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Four previous winners contest AIB Club finals

11 March 2008
It’s the biggest day on the GAA club scene as four top teams prepare for the great adventure in the AIB All-Ireland finals in Croke Park on St. Patrick’s Day. Now in their 38th season, the club championships have proved hugely successful among players and public and this year’s clashes, featuring four previous winners, promise to live up to the highest standards set since the finals were first played in 1971.

The line up is as follows:
Hurling: Birr (Offaly) v Portumna (Galway), 2.0
Football: Nemo Rangers (Cork) v St.Vincent’s (Dublin), 3.45

NEMO RANGERS v ST.VINCENT’S
An eagerly-awaited clash between two famous clubs as Nemo Rangers, the most successful side in the history of the All-Ireland championships, bid for their 8th crown against St. Vincent’s, a club with a very deep and proud tradition who are bidding for their second title. Nemo last won the title in 2003 whereas St.Vincent’s sole success was in 1976 when they overpowered Roscommon Gaels. It will be Nemo’s 12th final appearance (including a replay) while St.Vincent’s will be appearing in their fifth final, including a replay. The clubs clashed in the 1973 final when St.Vincent’s won a replay.

Nemo, for whom James Masters is their top scorer beat Moyle Rovers, Ballylanders, Ballinacourty and Ballina Stephenites to reach the final while St.Vincent’s, who got a bye into the Leinster quarter-finals when Wicklow failed to complete their championships on time to be represented in the provincial campaign, beat Seneschalstown, Portlaoise, Tyrrellspass and defending All-Ireland champions, Crossmaglen Rangers. Masters apart, Nemo have very experienced performers in Niall Geary, Derek Kavanagh, Martin Cronin and Alan Cronin while Tomas ’Mossy’ Quinn, Pat Gilroy, Dermot Connolly, Ger Brennan, Pat Kelly and Brian Maloney have been very prominent for St. Vincent’s.

PATHS TO THE FINAL

NEMO RANGERS
Nemo Rangers 1-14 Moyle Rovers (Tipperary) 2-6.
Nemo Rangers 2-15 Ballylanders (Limerick) 2-9
Nemo Rangers 1-10 Ballinacourty 1-7 (Waterford) (Munster final)
Nemo Rangers 0-14 Ballina Stephenites (Mayo) 1-4 (All-Ireland semi-final)
Average For: 1-13; Average Against: 1-8

Nemo Rangers Scorers
J Masters.......0-23 (0-8 frees, 0-2 ’45s’)
P Kerrigan....1-13 (0-5 frees)
D Kearney.....1-5
R Kenny.........1-4
P Morgan.......1-0
A Cronin........0-3
D Meighan.....0-2
D Niblock......0-1
C O’Shea........0-1
B O’Regan.....0-1

ST.VINCENT’S
St. Vincent 0-11 Seneschalstown (Meath) 1-8
St.Vincent’s 1-12 Seneschalstown 0-10 (Replay)
St.Vincent’s 3-12 Portlaoise (Laois) 1-8
St. Vincent’s 2-8 Tyrrellspass 0-7 (Leinster final)
St.Vincent’s 2-9 Crossmaglen 0-11 (All-Ireland semi-final)
Average For: 2-9 Average Against: 0-10

St. Vincent’s Scorers
T Quinn.........3-15 (0-11 frees)
B Maloney.....2-7
K Golden.......1-8 (0-1f)
D Connolly....0-11
P Gilroy........2-2
P Kelly...........0-3
N Billings......0-2
T Diamond...0-2
C Brady........0-1
M O’Shea.....0-1

PREVIOUS ALL-IRELAND FINAL APPEARANCES
Nemo Rangers are by far the most experienced and successful team in the 37- year history of the All-Ireland club football championship, having played in eleven finals previously, winning seven, losing three and drawing one.

NEMO RANGERS
1973: Nemo Rangers 2-11 St.Vincent’s (Dublin) 2-11 (draw)
1973: Nemo Rangers 4-6 St.Vincent’s 0-10 (replay)
1975: University College Dublin 1-11 Nemo Rangers 0-12
1979: Nemo Rangers 2-9 Scotstown (Monaghan) 1-3
1982: Nemo Rangers 6-11 Garrymore (Mayo) 1-8
1984: Nemo Rangers 2-10 Walterstown (Meath) 0-5
1989: Nemo Rangers 1-13 Clann na nGael (Roscommon) 1-3
1994: Nemo Rangers 3-11 Castlebar Mitchels (Mayo) 0-8
2001: Crossmolina (Mayo) 0-16 Nemo Rangers (Cork) 1-12
2002: Ballinderry (Derry) 2-10 Nemo Rangers 0-9
2003: Nemo Rangers 0-14 Crossmolina (Mayo) 1-9
Played 11; Won 7; Drawn 1; Lost 3.

