1998 - Minors The year in Review

1998 Minors take Pride of Place

At the outset of 1998 hopes were high within the club that success would return to the village after what had been a disappointing 1997. The junior hurlers had been the most consistent team within the division throughout the decade as they reached 5 of the 7 finals since 1991, winning 3. Defeat to Shanballymore in the 1997 final at Ballygiblin was seen as a setback however it was expected that Kilworth would be there or thereabouts again in ‘98.

The junior footballers had won B grade championships in ‘95 & ‘96 and whilst they had gone under to Milford in the ‘97 first round, the belief was that the under 21 A championship winning team from ‘96 would kick on and become an integral part of the junior set up for the following year.

Our under 21 hurling team would be backboned by the ‘95 minor team who had been beaten by Charlaville in the divisional final whilst a number of the ‘97 under 21 team who had also been beaten in the Avondhu decider by the Rathluirc side were still available. Our under 21 footballers had been divisional champions in 1996 whilst the minor teams of ‘94 & ‘95 had reached B Grade and A Grade county finals respectively. With a number of all three sides available, Kilworth seemed primed to have a major say in the destiny of the under 21 championships in ‘97.

Whilst our Junior B hurlers did manage to retain their crown in ‘98, beating neighbours Fermoy for the second decider in succession; at the end of the year, whilst each of the teams mentioned above had given their all, none had managed to win a second championship game (junior hurlers lost to Charlaville in round 2, the junior footballers lost to Glanworth in the opening round, the under 21 hurlers lost to Newtown in their second round whilst the under 21 footballers went out at the same stage to Charlaville).

That left our minor hurlers and footballers. The footballers would be first into action; however, early in 1998 the possibility of the club being unable to field a team was a distinct possibility. 6 years previous in 1992 these lads had won an under 12 B league title as they beat Ballyclough by 2-03 to 0-06 at Castletownroche. However in the intervening years they had failed to win a single game at under 14 or 16 level. Fortunately, Aidan Hyland who was a fine footballer himself agreed to get involved and allied to his co selectors Aidan Kenny, Lar Flynn, Brian Carey and Brian Sheedy they took this team on a journey that few would have contemplated as being possible.

The ‘98 minor hurling team had had some success at underage level, winning an under 12 B championship against Ballyhea in ‘92 and the under 15 version at the same grade against Kildorrery in ‘95. However minor hurling had proven to be a bittersweet grade for Kilworth. Championship wins over Ballygiblin in ‘92 and Newtown in ‘93 were followed by defeats in four consecutive finals to Newtown, Charlaville, Ballyhea and Ballyhooley which had taken their toll. The ‘98 team would not have been seen locally as being as strong as those who had failed to win a title in the previous 4 years so it was with some trepidation that they started out the year under the watchful eye of Will Hegarty who had the same selectors as Aidan Hyland had on the football side.

The minor selectors met in mid January and chose Declan Tobin as minor hurling captain with Shane Condon as vice captain. In football Alan Kenny was to captain the side with Joe Cahill in the role of vice captain.


The year began for the footballers with an away tie against Erins Hope at Milford on the 8th of February. An understrength side who were missing Damien McNamara and Declan Tobin played some excellent football to record an unexpected but deserved 2-05 to 0-07 point victory. Tom Drislane was excellent in goal whilst Shane Condon in the left corner proved to be unbeatable over the hour. Up front Ned O Brien knocked in 1-01 whilst Shane O Brien with a goal, Brian Tobin with 0-02 and a point each from Joe Cahill and Damien O Donoghue completed the scoring.

The following weekend at home to Ballyhea however the side seemed to take a step backwards. Squandermania was the term used in that weeks Avondhu as Kilworth drew 1-04 apiece with the magpies. One of the few bright sparks up front on the day was the display of a youthful Dave Kenneally who scored 1-01. It took a titanic effort from the defence however to keep Kilworth in the game and a late pointed free from Brian Tobin with 4 minutes remaining was required for Kilworth to take a share of the spoils.

After a break of 3 weeks, the footballers were back in action again at home against a Buttevant team who would become their great rivals throughout the year. In a display that showed the imprint of coach Aidan Hyland, the side showed a marked improvement from their previous game to record a 1-07 to 0-04 victory. For the 3rd game in succession Shane Condon was top class whilst Alan Kenny played a captains part from no. 6 as Kilworth kept Buttevant scoreless in the first half. Up front midfielder Eoin Walsh with 0-03 and Damien O Donoghue with 0-01 gave Kilworth healthy lead. An early 1-01 from Brian Gill in the second half opened up an 8 point lead and whilst Buttevant rallied somewhat with three consecutive points, Ned O Brien and Eoin Walsh killed off the game with a point apiece for a six point victory. The display of Joe Cahill at midfield came in for special mention in that weeks Avondhu notes as did the workrate of Brian Tobin.


