1969 East Cork Champions again

At the AGM there were six nominations for the positions of hurling selectors and those elected were Henry Hazelwood, Paddy Mannix and Tom Heskin plus the Captain Seanie Barry and vice-captain Sean Murphy. Gus O'Driscoll was appointed juvenile secretary with David John Barry, The 1969 championship draws were made on February 10th and in the 'A' grade hurling the first round was a repeat of last years final, against Sarsfields.An inter-county transfer was got for Liam Parle who had come to work at the Creamery Farm, Curraghdermot, Castlelyons. Liam was a native of Co. Wexford and proved to be a great addition to the playing strength of the club. Another player who was registered with the club for the first time was Richard Ryan of Bishopstown in Cork, son of Dick Ryan who captained the Rovers to win the 1932 Cork County Junior Hurling Championship. Richard actually played with the Rovers in the Bartlemy Tournament semi-final. He later emigrated to Australia but tragically he died at a very young age.Jimmy Meade purchased a new set of jerseys for the club and these were blessed by Fr. Ryan after Mass in Bartlemy on Sunday May 18th.May and June were again the months of serious preparation for the championship. Imokilly Senior hurlers, County finalists in 1968, were defeated in the first round of the 1969 Senior Hurling Championship by Muskerry on May 18th. Due to the death of his mother, Seanie Barry did not play.The Bartlemy Tournament was run in conjunction with the Carnival. In the semi-final Bride Rovers defeated Castlelyons by 1-6 to 2-2 but lost the final to Watergrasshill. by 5-9 to 4-5. On May 25th in the Watergrasshill semi-final Whites Cross were defeated and in the final on June 8th the Rovers gained revenge for the Bartlemy final by defeating the 'Hill. The 1967 Dungourney Tournament final replay was played on June 5th with Shanagarry winning.

The championship first round was fixed for Sunday June 22nd in Carrigtwohill. On Friday 13th and Sunday 15th two games were played, against Ballyhooley in a practice match, and against Midleton in aTournament semi-final. The Rovers won both games. The championship game in Carrigtwohill was played at 8pm. with Neilus Kidney as referee.Two early Sars points from Jerry O'Gorman were cancelled out by similar scores from Seanie Barry and Sean Murphy. Sars had gone into a two point lead when in the 20th minute Joe Long got a great goal to leave the score 1-4 to 0-2. John Meade and Seanie Barry cut the deficit by two points but Sars had two more points scored before the break to leave it 1- 6 to 0-4 in Sarsfields favour. Two pointed frees in the first 5 minutes of thesecond half from Seanie Barry saw the Rovers come into the game. After 15 minutes a clearance from Batty Hogan was sent into the square by Seanie Barry and following a melee it was sent to the net by Michael Murphy - the teams were now level at 1-6 each. Three pointed frees from Seanie Barry put the Rovers up 1-9 to 1-6. Sars weren't finished however, and points from O'Gorman and Barry left the minimum between the teams. With 6 minutes remaining Sars were awarded a 21 yard free. O'Gorman went for a goal but John Lettings made a great save and cleared up-field. John Meade hit over 2 points and Pat Sheehan had thelast point to leave the Rovers winners by 1-12 to 1-8.

Scorers: M. Murphy 1-0, Seanie Barry 0-3, John Meade 0-3, Sean Murphy 0-1, Pat Sheehan 0-1.
 The second round of the championship against arch rivals Dungourney was just a week later in Riverstown. Dungourney had defeated Killeagh in their first round game.Into the Semi Final
The Riverstown game was part of a double header which ensured a huge crowd. In the first game, Castlelyons defeated Carrignavar in the Junior 'A' Football Championship by 4-8 to 2-6. Castlelyons had a big interest in the hurling game as, having defeated Watergrasshill and Youghal, they were to meet the winners of the Rovers/Dungourney game in the Semi- final.The Rovers had a great start to their game with 2 points from Seanie Barry and 2 points from Pat Sheehan, they led 0-4 to 0-1 after 10 minutes. Then Dungourney got really on top. Pat Rigney had a goal, Michael Ahern added 1-1 and Dungourney were ahead 2-2 to 0-4. Seanie Barry (free) and Mick Murphy reduced the gap but Pat Rigney had the final score of the half to leave it 2-3 to 0-6 at the break. When Dungourney
added two further points the Rovers looked in trouble, but then the Rovers got the score they needed. John Meade sent in a free which wascollected by the Dungourney 'keeper, Edmund Colbert, who lost possession and in a twinkle Michael Murphy had the sliotar in the net. Points from Frank Meade and Seanie Barry put the sides level before Michael Murphy struck for his second goal.The Rovers then'pulled away and with 5 minutes remaining the Rovers were up 7 points. Back came Dungoumey and scored two goals from Pat Cronin and Michael Ahern. Just on the call of time Seanie Barry scored his tenth and the Rovers fifteenth point to leave it Bride Rovers 2- 15 to Dungoumey 4-7.


