1953: Mullingar Shamrocks foundation
The Pearse’s Hurling Club was founded in November 1951; its first chairman was Commandant Denis O’Callaghan whose grandson Con O’ Callaghan is now one of the superstars of the GAA . The possibility of the Pearse’s club affiliating a football team was considered at the club’s first AGM in November 1952. A definite decision was postponed until the January club meeting held on Friday 16 January 1953 in St Mary’s Hall. After a lively debate, it was decided, that ‘as the hurling club was still in its infancy it would be unwise to burden it with a football team’. Instead it was decided to form a separate football club. The members of Pearse’s were determined that the footballers of Mullingar ‘would no longer be left orphaned and abandoned to be eventually lured away to the winter sodden fields of alien associations or to become the adopted children of a country club.’ Therefore Mullingar Shamrocks GAA Club was established.
The following officers were appointed:
President: Rev. P. J. Regan.
Vice-President: F. Garvey N. T.
Chairman: Brother Baldwin
Vice-Chairman: Frank Tuohy.
Secretary: Vincent Gillick.
Committee: S. Brew, T. Mullaney, S. Tone, P. Lucy, P. Mooney.
Multyfarnham provided the first opposition for the Shamrocks. In a junior football league game played in March 1953, Multyfarnham defeated the new boys 3-5 to 1-3. Paddy Mooney enjoyed the distinction of scoring the first goal for Shamrocks against opposition that were ‘fitter and without question played more as a team than their opponents who were having their first competitive game’. Unfortunately, no team was published for this inaugural game but Paddy Mooney, Sean Mullen, Ollie Mahedy, Paddy McCoy and Andy Duncan were identified for individual excellence.
1954: At the first AGM, it was revealed that the running costs of the club for the year were £50 and that the club had a credit balance of £20 for the 1954 season. Shamrocks were ambitious enough to enter the senior championship and were successful (1-8 to 0-1) against Kinnegad in a preliminary round. Paddy Doyle at fullback performed heroics and completely outplayed Kinnegad’s Maurice Dunne in a defence that was generally sound. The first twenty minutes were scoreless and the forwards were castigated by the Midland Reporter for their erratic form, ‘wides being numerous, easy frees driven wide, and an all-round poor standard of finishing’. Shamrocks fielded the following team in their senior championship debut; M McLoughlin; F Fitzgerald, Paddy Doyle, Dave Errity; Sean Mullen, Ollie Mahedy, M Martin; M McGarry, P Braiden (0-2); T Mullaney, Leo Osborne (1-1), Joe Reynolds (0-1); J Corroon (J Byrne), C Mooney and Andy Duncan. Shamrocks were lucky to escape with a draw against Boher who provided the opposition in the second round as ‘only the crossbar kept Shamrocks in and Boher out in the dying minutes’. Boher were comfortable replay winners (2-8 to 2-4), Shamrocks ‘with little or no team work made poor use of their breeze advantage’ and this ended the club’s maiden voyage in the senior ranks.
1957: Shamrocks won their first minor title in unusual circumstances. Rosemount provided the opposition in the final, the closing moments of which proved extraordinarily controversial and provided a quota of material for referee baiting well above the local average. With the sides level, full-forward A Dalton crashed the ball to the Rosemount net for what seemed to be the winning goal. The goal was disallowed and Shamrocks were awarded a penalty instead. Christy Braiden blasted the penalty to the net but! the referee again disallowed the goal as the whistle had not been blown. The retaken kick was saved and the final whistle was blown on the kick-out leaving the sides level at 2-3 for Shamrocks to Rosemount’s 0-9. Shamrocks lined out Paddy Browne; P Gerety, Christy Braiden, Tony Mulkearns; Feichin McCormack, Billy Creamer, Pat Smith; Ollie Grennan, Jimmy Finn; Phil Mullally, Dessie Newman, J Fitzgerald; Davey Nolan, Tony Dalton, Tommy Lyng. Sub: Seán Mulderry. The match was never replayed as Rosemount were thrown out of the championship for transgressions in an earlier round as was Maryland, the team they defeated in the semi-final.
1962: Mullingar Shamrocks played their first football match in Springfield and christened the venue with a win. Shamrocks beat Cullion 4-5 to 2-1 in a junior football league game. The first score was registered by Sean Magee who pointed after five minutes and Frankie Connaughton scored the first goal direct from a ‘50’. The Shamrocks team was O Mulvey; S Mullen, P McNamara, L Woods; P McCormack, F Connaughton, K Higgins; P Cole and C Lennon; C Connaughton, S Magee, C Quinn; T O’ Dowd, M Lynch and V Brady.
1962: After a number of near misses Shamrocks qualified for senior ranks after beating Boher by 4-4 to 2-6 to win the Westmeath junior football championship and the club’s first adult title. A team winning this title could expect to do well in the senior championship the following year. The Shamrocks title winning team was Paddy Browne, Sean Mullen, Brendan McNamara, Matt Ryan; Frankie Connaughton, Davey Nolan, Feichin McCormack; Paddy Cole (1-0) and James O’Dowd; Colm Connaughton (1-2), Christopher Lennon, Sean Magee; Terry O Dowd, Jimmy Finn (1-2) and M Kelly (1-0). Sub: Willo Reynolds for James O’ Dowd.
1963: Frankie Connaughton became the first Shamrocks player to captain a Westmeath Leinster title winning team as Westmeath minor footballers won their third provincial minor title. Frankie was Westmeath’s top scorer contributing 4-13 in the course of the 1963 campaign. Shamrocks players on the panel included goalkeeper Kevin Higgins who had a sensational game in the All-Ireland final against Kerry, Tommy Reeves and Dan O’Dowd. Alan Lambden emulated Frankie Connaughton’s achievement in 2000 when he captained Westmeath to a Leinster final victory also against Dublin.
1964: Mullingar Shamrocks won their first senior county title. Three points in the final minute secured the championship against St Mary’s (Rochfortbridge) by 0-8 to 1-3. The first senior championship winning team was Tony Caulfield; Sean Mullen, Brendan McNamara, Dan O’Dowd; Kevin Higgins, Frankie Connaughton, Davey Nolan; James O’Dowd (capt), Paddy Cole; Colm Connaughton (0-2), Sean Magee (0-2), Des Newman, Tony McCormack (0-2), Mick Lynch (0-2), John Daly. Subs: Terry O’Dowd for Des Newman; Des Newman for John Daly.
1966: A first ever minor-senior double for Shamrocks and for Tony Keegan, Barry McKeogh, Kevin Craig and Noel Daly the achievement was specially significant as these players played in both finals. Paul McGrath, Joe Bardon and John Ross were also members of both panels but didn’t play in the senior final. In 1994, the same double was achieved with Mark Treanor playing in both finals and Aidan Lyons coming on a substitute in the senior final. The 1966 championship was a bit late getting underway and Shamrocks did not begin their campaign until 17 July when Rosemount were defeated 1-8 to 0-6.
