All Ireland wins for Leitrim are rare events but in two successive years, 1983 and 1984, Leitrim won All Ireland Hurling titles.
In 1983 Leitrims under 16 hurlers won the All Ireland (Special) hurling title beating Longford in the Final in Croke Park. This competition was later called the All Ireland "C" competition. Indeed until the Leitrim Ladies won the Intermediate football title two years ago, this was Leitrims only success at All Ireland Final level in Croke Park. The final was played on the same bill as a Donegal v Galway All Ireland Senior Football semi-final on the 16 August.
The Captain of that famous team was Joe Casey from Aughavas who led the team up the old Hogan stand to get their medals. The team contained players from Ballinamore, Carrick on Shannon, Mohill and Elphin. The Mohill players, and Joe Casey, lined out with Ballinamore as Mohill did not have a hurling club in those years. Elphin played in Leitrim for a few years and contributed greatly to the team.
The following year Leitrim won the corresponding Minor hurling title. The final was played against Longford in Páirc Seán MacDiarmada and 11 of the starting team in the 1984 Minor final were on the starting line-out on the under 16 team a year earlier.
Now, 25 years later, the players on both teams will come together for a celebration in the Bush Hotel on Friday 24 April at 9.00. It promises to be a wonderful occasion as the men who brought two hurling All Irelands celebrate their historic wins. The significance of those victories can be gauged by the fact that Leitrim have never even reached the final of either competition since then.
Pictured here is the team that won the under 16 title in Croke Park in 1983:
Front ( L to R):Paddy Murray (St Marys), Ciaran Mahon (Ballinamore), Joe Casey (Ballinamore), Gerry ORourke (Elphin), Aidan Dockery (Elphin), Dermot McKeon (Ballinamore), Michael Moran (Elphin). Back: Brian Beirne (St Marys),Matthew Hynes (Elphin), Dermot OBrien (Ballinamore), Niall Keely (St Marys), Conor Harte (Ballinamore), Martin Nolan (Elphin), Ray Kelleher (St Marys), Pat Galvin (Elphin). The mascot is Cormac Ó Suilleabháin (Ballinamore)
11-Apr-09 by Sean o Suiilleabhan