On St. Patricks day it was the turn of the minors hurlers to get their season underway and whilst Cork minor hurler Damien McNamara was excellent as he scored 5 of Kilworths 7 points, goals from Milford in the 13th and 24th minutes of the second half proved too much for Kilworth to overcome as they went down to a 2-03 to 0-07 loss. The following weekend in Doneraile, the hurlers got their first win of the season when they beat the home side 1-07 to 0-03. A feature of the first half was that we failed to score for 23 minutes before Damien McNamara with 0-03 and Tom Drislane with a point gave us a 4 points to 2 half time lead. The second half display from Kilworth was still somewhat sluggish as they only scored 2 points in the first 28 minutes before a late Ned O Brien goal finally put some gloss on the scoreboard. Whilst a win was a win, the display left a lot to be desired and all involved knew an awful lot of hard work would be required if we were to have any impact in the year ahead.


On Wednesday the 8th of April it was back to the bigger ball as the footballers resumed their league campaign against Clyda Rovers at Mourneabbey. Dylan O Shea was excellent for the Clyda men on the night and Kilworth were forced to move Alan Kenny from centre back onto O Shea early in the second half after which the two had an almighty tussle that at times became overly physical. In the end, 1-02 from Shane O Brien, a goal from Dave Kenneally, three Damien McNamara points along with one each from Brian Tobin, Declan Tobin and Damien O Donoghue helped Kilworth to an impressive 2-08 to 0-06 point win which placed the Kilworth men on top of the league table after 4 games.


3 days later on the 11th of April, our hurlers went down to their second defeat in 3 games when an understrength side were no match for Buttevant in Kilworth. Missing 6 players on the day, the home side could not compete with a much sharper Buttevant 15 who, helped by two very soft first half goals, ran out convincing 5-03 to 1-08 winners. Damien McNamara was again Kilworths scorer in chief and whilst he had a penalty saved, he scored all 8 points for the men in red.


The following weekend it was once again over to the footballers as Ballyclough came to Kilworth to take on the home side on Sunday April 15th. With 3 wins and a draw from 4 games played, confidence was beginning to grow within this group of players and the work being put in by the management team was certainly showing on the field. Dave Kenneally, Damien O Donoghue and Damien McNamara had goals whilst Joe Cahill had his scoring boots on as he knocked over 4 points. 2 Damien McNamara points along with one each from Brian Tobin, Owen Walsh and Ned O Brien completed the scoring as Kilworth kept their unbeaten run going with a 3-09 to 1-14 win.


A week later, Clyda were the visitors, this time in hurling to take on a Kilworth side who badly needed a win to keep their outside chances of qualifying for a league final intact. In what turned out to be a comprehensive win, young Damien O Donoghue had a game to remember as he scored 3-01. Another youngster, Dave Kenneally playing his first game in his new position of wing back was excellent alongside Alan Kenny and midfielder Declan Tobin. Cork minor Damien McNamara who was still to be a minor in 1999, was proving to be somewhat of a talisman for the Kilworth men as he scored 5 points whilst Brian Tobin completed the scoring. Alan Kearney, Christopher O Mahony, Niall O Callaghan, Tom Seymour and PJ Slattery all made appearances as Kilworth ran out 3-07 to 0-01 winners.

7 days later on the 26th of April the minors signed off on their programme of games before a break for the junior and leaving cert exams with another comprehensive victory against the hurlers of Ballygiblin with a 5-09 to 1-02 win. Declan Tobin played a captains part on the day with an outstanding display whilst 5 of our starting forwards scored from play. For the second game in succession, Damien O Donoghue was tormentor in chief as he rattled in 2-01. Full forward Owen Walsh was not far behind with 2-00 whilst the hard working Brian Gill had 1-01. Joe Cahill with a point and that man again Damien McNamara with 0-06 completed the scoring for a side who were finally starting to show some potential.

Post Primary Schools Involvement

In addition to playing with Kilworth, a number of our players were involved on the secondary schools teams in Fermoy on the St Colmans Harty and Colaiste an Chraoibhin Vocational teams. Damien McNamara was outstanding on a St Colmans side who reached the Harty semi final against St Flannans. Unfortunately their bid to reach a 5th final in succession just fell short as Flannans with a late rally came from 2 points down to win by 2. Colaiste an Chraoibhin had better luck as they got the better of a strong Youghal side in the Vocational Schools County Final at Fermoy. Kilworth had 5 starting players on the panel with Shane Condon in goal, Tom Drislane a corner back, Alan Kenny at centre back and top scorer in the final with five points Joe Cahill at wing forward. Brian Gill was also involved as Colaiste made amends for their defeat in the previous years final to Clonakilty.


