From the beginning
It is accepted that Kanturk is one of the oldest GAA clubs in the county being in existence since 1882, two years before the GAA was officially formed. It was in football that Kanturk were a force is the early years when in 1897 the Cork county Senior football final was reached before losing to famed Dohenys of Dunmanway by 5pts to 4pts after a replay. Both games were played in Cork park in October 1897. The Kanturk team was Tim Twohill (Capt), T Browne, P Conway, T Conway, D Roche, J Roche, J Looney, C Bluett, N Twohill , T Cronin, J Vaughan, T Buckley, M Dulohery, C Sheehan, P Hayes, J F O’Connor, D Ring. Dohenys represented Cork and won the Munster final but lost to Kickhams in the All-Ireland Final by 2-6 to 0-2. The Kanturk captain, Tim Twohill was one of the Dohenys guest players.
Kanturk reached their second senior county football final in 1902. The game was played at Mallow on 16th November, 1903 as the various county championships ran very late. Once again Kanturk had to contend with defeat when they lost by 0-10 to 1-1 to Lees. The Kanturk team was T Browne (Capt), J Hardd, T Cronin, J Sheehan, D Conway, M Dulohery, E Courtney, M Murphy, C Galvin, J Nunan, J Twomey, J Roche, P Halliden, P Ring, C Sheehan, D Leary, D Roche.
In 1909 the championships were re-organised to have Senior, Intermediate and Junior grades. Kanturk were senior that year but re-graded to Intermediate in 1910. This was to prove to be a master stroke as Kanturk won the Intermediate Football final of that year when they defeated C.Y.M.S. in the final played at Fermoy on 5th September by 3-4 to 0-1. Of the Kanturk team, P Carver (capt), R Moynihan, P Dennehy and D Singleton represented the club on the Cork Junior Football team.
After the advent of the Duhallow GAA Board in 1933, Kanturk’s first win was in the Examiner Cup, Junior football league in 1942. The Duhallow Junior Hurling Championship was won two years later with a return to divisional hurling championship honours in 1949 and saw the club progress to a first ever county final in October only to lose to Bandon by 7-3 t0 1-2. At the Cork Athletic Grounds.
Novice football victory in 1952 was followed by Examiner Cup, Junior Football league victory in 1953, before the club’s first Junior Football championship was won in 1954 with victory over Dromtarriffe at Banteer. 1957 was a special year with Kanturk winning the Junior football League and Championship double along with Junior Hurling league and both Minor hurling and football championships, the only cup missing being the Junior hurling championship.
Kanturk’s third Duhallow Junior football championship came on a never to be forgotten day in 1962 when both the Novice and Junior Championships were won at Millstreet. The Junior decider was a replay and Knocknagree were defeated by 3-5 to 1-6.
As the footballers played in the Intermediate grade from 1965 to 1970 inclusive, it was the hurling team that stepped up to the mark, winning a record 5 Duhallow Junior Hurling championships in a row from 1965 to 1969 culminating in County championship honours with victory over Mayfield at Castletownroche on a 3-7 to 1-10 score line. The link between both county junior hurling final appearances was that 1969 winning captain, Denis Kenneally is Brother of 1949 team captain, Tom Kenneally.
Examiner Cup, Junior football league success in 1973 along with Novice football championship success the same year brought a hope for championship breakthrough. Sadly championship final defeats were our lot in 1986 to Ballydesmond, 1987(Rockchapel), 1993( Newmarket ), 1997 & 2000 (Kiskeam).Success at Juvenile, Minor and U21 grades continued over the years to help provide a supply line of talent in both codes.
Defeat was also tasted in the Junior Hurling finals of 1977 to Meelin and 1987 to Lismire. Junior hurling league wins in 1987 and 1988 gave hope but the long wait for a championship breakthrough came in 2002 when out of the ashes of a poor league campaign, the 33 year famine was ended with a victory in the glorious sunshine at Banteer with victory over Meelin. Despite County championship defeat to Diarmuid O Mathuna’s, Kanturk recovered to gain back to back Duhallow Junior Hurling championship victories in 2003 with a replay win over Freemount at Kilbrin. A narrow county semi-final defeat to Dromina at Buttevant followed before an invitation to up grade to Intermediate level was taken in 2004. Steady progress has been made since then with Championship semi-final being reached in 2007 and 2008 losing to Bandon and Carrigaline respectively.
A third Duhallow final appearence in a row in 2011 saw Kanturk renew rivalary with Rockchapel at Rathcoole. It was a rematch of the 2009 decider and the 1987 decider which was the last occassion Dromtarriffe hosted the Duhallow showpiece. Rockchapel won on that occassion (1987) by one point and went on to win county honours. In the 2011 Duhallow Junior football final, a goal from Aidan Walsh midway through the 2nd half set Kanturk on their way to a 1-11 to 1-06 victory. In the county championship Kanturk have had victories over Glenbower Rovers and Bandon to reach the County final for the first time ever at this level. On Friday 11th November, all roads led to Pairc Ui Rinn and a County Final meeting with North Cork championship, Mitchelstown providing the opposition. Giving a dream display of attacking football, Kanturk ran up an unassailable interval lead and embellished their performance in the second half to secure a first ever Cork County Junior Football championship on a 1-20 to 0-04 score line. Celebrations were put on hold as the Munster club semi final was down for decision less than 48 hours later. Kerry champions Dromid Pearses provided the opposition at Waterville on Sunday 13th November. Kanturk made the running for 3/4 of the game and were 6 points up midway through the second half. The Kerry championship clawed their way back into the game to take the tie to extra time. The exercitions of the previous 48 hours took their toll and Kanturk’s exciting championship run came to an end on a 2-4 to 0-14 score line. The 2011 season was capped with the Minor footballers winning the Rebel Og Cork county Minor ‘A’ Football championship along with our U21 hurlers taking an unexpected Duhallow championship.
