The AGM in January of 1972 reflected a club content with itself. To contest an intermediate final 5 years after winning a junior championship was reasonably good progress, but just as heartening were the underage achievements of 1971. The U-14s and U-16s won East Cork championships in football and hurling; the U-12s reached the hurling final where they were beaten by eventual county champions Midleton, while the U21’s also reached the East Cork final.
The intermediates had won a tournament in Carrigaline as well as Carrig’s own tournament played over the successful Gaelic weekend. New dressing rooms had also been built. The club faced a new year with a spring in its step.
Davy Sheehan took over as chairman with John Collins as vice-chairman and county board delegate. Eddie continued as secretary while Michael Horgan was treasurer. Canon Ahern was Club president; Fr Patrick Sheehan, Tom Barry, Eamonn Cummins and Johnny Roche were vice-presidents.
Carrig drew Cloughduv in the first round of the intermediate championship. In the build-up Carrig had a reasonable run in the league, which included a 2-4 to 1-5 victory over Midleton. The Cloughduv match at the Athletic Grounds on the first Sunday of May began like Carrig were heading into another long summer. Carrig played with the wind in the first half and led by 3-2 to 0-1 after twenty minutes; Pad O’Brien got two goals and Mick Sheehan added 1-2. That was as good as it got. Cloughduv sneaked in for 1-1 before half time and tacked on six points without reply to draw level before the three quarter hour.
“Cloughduv couldn’t break through for the goal that would have clinched the issue,” reported the Examiner, “due mainly to brilliant saves in the Carrig goal by Davy O’Keeffe and Trojan defensive work by Seanie Barry and Johnny O’Riordan. Inspired by this Carrig rallied and took the lead once more entering the final ten minutes when Mick ‘Fox’ Sheehan pointed two frees. Cloughduv were not to be outdone however. The overworked Carrig defence started to wilt and they conceded three frees which were duly pointed by Connie Kelly to give his side victory, (1-12 to 3-4).”
After coming so close in 1971 it was galling to lose in the first round. Pat O’Connor was captain that year: “We were just caught at the end after a clinker of a match. But that was the story of our intermediate career, losing good matches by small margins.”
Carrig: Davy O‘Keeffe, Ollie O‘Connor, Johnny O‘Riordan, Seanie Barry, James Roche, Pat Keane, Ollie Healy, Pat O’Connor, Seamus Cotter, Billy Kidney, Davy O’Donovan, Michael John Roche, Tom Browne, Mick ‘Fox’ Sheehan 1-4, Pad O‘Brien 2-0.
Six of the Carrig team were picked for Imokilly in the championship: Johnny O’Riordan, Seanie Barry, James Roche, Pat O‘Connor, Mick ‘Fox’ Sheehan and Tom Browne. Eventual county finalists Youghal beat them by a point, 4-9 to 2-14.
The junior Bs picked up the torch. Sars were Carrig’s victims in the first round and Owenacurra Rovers (Lisgoold/Leamlara] were next at the end of August. Carrig trailed early on, but goals from Michael Sheehan (Rossmore), Patsy Spillane and Paddy Duggan just before half time put Carrig 3-3 to 0-3 ahead. Carrig’s lead was cut to five points early in the second half, but they increased the pace again with a goal from Mikey McCarthy and another from the excellent Paddy Geaney to leave the score 5-8 to 1-4.
The semi-final against Fr O’Neills ended in a draw, but in the replay in the middle of October Carrig‘s run came to an end. Carrig held out well against the wind to only trail by a point at half time, 0-5 to 1-1. However Carrig could only manage a point with the wind and Fr O’Neills went on to win by three goals, 3-8 to 2-2.
Carrig: Davy Sheehan, Leo Kidney, Mick Cahill, Neilus Kidney, Denis O‘Connor, David Keane, Ray Kelly, Paddy Duggan, Niall Barrett, Michael Sheehan*, Anthony Kelly, Paddy Geaney, John Healy, Seanie Hegarty, Patsy Spillane. *Rossmore.
For the second year in a row the U-21s reached the East Cork final, but were never really in the hunt. Youghal led by two goals at half-time, despite playing against the wind, and went on to win comfortably, 3-6 to 2-1. In March of 1973 Carrig closed out some unfinished business from 1972. Passage, a senior team led by Justin McCarthy, were Carrig’s opponents in the final of the Walsh Cup at Riverstown. It was a brilliant match which produced a thrilling finish. With Carrig a point down and normal time up Mick ‘Fox’ Sheehan won possession in a forest of hurleys and crashed the winning goal to the net – 5-12 to 6-7.
