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The Last Hurrah

Chapter 13

" I do not care to single out any individual for special mention, but everyone in North Tipperary,all over the county and indeed all over Ireland, will not begrudge Martin Kennedy, the veteran hurler, his great victory ". So said Tomas Malone, Chairman of the North Board, when presenting the Murphy Cup to the forty five year old captain of Kildangan, the new senior champions of 1943. But in a sense it was Martin's last hurrah: he continued playing for three more seasons, but this was his and Kildangan's last senior championship success. It was a last hurrah too for the veterans Jack Hoctor and Rody Gleeson. Jack had been brought back specially for the big match, while Rody had come on as substitute for the injured Paddy Devaney.

Kildangan richly deserved their triumph in 1943 because they had suffered defeat in three North finals since 1938. In 1939 they had been beaten by Roscrea, the following year they had fallen to Kilruane MacDonagh, in 1943 they had gone down to Roscrea by a single point. Victory was all the sweeter in 1943 because Roscrea were the vanquished and the winning margin was again a single point. That 1943 championship was run on a group basis. Kildangan won a place in the final with a 6-2 to 2-0 victory over Duharra. Martin Kennedy scored two of the goals, while Danny Gleeson got two goals and a point. The final at MacDonagh Park, Nenagh, was played in gale force conditions. Kildangan had the wind in the opening half and led by 4-2 to 0-1 at half time. The sending off of Seamus MacBrien by referee Con Heffernan of Ardcroney had dented the Roscrea challenge. "Kildangan were cruising to victory and led 6-2 to 2-2 with twenty minutes remaining". waxed a lyrical Nenagh Guardian of 28 August 1943, Roscrea, using feet, hands and every artifice they possessed, stormed the Kildangan citadel and put through three goals and two points in an intensely exciting finish. With minutes remaining a rampant Roscrea broke through the Kildangan defence, but Matt Coen deflected for a 70. Kildangan hearts faltered as John Joe Maher stepped up to save the day for Roscrea, but John Joe drove wide, the final whistle sounded and Kildangan were North Tipperary champions for 1943. It was ironic that it had been John Joe Maher who had snatched victory for Roscrea in the dying moments the previous year with a goal from a free.

Killadangan Tournament Team of the late 1940's
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A Killadangan Tournament Team of the late 1940's

Kildangan: Christy Coen (Johnstown), Jack Hoctor (Lisduff), Paddy Morrissey (Prospect), Seamus Flannery (Monsea), Matt Coen (Johnstown), Danny Moloney (Crannagh), Nick Flannery (Urra), Mick Murphy (Ballyartella), Jim Killeen (Monsea), Paddy Devaney (Ballycommon), Jim Joe Grace (Carhue), John Gleeson (Ballydrennan), Johnny Hogan (Urra), Danny Gleeson (Peterfield), Martin Kennedy (Castlesheela), Capt. Jack Kelly (Puckaun), Rody Gleeson (Peterfield), Mick Culhane (Carneybeg).











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