Eighteen years ago. Where does the time go at all?
Our Remember the Game this week looks back on a novel football pairing – the clash of Stradbally and Rathdowney in the Laois JFC ‘B’ final.
In the days before there was a Junior ‘C’, the Junior ‘B’ was a real marathon of a competition, with a massive number of teams in it. It was also divided into a ‘hurling’ and ‘football’ side of the draw with the two sides of the county battling it out until there was one representative from each side.
Stradbally’s second team had been denied by Abbeyleix in the 1999 final, but they bounced back in 2000 and negotiated their way through the competition before eventually proving too strong for Rathdowney in the final, winning on a scoreline of 1-9 to 0-4.
Included on the Stradbally team was future All Ireland referee Maurice Deegan, future Laois senior players Paul Begley and Jamie Kavanagh, then still minors, as well as a host of players who would go on to play senior with the club.
Rathdowney had county hurlers Enda Meagher and Lar Mahon in their lineup as well as a host of players who would go on and win senior hurling medals with the new Rathdowney-Errill setup in 2006.
Alf Harvey’s archives as always threw up some great images.
STRADBALLY: Niall McCarthy; Dan Larkin, Robert Nolan, Paul Begley; Diarmuid Donohue, Joe Begley, Adrian Lalor; Thomas Delaney, Donal Donohue; Jamie Kavanagh, Derek Beale, Maurice Deegan; John Donohue, Terry Swayne (captain), Paul Molloy. Subs: Dessie Rowan, Conor Grady, Billy Murphy, Richard Dunne, Cha O’Brien, James Dwyer, Stephen Maher, David Kinsella, Patrick Robbins, James Langton, Jason Bennett, Mark Kelly, Neil Maher
RATHDOWNEY: Colm Browne; John Cahill, Michael Browne, Dermot Phelan; Brian Delaney, Pat Mahon, John Paul Ryan; Lar Mahon, Patrick Mahon; Enda Meagher, Rory Rafter, Niall Browne; Barry McKelvey, Christy Browne, Tom Mahon. Subs: Gerry Drennan, PJ Rafter, Paddy Phelan, John Broderick, Alan Delaney, Ned Browne, Peter Grey, Joe Bergin, Jim Doherty, Brian Bowe, Paddy Murphy.
SEE ALSO – Details announced for new Divisional football championship in Laois