Laszlo Geczo/INPHO Goalscoring goalkeeper, Enda Rowland.
club scene

Six key storylines from hectic weekend of GAA club action

Johnny Doyle still has it, Clarecastle gone out of senior after 91 years and Dunloy’s dual ambitions.

LAST UPDATE | Sep 25th 2023, 12:02 PM


While Kilmacud Crokes negotiated safe passage beyond Ballymun Kickhams in Saturday’s televised Dublin championship quarter-final, we might be looking at a newcomer coming up the rails to challenge for the title.

Raheny have never won a Dublin title, and the last time they contested a final was in the 1970 decider defeat to St Vincent’s, 1-11 to 1-8.

Vincent’s were the opposition in this weekend’s quarter-final win, 0-14 to 1-8, and it was the contribution of Mayo goalkeeper Rob Hennelly that proved the difference. The former Breaffy clubman notched 0-4 from long-distance frees.

With Brian Fenton in midfield, any team would fancy their chances, but they are without Brian Howard who has been in a knee brace after minor operation. They now face Crokes in a mouth-watering semi-final tussle.


County goalkeeper Enda Rowland was in the scoring mood again as his club Abbeyleix booked their place in the county final for the first time since 1949.

Their semi-final clash against Rathdowney Errill had just gone past the 10 minutes mark when Rowland aimed his puckout straight down the O’Moore Park pitch and let fly with a decent breeze behind him. The full-back for Rathdowney Errill and full-forward for Abbeyleix both put their hurleys up for the flight, but neither made contact as the ball bounced up off the turf and into the net.

Rowland has managed this feat before from a puckout when they faced Clough Ballacolla in the first round in 2019.

They now meet Camross in the final, who sensationally ended Clough Ballacolla’s four-in-a-row bid with penalties deciding their fate.


Less than 20 miles separate Dunloy and Cargin, but when it comes to their respective culture, they might have been seen as worlds apart.

Dunloy is the club of the beaten All Ireland hurling finalists last January, when they fell to Ballyhale. It was their fifth time in a final and they have yet to land it.

nigel-elliott Tom Maher / INPHO Battling on two fronts: Dunloy's Nigel Elliott. Tom Maher / INPHO / INPHO

Their football tradition belonged to a bygone era, and they have won seven county titles, the last of these coming in 1936.

They bridged that gap by beating Portglenone 2-8 to 0-10 in last weekend’s semi-final, showcasing the ability of the likes of Nigel Elliott and Keelan Molloy with the big ball. In all, Dunloy have nine dual players on duty for Kevin and Anthony McQuillan’s footballers and Gregory O’Kane’s hurlers.

They face Cargin, who have won six of the last eight Antrim titles, in the decider.


An evening throw-in is usually at 7.30pm. A late throw-in would be at 8pm, which essentially shuts out the possibility of most primary school children attending the game.

However, Tyrone have a bracingly carefree attitude when it comes to the scheduling of their senior football championship. Without any backdoors or group stages, they don’t get a massive chance to maximise attendances, so they spread games out across the week, often starting on Wednesday nights.

The danger here if course, is how the games have to finish on the day/night. When Trillick and Loughmacrory met on Friday night the ball threw in at 8.30pm.

The contest ran into extra-time, and then penalties. It was 11pm before the victorious Trillick team were traipsing off the pitch.

Now that the first round is out of the way however, all games can go to replay from here on, including the county finals.


Another weekend, another few mighty oaks fall to the floor, this time the legendary Magpies of Clarecastle are sent down to intermediate, after defeat to O’Callaghan Mills. It’s their first time out of senior hurling in 91 years.

Wolfe Tones were another side to go down, the Shannon-based club have known life at Intermediate level in the last decade and they will spend 2024 there after defeat in the relegation play-off to St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield.

In a changing of the guard across the county, it was notable that three of the four teams in the relegation play-offs had snatched nine of the county titles on offer in the 1994-2006 period.

Through to the championship semi-finals are Clonlara and Crusheen, who are joined by Feakle and Scariff. You’d have gotten interesting odds on the second pair reaching this stage, with special mention to Mark Rogers for grabbing 3-12 of Scariff’s 3-19 tally as they beat Clooney-Quin after extra-time.  


It’s not the first time we’ve hit on the theme of former legends who just keep on keeping on for their club, but continue to do incredible things. And it won’t be the last either, as all of this afflicted by middle-aged spread can feel a little better about themselves when they see a player of advanced years turning on the style.

Last weekend it was the turn of Johnny Doyle, like so many other times, to have his enduring talent caught by some camera phone footage as the clock wound down in Allenwood’s match against Caragh in the quarter-final of the Intermediate championship.

Doyle got the ball for the final play, a point down, and with some of the crowd urging Caragh not to let him shoot, he did so from a stupendously difficult angle and distance.

Naturally, it dropped over, and Allenwood won in extra-time.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel