Down Memory Lane - County Finals of the 90s

1992 – Chaplin Captains Bridge To Success
 
Sixmilebridge 1-11 v 1-10 Éire Óg
 
1992 saw the club field just the one senior team, the previous year they had two teams at senior level which prior to this was last done by O’Callaghan’s Mills in the early 1900’s, with hopes high of success. They started off brightly with a comprehensive win over Tulla being recorded in round 1, 5-13 to 1-2, in a game that formed part of the Glenamora Park pitch opening in Broadford. Eamonn “Wanger” Healy hit 3-1 in this tie where a number of forwards impressed. This set up a last eight clash with Feakle where a five-point win was recorded 1-14 to 1-9. Waiting in the semi-final was an up and coming Scariff team with a tight tussle seeing the ‘Bridge qualify for the showpiece occasion thanks to a 0-12 to 2-5 win.
 
In the report of the final the Clare Champion report had this to say “A GREAT FIRST HALF performance which saw them dominate in many vital positions building up a half time lead of six points led Sixmilebridge to their sixth Clare senior hurling crown on Sunday.”
 
Sixmilebridge led at the break by 1-9 to 1-2 with Gerry McInerney doubling on a Flan Quilligan drive to score a tremendous goal. The report summarises the trouble that the ‘Bridge forwards were causing the Townies, who had former Clare net minder Seamus Durack in goals and future Clare star Colin Lynch at half forward, in the first half.

Senior Champions 1992 
SIXMILEBRIDGE – Senior Hurling Champions 1992. Back (left to right): Danny Chaplin, Sean Stack, Kevin McInerney, Pat Morey, Kieran O’Shea, John O’Connell, Eamonn Healy. Front (left to right):Noel O’Gorman, Gerry McInerney, John Chaplin (captain), Declan McInerney, David Fitzgerald, Craig Chaplin (mascot), Padraig McNamara (RIP), Flan Quilligan, Noel Earley.
 
 “Veteran, Sean Stack was in command at centre back in front of a rock solid full back trio but it was the half forwards who were really shining with Danny Chaplin and Padraig McNamara in complete control against their direct opponents, Sean McCarthy and Tomas Corbett, at the same time Éire Óg were well out of it at midfield. Chaplin and McNamara continued to win loads of possession and yet the Éire Óg mentors failed to make any change.” A late Eamonn Healy point before half time caused a bit of controversy, as opposing defenders were adamant it was wide. Éire Óg fought back admirably in the second half limiting their opponents to just two points and getting a goal via a deflection off John O’Connell but the ‘Bridge held on for a deserved victory.
 
In wrapping up the report the following were mentioned as playing well “It was a memorable occasion for Sean Stack, Flan Quilligan and Pat Morey who have been part of all six Sixmilebridge senior championship successes. It was also a happy occasion for team coach, Liam O’Donoghue, the former Limerick All-Star defender, who is in his first year as coach to the team who are already looking forward to the provincial campaign, which gets underway for them on October 11 in Kerry. John O’Connell despite the o.g. was always in control against Pete Barry, another player who was fortunate not to have been replaced. Noel O’Gorman and Kieran O’Shea were rock solid in the corners. The Bridge half backs also dominated in the first half as did their midfielders. Their half forwards were particularly impressive in the opening half while inside Gerry McInerney had his best game for quite some time showing all the style which made him such a top class corner forward at inter county level throughout the eighties”. Team captain John Chaplin accepted the trophy after the match.
 
Sixmilebridge: David Fitzgerald; Noel O’Gorman, John O’Connell, Kieran O’Shea; Kevin McInerney, Sean Stack, John Chaplin; Flan Quilligan, Noel Earley (0-1); Danny Chaplin, Pat Morey (0-2), Padraig McNamara (0-2) (RIP); Declan McInerney (0-4), Eamonn Healy (0-1), Gerry McInerney (1-1).
 
