1958 Intermediate Championship
Despite loosing the Senior County Final, Kilmihil still had the Intermediate Championship to look forward to and by October Cahermurphy were into the semi-final. They met Cree in this encounter and beat them by 1-7 to 0-6.
“Cree led until the last quarter, when Cahermurphy scored a somewhat lucky goal, to put them in front for the first time. Cree then made an all-out effort, and launched attack after attack. A solid Cahermurphy defence defied their efforts, and in the closing minutes the winners had two further points to consolidate their position. The standard of football was very good, and the game was contested in a sporting manner. Cree fielded without inter-county star, Sean Liddy, and his absence made a big difference. Tadhg Murphy and Tommy Healy were the best players, but a number of new-comers upset the balance of their team, and left them at a disadvantage against strong opponents. The Cahermurphy team was a more evenly balanced one, each man played his part, and their were no apparent weaknesses. They seemed to be fighting a loosing battle until that tonic goal in the second half gave them new heart, and they finished good winners. “
The Intermediate Final for 1958 was played at Miltown Malbay on 15th March 1959,
Cahermurphy and Kilfenora being the contestants,
“The game was played on a mud-like pitch, as heavy rain before the match put paid to the chances of the players playing anything like good football. Players skidded all over the field. Duggan, Callinan and veteran, E. Cotter, Cahermurphy, held the Kilfenora forwards, while Kelly, Finucane and Browne took their chances well. Joe Finucane, who came on as a sub in the second half, scored a great goal. Kilfenora had the outstanding man in the field in full-back, Jack Lynch, who time after time saved his side from a bigger defeat. J. Arkins was another great back, who broke up very dangerous attacks, but Halloran, Lenihan and Hayes could not make much headway against a solid Cahermurphy back line. M Browne opened the scoring with a point for Cahermurphy. Keeping up the pressure they missed easy chances of scoring, until D, Finucane notched a point from a 25 yards free. Kilfenora had a point per P. O’Brien. Cahermurphy added a point per D. Kelly. A very good passing movement by Kilfenora ended wide, and Duggan saved from another good Kilfenora movement. Cahermurphy went further ahead with points from Galvin and Browne. Kilfenora returned and finished the half with a point from Halloran.
Half-time score: Cahermurphy 0-5 Kilfenora 0-2
With a slight breeze behind them in the second half, Kilfenora went all out to pull down the lead, but Cahermurphy held them at bay. Kilfenora were first to score in this half, and it also proved to be their last point per Lenihan. Carmody saved well for Cahermurphy in goal, when Kilfenora were all out for the all important goal. Their hopes were dashed when Joe Finucane had the winners goal. Further points followed from Callinan and Collins to close the scoring.”
Final score: Cahermurphy 1-7 Kilfenora 0-3.
1958 was a historic year for Kilmihil Football Club. It was the first time since the foundation of the club that the Senior team reached the County Final.
Kilmihil beat Cooraclare in the first round and advanced a step further when they defeated Kilkee on a score of 2-6 to 2-2. The match was played in Kilrush in very wet conditions. Outstanding for Kilmihil were Finn Callinan, Eddie Cotter, Pat Cotter, Michael Collins, Pat Galvin and T. J. O’Connor.
On 24th August 1958, Kilmihil beat Doonbeg in the Semi Final at Cooraclare.
“ They confounded the prophets in getting into the Final for the first time in the Club’s 72 years existence. They overcame the Cusack Cup holders with a wonderful courage in a game that held interest to the final whistle. Rain fell continually and made the pitch treacherous. John Browne pointed for Kilmihil in the 4th minute, from a 35 yards free. Doonbeg levelled in the 6th minute. Having a mid-field superiority, Kilmihil continued to attack, and in the 8th minute Browne sent a high ball to the square, which Michael Collins fisted to the net.
Doonbeg went into the attack, but Duggan, who was playing a star game at full back, saved his lines on numerous occasions. In the 25th minute, following a goalmouth melee, John Browne sent over the bar for Kilmihil. In the last few minutes before the short whistle, Doonbeg launched a series of attacks, but the Kilmihil full-back line and goalie proved their worth.
The interval score was: Kilmihil 1-2 Doonbeg 0-1.
On the resumption J.Sexton replaced M. Haugh on the Doonbeg side, while J. Finucane came on the Kilmihil team for Pat Cotter, who earlier received a knock. The Kilmihil full back Sean Duggan, held the ball too long in saving, and Sexton in front of the posts elected for a goal, but the goalie collected the greasy ball and cleared. Flynn next sent the ball into Kilmihil territory, and S. Doherty, from the 40 yards, sent over the bar, to leave Doonbeg only a goal in arrears. Doonbeg were now applying the pressure, and Carmody in goal, saved on three occasions. In the 13th minute, Browne sent a high ball into the Doonbeg square which hopped over the bar, to again leave Kilmihil 4 points in the lead.
