New champions to be crowned in AIB finals

March 13, 2006
At least one new name will be added to the AIB All-Ireland senior club honours list in Croke Park on St. Patrick's Day as three of the four finalists are bidding for first time glory. And it could be a real glory day for Galway who are doubly represented in the finals. Neither Salthill-Knocknacarra nor St.Gall's, who contest the football final, have won the title before, which also applies to hurling finalists, Portumna, whose Cork opponents, Newtownshandrum are seeking their second title in three seasons. The exciting line-up for the double header, which is certain to attract a big crowd to Croke Park is as follows: Hurling: Newtownshandrum (Cork) v Portumna (Galway), 2.0 Football: Salthill-Knocknacarra (Galway) v St.Gall's (Antrim), 3.40 (Both games will be shown 'live' on TG4) PORTUMNA v NEWTOWNSHANDRUM When Newtownshandrum captured the Tommy Moore Cup for the first time in 2004, they probably didn't expect that they would be back bidding for a second crown a mere two years later but they are. Opposing them will be Galway champions, Portumna, who will be appearing in the decider for the first time as they seek to join Castlegar, Sarsfields, Kiltormer and Athenry as Galway clubs who have won club hurling's biggest prize. Led by the Cannings and the Hayes, Portumna produced a stunning performance in the All-Ireland semi-final, easily beating James Stephens of Kilkenny, the 2005 All-Ireland title holders. Newtownshandrum, led by Cork stars, Ben and Jerry O'Connor and Pat Mulcahy had to negotiate a much tougher test against Down champions, Ballygalget who eventually fell short by a single point in the other semi-final. It was the second time in this campaign that Newtownshandrum had won by a point, having also edged out Ballygunner by the minimum in the Munster final. It will be the first time since 1988 that Cork and Galway clubs have clashed in the hurling final. Midleton beat Athenry in the 1988 final by 3-8 to 0-9. PATHS TO THE FINAL PORTUMNA Connacht final: Portumna 2-22 Four Roads (Roscommon) 0-6. Portumna scorers: J Canning 1-9, N Hayes 1-1, D Hayes 0-4, K Hayes 0-3, D Canning 0-3, L Smith 0-1, A Smyth 0-1. All-Ireland semi-final: Portumna 2-17 James Stephens (Kilkenny) 0-11 Portumna scorers: J Canning 1-7; D Hayes 1-4, A Smyth 0-4, D Canning 0-1, N Hayes 0-1. Top scorer: Joe Canning 2-16 Average For: 2-20; Average Against: 0-9 NEWTOWNSHANDRUM Munster semi-final: Newtownshandrum 1-16 Thurles Sarsfields (Tipperary) 0-13 Newtownshandrum scorers: B O'Connor 0-8, Jerry O'Connor 1-1, John O'Connor 0-2, C Naughton 0-2, JP King 0-2, J Bowles 0-1. Munster final: Newtownshandrum 0-16 Ballygunner (Waterford) 1-12 Newtownshandrum scorers: B O'Connor 0-6, C Naughton 0-3, John O'Connor 0-3, JP King 0-2, J Bowles 0-1, Jerry O'Connor 0-1. All-Ireland semi-final: Newtownshandrum 0-14 Ballygalget (Down) 1-10. Newtownshandrum scorers: B O'Connor 0-10; J O'Connor, M Farrell, B Naughton, J O'Mahoney 0-1 each. Top