Kilruane MacDonaghs Dinner Dance

14 Feb 2007 by Gilbert Williams

Over one hundred and eighty people assembled in the Abbey Court Hotel on last Saturday night for the club’s dinner dance. Guest of honour was Nicky Brennan, President of the G.A.A.. Len Gaynor, who was a very competent fear a’ tí for the evening, welcomed all the guests including Barry O Brien from the Fr. Sheehys club, vice-chairman of the County Board and John Sherlock, chairman of the North Board.

Connie Grace, chairman of Kilruane MacDonaghs was first to speak. Connie joined with Len in welcoming the guests. He congratulated the minor and u-21 teams on their success and commended them on their dedication. Connie complimented the Juvenile Club on the great work being done and the great work that had been done over the past number of years. He thanked the outgoing chairman of the Juvenile Club , Gilbert Williams for his work over the past ten years and he wished the new chairman Sean Ward well. In conclusion he expressed the hope that John Sherlock and John Costigan would be shaking the hand of many a Kilruane MacDonaghs captain during the coming year.

John Sherlock extended a North Tipperary welcome to Nicky Brennan. He congratulated Kilruane MacDonaghs on their success on the playing fields in 2006 and wished them well in the future.

Barry O Brien expressed the hope that Fr. Sheehys and Kilruane MacDonaghs would met in the near future so that Fr. Sheehys could avenge the senior football defeat of 1975. He congratulated the young players and added that the players were the most important people in the club. Barry then asked the crowd to applaud the people who line the field, the people who look after juveniles and the parents who ferry players to matches. They were the unsung heroes and without them the association would never be able to realise its full potential.

Len Gaynor then introduced guest of honour Nicky Brennan. Len detailed Nicky’s very impressive playing record, which included winning five All-Ireland medals and his distinguished role as an administrator within the G.A.A., from his early days with his native Conahy Shamrocks club to his lofty position as President of the Association. Nicky said that he was delighted and honoured to be invited to the club’s awards night. He mentioned that Babs Keating had also asked him to attend a function in Croke Park the same night but delighted in telling Babs that Len Gaynor had beaten him to it.

Nicky congratulated the players on the victorious teams and spoke to them on the need to adopt a lifestyle that combines hurling, education and work. He said that the association at top level was doing some serious work on the issue of player burn out. He referred to the role of the club within the association. He highlighted the problem in relation to fixtures with club and county pulling against each other. As president he would not tolerate inter county management throwing a blanket ban on club fixtures in order not to interfere with county preparations.

He mentioned the role of Central Council and said that Croke Park , the G.A.A.’s headquarters was sometimes far removed from the local parish clubs at grassroots level. Every effort would be made to improve areas of communication between clubs and Central Council. Officials at the top level were aware of the difficulties clubs had in recruiting personnel for different roles and he added that Central council would help with training. He gave a brief insight into the historic clash of Ireland and France in the Six Nations rugby international in Croke Park. It would be an emotional occasion for all Irish people. In conclusion he wished the club, officers and players a very successful 2007 and said that he would follow closely the fortunes of Kilruane MacDonaghs during the year.

As the image of each player flashed on the big screen Len Gaynor introduced the players who received their medals from Nicky Brennan.

Kevin Quinlan captained the u-21 hurlers to North and County final victories and he became the first Kilruane MacDonaghs player in thirty years to lift the Dwan Cup. Kevin is the holder of an All-Ireland Vocational schools medal. He won a Munster u-21 hurling medal with Tipperary and also lined out with the county u-21 footballers.

Eoin Hogan led the minor hurlers to North final victory. He filled the centre back position for the minors, u-21’s and seniors. His father Michael was on the last team to win in 1976. Eoin won an All-Ireland minor medal with Tipperary and was named as North Tipperary minor hurler of the year for 2006.

Ger Corcoran pictured here facing a penalty in the county semi-final against Thurles, won his third North minor medal as goalkeeper and also filled the same position for the u-21’s. He was also between the sticks for the juniors. Ger has worn the number one jersey since he first played u-10 hurling.