It looked bad earlier in the year and in June 1966 Aindreas O, who wrote the GAA notes for the Westmeath Examiner, was inspired to write:'If hurling has come to a poor pass in Westmeath, then football in the town of Mullingar has reached a sorry state. The once great team of Shamrocks, who reached their peak in 1964, when winning the senior football championship have, I am afraid, fallen on evil days. How sad it is to record that they were unable to field a team at Ballynacarrigy on Sunday afternoon in the u-21 football championship. Added to this was the humiliation of only having eleven players to commence the semi-final Feis cup game against St Mary’s on Sunday evening at Cusack Park. How the mighty have fallen!
However, by 2 October, Shamrocks had qualified for their second county senior final after defeating The Downs and St Mary’s, Rochfortbridge. In the final, Shamrocks were far too strong for Maryland and were the most convincing of winners on a 5-10 to 1-5 scoreline. Shamrocks: Noel Daly; Barry McKeogh, Paddy Monaghan, Dan O’Dowd; Frankie Connaughton, Davey Nolan, Kevin Higgins; Paddy Cole and Kevin Craig; Tony Keegan, Michael Quinn, Colm Connaughton; Sean Magee, James O’Dowd, John Daly (Terry O’Dowd).
1968: Kevin Higgins became the first Shamrocks player to gain inter-provincial honours and the first Westmeath player selected to play in goal for Leinster when he played and kept a clean sheet in the Railway Cup semi-final match against Munster. An injured Higgins was replaced by Martin Furlong for the final but Shamrocks were still represented in Croke Park on St Patrick’s Day as Paddy Cole played at right-corner back in the final against Ulster. Paddy Cole is the only Shamrocks player to play in a Railway Cup final.
1973: The under-fourteen championship was won for the first time by a Shamrocks team that included a few players that were to become household names over the next few decades. Two of this team Spike Fagan and Ned Moore were still playing for Shamrocks thirty years later.
1979: The first sign of a Shamrocks revival emerged when the senior team reached the county final but were eventually defeated by an impressive Athlone team. Further evidence of a Shamrocks revival was evident in the winning of the under-12, under-14, under-16 and under-21 championships.
1986: Spike Fagan became the first Westmeath footballer to be selected for Ireland in the ‘compromise rules’ football international series against Australia and captured the national imagination with a number of brilliant performances against Australia in Perth, Melbourne and Adelaide. Spike represented Ireland in 1987 and 1990 also and played eight times in the international series. And of course the first senior title in twenty years was won in 1986.The Downs were defeated (1-11 to 2-5) in the final by a Shamrocks team that lined out as follows: Stephen Fagan; Richard McKenna, Gerry Nohilly, Paddy Dunne; Patsy Fagan, Kevin Daly, Peter Smith; Tom Ormsby (0-1) and Peter Faulkner; Michael Fagan (1-2), Mark Kelly (0-5), Denis Corroon; Sean Hynes (0-2), Michael O’Reilly and John Corroon (0-1).
1987: Shamrocks retained the senior county title for the first time in the club’s history. St Malachy’s were beaten by 2-12 to 1-5 in the first round and just 0-7 points were conceded in the next three matches as Tyrrellspass (2-10 to 0-4), Athlone (0-9 to 0-1) and Moate (0-6 to 0-2) were comfortably defeated to bring the Flanagan Cup back to Springfield. Shamrocks lined out in the final as follows: Tom Hunt; Richard McKenna, Gerry Nohilly, Paddy Dunne; Peter Smith (0-1), Kevin Daly, Michael Fagan (0-1); Tom Ormsby (0-1) and Peter Faulkner (Patsy Fagan); Michael O’Reilly (0-1), Mark Kelly, Denis Corroon; Sean Hynes (0-1), Jim O’Shea and John Corroon (0-1).
1988: The strength in depth of the club was highlighted as Shamrocks won their first and only intermediate football title with a 2-2 to 0-7 victory over Kinnegad. In what the Midland Topic headlined as a ‘sixty second blitz’ two goals in the 53rd minute from Bob Marren and Noel Nugent secured victory. The team (including six minors Dermot Monaghan, Noel Nugent, Paddy Boyce, Ivan O’Connor, Derek Farrell and Barry Kelly) was Mick Noone, Dermot Monaghan, Mick Conlon, Paddy Monaghan; Paddy Boyce, Pearse Corroon(Capt), J P Crowley; Bob Marren (1-0) and Noel Nugent (1-0); Mick Greene, Noel Dempsey (0-1), Derek Farrell; Ivan O’ Connor, Fergus Conlon (0-1), John Fagan. Subs: Jody Moran and Barry Kelly.
1990: Shamrocks captained by Pearse Corroon won their fifth county senior title with a single point victory over Coralstown-Kinnegad (2-7 to 2-6). Shamrocks: Dermot Ryan; Ned Moore, Michael Conlon, John Conlon; Pearse Corroon, Luke Dempsey, Peter Smith; Tom Ormsby and Peter Faulkner (John Corroon); Michael Fagan (1-2), Sean Hynes (0-1), Denis Corroon; Paddy Hassett (Michael O’Reilly 0-2), Mark Kelly (1-1), Eddie Casey (0-1).
1991: Shamrocks new clubhouse was opened with full bar facilities and refurbished dressing rooms but on the playing fields it was a disappointing year with defeats in the senior, intermediate and under-21 county finals. Early in the year, the club appointed its first lady officer when Detty Cornally was elected President of the club.
1993: The first continental holiday organised by Shamrocks was held as a party of over fifty travelled to Tenerife between 22-29 October for some serious socialising and a little light training for the Leinster club championship match against Meath county champions Skryne which was won comfortably (1-11 to 1-7). The match took a heavy toll as Eire Óg heavily defeated an injury stricken Shamrocks in the Leinster semi-final.
1994: Ritchie O’ Donoghue finished his first term as Shamrocks senior manager by leading the club to its first three-in-a-row senior football championships. Ritchie became manager in 1985 and managed Shamrocks in 32 Westmeath senior championship games winning 28 including six senior titles in ten years (1985-1994).
1995: The four-in-a-row senior championship wins is achieved this time with Gerry Nohilly as manager and Paddy Dunne and Tom Hunt as selectors. Tyrrellspass were comfortable defeated (0-18 to 1-7) in the final. Shamrocks captained for the third successive championship by Ned Moore lined out as follows: Dermot Ryan; Ned Moore, Brian Lalor, Paul Ahern; Michael Fagan, John Conlon, Bill Sex (0-1); Tom Ormsby and Kevin Cahill (0-1); Eddie Casey, Kieran Ryan (0-1), Denis Corroon; Bernard Flynn (0-10), Mark Treanor (0-3), Michael O’ Reilly (0-1). Substitutes: Paddy Monaghan for Paul Ahern; Eric Smyth (0-1) for Denis Corroon; Aidan Lyons for Eddie Casey.
