Field of Dreams – Hurling in Gowran NS

Although Gowran had entered teams in the Schools Board Competitions for many years, it was only in the early 1970’s that they tasted success in the U-12 Roinn B Championship. They dominated this grade capturing the title 1972, 73,74 and the inaugural Roinn B League in 1974. This three in a row record has never been surpassed.

There was huge rejoicing when that elusive first title was finally achieved by defeating Graiguenamanagh 4-1 to 2-3. Graigue were again defeated in 1973 3-3 to 0-1, and in 1974 Mooncoin were beaten in the championship 5-5 to 3-1 and in the League 5-6 to 4-2.

The teams were, 1972:

G. Burke, L. Fenlon (RIP), T. Keogh, P. Kirwan, J. Comerford, P. Whelan, P.J. Farrell, F. Brennan, J. Lennon, P. Harding, P. Butler, P. Ryan (1-0), M. Byrne (1-1), M. Butler, M. Mackey (2-0)

1973: G. Burke (Capt.), T. Comerford, P. Holden, J. Power, P. Naddy, P. Kirwan, P. Twomey, P. Purcell, M. Byrne, P. Harding (0-1), M. Butler (1-0), J. Bollard (1-0), C. Delaney, C. McCarthy (1-0), E. Walsh.

1974: C. Purcell, J. Power, P. Holden, N. Walsh, J. Drew, T. Comerford, P. Twomey, P. Ryan (1-3), M. Byrne, J. Holden (0-2), J. Hickey, P. Harding (1-1), M. Butler (1-1), J. Bollard (1-0), P. Walsh.

Following their successes in Roinn B, the school competed in Under 12 Roinn A with mixed fortunes. In 1978 the school reached the finals of the League ( Thomastown 7-0, Gowran 6-1) and Championship (Callan 7-4, Gowran 3-3). The most frustrating aspect of these defeats was that Gowran had defeated Thomastown in the Championship semi-final and Callan in the League semi-final.

Team: P. Lennon, N. Brennan, T. Byrne, K. Brennan, R. Byrne, T. Lennon, P.J. Dreeling, T. Farrell (1-0), M. O’Neill, P. Rudkins, C. Farrell (2-0), P. Mackey (0-1), M. Fitzgerald (3-0), Sub. J. O’ Donoghue.

The years 1982 and 1983 were almost a repeat of 1972/73 when the school went undefeated and completed a unique double-double of the League and Championship (1982 Championship Gowran 7-2, St. Patrick’s 1-2; League Gowran 3-3, Thomastown 3-2; 1983 Championship Gowran 3-8, Freshford 1-4; League Gowran 3-8, Freshford 2-4).

1982 Championship Team:

C. Carter, T. Fenlon, C. Phelan, T. Drea, T. Hickey, P. O’Neill (0-1), R. Middleton, J. Lennon, J. McDermott, D. J. Carey (1-1), C. Fitzgerald (Capt. 3-0), E. Callaghan, T. Curran 2-0, J. Carey, D. O’Neill (1-0).

1983 Championship Team:

C. Curran, T. Fenlon, C. Phelan, D. Dunphy, P. Farrell, P. O’Neill (Capt. 0-1), R. Middleton, J. Lennon, J. McDermott (0-3), C. Carter(0-3), J. Carey, K. Carey, A. Roche(1-0), J. Bryan(1-1),D. O’Neill.

Subs: K. Drea, R. O’Donnell, E. Concannon, T. Lennon, J. Byrne, M. Treacy, B. Lennon, E. Kenny, J. Walsh.

In 1993 in the Country Cup Final, the Rower/Inistioge with the second last puck of the match snatched victory from Gowran 3-5 to 3-4. The panel was:

T. Carroll, E.Corcoran, D. Carter, A. Roche, K. Dreeling, D. Kelly, E. O’Neill, M. Kirk, L. Carroll, J. O’Neill, J. Doheny, J. Dunphy, P. O’Neill, K. Curran, D. Connolly, B. Power, A. Power, P. Hickey, K. Barcoe, C. Geoghegan, J. Hughes, D. Kenny, I. Phelan, J. Whelan, S. Byrne.

The u-14 Championship proved very difficult to attain. Throughout out the 1970s Gowran suffered a succession of narrow defeats. They lost to Freshford in 1973, 7-6 to 6-2 and 1974 to Mooncoin 3-3 to 2-2 (replay), 1976 they lost to Mooncoin 4-9 to 1-1(replay); 1979 they lost to the CBS 4-3 to 1-2. The breakthrough finally came in 1980, when they beat Castlecomer 4-8 to 2-4.

The panel was: J. Mahony, T. Dowling, J. Lennon, J. Lennon, T. Lennon (Capt.), M. Fitzgerald, N. Brennan, M. Keogh, P. Rudkins, C. Carroll, P.J. Dreeling, T. Byrne, P. Drea, B. Treacy, T. Farrell, P. Mackey, R. Byrne, M. O’Neill, S. O’Neill, M. Hickey, K. Brennan, V. Bollard, P. Lennon. E. Dreeling, M. O’Neill.

