Clanna Gael Fontenoy: Marking past and present at Clanns

Clanns players mark their unique treble-winning achievement all of 20 years ago

By Felix O’Regan

Treble winning hurling team honoured 

Twenty of the 1999 Junior Hurling team, along with family and friends, turned out at the club recently to mark the team’s unique achievement in winning all three competitions that year – a feat seldom recorded by any team in any GAA club and certainly not since repeated in this club.

That they beat such powerhouses of the game as St. Vincents, Na Fianna and Naomh Fionnbarra to capture the league, the cup and the championship respectively made this achievement all the more impressive.

As Master of Ceremony for the occasion, Conor Dodd provided a most suitable introduction for a number of people to say a few complimentary words: John McKenna who was Club Chairman at the time and Tom Ryan, who headed up the successful management team. Tom paid tribute to his management team colleagues: Jack Nicholson, Peter Burnett, Paddy Troy, Conor Dodd and Niall Maher.  

This was followed by a special trophy presentation by John McKenna to the players and the management team; as well as a bouquet of flowers to two of the team’s most loyal supporters – Therese Nicholson and Noeleen Neville.

Special mention was also made of other most fervent supporters, Joe Sadlier and Jim Kavanagh who, sadly, have since passed away.  

There were plenty of tales recounted and memories shared as a recording of the match against St. Vincents played continuously on the screens in the background.

Unfortunately, a small number of the team could not make the occasion, including the captain, Joe Power, whose car broke down on the journey up from Cork – but they were not forgotten in the conversations.  

U14 girls crowned Division 1 champions – again

Our U14 girls football team won the Division 1 league for the second year in a row. A draw against arch rivals, Kilmacud Crokes, with still one game in hand was enough to clinch the title and crown yet another brilliant season.

Like so many other games the girls played, this one also required grit as well as skill. It was a much-depleted Clanns team which took to the pitch against an improving Crokes side who had already caused a few upsets for other teams along the way; and the girls struggled in the early stages of the game and reached the half-time break six points behind. But they worked themselves back into the game in the second half and scored a great goal in the dying moments of the game which was to prove essential to achieving a draw and earning a priceless point to secure the overall league title.  

In truth, much of the critically important work was done earlier in the season when, due to fixtures congestion, the girls played and won three games in one week.

First up was an away fixture to Erin’s Isle which proved to be a very physical affair, with the host team receiving both yellow and red cards from the referee. Clanns kept their discipline and composure however; and they came out winners despite being behind at half time. 

Next up was a match away to Ballyboden St. Endas. This was the scene of their Championship Shield defeat the previous year, so the girls were determined not to suffer a repeat result. They played brilliantly as a team and were always ahead, despite the inevitable Ballyboden second-half surge. They justifiably ran out comfortable winners. 

The final game of that week was against Clontarf – a strong and skilful side. The team coaches found it hard to comprehend how and where, in their third game in close succession, the girls found the energy to compete right to the end. But compete they did, especially during the last 10 minutes, during which the defence came under sustained attack.

That brilliant 3-10 to 2-9 win earned them a well-deserved table-topping position ahead of the Easter break – and, thankfully, one they were not to relinquish. 

Not to be outdone, our U16 ladies team won the Division 4 league title even with one game to go. Victory in the penultimate game over Ballyboden St Endas ensured that the title was theirs.

Senior footballers show the way

At time of going to press, our senior footballers stood in second position in the Division 4 table, just three points behind the league leaders. The winning result that put them there was a win over St. Finians of Newcastle.

In a game that was evenly contested throughout with the sides level at many stages, Clanns managed to pull away in the closing minutes thanks largely to a well-converted penalty from Ricky Joyce. This was not his only score, as he also registered four points from frees to give a tally of 1-4.

Other scorers included Eoin O’Mahony, who broke from defence to finish off a quick-fire move with a great goal; while Sean Rimmer, Stephen Walsh, R.Wherity and C.O’Connell each contributed a point.  

“It was a very close game,” reflected Clanns mentor, Mick Fitzgerald. “We had to work really hard to get the win.” His fellow mentors, John Dodd, John Divney and Des Markey were equally happy with the result, which put the team in a very strong position facing the games ahead.