Ten players, Dermot Ryan, Ned Moore, John Conlon, Bill Sex, Michael Fagan, Tom Ormsby, Kieran Ryan, Denis Corroon, Michael O’Reilly and Bernard Flynn played in all four finals.
Westmeath won the All-Ireland minor football title for the first time and Davey Walls as a panellist became the first Shamrocks footballer to win an All-Ireland minor football medal.
1998: The first ladies’ championship was captured when Shamrocks under-16 girls defeated Garrycastle in the county final and defended the title in 1999.
1999 Westmeath win the All-Ireland under-21 football title for the first time defeating Kerry in the final with Micheál Burke and Brian Lambden key figures in the victory. Micheál Burke added a second Leinster under-21 medal to his collection in 2000. A very strong Shamrocks team, that featured Niall Breslin before he became Bressie as a towering midfielder, was very unlucky to lose the county semi-final to Tyrrellspass.
2000 In November it was a ‘winter wonderland’ as Shamrocks won the first senior championship of the new millennium on a day when team captain Tom Ormsby walked on water and inspired Shamrocks with a brilliant mid-field performance against Tyrrellspass and Paddy Monaghan dominated the defence from centre-back. Spike Fagan, Pearse Corroon, Tom Ormsby and Mickey O’Reilly collected their eight Westmeath senior football medal. Shamrocks: Dermot Ryan; John Conlon; Micheál Burke, David Walls; Pearse Corroon, Paddy Monaghan, Brian Lambden; Tom Ormsby and Aidan Lyons; Barry Loughrey (0-1), Dermot Curley (Adrian Keaveney) Brian Morley (1-1); Michael O’Reilly (0-1) [Paddy Rouse] (Eric Smyth), Mark Treanor (0-1), Eddie Casey (0-1)
Donal O’Donoghue became the first Shamrocks player to be selected for the Compromise rules under seventeen football series against Australia and played in the three international games. Later in the year Donal was a member of the Westmeath Leinster title winning minor football title which was captained by Alan Lambden.
2001 Lisa Burke joined a select group of Paddy Cole, Kevin Higgins and Spike Fagan who have achieved interprovincial recognition when she was selected on the Leinster ladies football panel. Unfortunately, the foot and mouth disease forced the cancellation of the ladies’ inter-provincial series and Lisa lost out on the chance of playing for Leinster. In September, the first adult ladies title was captured when the junior football title was landed with the defeat of St Loman’s in the county final in Rochfortbridge. Karen Hegarty joined the interprovincial quartet in 2012.
2002: The official opening of the club’s Springfield complex took place on 28 April 2002 when Westmeath and Derry played in a game to mark the occasion. Over the previous ten years, the Springfield pitch had been drained, a clubhouse built and then extended and two additional dressing rooms constructed.
2004: One of the longest famine periods in the history of the GAA ended on 24 July 2004 when Westmeath finally won the Leinster Senior football championship beating Laois (0-12 to 0-10) and reduced to two the number of counties that have never won a provincial senior title. The Shamrocks contribution to the occasion was significant. Donal O’Donoghue picked up two Man of the Match awards in the course of the campaign, Shane Colleary’s goal against Wexford was the vital score and Brian Morley’s famous wide point against Offaly was a sign that the God’s of football were on Westmeath’s side in 2004.
Also in 2004, Shamrocks won the first of what proved to be five under-21 county titles over an eight-year period.
2005: Stars in Your Eyes was unveiled to the Mullingar public for the first time at the Arts Centre. The shows have produced fabulous entertainment over the years and provided an opportunity for all levels of talent to appear on stage. Performers included Niall Horan whose appearance as Jason Mraz suggested that he was headed only in One Direction. Mark Irwin too was moving in the direction of an Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation scholarship and a career in music. Mark has since gone on to start in London’s West End as a member of the cast of The Commitments. The highlight of this series of shows The Ultimate Classical Music Show was held in the Arts Centre in March 2010 when a galaxy of singers, all connected to Shamrocks, presented a light opera show of classic songs from the musicals.
2006: After years of disappointment and heartbreak a coveted All-Ireland Scór title was finally brought back to Springfield when the Shamrocks ballad group gained the judges verdict in the Scór na nÓg finals in Athlone. Rory Hughes, Jemma McNamee, Aoife Gavin, Mark Irwin and Katie McCarthy were the ones who impressed the judges with their singing of Bríd Óg ní Mhaille and The Flower of Magherally
2007: An All-Ireland Scór double was the reward for the energy invested in the annual competition by the club’s Scór committee led by Mrs Scór herself, Detty Cornally. Mary Hughes performed John Cowley’s The First Shall be Last and the Last Shall be First, in Killarney, to win the All-Ireland Senior title in the Recitation section. Katie McCarthy completed an All-Ireland Scór na nÓg double earlier in the year with a brilliant win in the solo singing section with a fantastic rendition of Brid Óg ní Mhaille.
2009: Senior football status was achieved by Shamrocks ladies footballers when the intermediate title was secured for the first time with a 3-9 to 2-7 victory over Kilbeggan. The history making team captained by Lisa Burke was Gemma Leahy; Lorna Morris, Louise Begley, Emily Turkington; Jean Kenny, Niamh Spellman, Linda Gilmartin; Aoife O’Brien and Elaine Faughan; Emma Morris (0-5), Lisa Burke (0-1), Áine Melody, Karen Hegarty (0-1), Carole Finch (1-1), Nadine Conway (2-1).
2010: After three losing All-Ireland final appearances, the club’s Novelty Act team landed the All-Ireland Senior Scór title when they won performing their own production Curtain Up which ironically poked some fun at the Scór novelty act concept and its judges. The novelty actors were Mary T. Irwin, Mary Hughes, Paul Doolin, Joe Earley, Gemma McNamee and two noted football corner-backs Robert Ryan and Aaron Purcell.
In 2010 also the latest phase of the club’s development of the astro-turf, floodlights, perimeter walkway and redesigned juvenile pitch was completed, work that was driven to completion by club chairman, Pearse Corroon. The development was officially opened on 30 July 2011.
2011: With the club’s senior footballers losing out to Garrycastle in the county senior final replay, four of the Shamrocks ladies footballers were responsible for bringing back some spectacular silverware to Westmeath. Gemma Leahy, Carole Finch, Karen Hegarty and Emma Morris played key roles on the Westmeath team that won the National League (Division 4) and the All-Ireland intermediate titles. Gemma Leahy was a superb goalkeeper. Karen Hegarty was awarded the Player of the Match award for her display in the league final against Roscommon in which she scored 0-6 and her second-half display against Cavan in the drawn All-Ireland final when she scored 1-1 was crucial. Emma Morris played in every match in the league and championship and Carole Finch’s twelve-year career with the Westmeath team was rewarded with league and All-Ireland medals in a year in which she played thirteen league and championship matches. Robbie McCarthy, a former Shamrocks under-age footballer, also created history when he won the All-Ireland 60x30 senior softball singles title beating Eoin Kennedy to become the first Westmeath man to win an All-Ireland senior singles handball title, the first of many such titles.
