Annanough 2-9 Park 1-4
1978 Laois IFC Final
Annanough and Park-Ratheniska have a strong rivalry, one that included senior county final battles in the 1950s and an intermediate final showdown in 1978.
While both had won two senior titles each in the 50s, by the late 70s they both found themselves back in the intermediate grade.
Annanough made the drop in 1977 but under the guidance of Athy-based Christian Brother they made an immediate return.
Wins over Graiguecullen and Ballyfin got them going and they then scraped by Ballyroan in a thrilling semi-final in Emo.
Waiting in the final were Park, who had beaten St Joseph’s, Portarlington and Portlaoise to reach the decider. Indeed it was a busy time for many of the Park players, who were also playing senior hurling with Ratheniska having won the intermediate title a year earlier.
It took a replay to separate the sides, with the first game finishing level of Annanough 1-7, Park 2-4.
Annanough had led 1-4 to 1-2 at half time, their goal coming from full-forward Pat Miller after JJ McDonald had earlier given Park the lead.
Park’s second goal from Martin Wall with ten minutes remaining had them three up on and on the home stretch.
But points from Pat Miller and captain Martin Stapleton earned Annanough a draw and a second bite at the cherry. It finished 2-4 to 1-7.
The sides met again three weeks later but there was to be no denying Annanough on this occasion, despite kicking nine wides in the first half.
A goal from Willie Coleman helped them to a 1-5 to 1-2 lead at half time and the same player grabbed a second goal with nine minutes remaining to make sure of the win.
By 1982 Annanough would make the senior final, only to be well beaten by a Portlaoise side en route to All Ireland club glory.
They’d reach senior semi-finals again in 1985 and 1988 though they dropped to intermediate in the mid 1990s and haven’t been back to senior since, losing intermediate finals in 2000, 2001, 2006 and 2015 before dropping to junior which they won at the first attempt in 2018 though they were relegated again last year.
Park would again lose the 1981 final after a replay – to Clonaslee-St Manman’s – though they made their return to senior by beating Graiguecullen in the 1988 intermediate final.
They too returned to intermediate in mid 1990s and to junior in the mid 2000s, which they won in 2006. They have since returned to the junior grade again and they will hoping to win the 2020 title which was postponed last year due to Covid restrictions when it was at the semi-final stage.
ANNANOUGH: Pat Coleman; Robert Miller, Chris Miller, Sean Miller; Joe O’Toole, Richard Miller, Liam Stapleton; Martin Stapleton, Dan Stapleton; James O’Connor, John Miller, Willie Coleman; John Roe, Pat Miller, Dominic Stapleton.
PARK: Michael Morrin; Michael Cushen, Murty McDonald, John Wall; Sean Cushen, Liam Wall, James Brennan; Larry Cushen, Brendan Delaney; Liam Greene, Martin Wall, John Kelly; Murt Lyons, Gerry Maher, Tom Cushen.
REFEREE: Leon de Barra (Mountmellick)