Special Junior A 1987
Since 1985 the Special Juniors had contested many League Finals, Northern Finals and County Finals. None more disappointing than the County Final of 1996 when Mooncoin defeated them by three points. Mooncoin 1-9 Young Irelands 1-6. This disappointment was short lived, when we became County Champions for the first time.
1997 was an eventful year for our Special Junior Roinn A panel They never faltered in any game in the League defeating James Stephens, Emeralds, St. Martins, St. Lachtins and qualifying to meet old rivals Clara in the Northern Final. This was a nail biting contest right up to the finish when the score was Young Irelands 1-12 Clara 1-6. Three Castles were their opponents in the League Final. The final score was Young Irelands 4-10 Three Castles 1-6.
That October the Senior team contested the County Final against Dunnamaggin, but lady luck dealt this side a cruel blow. Moral in the Club, at this point was low but nevertheless it was back to training for our Juniors. Their seasoned mentors, Tom Carroll, Noel Roche, Charlie Carter, Snr. selectors and Kevin Fennelly Trainer very quickly motivated their charges. Dunnamaggin won the Southern Final. With a chance to make some ammends for the loss of the Senior crown to our opponents a great crowd flocked to Thomastown on Sat 18th October to support the team.
Young Irelands got off to a great start, when one of the youngest players John Paul Carroll scored a goal after 2 minutes of play. Brendan “Strioca” Kehoe proved to be a handful for the Dunnamaggin backs, scoring 1-2. Captain Patrick Treacy scored 2 points. Our six backs proved too strong even though Dunnamaggin fought hard. At half time we were ahead on a scoreline of Young Irelands 2-4 Dunnamaggin 0-4. After a very enteraining first half from both sides the attendance waited in anticipation for the resumption of the second half. Two very determined teams entered the fray for the second half. It was Young Irelands who scored first – a point by Peter Carroll from play. Dunnamaggin put on the pressure but Young Irelands backs stood firm. While the centerfield pair and the forwards punished any errors made by Dunnamaggin. With ten minutes to go Young Irelands being well ahead decided to use their subs, Charlie Carter Snr. and Philip Twomey. Scorers: Brendan Kehoe 0-2, John Brennan 0-2 Peter Carroll 0-1 Patrick Treacy 0-2 Full time score Young Irelands 2-11 Dunnamaggin 0-8. Pride had been restored to our parish once again by a gallant side who deserved their victory. Right through the League and Championship this side played as a unit on and off the field. The combination of the older and younger players will never be forgotten.
Pat Lennon, Philip Twomey, Patrick Treacy and Brendan Kehoe had been the young players on the 1985 Special Junior Roinn B County Champions. Charlie Carter Snr. had played in many grades for Young Irelands, and also served as a trainer and selector on many under age teams. He was Senior Selector 1996 and 1997. Charlie was a member of the Kilkenny Masters panel for many years. Now his two sons Martin and David joined him on this 1997 panel.
Brothers Pat and John Kennedy from this ’97 team have also been players and mentors with teams over the years. They are sons of Minie Kennedy, one of the founding members in 1952,
Younger brothers who played on this victorious side, Peter and Ciaran Carroll are sons of Tom Carroll who was the longest serving Chairman of the Club.
The Drennan brothers John, Aidan and Thomas are nephews of Mick and Pat Drennan with the 1964 Junior Champions.