In April Kilmihil beat Cooraclare in the first round of the Cusack Cup on the score of 1-6 to 1-4.
“James Mc Mahon and Martin Murphy shone in defence for the winners, the seasoned partnership of Sean Murphy and Batt Crowley gave Kilmihil the advantage at mid-field, while in attack, the winners had their best players in Kevin O’Halloran, Martin Mangan and to a lesser extent Martin Murphy, Cahermurphy.”
Team: Joe Mc Namara, James Mc Mahon, Teddy Murphy, John Mc Mahon, Martin Murphy, Thomas Mc Mahon, Liam O’Halloran, Sean Murphy, Batt Crowley, Francis Cussen, Kevin O’Halloran (Capt.), Declan Mc Namara, Martin Mangan, P.J. Keogh and Martin Murphy, Cahermurphy.
On 23rd April Kilmihil beat Wolfe Tones in the Cusack Cup, 2-9 to 1-3.
“The winners led from start to finish, and were rarely troubled by the Shannon side. Points from Sean and Martin Murphy and Batt Crowley gave Kilmihil a 3 point lead after 10 minutes, and 3 minutes later, P.J. Keogh fisted the first of his two goals for the winners. By the interval, Kilmihil had built up a lead of 1-8 to 0-1, and when P.J. Keogh shot to the net seven times after the re-start, the writing was on the wall for the Shannon side. Martin Murphy, at wing-back for the winners, was man-of-the match, and he received good support from James Mc Mahon in defence. Once again the mid-field partnership of Sean Murphy and Batt Crowley dominated the exchanges in this sector, while up front, P.J. Keogh and Declan Mc Namara played best.”
The next round of the Cusack Cup was against Kilkee on 23rd May and Kilmihil won on the score of 4-2 to 2-5.
“An absolutely superb display by Batt Crowley was the highlight of Kilmihil’s win in the Cusack Cup Competition at Shanahan Mc Namara Park, Doonbeg, on Sunday last.
Crowley, who lined out at his usual centre-field position, had a much harder task on Sunday, than in other games, as he had to play without the aid of inter-county man, Sean Murphy, who was injured. However, Crowley was not disheartened by the absence of Murphy, and turned in what must surely rank as his best display ever in the Kilmihil jersey. Noel Lorigan was the star of the Kilmihil attack, scoring 3 of his sides goals, with P.J. Keogh accounting for the other goal. The winners had their best players in Batt Crowley. Teddy Murphy, the Mc Mahon brothers, Martin Murphy and Noel Lorigan.”
On 11th June brought their winning streak to eight-in-a-row, by defeating Doonbeg by 2-7 to 0-3. Surprisingly for the first 10 minutes, Doonbeg were rampant and a turn up seemed in store, but the reward for their efforts was a single point, per Senan Griffin, and they were only to have one more similar score, per the same man, for the remainder of the half. On the other hand, Kilmihil had 5 points – per Noel Lorigan 0-2
P.J. Keogh, Martin Mangan and Batt Crowley, one each, to leave it Kilmihil 0-5 to Doonbeg’s 0-2 at the interval. At the interval Kilmihil took off the injured Francis Cussen and replaced him with Leo Mangan. On the resumption Martin Mangan punched a goal for Kilmihil, and when Leo slapped home another one from a goalmouth melee, the match was, to all intents and purposes, over. Kilmihil had further points per Leo Mangan and Sean Keogh, before the final rally by Doonbeg netted them a point per Senan Griffin. Generally this half was very one-sided. In handing out kudos, it can be stated that Kilmihil are a well balanced side, with uniform displays the order. But “Murphy Brothers” was the name on the sign last Sunday. Martin, Teddy and Sean were a brilliant trio, and had an able helper in consistent Batt Crowley, while sub Leo Mangan, showed that good men are oft times left on the side-line, for a while at least. Noel Lorigan showed clever touches, and notched some nice scores.”
Team: Joe Kelly, Liam O’Halloran, Tom Frawley, John Mc Mahon, Thomas Mc Mahon, Teddy Murphy, Martin Murphy, Sean Murphy, Batt Crowley, Francis Cussen, Kevin O’Halloran (Capt.), Cyril Considine, Sean Keogh, P.J. Keogh & Noel Lorigan.
Sub: Leo Mangan for Francis Cussen
The Cusack Cup competition was suspended from July to November while the Senior Championship was on.
On 18th November Kilmihil defeated Cooraclare to qualify for the Cusack Cup Final.