After the break for exams, it was the minor hurlers who were first into action on July 7th as they overcame Kildorrery by 2-09 to 1-04 in the championship first round at Ballygiblin. Clyda Rovers were next up a week later on July 14th and although a 0-15 to 2-05 win was recorded, a number of our players did not play up to scratch on the evening. Due to the involvement of Damien McNamara with the successful Cork minors, Kilworths games came thick and fast and three days later on July 17th they accounted for Buttevant following an excellent contest by 3-11 to 0-11. Whilst they were still not reaching their potential, this win left them in a strong position as they faced up against Milford in the final round robin game at Doneraile. Victory would see Kilworth qualify for the North Cork final whilst Milford needed a win to force a 3 way play off with Kilworth and Buttevant .

As you will have gathered from the above, Cork minor Damien McNamara was Kilworths main man on the 1998 minor hurling team. Milford however had their own Cork minor in Mike Morrissey. Whilst this lad played in goal for the county side, he was a very effective centre forward for his club team. On a night when both McNamara and Morrissey gave an exhibition of free taking (McNamara scoring 1-12 to Morrissey’s 0-09) it was the ability of Milford to score from play that told in the end. The loss of talented centre forward Joe Cahill proved too much for the Kilworth attack who managed only 1 point from play over the hour. Their defence also struggled on the night and with Morrissey getting five points from play for Milford they ran out deserving 0-19 points to 1-13 winners.

Drawn to play Milford again in the playoff game on July 28th, Kilworth were boosted enormously by the return of Joe Cahill who had a fine game. Coach Will Hegarty who had also been missing for the previous defeat was also back on the sideline as a much improved display from the Kilworth defence in particular, saw them overcome Milford by 3-10 to 1-05 to qualify for the clubs 7th minor hurling North Cork final in succession. McNamara again proved to be Kilworths talisman with one point in particular from a second half free from well inside his own 45 yard line being the score of the game. Alan Kenny, who had been given a torrid time by Mike Morrissey in the round robin encounter, upped his display considerably to hold the Milford man scoreless from play on this occasion.

Minor Hurling North Cork Final August 4th 1998 - Avondhu Report

Kilworth 2-08 Buttevant 2-08

Our minor hurlers were in action in the North Cork Final lately and could be considered a trifle unlucky not to win. But after almost 65 minutes of play a draw was the result between Kilworth and Buttevant on a scoreline of 2-08 to 2-08.

Brian Tobin opened the scoring after 7 minutes with a point from play. Damien scored one of his many long range points from a free on 9 mins. Buttevant had their first score from play on 15 mins. Brain Gill after working hard for the ball sent it into Ned and he crashed home a goal on 20 mins. 2 minutes later a sideline ball for Buttevant which Shane did well to bat out but it finished in the net from an inrushing forward. Damien and Buttevant exchanged points from frees in the 24th and 25th minutes. Tom Drislane worked hard before releasing Ned for his second goal on 28th minutes. Buttevant had a point on 29th minutes and put over a great point from a sideline cut on 30 minutes. Half time score Kilworth 2-03 Buttevant 1-04.

6 minutes into the second half Buttevant scored a point from play. Damien had a pointed free on 44 minutes. A minute later Buttevant had their second goal. Damien had a point from a free on 46 minutes and Buttevant replied a minute later with a point from a free. Damien was on target again on 50 minutes with a point and Buttevant replied 2 minutes later with a point from a free. Damien sent over a brilliant point from over 100 yards and followed this on 55 minutes with another point from a free which put us a point ahead. It took almost 10 minutes for the last score and it fell to Buttevant to level the match. We await the replay with anticipation and the lads will have to up their game considerably if they are to beat this durable Buttevant side.


The involvement of Avondhu players on the county minor team allied to the fact that the hurling required a play-off game, meant that the North Cork minor football championship was well behind schedule at this stage. Despite protests from both clubs who wanted to proceed with the hurling replay, the decision was taken to commence the minor football championship and to delay the hurling replay until later in the year.

Despite having played very little football and the concession of 2 very sloppy early goals, Kilworth improved dramatically in the second period to eventually score 2-14 in a deserved win over Ballyclough (3-02) in the championship first round on August 11th. 3 days later at Ballyhooley the footballers again lined out, this time against a Clyda Rovers team which we had beaten 2-08 to 0-06 earlier in the league. Hopes were high that we would keep the recent good run going however a much slicker and keener Clyda side proved much too strong. Kilworth only managed 5 points over the hour in a 1-08 to 5 point loss during which the wastefulness of 15 wides was too much to overcome. It was after this game that coach Aidan Hyland famously called his players around him in the old dressing rooms in Ballyhooley and outlined in words which cannot be printed here, what was required of them if they wanted to progress in the completion. The importance of bringing the Richard Clancy Cup back to the village was the sole objective from his point of view and nothing short of an all-out effort to achieve same would be acceptable.

Having suffered defeat to the Mournabbey men, Kilworth were left in a must win situation from their remaining games against Buttevant and Erins Hope (Milford). Buttevant were first up on August 18th and a much improved display saw Kilworth get back on track with a well-earned 3-09 to 1-08 victory. A week later on August 25thKilworth scored an excellent 3-09 for the second game in succession to record a 10 point win over Milford (1-05) to qualify for the North Cork Final against familiar opposition in Buttevant who themselves had beaten Kilworths conquerors Clyda Rovers to reach the decider.

