Anything containing a reference to gold is surely special and this was certainly the case when the Shamrock Hurling Club gathered together groups of Hurlers of fifty years ago who were part of a golden era which left an indelible mark in G.A.A. history.
The 1960’s saw Shamrocks emerge as a great Under 14 Hurling force both in South-East Cork and throughout the County. In 1962 they recorded their first ever Divisional Title defeating Kinsale in the final. Inniscara defeated them in the County semi-final that year.
However, the following year in 1963, they went all the way defeating Bandon in the County Final played in Ballinhassig. One of the really outstanding games of that year was the County semi-final against neighbours Passage, played at Carrigaline. Shamrocks won on the score of 10 – 4 to 5 – 2. The Shamrock centre forward that evening was Robbie McCarthy and he scored 5 – 2 himself. Again in 1964 they repeated this historic feat defeating St. Patricks from the City Divison in a thrilling final played in Carrigaline. That evening the Club had hired two double decker buses from C.I.E. to transport supporters to the game. They got value for money too and saw two very evenly matched teams score 16 goals and 5 points between them. A match winning goal from forward Martin Murphy ensured that Shamrocks retained the title on the scoreline 8 – 5 to 8 – 2. Later in the season, at a party held for the team in the local Forester’s Hall, Shanbally, the Cork Hurling Trainer Jim ‘Tough’ Barry presented the medals.
The Club’s Junior Hurlers of 1963 regained the South East Hurling title after defeating Ballinhassig in a thrilling final played in Carrigaline. The team captained by Joe O’Flynn, got vital early goals scored by Paddy Dreivers, which set them on the road to success. Both Ballinhassig and Shamrocks were the two dominant Junior Hurling teams in South East Cork in those years and large crowds came from far and wide to watch them play. Both teams psssessed some truly outstanding hurlers.
The Shamrock Club organised a Golden Gathering at Fernhill Country and Golf Club On Friday night November 8th last. The large attendance created a very special atmosphere with many people renewing old acquaintances and reliving the golden days of yore. Sadly some of players have been called to their reward, but their relatives were proud to represent them on an occasion that was both invigorating and nostalgic.
The Club’s esteemed President Mr. Michael Brennan, presented suitably inscribed golden medallions to the players or their representatives.
The three Under 14 Hurling Captains were Anthony Ronayne (1962), Robert McCarthy (1963) and Michael McGrath (1964). Many of these Under 14 players went on achieve further successes later. Gerald Hanley captained the North Mon. to win Harty Cup and an All Ireland title. He won three All Ireland Minor Medals (Hurling and Football) with Cork and an All Ireland Intermediate medal too. Michael McGrath won Harty Cup and Corn Ui Muiri Medals with Criost Ri and an All Ireland medal too. Others played Senior Hurling with Carrigdhoun and later won adult titles with the Club.
The under 14 team was trained by Jerh. Coveney from Loughbeg. He was a man who possessed very special talents which enabled him to get the trust and respect of all his players and in turn they gave him unprecedented victories and success. Jerh. was the Trainer,and he looked after the hurleys, jerseys, the transport and first aid as well. Tommy Walsh’s blue Ford Transit Van along with Pa Ryan’s American Studybaker Car provided the transport. There were no bill for transport in those days. A special and long deserved presentation was made to Jerh. by Michael Brennan to much applause and a standing ovation.
The late Joe O’Flynn captained the Junior Team of 1963. A wonderful athlete he excelled in Hurling and Football. He was son of the late Bernie and Kathleen O’Flynn who taught at Shanbally N.S. Joe played Fitzgibbon Senior Hurling with UCC. He was a regular with Carrigdhoun and wore the Cork jersey too. He was represented at the function by his sister Eileen, a Nun in the Mercy order, just back from Peru and his brother Michael who travelled from Kilkenny. Michael was for many years the physical trainer of the Kilkenny Senior Hurlers. Paddy Sisk, the late long serving Secretary of the South East Cork Board had three sons and two sons -in-law on the team, namely Raymond, Ronnie and Noel, Paddy Drievers and Charlie Maye. Raymond played Junior and Senior Hurling with Cork where he lined out with Christy Ring. Corner back on the team was Joe O’Driscoll who later went on to serve as Chairman of the South East Cork Board with distinction.
The twin half-backs of Neally O’Mahony and Teddy Hanley were the best around in those days. Danno Pearse was a majestic centre fielder and the evergreen Finbarr Cahill was always good for a goal or two. Donie and Tommy Livesey were great servants too along with Dick McCarthy, the lion-hearted Billy Hurley, Jackie O’Driscoll, Joe Hickey and Jim Turner.
The team was trained by the late Captain Kevin Barry, who was called to his reward very recently. Representing Kevin at the function was his son Kevin John, no bad hand with a camán himself.
For the record the following is the panel of the Under 14 players; Liam Allen, Richard Beecher R.I.P, Braham Brennan, Henry Cunningham, John Crowley R.I.P., Denis Dunne, Ger. Fehilly, John Fitzgerald, Michael Forde, Michael Fowley, Declan Harte R.I.P. Gerald Hanley, Michael Hayes R.I.P., Con Jordan R.I.P., Donie Kidney, Joe McCarthy, Robbie Andrews (Capt), Sean McCarthy, Martin McDonald R.I.P, Michael McGrath (Capt.), Martin McNamara, Kenneth Murphy, Martin Murphy, Willie Murphy R.I.P., Michael O’Connor R.I.P., Jimmy O’Neill, Dermot O’Sullivan R.I.P, Michael O’Sullivan, Teddy O’Sullivan R.I.P., Dan Regan R.I.P., Anthony Ronayne (Capt.), John Joe Shanahan, Pat Tuohy, Mattie Twomey, Michael Twomey R.I.P., Pat Twomey and Mr. Jerh. Coveney Trainer.
The Junior list is as follows; Donal Brady, Finbarr Cahill, Larry Cotter R.I.P., Frank Coughlan R.I.P., Paddy Dreivers R.I.P., Noel Fowley, Robbie Frizelle, Ted Hanley R.I.P., Brendan Harte, Joe Hickey R.I.P., Billy Hurley, Donie Livesey R.I.P., Tom Livesey R.I.P., Charlie Maye, Michael Murphy, Dick McCarthy, Jack O’Driscoll R.I.P., Joe O’Driscoll, Joe O’Flynn R.I.P. (Capt.), Neally O’Mahony, Danno Pearse R.I.P., Noel Sisk R.I.P., Ray Sisk R.I.P., Ronnie Sisk R.I.P., Jim Turner R.I.P., Kevin Barry R.I.P (Trainer), Mick Walsh R.I.P (Selector), Rob Andrews R.I.P. (Selector), Jimmy McCarthy R.I.P. (Selector).The Committee who organised this Gathering included Declan O’Neill (Chairman) Anthony Ronayne, Pat Tuohy, Pat Twomey and John Twomey.
Some of the assembled memeber at the Shamrocks Jubilee Dinner Dance, November 8th, Fernhill GC.