Semi-Final against Castlelyons
Riverstown was the venue on Sunday 13th of July for the semi-final against Castlelyons. It was nearly 4 years since the teams had met in the 1965 'B' grade semi-final - at the same venue - a game which Castlelyons won by 5-6 to 3-9. In 1965 the Rovers had a panel of twenty three players and now in 1969 just nine of those were on the selection, Tony Walsh, John Meade, Michael Murphy, Willie Sheehan, Seanie Barry, Eddy Barry, Tony O'Brien, Pat Sheehan and Joseph O'Brien. There was never more than a few points in the game and with five minutes to go the Rovers lead was just two points. A late goal and a point left the final score Bride Rovers 4-9, Castlelyons 3-6Team: John Gethings, Tony Walsh, John Ryan, Donal Murphy, Paudie Murphy, Batty Hogan, John Meade, Pat Sheehan, SeanMurphy, Tom O'Riordan, Sean Barry, Eddy Barry, Frank Meade, Johnny Barry, Ml. Murphy.
So for the second year in a row the team was in the East Cork 'A' Gradefinal - a feat last achieved by the club in 1931 when as defending champions they lost the final to Aghada. 

The East Cork Final was fixed for Sunday August 17th at Riverstown against Carrigtwohill who were the surprise packet of the championship. They defeated Carrignavar by 4-6 to 1-3 in the first round and Midleton by 6-6 to 6-2 in the second round. They were somewhat lucky to draw with Shanagarry Rovers in the semi-final scoring 5-2 to Shanagarry's 1-14. In the replay (in which 4 players were sent off), Carrig won by 6-9 to 2-3.In preparation for the final the Rovers defeated Kildorrery in a practice game at Rathcormac on July 26th and five nights later repeated the feat in the semi-final of the Glanworth Hurling Tournament by winning 2-12 to 1-7. In the final of this tournament on August 8th Kilworth won.
Two-in-a-Row
In the run up to the final confidence was high in the Rovers camp. Arrangements were made for a parade on the night of the final and a Social on the following Tuesday night "if the team wasvictorious".It was a rainy day at Riverstown for the 1969 East Cork Junior 'A' Hurling Final which was attended by a huge crowd. Eddy Barry opened the scoring with a Rovers goal after 6 minutes and 4 minutes later Seanie Barry had a point. Carrig opened their account in the 13th minute with a point. A Seanie Barry point from a free and two from Johnny Barry stretched the Rovers lead to 1-4 to 0-1. Then in the 19th minute Paddy Roche hit a great goal after a pass from Mick Sheehan. Three minutes later Sheehan had a goal and the sides were level. The Rovers seeing that the 
game was not going to be easily won, upped the tempo. Johnny Barry lashed in a goal and John Meade added another in the 29th minute. On the half time stroke Johnny Barry added a further point to leave it Bride Rovers 3-5 to Carrigtwohill 2-1 at the break.The first ten minutes of the second half were scoreless. As in the first half it was Eddy Barry who opened the scoring with a point in the tenth minute. Neilus Kidney had a goal for Carrig before Seanie Barry got a good point from play and then another from a long range free to leave it3-8 to 3-1 with ten minutes left. The Rovers looked certain winners but Carrig had other ideas. A move involving Paddy Roche led to a goal for Carrig. Three minutes later Roche himself had a goal and now just a point separated the teams. Seanie Barry pointed a free to put the Rovers up by two. Then Carrig had their sixth goal to put them in the lead for the firsttime in the game. Seanie Barry levelled again from a free but Sheehan put Carrig up a point again with just a minute left. Seanie Barry gained possession about 60 yards out and sent over a great point to tie the scores Bride Rovers 3-11 Carrig 6-2. Carrig got a long range free with seconds left on the clock but it had to be scored direct. The puck fell short and the finalwhistle went. Carrigtwohill's ability to score goals was vital - but then that had been a feature in their four previous games. The Rovers shouldhave won the game but in the end were lucky to get a draw.

Team: John Gethings, Tony Walsh, John Ryan, Donal Murphy, Paudie
Murphy, Batty Hogan, John Meade, Sean. Barry, Pat Sheehan, Sean
Murphy, Frank Meade, Davy Hogan, Eddy Barry, Ml. Murphy, Johnny
Barry.