2012: Character is the only word needed to describe the quality of the panel of players that regained the Westmeath senior football championship for the Mullingar Shamrocks Club after an incredible twelve-year absence. Once the knock-out stages were reached the players refused to accept defeat. Down by 0-10 to 0-4 and virtually out against Tyrrellspass in the quarter-final, the players inspired by Micheál Curley staged a magnificent last ten minutes recovery to win by 1-10 to 0-10. St Lomans provided the semi-final opposition and led by five points early in the first-half before Shamrocks drew level only to then drift out of the game and allow the local boys establish another six-point lead. This was of course clawed back and converted into a two-point lead before the game eventually ended in 2-12 to 2-12 draw. In the replay, St. Lomans led by six points after seventeen minutes but then the serious business began and Shamrocks took control to secure a county-final place with a comfortable 3-7 to 1-10 victory. In the final, Garrycastle blundered into a 3-7 to 1-4 lead early in the second-half and their four-in-a-row title quest seemed secure. Shamrocks had other ideas and outthought, outfought and outscored Garrycastle for the last twenty-five minutes to earn a well-deserved draw (3-9 to 3-9). Half-way through the first half of the replay Shamrocks conceded the customary five points lead to the opposition but the successful fight back began and three magnificent Seanie Daly points in the final minutes secured victory for Shamrocks (0-12 to 1-8). Captain Kieran Gavin escorted the Flanagan Cup back to Springfield for the eleventh time.
These men were responsible for this marathon championship victory which involved twelve matches.
County Final: Ronan Tyrrell; Eddie Moore, Kieran Gavin, Aaron Purcell; Killian Daly, David Gavin, Micheál Curley; Denis Corroon & Donal O’Donoghue; Paddy Joyce, Seanie Daly, Conor Twomey; John Ganley, Ciarán Curley, Lorcan Smyth.
Subs: Anthony Clinton for Donal O’Donoghue; Simon Quinn for David Gavin; Aonghus Smyth for Killian Daly; Daragh Daly for John Ganley; David Miller for Aaron Purcell.
County Final Replay: Ronan Tyrrell; Aaron Purcell, Kieran Gavin, Eddie Moore; Paddy Joyce, David Gavin, Micheál Curley; Denis Corroon & Donal O’Donoghue; Killian Daly Seanie Daly, Simon Quinn; John Ganley, Ciarán Curley, Lorcan Smyth.
Subs: Anthony Clinton for Simon Quinn; Daragh Daly for Paddy Joyce; David Miller for Aaron Purcell.
Team Management: Ray Smyth, Pearse Corroon, Johnny Corroon.
Team Coordinator: Ray Twomey.
Team Doctor: Dr Liam Dalton
Physiotherapist: Derek Mitchell.
The win was made all the sweeter as Shamrocks had been defeated by Garrycastle in the 2010 and 2011 finals, the latter after a replay following which Garrycastle went on to win the Leinster final before losing the All-Ireland final in a replay to Crossmaglen.
2013: The club secured its second junior football title on 6 October 2013 when a team managed by Adrian Keaveney and captained by Calvin Kirwan defeated St Pauls in the final (1-7 to 0-8). Shamrocks: Ronan Tyrrell; Conor McEntee, Robert Ryan, Calvin Kirwan; Davy Coyne, David Miller (0-1), Efi Siode (0-1); Eoin O’Neill and Sean Maguire (Paul Christie); David Noonan (Sean Lee), Patrick Fagan (0-1), Conor Twomey (1-3); Steve Noonan (Nathan Smith), Gary Corroon (0-1) (Ryan Blundell), Adam Corroon.
2014: Another significant event in the club’s history was celebrated on 8 May when Minister for Sport, Michael Ring T.D. performed the official opening of the Mullingar Shamrocks Fitness Centre with its fully equipped gym.
2016: The staging of Grease, The Musical in the Mullingar Arts Centre om 5-10 July as the club’s main fundraising initiative for the year was another significant first for the club. It was a six-day completely sold-out success. The key people who made this possible were Jemma McNamee as Director, Niamh O’Shea as Musical Director, Chris Corroon who choreographed the show and Aaron Purcell as Stage Manager. Jemma is a former All-Ireland Scór winner with Shamrocks whilst Aaron is a long-time member of the Mullingar Shamrocks senior football team and was a key-member of the 2012 senior title winning team.
2018: Westmeath Senior Football County Final: Mullingar Shamrocks 2-12 St Loman's 1-11.
And so the remarkable turnaround in the Mullingar Shamrocks fortunes was completed and ended in triumph with the Flanagan Cup (minus a handle) destined to reside in Springfield for the twelfth time in its history. The general agreement was that this was the sweetest victory of the lot for many reasons. Winning the first all-Mullingar county senior football is a record that can never be beaten and defeating a very fine St Loman's team in the process added to the sweetness. In doing so Mullingar Shamrocks preserved their record as the last club to achieve the difficult four-in-a-row championship titles. The group of three will remain small for at least five more years. The county final programme read it right: it's hard to win four-in-a-row.
After the formalities, ended wind assisted Mullingar Shamrocks repeated their scoring pattern of their previous matches. Courtesy of Dean Moore two points were added to the scoreboard in the opening three minutes. A Denis Corroon free provided the opening opportunity and Dean pointed. The second began with a great Paddy Joyce interception who delivered to Micheál Curley who released Paddy Fagan for one of his surging runs through the centre. The inevitable foul followed and Dean once again clipped over the free. Two minutes later Seán Lancaster's county final ended when he was introduced to a red card by referee Niall Warde for his contribution to an off the ball incident.
St Loman's reacted to this setback by scoring three unanswered points, a great long-range effort from David Windsor and two from John Heslin. Before the interval Heslin added four more points some of them outrageous efforts that showcased the Loman's man's talent at its brilliant best. A glorious Alan Cashman point scored from near the sideline and deep in the corner levelled matters; this outside of the boot curler began deep in the Shamrocks defence when Tye Adamson kicked what seemed to be the riskiest of high back passes to Philly Shaw who confidently fielded the ball for what was his most difficult save of the afternoon. Tye went on to feature in the resultant move on a number of occasions. Dean Moore added his third point to send Shamrocks into the lead. A piece of high fielding by Dónal O'Donoghue released Paddy Fagan for another surging run through the middle and another foul resulted. This time Denis Corroon pointed from the medium distance free (0-5 to 0-3). This was quickly followed by one of the crucial scores of the match and one of the great goals of the championship. It began with a mark by Kieran Gavin who delivered a long pass to Jordan Warde who was forced over the sideline giving possession back to St Loman's. Alan Cashman recovered possession who found Dónal O'Donoghue on the break. O'Donoghue released the ball to Paddy Fagan who volleyed the ball past Stephen Gallagher with a brilliant piece of improvisation and individual skill from the man who was on offer at 33/1 from the generous bookies to score the first goal. Dónal O'Donoghue, in his nineteenth season in senior championship football (he played every minute of every game), has rarely played better and his fitness management and game management were critical to Shamrocks successful season as he went about his business in each game with the absence of fuss as he moved around the field to make the critical interventions that his wonderful game sense allowed him to anticipate. Denis Corroon added a sixth point to the Shamrocks interval total after he was fouled and he knocked over the resultant free himself (1-6 to 0-7).
