ALL three local GAA teams made poor starts to their respective league campaigns. In early June Kilbride were still pointless after three outings in Div 1 though they did make a late run and by the end of their campaign finished in a mid-table position, short of a knock out place but clear of relegation. Neither Ballon or The Fighting cocks set the world on fire with their Div 2 performances and it was clear by the end of June that neither would made it through to the semi-final stages. The only noteworthy game was the local derby where a last minute point from Conor O’Byrne was enough for the Fighting Cocks to edge out Ballon by 0-10 to 0-9 at The Fighting Cocks Grounds in May.

For the first time in a long time all three GAA teams recorded victories in their opening game in their respective championships. Kilbride, as expected, defeated Fenagh in the SFC. while Ballon defeated Leighlinbridge and The Fighting Cocks produced one of the surprise results of the opening day in the same competition beating highly fancied Ballinabranna by 0-12 to 0-8. As the business end of the championship approached all three local teams were still in with a fighting chance of making the knock-out stages. Kilbride found themselves deadlocked on points with The O’Hanrahans so it was winner take all when the sides met in the final group fixture. ‘The Blues’ won1-10 to 1-6 so it was exit for Kilbride, just missing out on a quarter final place by a narrow margin. With just one round of fixtures remaining in the IFC Ballon got a walk over from Rathvilly and were in contention for a quarter final place but Leighlinbridge’s unexpected defeat of Grange saw the former side leap frog Ballon and eliminate them.

The Fighting Cocks, by contrast, had confounded all their critics and were sitting pretty on top of their group and a 2-9 to 1-9 defeat of Tullow left them in pole position, straight through to the semi-finals with four wins and one defeat from the group stages. Now only Ballinabranna stood between them and a second final appearance (they lost to Bagenalstown in 1976) and they were dispatched on a 1-12 to 1-10 score line. Eire Og made it through to the final by defeating Tullow and so the IFC final, to be decided on Saturday 13 October, was The Fighting Cocks versus Eire Og. Producing a truly magnificent performance The Fighting Cocks won the day on a score line of 1-10 to 1-6 and sparked a week of unparalleled celebrations. Matty Dowling captained the side and they were trained by Pat Nolan of Kildavin who also delivered the IFC to Ballon in 2009. The victorious team and scorers were Stephen O’Neill, Paul Hickey, David Shanahan, Tom Eustace, William Nolan, William O’Brien, Eoin O’Byrne, Seamus Quirke, Trevor Watchorn (0-1),Gary Nolan (0-1), Kieran Nolan, Rob Davies, Rurairi Nevin (1-0), Liam Shepherd, and Matty Dowling (0-8). Substitutes used were Donie McDonald, Barry Connolly, Joey O’Connor and James Connolly. Kilbride got through to the Junior ‘B’ championship final, but found that Milford was a bridge too far in the decider and lost on a score line of 1-20 to 1-2. They had beaten Ballon b y 2-6 to 0-6 in the semi-final.


The Fighting Cocks has been voted the greatest GAA Club name in Ireland. In a poll conducted by the website The ‘Cocks were head to head with Longford Slashers for a time but in the end came good to win by 277 votes to 225 for the Longford Club. As we know, The Fighting Cocks is the only GAA club in Ireland named after a pub rather than a place or location. What a great victory, coming just weeks after their success in the Carlow IFC.


Kilbride GFC named their award winners in January at their annual Dinner Dance.

This year there were joint winners of the Senior Player Award with Stephen Curry, Ardattin and Mike Browne, Ardattin sharing the honours for their displays at corner forward and corner back respectively. The Junior Player Award was won by Noel Butler, Ardattin while Sean Foley, Kilbride was the popular choice for the Young Player Award. Special awards were made to Nellie Doyle and Paddy Foley for their outstanding work in fundraising during the year John Fanning was the winner of the Hall of Fame Award at Ballon’s annual awards night. A forward with a sharp eye for goal in his playing days, John and his wife Mary have been associated with the club since 1979 and five of their sons and one daughter are currently playing with the club. Another man associated with the club since its formation is John Murphy who received the Clubman of the Year Award. John is a multi-medal winner with the club over the years. The Intermediate Player of the Year Award went to midfielder, Shane Byrne, a player who has been one of the backbones of the team in recent times and a leader both on the field of play and in the training field. Ken Deacon, who joined the club four years ago on a transfer from Rathvilly and who has won two FL Div 4 medals with Ballon was the winner of the Junior Player Award. The Young Player of the Year, went to Jamie Carroll who graduated from a top Burren Rangers player to a Ballon player in 2011.


Burren Rangers Under-12 Camogie team defeated Myshall in the U12 ‘A’ final by 1-0 to 0-1 in May. It was the club’s first ever camogie ‘A’ title. Aoife Lawler raised the first and only green flag of the game and there were scenes of great jubilation when the final whistle blew. The history making team was Ladine Fisher, Sarah Cummins, Emily Byrne, Emma Cummins, Holly Barrett, Mia Doogue, Orla Cummins, Aine Holden, Aoife McGrath, Anna Tracey, Grace Donald, Aoife Lawler, Michaela Flood, Sarah Buckley, Katie Kennedy and Shauna Maher. Burren made it a double by defeating St Annes, Tullow/Grange in the Carlow Ladies Under-12’ B’ football final also in May. Team: Emma Cummins, Ladine Fisher, Holly Barrett, Aine Holden, Clodagh Hutton, Sarah Cummins, Aoife McGrath, Anna Tracey, Ashley Shannon, Michaela Flood, Aoife Lawler, Shauna Maher, Megan Brennan, Sarah Buckley, Katie Kennedy, Emma Kennedy and Grace Donald. Four Burren Rangers players assisted Carlow to win the Coopers All Ireland U-14 Championship Div 4 blitz. They were Rebecca Kelly, Rathoe, Aine Kennedy, Cappagh, Orla Kenny, Graiguenaspidogue and Holly Barrett, The Oaks.

SCHOOL WINS CAMOGIE FINAL Ballon National School camogie team won the Cumann na mBunscoil Div II Camogie Final against Old Leighlin NS..Strangely the sides were scoreless at the interval but the Ballon girls really got into the game in the second half and a goal by Aoife Lawlor and a brace of goals by Anna Tracey put the issue beyond doubt. En route to the final Ballon had wins over Newtown/ Dunleckney and Ballinabranna.


Three local athletes won medals at the Leinster Athletic Championships in July. In the individual competitions Mary Flood won gold in the under-18 discus event and Lisa O’Toole took silver in the under-17 long jump. In the relays Scott Cooper was a member of the County Carlow under-13 quartet which won gold and Lisa O’Toole was on the County under-17 team which won silver.


Ballon Rathoe area had a very successful County Carlow Community Games Track and Field Finals, winning a total of 19 individual medals and 7 relay team medals. This huge haul meant that the area finished in second place to Bennekerry/Tinryland for the Hosey Cup which is presented annually to the most successful club. Individual gold medal winners were Lisa O’Toole (u-16 discus), Jason Kelly (u-16 high jump), Grainne Mullins(u-16 javelin) and Kevin Maher (u-16 javelin).


Burrin Celtic senior team won the Martin Mullin’s Memorial Cup for the first time in May when they defeated St Fiaccs by 1-0 in extra time after the decider had finished deadlocked at the end of normal time. Early in extra time Burrin were rewarded when a long throw from Darren Moore found Paul Finn who headed the ball into the net from close range for the winning score. The man of the match trophy was awarded to Burrin’s Padraig George and the cup was presented to Burrin’s captain, Donncha Murphy.