Final Score: Kilmihil 1-6 Cooraclare 1-2
“The winners led from start to finish, in this closely fought and entertaining game, which finished in semi-darkness. As a result of this win, Kilmihil will go into the Final with a 100% record in this competition, this year. They are unbeaten in the Cusack Cup to date, while their opponents Doonbeg, suffered one defeat, and this was at the hands of Kilmihil. Joe Kelly had a quiet afternoon between the posts for the winners, but he was called upon to make a few very good saves. In front of him, Sean Keogh had another very good game at full-back, and he was ably supported by his flankers, John and James Mc Mahon. The half-back line of Martin Murphy, Kevin O’Halloran and Thomas Mc Mahon also played well. Kilmihil had the upper hand at mid-field, where Sean Murphy and Batt Crowley were in top form. Indeed Murphy gave another first-class display, and must surely be an automatic choice for the ‘Footballer of the Year” award. Murphy was here, there and everywhere on Sunday, and indeed, in the quarter final, as Cooraclare piled on the pressure, trying to get on level terms at least, Murphy came to Kilmihil’s rescue on many occasions, as he did in the drawn and replayed Co. Senior Football Championship Final at Kilrush recently, where he was selected “Man-of-the Match” on both occasions. Joe Mc Namara, Tom Downes and P.J. Keogh were the pick of the winners attack.
Scorers: P.J. Keogh 1-1, Sean Murphy 0-3, Batt Crowley and Noel Lorigan 0-1 each.
Team: Joe Kelly, James Mc Mahon, Sean Keogh, John Mc Mahon, Martin Murphy, Kevin O’Halloran (Capt.), Thomas Mc Mahon, Sean Murphy, Batt Crowley, Declan Mc Namara, Martin Mangan, Joe Mc Namara, Tom Downes, P.J. Keogh & Noel Lorigan.
Subs: Cyril Considine for Tom Downes, Tom Frawley for Noel Lorigan
The Cusack Cup Final of 1972 was not played until 9th September 1973 and Doonbeg won on the score of: Doonbeg 1-5 Kilmihil 1-4.
“It was a good, hard fought, clean game, in which the back lines on both teams excelled. Forwards were inept. The expected big battle at mid-field materialised, with Batt Crowley and Sean Murphy taking charge there, early on. Indeed the Doonbeg mentors took early action to counteract this, but it was only in the second half that the winners solved their problem in this sector. Kilmihil were short of an effective striker, and with P.J. Keogh and Noel Lorigan in the reserves, it is strange that they did not do something about it, when the going was good. Admittedly the Doonbeg backs were effective at all times, but a switch or two might have notched a few vital points.
Dermot O’Neill was the most resourceful of the forwards for Kilmihil. Batt Crowley and Sean Murphy at centre provided an exemplary partnership, that could have been a match winning one, while the other Murphy brothers, Martin and Teddy, were effective half-backs. Full-back, Tom Frawley, was also to the fore, while Declan Mc Namara’s goal was the bright spot for Kilmihil.
Scorers: Declan Mc Namara 1-0, Dermot O’Neill 0-4.
Team: Joe Kelly, James Mc Mahon, Tom Frawley, Kevin O’Halloran (Capt.), Martin Murphy, Teddy Murphy, Thomas Mc Mahon, Batt Crowley, Sean Murphy, Leo Mangan, Dermot O’Neill, Michael Johnston, Martin Mangan, Sean Keogh and Declan Mc Namara.
On 24th June 1972, Kilmihil had a big break through, when they defeated Shannon Gaels in the 1971 Doonbeg Festival Tournament Final.
“Joe Kelly played very well between the posts for the winners, bringing off a number of good saves. In front of him Kevin O’Halloran, Tom Frawley and James Mc Mahon formed a very solid full-back line. Incidentally Kevin O’Halloran switched to centre-back, with Teddy Murphy going to full-back, and Tom Frawley going to the corner, early in this first half, and this proved to be a very good move. Teddy proceeded to play very well at full back, as did Tom Frawley at corner. Kevin O’Halloran was in brilliant form all through. Martin Murphy was, however, in my book, the man of the match for the Kilmihil men. Time out of number, he broke up dangerous attacks, and his long relieving clearances were the highlight of the game. Thomas Mc Mahon was as sound as ever in the other wing-back position for the winners. The seasoned mid-field pairing of Sean Murphy and Batt Crowley was again in top gear on Sunday. Crowley was superb in the air, while Murphy showed why he is a regular mid-field player on the Clare side with another one of his top class displays. Francis Cussen was the star of the Kilmihil attack, and his tally of 2-1, each score being superbly taken, set Kilmihil on the road to victory. He received good support from P.J. Keogh, Declan Mc Namara and substitute Joe Mc Namara.
