1970’s success Under 16
In 1976 Gowran won the Roinn B under 16 hurling league when they scored a thrilling one point victory over Glenmore in a top class final at Nowlan Park. This was a tremendously exciting game and neutrals in the big attendance felt that a draw would have been a fitting result. In truth, however, Glenmore had plenty of opportunities to grab the equaliser but overplaying the ball cost them dear.
Despite having the better of the outfield play in the first half, Glenmore retired at half time five points in arrears (2 – 2 to 0 – 3). Gowran were forced to change their forward line in an effort to find the right blend and it was only when Pat Ryan moved to full forward that they found their true form. Nevertheless goals by Matty Byrne and Eddie Walsh gave them their half time lead.
In the second half Glenmore still had the better of the outfield play and looked as if they must eventually get on top. The winners defence however, stood up to great pressure and when Glenmore did get on terms, Gowran showed they were made of stern stuff. They fought back and scored two points to forge ahead. Glenmore tried all they knew in the closing stages and scored a point, but they failed to notch the all important equaliser.
The winners defence must take chief honours for the manner in which they repulsed the losers attack. Ger Bourke was sound in goal while Pat Butler was a steady full back. Frank Brennan and Stephen McCarthy were outstanding in the half back line while Pat Kirwan, P.J. Farrell and Pat Phelan all played parts. Larry Fenlon and John Comerford gave Gowran a fair share of the midfield possession with Comerford scoring one of the important points in the closing five minutes. Matty Byrne looked the most dangerous of the winners attack but Pat Ryan improved when he moved to full forward. John Hickey did a lot of running and had a good game while Eddie Walsh scored a vital goal. Sonny Delaney and Peter Naddy tried hard.
Ger Burke, Pat Kirwan, Pat Butler, P.J. Farrell, Pat Whelan, Frank Brennan, Stephen McCarthy, Larry Fenlon(RIP), John Comerford, John Hickey, Pat Ryan, Matty Byrne, Sonny Delaney, Peter Naddy, Eddie Walsh. Subs: Tom Comerford, Tom Kehoe
This team went on to complete the double when winning the under 16 Roinn B championship later in the year when Glenmore again provided the opposition. The game was played at James’ Park. Mentors Pat Treacy and Charlie Carter had the team well prepared.
For three quarters of an hour Gowran were strolling to victory and then they were rocked by a great last quarter from Glenmore. Heavy morning rain left the pitch heavy and as the grass was a little high it was difficult for the young players to master the conditions. Gowran sowed the seeds of victory in the first half when they shot three fine goals and led by 3 – 2 to 0 – 1 at the break.
Although Glenmore came more into it after the interval they made little headway against a Gowran defence in which Pat Kirwan was outstanding. Gowran scored first when John Hickey pointed. Seamus Boyle moving up from midfield scored a great goal for Glenmore and at last they began to hit form and bombarded the Gowran goal.
There was some fine hurling as Gowran defended stubbornly and Glenmore surged forward in wave after wave of attack. Although Glenmore did score a further point and a goal, they left their effort too late and time ran out with Gowran still four points to the good.
Pat Kirwan was the star of the winning side and for the first 15 minutes of the closing half he was unbeatable. Indeed, Gowran could point to he fact that it was a heavy knock, which he took 15 minutes from time that helped Glenmore back into the game. Pat Butler at full back was another to play a big part and he marshalled his side with style.
Frank Brennan used his strength to seal off the centre and got great length into his clearances while corner backs Tom Kehoe and Tom Comerford never gave an inch. Peter Naddy completed a sound defence.
John Comerford put in a good hour at centrefield while Larry Fenlon, who moved to centre forward to mark Glenmore’s Michael Kehoe kept the losers star in check. Matty Byrne, despite his size was the winners best forward while Pat Ryan scored a brilliant first goal. He moved back to the defence and cleared one great ball while Kirwan was injured. Eddie Walsh was very dangerous in the first half while John Hickey did his best hurling in the second half.
Ger Burke, Tom Kehoe, Pat Butler, Tom Comerford, Peter Naddy, Frank Brennan, Pat Kirwan, John Comerford, Larry Fenlon(RIP), John Hickey, Pat Ryan, Matty Byrne, Michael Walsh, Stephen McCarthy, Eddie Walsh
Two years later Gowran reached the under 16 Roinn A final but were beaten by old rivals Mooncoin after a replay.