IT is safe to say the year 2022 was a memorable one as far as Kilmurry GAA is concerned.
The Mid Cork club had quite the campaign to remember, especially for Fionn Warren. Last November, Kilmurry won their first adult county championship title in 36 years following a win over Cobh in the Cork JAFC final.
On that epic day at Páirc Uí Chaoimh for Kilmurry, Warren had the honour of lifting the trophy aloft in his role as joint captain, alongside William Ronan.
This Kilmurry group will forever go down in the club history books and that occasion at Páirc Uí Chaoimh will remain with this group of players for a very, very long time.
“I’ll never forget it. It was a great day for all of us," said Warren. “It was unbelievable. Personally, I actually felt more relieved when the final whistle went than anything.
“But then when people started running on, just catching a few of the lads on the pitch before going up the steps.
"They are the moments you remember best, obviously along with lifting the trophy with Wille.
“Seeing lads that were on the team years getting over the line, seeing the work we’ve put in all year.
"The management as well, I caught Cormac Linehan, the Kilmurry manager, on the pitch before collecting the trophy.
“They are the moments that you remember. The few days afterwards were very special.
“We were years knocking at the door. It was massive for everyone. Even when you are out and about in the shop or in Mai Fitz’s, to see what it meant to the people around the locality made the whole thing very memorable.”
It started for Kilmurry in the Muskerry JAFC. On their journey into the final, they had to overcome a stern test from their old foes Canovee, before they defeated Aghinagh in the decider.
"At the start of the year the goal was qualification to the Premier Junior Grade. By doing that, we had to get out of Mid Cork. We know how competitive the division is.
“We lost to Aghinagh and Canovee in the last couple of years. We’ve always had great battles with both of them. The Muskerry Division is just so competitive.”
After overcoming the challenges posed by St James and Urhan, Kilmurry secured a historic County JAFC title by defeating Cobh 1-12 to 0-8 in the final.
A provincial journey then awaited for Kilmurry. After beating Tipp side Thurles Sarsfields, the Muskerry men made it to the Munster JAFC final, where they faced Kerry side Fossa and the outstanding talents of of David and Paudie Clifford.
Although coming up short against a Fossa side that went on to win an All-Ireland Junior club title, Kilmurry more than gave a good account of themselves on that December day in Mallow.
For Warren, a number of positives were taken from the Munster championship challenge.
“The whole thing was very new territory for all of us. It was a great experience. The whole buzz kept on going around the parish, everyone was talking about it looking forward to the Thurles game.
“It was a great day out. We beat Thurles by a few points. That set up the Munster final against Fossa.
"Obviously we didn’t get the result, but it was a very memorable day for everyone involved.”
2023 will see Kilmurry competing in the brand new Cork Premier Junior Football Championship, where they will be seeking to build on the huge momentum gained from last year.
Another Mid Cork club in Iveleary, now playing in the PIFC, have shown how after making a County JAFC title breakthrough how it can be possible to ride the momentum wave.
Looking ahead to how he thinks Kilmurry might fare over the coming months in the Cork Premier Junior tier.
“It is all positive. There is a great buzz around the place. Last year was a great year. But we want to push on now.
"Hopefully 2023 will be a big year for Kilmurry as well.”