-01 from Dinny Condon, a Christy O Callaghan goal and a point each from Johnny Hogan, John Carey and Tom Halloran were not enough for the north Cork men as they went down by 4-11 to  3-06 despite the best efforts of the Hogan brothers Johnny and Dave and Seanie Long in defence.

1961 - 1971 Kilworth’s Golden Age

In the eleven years between 1961 and 1971, Kilworth played in 7 north Cork junior finals, 2 county junior finals (plus a replay in 1961), 2 intermediate quarter finals and an intermediate semi-final. It was a golden age for hurling in the village and a time that is still spoken of to this day.

Throughout the 1960’s, Kilworth provided a number of players to various Cork sides with most success for the local men coming in the intermediate grade.

Johnny Hogan was at midfield on the intermediate team that won a Munster title in 1965 against Waterford at the Fraher Field in Dungarvan before playing in the same position in the All Ireland wins against Wexford in Enniscorthy (Home Final) and London in the final in the Athletic Grounds in Cork

Hogan had moved to centre back and Jerry Keating was introduced as a substitute when Cork won the Munster intermediate title again in 1967 with a 5-14 to 2-12 win over Limerick at Buttevant. Unfortunately both players, Hogan again at centre back and Keating now starting at midfield were unable to get the better of London in the All Ireland Final at the Gaelic Grounds later that year as they lost out by 4 points (1-09 to 1-05).

Johnny Hogan was once again at centre back in 1969 when Cork trounced Galway 4-14 to 0-06 in the Munster Intermediate Final at Charlaville but unfortunately Kildare prevented him from winning a second All Ireland medal in that years final when they had a one point win at Semple Stadium Thurles.

Bill Hegarty was at midfield and Jerry Keating at corner forward on the Cork Intermediate team defeated by a last minute Galway goal (5-04 to 4-06) in the Munster final of 1962 whilst Fred Sheedy was at midfield in 1966 when Tipperary beat Cork 2-11 to 2-07 at Tipp Town in the Munster Intermediate semi final.

In 1968 Kieran Casey started at centre forward in a first round intermediate win over Kerry at Macroom whilst Fred Sheedy scored 2-02 having come off the bench in the same game.  Three weeks later Sheedy scored 3 points from corner forward and Sean Long was introduced as a substitute in the semi final win over Galway. Unfortunately Sheedy again at corner forward and Long from the bench were unable to get the better of Limerick in that years final as the Treaty men won out by 3-08 to 1-06.

Johnny Hogan scored a goal from corner forward on the Cork minor team defeated by Tipperary in the 1962 Munster Final. He was left half forward on the u21 team beaten by the same opposition in 1965 and was a substitute on the senior sides of 1965 & 1967.

The Kilworth team from 1967 were honoured on Saturday November 18th 2017 at the Grand Hotel, Fermoy at a function attended by Cork Chairperson Tracey Kennedy and Teddy O Mahony of Cloughduv who had lined up against Kilworth in that years county final.

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