League Play Off
When Dungourney and Bride Rovers had met in the league on April 20th in Carrigtwohill, Dungourney had won by 3-3 to 1-6. Riverstown was the venue for the championship tie on June 29th when the Rovers won by 2- 15 to 4-7. On the evidence of those games there was little between the sides so when the league play off was fixed for Carrigtwohill on August 
31st a tight game was expected. This time however, the Rovers had a much higher level of fitness and won by 3-11 to 2-7.The Sunday after the All Ireland Hurling Final, Sunday September 14th, was the date fixed for the East Cork final replay - in Riverstown again. It was Carrig who started the better this time with a goal from Paddy Roche. This however was their only score for 24 minutes as the Rovers gradually took over. An eight minute point from a free from Seanie Barry opened the Rovers account and by half time had amassed 1-9, the goal coming from a 21 yard free by Seanie Barry. Tom O'Riordan got two of the points, Pat Sheehan one and Seanie Barry five. Carrig seemed determined to "mark" Seanie Barry out of the game and there were often two Carrig men "minding" him. This tactic failed for Carrig for twice when surrounded by defenders, Seanie passed to his unmarked team mate Tom O'Riordan who coolly hit the ball over the bar. Second half goals from Johnny Barry and Frank Meade helped the Rovers to lead by 13 points at one stage. Carrig however fought back and got three goals before the Rovers lead was again extended with points from Seanie, Eddy and Johnny Barry. With less than 4 minutes left, just 3 points separated the teams but Seanie Barry had an insurance point from a free to leave the final score Bride Rovers 3-17 Carrigtwohill 6-4. For a second year in a row the Kelleher Cup was coming back to the banks of the Bride. It was a greatachievement and when the final whistle went, the celebrations started again.

Team: John Lettings, Tony Walsh, Ml. Murphy, Donal Murphy, Paudie Murphy, Batty Hogan, John Meade, Sean Barry, Pat Sheehan, Frank Meade, Sedn Murphy, Owenie Gubbins, Johnny Barry, Tom O'Riordan, Eddy Barry. The scorers in the final were: Seanie Barry 1-12; Johnny Barry 1-1; Tom O'Riordan 0-2; Frank Meade 1-0; Pat Sheehan 0-1; Eddy Barry 0-1.

On The Cork Examiner the following day the headline was:

Seanie Barry Stars for Bride Rovers
Bride Rovers 3-17, Carrigtwohill 6-4


Bride Rovers retained their divisional title when they defeated Carrigtwohill in the replay of the East Cork Junior* Hurling Championship final at Riverstown yesterday. A high scoring game, it was
a personal triumph for the winners' best-known player, Seanie Barry, who scored 1-12 of his side's total. From placed balls and from play, he gave a classical display that left many wondering how his talents were ignored by the county senior hurling selectors during the year, and especially in their time of crisis.
Referee: Derry. O'Brien, Cobh.

There was a four week wait for the first round of the County J.H.C. against the Duhallow side, Kanturk. On September 28th the Cork Garda hurling team were visitors to Rathcormac and they had a good practice game. On October 5th, a week before the County game, the Junior hurling league semi-final was played. This game was against Erin's Own and was fixed for Riverstown. The Rovers were well on top and won by 6-13 to 3- 9, thus qualifying for the league final for the first time ever.

On the County Trail Again
The first round of the County J.H.C. was fixed for Castletownroche on Sunday October 12th. The weather was a major factor in the result of the game. The day was dry but a gale force wind was blowing straight down the field. The Rovers played with this high wind in the first half but took a long time to settle. Eventually the team got on top and scored 1-5 to Kanturk's two points. Bearing in mind the conditions the lead was in no way sufficient and in reality with all the possession of the first half, the Rovers should have been 10 or 12 points ahead at least. Kanturk lost no time in going ahead in the second half and when they got on top they hammered home their superiority. The Rovers failed to score in the second half while the Duhallow side added a total of 7-5 to win by 7-7 to 1.5 In November, again at Castletownroche, Kanturk won the County J.H.C. by defeating Mayfield in the final by 3-7 to 1-10.

With the league final yet to come a further practice game was played in Rathcormac against the Gardaf on October 26th, with the Rovers winning. It was Sunday November 9th before the league final was played. Killeagh defeated Youghal by 3-11 to 0-9 and the Killeagh side proved they were a team to be reckoned with when they had an emphatic win over the Rovers in the final by 3-7 to 0-5.


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