1968 East Cork Champions

Junior 'A' Champions in 1968 - after 36 Years

Despite the first round defeat in 1967 there was a great air of optimism at the AGM and this was reflected in Tony Walsh's report: "If an extra effort is put into training we could have another successful year ahead of us, as the team has shown an improvement every year since we played our first match in March 1965." Jimmy Meade was elected vice-chairman and all the other officers were returned.
With Getting's Field rented for the year it was decided to appoint a permanent Grounds Committee that would be responsible for lining the pitch, putting up the flags etc. The members of this committee were Roger Sweeney, Mick Barry, Tom Heskin, John Gettings and Pat Spillane. A football team was to be affiliated and Sean Cotter was elected football secretary. At the first meeting of the East Cork Board the following players transferred back to the club for football: Sean Cotter, Sean Murphy, Donal Murphy, Tim Maher, John Gettings, Paudie Murphy (all from Glenville), Denis Canty and Johnny Barry (from Castlelyons).The 'A' grade hurling draw was a repeat of 1967 with Castlemartyr again being drawn. Ballinacurra were drawn in the 'B' Hurling championship while in the 'B' football championship the opposition was Carrig Rovers. The minor hurlers were drawn against Erin's Own. A motion from St. Catherine's to the Convention in Ballynoe the previous December, had led to an under-21 hurling championship being organised for 1968 and in this competition Bride Rovers were drawn against Carrigtwohill. After losing a challenge game against Owenacurra Rovers at Lisgoold on Sunday February 25th, the hurlers had two good wins in the league defeating Carrignavar by 4-3 to 3-3 and Watergrasshill by 6-8 to 3-5 respectively. These games were on March 10th and March 24th and on the Sunday in between, St. Patrick's Day, Seanie Barry won a Railway Cup medal at Croke Park when Munster defeated Leinster by 0-14 to 0- 10. Erin's Own brought the league run to a halt in round three at Watergrasshill. on March 31st, winning by 6-2 to 3-6. OnMarch 31st Fr. Bertie Troy showed films of old All-Ireland Finals in Rathcormac and Bartlemy Halls - a total profit of £6-4s-6d. was made out of the two nights. With the first round of the junior 'A' hurling championship fixed for Midleton on Sunday June 16th the six weeks previous were hectic. A league win over Castlelyons was followed by defeats at the hands of Whites Cross, 2-6 to 1-3 and Sarsfields, 4-6 to 3-6. On Sunday May 9th the 'A' grade team played two games. At 3 o'clock the 1967 Dungourney Tournament final against Shanagarry ended in a 5-5 to 5-5 draw while that evening in the semi-final of the Bartlemy Carnival Tournament St.Catherine's were winners. On May 28th the Fermoy team were defeated by a point, 2-4 to 2-3 and the final game before the championship was on June 9th in- the Rathcormac Tournament semi-final when a good victory by 6-8 to 5-1 over the 'Hill was recorded.

On the Championship Trail
After the defeat by Castlemartyr in 1967 there was no over-confidence facing the same opposition. A year on, the Rovers had matured into a much better team and had a very convincing win over the 'Reds' by 2-14 to 1-2. This victory meant a clash with old rivals St. Catherine's in the second round. St. Catherine's had a 8-9 to 3-3 win over Cloyne in the first round. The Watergrasshill. Tournament provided two good wins, over Castlelyons by 4-2 to 2-0 and then over the home team in the final by 4-7 to 3-4.With the second round of the Junior 'A' hurling championship against St. Catherine's fixed for July 14th it was decided that it would be safer tosend the 'B' team to the Conna Tournament on July 2nd . This was against Killeagh and the 1967 East Cork champions had an easy win 4-10 to 2-0. The following Sunday evening the 'B'team put up a brilliant performance in achieving a draw with Ballinacurra in the first round of the 'B' hurling championship - Bride Rovers 5-6, Ballinacurra 6-3. This result showed the depth of talent in the club.Earlier that day, Seanie Barry made his debut with Imokilly when they had a shock win over Blackrock by 5-12 to 2-9 in the County Senior Hurling Championship at Riverstown.

