2004 was a big year for Shane O’Neill’s GAC Glenarm and today we look back at their achievements that year and carry photographs taken during that memorable season.
Glenarm had actually been beaten in the Antrim final by Shamrock’s Loughgiel Reserves but went through to the Provincial series as the last non reserve side to be knocked out in the county series. They went on to defeat Newry Shamrocks of Down in the semi-final to advance to the final against St. Malachy’s Portadown.
Ulster Junior Club Hurling Final
Shane O’Neill’s 4-13 St. Malachy’s, Portadown (Armagh) 0-5
Shane O’Neills, Glenarm eventually cruised to an impressive victory over a gallant St. Malachy’s, Portadown in this first ever Ulster Club JHC final in Casement Park on the 31st October 2004. So the Antrim champions became the first ever holders of the Paddy O’Rourke Cup named after the former late Monaghan stalwart.
In a game that produced some good hurling it was always eveident, apart from the opening quarter, that the Glenarm side possessed too much power, skill and accuracy desp[ite a valiant effort by the Portadown side, which never gave up the battle despite the odds stacked against them.
Glenarm dominated mid-field through Ronan Matthews and Jim Petticrew while a brilliant half-back line of Bryan O’Neill, Blain McDermott and Ciaran Campbell blotted out the St. Malachy’s attack which lived of scraps of possession throughout the game.
However, Shay McStravick proved accurate from frees for the losers with Ruairi Garvey and Kevin Quinn working hard. The Shane O’Neill’s attack moved with fluency and precision with Hugh Martin McKay, Brendan McDermott and Brendan McAllister most prominent. Peter Gorman Ryan Sands and Charlie O’Neill worked overtime in the St. Malachy’s defence
St. Malachy’s played their best hurling in the first quarter. They took the lead with a point from Stefan McStravick after two minutes. Sean Waide levelled from a free two minutes later. St. Malachy’s playing strongly, regained the lead with a Ruairi Garvey point after 10 minutes but that proved to be their last score of the half.
Glenarm settled and Sean Waide pointed two frees while Hugh Martin McKay added another. The all-important goal came five minutes before half time when a long free from Blain McDermott was collected by Donal McAuley and the centre-half-forward fired low to the net to give Glenarm a 1-4 to 0-2 half time lead.
Brendan McDermott pointed a Glenarm free within a minute of the restart. St. Malachy’s fought back bravely with three pointed frees by Shay McStravick in the following eight minutes but these were their last scores of the game.
The final 20 minutes saw Glenarm move up a gear starting with Brendan McDermott and Hugh Martin McKay slotting home great goals inside two minutes to put the game beyond the reach of St. Malachy’s as they cruised through the final ten minutes adding their fourth goal from Blain McDermott.
Shane O’Neill’s: Kevin Cotttrell, B McMullan, C McNeill, J Milligan, C Campbell, Blain McDermott (1-2), B O’Neill, R Matthews (0-1), J Petticrew, B McAllister (0-3), D McAuley (1-0), J O’Boyle, HM McKay (1-2), S Waide (0-4) Brendan McDermott (1-1)
Subs: J McAllister for O’Neill, L McAuley for Brendan McDermott, J Magill for Petticrew, P McAuley for O’Boyle, B Campbell for McMullan.
After a hard-fought win against British Intermediate champions, John Mitchell’s in the All Ireland quarter-final, Glenarm gained their semi-final place against Galmoy of Kilkenny
Brendan McDermott’s last minute goal proved proved the decisive score as Shane O’Neill’s triumphed 1-7 to 0-8 against a good John Mitchell’s side at Pairc na hEireann.
All Ireland JHC club semi-final Galmoy Kilkenny 6-15 Shane O’Neill’s 1-5
Early in 2005 Shane O’Neill’s bid for glory came to an abrupt and sudden end at a bitter cold St. Vincent’s when they were comprehensively beaten by an excellent Galmoy of Kilkenny. A big crowd accompanied the Antrim champions on the trip to Dublin arriving early at the St. Vincent’s ground.
A driving and swirling wind which blew down the unfenced St. Vincent’s pitch hardly provided the perfect setting for such an occasion but in truth the conditions were the same for both sides but it was the lads from Kilkenny who adapted much better to the difficult conditions.
Shane O’Neill’s battled all the way but in the end were forced to succumb to superior Galmoy side who would not have been out of place in the Intermediate competition.
Today we carry some action photographs from that famous day in Dublin and photographs of the many fans who made the journey to St. Vincent’s to cheer on their heroes.
Later in the same year Shane O’Neill’s Minor team recorded their own little bit of history by beating Eoghan Rua of Coleraine in an Ulster Minor B Hurling final at Lamh Dhearg and today we carry some photographs from that game.
My thanks to Terence Mulvenna for his assistance in putting this article together. Terence supplied me with newspaper clipping from 2004-2005 and it would not have been possible to publish this article without his help.