Carnaross GAA Club, Co. Meath

25 years on: The class of '93

With 2018 marking the 25th Anniversary of the most successful year in the club’s history to date, we take a look back on the unprecedented success that came our way in 1993. 

Intermediate Championship

Carnaross made a flying start to the year when winning the Henry Cup tournament final at Cortown by defeating An Gaeltacht, 5-11 to 1-15. When the draw was made for the intermediate championship, Carnaross seemed to be in some difficulty. Included in the division were top intermediate teams – St. Patricks and Kilmainhamwood as well as Meath Hill and Athboy.  

However, an easy victory over Meath Hill, 1-13 to 0-7, in the opening round gave confidence for harder battles ahead. One of these was against Kilmainhamwood and Carnaross upset the odds with a 0-11 to 1-5 win. Athboy were then crushed as Carnaross qualified for the knockout stages, 5-15 to 0-3, though they still had to play St. Patricks in a divisional game. Nevertheless, Carnaross were anxious to maintain their unbeaten record.  With just seven minutes remaining this looked unlikely as St. Patricks held a slender lead of one point. However, Carnaross finished in style, kicking three points without reply to run out winners, 1-8 to 0-9.  

Their opponents in the quarter-final were Syddan – always a difficult side to beat. And that’s the way it turned out. Carnaross were unimpressive as they struggled for long periods, only underlining their superiority at sporadic intervals. Having led by the minimum at the interval, 1-5 to 1-4, Ollie Murphy was the difference in the second-half as he scored three points at crucial times, as his side recorded a 1-12 to 2-6 win.  

The semi-final against Dunshaughlin was a poor game as Carnaross gifted their opponents a replay.  Dunshaughlin were forced to play with only thirteen players for the last ten minutes. If the drawn game was a dull affair, the replay was a thriller – one of the best games in Navan during 1993 – and ended in a draw, 1-13 to 2-10. Carnaross looked down and out as Dunshaughlin played some brilliant football to carve out a six-point lead in the second-half. With Dunshaughlin leading, 1-12 to 0-9, and only eleven minutes left, Carnaross were awarded two penalties which changed the game completely. PJ Gillic netted both after his brother Alan and Kieran Yore had been fouled, and when PJ slotted over a free Carnaross were ahead for the first time. A late Dunshaughlin point by Alan Duffy forced the game into extra-time. Gavin Murphy gave Carnaross the best possible start with a goal after two minutes and they were subsequently never headed as they ran out winners on a scoreline of 3-15 to 1-17.  

Kilmainhamwood scored a big win, 3-14 to 1-6, over Rathkenny in the other semi-final and were installed as firm favourites to win the title, even though they lost to Carnaross in the divisional stage.  The ‘Meath Chronicle’ had this to say:- “A youthful Kilmainhamwood can gain revenge for an earlier defeat by Carnaross and clinch their first title since 1982. This young Kilmainhamwood team is a better balanced outfit, possessing more mobility, which will be crucial in Navan.”  

After the game they sang a different tune: - “A centre-forward who lingered for many seasons as an efficient Carnaross defender made the most positive attacking contribution to the victory of Carnaross in the intermediate football championship final on Sunday.” The man in question was Thomas Ward, who was responsible for the two most important scores of the game. He scored the crucial goal and then a last minute match-winning point to send Carnaross on their way to victory over Kilmainhamwood on a scoreline of 1-8 to 0-10.  

PJ Gillic gave another powerful display at midfield, where he received solid support from Conor Woods. In defence Dean Kerins and Dominic Yore were the most prominent figures. Apart from Thomas Ward, Ollie Murphy, Christopher Gibney and Alan Gillic were best in attack. All that remained was for PJ Gillic to accept the Matty McDonnell Cup from county chairman Fintan Ginnity. And what an acceptance speech he gave. He stated that it was the “proudest moment in his career”. Here was a man who had won every honour in the game with Meath, yet his proudest moment came when he captained his club to victory in the intermediate championship of 1993. 

 

Carnaross lined out as follows in the final:- Hugh Morris; Eugene Yore, Dominic Yore, Vivian Gibney; Derek Ward, Dean Kerins , Seamus Reilly; P.J. Gillic, Conor Woods; Gavin Murphy, Thomas Ward, Christopher Gibney; Ollie Murphy, Alan Gillic, Kieran Yore; Subs: Tony Morris for Gibney; Michael Yore for Eugene Yore; Burt Kerins for Tony Morris;

The team was trained by Alan Gillic, coached by PJ Gillic with Aidan Gillic, Jack Smith, John Cahill and Paddy Woods acting as selectors. 

