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40 Years of GAA Hurling 7's

26 September, 2012

This year Kilkmacud Crokes (Dublin) celebrated their 40 year hosting of the GAA Hurling 7's competition.

The rebel county broke the ice the following year when Midleton, featuring John Fenton and Kevin Hennessey, and who were about to commence a halcyon period for the club in Cork hurling, became the first Cork winners, beating Cloughbawn 3-10 to 2-4 in the 1980 final.  During the game goalkeeper Ger Power “made one of the greatest saves in this or any other competition” according to John Fenton when he stopped a point blank shot from Wexford intercounty player John Fleming.  The year was also marked by the so called Tubber incident when as a result of using ten, rather than the permitted nine, players, the East Clare team was removed from the competition. 

Twelve months later Midleton made it two in a row in an outstanding final, pipping Kinnity, still sporting Johnny Flaherty, Pat Delaney, Ger Coughlan, Paddy Corrigan and Mark Corrigan(?), 3-10 to 1-13.  Midleton, who were devoid of a number of county men, on duty with Cork in the main event the following day, had a late long distance goal from Tadgh McCarthy to thank. 

Cork hurlers, still smarting from their surprise loss to Galway in the 1985 All-Ireland semi-final, were to the fore again in 1985.  With John Fenton and Kevin Hennessy on song, Midleton beat former champs Borris-Ileigh 4-5 to 2-3 to inscribe their name for the third time.  Roscommon’s Tremane won the Shield

Midleton, with four final appearances and three victories, were the dominant 7’s team of the 1980’s.  According to John Fenton, “Midleton's love affair with the Kilmacud Sevens began when we entered our first tournament in 1981. With an emerging senior team (having won the Intermediate championship in Cork three years earlier), we entered the competition to enhance our experience of senior hurling and were delighted and thrilled to win at our first time of trying, being the first Cork team to emerge winners of the competition. Midleton defended the title the following year and these titles were instrumental in giving us the confidence to go on and win an historic Cork County senior hurling championship in 1983.  Thirteen players who played on the County winning team of 1983 had played in Kilmacud in the previous two years. We were back in Kilmacud again in 1985 and maintained our 100% record in the competition by recording a hat trick of victories. For three players John Hartnett, Tadhg McCarthy and Sean O’Brien it proved to be a memorable achievement as they were the only three players to play in all three winning teams.” 
Midleton were a very big, physically fit team that loved to score goals.  They considered themselves “a bit naive” in 1981 when athleticism and hurling ability saw them through. Learning all the time, taking scores, goals or points, when they were available became a hallmark of their performances in the Sevens.  They relished the open space and their team work and understanding marked them apart.  Using the Sevens as a launch pad for domestic glory was not unique to the Imokilly club.

Tom Rock who was Chairman of the Kilmacud Crokes 7's Work group for many years has this to say about Midleton in the brochure.
'The first team that brought absolute preperation and new thought to the Sevens was the great Midleton team of the eighties. Managed by Paddy Fitzgerald, they arrived in the club early in the morning (some of us would still be in bed), togged out and did a thorough warm up. they then had a light meal and were well prepared when they took to the field circa 10.30. They were, in my opinion, the greatest team to play in and win the competition'.

Photos of the three winning teams below


1981 Midleton (Cork) 3-10, Cloughbawn (Wexford) 2-4
Back Row L to R
Gerry Smith, John Fentor, Kevin Hennessy, Ger Power, Sean O'Brien, Declan Barry, Paddy Fitzgerald (Sel), Fr Denis Kelleher (Sel)
Front Row L to R
Paddy Dunlea (Sel), Tadhg McCarthy, Silvie O'Mahony, Denis Mulcahy (Capt), John Hartnett

1982 Midleton (Cork) 3-10, Kinnity (Offaly) 1-13
Back Row L to R
Paddy Crotty (Club Chairman), Fr Denis Kelleher (Sel), Nelie Horgan (Sel), Dave Boylan 1-03, Ger Fitzgerald, John Hartnett 0-05, Paddy Fitzgerald (Sel), John Fitzgerald (Sel), Paddy Dunlea (Sel)
Front Row L to R
John Boylan 1-0, Tadhg McCarthy 1-02, Sean O'Brien (Capt), Denis Mulcahy, Silvie O'Mahony, Pat Hartnett
Player of Tournament: John Hartnett

1985 Midleton (Cork) 4-5, Borris Ileigh (Tipperary) 2-3
Back Row L to R
Paddy Fitzgerald (Sel), John Boylan, Ger Power, Dave Boylan, John Hartnett, Fr Denis Kelleher (Sel)
Front Row L to R
Kevin Hennessy, Tadhg McCarthy, Sean O'Brien, Pat Hartnett (Capt), John Fenton

2008 Fe 13 winners

Front Row L to R
Diarmud O'Keeffe, Alan Stanton, Ian Aher, Michael Abernethy, Brian Rossiter, Patrice Tschmangeia, Conan Finnegan, Eanna O'Brien, Eamon Cleary, Liam Noone,
Front Row L to R
Padraic Nagle, Kevin Butler, Billy O'Shea, Darren Quirke, Arron McEvoy, Robert Williams, Sean O'Farrell, John O'Farrell 



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