ST. VINCENT’S
1973: Nemo Rangers (Cork) 2-11 St. Vincent’s 2-11
1973: Nemo Rangers 4-6 St. Vincent’s 0-10 (Replay)
1976: St. Vincent’s 4-10 Roscommon Gaels 0-5
1985: Castleisland Desmonds (Kerry) 2-2 St.Vincent’s 0-7
Played 4, Won 1, Drawn 1, Lost 2.


PREVIOUS AIB ALL-IRELAND SF CLUB WINNERS (1971-2007)

7: NEMO RANGERS (CORK) (1973-79-82-84-89-94-2003)
4: Crossmaglen Rangers (Armagh) (1997-99-2000-2007)
3: St. Finbarr’s (Cork) (1980-81-87)
2: Burren (Down) (1986-88)
2: UCD (Dublin) (1974-75)
1: Austin Stacks (Kerry) (1977)
1: ST.VINCENT’S (DUBLIN) 1976
1: Ballina Stephenites (2005)
1: Ballinderry (2002)
1: Baltinglass (Wicklow) 1990
1: Bellaghy (Derry) (1972
1: Caltra (Galway) (2004)
1: Castleisland Desmonds (1985)
1: Corofin (Galway) (1988)
1: Crossmolina (Mayo) (2001)
1: Dr. Crokes (Kerry) (1992)
1: East Kerry (1971)
1: Kilmacud Crokes (Dublin) (1995)
1: Laune Rangers (Kerry) (1996)
1: Lavey (Derry) (1991)
1: O’Donovan Rossa (Cork) 1993
1: Portlaoise (Laois) 1983
1: Salthill-Knocknacarra (Galway) 2006
1: Thomond College (Limerick) 1978


FLASHBACK TO THE 1973 ALL-IRELAND FINAL

Nemo Rangers 2-11 St.Vincent’s 2-11 (Portlaoise)
Nemo Rangers 4-6 St.Vincent’s 0-10 (Replay ,Äì Thurles)
It took two games to separate these great rivals with Nemo eventually winning, thanks to a goal-burst in the replay. Jimmy Keaveney pointed a free to earn St.Vincent’s a second chance the first day but Nemo made no mistake in the replay, winning comfortably. Among the big names on the Nemo side were Cork stars Billy Morgan (captain), Brian Murphy, Frank Cogan, Seamus Coughlan and Jimmy Barrett while St.Vincent’s had Dublin heroes Gay O’Driscoll, Brian Mullins, Bobby Doyle, Jimmy Keaveney, Tony Hanahoe and Dave Billings.

BIRR v PORTUMNA
There’s only twenty miles between them across the Galway-Offaly border which adds to the excitement for a hurling final that promises to be a real classic featuring four-time winners, Birr and Portumna who are seeking their second title in three seasons.

Birr are seeking chasing their fifth title, thereby putting them back in the lead on the honours table. They are currently in joint first place with Ballyhale Shamrocks who won the title last year. Birr dethroned Ballyhale in the 2007 Leinster semi-final last November and went on to beat Ballyboden-St.Enda’s and Dunloy to book another final place.

Portumna had an easy run in Connacht, beating James Stephens (Mayo) in the final before disposing of Munster champions, Loughmore-Castleiney in the All-Ireland semi-final. Led by players of such high quality as Joe and Ollie Canning, Damien and Kevin Hayes, Eugene McEntee, Andrew Smith and Eoin Lynch, they are a formidable outfit but then so are the vastly experienced Birr side, reinforced by the Whelahan brothers, Brian, Simon and Barry, the Hanniffy brothers, Gary and Rory, Brian Mullins, Niall Claffey and Paul Cleary.

