2023 started with the news that Paudie Bourke was reprising his role as senior manager. Shane Scully and Jack Kennedy would also be returning to complete the management team and build on 2022.
Clonakenny would draw Newport, Silvermines and Burgess in the Premier Intermediate Championship. Premier Intermediate captains this year were Stephen Russell and Bobby Bergin. Junior A football captain was Mark Fogarty with Sean Maher being Junior B hurling captain.
2023 also started with the news that Cian O’Dwyer had been called into the Tipperary senior hurling panel for 2023. Cian started games for Tipperary in the Munster hurling league final vs Cork in Pairc Ui Rinn and National League game vs Laois in Semple Stadium. Cian also made appearances off the bench vs Waterford and Clare in the Munster Hurling league and vs Dublin in the National League in Croke Park. We wish him the best going forward.
The County Hurling League was a mixed affair as we started out with a draw to newly relegated Eire Og Annacarty on 19th of March. This was followed by a 3-point win over newly promoted Dan Breen side Roscrea on 2nd April. We then suffered losses to Burgess, Holycross and Cashel which meant we didn’t progress to the knockout stages of the league.
Clonakenny went into the Mid Premier Intermediate Championship as champions and looked to put together back-to-back titles. We began our defence against a strong Thurles Sarsfield in Killea GAA Pitch on Monday July 10th. A masterful tactical performance by Clonakenny with brilliant defending and wonderful scoring with goals coming from Delacy Byrne, John Joe Ryan and Cian O’Dwyer meant we would take the win and advance to the Mid final on a scoreline of 3-17 to 0-17. The Mid Final set up a showdown with Gortnahoe Glengoole in Templetouhy on Saturday July 22nd. The game was a tremendous physical battle which saw exceptional scoring and defending take place. The game finished at 25 points apiece after extra time which meant the game was decided by a penalty shootout. Clonakenny would lose out to Gortnahoe 4-2 on Penalties but could hold their heads high after a wonderful performance.
The county championship started with a trip to Dolla on a Friday evening July 28th to take on Newport in the first round, the game was a magnificent game with Clonakenny behind for most of the game but wonderful point scoring by Joint captain Bobby Bergin meant we would be 3 points down in injury time. Clonakenny earned a free outside the 21-yard line which was hit powerfully by Cian O’Dwyer but saved however it was followed up by John Joe Ryan and finished to the net which sent both Clonakenny Players and supporters into hysterics and earned Paudie Bourke’s men a much-deserved draw on a score of 1-16 to 1-16.
Next up was Silvermines in Borrisoleigh knowing a win would boost our chances of progressing. Clonakenny players showed great heart and grit to grind out the win and with 2 fantastic goals, one dazzling individual effort from John Joe Ryan and an exceptional team goal finished off by Cian O’Dwyer meant we would win on a scoreline of 2-18 to 0-13 points.
We went into the last game vs Burgess in Nenagh on Saturday 26th August knowing that the winner would secure top spot in the group. It was a game in which Clonakenny never really got going and Burgess put up a great defence which meant they took away our goal threat and took their scores at the other end. Unfortunately, we lost out on a scoreline of 3-12 to 0-12 points. This meant we would finish second in the group and qualify for the quarter final of the Premier Intermediate Country Championship.
We were drawn against Group 4 winners Lorrha Dorrha and travelled back to Nenagh on Saturday September 23rd. It was a game in which Clonakenny were up for the battle and it showed as the game was classic from start to finish with both sides taking brilliant point scores but Lorrha scored a goal just before half time meaning Clonakenny went in 6 points down at halftime. Clonakenny seemed a changed team in the second half grabbing the game and taking control with goals from Cian O’Dwyer and Bobby Bergin leaving us a point up in injury time but 2 outstanding points from Lorrha meant they would snatch victory at the very end breaking the heart of every Clonakenny player and supporter in Nenagh ending the team’s involvement for 2023. Lorrha would go out to win the County final a number of weeks later.
Clonakenny’s Junior hurling team again struggled with numbers and injuries put further pressure on the panel. Clonakenny had a tough Mid Championship group with JK Brackens, Thurles Sarsfield, Killea, Gortnahoe and Thurles Gaels. Great commitment was shown to make sure we could field a team for every game. While we were competitive in each of the matches, results did not go our way. There is a genuine appetite for a second team in the club and we know the potential is there to pick up some silverware in 2024.
Our Junior A football team started the competition with a win over Gortnahoe in Clonakenny before defeats to Holycross and Boherlahan away. We progressed to a semi-final and took on Holycross in Clonakenny on September 1st.. Despite a slow start, Clonakenny showed great heart to get back into the game before a second goal from Holycross extended their lead with a final scoreline of 2-10 to 1-4.
Our Amalgamation with Moneygall underage continued again this year with u21, u19 and u17 teams lining out in the North Championship. The u21 team took on Kilruane Macdonaghs on Sunday November 5th in Moneygall in a game which really could have gone any way which ended in a draw and extra time to be played but it wasn’t to be our day as Kilurane won on a scoreline of 1-19 to 1-15 at the preliminary quarter final stage. The u19s had a good group stage beating Balinahinch and Burgess before being defeated by Silvermines on a scoreline of 1-14 to 1-13 in Moneygall at the semi final stage. The u17 team competed in the North u17 A and recorded victories over Kilruane, Nenagh, Roscrea, Ballina, Lorrha/Shannon Rovers before being defeated by Kilurane ending the team’s year.