It was debatable whether this 0-2 interval lead was sufficient given the strong breeze blowing towards the Harbour Court apartments and within three minutes of the resumption the debate seemed to be over and it seemed as if the Flanagan Cup was destined for Lakepoint Park. John Heslin pointed a free; he followed this with a quickly taken free that for the only time found the Shamrocks defence in standby mode as four defenders advised referee Niall Ward that he might have been mistaken in awarding the free; Ronan O'Toole was the beneficiary and raced clear to set up a goal chance for Ken Casey. The Offaly man doesn't miss these gift wrapped chances and shot to the net and suddenly St Loman's were in a two point lead. Shamrocks quickly rebooted and Dean Moore pointed a free (with the left foot it should be noted) following another foul on the strong running Paddy Fagan. The Shamrocks defence was stretched again directly from Stephen Gallagher's restart but a brilliant piece of defending by team captain Eddie Moore prevented T. J. Cox from scoring what seemed to be a certain goal and Shamrocks had survived a potential critical moment. Shamrocks responded with a superb Denis Corroon goal that established a lead for that was never subsequently lost. Daragh Daly made the crucial interception as St Loman's began a passing movement deep in their own half. Daragh extended his massive 6'6" frame to knock the ball down to Dean Moore who transferred to Ciarán Curley, he in turn found Daragh Daly on the loop who created the goal chance for Denis Corroon. Denis still had some work to do but remained unruffled and picked his spot and crashed the ball to the Loman's net (2-7 to 1-8). John Heslin pointed another free but this was neutralised by a lovely Denis Corroon left-footed effort. The move began in the Shamrocks goalmouth when Philly Shaw and Daragh Daly combined to defend a shot that rebounded from the goalpost. The resultant free began a move that included Daragh Daly, Simon Quinn (who had a superb second-half and covered acres of ground and always made the right decisions on the ball), Alan Cashman (who also covered miles of Cusack Park in executing his role as a modern wing-forward), Paddy Joyce, Alan Cashman again, Billy Flynn, Ciarán Curley and Kieran Gavin before Denis swung his left foot for a glorious point. John Heslin again pointed a free; Simon Quinn responded with a point that again resulted from several passes with the Curley brothers, Dónal O'Donoghue and Kieran Gavin and an Efe Siode block down contributing. At this stage, Billy Flynn who again had to retire injured and was replaced by Ross Corroon, Efe, Ciarán Curley and Aaron Purcell were on the field and all four had a significant impact on the game and injected new energy to the Shamrocks effort. T. J. Cox pointed to reduce the deficit to the minimum as the final entered its closing stages (2-9 to 1-11).
Mullingar Shamrocks, battle-hardened by their four previous must-win championship encounters retained their composure for the final vital minutes, which transpired to be some of the most important in the club's history. A Shane Dempsey scoring opportunity to level the match dropped short and was safely collected by Philly Shaw who transferred to Aaron Purcell and a sequence of ten passes later ended with Denis Corroon pointing a difficult free; Stephen Gallagher's restart was intercepted by Ciarán Curley who transferred to Dean Moore for another point, his fifth of the day to bring his championship total to 1-20 in what was a great championship campaign for the skilful full forward. The resultant kick-out was again claimed by Mullingar Shamrocks this time collected by Micheál Curley who burst forward with the ferociousness that has characterised his play all season. Paddy Fagan continued the move, Micheál Curley continued his run and with his left foot secured the last point of the 2018 Westmeath senior championship. Micheál was the eighteenth player to score for Mullingar Shamrocks this season and it could hardly have been more appropriate as Micheál had a superb season for Shamrocks and his great play at centre-back set the standard for championship winning performances. There was still time and the final minute was decorated by a brilliant shimmy from the Shamrocks equivalent of the great Paul McGrath, Efe Siode (he glides through matches without overtraining!). Efe's last fifteen minutes contributed substantially to the Shamrocks victory. And then a high delivery into the Shamrocks goalmouth was fielded by Daragh Daly (his return from injury was invaluable) in what was the last action of the 2018 senior football championship.
Denis Corroon was a worthy winner of the Man of the Match award with his midfield and full-forward play and his 1-4 brought his championship total for the year to 1-23. Denis with his collection of football skills was superb all season.
County Champions! The sweetest words in the GAA dictionary. The improbable journey and at the end of a magnificent county final, Eddie Moore was the one climbing the steps of Cusack Park to accept the Flanagan Cup from a delighted Football Committee Chairman, our own clubman, Des Maguire. It was a superb team victory founded on hard work and commitment and some superb pieces of individual play. Congratulations to all twenty-eight players concerned and especially to manager Ned Moore, his fellow selector and team trainer Enda Monaghan, selectors Barry Maguire and Gerry Nohilly, Gary Corroon (strength and conditioning) and logistics manager Ross Brady. Ross's attention to detail was evident on the eve of the final as he parked his car stocked with the essential equipment outside the entrance to Cusack Park early on Saturday evening.
Mullingar Shamrocks: Philly Shaw; Eddie Moore, Kieran Gavin, Killian Daly; Paddy Joyce (Aaron Purcell) Micheál Curley (0-1), Tye Adamson (Billy Flynn) (Ross Corroon); Denis Corroon (1-4), Paddy Fagan (1-0); Daragh Daly, Dónal O'Donoghue, Alan Cashman (0-1) [Efe Siode]; Jordan Warde (Ciarán Curley), Dean Moore (0-5) Simon Quinn (0-1).
2019: The Sound of the Musicals
The night of 28 Septmeber 2019 was a pround one for the members of the Mullingar Shamrocks community as The Sound of the Musicals proved to be a wonderful success in every way imaginable with the show completely sold out two days in advance and attracted an audience of almost 1,000 people to the Mullingar Park Hotel. An all-singing, all-dancing musical extravaganza, big budget show with production values of the highest order was promised and was delivered in style. The manner in which such a highly challenging, live singing show was performed and delivered is a reflection on the commitment, professionalism and dedication of the cast of over 100 performers, the expertise of the production team of Shane, Greg and Siobhan, the stage management crew of Robbie Harrison and Eoin Cornally on the ngiht and the work of the Mullingar Shamrocks organising committee who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the success of the ambitions project. It was a brilliant team effort. There was no hiding place for those on stage and the production team; no luxury of the pre-recorded and heavily edited scenes from movies good and bad, no refuge in miming to backing tracks. In this show featuring excerpts from seven famous musicals, it had to be all right on the night. And all right it most certainly was with every performance scrutinised by the judges Chris Corroon, Mark Irwin and Helen Hassett.