PATHS TO THE FINAL
PORTUMNA
Portumna (Galway) 6-23 James Stephens (Mayo) 0-7 (Connacht final)
Portumna 2-13 Loughmore-Castleiney (Tipperary) 2-8 (All-Ireland semi-final)
Average For: 4-18; Average Against: 1-8

Portumna Scorers
J Canning.... 1-14 (0-9 frees, 0-1 ’65’)
D Hayes......... 4-2
N Hayes......... 2-6
K Hayes......... 1-4
A Smith.......... 0-6 (0-1 free)
E Lynch......... 0-1
C Ryan.......... 0-1
C O’Hehir..... 0-1
D Canning..... 0-1

BIRR
Birr 1-13 Ballyhale Shamrocks (Kilkenny) 1-10
Birr 1-11 Ballyboden-St.Enda’s (Dublin) 0-13 (Leinster final)
Birr 0-17 Dunloy (Antrim) 0-9 (All-Ireland semi-final)
Average For: 1-13 Average Against: 0-12

BIRR SCORERS
Simon Whelahan..0-8 (0-4 frees)
Brian Whelahan...0-7 (0-5 frees, 0-1 ’65’)
R Hanniffy............0-7
G Hanniffy............1-3
K Hehir.................0-2
P Cleary................0-2 (0-2 frees)
Barry Whelahan..0-3
P O’Meara............1-5
D Hayden..............0-1
E Ryan..................0-2
M Dwane..............0-1

PREVIOUS ALL-IRELAND FINAL APPEARANCES
Birr will be featuring in the final for the 7th time, having won four, drawn one and lost one of their previous six deciders. This will be Birr’s fourth meeting with Galway opposition in the final. They lost to Kiltormer in 1991 but beat Sarsfields in 1998 and Clarinbridge in 2002. This is Portumna’s second final appearance, having won their first in 2006.

BIRR
1992: Kiltormer (Galway) 0-15 Birr 1-8
1995: Birr 0-9 Dunloy (Antrim) 0-9 (draw)
1995: Birr 3-13 Dunloy 2-3 (replay)
1998: Birr 1-13 Sarsfields (Galway) 0-9
2002: Birr 2-10 Clarinbridge (Galway) 1-5
2003: Birr 1-19 Dunloy (Antrim) 0-9
Played 6, Won 4, Drew 1, Lost 1.

PORTUMNA
2006: Portumna 2-8 Newtownshandrum (Cork) 1-6

PREVIOUS AIB ALL-IRELAND SH CLUB WINNERS (1971-2007)
4: BIRR (OFFALY) (1995-1998-2002-2003)
4: Ballyhale Shamrocks (Kilkenny) (1981-84-90-2007)
3: Athenry (Galway) (1997-2000-2001)
3: Blackrock (Cork) (1972-74-79)
3: James Stephens (Kilkenny) (1976-82-2005)
2: Glen Rovers (Cork) (1973-77)
2: Sarsfields (Galway) (1993-94)
2: St. Finbarr’s (Cork) 1975-78)
1: PORTUMNA (GALWAY) 2006
1: Borrisoleigh (Tipperary) (1987
1: Buffer’s Alley (Wexford) (1989)
1: Castlegar (Galway) (1980)
1: Glenmore (Kilkenny) (1991)
1: Kilruane McDonagh’s (Tipperary) (1986)
1: Kiltormer (Galway) 1992
1: Loughgiel Shamrocks (Antrim) (1983)
1: Midleton (Cork) (1988)
1: Newtownshandrum (Cork) (2004)
1: Roscrea (Tipperary) 1971
1: Sixmilebridge (Clare) (1996
1: St.Joseph’s (Clare) 1999
1: St.Martin’s (Kilkenny) (1985)


AIB PROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIPS 2007/2008
HURLING

MUNSTER
Nov 4: Quarter-finals: Tulla (Clare) 4-16 Lixnaw (Kerry) 2-6; Loughmore-Castleiney (Tipperary) 2-11 Erin’s Own (Cork) 0-14.
Nov 18: Semi-finals: Tulla 2-13 Ballyduff Upper (Waterford) 0-14; Loughmore-Castleiney 1-15 Adare (Limerick) 1-10.
Dec 2: Loughmore-Castleiney 1-6 Tulla 0-7.

LEINSTER
Nov 4: Quarter-final: Ballyhale Shamrocks (Kilkenny) 1-14 Mount Leinster Rangers (Carlow) 0-12.
Nov 11: Quarter-final: Ballyboden-St Enda’s (Dublin) 1-17 Oulart-The Ballagh (Wexford) 0-15.
Nov 18: Semi-finals: Birr (Offaly) 1-13 Ballyhale Shamrocks 1-10; Ballyboden-St.Enda’s 2-9 Camross (Laois) 1-11.
Dec 2: Birr 1-11 Ballyboden-St.Enda’s 0-13.