Doonbeg’s hopes raised, when S. Doherty sent a ball into the Kilmihil square, which D. Mc Grath deflected to the net, leaving only a point separating the sides. Sensing that victory was within their grasp, Doonbeg now played with abandon, attacked, but the backs proved their worth, and sent their forwards on a counter attack. Sean Lineen was fouled when going through, and Michael Collins pointed the resulting 21 yards free. In the 28th minute M.J.Green pointed a free, to leave only a point between the teams. In the closing minutes Doonbeg seemed to tire, and Kilmihil had a number of wides before the full time whistle.
Best for the winners were Sean Duggan, Pat Galvin, John Finucane, Finn Callinan, John Browne and Michael Collins.”
Kilmihil team: John Carmody, Michael O’Grady, Sean Duggan, Pat Cotter, Pat Galvin, Joe Finucane, T.J. O’Connor. Michael Hassett, Finn Callinan, John Browne, Dan Finucane, Dano Kelly, Mick Collins, Sean Lineen and Michael Browne.
Excitement was now high in Kilmihil and the Final was eagerly looked forward to. Wherever men met the main topic of conversation was the game against Doonbeg, and the prospects against Kilrush, who were then the County Champions.
The Clare Champion of 13th September had a preview of the teams for the County Final, this is what it said about the Kilmihil team.
“There is a strong selection to choose from for the Final. The blend of youth and experience is something that should stand to them. John Carmody has been 10 years with the club, and has the unique record of not missing a game. The defence is particularly strong. Michael O’Grady has played Minor, Junior and Senior for the club, and is a reliable defender. Sean Duggan was a sub. on the 1955 Clare Minor team, and played in the full-back line for Clare Senior team in the National League 1958. He is a fine fielder and gets in good clearances. Other players on the selection are:- Pat Cotter, Joe Finucane, Pat Galvin, John Finucane, Hillary Collins, Senan Currane, Michael Currane, Eddie Cotter, T.J. O’Connor, Finn Callinan, Michael Hassett, Tom Normoyle, Tom Noel Normoyle, John Browne, Dan Finucane, Dano Kelly, Michael Collins, Sean Lineen, Michael Browne, Cyril Collins & Patrick Mc Namara.
The team has been particularly consistent on its way to the Final. The players trained hard, and will not be lacking in this respect, and the fact that they will be trying for their first crown will also give them added incentive to play at their peak on Sunday. They have of course the tremendous advantage of playing in their own home ground, and in a Final particularly, this should be a wonderful boost to them. All these factors point to an exciting hours play. If Kilmihil play up to form then there is no reason why they should not spring a surprise and come out on top. Kilrush on the other hand are a hard team to beat in a final, as they showed last year on the same occasion. They lack nothing in fighting qualities, and are never beaten till the final whistle blows. Their experience will take a great deal of beating, and they will have to be fighting from the first minute, if they are to retain their championship crown”
The 14th September 1958 was the big day for the Kilmihil Club. Weatherwise it could not have been much worse, as we learn from the Clare Champion report of the game.
“ Kilrush Shamrocks won the Clare Senior Football Title for the second year in succession, they beat Kilmihil by 0-6 to 0-4 in the Final at Kilmihil on Sunday. Very heavy rain fell before and during most of the match, but the 30 West Clare footballers were all heroes, who gave of their best, under the most trying conditions. Players skidded on the soft, cut up surface, but still they managed to give some great entertainment tot the 3000 spectators, who travelled from all over West Clare, and from other areas as well. Outstanding for Kilrush were Clancy, centre half-back, F. Meaney, another great defender, T. Mangan, left half-back, and Downes, full-back. They had the pull at centre-field for most of the hour, Canny and Culligan doing very well, with Carey, S. Griffin and Fitzpatrick showing neat touches in the forwards. The players could do better on dry ground, but nevertheless they gave of their best on Sunday.
Kilmihil’s full-back, Sean Duggan, was in great form, and saved many dangerous situations. Eddie Cotter, centre-half, also caught the eye, and O’Connor showed some of the style he learned at that famous nursery of the game, St. Jarleth’s College, by giving a very clever display. Another defender to do well was Hassett. Callinan and Browne also played well, but the Kilrush backs had the measure of them. As the game progressed it was easy to see that the more stylish Shamrocks would not surrender their title easily. That was what won the game for them, against a less experienced side.
Kilrush F.C.A. Pipers Band led the teams on to the field, and played the National Anthem before the start.”
Eamonn Cotter represented Clare on the Munster Railway Cup team for three years.
Finn Callinan played Minor, Junior and Senior Football for Clare.
John Browne played Minor and Senior Football for Clare.
Dan Finucane played Minor and Junior Football for Clare.
Sean Lineen played at full-forward for the Clare Junior team.
Michael Browne played for the Clare Junior team.