Minor Football North Cork Final September 1st 1998 – Avondhu Report

Kilworth 0-12 Buttevant 1-09

It must be the year of the draws for our minors as they again shared the spoils with Buttevant. Our lads started the better with Brian Gill opening the scoring on 3 minutes with a point from a free after good work by Damien McNamara.

A minute later Tom Seymour had a great chance of a goal when he struck wide on his left leg when he could have gone closer to goal. Buttevant responded on 6 minutes with a point when Tom Drislane tipped over a ball that was heading for the net. Top man on the night Brian Gill kicked over points in the 11th and 13th minutes from frees before the elusive Brian Tobin added a point on 16 minutes after good approach work by Alan Kenny. Buttevant replied with a point on 17 minutes. 4 minutes later, that man Gill popped over yet another point from a free and followed with a goal from play 2 minutes later, again after good work by Alan Kenny. But then we went into one of our sleepy periods and Buttevant tacked on 2 points in the 27th and 35th minutes to leave the half time score 6 points to 4 points in our favour.

We played our best football at the start of the second half. Brian Gill had a point from a free after only 1 minute. Tom Seymour who tormented their corner back all night scored a great point on 3 minutes and Brian Gill had a point from a free on 4 minutes. This put us 5 points clear but again our concentration lapsed and left Buttevant back for 2 points in the 7th and 9th minutes. The hard working Declan Tobin sent over a point in the 11th minute, but from here until the end of the game we went completely out of it. Buttevant scored points in the 12th, 19thand 21st minutes before Brian Tobin scored his second point of the night on 24 minutes. They say 2 points is a dangerous lead, well how right it is! Slack marking and ball watching left Buttevant in for a goal on 25 minutes. They were then on the attack with an effort from one of their forwards who hit the post. We then worked the ball upfield, our corner back “Georide” who was after being switched out to the wing found himself 25yds from their goal and with the left leg, guided over the equaliser.

A great sigh of relief could be heard from all involved with the team and we lived to fight another day. Great credit must be given to the team for fighting back, even though they should have won this game. They seem to hand the game to their opponents when they are in a comfortable lead. I have said before that is fatal and it very nearly was. The date for the replay is likely to be the end of October and this situation is hardly good enough. There must surely be a better way. I’m sure over the next few weeks the minor hurling and football selectors will be trying to get the best out of their respective teams.



Whilst you might think at this stage the obvious thing to do would be to continue with the football championship and play the replay, the decision makers had other ideas and it was back to the small ball for the replay of the hurling final.

Minor Hurling North Cork Final Replay September 20th 1998 - Avondhu Report

Kilworth 2-10 Buttvant 1-09

“What relief” that was the look on our chairman’s face as we saw our minor hurlers break a four year hoodoo and win the Minor B North Cork Championship.

For the past four years we had been beaten in finals so there was great relief all round when the final whistle blew at Kildorrery on Sunday morning to leave us ahead 2-10 to 1-09 at the finish. Having drawn with Buttevant earlier, one always felt this replay was going to be tight and how right we were. From the outset Buttevant took the game to our lads and got a tonic of a goal after 4 minutes. They were on top all over the field and were a lot sharper than we were, but lucky for us they could not convert the possession they had into scores. Ned opened our scoring on 9 minutes with a point and Buttevant scored a point a minute later. Joe Cahill who was working hard scored a point on 13 minutes, but Buttevant replied with points in the 21st and 24th minutes. A minute later Joe Cahill scored a point from a free and they had the final score on 27 minutes to leave the half time score in their favour 1-04 to 0-03.

We knew facing into the second half we needed a good start and boy did we get it. Slack marking in their defence saw Brian Gill all on his own and with a ground shot he buried it past the keeper. Buttevant replied with 2 pointed frees in the 2nd and 4th minutes, but then came the killer goal from Gilly again on 5 minutes. To be fair to Brian he was having one of his better games, but he seized on his opportunities when they came. This was the period that the game was won for our lads. A switch of Davy Kenneally from one wing to the other and he put the shackles on their best forward. He also broke 2 invaluable balls to Damien McNamara and he sent over 2 marvellous points from the middle of the field in the 7th and 8th minutes. He followed this with a free on 10 minutes and 2 minutes later scored a beauty of a point. 3 points ahead at this stage, Buttevant hit back with a point on 17 minutes. 3 minutes later substitute Damien O Donoghue sent over a point. Buttevant were to have their last score on 20 minutes and Damien scored a point a minute later. A goal separated the sides from here until 2 minutes of injury time when Damien made it safe with a point. But in between that time nerves were frayed as Buttevant tried gallantly to get that equaliser. Some brilliant defending by the outstanding Kieran O Callaghan and not far behind Peter Roche, the lion hearted ‘Geordie’ and the goal line save of Davy Kenneally had our hearts in our mouths. But they held out and it was only fitting that captain fantastic himself Declan Tobin should receive the cup from the Chairman of the North Cork Board Mick Lyons.