ULSTER
Oct 14: Semi-final: Dunloy (Antrim) 2-16 Ballycran (Down) 3-13
Oct 21: Replay: Dunloy 1-19 Ballycran 1-13
Oct 28: Final: Dunloy 2-14 Kevin Lynch’s (Derry) 2-8

CONNACHT
Oct 20: 1st round: James Stephens (Mayo) 3-10 St. Mary’s (Leitrim) 0-6.
Oct 29: 2nd round: Athleague (Roscommon) 4-15 Calry/St. Joseph’s (Sligo) 2-5.
Nov 3: Semi-final: Athleague 2-7 James Stephens 0-13.
Nov 10: Semi-final (replay): James Stephens 2-12 Athleague 2-10.
Nov 18: Final: Portumna (Galway) 6-23 James Stephens 0-7.

ALL-IRELAND CHAMPIONSHIPS
Feb 24: Semi-finals: Portumna 2-13 Loughmore-Castleiney 2-8; Birr 0-17 Dunloy 0-9.
Mar 17: Final: Birr v Portumna, Croke Park.



FOOTBALL

CONNACHT
Oct 14: Quarter-final: Tourlestrane (Sligo) 0-12 St.Mary’s (Leitrim) 1-4.
Nov 11: Semi-finals: Ballina Stephenites (Mayo) 1-8 Tourlestrane 1-4; St. Brigid’s (Roscommon) 4-10 Killererin (Galway) 1-11.
Nov 25: Final: Ballina Stephenites 2-8 St.Brigid’s 0-12.

LEINSTER
Oct 21: First round: Moorefield (Kildare) 0-15 Clongeen (Wexford) 0-8; Oct
28: Eire Og (Carlow) 3-9 Tullamore (Offaly) 1-8; Not Played: Baltinglass (Wicklow) v St.Vincent’s (Dublin).*
Nov 11: Quarter-finals: Moorefield 1-12 Dromard (Longford) 1-12 (After extra-time); Tyrrellspass 2-6 Eire Og (Carlow) 0-11; St.Vincent’s 0-11 Seneschalstown (Meath) 1-8; Portlaoise (Laois) 1-14 St.Patrick’s (Louth) 0-5.
Nov 18: Quarter-final replays: Dromard 0-12 Moorefield 0-12 (After extra-time); St.Vincent’s 1-12 Seneschalstown 0-10.
Nov 25: Semi-final: St.Vincent’s 3-13 Portlaoise 1-8; Quarter-final 2nd replay: Moorefield 0-13 Dromard 0-7.
Dec 9: Semi-final: Tyrrellpass 1-7 Moorefield 0-7.
Dec 16: Final: St. Vincent’s 2-8 Tyrrellspass 0-7.

*Wicklow were not represented in the Leinster championship due to the late finish of their county championships

MUNSTER
Nov 11: Quarter-finals: Kilcummin (Kerry) 1-9 Lissycasey (Clare) 1-5; Nemo Rangers (Cork) 1-14 v Moyle Rovers (Tipperary) 2-6.
Nov 25: Semi-finals: Nemo Rangers 2-15 Ballylanders (Limerick) 2-9; Ballinacourty (Waterford) 2-6 Kilcummin 0-8.
December 9: Final: Nemo Rangers 1-10 Ballinacourty 1-7.

ULSTER
Oct 21: Preliminary round: Cavan Gaels 0-8 St.Eunan’s (Donegal) 0-7.
Nov 4: Quarter-finals: Glenullin (Derry) 1-15 Newtownbutler (Fermanagh)
1-7; Crossmaglen Rangers (Armagh) 1-8 Clontibret (Monaghan) 1-7;Dromore (Tyrone) 1-10 Mayobridge (Down) 0-13; St.Gall’s (Antrim) 0-13 Cavan Gaels 0-8.
Nov 11: Quarter-final (replay): Dromore 1-9 Mayobridge 1-7.
Nov 18: Semi-finals: St.Gall’s 0-11 Glenullin 0-7; Crossmaglen Rangers 2-6 Dromore 0-11.
Nov 25: Final: Crossmaglen Rangers 1-9 St.Gall’s 1-6.

ALL-IRELAND CHAMPIONSHIPS
Jan 27: Quarter-final: Crossmaglen Rangers 0-10 Tir Chonaill Gaels (London) 0-6.
Feb 24: Semi-finals: St.Vincent’s 2-9 Crossmaglen 0-11; Nemo Rangers 0-14 Ballina Stephenites 1-4.
Mar 17: Final: Nemo Rangers v St.Vincent’s, Croke Park.






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