The Silver Anniversary of Boyle GAA’s Riverdance Year of 1994.
I am regularly asked by a friend, ‘What are you at now? I suppose you are still stuck in the GAA?’ My double-edged answer to that is; ‘I am busy and with regard to the GAA I just do a bit of consultancy there now, from the backbenches’. If there was a house of lords (lack of capitals –deliberate) I would be in that red- seated room (blue carpet). A quiz question there!
One of the big occasions for a club’s GAA year is the irregular Dinner Dance which Boyle are having on Saturday night next celebrating a former victorious year. On Saturday night, in Kilronan Castle, Boyle GAA Club’s guests are members of teams that won championships in 1994. So it is the 25th or Silver Anniversary of the winning of the Intermediate championship in late and the O’Gara Cup also, the final of which went deep into ’95. The Juniors and U 21s’ also won their respective competitions that year as did the U 14s! The Club’s P.R. O. was also regarded as a county winner with the club getting the best picture award i.e. ‘Club of the Year’ in the county. All this was celebrated at the Club’s Dinner in the much-missed Forest Park Hotel early in January ‘95 where Roscommon legend Gerry O’Malley was ‘Guest of Honour’ with Frank Dennehy representing the County Board. One of the picture frames in the clubhouse is dedicated to a fine collection of photographs from that night. The most iconic picture in that is of the club Chairman then, Liam Kerins, festooned with cups as he made his way to where the photographs on the night were taken. The picture made its way onto the front page of The Roscommon Herald. Liam’s picture is being displayed currently on the publicity for the event on Boyle GAA’s Facebook. It would have been a winning entry in any photographic competition for Christy Regan.
That Intermediate Final Team
The Intermediate win was the first for eleven years with the initial win being in 1983. I have said that this was the best team and panel that I have seen since coming to Boyle in 1972. The team had strengths in all lines. While I do not intend a forensic analysis I’ll attempt a general picture. The goalie Jonathan Conroy was fronted by a powerful full-back line of team captain and county player Gary Wynne with Vinnie Flanagan and Mark McGovern. The half-line was also strong with Stephen Bohan, county player Gerry Cregg, and Fergal Costello. I’m diverting here now. With a good quiz team through the eighties if we had John Mac Nama with us we would be contenders in most quizzes. I felt similarly with Tom Ryan in the Boyle team at midfield. On Final day he was accompanied by another strong big man in Pat Carty. The half-forward line had Enda Cregg-Gerry’s brother-Jnr. Smith another veteran but wily campaigner and the whizz kid Niall O’ Donohoe who won the ‘Man of the Match’ award, that day and was to repeat it with an even more scintillating display ten years later in 2005 v Kilmore. At number 13 was Niall’s brother Owen nearly as fine a Gaelic player as he was at soccer and that says something. At no. 15 we had the hustling bustling Michael Tormey who couldn’t have been long out of county minor grade. Possibly the most understated player was the number 14, but a real gem of player that day was Sean Kerins. The switch of Kerins and Smith was hugely effective with them opening up a channel for the Lewis Hamilton that was Niall O’D. to do irreparable damage and as Adrian King suggested he gave the team’s cutting edge a ‘je-ne-sais-quoi’ i.e. for pure ‘class’. Within the extended panel, there were several very good players who would have maintained the levels I mention above if called on. Those panel members as per team picture were; Liam Conroy, Joe Sweeney, Brian Kennedy, Jason Beirne, Bernie Shannon, John O’Dowd, Ml. Kerins, Des McLoughlin, Donal Kelly, Aidan Lavin, Adrian King, and Noel Casey.
The Manager was Sean Young of course with selectors John McGowan and Michael Costello.
The team graduated to senior in ’95 but lost out to Kilmore in a rain-soaked Elphin in ’95 and to Clan na nGael in ’96 when a great late rocket from Tom Ryan rebounded off the woodwork.