Scorer: Ben O'Connor 0-24. Average For: 0-17; Average Against: 1-11 SALTHILL-KNOCKNACARRA v ST.GALL'S It has been a great few years for Ulster football with Tyrone and Armagh capturing All-Ireland senior championships and NFL titles and now it's the turn of Antrim, in the impressive form of St.Gall's, who are bidding to land another big prize. St.Gall's will be appearing in their first ever All-Ireland senior 15-a-side final (they won the 7-a-side club title in 1985) but having beaten the Tyrone, Down, Derry, Cork and Munster champions they are confident that they can follow in the footsteps of other Ulster winners, Bellaghy, Burren, Lavey, Crossmaglen Rangers and Ballinderry. Lavey won the title in 1991, beating Salthill-Knocknacarra by 2-9 to 0-10 in the final. It was the last time that Salthill-Knocknacarra reached the final. They beat the Mayo, Roscommon, London and Dublin champions to reach Friday's final as they seek to join Corofin, Crossmolina, Caltra and Ballina, the only clubs who have previously brought the Andy Merrigan Cup to the west. Inspired by Galway stars, Michael Donnellan, Sean Armstrong, Finian Hanley and Alan Kerins and led by former Mayo star, Maurice Sheridan, Salthill have an impressive pedigree. But then so too have St.Gall's for whom Karl Stewart is the top scorer. PATHS TO THE FINAL SALTHILL-KNOCKNACARRA Connacht semi-final: Salthill-Knocknacarra 0-9 Crossmolina (Mayo) 0-7 Salthill scorers: S Crowe 0-4, S Armstrong 0-2, M Donnellan 0-1, B Dooney 0-1, S Rabbitte 0-1. Connacht final: Salthill-Knocknacarra 1-10 St.Brigid's (Roscommon) 0-5. Salthill scorers: M Sheridan 1-2, S Crowe 0-4, A Kerins 0-2, S Armstrong 0-1, M Donnellan 0-1. All-Ireland quarter-final: Salthill-Knocknacarra 0-9 Tir Chonail Gaels (London) 0-5. Salthill scorers: S Crowe 0-3, A Kerins 0-2, S Armstrong 0-2, A McDermott, J Boylan 0-1 each. All-Ireland semi-final: Salthill-Knocknacarra 1-9 Kilmacud Crokes (Dublin) 1-7. Salthill scorers: S Armstrong 0-4, J Boylan 1-0, M Sheridan 0-3, M Donnellan 0-2. Top scorer: Seamie Crowe 0-11 Average For: 1-8 Average Against: 1-4 ST.GALL'S Ulster quarter-final: St.Gall's 1-11 Carrickmore (Tyrone) 0-8 St.Gall's scorers: K Stewart 1-3, S Burns 0-3, T O'Neill 0-2, Kevin McGourty 0-2, A McLean 0-1. Ulster semi-final: St.Gall's 0-11 Mayobridge (Down) 0-8 St.Gall's scorers: K Stewart 0-5; S Burns 0-3, C Crossan 0-1, Kevin McGourty 0-1, A Gallagher 0-1. Ulster final: St.Gall's 1-8 Bellaghy (Derry) 0-8 St.Gall's scorers: S Burns 0-4, K Stewart 0-3, C McCrossan 1-0, C Gallagher 0-1. All-Ireland semi-final: St. Gall's 0-10 Nemo Rangers (Cork) 1-6 St.Gall's scorers: S Burns 0-7, A Gallagher 0-1, K Stewart 0-1, C McGourty 0-1. Top Scorer: Karl Stewart 1-12 Average For: 1-9 Average Against: 0-9 WILL THE 40,000 MARK BE BEATEN? Only once before has the 40,000 attendance mark been beaten for the AIB All-Ireland club finals although hopes are high that it could happen again next Friday. A crowd of 40,106 attended the St.Joseph's (Clare) v