Last weekend in O’Moore Park, the Laois intermediate football title was decided when Courtwood got the better of Mountmellick to return to senior football.
It means that Courtwood will play Senior for the first time in 24 years in 2019.
Eddie Kinsella’s men were beaten in a couple of intermediate finals previously – coming close in 2005 and 2007 when they were only narrowly beaten by Crettyard and Graiguecullen respectively.
Our focus in this week’s Remember the Game is that 2005 final, when they were edged out by Crettyard in an entertaining and high quality encounter.
There was little to choose between the sides with an excellent Niall Donoher goal a highlight of the second half. As the game ticked towards injury time the sides were level and a replay seemed on the cards.
But late points from Keith Nolan and Cristoir Maher got Crettyard over the line and they won on a scoreline of 1-12 to 1-10.
Crettyard had only been relegated from senior two years previous and the win marked their first championship success since 1984. But it was only the launchpad for them to go on and claim the Leinster title which they did in glorious fashion just a couple of months later.
Alf Harvey’s archive photos will bring memories flooding back for both clubs – particularly Crettyard, who were then managed by Sammy Kelly. The win was celebrated joyously with Cristoir Maher given man of the match – he features in one of the images with big Joe Brennan, then one of the club’s longest-serving players and part of a formidable midfield partnership with John Graham.
From the Courtwood team that lined out that day, six of them are likely were part of this year’s final – Barry Donnelly, Robert Flynn, Paddy Wilson, Andrew Mulhare, Niall Donoher and David Duffy.
The teams that day were:
CRETTYARD: Noel Kelly; Shane Buggy, Liam Kelly, Ray Buggy; John Jones, Peter Brennan, Jimmy Kelly; Joe Brennan, John Graham; Cristoir Maher, Keith Nolan, Patrick Brennan; Pa Brennan, Darren Ayres, Mark Kelly. Sub: Richard Dempsey
COURTWOOD: Fergal Byron; Barry Donnelly, Pauric Duffy, Pauric Wilson; John Fenlon, Mick Hogan, Robert Flynn; Paddy Wilson, Andrew Mulhare; Aidan Ryan, Niall Donoher, David Duffy; Tommy Dunne, George Doyle, Brendan Wilson. Subs: Eamon O’Connell and Kevin Flynn
REFEREE: Maurice Deegan (Stradbally)