The Imokilly team and scorers were: W. Glavin (Midleton), P. Dunne (Cloyne), J. Ryan (Youghal), J.
O'Riordan (Carrigtwohill), O. O'Keeffe (Midleton), P. Hegarty (Youghal),
P. O'Sullivan (Midleton), T.. Meaney (Cobh), W. Walsh (Youghal), Seanie
Barry (Bride Rovers) 0-6, N. Gallagher (Youghal) 0-2, P. Ring (Cloyne) 1-1,
F. Keane (Youghal), D. Daly (Cloyne) 1-0, M. Hegarty (Castlelyons) 1-3.
Sub: T. Buckley (Erin's Own) 2-0.


The depth of talent in the club was all needed the following Sunday evening in Carrigtwohill against St. Catherine's. Since the club was reformed in 1965 some great games had been played against the 'Cats' and there was never much between the sides.St. Catherine's were in top form in the first half and two early goals saw them ahead comfortably at the break by 4-6 to 3-2. When the Conna/ Ballynoe side stretched their lead to 8 points after 5 minutes of the second half the outlook seemed bleak. Then the entire Rovers team seemed to improve their game and they took over completely. Seven unanswered points, from Seanie Barry 0-3, John Meade, Frank Meade, Eddy Barry and Johnny Barry left just 1 point between the teams. A Ned Fitzgerald goal for St. Catherine's was quickly answered by a similar score from Tony O'Brien., The Saints struck back with a point but two further points from Seanie Barry left the sides level. Then in the nineteenth minute from a free Seanie Barry gave the Rovers the lead for the first time. With ten minutes left now it seemed as if the Rovers might pull away when Ned Fitzgerald gave St. Catherine's a 2 point lead when he scored a great goal. Back came the Rovers and Tony O'Brien buried a great shot - the Rovers were up a point again. Five minutes remaining and St. Catherine's levelled again from a free. Frank Meade and Tom O'Riordan had good efforts cleared. Then in the 59th minute of the game, from a Donie Murphy clearance, Pat Hoskins got possession and sent over a great winning point. The final score was Bride Rovers 4-12, St. Catherine's 5-8.

A great game and a great win which put the Rovers into the semi-final against Youghal. On the following Sunday night the club suffered its first championship defeat when Carrigtwohill proved too strong in the under- 21 championship. With both junior teams going well it was decided to appoint Willie Cotter as trainer for the 'B' grade team. In preparation for the semi-final, the 'A' team travelled toKildorrery on June 25th and defeated the home side by 5-12 to 5-10.
Semi-Final
Clonmult Memorial Park, Midleton, was the venue for the semi-final on Sunday August 4th. Though it was Youghal's second string they were expected to be strong as they had had a good win over Erin's Own. Liam Leahy and Mossie Hodnett had been promoted to their intermediate team and these were a big loss. Two points from Seanie Barry at either side of a Tony O'Brien goal gave the Rovers a dream start with 1-2 in 5 minutes. Ned O'Connell pointed a free to open Youghal's tally but this was immediately replied to by John Meade with a great score from far out. There followed ten minutes with no score with the Rovers full back line making a number of good interceptions. O'Connell added Youghal's second point in the 16th minute. Two goals in the space of 2 minutes from Tony O'Brien and Eddy Barry saw the Rovers well ahead by 3-3 to 0-2. The seasiders replied with two points but Seanie Barry and Frank Meade closed the scoring for the first half with two well taken points from play to leave it Bride Rovers 3-5 to Youghal 0-4 at the break. Three quick pointsfrom Seanie Barry, Johnny Barry and Pat Hoskins stretched the Rovers lead to 3-8 to 0-4 with 40 minutes gone. Youghal had a goal from JoeLawton to reduce the deficit somewhat but further points from Seanie Barry (2) and Johnny Barry left it 3-11 to 1-4 with a little over 5 minutes left. Youghal never gave up and managed to score 2-1 in the dying minutes of the game. When the whistle went Bride Rovers were in the East Cork 'A' grade final for the first time since 1938. The scorers in the win over Youghal were Tony O'Brien 2-0, Seanie Barry 0-6, Eddy Barry 1- 0, Johnny Barry 0-2, Pat Hoskins, John Meade and Frank Meade 0-1 each. 

