SUNDAY will be a particularly special day for Miltown, St Joseph’s GAA chairman, Gerry Curtin.
He will travel to Cusack Park with the club’s senior team for their Clare football final date with Cooraclare. Understandably, he wants to see his beloved club emerge victorious, a result that will see him “hand over the baton of captain of the last team to bring the title to Miltown.”
Twenty-five years ago, Miltown last won the blue riband of Clare football, beating Kilmihil in a final played at Cusack Park. “The final score on that occasion was 1-6 to 0-7 and Sean Burke’s goal proved decisive,” he said.
Recalling that success, the Miltown chairman said, “We had won the title in 1985 and the guts of that team were still there. A lot of us were coming to the end of the road. It was a tough struggle and Kilmihil had us on the rack in the first half and again in the closing stages. They had put us out of the championship the previous year. They got to a lot of finals back then but were unlucky not to have had more success and they were unlucky in 1990 as well.”
Over the years since then, Curtin has been involved in a number of capacities with the club.
“I was manager of the senior team for a while and I have been chairman for the last three years. I suppose I, like many players, developed a love for the club from an early stage. Once you are living in an area, it’s hard to get away from being involved. We try to give something back to the club,” he explained.
Looking to Sunday, Curtin said, “It will be a great day for the club. It’s great for the parish to have the team from 25 years ago being honoured on the day.”
In addition to leading out the 1990 team and supporting the current team in his role as chairman, Curtin has the additional interest of having his son, Gearóid as part of this year’s panel.
Cormac Murray, son of Michael who was in the 1990 team, is part of this year’s team, while Peadar, Cleary who played at midfield on that occasion, is now a team selector.
Also, Tony Keavey from the 25-year team wil’ be supporting his brother, Kevin, who is part of this year’s team.
The 1990 team was coached by Donie Buckley, who has been part of the Mayo senior backroom team for the past few seasons. The selectors in 1990 were John Reidy, PJ Neylon and the late Michael Mahoney.
In their attempt to retain the title, Miltown failed at the final hurdle in 1991, when they were beaten by Doonbeg.
“That was the start of a great period for Doonbeg but we haven’t been near it since then. Sunday will be a great occasion for the parish. Twenty-five years is too long for a club with such a proud tradition to be without a title. This will be a great occasion with a great atmosphere and both communities are very excited at the minute.”
Curtin concluded, “It’s my hope that I will be welcoming the new senior football champions home to Miltown on Sunday evening.”
By Seamus Hayes, sports editor