Elaine, Cork’s Number One. White’s Cross GAA congratulates Elaine Harte and the Cork Ladies Football side on winning the Senior All Ireland Final against a sporting Monaghan side in Croke Park. Elaine started her football playing days with White’s Cross. The final was a real battling performance by Cork, with Elaine’s pinpoint kickouts being the ideal platform for Cork to set up their attacks, while she handled everything that came her way in terms of goal threats with great assurance. Elaine, Cork’s Number One
Three in a Row…
Back in 2007, when White’s Cross GAA put forward a new trophy to honour one of the Club’s greatest stalwarts, to replace the existing Seandún Junior A Football Championship trophy, they had secret hopes of getting their hands back on it soon. That target was reached in 2008 when we were crowned Junior A Football Champions for only the second time in the Club’s history. Now that we have had our hands on the Cup we are slow to part company with it, and have managed to keep this Cup in its rightful home for a third consecutive year. We can make this claim to ownership because of course Joe O Callaghan (RIP) was the heartbeat of White’s Cross GAA for many a long year.
Looking through the history records it is worth noting that it is 25 years since a club has managed to win this competition outright three years on the trot – St Nicks did it between 1983 and 1985. Prior to that Na Piarsaighs managed the feat in 1963-1965. Before that, and as far back as available records go, the only other club to achieve a three in a row in the competition was the now defunct St. Annes club, who actually won five titles on the trot from 1931-1935. However we had better not go talking about five-in-a-rows when our club chairman Pat Reid is uncle to Kilkenny captain TJ Reid!
While many argue that the first success is always the sweetest, and indeed our breakthrough in 2006 will remain a great memory, the 2010 win will also be up their with the best – not least for the drama that surrounded it along the way. The 2010 championship wins against Passage and Douglas have been previously documented. However it took four further games in as many weeks to finally secure outright victory, with the final against St Finbarrs necessitating extra time and a replay!
The quarter finals pitted us against near neighbours Rathpeacon, who had suffered the heartache of losing a Junior B County Hurling title, to a last minute goal, just 5 days previous to our clash. Thus a deflated team in blue did not have the stomach for battle and were no match for the Cross in this mismatch played at Delaneys.
Next up was a return to divisional headquarters and a semi-final joust with Nemo Rangers, a side who were keen to seek revenge for their 2009 defeat by the minimal margin, at the same stage in the competition. This Nemo side was dotted with plenty experience with at least 5 of the players having worn the county jersey in competitive battle at one stage or another. At one end of the spectrum was former senior star Joe Kavanagh, while at the opposite end is present day minor Kevin Fulignati, who was playing on the county minor side to provided so many thrills this past summer.
When the roaming White’s Cross centre back Eoin Murnane, surged forward three minutes into the second half of this encounter to crash home a top-class goal White’s Cross commanded a four point lead (1-6 to 0-5) and looked in control. However eight minutes later this game had a totally different complexion when White’s Cross suffered the harsh dismissal of midfielder Denis O Regan, through a second yellow card, and Nemo surged ahead by one point, 1-7 to 1-6. Most in the crowd would have predicted only one result at this stage, with Nemo’s experience and extra man sure to bring them across the finish line. However White’s Cross did not read the script and buoyed on by good scores from Edwin Buckley and Ken O Keeffe won out 1-10 to 1-7.
Thus it was back to the divisional final for the third year in the trot, and as in 2009, a meeting with St. Finbarrs. This Barrs side again was a very experienced side, with eight additions to the 2009 squad. Amongst these was a formed inter-county colleague of Kanavagh, Fionnán Murray. This final proved a nail-biting affair for the large crowd at Ballinlough, with the Barr’s forward line prising open the Cross defence at vital stages. These furores led to them scoring three vital goals at vital stages in the game. The first gave them the ideal start, scored just nine minutes in, when all White’s Cross had on the board was an Edwin Buckley point from a free. The Barrs rattled our side with a further score from the kick-out, but soon after Ken O Keeffe settled White’s Cross with a gigantic score from a side-line kick. This had the desired effect and White’s Cross went in leading 0-8 to 1-2 at the break.
However, again soon after the resumption the Togher lads had a second goal, and a third minutes later to lead 3-3 to 0-8. It looked ominous for the Cross. However Denis O Regan began to orchestrate matters at midfield and wing-forward Paul O Sullivan scored a couple of beauties. Midway through the second period and the sides were level, only for the Barrs to surge two points ahead again. With just two minutes remaining man-of-the-match O Regan kicked over a fine equaliser, after a mazy run through the Barrs defence. It finished all square – 0-15 to 3-6.
With the winners of the divisional title scheduled to play in the county two weekends later, the logical date for the replay would have been the following Sunday. However all Cork GAA enthusiasts were otherwise occupied on that particular Sunday, with what proved to be a most pleasant outing to Croke Park on the agenda! Thus the game would have to be played on the Friday evening under lights. This proved to be an historic occasion on many fronts – the first time a final of this particular championship was played under floodlights. Moreover, given there is no such facility at Ballinlough, the venue chosen was Riverstown. The White’s Cross panel travelled to Sarsfields grounds, intent that the Joe O Callaghan trophy would not leave the parish that night… With Joe’s anniversary just one day previous to the replay date, and the anniversary of another White’s Cross great John Hickey also occurring that same week, many felt White’s Cross would have plenty support up-above, as well as down-below in Lower Glanmire!
This match was another humdinger and engaged the massive attendance all through. Towards the end of a pulsating 60 minutes, White’s Cross again found themselves trailing by the minimum. However this time it was Ken O Keeffe popped over the vital score and brought the game to extra time – 0-11 to 1-8. In the additional two periods of ten minutes, the superior fitness of the Cross shone through and they ended up kicking-on to a 0-18 to 1-9 victory. Finally the three in a row was achieved – heartiest congratulations to all involved!