There were great scenes after the game as many of those involved with the club since its foundation 40 years ago rejoiced and looked forward to the final. None of the present panel were even born when the club had defeated Leeside to win the Junior 'A' Hurling championship for the second time in 3 years back in 1932. The second semi-final between Castlelyons and Sarsfields was down fo rdecision the following Sunday August 11th at Midleton at 7.30. There was a large Rovers crowd in Midleton later in the evening to witness Sarsfields defeating Castlelyons by 4-9 to 2-7 in the second 'A' Grade semi final.
The Final
There was just 3 weeks between the semi-final and the final which was fixed for Midleton. Training was now very intensive with large numbers of spectators at each session. Kildorrery came to Rathcormac for a return challenge game on Tuesday August 13th, a game easily won by the Rovers. As the countdown to Sunday August 25th continued there was a growing sense of optimism in the whole parish though Sarsfields were, in the opinion of many, the favourites for the title. The huge interest in the final was reflected in an attendance of 35 at a club meeting on the Wednesday night before the game with David John Barry presiding. Such had been the concentration on hurling all season that no football selectors had been picked - though the 'B' football championship against Carrig Rovers was fixed for September 8th. The football selection committee appointed was Danny Harrington, Jim Murphy, Dave Ryan plus the captain Tony O'Brien, and vice-captain Tom O'Riordan. The club had got permission for a Church Gate Collection on the day of the East Cork Final and collectors appointed were: Bartlemy - Tom O'Riordan, Jimmy Meade, Willie Sheehan, Tom Cotter, Willie Cotter and Tony Walsh. Rathcormac - (1st Mass) Batty Hogan, Seanie Barry, Tom Heskin, Tom Barry, Dick Foleyand Jim Murphy. (2nd Mass) Paudie Murphy, Donal Lehane, David John Barry, Dick Cotter, Mick Barry and Dave Hogan.

There was a huge build up to the game as the Rovers were trying to win the title for the first time since 1932 while Sarsfields hadn't won since 1953. That year Sarsfields captured the Jamesy Kelleher Cup for the first time, whereas the Rovers had never won it - it was first presented in 1947 and when the Rovers won in 1930 and 1932 there was no trophy on offer. Detailed previews of the game appeared in 'The News & Star' and 'The Corkman' as follows:
News & Star - "East Cork Final Day"
Next Sunday is D-day for all followers of hurling in the East Cork Division because. on that day the junior hurling championship final will be staged at the Clonmult Memorial Park, Midleton. This, is the traditional venue for hurling finals and the contestants are Bride Rovers and Sarsfields.Neither of next Sunday's finalists have figured in an East Cork final for a good number of years, of the two, Sars were the last to contest one, they did so in 1953 and that year they defeated Youghal to take the title. Sixteenyears before that, in 1937, they also won an East Cork championship when they defeated Ballymacoda in the final that year. They went on to take County honours the same year. They contested two finals before that without success, in 1926 the first year the championship was started when they went down to Cobh and in 1934 when they were defeated by Midleton. Of course, the Sarsfield Club has fielded a senior team for many years and their football arm Glanmire has won many East Cork titles.Bride Rovers who were out of existence for some years have made a great comeback recently. They won the 'B' Grade hurling championship in 1966 and it's a great achievement for them to contest an East Cork final only two years later. One must go back thirty years to find the last time that the Rathcormac/Bartlemy Club contested an East Cork Final, yes it was in 1938 that they went down to Cloyne. Six years before that they had won the title when they defeated Leeside. 1930, '31 and '32 were indeed golden years for them because in those three years they contested the final, winning it in 1930 from Leeside, going down to Aghada in '31 and winning it again in '32, again at the expense of Leeside. Will they bring home their third title on Sunday evening, only time will tell.Both camps are confident of victory. Owen Barry, Secretary of the Sars Club, and also team selector, thinks that Sarsfields have a more balancedteam, and they should be victorious. There could be a few changes from the side that defeated Castlelyons in the semi-final, and while the team is not being picked until Friday night, the line-out may take the following form:- 

R. Lotty, B. O'Mahony, B. Cuffe, M. O'Leary, D. Doyle, J. Kenneally, J.
Dineen, Jerry Gorman, S. Walsh, M. Barry, D. Hurley, E. Kelleher, M.
Holland, J. Holland, P. Looney and J. Long.