Early in the match it didn’t look as if Carrig would need any such heroics. Four minutes before half-time Carrig were 3-7 to 1-2 ahead with the superb Sheehan having already contributed 2-3. Passage, however, struck two goals just before the break, and even though Denis O‘Connor got another goal for Carrig after half-time, Passage came storming into the match. In the end Carrig were sweating.
Carrig: Davy O‘Keeffe, Johnny O’Riordan, Mick Cahill, Ollie Healy, Pat Keane, Jame Roche, David Keane, Pat O’Connor, Michael Sheehan*, Denis O’Connor, Michael John Roche, Paddy Duggan, Billy Kidney, Mick ‘Fox’ Sheehan, Ollie O’Connor. *Rossmore.
Carrig got a bye in the first round of the 1973 intermediate championship and were drawn to play the winners of Newcestown and Newtownshandrum in the next round. After the Walsh Cup win optimism was never higher.
“We really thought we were going to win the intermediate championship that year,” says Michael John Roche. “We beat Newcestown by about 15 points in the league before we played them in the championship, We saw their first round match and we reckoned Tim Crowley was the only fella they had. He had a big huge swing, you could nearly hook him from the sideline. When it came down to it, though, he wasn’t so easy to hook on the field.”
The match was played in Cloughduv at the end of May in appalling conditions. Carrig took the lead with a pointed free by Mick ‘Fox’ Sheehan but it was taken off them two minutes later and they never got it back. By half time Carrig were 2-2 to 0-3 behind. Three minutes after the break Carrig missed a great goal chance; NewCestown, though, made no such mistake soon afterwards.
There was one kick in Carrig and goals from Pat O’Connor and Michael John Roche in quick succession brought them to within a point with ten minutes to go. But there was nothing else left. Newcestown added three points and held out to win, 3-5 to 2-4. Another fall at the first fence.
Carrig (only 13 names listed); Davy O’Keeffe, Mick Cahill, Johnny O’Riordan, Paddy Geaney, Ollie Healy, James Roche, David Keane, Seamus Cotter, Pat O’Connor, Denis O’Connor, Pad O’Brien, Michael John Roche, Mick ‘Fox’ Sheehan.
The U-16s provided some consolation. Having won the East Cork football and hurling double as U-14s, they repeated the feat as U-16s in 1973, once again at B grade. St Catherine‘s were their victims in the hurling final and Aghada in the football final. That, however, was where the year ended because in those days there were no county championships in that age group.
The 1970s in general was a fruitful time for Carrig underage teams. The U14s lost the East Cork B hurling final in 1973 but came back to win it in 1974, trouncing Castlemartyr in the final, 9-3 to 3-3. The evening, however, was marred by what the Southern Star described as a ‘free-for-all’ between rival supporters early in the second half. Hostilities spread on to the pitch and the game was held up for 10 minutes while the referee Charlie McAllister, ejected everyone except mentors and subs from inside the wire. They also won the B football title that year, the first of three in a row, 1974-76.
Carrig (hurling): John Horgan, Michael Sheehan, Brian McSweeney, John O’Mahony, Tim Cull, Jerry Coleman, Davy Barry, Michael O’Mahony, James Horgan, Frank Cotter, Sean Cashman, James Leo Ronayne, John Joe Harte, Edmond Casey, Noel Donovan.
There was no relief, however, for the intermediates in 1974. Carrig received a bye to the second round where they met Ballinhassig, who had beaten the Barrs in the first round. Carrig played against the wind in the first half and trailed by 3-9 to 1-3 at the break. In the second half the wind made no discernable difference and Carrig crashed, 5-15 to 3-4.
Carrig: Davy O‘Keeffe, Donie Buckley, Johnny O’Riordan, Paddy Greany, Denis O’Connor, Dave keane 0-1, Ollie Healy, Pat O’Connor, Patsy Spillane, Mick Sheehan*, Michael J Roche, Davy Sheehan, Billy Kidney 1-0, Michael ‘Fox’ Sheehan 1-3, Pad O’Brien. *Rossmore.
Subs used: Jim Rourke and Paddy Duggan 1-0.
After years of impressive performances, Pat O’Connor was recognised at last by the Cork senior selectors in 1974. A brilliant performance for Imokilly against Youghal clinched his call-up and he played his first match against Waterford in the opening of the Copper Alley pitch. Cork lost in the first round of the championship that summer and so the following autumn there were openings on the panel. Willie John Daly was the Cork Coach and O‘Connor took the chance he was given.
Cork won the Oireachtas and he played well enough to be picked for every match during the league. Willie John resigned early in 1975 and was replaced by Justin McCarthy, but by then O’Connor had established himself. A month before Cork played championship, however, he had the misfortune to be attacked by a bull.
He recovered to play for Carrig and Imokilly before the Cork match but was left on the bench against Waterford. Cork got through and O’Connor won his place at centre field for the semi final against Clare and the final against Limerick. Then misfortune struck again.
“I wasn‘t feeling well coming up to the Munster final. I remember coming in at half time and my back was cold even though there was water running off my face. On the Thursday afterwards I had nose bleeds all day cutting corn and I went up to Dr Doran. It turned out that I had brucellosis and glandular fever at the same time. I wasn’t able to play in the All Ireland semi-final and that was the end of the year because Galway beat them. It was a long time before I got my strength back. I wasn’t able to lift a bale of straw. I used to be able to run for a fortnight, but my energy was gone.”
O’Connor turned 30 that summer. He had been the first Carrig man to win a Munster senior championship medal since1956, but it was the last chance he got. “You look back in life and you‘ll like to have had a second go. The first time around you’re just looking, gaining the experience. It’s one of those things.”
For the first time since reaching the county final in 1971 Carrig won a championship match in 1975. Cobh were Carrig‘s victims at Riverstown, 1-13 to 1-11. Pat Keane and Johnny O‘Riordan were superb in defence, Pat O’Connor dominated centre field but it still took a spectacular save by Davy O‘Donovan in the last minute to see Carrig through.
Carrig: Davy O’Donovan, Paddy Geaney, Johnny O’Riordan, Ollie Healy, Peter Hogan, Pat Keane 0-4, David Keane, Denis O’Connor, Pat O‘Connor 0-3, Mickey Rohan, Michael J Roche 0-2, Jimmy O’Reilly 0-3, Billy Kidney, Mick ‘Fox’ Sheehan 0-1, Jimmy O’Rourke 1-0.
Carrig thrashed Watergrasshill, 5-10 to 1-5, in the build-up to the second round against Blackrock, but the city team were a different proposition. A few of the Blackrock players were seniors who had missed the first round of the championship, including Brendan Cummins who won a senior All Ireland with Cork a year later.
In the end it was too much for Carrig. They trailed by eight points at half time before Paddy Duggan, introduced as a half time substitute, started a comeback with a goal in the first minute of the second half. Three points in a row reduced the deficit to two, but that was as close as they got and Blackrock pulled away again to win easily, 4-10 to 2-8.
Carrig: Joe O’Donovan, Paddy Geaney, Johnny O‘Riordan, Ollie Healy, Peter Hogan, Pat Keane 0-1, David Keane, Pat O‘Connor 1-0, Denis O’Connor, Jimmy O‘Reilly 0-1, Michael John Roche, Michael Rohan 0-3, Billy Kidney, Seamus Cotter, Jimmy O’Rourke.
Sub used: Paddy Duggan 1-3.
Despite the disappointment of another short season for the intermediates, there was some encouragement in underage performances. The U-16s won a county title at B grade, beating Ballinora in the final and the minors won the East Cork A championship for the first time in 13 years with a 3-10 to 0-4 victory over Youghal.
Peter Hogan made the Cork minor panel and Michael Cronin, one of a number of players from Lisgoold who featured on Carrig minor teams at that time, played corner back on the team which lost the All Ireland final to Kilkenny; Cronin was on the team again a year later. The U-21s also reached the East Cork final, although they were well beaten by Erins Own, 3-12 to 2-3.
Carrig minors (v Youghal): Jim Cooney, Tony Cotter, Padraig Fleming, Denis O’Mahony, Bernard Fouhy, Michael Cronin, Peter Hogan, Finbarr Rohan, Dermot Cashman, Michael Rohan 0-5, Jimmy O’Reilly 2-2, Tomas Ahern, James Keane 0-2, Eddie Dunlea, Joe Ahern.
