Blarney camogie thriving again following on from the golden team of 1969

Blarney camogie thriving again following on from the golden team of 1969
The 2019 Blarney Camogie Club U16 Squad wearing the club’s new kit. The team were runners up in the 2019 League

SPORTING clubs up and down the county have treasured moments from their past that bring the young and the not so young together to celebrate their collective and sometimes historic successes.

In GAA circles, those achievements from the past tend to become part of the folklore of an area with older members often holding a near-mythical status as the stories from past achievements often grow legs as time bends the reality of what was achieved in times gone by.

Just over 50 years ago, Blarney Camogie Club celebrated one of its most famous days and while half a century has passed since that glorious day, the detail of what was achieved has remained as clear in the heads of those that participated as if it were only yesterday.

Recently, Blarney Camogie Club’s most successful ever panel came together to celebrate the anniversary of the club’s greatest period and all involved were proud to be associated with what the club achieved.

Blarney Camogie Club was founded by a Fr Tom Browne back in 1964 and soon joined the ranks of the Cork County Junior grade.

As was the way at the time, getting young girls involved in sport proved a challenge to the club. However, right from the off Blarney were in a position to field a team and the story of one of Cork’s oldest camogie clubs began.

One year after the club’s first game a hugely talented set of players made it all the way to the runners-up spot in the junior county league.

Progression continued as the club went a step further the following year, taking the top prize in the county League with players of the quality of Pauline and Mary Humphreys, Marie Mackey, Mary Doherty and Mary Heelan all doing their best to bring honours to the young club.

Twelve months later Blarney made a significant leap forward with their first County Championship win; they also retained their league title — their first significant double.

1968 saw the club secure their first ever promotion, to intermediate, and right from the off success came their way with the county league title heading back to Blarney.

1969 was another huge year for the club as they collected their second league title on the bounce (their fourth league in a row) before claiming the Intermediate County Championship crown later in the year, elevating the club to that of two grade champions.

At the reunion of the famous 1969 Blarney team was Marie Crowley Mulcahy, Kathleen Doherty Conway, Kathleen Hurley Ward, Mary Cronin O’Leary, Mary Humphrys O’Connell, Cora Humphrys, Celeste Mulcahy Foley, Betty Burke White, Anna Gaffey Lane, Nuala Kiely O’Brien, Angela Gaffey Dooling, Pauline Humphrys Hegarty, Mary Heelan Casey and Eileen Spillane O’Sullivan.
At the reunion of the famous 1969 Blarney team was Marie Crowley Mulcahy, Kathleen Doherty Conway, Kathleen Hurley Ward, Mary Cronin O’Leary, Mary Humphrys O’Connell, Cora Humphrys, Celeste Mulcahy Foley, Betty Burke White, Anna Gaffey Lane, Nuala Kiely O’Brien, Angela Gaffey Dooling, Pauline Humphrys Hegarty, Mary Heelan Casey and Eileen Spillane O’Sullivan.

Far from being one-hit wonders, Blarney was enjoying their golden generation and made the most of all the talent they had at their disposal with four of the next four intermediate league titles (1970, 72, 73 and 74).

Titles dried up for a period before the club eventually had to close its doors as numbers failed to materialise and teams became difficult to field but there was to be a second chapter to the story of this club — a story that keeps delivering to this day.

After more than 20 years without an organised club, Blarney Camogie Club rose again from the ashes in 1999 and from that day to this the club has continued to thrive.

After reforming, the club competed at junior and bagged the county title in 2019, all of 50 years after the club’s most historic day – that 1969 Intermediate crown.

Between 2018 and 2019 the club has managed to get three players onto All-Ireland winning Cork minor teams with Olivia Murphy and Orla Cremen making the grade in ’18 with Cremen again doing the deed in ’19, this time joined by Jennifer Murphy.

Blarney U18 Camogie team
Blarney U18 Camogie team

The club also brought through three girls to play for the rebel county at U14 last year with Katie Kelleher, Niamh Power and Amy Bannon all getting their reward for impressive displays over the previous year or more.

From a club that was out on its feet in the latter part of the last century, Blarney Camogie Club was able to boast more than 100 members at U12 alone last year which all bodes well for the future of this spirited and progressive beacon of light for young girls interested in sport in the mid-Cork area.

Blarney Camogie Club may have taken a two decade hiatus but now, after celebrating 21 years back in the fold, the club is looking to the future and looking to make many more good days ahead to keep all in the locality involved in what is a genuine good news story in the Blarney area.

Celebrating the successes of the past is a sure fire way of making sure that the current wearers of the Blarney colours know what it is like to be part of something bigger than the individual and know what it is like to be remembered for achieving something that has never been done before.

Blarney Camogie Club currently has a host of young stars of the future making their own history right now and with time on their side they are sure to bag themselves many special memories. However, for now the players listed here will take their time to remember and celebrate what it was like to be part of Blarney’s greatest ever camogie side.

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