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THE YEAR KILDARE GAINED 100 HURLING MEDALS

Leinster Leader 7 March 1970
The year Kildare gained 100 hurling medals


Kildare, one of the supreme football counties in Ireland over many decades, has now joined the select band of the country’s supreme hurlers also. Those who do not believe this should have been at Derby house Hotel, Kildare, on Wednesday night last when, for what must have been one of the first times in history, exactly 100 medals were presented to hurlers from Co. Kildare for honours in All-Ireland competitions.
Three-hundred Kildare Gaels, men and women, boys and girls, filled the banqueting hall of the hotel to see medals being presented to the young hurling men of the county who, in 1969, had defeated the best in Ireland in their respective competitions in three grades, and had also taken two Leinster Championships.
The men who received medals were those who, in 1969, had won for Kildare the honour of being (1) the champion intermediate hurling county in the country; (2) the champion Under 21 hurling team in the country (special competition); (3) the champion National Hurling League Division II team in the country; (4) the champions of the special minor hurling competition; and (5) the Leinster Intermediate Hurling Champions.
The festivities were further crowned by the attendance of six members of the county’s All-Ireland senior football championship winning team of 1919. The six, and their trainer, were presented with beautiful Waterford decanters, the only surviving absent member of the team, Father Joe Stanley of Massachusetts, U.S.A., was also presented in absentia with a decanter. It was accepted on his behalf by his brother, Mr. Larry Stanley, who captained the team on that occasion. The other members of the team who were presented with the decanters were Messrs Larry Stanley, Ginger Moran, Jim Conlon, Mick Buckley, Val McGann and Frank McArdle. The trainer presented with the decanter was Joe McDonald.
Native players
One of the principle guests at the function was Mr. Sean O’ Siochain, General Secretary of the G.A.A.
Mr. Sean O’ Siochain said that some years ago it would be people from other counties who would be wearing the Kildare colours in hurling. But now players who were born in the county wore the county jerseys and brought honour to the county last year by winning the All-Ireland Intermediate Hurling Championship and making the headlines.
“When the history of hurling in 1969 comes to be written,” he said, “it is Kildare that will claim the limelight.”
Mr. O’ Siochain added that there was hurling in every parish in Kildare now and the growth of hurling in the county was a tribute to the hard work of the officials who encouraged the game more in their own county than other officials did in their counties. The county was now reaping a rich harvest after the great efforts of officials and clubs and players. While they had brought honour to Kildare, Kildare had brought them honour also, especially to the players, on whom there was a responsibility to repay their county and the association. The best way they could repay was by helping the young boys who came after them to play better hurling than themselves.
He said he also wished to pay a tribute to the six present who played on the Kildare All-Ireland winning football team in 1919. They all looked hale and hearty, although that was fifty years ago. “Lets hope the Kildare senior footballers of today bring a like honour for their county this year, or next,” he concluded.
Mr. Ger Grehan, Chairman of the Co. Board, welcomed the guests and introduced the speakers.
Mr. Seamus O’Riain, President of the G.A.A., who was unable to attend, was represented by his son, Philip, who said that he had lived in Kildare for the past nine months and while he felt proud to be a Tipperary man in Kildare he also felt proud to be a Kildare man in Tipperary when the Kildare intermediate hurlers defeated Cork there in the All-Ireland final at Thurles last year. Kildare’s day on the hurling scene had now arrived.
Mr. Gene Fitzgerald, who represented Cork Co. Board at the function, said that the Kildare forwards had put up a great display against Cork in the final. Indeed the Cork team had never been really pressed in any other championship game until they met Kildare, who now had a really good hurling team. They should move with confidence into the senior grade as the step from intermediate to senior hurling was not a great one. He looked forward to the day when Kildare would challenge the best in Munster in the All-Ireland Hurling Final. “There is rarely a year that Kildare does not win the championship nowadays,” he concluded.
Fine display
Mr. Jack Conroy, Chairman of the Leinster Council, said that he was in Thurles to see Kildare defeat Cork and he wished to congratulate the winners on their fine display and victory. He also paid a tribute to Mr. Hugh CampSpeaking in Irish, Mr. Campion said that the Kildare team had worn their county colours with honour. He thanked the Co. Board “officials” for their help at all times especially Davy Dennis, for the amount of work he put into hurling. He also thanked the club officials “without whose efforts hurling would not have arrived at the present status in the county or such progress be made.”
He added that a big debt of gratitude was due to the men who had gone before them. The greatest thing Kildare hurlers had to face now was the
challenge of the future. The hurlers must prove themselves worthy of senior status and must take their place with the elite of the hurling counties. He hoped Kildare’s hurlers would go to the top and stay there and that many All-Irelands would come their way.
Mr. Liam Geraghty, President of Kildare G.A.A., and former Chairman of the Co. Board, said that he had special memories of 1919 because it was his first visit to Jones’ Road, now Croke Park, and that was to see his native county take the supreme award of the All-Ireland Football title. He had hoped that the 1969 Kildare team would celebrate this bi-centenary by winning an All-Ireland title in 1969, but this was not to be the case. However, he hoped that the present year might make amends for that.


A report from the Leinster Leader, 7 March 1970, on the year when Kildare gained 100 hurling medals



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