A young team appeared in the third final in a row in 1981, but after a good first half display against the Feile champions St. Patrick’s they lost 3-6 to 0-1. A second title was captured in 1985 when finally Mooncoin were defeated 3-6 to 2-7. Team:

E. Concannon, J. Dunphy, C. Phelan, T. Fenlon, J. Lennon(0-1) , P. O’Neill (Capt. 1-0), P. Farrell, R. Middleton (1-1), J. McDermott (0-1), A. Roche, J. Carey, K. Carey, D. O’Neill, J. Bryan (0-1), C. Carter(1-2).

Subs: J. Farrell, J. Walsh.

The schools record at Under 14 level with a title in each decade is an enviable one. While they only won two titles from six appearances in the final it took a replay in both the 1974 and 1976 to decide the championships, and in other years the teams were rather young to get to the finals.

Feile na nGael: The Gowran teams have represented Kilkenny on three occasions being finalists in 1995. In 1974 Gowran travelled to Ballybrown, Limerick and were defeated in the semi-final by the eventual champions Na Piarsaigh.

Panel: G. Burke, P. Kirwan, F. Brennan, P. Holden, P. Whelan, J. Lennon, T. Keogh, J. Comerford, L. Fenlon (RIP), P. Butler, P. Ryan, M. Byrne, E. Walsh, C. McCarthy, J. Bollard, P.J. Farrell, P. Purcell, P. Naddy, M. Mackey.

In 1978/79 Feile came to Kilkenny. The school team was outclassed in 1978 by Eire Og (Ennis) and in 1979 they were defeated at the semi-final stage by local rivals Bennetsbridge. The following year Gowran travelled to Galway and were defeated in the second round by finalists, Kilruane (Tipperary) 3-3 to 1-3.

Panel: T. Dowling, P. Lennon, T. Byrne, K. Brennan, V. Bollard, R. Byrne, P. Rudkins, , P.J. Dreeling, T. Farrell, M. O’Neill, T. Lennon, M. Fitzgerald, P. Mackey, N. Brennan, M. O’Neill, M. Keogh, C. Farrell, S. O’Neill, M. Hickey, E. Dreeling, J. O’Mahony, J. Lennon, B. Treacy, P. Drea.

Gowran travelled to their third Feile in 1985 with great prospects. They defeated Oylgate (Wexford), Sixmilebridge (Clare), Craobh Chiaran (Dublin) but in the final St. Finbarr’s (Cork) proved too strong.

The Panel was: J. Bryan, P. Brennan, M. Treacy, C. Curran, J. McDermott, T. Fenlon, C. Carter, P. O’Neill, R. Middleton, J. Carey, B. Lennon, K. Carey, D. O’ Neill, K. Phelan, P. Farrell, J. Knox, A. Roche, E. Concannon, J.Walsh, J. Drennan, T. Lennon, J. Farrell, G. Farrell, M. Carey, D. Dunphy.

In the Midlands Feile in Westmeath they were champions in 1980, they retained their title in 1981 when they defeated Ballygunner, but Ballygunner gained revenge in 1982.

Schools Football: The school first entered the football competitions in 1976 and reached their first final in 1978 to be defeated by Ballyhale 1-2 to 0-1. Gowran won the Under 13 B title in 1979 when they defeated Glenmore 3-4 to 1-1. In 1980 they were narrowly defeated in the Roinn A final by St. Patrick’s 2-6 to 2-3. A second B title was captured in 1982 when they defeated Piltown 4-6 to 3-0. In recent years Gowran won the INTO Sevens in 1992 and 1993. Brendan Hickey (1992), David Carter and Brian Power have all played in Croke Park on All-Ireland semi-final day. In 1995 the school reached the Country Cup Final and were defeated by Carrickshock 4-6 to 0-2.

The Panel was:

J. Lennon, B. Hickey, E. O’Donnell, M. Phelan, I. Hughes, C. Power, O. Murphy, R.O’Donnell, S. Connolly, J. Delaney, E. Cunningham, M. Kelly, T. Coogan, T. Gibbons, M. Drennan, J. Cunningham, E. Bolger (Capt.) G. O’Neill, R. Moore, A. Doyle.

Enthusiasm for the game is still as high as ever within the school. In recent years while the teams reached the playoff stages in Roinn C they all too often have been defeated by the eventual champions. The small playing field at the rear of the school has been a huge asset down the years. The annual school hurling and football leagues are big occasions in the school calendar. Both James McDermott and Tommy Lennon have since captained All-Ireland minor teams. There was a unique occasion in the Leinster Junior Championship in 1992 when former pupils Charlie Carter captained Kilkenny and Owen Lawlor led Dublin in Croke Park. The victorious Senior Championship side of 1996 was backboned by the 1982/83 under 12 champions.

In recent years the “Dodger” better known as D.J. Carey, Pat O’Neill and Charlie Carter have collected All Stars and along with Martin Carey, Jack Carey and Ciaran Phelan have lined out for Kilkenny at senior level. With the example of these local heroes the small field at the rear of the school is still a field of dreams but these boys show that dreams can come true.

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