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County Cup Feature - 1979 - The Final Installment!   18/04/2012

Completing our walk down memory lane and the last time that the Galway Senior Hurling Championship was a knockout format, we will today bring you the rest of the championship results from the quarter-finals to the final of 1979.


QUARTER-FINALS
First up are the four quarter-finals, and again out of the four matches, we saw two surprises.
Killimordaly as expected beat a spirited Tommie Larkins side, while Castlegar did enough without impressing to defeat Athenry in wet conditions.
The other two quarter-finals did not fail to excite and saw the favourites go down to two South Galway sides.
Kinvara proved that their previous round win over Ardrahan was no fluke as they again hit 7 goals to defeat Meelick-Eyrecourt. The sides were deadlocked with time running out, but a wonder goal by Ger Curtin got them over the line.
Newly installed favourites Kiltormer also suffered disappointment as a lively Gort side caused another surprise to reach the semi-finals.

Quarter-final results:
Killimordaly beat Tommie Larkins
Castlegar 2-5 beat Athenry 0-7
Kinvara 7-3 beat Meelick-Eyrecourt 3-10
Gort 2-13 beat Kiltormer 0-16


SEMI-FINALS
And so the the semi-finals, with Castlegar facing Killimordaly, with local rivals Gort and Kinvara doing battle.
Although Kinvara had impressed so far in their three previous matches, it was Gort who were favourites heading into their tie. Played in very wet conditions in Kenny Park, it was Kinvara who took a half-time lead of 3-2 to 0-5. After that it was the Kinvara defence who won the day as they held firm to score a memorable win for the seasiders.
In the other semi-final, both Castlegar and Killimordaly played a draw in their first attempt. In the replay, it was really a case of Killimordaly leaving it behind them the first day, as again Castlegar did enough to reach the final.

Semi-final results:
Kinvara 3-4 beat Gort 0-12
Castlegar 2-7 (3-8) beat Killimordaly 0-6 (3-8)


COUNTY FINAL
The final! And what a novel and exciting pairing we had. Castlegar, kingpins of Galway hurling, holders of 15 senior titles at that stage, and topping the role of honour for the county. Against them were Kinvara, a traditional junior side and only in their second year as senior.
Castlegar went into this match as firm favourites, but Kinvara had impressed all year, so this could be close.
In the end, there was to be no fairytale ending for Kinvara, as the experienced Castlegar players stood firm and did a solid job to claim their clubs 16th title. There could be no complaints for Kinvara as they were well beaten on the day by a craftier and more wily side. No doubt a club's wait of 8 weeks between semi-final and final, and a final being played on 2nd December would cause uproar in todays times, as the wintry conditions did not help either side play the type of hurling their fans had come accustomed to.  

Final:
Castlegar 2-13 beat Kinvara 0-6


THE LAST WORD
This Castlegar side were indeed something special. Months later in 1980 they became the first Galway side to win the All-Ireland Club Final. In the previous 9 years of the competition, Cork clubs had dominated it with 7 titles, while Tipperary and Kilkenny clubs had one each.
That win was the catalyst of great victories for Galway in 1980, as soon after that they won the Railway Cup for only the second time (other being 1947), while later that year in September, Cashel's Joe Connolly led the side that finished the famine of 57 years without Liam McCarthy.
The West was Awake!





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