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8th U21 Title the highlight of a mixed season for Tinryland G.F.C

posted 21 Dec 2015, 05:03 by
By Eamonn Byrne

2015 will not go down as a vintage year for Tinryland G.F.C. but a fruitful end to the season with a championship victory by our u21 team averted an Annus Horribilis that looked on the cards for much of the year. In addition the junior team reached the Carlow J.F.C. (B) final while the minors had the consolation of winning the Minor league division 1 title before exiting the championship at the group stages afterwards. The senior women from Bennekerry-Tinryland ladies club made history also when they won a historic first Carlow S.F.C. The ladies then progressed to the Leinster semi-final before losing out to eventual champions Dunboyne from Meath. Ladies captain Deirdre Tomlinson has recently been selected as the outstanding gaelic footballer in Carlow for 2015 and she will be presented with her award at the Carlow G.A.A. awards night in Mount Wolseley Hotel Tullow on Saturday 16th January 2016.

The year began with great hopes for both our senior and minor teams in their respective league and championship competitions. At senior level Tinryland with a new management team in situ led by Portlaoise man Tommy Conroy began by winning the first running of the Andy Murphy memorial tournament in early March against our neighbour’s Palatine. Who would have predicted on that cold spring Sunday evening in late February that Palatine would go on to lift the Conlon cup (Carlow S.F.C.) in October while Tinryland would be contesting a relegation play off against Ballinabranna in order to avoid the drop to the Intermediate grade? The seniors never seemed to get out of 2nd gear throughout the S.F.L. Div.1 campaign losing out to Ballinabranna, Old Leighlin, Rathvilly and eventual league champions Mount Leinster Rangers before recording their only league victory over an understrength Eire Og in early May. When the league concluded on 3rd May Tinryland’s next competitive outing was the 1st round of the championship against Mount Leinster Rangers on 26th July a long gap of 13 weeks. During that time the senior team played a number of challenges and looked to be coming into form when disaster struck with a number of injuries to key players.

In the 1st round of the S.F.C. on Sunday 26th July Tinryland found Mount Leinster Rangers that bit sharper with the latter having contested and won the senior league final after a replay against Old Leighlin.  Hopes then turned to our 2nd game against Kildavin-Clonegal on 8th August but again the men in blue and white lost out by 4 points to the Wexford border team. Suddenly our senior championship hopes had evaporated and regardless of the result of the final round robin game against Rathvilly on 30th August which Rathvilly won by 2 points Tinryland would face a relegation battle against Ballinabranna on 25th September to maintain senior status for 2016. In that relegation play off played at the Netwatch training centre in Fenagh Tinryland were made fight all the way by a gallant Ballinabranna side before triumphing on a scoreline of Tinryland 1-19 Ballinabranna 3-11.

At minor level our prospects of repeating the achievements of 2014 when minor league and championship honours came our way looked very promising considering that the majority of the panel were still eligible again this year. Everything seemed to be going to plan when the league title was won once again with victories over main rivals Eire Og in the final and Palatine in the semi-final. The only blip in the league was a defeat away to Rathvilly but everything seemed in place for another good run in the championship when Tinryland won the minor league final against Eire Og on 18th May on a score of 3-6 to 0-13. Alas it was not to be and the championship began on a disappointing note on 29th June when the boys in blue and white were defeated by Rathvilly in Rathcrogue on a score of 2-11 to 3-6. One week later the team got back on track by defeating St. Andrews in McGrath Park by 1-15 to 1-7. This victory was followed by a win against Fenagh on 27th July but the warning signs were there for all to see as Fenagh totally dominated the 2nd half outscoring the Tinryland boys by 8 points for a final scoreline of Tinryland 1-14 Fenagh 0-11. On August bank Holiday Monday Tinryland minors travelled to Borris to take on Mount Leinster Rangers and a 5 point win for the home side put a severe dent in our championship hopes. Tinryland would now need wins against Eire Og or Palatine to stay in the title race and after conceding a walk over to the former after the Co. board had refused our request for a change due to a Debs ball it all came down to a difficult assignment away to subsequent championship winners Palatine on Thursday 27th August. Tinryland began this game in whirlwind fashion pulling 4 points clear in the opening ten minutes before Palatine settled down to play the football that would win them the championship outright. At the end of this game Palatine were worthy winners by 5-10 to 0-11.

After a mixed season up to then the month of August heralded a change of fortune for Tinryland teams and it was the u21 panel that gave blue and white supporters something to cheer about. On Saturday 1st August the u21s took on a fancied Rathvilly in the quarter final at Netwatch Cullen Park and after a superb display of football in the 2nd half emerged victorious by 1-13 to 1-4. Tinryland then faced hot championship favourites Eire Og in the u21 semi-final on Saturday 19th September  and after a thrilling game that saw the hoops reduced to 14 men early in the 2nd half the team surpassed their quarter final performance to reach the final on a score of Tinryland 2-9 Eire Og 0-14. Our neighbours Palatine who were having the best ever season in their history would be Tinryland’s opponents in the final on Saturday 3rd October at Netwatch Cullen Park. After an even first half that saw the teams all square at the interval Tinryland produced a brilliant second half to run out comfortable winners on a score of 3-15 to 1-10. This was an eight u21 title for the club in the history of the competition which was first held in 1964. Those winning years were 1967 beat Eire Og in the final, 1969 beat Ballinabranna, 1978 defeated Clonmore, 1979 and 1980 defeated St. Andrew’s in the finals, 2003 beat Kildavin-Clonegal, 2006 defeated Michael Davitts and 2015 defeated Palatine.

