Canovee’s glorious 2008 an example worth following

Canovee’s glorious 2008 an example worth following

Canovee celebrate their All-Ireland Junior Football victory at Croke Park. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE

THE early months of 2022 will see the latter stages of the GAA All Ireland Club championships being completed.

This is a time in the calendar that can often show much of what is good about Gaelic Games, in the villages and towns that provide the community spirit which is very much the lifeblood of the GAA.

Numerous clubs will indeed still harbour ambitions of securing All Ireland glory over the next few months.

One example which this reporter came across of the significance and positive impact the All-Ireland Club GAA Championships can have is the success of Muskerry based side Canovee back in 2008.

That campaign saw Canovee produce one of the greatest days in the history of the club, by winning the All Ireland Junior Football title in Croke Park.

To put their achievement into context, Knocknagree in 2018 were the only other side from Cork that have secured the All Ireland Junior Football Club Championship crown since.

The date of the 17th of February 2008 will be one long recalled in the history of Canovee GAA.

That campaign saw Canovee go on to secure the Muskerry, Cork and Munster Junior club football titles, before duly stepping up to the plate on the national stage.

They faced off against Tyrone side Rock St Patrick’s in their national decider, with the Muskerry side emerging victorious on a 1-8 to 0-5.

Rock got the opening score of the game through Eamon Ward, before Paul Healy levelled proceedings for Canovee with a point.

It was a final which saw Canovee fully determined throughout the game to make their dream a reality. They led at the half time break 1-5 to 0-1, with Kevin Walsh a prime scorer in chief for the Muskerry men.

The All-Ireland junior football club cup champions Canovee pictured on their return to Cork at Kent Station. Picture: Dan Linehan
The All-Ireland junior football club cup champions Canovee pictured on their return to Cork at Kent Station. Picture: Dan Linehan

Walsh found the back of the net with the all-important goal in this Croke Park contest, with Healy also proving to be one of the scorers in chief.

Pat Dunlea extended the Canovee lead to eight points in the early stages of the second half, as his side did not falter to secure a well-earned All Ireland success.

Writing in his match report on the Evening Echo the following day (February 18, 2008), Mark Woods summed up the mood around the Mid Cork club and the significance of this success.

“All Ireland Champions! For the good folk of Canovee, it was only a dream before their Roy of the Rovers story became reality amid emotional scenes at Croke Park yesterday.

“The normal routine of daily life out Carrigadrohid direction will be turned upside down for the immediate future.

"There was no denying Canovee on the greatest day in their history.” Wins for teams such as Canovee in Croke Park, and also most recently Knocknagree in their 2018 All Ireland club success, illustrate that no matter what part of Ireland your GAA club is based in, it is possible to dare to dream. It is possible to aim to perform on the grandest of stages.

The image of Canovee captain James Scanlan lifting the All Ireland silverware is one which is iconic in Carrigadrohid, with that moment sure to be never ever forgotten by those who were in attendance in Croke Park that day.

Perhaps the biggest crowd one will ever see in Carrigadrohid village was there to greet the Canovee team on their homecoming back to Leeside after the final.

The parade in the village was a tremendous spectacle and the bonfires that were lit added to the atmosphere.

This team, the players and management will forever have a special place in the Canovee hearts.

There are numerous other examples of successful All Ireland Club winning teams which sum up how the local GAA team means so much to small and rural communities.

In an era when there often can be a vast gulf in standards between teams at intercounty level, the AIB All Ireland Club Championships represent much of what is wonderful about the GAA.

2021 saw Canovee exit on penalties in the Muskerry Junior A Football Championship semi final stages against the second string side of Ballincollig.

When the 2022 Mid Cork campaign comes around, Canovee will again be very much looking to be among the main contenders for championship success and the current crop of Canovee players will be totally determined.

Canovee GAA can reflect proudly on what their counterparts of 2008 achieved on the field of play.

Over the coming weeks, in both football and hurling, there will be clubs right across the country that will have aspirations of creating their own All Ireland memories.

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