2012 saw Kanturk reach the Cork Intermediate Hurling championship at Pairc Ui Rinn, losding out to Kilworth 2-13 to 2-15. 2012 was notable as on 26th October Anthony Nash (Hurling) and Aidan Walsh (Football) gained selection on the 2012 GAA/GPA All Stars which put Kanturk in the company of three other clubs country wide who had players selected on hurling and football teams on the same year. For the record, the previous clubs were Newcestown 1982 (Tim Crowley & Kevin Kehilly), St Finbarr’s 1990 (Ger Cunningham & John Kerins) and Ballyboden/St Enda’s 2011 (Garry Maguire & Michael Darragh MacAuley).
The following year (2013) saw Kanturk determined to make amends and an opening round championship victory over Dripsey 2-20 to 0-10 sent out a clear message that our team and management were on a mission of atonement for the previous year’s final defeat. Charleville were overcome in round 4 (0-19 to 0-18) before neighbours Meelin were ousted at the quarter final stage at Kilbrin 2-11 to 1-10. Ballyhea played host to the semi final tie with Fermoy and Kanturk secured a one point victory 2-16 to 2-15 to qualify for a final tilt with Eire Og which was played as curtain raiser to the county senior final at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Kanturk dominated the proceeding to take the 2013 Cork Intermediate Hurling championship crown on a 2-22 to 1-12 score line. The year was notable for Anthony Nash being selected on the All Star hurling team for the second year in a row while both Anthony (v Kilkenny) & Lorcain Mc Loughlin (v Dublin) were selected for man of the match awards in Cork senior hurlers run to the All Ireland Senior hurling final. Aidan Walsh was selected on the Irish International rules team as vice captain to Donegal’s Michael Murphy. Both Aidan & Michael received the cup on the steps of Croke Park after Ireland won both tests against Australia at Breffnie Park & Croke Park. Anthony Nash became the second Kanturk player to take the Cork 96FM/C103 GAA sports star of the year when he won the 2013 award which was held at the Rochestown Park hotel on 31st January 2014.
2014 was Kanturk’s maiden season playing Premier Intermediate hurling and wins over Blarney, Tracton and Kilworth saw us qualify for a semi final meeting with Newcestown at Coachford on 28th September in which we made our exit on a 0-09 to 0-12 score line. We defeated Glanworth in a replay of the opening round of Intermediate football on 9th May. Round 4 saw us lose to Fermoy at Kildorrery on 20th September on a 2-07 to 3-12 score line. The Duhallow Junior B football league was won defeating Glanlara at Ballydesmond on 3rd October 1-11 to 2-05. At U21 level a Duhallow championship double was achieved as our footballers defeated Boherbue & Millstreet before facing Boherbue in the final at Cullen on 6th April recording a 0-13 to 1-05 victory and a first Duhallow title at this grade since 2004. To complete the Duhallow U21 double, our hurlers defeated Millstreet and Dromtarriffe before Robert Emmetts were defeated by 2-20 to 2-10 in the final played at Banteer on 16th August. Other notable achievements in 2014 saw our U18 hurlers victorious in the Rebel Og North hurling championship and Barry Kenneally victorious in the Cork & Munster Puc Fada and contest the All Ireland finals over the Cooley Mountain course in August.
2015 saw our Intermediate football side defeat Ballydesmond, Youghal and Cill na Martra (after a replay) to qualify for the championship semi final before going down to Mayfield at Macroom on 10th October 2-10 to 2-15. Division 4 league victory over Aghabullogue at Banteer on 17th October (6-17 to 0-10) brought a measure of satisfaction after the championship exit a week earlier. The Duhallow J’B’FC1 was won when defeating the home team at Knocknagree on 21st August 1-12 to 1-09. We defeated Dromtarriffe for the right to represent Duhallow in the county championship and lost out to Ballinacurra at Cloughduv on 29th September 0-11 to 2-12.
In Premier Intermediate hurling we lost to Castlelyons at Castletownroche on 17th May 1-13 to 1-16 and defeated Bandon in round two at Cloughduv on 12th June 4-11 to 1-15. Fermoy were over come in round 4 at Buttevant on 1st August winning 2-14 to 1-14. Valley rovers provided the opposition in the quarter final at Pairc Ui Rinn on 29th August and the sides finished level 2-10 to 1-13 to send the tie to a replay. Returning to the city venue a week later, we lost out 1-12 to 0-17. Championship exit was tempered by Division 3 county league success when we defeated Milford at Meelin in the final on 31st October 0-19 to 0-11.