A giant LED video screen formed the backdrop to the stage, illuminated by the animation wizardry of Shane Barkey who created 85 different mini video shows to provide appropriate visuals to complement the on-stage action. The audience was transported to the USA of the 1850s (The Greatest Showman), to London of the early 1900s (Mary Poppins), Dublin of the 1980s (The Commitments), Paris of the 1830s (Les Miserables) before it was back to 1950s USA (Grease) followed by another time trip back to Jazz Age Chicago of the 1920s before concluding with a trip to one of the Greek Islands in 2000(Mamma Mia). Shane also found time to direct all seven mini-musicals and acted as a most competent host on the night. From start to finish, The Sound of the Musicals was a personal triumph for Shane.
The night opened in spectacular fashion with The Greatest Showman, introducing the world of P. T. Barnum and its wonderful extravagance to the Park Hotel audience. This was a show with many highlights including Jemma Curran's rendition of The Bearded Lady's 'This is Me', Sam Gilmartin's 'From Now On' and the brilliant dancing choreography of the title track but it was the singing of 'A Million Dreams' by young Mollie Darcy and Darragh McCabe that proved to be one of the night's highlights with Shane's stunning illuminations adding to the impact. This was followed by Mary Poppins and the performance of the children brought tears to the eyes of many proud mammies and daddies in the audience. Sarah Jane Mangan as Mary Poppins was 'producer perfect in every way' according to one of the judges; and Greg Dunne as Bert, the chimney sweep, understated and wonderful. This was the show that captured the hearts and minds of the audience when it came to voting for the best musical. Next up was The Commitments with an incredible performance from a cast of many characters with a reputation for football excellence in another life. Aarron Purcell overflowing with soul was 'a swinging crooner', Sophie and Karen Hegarty, and Casey McDermott 'the roughest three girls ever in the show' and a band that looked mean and menacing as the stage throbbed with energy, drama and excellence. Just when it seemed things couldn't get any better, Team Les Miserables emerged from the smog of Paris wonderfully costumed and delivered a performance for the ages. At the end of the day, this group was spoiled for choice in their selection of superb singers with Ray Purcell, John Smyth, Paul Doolin, Ciara Maher and Sarah Nally all contributing to an amazing set. Chris Corroon's 'You Purcell's are diseased with talent' in reference to Ray Purcell's singing (following immediately after brother Aaron) in this segment was undoubtedly the soundbite of the night.
The high octane performances continued when the all-teenage cast of Team Grease exploded on to the stage to start the second half of the show with Seán Óg Hynes and Méabh Ryan in John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John mode in a segment that was full of madness, costume changes, wild gymnastics, some great individual and group singing, and teenage innocence. Team Chicago introduced the audience to a totally different world as the decadence of 1920's Chicago and all that jazz was recreated on the stage. In many ways, this show was the special one and the performance of the Cell Block Tango was worthy of Broadway itself. Barry Kelly and Barry Dunne were the blessed ones amongst this cast of fifteen women, brilliantly led by Seana Stenson and Annija Koskiina, who delivered an amazing performance that also necessitated a certain amount of gymnastic agility. Mamma Mia provided an appropriate high energy conclusion to the night with Maeve Corroon, Jemma McNamee, Colette Dunning and Gillian McGurran starring as the lead females but the performance of Ritchie Daly making his debut on the big stage was also one that attracted much favourable comment. This cast also featured many of our current and former great footballers and Pearse Corroon, Eddie Casey, Dean Moore, David Gavin, Brendan O'Reilly and Marc Eivers performed to a standard that was in keeping with the quality of the night. They really were Souper Troupers.
The Sound of the Musicals concluded with the presentation of The Phony Awards and the winners were as follows.
Best Costumes: The Greatest Showman.
Best Performance (Group): Les Miserables
Best Female Performance: Seana Stenson as Velma in Chicago.
Best Male Performance: Aaron Purcell as Jimmy Rabbitte in The Commitments.
Outstanding Performance (Group): Mamma Mia.
Best Musial (People's Choice): Mary Poppins.
Biggest Grossing Musical: Grease.
There were no passengers on any of these teams. It was all crew and the singing and dancing on the night was the end result of eight weeks of intense rehearsals. In addition costumes were sourced and the essential props for the night's performance were collected. And while doing these essentials, cast members raised funds by organising sponsorship as well staging group fundraising events that ranged from selling grass-heads to canvas painting in The Clubhouse with Andrina, with coffee mornings, table quizzes, clothes sales, stand up and sit down bingo sessions and car boot sales in between.
2019: Under-16, Div. 3 County Football Final: Mullingar Shamrocks 3-13 St Joseph's 2-11
A great win by our Under-16s to capture the county title and bring the season to a successful conclusion. The final was played in Ballinagore on a pitch that was in perfect condition despite the amount of rain that fell. A Mullingar Shamrocks victory looked doubtful in the early stages as the boys were slow to settle but eventually they came to terms with the opposition and the occasion, and in the end were deserving five point winners with St Joseph's dangerous to the end as they chased down the vital goal. An inspiriational display by Ollie McNamara who socred 3-8 was the stand-out feature of the game.
Mullingar Shamrocks: Mikey McDonagh; Ciarán Kiernan (Daithí Martin), Conor Kelly, Cian McGrath, Rian Adamson, William O'Reilly; Ben White (0-3), Tomass Turks, Aaron Russell (Matthew Clinton), Daragh Hughes, Shane Ormsby (0-2); Conor Fagan (Adam Boyle), Ollie McNamara (3-8), Other panellists: Ben Egan, Mikey Horan, Luke McCabe, Aaron Smith, Caolainn Walsh, Nathan McLoughlin-Purcell, Mark Shaw, Óisin Garry, Ciarán Gowran, Óisin O'Dowd, John Ryan.
2020:Westmeath LGF Intermediate Final: Mullingar Shamrocks 5-8 Killucan 1-5
A GREAT day for our LGF intermediate team as senior status was regained after a superb championship campaign that ended in glory in Kinnegad on Saturday evening when Tara Fagan was presented with the Mary Wynne Memorial Cup. COUNTY CHAMPIONS has a nice sound to it. The Mullingar Shamrocks women dominated from the start and had the ball in the Killucan net within thirty seconds. Anna Jones, the outstanding player on the field, won possession from the throw-in and powered through the middle before passing to Emma Morris who goaled with an outside-of-the-boot effort. Killucan recovered from the early setback but their best attacking efforts were repulsed by a superb Mullingar Shamrocks defence anchored by the fullback line of Rachel Hannigan, Niamh Spellman and Melek Fagan with the halfback line of Chloe Swarbrigg, team captain Tara Fagan and Susanna Buckley equally tenacious. After eleven minutes of scoreless play, Karen Hegarty extended the Shamrocks lead with a point from a free and Karen then added two more points from play to establish a 1-3 to 0-0 lead at the first water break for Shamrocks.