The full Tinryland U21 panel was: Ciaran Byrne, Cathal Gaffney, John Murphy, Fionnan Burke, Adam Dunne, Shane Webb, Niall Lowry, John Dwyer, Peter Hennessy, Conor O’Toole, Diarmaid Walshe, Ciaran Larkin, Conal Dunne, Mark Lawlor, Andrew Hanley, Cian Lawlor captain, Adam Murphy, Sean Kirwan, Conor McGrath, Rory Doyle, Killian Maher, Owan O’Gorman, Adam Mullen, Conor Ryan, Ciaran Townsend, James McGrath.

At junior level Tinryland fielded two teams with the No. 1 squad taking part in the S.F.L. division 4 and the Carlow J.F.C. (B) while the 2nd junior squad competed in the S.F.L Div. 5 and the Carlow J.F.C. (C). Both teams got plenty of games during the year with the No. 1 squad proving to be the most successful winning 7 and drawing 2 of their 13 matches. This team reached the J.F.C. B final having defeated Asca, Old Leighlin, Mount Leinster Rangers and Naomh Eoin and hopes were high when they faced Eire Og in the Co. final on Saturday 24th October. After 10 minutes of the second half Tinryland held a 7 point advantage but in the closing stages Eire Og proved too strong for the men in blue and white running out 4 point winners on a score of 5-5 to 3-7. Despite losing the final Tinryland were promoted to the J.F.C. (A) division for 2016 and will therefore compete in league division 3 also next year.

At juvenile level Tinryland has recently not enjoyed the mega success that came our way over a 10 to 12 year period during the late 1990’s and 2000’s. The u16 team competing in division 2 did reach the Co. final before losing out to our neighbours Palatine on the same day that Tinryland won the u21 title. Tinryland G.F.C. extends congratulations to our parish neighbours Palatine who enjoyed a tremendous 2015 season winning U16, Minor, Junior (C) and senior titles.

Off the field of play 2015 was tinged with sadness when the club lost 2 loyal club members in Eddie Byrne and Seanie Brennan who both passed away suddenly in the spring. Tinryland G.F.C. provided guards of honour at the funerals of both men who served the club so well for many years. In the month before his passing Seanie Brennan was honoured by the Carlow Handball board with the Hall of fame award for his services to the game both as an administrator and player.  The Bennekerry –Tinryland ladies club also lost a loyal member during the year when Mary Dwyer passed away after battling a long illness. The clubs first Dinner Dance held on Saturday 7th February was a huge success and was attended by 250 patrons. Our next Dinner Dance has been confirmed for Saturday 20th February 2016 at the Woodford Dolmen Hotel with tickets going on sale at 25 euro early in January

Tinryland G.F.C. was the headquarters for the hugely successful Andy Murphy memorial week which was held in early March in memory of the legendary Tinryland, Carlow and Leinster footballer. 30,000 euro was raised for the Co. Carlow Hospice fund during the Andy Murphy memorial week.

Jim Deane and Eilis Costello represented Tinryland G.F.C. in the Carlow Co. Board promotion “Strictly come Dancing” in the Dolmen Hotel on Saturday 28th March. Tinryland players Niall Lowry, Ciaran Byrne, Ciaran Larkin, Conor McGrath and Conor Ryan helped Carlow C.B.S. win Leinster and All Ireland honours with the All Ireland final win over Abbey C.B.S. Tipperary at Croke Park in April being shown live on television.

G.A.A. president Aogan O’Fearghail visited Tinryland N.S. on Monday 11th May to promote the All Ireland Feile peil na Nog which was hosted at 76 different venues by Carlow, Wexford and Wicklow in June. Tinryland was a major host venue for the Feile with club member Michael Murphy one of the Carlow co-ordinators.

Tinryland hosted two Antrim teams namely Erin’s Own Cargin from the shores of Lough Neagh and the girls from St. Pauls Belfast during the Feile weekend which began on Friday 26th June. Over the weekend many friendships were formed with the visitors. In all 18 matches were played on the Tinryland pitches involving 18 different clubs from 14 counties and with the event blessed with fine weather huge crowds attended the tournament and many were loud in their praise of the organisation by the club.  

Tinryland G.F.C. was the final stop off point in the judging for the All Ireland pride of Place competition with the judges and the various officials in attendance loud in their praise for the facilities developed at the club in recent years. On Saturday 14th November at the awards presentation in Ennis Co. Clare Tinryland received a joint runner up award behind Limerick village Kilteely.

The club held a race night on Friday 13th November and despite the small attendance the event proved to be a big financial success. The weekly Monday night lotto is still going steady thanks to the loyal support of the regular contributors. At the time of going to press the Jackpot of 10,000 euro’s is still standing.

Heading into 2016 Tinryland will have a major part to play in the 1916 centenary celebrations as it is planned to re-enact the 1916 senior Co. final between Tullow and Tinryland on Saturday 2nd April.

On the playing front Tinryland will once again be hoping to win a 16th Co senior title after a gap of 35 years.

The club now embraces new technology in a major way and club supporters can keep up to date with club news and match reports on, facebook, and twitter in addition to weekly club notes in the sports section of the Carlow Nationalist newspaper.