Bennettsbridge teams of the 1960″™s to be honoured in Nowlan Park

Sat 22nd Oct Paul Fitzgerald

Bennettsbridge teams of the 1960″™s  to be honoured in Nowlan Park

Twenty two years ago Kilkenny County Board decided to honour teams from the past on county final day which had brought honour and glory to club and county. This year it is our great pleasure to welcome the surviving members of the Bennettsbridge teams of the 1960’s who contested seven Senior Hurling Championship Finals, winning five during this decade. Cuirim fáilte romhaibh go léir. Hopefully today will revive great memories of the events of almost fifty years ago. It all began for Bennettsbridge with the winning of the Under 14 schools Championship in 1944, followed by winning the Minor Hurling Championship in 1947. In 1948 they won their first Junior hurling Championship. This was the beginning of a great era in Bennettsbridge hurling. In 1951 they won the Junior Hurling Championship to be followed by their second Senior Hurling Championship in 1952 having won their first in 1890. The win in 1952 was to be followed by wins in 1953, 1955, 1956, and 1959. 1953 was also a significant year in Kilkenny hurling as ‘The Parish Rule’ was introduced and this changed the hurling landscape in the county completely – a change which I believe has had a major influence on Kilkenny’s successes to the present day. Today as we honour the players who brought great success to Bennettsbridge in the 1960’s we marvel at the fact that during this decade they contested seven County Finals winning five. While many of the players won finals in both decades only two, Johnny McGovern and Sam Carroll played on all the winning teams. These famous Bennettsbridge teams of the 60’s contributed handsomely to the county colours as well with: Martin treacy, Seamus Cleere, Paddy Moran, Johnny McGovern, Tony Kelly, Noel Skehan, Jim treacy, Timmy Kelly, Jim Bennett and John Kinsella all winning All Ireland medals, while Seamus Cleere in 1963 and Jim Treacy also captained Kilkenny to victory during this period. Noel Skehan went on to create a record by winning nine All Ireland medals and also captained Kilkenny to victory in 1972. The Bennettsbridge club played a big part in the development of hurling in Kilkenny at that time and were recognised as one of the leading clubs in the country. They were in regular demand for tournaments in all the leading hurling counties and I’ve no doubt that had there been a Club Championship at that time that Bennettsbridge would have won as well. The members as well as being our guests at to-day’s final, will also be guests of the Springhill Court Hotel at a dinner after the game and will be presented with a memento of the occasion. I hope that this reunion of the former team mates will be a very happy occasion, as many of them may not have met each other since they retired from hurling. I would also ask that we remember the other members of the team who have gone to their eternal reward. To the members who are with us here to-day I say congratulations and well done, I hope you enjoy to-day’s game and I wish you all many more years of health and happiness. Finally I’d like to say a special word of thanks to Ned Buggy who annually spends many hours researching the material for these souvenir programmes and also to Gerry O’Neill who handles the production. Pól Cinsealach Cathaoirleach. Appreciation. The chairman and members of the County Board would like to express their thanks and appreciation to the Springhill Court Hotel for their generous sponsorship of this event.

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