Courtesy of Donie Keane
Records of Gaelic games played in the parish of Murragh and Templemartin date back to 1863, when Templemartin hurlers took on Canovee. Shortly after the founding of the GAA, sports were organised in Newcestown, under the rules of the association in 1888. Olamh Fodhla, took part in football competitions from 1918 to 1923 and Farnivane affiliated from 1931 to 1933. St. John’s (1947-1950) won the West Cork Junior B hurling c’ship in 1949, “when bonfires blazed in the village well into the small hours”.
The present club was formed in December 1958 and played its first game, against Kilmeen, in the spring of 1959. The first officers were: chairman, Patrick O’Mahony; secretary, Sean Collins NT and treasurer. Jerry O’Sullivan NT (RIP). From the beginning, the club sought to promote both football and hurling equally, which policy has brought success in both codes over the years.
The first county title was won in 1967, when the Junior footballers defeated Midleton in the final. (played in March ‘68, due to the foot and mouth outbreak) Mackey Collins captained that history making team. Further success followed when in 1971, the club won the Intermediate football championship for the first time, defeating St Finbarrs in the final. The following year, the Junior hurlers won their first county championship with victory over Kildorrery in the final, where Sean Crowley was captain. Leading players of that era include Seán O Shea, Kevin Callanan and the Crowley, Kehily and O’Callaghan brothers.
In 1980, the County Junior hurling c’ship was won for a second time. This team was captained by Sean McCarthy and included the O’Leary, Collins, Crowley and Kehily brothers. The club’s status as a dual club was recognized nationally in the All Stars selections of 1982, when both Tim Crowley and Kevin Kehily were honoured. May 1985 brought the long awaited opening of the club grounds, Páirc Naomh Eoin, which facility has been maintained and developed by an enthusiastic and dedicated club committee in the years since.
1990 saw the county Junior football title return to the parish, when Seán Ryan masterminded a victory where Thomas Crowley led the way, ably supported by Tim Buckley, and the Lordan, Kenneally and O’Sullivan brothers. Two years later, Eugene Desmond captained the Junior hurlers to defeat Newtownshandrum for a third County hurling title in 1992, with Barry Buckley, Padraig Crowley, Michael O Mahony and the Longs and Wilsons to the fore. The club’s consistent under age success was reflected in the thrilling victory over Carraigtwohill in the 1993 County under 21 A hurling championship. Indeed the club has amassed an impressive array of under age titles, with county championship wins at U12, 14, 16 and Minor levels.
In 2001, Newcestown and Newmarket met in a never to be forgotten semi final replay in Coachford, when three goals in the last 4 minutes saw Newcestown qualify for the Intermediate football final against Nemo Rangers. The team in that final lined out as follows: P.White, J. Crowley, P Kenneally, K Long, C. Crowley, J Wilson, N O’Sullivan, D McCarthy, (Captain) D Twohig, B O’Donovan, J O’Sullivan, E Twomey, P Condon, K O’Sullivan. T Twomey. Subs: C Condon, D. Collins, M Kelly, C O’Donovan, D Wilson, B Moloney, B O’Mahony, F O’Sullivan, N Crowley, P Cohalan, N Twohig, S O’Donovan, P Crowley, A O’Sullivan. Despite the early loss of the experienced Pat Kenneally, Cathal Crowley and John Wilson led by example and with Dan McCarthy and Derry Twohig dominant at midfield, this year’s mentors Jim O’Sullivan and Padraig Condon chalked up the winning scores in a 0-13 to 0-6 victory. Nine of the panel are still involved in 2010. Coach to the team was Gene O’Driscoll, with Timmy Twomey, Tom Wilson and present chairman, Matt Kelly, as selectors.
In senior ranks for the first time since 1973, Newcestown were unfortunate to meet reigning Munster club champions, Nemo Rangers, in the first round. However, they recovered to defeat CIT in the second round before bowing out to St Nick’s, after a replay. Victory over Seandún in 2003 was followed by a loss to O Donnabhain Rossa, while Nemo again and Bishopstown put paid to any chance of progress in ’04. In 2005, CIT were defeated in the first round before the subsequent loss to Castlehaven ended participation in senior ranks, for the moment. Since re-grading to the newly formed Premier Intermediate Football c’ship, in ‘06, the club has competed well, losing the semi final in ’08 to eventual champions, St Finbarrs. Last year, champions and neighbours Valley Rovers brought our pursuit of glory to a disappointing end at the quarter final stage.
The path to this year’s final began with a 2 point victory over final opponents, Clyda Rovers in the first round. Ballinora were defeated in the next round, before the team eventually overcame Carrigaline, following a replay, at the quarter final stage. Mallowwere the semi final opponents, when the team turned on the style in the second half to emerge winners by 4-09 to 1-10. After a tense and closely fought encounter, we emerged victorious, winning by a 0-10 to 0-09 scoreline.
In the meantime, hurling has continued to thrive at under age and adult level. In ’09, eventual winners, Douglas needed a 1st round replay to advance, before we bowed out to finalists Ballymartle. This year again, champions Ballymartle, ended our quest, eventually winning by 2 points after a memorable and thrilling semi final. The club is confident that the hurlers, having competed at this level since 1993, will soon bring an historic Premier Intermediate Hurling championship to the parish. It would be a dream come true for many, but particularly, long serving club secretary, Jimmy O’Mahony, to have both codes compete in the senior championships.Links