On the restart, Anna Jones made another significant contribution, when she again raced through the Killucan defence and created a goal scoring opportunity for Clara Thornton who crashed the ball to the Killucan net. Clara was everywhere during this half, winning great possession and popped up at left corner forward to take the pass from Anna. Fiona Levy responded with a pointed free for Killucan. Karen Hegarty was wide from a free but the Killucan restart was fielded by Chloe Smullen who raced through on one of her flying solo runs and shot past Sarah Kiernan in the Killucan goal to extend the Shamrocks lead to eleven points. Anna Jones and Karen Hegarty added two more points and with a 3-5 to 0-1 lead at half-time it looked good for Shamrocks.
Meghan Carroll pointed for Killucan three minutes into the new half but this was neutralised by a Karen Hegarty punched point six minutes later. Karen added another point from a free as Shamrocks continued to dominate. Sarah Kiernan saved well from Emma Morris before she was deceived by a spinning shot from Chloe Smullen that yielded a fourth goal for Shamrocks. Chloe then carved open the Killucan defence but her finishing shot crashed off the crossbar. Áine Melody was doing great work in her role as an extra defender and closed down several attacks with her reading of the game. Killucan never gave up and Meadbh Monaghan pointed twice from frees, Aoife Darby kicked a fine point and then added a goal but it was too little too late. Karen Hegarty completed the scoring for Mullingar Shamrocks with a point after good work by Michaela O' Connor and a goal with Anna Jones again contributing substantially to this score.
Although several individuals contributed handsomely to the Mullingar Shamrocks victory, ultimately the return to senior status was achieved by a great team performance by a very fit Mullingar Shamrocks side who played excellent football with a game plan based on retaining possession but moving the ball forward with pace. All the hard work paid off and the players won a county title that they richly deserved for their dedication not only this year but over the past number of years of near misses at senior level, the heartbreak of relegation in 2018 and the disappointment of last year's final defeat to Coralstown-Kinnegad. We should never underestimate the service these players have given to Mullingar Shamrocks in so many different roles. Niamh Spellman, Lorna and Emma Morris, Áine Melody, Karen Hegarty and Carole Finch played on the Shamrocks team that won the intermediate title in 2009, the last occasion the title was won. Lisa Burke captained that team and on this occasion formed part of Robbie Boyle's management team with Carole.
Lauren McCormack, after a few days of warm weather training and surfing on the beach at Lahinch had a relaxed evening between the posts; Lauren's restarts and her calm presence between the posts have been instrumental in the Shamrocks success. The excellence of the fullback line has been mentioned already. The return of the Spellman sisters from the Middle East was a tremendous boost for the team and the performance of Niamh Spellman at fullback was one of the season's highlights. Melek and Rachel were virtually unbeatable all year in the corners with Sophie Hegarty and Lorna Morris offering great backup support when summoned to duty. Team captain Tara Fagan, a fierce competitor and brilliant footballer, anchored the half back line and was well supported by the rock solid Chloe Swarbrigg with Susanna Buckley, a revelation in her new wingback position. Cliodhna Spellman offered great back=up support when called into action. Anna Jones and Laura Whitelaw formed the perfect midfield combination; Anna once again displayed all her outrageous football talent: the athleticism, the power and strength, the fielding and football ability were all on exhibit. Laura Whitelaw was the perfect midfield partner with her phenomenal workrate. Emma Morris at centre forward provided more evidence that class is permanent and Emma's general play and finish for the opening goal was sublime. Áine Melody was a strong candidate for Player of the Match and she carried out her defensive role exactly to plan. Clara Thornton had one of her finest ever games in the Shamrocks jersey and was brilliant in the first half when the pressure was greatest. Clara moved around the forward line with great effect and popped up in the left corner forward position to score Shamrocks' second goal. And then there was the full forward line, the footballer, the soccer player and the rugby player - all great LGF players and lethal all year and contributing 3-7 on this occasion. Karen was Karen and led the line with characteristic brilliance; the availability of Chloe Smullen and Honor MacNamara was crucial to winning this title. Chloe's pace and shooting ability are prize assets; Honor's accuracy and football intelligence added multitudes to the team. All three have more football to play this season: Karen with Westmeath, Chloe with Peamount United and hopefully with Ireland in under-age soccer and Honor returns to her medical studies in Trinity College where she captains the college's rugby team wearing the No. 10 jersey. We wish them the best. Michaela O'Connor (recruited via Facebook), Ally Bane contributed when introduced; Carole Finch in a playing and management role added another accolade to her remarkable career in LGF at both club and county level. Liveta, Casey, Máiread, Holly and Laura Culkin played their part on the journey to the final. Geraldine McCormack looked after the medical side of things and Debbie Newman performed the multitude of tasks required to ensure that the journey to the title was as smooth as possible.
And finally, the ringmaster supreme Robbie Boyle who volunteered to take on the role of manger and coach to the team back in the pre-Covid era. Supported by Lisa and Carole, Robbie moulded a very fit team with a rigorous but enjoyable training regime that played to a game plan based on retaining possession and moving forward at pace. The county final was played on the on the twenty-fifth anniversary weekend of Dublin's 1995 All-Ireland title victory when Robbie was a member of the winning Dublin team.
Congratulations to all involved and it was a shame that we don't have a Leinster Club match to come.
Mullingar Shamrocks: Lauren McCormack; Melek Fagan (Sophie Hegarty), Niamh Spellman, Rachel Hannigan (Lorna Morris); Susanna Buckley, Tara Fagan (Captain), Chloe Swarbrigg (Cliodhna Spellman); Anna Jones (0-1), Laura Whitelaw; Clara Thornton [1-0] (Michaela O'Connor), Emma Morris (1-0), Áine Melody; Chloe Smullen [2-0] (Ally Bane), Karen Hegarty (1-7), Honor MacNamara (Carole Finch).
2021: Minor (Div. 2) County Final: Mullingar Shamrocks 1-10 Caulry 0-11.
Congratulations and jubilation was the order of the day in Ballynacarrigy as Mullingar Shamrocks finished two points ahead of Caulry in an excellent Minor (Div. 2) final. Conor Fagan sent Shamrocks on the road to victory within 30 seconds when he kicked a fine point from play. Good defending by both sides and a tricky wind made scoring difficult but both sides were guilty of some poor shooting in the early stages. Andrew Stuart Treanor equalised from a 45 and from the restart Eoin Doran found the high fielding Shane Ormsby who carried the ball forward and released to John Ryan and ‘the mister perpetual motion’ of the Shamrocks team kicked a good point. Conor Fagan extended the lead with his second point before Óisin Shortall reduced the deficit A lovely Rian Adamson point from play ended the first quarter with Shamrocks leading by 0-4 to 0-2.