A League Division 2

A fortnight after winning the intermediate title Carnaross were back in Pairc Tailteann, on this occasion to do battle with Simonstown for the Division 2 league title. They demonstrated tremendous reserves of energy and commitment as they added the league title to their championship win by defeating the Navan side, 2-6 to 2-5. The Carnaross scorers were: PJ Gillic (1-2), Thomas Ward (1-0), Ollie Murphy (0-3) and Kieran Yore (0-1). 

B League Division 3

Not to be outdone, the B league team also brought home the cup with a big win over Cortown, 3-15 to 1-5, despite having to wait until the following year for the final to be played – February 13th 1994. Eugene Yore, Bernard Murphy, Burt Kerins and Michael Yore played well in defence. Gavin Murphy was excellent in midfield, while Kieran and Stephen Yore, Oliver Farrelly and Tony Morris were best in attack. The team lined out as follows: Patrick Yore; Oliver Flood, Eugene Yore (capt), Bernard Murphy; Ian Kerins, Michael Yore, Burt Kerins; Gavin Murphy, Sean Bennett; Michael Rock, Gerry McDermott, Oliver Farrelly; Stephen Yore, Tony Morris, Kieran Yore; Subs: Gerry King for Ian Kerins; Gene O’Reilly for McDermott; JJ Tevlin for Rock. 

Under-12

Success was also attained at underage level in 1993.  On July 17th, the under-12 team, trained by Helen McGee, captured the Division 2 title by defeating Drumconrath, 0-11 to 2-2.  The following was the successful team: Shane Comaskey; Martin Campbell, Sean Donegan, John Brady; John Dunne, Brian Smyth (0-3), Patrick Nugent; John L McGee (0-3), Peter Nugent (0-1); Daniel Reilly, Robin McLoughlin, David Mulvany (0-2); Peter Ormiston (0-1), Peter Mullan (0-1), Patrice Reilly; 

Minor Success

St. Ciarans minor team (joined with Moynalty) also brought silverware to the club. With victories over Oldcastle (3-9 to 0-14), St. Marys (9-13 to 0-5), Dee Rangers (4-8 to 1-13) and a draw with St Cuthberts (2-11 to 3-8), they qualified to meet Trim in the quarter final. After a keenly contested game, they emerged victorious 2-8 to 1-7. For some strange reason, the St Michaels/Wolfe Tones combination failed to field for the semi-final. The final against St. Colmcilles was played in Pairc Tailteann with St Ciarans winning out on a scoreline of 2-11 to 1-9 to claim the Christy Reynolds cup.

The team lined out as follows: Patrick Yore; Kenneth Lynch, Oliver Flood, Alan Carpenter; Martin Doyle, Michael Jackson, Ian Kerins; Carl McMahon, Conor Woods; James Gallagher (0-2), Oliver Murphy (1-4), Stephen Yore (0-2); Damian Lynch (1-1), Brian Comaskey (0-2), Oliver Farrelly; Subs: Declan McDermott, Thomas Lynch, Paul Govern, Tommy Fox, Patrick Bennett, Mattie Coldrick. The team was managed by David Farrelly and Benny Murphy along with selectors Willie Govern, Eugene Comaskey, Peter Farrelly, Paddy Woods & Ray Manning.

All Ireland Minor Final

The only downside for the club during 1993 was the disappointment of the Meath minor team losing out to Cork in the All Ireland final on a scoreline of 2-7 to 0-9. Conor Woods was full-back while Ollie Murphy lined out in his customary corner-forward position but unfortunately Cork emerged worthy winners on the day. The Meath team lined out as follows: Niall Craven; Ned Kearney, Conor Woods, Hank Traynor; Paddy Reynolds, Darren Fay, Barry Sheridan; Trevor Giles (0-7), Alan Finnegan (0-1); Niall Farrelly, John Lacy, Niall Walsh; Ollie Murphy, Barry Callaghan (0-1), Paul Nestor; Subs: Philip Duff, Nigel Regan, Joey Farrelly; 

Club Honours

But the success didn’t end there. With victories at adult and underage level, it was no great surprise that Carnaross won the Meath “Club of the Year” award, while PJ Gillic was a deserving recipient of the Meath “Player of the Year”.  PJ was also footballer of the year in his club, while Conor Woods won the young player of the year for 1993.

Where now the mantle of failure which hung over Carnaross?  It was buried forever by the feats of the teams of 1993!

* Excerpts taken from the Carnaross & Mullaghea Story

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