Subs: Joe Sheehan 1-1, John Barrett.
U21s (v Erins Own): Bernard Fouhy, Pat O’Rourke, Paddy Geaney, Neilus McCarthy, Tony Cotter, Peter Hogan, David Keane, Jimmy O‘Rourke, Michael Sheehan, Joe Sheehan, Jimmy O’Reilly, Mickey Rohan, James Keane, Joe O’Donovan, Joe Ahern.
Subs: Dermot Cashman, Jim Cooney.
In 1976 Carrig Intermediate hurlers were drawn against Blackrock again. This time Blackrock were not buttressed with as many senior players and at half-time, with a lead of 2-5 to 0-6, it looked as if Carrig would take revenge.
It was not to be. Carrig collapsed and could only muster 1-1 in the entire second half while Blackrock racked up 4-8 to win easily, 4-14 to 3-6. A sixteen year old Jim Cooney was faultless in goal; the Examiner report also exonerated Ollie Healy, Paddy Geaney and David Keane.
Carrig: Jim Cooney, Paddy Geaney, Johnny O’Riordan, Ollie Healy, Paddy Duggan, Peter Hogan, David Keane, Jimmy O’Rourke 0-1, Denis O’Connor 1-0, Jimmy O’Reilly, Pat Keane 1-1, Mickey Rohan 0-1, Pat O’Connor 1-0, Donie McCarthy, Davy O’Donovan 0-2.
At least there was still underage success to cling to. The U-16s retained their B county championship, defeating Carrigaline in the final while the minors retained their East Cork A championship with a 3-8 to 2-8 victory over Youghal. They too, went on to win the country county before taking on Glen Rovers in the county final at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Carrig, however, failed to land a blow and were well beaten, 3-11 to 1-5.
Carrig were terribly slow to settle. They didn’t get their first score until two minutes before half time, and although they followed that with a goal from a penalty they still trailed by 2-4 to 1-1 at the break. The Glen dominated the second half just as much as they had the first and, according to the Examiner, Carrig’s “Lack of penetration was obvious.” The Glen were captained by Pat Horgan who had won a senior county medal on the previous Sunday and would make the Cork senior panel a year later and included Diarmuid O’Donovan, who would coach Carrig’s junior footballers 20 years later.
Carrig minors (East Cork final): Jim Cooney, Kieran Horgan, Denis O’Mahony, Bernard Fouhy, Dave Barry, Michael Cronin, Tomas Ahern, Finbar Rohan 0-4, Dermot Cashman, John O’Neill 0-3, James Keane 1-1, Pat Cronin 1-0, Seanie Cashman, Ger Grey, Pat Clifford.
Sub: Brian McSweeney 1-0
At the 1977 county convention Denis Conroy won the contest for registrar at the fourth attempt, defeating the outgoing Austin Cremin by 129 to 95. It was a hugely significant convention as it ushered Bord na nOg into being. Set up to streamline juvenile affairs within the county, they ran off 10 county championships in their first year of operation. In recognition of his contribution to the promotion of Gaelic games at primary schools level, Peadar Seymour was elected life president of the new board.
Carrig drew Inniscarra in the first round of the intermediate championship but once again they fell, 0-13 to 0-10; for what it’s worth it was a cracker: “During the course of this pulsating encounter between these two valiant sides the scores were level on no fewer than six occasions,” reported the Examiner, “but in the final quarter Inniscarra pulled away to fashion a splendid victory with a series of points. Inspired by the brilliance of former Cork star, Thomas Ryan, who ended the game with a personal tally of ten points, Inniscarra made the early running but Carrig came back to be just one point down at the interval, 0-7 to 0-6.”
“Then Pat O’Connor gained control of midfield for Carrig after the resumption and points from Denis O’Connor and Dermot Cashman put them in front for the first time. Their lead, however, was short lived and deadly accurate Ryan had Inniscarra in front again within minutes. The victors were never again led.”
Carrig: Seanie Cashman, Paddy Geaney, Johnny O’Riordan, Donie McCarthy, Tomas Ahern, Pat Keane, David Keane, Pat O’Connor, Mickey Rohan, Davy Barry, Michael John Roche, Dermot Cashman, Denis O‘Connor, Mick Fox Sheehan, James Keane.