Rathnure(Wexford) and Crossmaglen Rangers (Armagh) v Ballina (Mayo) finals in 1999. It was a far cry from the early days of the competitions in the 1970s when the finals were watched by less than a thousand spectators for the first few years. The attendance figures for the past ten years were as follows: 2005 - 31,236 2004 -38,500 2003 - 26,235 2002 - 16,112* 2001- 20,025 2000 - 31,965 1999 - 40,106 1998 - 36,545 1997 - 34,852 1996 - 21,986 *Played in Semple Stadium, Thurles due to redevelopment of Croke Park. All the other finals were played in Croke Park. PREVIOUS AIB ALL-IRELAND CLUB WINNERS (1971-2005) FOOTBALL 1971 - East Kerry (Kerry) 1972 - Bellaghy (Derry) 1973 - Nemo Rangers (Cork) 1974 - UCD (Dublin) 1975 - UCD (Dublin) 1976 - St.Vincent's (Dublin) 1977 - Austin Stacks (Kerry) 1978 - Thomond College (Limerick) 1979 - Nemo Rangers (Cork) 1980 - St.Finbarr's (Cork) 1981 - St.Finbarr's (Cork) 1982 - Nemo Rangers (Cork) 1983 - Portlaoise (Laois) 1984 - Nemo Rangers (Cork) 1985 - Castleisland Desmonds (Kerry) 1986 - Burren (Down) 1987 - St.Finbarr's (Cork) 1988 - Burren (Down) 1989 - Nemo Rangers (Cork) 1990 - Baltinglass (Wicklow) 1991 - Lavey (Derry) 1992 - Dr. Crokes (Kerry) 1993 - O'Donovan Rossa (Cork) 1994 - Nemo Rangers (Cork) 1995 - Kilmacud Crokes (Dublin) 1996 - Laune Rangers (Kerry) 1997 - Crossmaglen Rangers (Armagh) 1998 - Corofin (Galway) 1999 - Crossmaglen Rangers (Armagh) 2000 - Crossmaglen Rangers (Armagh) 2001 - Crossmolina (Mayo) 2002 - Ballinderry (Derry) 2003 - Nemo Rangers (Cork) 2004 - Caltra (Galway) 2005 - Ballina Stephenites (Mayo) HURLING 1971 - Roscrea (Tipperary) 1972 - Blackrock (Cork) 1973 - Glen Rovers (Cork) 1974 - Blackrock (Cork) 1975 - St. Finbarr's (Cork) 1976 - James Stephens (Kilkenny) 1977 - Glen Rovers (Cork) 1978 - St.Finbarr's (Cork) 1979 - Blackrock (Cork) 1980 - Castlegar (Galway) 1981 - Ballyhale Shamrocks (Kilkenny) 1982 - James Stephens (Kilkenny) 1983 - Loughgiel Shamrocks (Antrim) 1984 - Ballyhale Shamrocks (Kilkenny) 1985 - St.Martin's (Kilkenny) 1986 - Kilruane McDonaghs (Tipperary) 1987 - Borrisoleigh (Tipperary) 1988 - Midleton (Cork) 1989 - Buffers Alley (Wexford) 1990 - Ballyhale Shamrocks (Kilkenny) 1991 - Glenmore (Kilkenny) 1992 - Kiltormer (Galway) 1993 - Sarsfields (Galway) 1994 - Sarsfields (Galway) 1995 - Birr (Offaly) 1996 - Sixmilebridge (Clare) 1997 - Athenry (Galway) 1998 - Birr (Offaly) 1999 - St.Joseph's (Clare) 2000 - Athenry (Galway) 2001 - Athenry (Galway) 2002 - Birr (Offaly) 2003 - Birr (Offaly) 2004 - NEWTOWNSHANDRUM (Cork) 2005 - James Stephens (Kilkenny) AIB CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS 2005/2006 FOOTBALL CONNACHT Oct 16: 1st round: Kiltubrid (Leitrim) 0-9 Coolera-Strandhill (Sligo) 0-4. Semi-finals: Nov 6: Salthill-Knocknacarra (Galway) 0-9 Crossmolina (Mayo) 0-7; Kiltubrid (Leitrim) 0-9 St.Brigid's (Roscommon) 0-9. Nov 12: St.Brigid's 1-11 Kiltubrid 1-7 (replay). Nov 20: Final: Salthill-Knocknacarra 1-10 St.Brigid's 0-5. LEINSTER Nov 6: 1st round: Eire Og (Carlow) 0-12 Dromard (Longford) 0-4; St.Peter's (Meath) 0-16 Muckalee (Kilkenny) 1-5; Mattock Rangers (Louth) 1-8 The Downs (Westmeath) 0-9; Rhode (Offaly) 2-6 Rathnew (Wicklow) 1-3. Nov 13: Quarter-finals: Kilmacud Crokes (Dublin) 1-14 St.Peter's 0-3; Mattock Rangers 1-9 Horeswood (Wexford) 1-8; Rhode 1-6 Stradbally (Laois) 0-6; Sarsfields (Kildare) 1-12 Eire Og 0-8. Nov 20: Semi-finals: Kilmacud Crokes 1-9 Rhode 2-6; Sarsfields 0-15 Mattock Rangers 0-10. Nov 27: Replay: Kilmacud Crokes 2-6 Rhode 1-7. Dec 4: Final: Kilmacud Crokes 0-10 Sarsfields (Kildare) 0-9. MUNSTER Nov 13: Quarter-finals: Nemo Rangers (Cork) 1-13 Ardfinnan (Tipperary) 0-6; Monaleen (Limerick) 1-7 St.Senan's (Clare) 0-10. Nov 19: St.Senan's 1-11 Monaleen 0-6 (replay). Nov 27: Semi-finals: St.Senan's 1-14 An Ghaeltacht (Kerry) 2-7; Nemo Rangers 1-14 Stradbally (Waterford) 0-10. Dec 11: Final: Nemo Rangers 2-12 St.Senan's (Clare) 1-6. ULSTER Oct 30: 1st round: Carrickmore (Tyrone) 2-10 Teemore (Fermanagh) 0-5. Nov 6: Quarter-finals: Mayobridge (Down) 0-10 Glenties (Donegal) 1-5; Bellaghy (Derry) 0-11 Crossmaglen Rangers (Armagh) 0-9; St.Gall's (Antrim) 1-11 Carrickmore 0-8. Nov 13: Cavan Gaels 0-12 Latton (Monaghan) 1-7. Nov 20: Semi-finals: Bellaghy 0-11 Cavan Gaels 0-9; St.Gall's 0-11 Mayobridge 0-8. Nov 27: Final: St.Gall's 1-8 Bellaghy 0-8. ALL-IRELAND SF QUARTER-FINAL Dec 4: Salthill-Knocknacarra 0-9 Tir Chonail Gaels (London) 0-5. ALL-IRELAND SF SEMI-FINALS Feb 19: Salthill-Knocknacarra 1-9 Kilmacud Crokes 1-7; St.Gall's 0-10 Nemo Rangers 1-6. ALL-IRELAND FINAL St.Patrick's Day: Salthill-Knocknacarra v St.Gall's, Croke Park, 3.40. HURLING LEINSTER Oct 30: 1st Round: UCD (Dublin) 3-25 Killyon (Meath) 1-3; Glenealy (Wicklow) 2-14 Castlepollard (Westmeath) 1-10; October 31: Knockbridge (Louth) 1-14 Clonguish (Longford) 1-5; Nov 6: Naomh Eoin (Carlow) 3-14 Celbridge (Kildare) 0-12 Quarter-finals: Nov 5: Castletown (Laois) 2-16 Glenealy (Wicklow) 2-10; Nov 6: Oulart-The-Ballagh (Wexford) 6-21 Knockbridge (Louth) 0-9. Nov 13: UCD 1-12 Birr (Offaly) 1-7; James Stephens (Kilkenny) 1-16 Naomh Eoin 1-13. Nov 20: Semi-finals: James Stephens 5-14 Castletown 0-8; UCD 0-15 Oulart-The Ballagh 1-9. Nov 27: Final: James Stephens 2-13 UCD 1-12. MUNSTER Nov 6: Quarter-finals: Ballygunner (Waterford) 2-12 Garryspillane (Limerick) 1-11; Thurles Sarsfields (Tipperary) 2-15 Lixnaw (Kerry) 3-8. Nov 20: Ballygunner 3-13 Clarecastle (Clare) 2-9; Newtownshandrum (Cork) 1-16 Thurles Sarsfields 0-13. Dec 4: Final: Newtownshandrum 0-16 Ballygunner 1-12. ULSTER Oct 30: Final: Ballygalget (Down) 1-18 Cushendall (Antrim) 3-8. CONNACHT Oct 30: Semi-final: Four Roads (Roscommon) 1-9 St.Mary's (Leitrim) 0-5. Nov 20: Final: Portumna (Galway) 2-22 Four Roads (Roscommon) 0-6. ALL-IRELAND SEMI-FINALS Feb 12: Portumna 2-17 James Stephens 0-11; Newtownshandrum 0-14 Ballygalget 1-10. ALL-IRELAND FINAL St.Patrick's Day: Portumna v Newtownshandrum, Croke Park, 2.0


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