Final Score: Kilmihil 3-2 Shannon Gaels 1-2
Scorers: Francis Cussen 2-1, Sean Murphy 1-0 and P.J. Keogh 0-1
Team: Joe Kelly, Kevin O’Halloran, Tom Frawley, James Mc Mahon, Dominic Mc Mahon, Teddy Murphy, Martin Murphy, Sean Murphy, Batt Crowley, Declan Mc Namara, P. J. Keogh, Francis Cussen, Noel Lorigan, Sean Keogh and Cyril Considine
In the Clare Champion of 14th July 1972 the headline read “KILMIHIL MARCH ON TO THE SEMI-FINAL. KILKEE FAIL TO LIVE UP TO EXPECTATIONS”
On 8th July Kilmihil defeated Kilkee in the quarter-final of the Senior Championship.
“Kilmihil were first into the attack, and took the lead after just 30 seconds, when Noel Lorigan pointed from a free. The same player had a similar score from a similar position half a minute later. There was no score for the next 6 minutes, and then it was the turn of the seasiders to open their account. Noel Lorigan was again on the mark on the 10th minute, when he kicked another from a free. Shortly afterwards he received an injury to his leg, and was replaced by James Kenny. Half way through this half Declan Mc Namara gained possession almost on the side-line, and sent a great shot into the goalmouth, where James Kenny got his leg to the ball, to finish it to the net. Sean Murphy added a point a few minutes later, to put Kilmihil into a 1-4 to 0-1 lead.
With 5 minutes remaining in the first half, Joe Harte kicked a point fro a free, for the Kilkee side, but 2 minutes later, Declan Mc Namara had a similar score for Kilmihil.
With 1 minute to go to the interval, Martin Mangan broke through, to crash home a very good goal for the winners, and this left the score at 2-5 to 0-2 at the interval.
The seasiders went into the attack immediately after the resumption, and Jim Kirwan shot a point after 1 minute. Jimmy Fitzpatrick fisted a point for the Kilkee men 3 minutes later. Joe Harte reduced Kilmihil’s lead to 2 goals, when he kicked a third point for this half after 10 minutes. At this stage brilliant mid-fielder Sean Murphy received an injury to his knee, which had been bothering him for some time. However. This great hearted player continued to play on, even though he was limping badly. From a long drive by Batt Crowley, corner forward, Leo Mangan gained possession and tapped over a point, and this was followed 2 minutes later by another Kilmihil point, the scorer being Tom Downes. This left the score at 2-7 to 0-5 with a quarter of an hour remaining. Pat Harte pulled a point back for the westerners in the 16th minute, before the same player crashed home a great goal, with just 10 minutes remaining. The miss of the match came 3 minutes later when Kilkee forward, Michael Russell got clean through, and with no one to beat but the goal-keeper, Joe Kelly, he sent the ball wide. During the next few minutes Kilkee tried hard for a goal, but they found that Joe Kelly was in brilliant form in goal for the winners. However, the losers managed to notch a point per Joe Harte, Kilkee. Kilmihil however, had the final score, when Noel Lorigan, who had come back to the game, in the closing stages, pointed from a free.
Joe Kelly was very sound between the Kilmihil posts bringing off a number of very good saves in the final quarter while in front of him Kevin O’Halloran played a captain’s part in the full-back line. The half-back line of Thomas Mc Mahon, Teddy Murphy and Martin Murphy played very well, and broke up many a Kilkee attack.
Batt Crowley and Sean Murphy once again held the upper hand at mid-field, while in the attack, Declan Mc Namara, Martin Mangan and Noel Lorigan were the most dangerous.
Team: Joe Kelly, James Mc Mahon, Tom Frawley, Kevin O’Halloran (Capt.), Teddy Murphy, Martin Murphy, Thomas Mc Mahon, Sean Murphy, Batt Crowley, Leo Mangan, P.J. Keogh, Declan Mc Namara, Noel Lorigan, Martin Mangan & Tom Downes.
Subs: James Kenny for Noel Lorigan, Dermot O’Neill for James Kenny, Noel Lorigan for Leo Mangan.
On 1st September 1972 the headline in the Clare Champion read: “BRILLIANT KILMIHIL QUALIFY FOR CO. FINAL. CROWLEY’S GOAL SEALS THE ISSUE”
Kilmihil 2-7 Shannon Gaels 0-8
“Kilmihil, the team which has been so near, and yet so far away from winning the Clare Senior Football Championship in the last five or six years, have qualified for this year’s Final, as a result of their deserving win over Co. Champions Shannon Gaels, at Kilrush on Sunday last.