Sub used: Niall Barrett.
For the third year in a row, the minor hurlers won the East Cork A championship and they retained their country county title too, hammering Kanturk in the final, 5-14 to 2-2. En route they had beaten a Midleton team containing three Cork minors, 4-8 to 0-8, and Milford in a highly contentious match at Castlelyons.
The county final against Na Piarsaigh was staged in Midleton and Carrig put up a much better fight than they had a year before, but still went down, 2-11 to 2-4. From that team James Keane made the Cork minors but, after beating Limerick in the Munster final, they lost to Kilkenny after a replay in the All Ireland final.
The medium term future of the club looked bright, but in the short term some stocktaking would be done.
Carrig minors: Jim Cooney, Ger Grey, Kieran Horgan, Pat Clifford, Jerry Coleman, Davy Barry, Finbarr Rohan, Dermot Cashman, John O‘Neill, Pat Cronin, James Keane, James Horgan, Seanie Cashman, John Barrett, John Leo Ronayne.
Sub: Denis Mulcahy
At the end of 1977 Eddie O’Riordan stood down as secretary of the club after 17 years of service, by a distance the longest serving secretary in the club’s history.
When he took office in 1961 the job was not for the faint-hearted. It was a time of serious division between the grounds committee and the main body of the club.
The rift was so bad that the club sought county board arbitration; the county board listened to both sides, knocked their heads together and told them to go back and resolve it. “Looking back now getting that sorted out was one of the most satisfying things we did. The club was going nowhere until we got it sorted out.”
During those 17 years the club moved forward on many fronts. In 1962, for example, the first formal end of year function was held in the parish hall. Stools were pushed together to make tables for over 200 people and the main course was tea and sandwiches, the humble precursor of the annual dinner dance.
Novel ways of fund-raising were explored too. Fifty years earlier the club had run concerts and dances in stores owned by the O’Connell and Murphy families but in 1967 the club ran a festival, the centre piece of which was a heat of Miss Teen Ireland. A big banner was displayed at Kilacloyne Bridge and a marquee erected behind the barracks. The reigning Miss Teen Ireland was the star attraction, but when she arrived her celebrity was lost on the doorman.
“I can’t remember who was on the door now, but she asked where the powder room was, because she wanted to change, and she was told there was a ditch behind the marquee. Somebody copped on in time anyway and she was brought to a cell in the barracks where facilities were laid on for her.”
The development of the field was finally completed in 1968: “There was an awful lot of work down the field and an awful lot of meetings but there was a lot of enjoyment in it at the same time. You‘d look forward to a meeting because you‘d know there‘d be a good debate. Even the AGMs that time were different. They started at 2 o’clock on a Sunday and they mightn‘t be over until half six. People spoke their minds and fellas really let go even as far as making personal attacks. You’d be questioned over six pence.”
As well as being secretary, Eddie was county board delegate for ten years, became a selector with Imokilly and with the Cork juniors. The welfare of Carrig teams, though, was closest to his heart. In 1971 they decided it was time to bring in an outside physical trainer for the first time, an army man from Collins Barracks called Denis Leahy. Eddie brought him to training every evening and Eddie dropped him back.
“In that period I dedicated myself to the GAA. Looking back now maybe I neglected my wife and kids because of it. I can remember going to crazy lengths. One whit weekend we were away in Ballybunion and I came up for a match on a Saturday night and went back down afterwards. That was the way I was at the time.”
Of all the good times, he remembers the night of the junior county championship in 1966 more fondly than most: “A bonfire was lit where O’Donovan Transport is now. Tyres, diesel, everything was in it. The flames got so great that John Keegan’s hay shed was threatened and the brigade had to be called.”
“When everyone was thrown out of the pubs a big crowd gathered down at the hall I suppose it was about one in the morning. I can still see Sean Twomey singing, with a little terrier at his feet. It was his version of Beautiful City, changed to ‘Beautiful Village, my home by Slatty.’ I can’t remember much of it now, but there was another line about ‘the green hills of Jagoe’s. A great night.”
Eddie returned for another year as secretary in 1992, to serve under a sixth chairman. Last year (1999) he attended his 53rd consecutive AGM and, at the annual dinner dance in February 2000, he was named Clubman of the Year in recognition of a life time’s service. One of the truly great club men.