Subs: Alan White for Healy, Christy Chaplin, Eoin Quane, Mike “Bugsy” Twomey, Corey Downes, Alan Murphy, Michael O’Halloran, Leo Quinlan, Frank McAuley, Jamesy Keogh, Noel O’Gorman, Noel Casey.
 
Management: Christy Murray (manager), Liam O’Donoghue (coach), John Corbett, Noel Casey Snr, Paddy Meehan (selectors).
 
* Brian Barron was introduced as a substitute in the round 1 win over Tulla
** The ‘Bridge mascot that day was Craig Chaplin, son of Danny, who these days hurls senior with Broadford and was part of the Clare U21 panel that cruelly lost out in the infamous 2008 U21 Munster final. His younger brother Cathal also served as a mascot with the ‘Bridge over the years and like his older brother has played with Clare, winning Munster and All-Ireland U21 medals in 2009.
 
1993 – Back To Back Titles
 
Sixmilebridge 3-8 v 2-6 O’Callaghan’s Mills
 
For only the second time in the history of the club back to back titles again arrived after a win over the Mike Deasy captained ‘Mills. Another East Clare club, Scariff, were the opposition in round one with a 1-7 return from team captain John Chaplin setting the ‘Bridge on their way to a 4-15 to 2-10 win. A mouth-watering tie was in prospect in the quarter-final as old foes Newmarket provided the opposition. Seemingly on top at half time the ‘Bridge were put to the pin of their collars on the resumption by the ‘Blues but still had enough for them on the day, 0-10 to 0-8, to set up a last four match up with Kilmaley. Ten points was the difference at the final whistle with Sixmilebridge winning out by 3-10 to 1-6 to qualify to meet near neighbours O’Callaghan’s Mills in the final.
 
The Clare Champion reporter Seamus Hayes had this to say about the first half, which was played in underfoot conditions. “It was clear from the throw in that Sixmilebridge were not going to let the challengers settle. The champions settled quickly and before long were in the driving seat. The strength of their panel was in evidence very early in the game. After only five minutes they lost Noel O’Gorman to a shoulder injury/ His replacement was Kieran O’Shea who went on to turn in a blinder and collect his sixth medal in this competition. With just twenty minutes of the game gone the champions lost another of their long serving players, Flan Quilligan who was finding all sorts of gaps in the Mills defence suffered a facial injury and had to leave the action but not before he had scored 1-1. He was replaced by another experienced player Danny Chaplin. Quilligan, to the delight of all, returned to the action for the final ten minutes.”
 
Brendan McNamara got the opening score of the game on five minutes which incredibly was the ‘Mills only score for the entire half as the ‘Bridge went in at the break 1-5 to 0-1 ahead. The goal came from Flan Quilligan after he had fielded David Fitzgerald’s puck out thirty yards from goal and raced through to send an instopable shot past Peter Carmody in the Mills goal. On the resumption the Mills hit back through outscoring their neighbours by 1-3 to 0-1 with P.J. “Fingers” O’Connell netting the goal after Brendan McNamara’s shot came back off the post. However, the Fireballs joy was short lived as Eamonn Healy, who played for the Mills from 1990-91, got on the end of a Danny Chaplin to net a crucial score. Healy played for the Mills in the 1990 final versus Éire Óg and his goal was the most important of the match as it stemmed the tide with the Mills on top before his three pointer. From here on in the ‘Bridge held the upperhand and even allowing for a late P.J. O’Connell goal they held on for back to back titles for the first time since 1984.
 
In the report the following were mentioned as having played well “Over the hour the Bridge were the better team controlling matters in vital areas and never allowing the Mills forwards the time to put scoring moves together. John O’Connell was superb in the first half at full back while Kieran O’Shea was outstanding when he came in for the unfortunate O’Gorman after only five minutes. Centre back Stack dominated all through while midfielder Christy Chaplin gave his side the upperhand in that area. Flan Quilligan was superb while he was in the action while Eamonn Healy had a particularly good opening twenty minutes”. Mills captain Mike Deasy played his heart out for his side as for the second year in a row John Chaplin accepted the Canon Hamilton trophy on behalf of the team. By doing so Chaplin joined Sean Stack in the select group of players to captain their clubs’ to glory twice.
 
