IT’S A WINTER to savour for several clubs as they reflect on triumphs in the 2013 AIB GAA provincial club championships.
The All-Ireland series will beckon in late January with semi-final games for the intermediate hurling and football sides before the finals take place in February.
The senior semi-final ties are pencilled in for February before the finals are on in their traditional St Patrick’s Day slot.
Here’s the 24 clubs who can reflect on GAA provincial glory at the end of 2013.
SFC – Castlebar Mitchels (Mayo)
It was a wonderful year for the Mayo club. After two decades of senior disappointment, they finally made their mark by landing a county senior title. Then they kept up that winning habit in the Connacht championship and won a rip-roaring final.
St Brigid’s were dethroned by 3-13 to 2-12 in an extra-time encounter that featured five goals and four red cards. Tom King registered 0-6 for the winners with Neil Douglas, Danny Kirby and Richie Feeney raising the green flags. A second Connacht title for Castlebar after previously winning in 1993.
Pic: INPHO/Mike Shaughnessy
IFC – Kiltane (Mayo)
Tip of the hat to Kiltane for their resilient streak. After being relegated last year from the senior grade in Mayo, they bounced back to collect county and provincial titles at intermediate level.
Roscommon’s Boyle were dislodged by 3-10 to 2-4 in the Connacht final at Elvery’s MacHale Park in Castlebar. Mikey Sweeney, Sean Gaughan and Martin Gallagher all fired home goals for a team that included Tony Gaughan, who played for the London footballers this year.
Pic: INPHO/Mike Shaughnessy
JFC – Fuerty (Roscommon)
Fuerty became the first Roscommon club since 2004 to win this particular competition. It took extra-time before they beat Galway’s Headford by 0-18 to 0-12 with Niall Kilroy and Gearoid Ennis kicking 0-14 between them.
SHC – Portumna (Galway)
Technically Portumna did not claim provincial success but given that the Galway senior hurling champions qualify automatically for the All-Ireland series, they fit into this list. Their sixth county senior title – a decade after their first – arrived in late October.
They got the better of Loughrea by 3-12 to 0-14 with Joe Canning, Andy Smith and Damien Hayes striking the key goals.
Pic: INPHO/Mike Shaughnessy
IHC – Kilnadeema-Leitrim (Galway)
Galway’s dominance of this grade continued as Kilnadeema-Leitrim claimed the county’s ninth successive provincial title. It was a tough battle before they emerged with a final win over Mayo’s Tooreen by 1-14 to 2-9.
Their precocious young attacker Brian Molloy hit 0-11 while former Galway dual senior David Tierney grabbed their only goal of the game in the clash in Athleague.
JHC – Calry/St Joseph’s (Sligo)
The Sligo club retained their crown and indeed this was their third Connacht final victory in five years. Indeed they once more successful against Galway opposition with a 2-12 to 2-10 win in the decider over An Spidéal.
SFC – St Vincent’s (Dublin)
A fifth Leinster crown and a first since 2007 for St Vincent’s as they crowned a brilliant year for Dublin football. The honours were claimed after a six-goal thriller as they condemned Portlaoise to a second successive final defeat.
Ciarán Dorney, Ruairí Trainor and Gavin Burke all fired goals in their 3-12 to 3-9 win with star men Tomás Quinn and Diarmuid Connolly grabbing the priceless late points.
Pic: INPHO/Cathal Noonan
IFC – Geraldines (Louth)
Provincial titles are rarely acquired by Louth clubs so this Geraldines success was one to savour. It took a replay to get the better of Dublin’s Naomh Olaf. A 2-9 to 1-12 draw in Drogheda was followed by their 0-13 to 0-9 success in Parnell Park.
Pic: INPHO/Ryan Byrne
JFC – Two Mile House (Kildare)
Glory for the Lilywhites outfit here by 2-15 to 1-12 against Hunterstown Rovers of Louth at St Conleth’s Park in Newbridge. Chris Healy hit a brace of goals for Two Mile House while Aidan Casey hit 0-6 for a team that contained Kildare senior Peter Kelly in defence.
SHC – Mount Leinster Rangers (Carlow)
One of the most glorious and improbable provincial club triumphs in 2013. Mount Leinster Rangers became the first Carlow club to win the Leinster senior hurling championship. They were outsiders at the start of the competition but progressed to the final at Nowlan Park.
There they handed out a fourth successive final loss to Wexford’s Oulart-the-Ballagh by 0-11 to 0-8. Denis Murphy shot over 0-8 as Mount Leinster Rangers won in memorable fashion.