On the 11th of October the minor hurlers began their quest to win the clubs first adult grade county title since 1967 with a first round tie against the second string from Ballinhassig at Mourneabbey. In the end the game turned out to be somewhat of a non-event as Kilworth proved far too strong for the men from the Carrigdoun division. Despite playing against a strong breeze, an 11 point half time lead was accumulated with Ned O Brien adding a late point to 3 first half goals. With Alan Kenny putting in a storming display at centre back, Damien McNamara and Joe Cahill with 2 points apiece and one from Brian Tobin completed the first half scoring.

Despite turning to play with the wind at their backs, Kilworth seemed to lose concentration early in the second half and had only added 4 points to their tally by the ¾ mark with a point each for Damien McNamara, Damien O Donoghue and the Tobin brothers Brian and Deccie. Substitute Niall O Callaghan did get in for a goal which he followed shortly after with a fine point before a late goal from Brian Gill and saw Kilworth eventually run out 5-11 to 0-05 winners. Kieran O Callaghan again came in for special mention following a fine game at full back.


In what was turning out to be a yoyo set of fixtures, it was back to football again a week later as Kilworth squared up against Buttevant once more in the replay of the North Cork football final.

Minor Football North Cork Final Replay October 17th 1998 – Avondhu Report

Kilworth 1-09 Buttevant 0-05

Minor Football North Cork Final Replay - Avondhu Report

History was created in Shanballymore on Saturday afternoon on a splendidly prepared pitch with our minor footballers capturing the North Cork title over a gallant Buttevant side on a scoreline of 1-09 to 0-03.

In the first half we played with the breeze and at half time we should have been out of sight with the amount of scores we missed. Brian Tobin opened the scoring after a minute when a pass from Joe Cahill saw him score a great opening point. Tom Drislane brought off a great save on 7 minutes and a minute later Brian Tobin scored a goal after fielding a line ball. Buttevant had their opening point and only one of the first half on 13 minutes. Declan Tobin replied a minute later with a good point. Good work by Joe Cahill who had a brilliant first half saw Brian Gill send over another point on 17 minutes. Joe himself sent over a point on 22 minutes and the hard working Brian Tobin had the last score of the first half on 30 minutes with a point to leave the half time score 1-05 to 0-01.

Facing into the second half against the breeze we felt we needed all the scores we had as we had missed at least five in that half. Brian Gill increased our lead when he sent over a point on 3 minutes. Buttevant had their best spell of the game when they scored points in the 4th and 6th minutes. Eoin Walsh really came into his own when he scored a great point on 9 minutes. Damien O Donoghue came on for Shane O Brien and Buttevant again piled on the pressure scoring points on 15 and 18 miniutes. Good work by Joe Cahill and Brian Tobin saw Eoin Walsh score a point on 24 minutes and again on 25 minutes. Ned O Brien replaced Tom Seymour and Kilworth were champions.

A marvellous team performance from all concerned. Our backs and goalie were tremendous especially Shane Condon and Niall O Callaghan. Our midfield were dominant all through. Our forward division took their scores even though they missed a lot in the first half. Especially brilliant on the day was our full forward Joe Cahill. He tormented their full back line and scored and laid on scores for those around him. Not far behind was Brian Tobin who must have covered every inch of grass in Shanballymore. Congratulations to all selectors concerned, especially Aidan Hyland the coach who put a lot of belief into this team.

The Richard Clancy memorial cup was presented to the winning worthy captain Alan Kenny by Kit Clancy accompanied by her husband Dick. This brought back memories of our late colleague and friend, the late Richard, who passed from our grasp a few years ago. It was fantastic to see that special cup coming back to Richards club and we are all very appreciative of Richards family for their kind donation. Alan Kenny was very kind to mention Noel O Flynn who was injured in the hurling game.


Back to the hurling the following weekend on October 26th and it took a titanic struggle for Kilworth to see off the challenge of a lion hearted Donoghomore side by 3 points in the county semi-final. In hindsight it was felt that over confidence in the Kilworth side, stemming from the fact that our opponents hadn’t played since mid-July, played a major part in the Kilworth performance. Throughout the early battles, the mid Cork men were far more eager and were faster to every ball.

Donoghomore opened the scoring with a point on 6 minutes and it took a further 6 minutes for Kilworth to get on the scoresheet when Ned O Brien sent over point. A foul on Eoin Walsh 3 minutes later led to Joe Cahill slotting over a free however from here to half time, the mid Cork men gained superiority in all areas of the pitch. A point on 19 minutes was followed by a goal on 24. 3 minutes later a further Donoghmore point opened up a 4 point lead and it took a late Damien McNamara score to leave a goal between the sides at half time. In fact were it not for the performances of wing backs Shane O Brien and Dave Kenneally allied to that of captain Declan Tobin who played despite having 6 stitches in a hand injury, Kilworth would have found themselves in much deeper trouble.