Sixmilebridge: David Fitzgerald; Michael O’Halloran, John O’Connell (0-1), Noel O’Gorman; Kevin McInerney, Sean Stack, Ian Mulready; Noel Earley, Christy Chaplin (0-2); John Chaplin (Capt) (1-0), Flan Quilligan (1-1), Pat Morey; Eamonn Healy (1-2), Gerry McInerney (0-2), Eoin Quane.
 
Subs: Kieran O’Shea for O’Gorman (injury), Danny Chaplin for Quilligan (injury), Quilligan for Healy (injury), Leo Quinlan, Alan White, David Chaplin, Alan Murphy, Martin Conlon, Pat Hayes, Michael Twomey, Seamus Cusack, J.J. Murphy, Corey Downes, Keith Walker, Barry Quinn (RIP).
 
Management: Christy Murray (manager), Liam O’Donoghue (coach), John Corbett, Noel Casey Snr, Paddy Meehan (selectors).
 
* Interestingly all three ‘Bridge mascots that day Aidan Quilligan, Ronan O’Shea (Sixmilebridge) and Adrian Donovan (O’Callaghan’s Mills) have all played at some level with the county and play club hurling with their clubs. Sixmilebridge junior A hurler Barry Deasy, son of Mills captain and ‘Bridge resident Mike, was a mascot that day for O’Callaghan’s Mills.
 
 
SIXMILEBRIDGE – Clare Senior Hurling Champions 1993. Back (left to right): Pat Morey, Ian Mulready, David Fitzgerald, John O’Connell, Michael O’Halloran, Christy Chaplin, Sean Stack, Kevin McInerney. Front (left to right): Gerry McInerney, John Chaplin (captain), Aidan Quilligan (mascot), Ronan O’Shea (mascot), Eoin Quane, Eamonn Healy, Adrian Healy (mascot), Noel O’Gorman, Noel Earley, Flan Quilligan.
 
1995 – Chaplin Denies Scariff With Late Goal
 
Sixmilebridge 2-10 v 0-15 Scariff
 
The year 1995 will live long in the memory of any Clare hurling supporter with some great moments being witnessed in Thurles and Croke Park on route to Munster and All-Ireland glory. To win a county title in a year like that is another milestone that will last forever in the memory of those present.
 
Our near neighbours Newmarket were first up in round 1 which was played after the Munster final, here two Danny Chaplin goals helped the ‘Bridge advance to the quarter final with a 2-8 to 0-6 win. The success of the Clare hurlers winning the All-Ireland meant that the last eight clash with Tulla was not played until after the All-Ireland. It started well for the 1993 champions with a twelve-point cushion at half time seeing them go into cruise control. However, having a half time lead of that amount is not always a good omen as Tulla fought back gallantly and a few late goals saw them just come up short, 3-13 to 4-9. After this close shave the ‘Bridge were thankful of qualification for the semi final. A novel pairing was thrown up with our neighbours Cratloe, the 1994 champions, providing the opposition. In what was a one sided match the ‘Bridge were in complete control throughout and had 0-13 on the board before Cratloe got off the mark. The game was effectively over at half time with the result a foregone conclusion; the final score was 1-23 to 0-4 in favour of Sixmilebridge as they advanced to meet Scariff in the final.
 
Billed as the underdogs going into the match Scariff were bidding to win a first senior title since the 50’s. On what was the second ever meeting of these two in a county final it was the East Claremen who led at the break by 0-9 to 0-7, indeed they held the advantage for much of the tie. Declan McInerney and Barry Murhpy traded points on the restart before Martin Conlon set up Gerry McInerney for a goal on 35 minutes. This green flag from the overall top scorer in the ‘95 championship gave the O’Garney men the lead for the first time since the early minutes of the half.
 