Pic: INPHO/James Crombie
IHC – Rower-Inistioge (Kilkenny)
Captained by Kilkenny senior Kieran Joyce, Rower-Inistioge came from behind to lift silverware against Wexford’s Buffers Alley. David Lyng struck home the only goal of the game in a 1-9 to 0-10 success at Bellefield in Enniscorthy.
JHC – Ballinamere (Offaly)
Ballinamere became the first Offaly club to capture this crown with a 2-8 to 0-13 success against Kilkenny side Lisdowney. Stephen Weir and Paddy Murphy hit the early goals and they held on from there to triumph.
SFC – Dr Crokes (Kerry)
Three-in-a-row celebrations for Dr Crokes but it was only achieved after a gruelling battle against Clare’s Cratloe in early December. Dr Crokes surged into a commanding seven-point advantage at the break but then Cratloe overhauled them to go ahead near the finish. Ultimately it was Daithi Casey and Johnny Buckley who saved the day with the points that helped them win by 0-13 to 0-12.
Pic: INPHO/Donall Farmer
IFC – Clyda Rovers (Cork)
The trend of Cork clubs faltering in this championship was bucked by Clyda Rovers. They won out by 0-10 to 0-7 at the final stage against St Joseph’s Miltown-Malbay. Paudie Kissane and Ray Carey were the most recognisable names in a team that this year finally won out in Cork after losing finals in 2009-2011.
JFC – Keel (Kerry)
A sixth successive Munster junior title for a Kerry club as Keel defeated Limerick’s Feohanagh-Castlemahon by ten points. Gary Sayers and Liam Sheehan shot over 13 points between them in a 0-14 to 0-4 success.
SHC – Na Piarsaigh (Limerick)
A second Munster title in three years for Na Piarsaigh and the latest win was hugely impressive. They had 18 points to spare over Clare’s Sixmilebridge at Cusack Park in Ennis. Kevin Ryan, Adrian Breen, David Sheppard and Kevin Downes bagged goals in a 4-14 to 0-8 success for the Limerick club.
IHC – Youghal (Cork)
Managed by former GAA President Christy Cooney, it was a special year for East Cork club Youghal. They won out in the Cork Premier IHC championship after recent disappointments.
Munster glory came after a final win over Tipperary’s Ballina by 2-10 to 2-8 as Damien Ring and Ollie Dempsey hit their goals.
JHC – Ballysaggart (Waterford)
Ballysaggart became the first Waterford club to lift silverware in this grade won out recently against Limerick’s Feenagh-Kilmeedy. Waterford’s All-Ireland minor winner Stephen Bennett struck 1-8 in a 3-12 to 0-15 success in Mallow.
SFC – Ballinderry Shamrocks (Derry)
A third provincial crown for Ballinderry as they added to their previous titles in 1981 and 2001. This was one to savour after they had lost out recent finals in 2006 and 2008. Michael McIver hit Ballinderry’s only goal of the game in a 1-13 to 2-6 win against Glenswilly while a series of points from the likes of Conleth Gilligan and Collie Devlin were also crucial.
Pic: INPHO/Presseye/Russell Pritchard
IFC – Truagh (Monaghan)
The Monaghan side had five points to spare over Eskra Emmetts of Tyrone. Their 0-17 to 0-12 win at the end of November ensured they became the first Monaghan club to win this grade since 2005. Paudie McKenna and Daniel McKenna hit 0-9 between them.
JFC – Emyvale (Monaghan)
Another victory for a Monaghan outfit and this was Emyvale’s second junior football club title. They previously won in 2009 with their latest success arriving after a 1-6 to 0-6 win over Killeeshil. Daniel McMahon notched the vital first-half goal.
SHC – Loughgiel Shamrocks (Antrim)
Four-in-a-row for the Antrim club as they came from eight points down in the final against Derry’s Slaughtneil. Eddie McCloskey struck 2-2 and Liam Watson notched 0-7 as they triumphed by 3-14 to 1-15 in late October in Celtic Park.
Pic: INPHO/Presseye/John McIlwaine
IHC - Clooney Gaels (Antrim)
Victory arrived for the Antrim club in late October when they defeated Armagh’s Cuchulainn’s by 1-16 to 1-14 at Celtic Park. It was Clooney Gaels first provincial title win.
JHC – Creggan Kickhams (Antrim)
Athletic Grounds was the venue as the Antrim side triumphed by 0-13 to 1-7 against Armagh’s Craobh Rua.