At the start of the second period, the Kilworth selectors moved Damien McNamara to centre forward and it proved to be an inspired switch. Following a foul on himself, Damien had the first point of the second half from a free. Two pointed frees from Donoghmore were cancelled out when a long range free from Damien McNamara went all the way to the net. That goal and a point from Damien a minute later which levelled the tie, brought Kilworth right back into the tie. In what was now turning into a terrific game, a further Damien McNamara point was cancelled out by two more for Donoghmore. A point behind with 10 minutes remaining, Declan Tobin made a fantastic catch and the resultant clearance fell to his brother Brian who levelled the tie once more with a great point. Both teams were within touching distance of a county final at this point and the next score would prove to be vital. Following some sloppy play in the Donoghmore defence, Ned O Brien gained possession and buried the ball to the back of the net on 26 minutes. Donoghomore had chances in the next 4 minutes however Kilworth just held out for a famous win. The performances of the aforementioned Shane O Brien, Dave Kenneally and Declan Tobin all through allied to the excellent second half performance of Damien McNamara played a pivotal part in the Kilworth victory however all involved knew a significant improvement would be needed if the County Title was to come to Kilworth.

Despite being moved to Glanworth after originally being fixed for Fermoy, the County Hurling Final against Watergrasshill was postponed due to an unplayable pitch on Saturday October 31st. Whilst the atrocious weather conditions could not be helped, the fact that the game was only called off a mere 20 minutes before throw in when both teams were ready to take the field was very disappointing for both sides. With that said, the visiting Wategrasshill selectors must not have known what to think when they came to the Kilworth dressing room to discuss a date for the re-fixture only to hear the strains of Sean South from Garryown bellowing out from the Kilworth showers.

A week later on Sunday the 8th of November, the game did manage to take place and it turned out to be a famous date for the men from the little village.

Minor Hurling County Final 8th November 1998 – Avondhu Report

Kilworth 1-10 Watergrasshill 1-07

Yes, since the first time in 1967, Kilworth have failed to win a County title. That was put right last Sunday morning in Glanworth when our minor hurlers brought the coveted title back to the little village after a 31 year wait. We had been beaten agonisingly in 1980, 1985, 1993, 1994 & 1995 in County finals, so you can imagine the scenes on Sunday afternoon at 1pm, “sheer joy”. Coming into this game as underdogs, we needed to get a good start and we certainly did. Our lads settled early and our backs, particularly our half back line of Dave, Alan and Shane were commanding. Our half forwards tackled their opponents and gave them no room for lengthy clearances. Damien McNamara opened our account on 7 minutes with a pointed free. Good work by Damien and Alan Kenny saw the lively Brian Tobin score a good point on 9 minutes. Ned opened his account half a minute later with a point when Alan Kenny, after a great catch, sent him a great ball. The Hill opened their account with a pointed free on 13 minutes but Eoin Walsh answered that score 1 minute later with a point. We were having our best spell now and on 16 minutes Damien sent over a point from a free. The Hill piled on the pressure and this yielded a goal on 21 minutes. Ned, who was making life a misery for their full back, scored a point on 22 minutes. They replied 1 minute later with a point and we had to wait 9 minutes for the last score of the first half, a point from Damiens 65 to leave the score at the break 0-07 to 1-02.

The first 20 minutes of the opening half was so important but the first minute of the second half was for me the turning point of the game. Leading by 2 points at the break, Damien took a free on the 65 and drove it towards the goal. Ned got a stick to it and deflected it past a helpless keeper. This had the effect of putting us 5 points ahead but it also had the effect of undermining the confidence of the Hill.

Our centre back Alan Kenny had picked up a leg injury and this came against us. Brian Tobin moved to centre forward with Joe Cahill on the wing. Niall O Callaghan replaced Damien O Donoghue before the Hill again forced the pace with points in the 9th, 14th and 15th minutes and another point in the 21st minute to cut the lead to a point. Joe Cahill was switched to centre field with Damien to centre back and in a two minute spell our lead was restored to 3 points. A free by Damien which Brian Tobin latched onto to score a point on 23 minutes and Joe Cahill after good work by Brian Tobin scored a fabulous point on 25 minutes. Damien had our insurance point on 28 minutes and although the Hill huffed and puffed they failed to break down an impregnable defence. They did score a point from a free two minutes into injury time to leave the full time score 1-10 to 1-07.