The big man in the Bride Rovers team is Seanie Barry, and the inter- county man will no doubt play a big part in Sunday's final. The clerical student should be at his customary place in the halfforward line and all eyes will be on him. Bride Rovers have not picked their team either until later in the week and the best we could do was to get the selection and it is as follows:- S. Murphy, P. Murphy, D. Murphy, W. Sheehan, E. Barry, J. Meade, B. Hogan, J. O'Brien, J. Ryan, R. Shelley, D. Cotter, S. Barry, T O'Riordan, F. Meade, P. Heskin, D. Hogan, W. Cotter, J. Lettings, R Sheehan, J. Barry, Tony Walsh, M. Twomey and Tony O'Brien.Club Chairman, David John Barry, who by the way is an uncle of Seanie and brother of Thomas Barry B.A., Rathcormac, who served as Chairman and Secretary of the East Cork Board for many years, tells us that there is great enthusiasm and confidence in the Bride Rovers camp. So we should witness a very good and sporting game at Midleton on Sunday.
The Corkman preview read as follows:
Sarsfields - Bride Rovers decider should be close
Sunday next is East Cork Final Day and when Sarsfields and Bride Rovers line out at Midleton a bumper crowd is expected to witness this Forty Second Divisional decider.This game, which is the first clash between teams from the northern end of the Division for many years, should prove a close struggle. The Rathcormac side had a harder road to travel having defeated Castlemartyr, St. Catherine's and Youghal, while Sarsfields, who received a bye in the first round, had victories over Dungourney and Castlelyons.On their displays so far Sarsfields appear the better balanced side and must be given the chance to advance. In their semi-final game they displayed good combination and team work and allied to this is the fact that most of them have had outings with the Senior side at some time.Dungourney held them to one point, but against Castlelyons they showed far better form and players like Mick O'Leary, Gerry O'Gorman, MartinBarry and Michael Holland appear to have the ability to rise to greater heights.
Bride Rovers had two easy victories over Castlemartyr and Youghal, but their game against St. Catherine's at Carrigtwohill was one of the best seen in the Division for a while. Only points separated the sides all through and at the end Bride Rovers were somewhat lucky to be in front. Seanie Barry, the Cork and Imokilly forward, is their danger man, while Sean Murphy who also plays with U.C.C. Pat Hoskins, Tony Walsh and John Meade are players who can hold their own in any company. Both sides have won the title before but not in recent years. Bride Rovers who were one of the leading teams in the early days of the Division, won out in1930 and '32 and were beaten by Aghada in 1931. They were again defeated by Cloyne in 1938 and since then have not appeared in an 'A' Grade final. They did, however, win the 'B' Grade Championship in 1966.Sarsfields contested the first Divisional Final in 1926 when they were defeated by Cobh, a similar fate met them in '34 and '36 when Midleton beat them in both years, but success came in 1937 when they defeated Ballymacoda and went on to win the County Championship. Their only appearance in a final since then was in 1953 when they beat Youghal.The Midleton Holy Rosary Band will attend and given good weather it should be another memorable day.It was a great occasion for the people of Bartlemy, Rathcormac and Kildinan when Seanie Barry led his team in the parade behind the Midleton Holy Rosary Band.Whether it was nerves or the experience of the Sarsfields players there was really only one team in it for most of the first half as Sarsfields dominated the game. They had scored 3-7 while the only Rovers scores came from Seanie Barry 0-3, and John Meade 0-1. Then with 3 minutes to go to the break a great shot from 60 yards out by Seanie Barry went all the way to the net to leave it 3-7 to 1-4 at the break.Within five minutes of the resumption Sarsfields had added two further points to lead by 3-9 to 1-4. It looked as if the Riverstown side were heading for an easy win. Then at last it happened. The Rovers team started to produce the top class hurling they were well capable of, and soon a magnificent revival was under way. Ina seven minute period the Rovers came thundering into the game. Frank Meade took a pass from Seanie Barry and sent the ball to the net. Points from Pat Hoskins and Seanie Barry were followed by another goal from Tom O'Riordan. Nowthe huge Rovers following were in good voice and when Seanie Barry got another point from a free there were just 2 points in it. Sarsfields weren'tfinished however, and full forward Pat Looney hit a goal and then Joe Long had a point to restore the Sars lead to 6 points with just seven minutes left. It seemed as if the Rovers had run out of steam and Sars were poised for victory. The Rovers however, were not going down easily and with each and every member of the team knuckling down, they launched into the attack again. Tom O'Riordan won a great ball and passed to Seanie Barry who made no mistake and had the green flag up. With excitement mounting Johnny Barry had the sides level with a great goal. Then with 4 minutes left Seanie Barry sent over a great lead point.Those last few minutes were fought out with fierce passion and determination as Sars tried to get an equaliser. At last the whistle wentand. the Rovers were champions after 36 years. It was unbelievable, to come from 11 points down in the second half and snatch victory in the end. The after match scenes were described in The News & Star :Jubilation is nothing new to Clonmult Park but the scenes on Sunday evening were the most joyous this writer has seen. The most prominent players were carried shoulder-high from the field and there will be many nights of celebrating along the banks of the Bride and Blackwater.It was a memorable game and a never to be forgotten win and when Seanie Barry received the Jamesy Kelleher Cup there were tears of joy on many faces.