Two crucial saves and a last gasp goal were the deciding factors in this game. Seamus Hayes of the Clare Champion had this to say about these two defining moments
 
Barry Murphy got inside the ’Bridge defence and went for goal from about ten yards. Fitzgerald showed marvellous reflexes in producing a brilliant save but better followed when he somehow got across the goal to stop Mike Minogue’s first time effort following the save from Murphy, these two saves were to prove vital.”
 
However despite the heroics from Davy Fitzgerald, Scariff edged ahead again when Mark McKenna and Tom “Beagle” McMahon fired over points in reply to an Alan Mulready effort as the excitement started to build up more. Then Barry Murphy got what was described as the score of the day in the report before with one minute left super sub David Chaplin did exactly what he did five years previously by breaking his opponents hearts with a crucial score.
 
“The Bridge continued to attack and with a minute to go they struck the vital blow. A Gerry McInerney shot from 50 yards rebounded off the upright and David Chaplin reacted quickest to fire home the goal, which brought the Hamilton trophy back to the Bridge for the first time since 1993”. As stated Chaplin did the exact same thing in 1990, on that occasion his last minute major saw the ‘Bridge intermediates clip Cratloe in their respective final. Thereby setting the scene for an historic first in 1991 when the ‘Bridge fielded two senior teams. After the match team captain Ian Mulready accepted the first of three cup’s he would collect over the next six months.
 
In the report of the match the following got praised for their displays “David Fitzgerald was again outstanding. Substitute Pat Hayes made a huge contribution in the second half. Noel Earley got through a lot of work at midfield while up front the contribution of Gerry McInerney was vital while Alan Mulready was very impressive also.”

 
SIXMILEBRIDGE – All-Ireland Club Champions 1996. Back (left to right): Mick O’Shea (selector), Michael O’Halloran, Gerry McInerney, Corey Downes, Seamus Cusack, Alan Mulready, Barry Quinn (RIP), Marty Murray (masseur) (RIP), David Chaplin, John O’Connell, Pat Hayes, Jim Markham (secretary), Gerard Liddane, Christy O’Connor (chairman). Middle (left to right): Dr. Padraic Quinn (team doctor), Alan Murphy, Alan White, Danny Chaplin, John Chaplin, John Nihil (selector), Noel O’Gorman, Noel Casey, Mike Twoomey, Kevin McInerney, Brendan Flynn, Dominic Murphy (sponsor – Shannon Precision) (RIP). Front (left to right): Jim Fawl (manager), Flan Quilligan, Martin Conlon, Keith Walker, Patricia Shanahan (physio), Ian Mulready (captain), John Mulready (mascot), David Fitzgerald, Declan McInerney, Niall Gilligan, Noel Earley, Christy Chaplin, Pat Morey (trainer). Missing from picture: Dan McNamara (physio).
 
Sixmilebridge: David Fitzgerald; Michael O’Halloran, Kevin McInerney, Michael Twomey; Christy Chaplin, John O’Connell, Ian Mulready (Capt); Noel Earley (0-1), John Chaplin (0-1); Martin Conlon (0-2), Flan Quilligan, Alan Mulready (0-2); Declan McInerney (0-1), Danny Chaplin, Gerry McInerney (1-3; 0-2fs).
 
Subs: Pat Hayes for O’Connell, David Chaplin (1-0) for D.Chaplin Flan Quilligan for Healy, Brendan Flynn, Noel O’Gorman, Noel Casey, Seamus Cusack, Niall Gilligan, Keith Walker, Gerry Liddane, Corey Downes, Barry Quinn (RIP), Alan Murphy, Alan White.
 
Management: Jim Fawl (manager), Pat Morey (coach), John Nihil, Mick O’Shea (selectors).
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