Amid scenes of relief and jubilation, the County cup was presented by an AIB official who sponsored the championship in the company of the County Minor Board Chairman Tom Dorgan to our inspiring captain Declan Tobin. Declan congratulated all concerned and also Noel Flynn who missed out through injury. I offer my congratulations to the team and would say that I did predict that the lads would win, if they played direct hurling and that they did. Our heartfelt thanks to selectors Brian Carey, Brian Sheedy, Lar Flynn, Aidan Kenny and coach William Hegarty. They have done tremendous work with the team and lets hope now we can build on it. One swallow doesn’t make a summer but there is talent there. We need to make the proper plans, put the structures in place and I’m sure in a couple of years we will reap the rewards at a higher grade.

This is the complete team and panel for the record that won the County final last Sunday.

Team: Shane Condon, Peter Roche, Kieran O Callaghan, Fred Sheedy, Dave Kenneally, Alan Kenny, Shane O Brien, Declan Tobin (capt), Damien McNamara (0-04), Owen Walsh (0-01), Joe Cahill (0-01), Brian Tobin (0-01), Brian Gill, Ned O Brien (1-02), Damien O Donoghue. Alan Kearney, Owen McCormack, Noel Flynn, Michael Slattery, Christopher O Mahony.


The following weekend the footballers set out on the County trail as they headed to Kilnamartra in mid Cork to face Castletownbere. Amazingly however at this stage of the competition, our opponents failed to turn up and the bus load of Kilworth supporters who had made the journey made the trip home disappointed not to have seen a game, but delighted that their team had qualified for the County semi final.

A week later, at the same venue that our hurlers had won the hurling final (Glanworth), our minor footballers got the better of a tough Sliabh Rua (Ballymartle) side by 2 points to qualify for the sides second county final in a couple of weeks. In heavy underfoot conditions, Kilworth took the field with captain Alan Kenny who normally lined out in the centre of the field, at corner forward following an injury picked up in the hurling final a fortnight earlier.

Whilst we missed some early scores, following good work by Alan Kenny, Eoin Walsh finally got us on the scoresheet on 8 minutes when he scored our first point. The hard working Brian Tobin laid on a ball for Alan Kenny to score our second point on the 14th minutes. Whilst their keeper brought off a good save from Joe Cahill on 17 minutes, Alan Kenny, who was causing all sorts of problems for the Sliabh Rua defence laid off for Eoin Walsh to score his second point and Kilworth’s third on 20 minutes. Slaibh Rua opened their scoring with a pointed free on 26 minutes only to see it cancelled out by Tom Seymour a minute later. Two late points by the Carrigdouhn men left the half time score Kilworth 0-04 to Sliabh Rua’s 0-03.

With Alan Kenny back at centre field and Brian Tobin on the 40 for the second half, Kilworth started very strongly. Declan Tobin who was outstanding scored a great point on 5 minutes. Sliabh Rua scored a point on 9 minutes however the excellent centre back Damien McNamara set Brian Gill up for a Kilworth pointed free 7 minutes later. In a tit for tat half, Sliabh Rua again closed the gap to the minimum on 18 minutes. 9 scoreless minutes passed before Declan Tobin again put 2 between the sides with 3 minutes remaining. Whilst Slaibh Rua tried their best over the closing 4 minutes to get the all-important winning goal, Kilworth held out for another famous win. Tom Drislane, Kieran O Callaghan, Damien McNamara and the Tobins Brian and Declan came in for special mention after the game for the winning side.

The win ensured Kilworth qualified for the County Minor football final on Sunday November 29th. Unfortunately however defeat was to be our lot as a better balanced Canovee side proved too strong on the day.

Minor Football County Final 29th November 1998 - Avondhu Report

Canovee 1-04 Kilworth 0-03

Tears flowed freely in Glantane on Sunday evening last at 3.45 as our minor footballers had just failed to bring off an historic double for our club at this level. Our hearts went out to these gallant lads who fought tooth and nail to bring back that second County, but we were defeated by a better balanced Canovee on the scoreline of 1-04 to 0-03.

Again we started with our captain Alan Kenny at corner forward. Canovee took the game to our lads and our defence were under enormous pressure. They stood up well especially Kieran O Callaghan who had his hands full with a lively full forward. He still caught and cleared a lot of ball in the opening 10 minutes. Dave Kenneally, who to me was the man of the match, played superbly. They opened the scoring on 5 minutes with a point but missed a lot of scores in that opening period. Good work by Damien McNamara saw him combine with Eoin Walsh and Joe Cahill before Brian Gill scored our opening point on 13 minutes. They replied one minute later with a point. We missed several gilt edged chances in the next 10 minutes and Canovee scored again on 29 minutes with a point to leave the half time score 0-03 to 0-01.

With Alan Kenny at centre field, we started the second half with great flair. Damien came more into the game as did Declan Tobin. Brian Tobin started to make his presence felt and slowly we started to gain more and more possession. Declan Tobin narrowed the gap with a point on 14 minutes and his brother Brian equalised with a point on 16 minutes. We were definitely in with a great chance at this stage, but disaster struck. A quickly taken free by them saw their centre forward, who had been switched, solo all the way and score a goal on 17 minutes. The lads never gave up and with Ned now in at full forward and Shane O Brien at corner forward, they received plenty of possession, but alas that elusive goal would not come, even though the ball hit everything but the net. They added a point from a 45 meter free on 30 minutes.