Freddie Williams was corner back for the u-21’s and lined out at full back for the minors. He is one of the most tenacious defenders in the club and would be regarded as a great man marker.

Martin Walsh was fullback on the u-21 team. He has won u-12, u-14, u-16, minor, u-21 and intermediate medals with Kilruane MacDonaghs as well hurling and football medals with Kilruane School.

Colm Williams alternated between corner and wingback on the u-21 team. He has captained u-16 and minor teams to North Final victories. His father Jim was on the first Kilruane MacDonaghs u-21 team to win a county final in 1973.

Gavin McAvinchey pictured here soloing out of defense played minor, u-21 and senior for Kilruane MacDonaghs in 2006. In all three grades he was one of the most consistent performers.

Stephen Murphy has played minor, u-21 and senior football for Tipperary. He was part of the county team that won the Tommy Murphy Cup in 2005. Stephen was a member of the Tipperary hurling u-21 panel which won the Munster final.

Seamus Hennessy won an All-Ireland minor medal with Tipperary last year and he is underage again in 2007. He is the youngest player ever to play senior hurling for Kilruane MacDonaghs. He is following in the footsteps of his father who also won minor and u –21 medals with the club.

Shane Quinlan played minor football with Tipperary last year. He was one of seven minors to play senior hurling with Kilruane MacDonaghs in 2006.

Diarmuid Cahill is normally a defender and an occasional midfielder but last year the u-21 selectors deployed him to great effect as centre forward where his bustling style caused havoc in many a defence.

Shane Williams is one of seven members of the u-21 team who won a county intermediate medal in 2003 when he scored two goals in the final against Burgess. Shane broke his thumb in the county final victory against Carrick Swans .

Darren Killackey played most of the year at full forward but finished the year at corner forward where he used his tremendous speed both to set up and take scores.

Ray McLoughney was top scorer for the u-21’s and man of the match in the county final with a personal tally of 1-13. He won a Munster u-21 medal with Tipperary. In 2005 Ray was named North Tipperary hurler of the year and in 2006 he was selected as North u-21 player of the year.

Michael Costello is shown here scoring an opportunist goal in the county u-21 final against Carrick Swans. He is the holder of three North and one county medal in minor hurling and in 2004 he captained the u-16 hurlers to win the North final. Michael is an ace goal poacher.

Jonathan Cahill lined out at centre forward for the minors and wing forward for the u-21’s. He also played junior hurling in the league and made a number of appearances for the seniors in the championship. His father John was also a member of the 1976 u-21 team

Thomas Williams lined out in a variety of forward positions for the minors and was also called into action by the u-21 selectors. He has won hurling and football medals with Cloughjordan School and like his younger brother David he has played for the Tipperary Primary Game team

Like most of the players receiving medals tonight Liam Gibson has previously won medals at u-12, u-14 and u-16 level. He is a very skillful wingback who has been added to the senior panel this year

Brian O Meara is pictured here in action against Thurles had a great year at full forward for the minors and was reserve goalkeeper for the u-21’s. His younger brother Niall won a North medal with the u-14’s and his older brother Mark won North and County medals with Knockshegowna.

There are three Conway brothers receiving medals tonight and Jim is the eldest. He holds two North and one county minor medals and was also on the junior panel last year.

Kevin Prout played corner forward on the minor team that won the county final in 2005. He normally plays at corner back both in hurling and football.

Kevin Ryan was injured for the earlier part of the year but returned for the later stages of the championship. He is a very versatile player and can play in the backs, the forwards or midfield

Padraig Kelly is one of ten players receiving medals tonight who has played on the Tipperary Primary Game team. Padraig is an outstanding and tenacious corner back.

Declan Barrett was one of thirteen minors on the u-21 panel. He operated at centrefield for the minors, slotting over two points in the North Final.

Cian Williams battled his way on to the minor team this year with some great displays for the u-16’s. He made the right corner back position his own and had his best game in the North final against Toomevara.

Pat Conway was a member of the North Tipperary u-16 hurling team which won the Garda Cup last year. He played at centre back for the club u-16’s and in the attack with the minors.