The team that brought the Jamesy Kelleher Cup to the parish for the first time ever was:

John Gethings, Tony Walsh, Donie Murphy, Willie Sheehan, Paudie Murphy, Sean Murphy, Batty Hogan, John Meade, Seanie Barry, Tom O'Riordan, Frank Meade, Eddy Barry, Pat Hoskins, Johnny Barry, Tony O'Brien.

After the game it was back to bonfires in Rathcormac and then on to Fermoy and a reception in the Royal Hotel. The Corkmari newspaper described the scene in FermoyIt was a joyful and excited crowd of supporters and team members of the Bride Rovers hurling team from Rathcormac who descended on Fermoy on Sunday night carrying the trophy of the East Cork Junior Hurling Championship that they had won at Midleton earlier in the day when they scored a thrilling one-point victory over Sarsfields.Perhaps the excitement of the game had something to do with it but the delighted cheers which greeted the famed Cork hurler Seanie Barry, who scored the winning point, when he carried the cup across the Square, must have been heard three miles away in his native village of Rathcormac.Still, the supporters had something to cheer about for it is 36 years since the cup last came to the village. Many of the members of that famed team are still numbered among the supporters of the club, but alas some have gone to their eternal award.The members of that great team are not forgotten in the scenic village on the main Fermoy/Cork road for they included David Hogan, John Healy, Joe Healy, Thomas and .Edmund Barry, James Murphy, William Barry (brother of Mr. Rd. Barry, TD., Fermoy), the late Mr. William Murphy (who had died in March of 1968), Tom O'Shea, Edward Daly, William Hanan, John Leahy, Edmond Heskin, John Kearney and Patrick, John and Tom Collins, Mullentoura.Present to greet the team on Sunday night last were Fr. Ml. Ryan, C.C. Rathcormac, Mr. Tom Barry, Hon. Treas., and Mr. Tony Walsh, Hon. Sec. The cup was later escorted back to the happy village where the excitement commenced all over again.There was a long wait for the first round of the County Championship against South West winners Courcey Rovers. The game was eventually fixed for the Cork Athletic Grounds on Sunday October 6th and proved to be a major disappointment. The South West men were very robust in their hurling which was very unsettling for the Rovers. On top in most departments, Courceys won in the end by 5-8 to 2-6. So after 4 years in existence the club were East Cork 'A' Grade champions and at the end of the year there was a great feeling of satisfaction amongst club members and players.


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