We were all disappointed to lose but every Kilworth supporter that was at the match, and the crowd was huge, were loud in their praise of the display the lads put on and the heart they showed. Surely there is a great future for these boys if they keep their discipline in the years ahead.

Team: Tom Drislane, Peter Roche, Kieran O Callaghan, Shane Condon, Dave Kenneally, Damien McNamara, Niall O Callaghan, Declan Tobin, Eoin Walsh, Tom Seymour, Brian Tobin, Brian Gill, Alan Kenny, Joe Cahill, Damien O Donoghue.

Subs: Ned O Brien for Damien O Donoghue, Shane O Brien for Brian Gill, Noel O Flynn, Michael Slattery, Fred Sheedy, Alan Kearney & Brendan Walsh.

Whilst their championship run had come to an end, performances earlier in the season had ensured Kilworth qualified for the North Cork minor football league final and 6 days later on the 5th of December, they returned to Shanballymore to face old foes Buttevant once again. On a day when Kilworth dominated proceedings, Joe Cahill had the first score of the game when he scored a great point on 3 minutes. Buttevant equalised 7 minutes later before Alan Kenny kicked his first score of the game on 22 minutes. Joe Cahill doubled the lead 1 minute later with his second score of the game. A pointed free from Buttevant on 24 minutes was the last score of the first half to leave the score 0-03 to 0-02 at half time.

The second half was all Kilworth as their superior fitness was too much for the Buttevant men. Joe Cahill had his 3rd and 4th points in the third and sixth minutes before Damien O Donoghue and Brian Tobin had scores in the 22nd and 25th minutes respectively. A fisted point by Alan Kenny in the 28th minute closed the scoring as Kilworth ran out comfortable 0-08 to 0-02 winners. On a day when our defence was outstanding, keeping Buttevant scoreless after the half time break, and our midfield was dominant, it was the performance of forwards Joe Cahill, Damien O Donoghue and Tom Seymour which really caught the eye.

A year that started on the 8th of February with a football league game against Erins Hope eventually came to a close on Sunday the 13th of December at Liscarroll for this fantastic group of players as they went under by the narrowest of margins to Kiskeam in the County football league quarter final on a 2-05 to 1-07 scoreline. It was in truth a game that should have been won, but the concession of 2 sloppy goals was too much for the Kilworth men to recover from.

Joe Cahill continued his good form from the league final win over Buttevant the previous week as he knocked in 1-04. Damien O Donoghue, Tom Seymour and Alan Kenny had a point apiece to complete the Kilworth scoring. Despite being 6 points ahead at half time and still being 4 points to the good with 10 minutes remaining however, slack marking, poor judgement and the loss of the influential Alan Kenny to injury mid-way through the second half proved too much for the Kilworth men and they eventually had to concede defeat by a single point.

1998 is a year that will forever be remembered for this terrific group of player’s whose discipline and dedication are still spoken about to this day. Many of them completed their leaving certificate during the course of the year yet it was not uncommon for them to leave for college on a Sunday evening only to be back again on Tuesday and Thursday evenings for training, be it hurling or football.

Over the course of the year, Kilworth played their great rivals Buttevant on no less than 9 occasions across both codes including 2 replayed championship finals with their only defeat coming in the hurling league when they were without 6 first team players. In all the team played 29 competitive games between league and championship winning 20, drawing 3 and losing 6.

It was stated at the outset of this piece that the ‘98 minor team would not have been seen locally as being as strong as those that had passed through the club from 1992 to ‘97. However when one looks back now at the side that started against Watergrasshill in the County Hurling final, it will be noted that 8 of that team (Alan Kenny, Shane O Brien, Declan Tobin, Damien McNamara, Brian Tobin, Joe Cahill, Ned O Brien & Damien O Donoghue) went on to play first team hurling (both Junior & Intermediate) for Kilworth. Seven of the team were part of the panel of players who finally brought the Junior Hurling County Title back to Kilworth in 2006 after a 39 year absence. In fact 6 years later when Kilworth won their first ever Intermediate title (14 years after that minor success), 6 of those 8 players were still involved in the panel. Of the two who were not involved, Damien O Donoghue who had finished playing due to a persistent groin injury was the team’s physical trainer whilst Declan Tobin who had transferred to Castleknock in Dublin actually won a Dublin County Junior title with his new club in 2013.

Great credit is also due to the mentors of both teams namely Will Hegarty, Aidan Hyland, Aidan Kenny, Brian Carey, Brian Sheedy and Lar Flynn. These men put in a trojan effort over 11 months to ensure that 1998 will always be a special year in the hearts and minds of all Kilworth GAA supporters.

Back to top