From the throw in it was evident that Kilmihil were more determined than ever before to win, and this they did, even without the assistance of their star mid-fielder, Sean Murphy, who was injured. Shannon Gaels, who were bidding for their third Co. Championship in a row, were trailing from the first minute, and they never took the lead at any stage of the game. Both teams were in top form, and gave a top class display of football. Kilmihil showed from an early stage that they were determined not to fail at this hurdle, as they did last year, and from the throw in went into the attack, and were ahead by a goal after just 1 minute. The winners were awarded a free from about 40 yards out, and despite a great effort by goalkeeper, Josie O’Shea, Shannon Gaels, the ball went all the way to the corner of the net. This goal got Kilmihil off to a great start, and they proceeded to throw everything into the game. By the 5th minute, Shannon Gaels had reduced their lead to 1 point after P.J. Murphy and Arthur Fords had kicked points. Indeed Forde’s point was a brilliant score, as he kicked the ball from very near the sideline, from about 30 yards out. However, this proved to be Shannon Gaels last score for the first half, as Kilmihil went on to add 4 points per Noel Lorigan (0-2), P.J. Keogh and Francis Cussen 0-1 each, to leave the score 1-4 to 0-2 at the interval. The big question at this stage was would Kilmihil hold out or would Shannon Gaels, as they have so often done before, come from behind to snatch victory. Kilmihil had played with the aid of a slight breeze in the first half, and would now have to face the breeze. The Gaels resumed with P.J. Murphy at corner forward in a switch with Michael O’Shea. The losers were first to score in this half, when Michael Moloney kicked a point after 2 minutes, and this was followed by another point by the losers 3 minutes later, the scorer this time bring Mickey O’Sullivan. Back came Kilmihil to stretch their lead to 4 points , when Noel Lorigan kicked a good point from play, before Michael Moloney had another point for the Gaels, to again leave a goal between the sides. With a quarter of a hour to go, Kilmihil again had stretched their lead to 5 points after Francis Cussen and Declan Mc Namara had kicked points.
Shannon Gaels at this stage, were trying everything they knew to get on top. They seemed to be more anxious to go through for goals, instead of trying for points. However, they found that the Kilmihil defence was in top form, and were not going to give anything away soft. In an effort to get on top, the Gaels substituted Eddie Mescal for Martin Hogan, in attack. Points per P.J. Murphy and Michael Moloney reduced Kilmihil’s lead to a goal once again, with 13 minutes left for play. Joe Dillon replaced Michael O’Shea in the Gaels attack at this stage, and with 10 minutes remaining, a shot from Arthur Forde hit the upright and went wide. Shannon Gaels brought Murrough Dillon from full-back to mid-field in a direct switch with Paudie Neylon, and with 10 minutes to go, Dillon pointed from a free, to leave just 2 points between the sides. The question now was would Shannon Gaels get on top in the last few minutes , or would Kilmihil hold out for victory? From the kick out, after Dillon’s point, the Kilmihil men went into the attack, and Batt Crowley was pulled down as he was going up the field with the ball. Noel Lorigan took the free which dropped just to the lest of the post. Martin Mangan flicked the ball beautifully across the goalmouth, from where the in-rushing Batt Crowley left-footed the ball to the net, to seal the issue in Kilmihil’s favour.
Joe Kelly was a reliable goal-keeper for the winners, while in front of him, James Mc Mahon, Sean Keogh and John Mc Mahon, formed a rock solid full back line. Time and again , especially in the second half, this full-back line broke up many a Shannon Gaels attack, and they were ably assisted by the half-back line of Martin Murphy, Teddy Murphy and Thomas Mc Mahon. Once again, wing-back Martin Murphy, gave a brilliant display, and how the Clare selectors could have overlooked him from their National League panel is beyond me. Murphy has been the shining light in the Kilmihil team in all their games to date this year, and should be a certainty for the Clare team. Batt Crowley and Kevin O’Halloran had an even share of the spoils at mid-field for the winners, and Crowley’s high fielding and safe catching was a highlight of the game. The Kilmihil attack, which has so often before proved to be the weak section of the team, really came out with colours flying on Sunday. Very few chances were allowed to go a-begging by them, and all chances were taken in fine fashion. Declan Mc Namara, Paudie Halpin and Francis Cussen proved to be a strong half-forward line, and a switch between Paudie Halpin and full-forward P.J. Keogh in the second half, proved to be a very slick corner forward, and he contributed 1-3 to his sides total.
Team: Joe Kelly, James Mc Mahon, Sean Keogh, John Mc Mahon, Martin Murphy, Teddy Murphy, Thomas Mc Mahon, Batt Crowley, Kevin O’Halloran (Capt.),
Declan Mc Namara, Paudie Halpin, Francis Cussen, Tom Downes, P.J. Keogh and Noel Lorigan.
Sub: Martin Mangan for Tom Downes