In the campaign Boyle had two great battles with St. Ronan’s drawing one and losing one. Another game was a tight win against St. Croan’s . Boyle comfortably overcame Western Gaels in the Northern Final and gave an exhibition in comprehensively defeating St. Dominick’s by 1.15 to 0.5 in the county final. Boyle Band led the victorious team into the town on their return to the Royal Hotel.
The Junior Team and Two Goal Fests
In the Junior campaign, there were a number of incidents worthy of note. In a comprehensive defeat of St. Ronan’s Bernie Shannon bagged 3.3 of the team’s total of 4.10. Still, the game best remembered and which is now part of Boyle GAA folklore is the team’s win in Tulsk over Michael Glavey’s. Glavey’s were cruising to victory mid-way through the second half and leading by 12 points. Bernie Shannon had not started for whatever reason but he came on and I believe Owen Garvin suggested to him that what Boyle needed then were goals. Bernie duly obliged with an opening salvo. Game on. While folklore gives Bernie most of the following goals also, the scorers were as follows Liam Conroy (2.1) Jason Beirne (1.3) Bernie Shannon (1.1) Paul Flaherty (1.0). The final score was Boyle 5.5 Ml. Glavey’s 2.13.
The team; Ml. Kerins/Aidan Lavin, Capt./ Brian Kennedy/ Gerry McLoughlin/ Eddie Conroy/ Finbarr Feely/ Paul Beirne/ Gerard Sheeran/ James Bohan/ Liam Conroy/ Jason Beirne/ Gerry McCormack/ Donal Kelly/ Paul Flaherty/ Kevin Young with Bernie, Richie Walshe, Peter Flannery and Paraic Moran.
The senior managers were also in charge of this team if I am not mistaken.
P.S. It is said that the substituted player who was togging in, in the dressing room, could not (for a while) take on board the reasons for the euphoria of the Boyle players returning to the dressing rooms subsequently!
Under 21s’ v Michael Glavey’s More Drama
The U 21 campaign too had its thrills and spills in a winter campaign. After good wins over Eire Og in Tulsk and Elphin in Kilmore, they faced Ml. Glavey’s in the final also at Tulsk. Boyle seemed as if they were heading for a fairly comfortable win when a late surge by Glavey’s, with the aid of a controversial penalty, left the scores level and the temperatures rising, with Boyle 0.11 Ml. Glavey’s 2.5. In its Roscommon Herald report, the famous escapist’s name was headlined i.e. it was ‘A Houdini Escape for Glavey's.
Two weeks later Boyle made no mistake and became U 21 champions.
The team in the drawn first game was as follows;
J. Conroy/ P.McPadden/ M. McGovern/E. Conroy/ F.Feely/ Fergal Costello (0.1)/ D.Kelly/ P. Carty (0.4) / N. Casey/ L. Conroy/ M. Tormey/ A. King (0.1) / O. O’Donohoe (3)/ B. Kennedy/ J. Beirne (0.2)with P. Moran/ F. Kearns/ F. Woods/ P. O’Donnell / S. Corrigan. Managers Gary Wynne & Stephen Bohan.
(I’m confused by the position of Niall O’Donohoe in relation to this team. Niall was in France at that time and was obviously home for the Intermediate final at the end of October. The R.H. had no report on the U 21 replay as it was Christmas time. I believe Niall was home for that U 21 replay?)
There may be some errors in the above and I’m happy to take correction on those for the record.
P.S. The O’Gara Cup final v St. Aidan’s drifted into the spring of ’95. So that cup was absent from Liam’s collection!
The Junior team was defeated by Paraic Pearses at Ballyleague in late October but Boyle objected to some ineligible players. While part of the objection was upheld the consequence was that there was no Junior winner declared as a result.
Another competition needs clarification i.e. the Tansey Cup. How did that end?
Anyway it was a great year and I hope that the memories I’ve tried to get to grips with above will get full ventilation on Saturday night at our celebration of ’94 some 25 years later.