Timothy Walsh was one of the best players for the u-16’s last year. Younger brother of Martin he is one of the most spirited and wholehearted players in the club.

There are members of six different Williams families receiving medals tonight including Luke Williams who has played with the Tipperary Primary game team and he also captained Ardcroney National school to win a North championship

Keith Kelly was one of twelve u-16’s on the minor panel. This was his first year on the minor panel and his hurling showed great improvement during the year.

Niall Murphy is the younger brother of Stephen and has been on the minor panel for the last two years. Niall was one of the leading players with the u-16’s and also played with hurling Knockbeg College.

There are eight sets of brothers receiving medals tonight including the Hodgins brothers. Scott Hodgins captained the u-16’s to win the Billy O Meara Tournament and also played with Borrisokane Community College.

James Williams played at wing forward for the u-16’s. James has won hurling and football medals with Cloughjordan School. His father Paddy captained Tipperary to win the National League in 1979.

Morgan Conway is the youngest of the three Conway brothers receiving medals to-night. He is following in the fine tradition of his father who won an All-Ireland minor medal in 1980 and his grand father who won a North minor medal in 1952.

Ciaran Boyle is getting his second minor medal tonight. Without a shadow of doubt Ciarán is the most popular player on the minor panel.

Cleary is a very common name in the Ardcroney side of the parish and William Cleary becomes the first member of his family to win a minor medal. He had a great year at midfield with the u-16’s.

Ronan Boyle is the second of the Boyle brothers on the minor panel. He is one of only two ciotógs or lefthanders receiving medals tonight. Ronan is a natural corner forward with a great eye for goal.

Sean Hayes played in goal for the u-16 footballers and at corner back for the u-16 hurlers. He is one of seven players collecting their first minor medal tonight.

The most common Christian name among the players on the minor and u-21 panels is Shane. The third player with that name is Shane Hodgins who is receiving his second minor medal tonight.

Len then introduced the u-21 and minor selectors who received special presentations:

Mark O Leary was manager of the u-21 team. Mark became the third Kilruane MacDonaghs player to win an All-Ireland senior hurling medal when he collected his Celtic Cross in 2001. He also collected the club’s first All-Star in the same year. Mark is the designer and administrator of the highly acclaimed Kilruane MacDonaghs website.

Barney Naughnane has done tremendous work at underage level in the club. He has managed successful hurling and football teams at u-14 and u-16. Barney is one of the most progressive coaches in the club and played a pivotal role in the success of the u-21’s .

Joe Burns has worked with Barney Naughnane with various juvenile teams. He would be regarded as one of the shrewdest observers of the game in the club. Joe is following in the footsteps of his father the late Tom Burns who did great work at underage level with various Kilruane MacDonaghs teams.

Jim O Meara was the fourth selector with the u-21’s. As a player he won four county senior hurling medals and an All-Ireland club medal in 1986. Jim has been involved with a variety of club teams including u-12, u-14, u-16 and minor and this year he is a selector with the senior team.

For the third year in a row Dinny Cahill has led the minors to success. He has a vast amount of experience as both a club and county coach. Dinny coached the Tipp minors to All-Ireland victory in 1996 and also did great work with the Antrim seniors. He will always be remembered in this club as the first man to be presented with the Dan Breen.

Michael Hogan has been a selector with the minors for the last three years. He is another member of the All-Ireland club winning side. A former chairman of the club he was one of the driving forces behind the development of the magnificent sports complex in MacDonagh Park. This year Michael has taken on the added role of senior selector.

Pat Quinlan was also a member of the team that defeated Buffers Alley in Croke Park on March 16th 1986. He has been part of the minor management set up for the past three years.

Brian Gaynor has been with the minors for the last two years. He is still playing senior hurling having made his debut in 1991. He played minor hurling the same year for Tipperary and has also played with the county intermediate team.

Connie Grace then made a presentation to Nicky Brennan. Bridget Delaney was on hand with her camera to take photos of the presentations and the teams. Ebony provided the music for the dancing which concluded with a disco.

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