Conor Fagan added another point early in the second quarter before he scored the only goal of the game. And what a wonderful goal it was. The Caulry goalkeeper Max O’Sullivan who excelled with his long restarts opted to go short and his kick was intercepted by Conor. With a sublime piece of skill, made more difficult by the tricky wind, Conor chipped the keeper and dropped the ball under the crossbar for the crucial goal that extended Shamrocks lead to six points (1-5 to 0-2). The Caulry response was immediate and David Gaynor and Óisin Shortall scored points. Conor Fagan from a free had the final score of the half with Shamrocks leading by 1-6 to 0-4. Before the break, the second crucial match winning episode of play occurred. A wonderful defence splitting pass sent the Caulry centre forward Tiernan O’Donovan through for what seemed to be a certain goal. However, Eoin Doran had other ideas and O’Donovan’s shot from close range was brilliantly smothered by Eoin. It was great to stop the shot but to hold on to the ball elevated the save to a different level entirely and preserved Shamrocks five-point lead.
Caulry’s remedial action at half-time had an immediate impact. Andrew Stuart Traynor moved to midfield and Aaron Murphy was introduced as a substitute. Between them they scored five points as Shamrocks were held scoreless. Stuart Trainor scored twice in the opening minutes, Murphy kicked a fine point from play and Stuart Trainor added two more points from frees before the break. Caulry missed a few scorable frees at this time when Stuart Trainor was not the kicker.
Shamrocks were under fierce pressure in the final quarter as Caulry chased the scores that would deliver the county title. The loss of Ben Egan to a black card in the final play of the third quarter added to the challenge for the Shamrocks boys. The resistance was fierce and the siege was gradually lifted. Another Conor Fagan pointed free inched Shamrocks ahead; Óisin Shortall equalised. Nathan Cornally won a great possession as Conor Kelly arrived at his shoulder galloping from deep in defence. Conor’s timing was perfect, Nathan delivered and Conor (‘the most dangerous man in football’ -Vinnie Timoney) soloed through and kicked high and straight between the Caulry posts to establish the lead once again (1-8 to 0-10). The point was a huge morale booster and a great example of a captain leading from the front. Tom Hickey, working ferociously hard, won possession in midfield found Conor Fagan who made a mark and immediately passed to John Ryan who pointed Shamrocks into a two point lead. Andrew Stuart Traynor kicked a fine point from long range to reduce the deficit to the minimum. Shane Ormsby departed the scene with a knee injury to add to Shamrocks difficulties but it was Conor Fagan who recorded the final score – a fine long range free kicked from the hands. Conor Kelly picked up a black card in the final minutes, but it didn’t matter and when Brendan Keenan blew the final whistle Mullingar Shamrocks, who were never headed, had recorded a significant victory for the club. For the first time since 2008 a minor title was on its way to Springfield.
This was a great team victory with every panellist playing his part during the year; it was wonderful to see 31 players togged out in Ballynacarrigy. The members of the hosting club should be commended on the excellence of their arrangements. Ollie Baker in presenting the trophy to Conor Kelly suggested that football was the real winner on the day. And so it was. Shamrocks excelled on the day and their teamwork and combination play was excellent. Their ability to retain possession and move the ball calmly from defence was exemplary as was their skilful tackling. The Shamrocks defence was outstanding; the fullback line of Enda Keating, Conor Kelly and Ruarí Hickey excelled and were never beaten. The halfback line of Ben White, Ben Egan and Aaron Russell was just as good. Shane Ormsby was magnificent at midfield; his high fielding recalled the feats of another Ormsby who played in the position in the last century. Tom Hickey was just as good and his work rate throughout was a central piece of the victory jigsaw. Our half-forward line worked in the manner of a modern half-forward line. John Ryan popped up all over the pitch and added 0-2 to the scoreboard. The battle between Rian Adamson and Harry Stuart Treanor was one of the game’s highlights. Two great footballers engaged in a head-to-head challenge with honours even at the end of the day. Ciarán Kieran with his great pace was as constant threat to the Caulry defence. In the full forward line, Darragh Hughes ability to win possession was crucial as it kept one of Caulry’s key players, Tadgh Baker fully occupied for the duration. Luke McCabe’s power and strength were valuable assets. Nathan Cornally, Robin Habimaa (a relative newcomer to the game) on their introduction played their part and at the end, William O’Reilly (one for the future) and Tadhg Sheridan also tasted the action.
This was essentially a team victory, but two individual pieces of brilliance were critical to the result. Conor Fagan scored 1-6 from placed balls and play but it was his goal that will be recalled in the years to come. Conor joins Gavin White and Emma Duggan as the goalkeeper chippers of the season. After Gavin White (Kerry) chipped Niall Morgan in the NFL game v Tyrone, Lee Costello wrote in SportsJoe.ie that ‘However, there is nothing that makes us feel quite as rebellious, giddy and cheeky as spotting the goalkeeper off their line and lobbing that big floating ball in over their head, to drop right under the black spot’. This is exactly what Conor delivered twenty minutes into the first half. A difficult skill perfectly executed. And just on half-time, Conor Doran, a vastly improved goalkeeper from a few years ago, made the save that mattered as described earlier.
Great credit is due to our team management for a job well done. Conor Kelly in his acceptance speech referenced the great improvement made by the panel of players. Team manager Micheál Burke, Niall O’Brien, Seamus Wallace and Vinnie Timoney worked tirelessly with the group and their good coaching was clearly evident in Ballynacarrigy and other venues during the year. Their detached and calm sideline management was also noteworthy with the players trusted to make the right decisions. Collins made sure everything was in place for training and games and his contribution should never be forgotten. The bond between the players was evident in the post-match euphoria when the group moved to the dugout to ensure Shane Ormsby was included in the celebratory picture; it was also very evident later in Springfield when the boys ensured that the immobile Shane got his share of pizza! ‘We are all in this together’ epitomised.
Mullingar Shamrocks: Eoin Doran; Enda Keating, Conor Kelly (0-1), Ruairí Hickey; Ben White, Ben Egan (William O’Reilly), Aaron Russell; Shane Ormsby (Tadhg Sheridan), Tom Hickey; John Ryan (0-2), Rian Adamson (0-1), Ciarán Kiernan (Robert Habimaa); Luke McCabe (Nathan Cornally), Darragh Hughes, Conor Fagan (1-6).
Other panellists: Adam Boyle, Dylan Carey, Cameron Crichton, Mikey Curley, Óisin Garry ,Jack Guilfoyle, Killian Kelly, Cian McGrath, Aaron Smith, Nathan McLoughlin-Purcell, Michael Swarbrigg, Caoilin Walshe.