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Division 1 Football League

  • Grange were defeated by Killavullen in Round 2 of the Div 1 FL on a scoreline of 4-11 to 0-8. 

  • Grange got off to a winning start in the Division 1 Football League following a 2-8 to 0-11 point victory over a good Kilshannig side. 

Match reports to follow.


As the final whistle sounds on another sporting year we look back on what will be regarded as a very successful decade for Grange GAA.

A decade which began with the club struggling to field a team in Division 3 of the Avondhu leagues in 2010 has finished with the club now established as a Division 1 team and looking forward to playing Junior A championship football in 2020.

In 2011 under the stewardship of new Chairman Kieran Kelleher and his committee, Grange made great progress. Under the guidance and excellent coaching of new coach Lar Bracken, (along with selectors James Roche, Fergal O’Dowd, Davey O’Sullivan) we advanced to the knockout stages of the Division 3 football league where we were pitted against a highly fancied Charleville side in the league final played in Doneraile. Grange belied the underdogs tag and playing excellent football and displaying skill, speed and a never say die attitude that would become a hallmark of this group of players, we emerged deserving winners on a scoreline of 1-8 v 0-4. This was our first league title in 20 years and was just reward for many players who had given great service to Grange for so long with little reward.

2011 was also the first year of the Open Draw format for the Junior B County Championships. Our opening game ended in defeat at the hands of Deel Rovers but we bounced back with victories over Bere Island and Araglen. We bowed out at the quarter final stage to Kilmeen after a hard-fought battle losing 1-10, v 1-7. The county championship would go on provide many great moments, battles and memories for the rest of the decade.

In the North Cork Junior B championship we had a good quarter final victory over Abbey Rovers but lost out to Deel Rovers in a closely contested semi-final on a scoreline of 3-6 v 3-8

Our development continued in 2012. Having been promoted to Division 2 of the league we knew we would face sterner tests but we showed we were up for the battle and recorded some good results and consolidated our position in that division by reaching the league semi-final where we lost out to Charleville.  We reached the final of the North Cork championship after a good semi-final victory over Araglen but would come up short against Shanballymore in the final on a 0-10 v 1-3 scoreline.

In the county championship we had an opening round victory over Glenlara and then edged out Lough Rovers by 2 points in a high scoring game in the next round, 1-15 v 2-10. Our season was ended by Araglen who exacted revenge for the earlier defeat in the North Cork when they overcame us 1-7 v 0-4 in round 3 in Kilworth.

Grange’s progression continued in 2013 when we reached the Final of the Division 2 football league. We met a very strong Glanworth team on a very warm day in Fermoy and despite a gallant effort we succumbed to a 2-12 v 0-12 defeat. Reaching the final meant that we would be promoted to Division 1 for the following year.  Our championship exploits were less successful this year. In the North Cork championship we had a good quarter final victory over Doneraile but exited at the semi-final stage to Araglen.

The county championship started with a defeat to Castlelyons. Despite bouncing back with a victory over St Johns in round 2 we bowed out of the championship in the next round to Charleville. Despite playing excellent football in the first half and building up a commanding lead we failed to sustain the pace and were eventually reeled in with Charleville taking the spoils by 2-11 to 1-11. Charleville went on to win the county final starting a trend that would continue for the next 5 years where the team that overcame Grange would go on to lift the county title.

Playing Division 1 football from 2014-2016 we were very competitive. While results didn’t always go our way, we gave a very good account of ourselves and playing a higher standard of league football would stand us in good stead.

We started the 2014 county championship with a comprehensive win over Randal Og in round 1, playing excellent attacking football we racked up 2-14 while our miserly defence held our opponents to 1-4. The year will be remembered for an exciting and nail-biting trilogy of games with our old foes from Araglen in the next round. These were closely fought, uncompromising and tense affairs but were always played in the spirit of the game. The first encounter finished level, Grange 0-11 v Araglen 2-5. In the second instalment the teams were level at the end of normal time and still couldn’t be separated after extra time 1-10 v 0-13 and so a third outing was required in Kilworth. On this occasion Grange prevailed by a solitary point 0-11 v 2-4. A quarter final v Goleen was our reward and again we displayed great attacking football allied to a resilient defence to advance to the semi-final by 3-9 v 1-7. That semi-final would see us face a young energetic Castlelyons team in Fermoy. While Castlelyons made most of the running, the Grange defence performed heroically to limit them to 0-7, unfortunately at the other end we could only muster 1-3 and despite applying some late pressure to the Castlelyons goal we couldn’t find the elusive score to level matters. Castlelyons would go on to defeat Kilmeen in the county final.

After the disappointment of this defeat the players showed great resilience to bounce back with a North Cork semi-final win over Deel Rovers 2-10 v 2-7. The final would see us back in Kilworth again to face Ballyhooly in the final. We raced into an early lead in the final but gradually Ballyhooly clawed back the deficit and took the lead themselves with a second half goal to run out winners 1-9 v 2-3.  This game signalled the end of Lar Brackens’ 4 years in charge. Apart from the selectors already mentioned Lar had assistance at various stages of his 4-year stint from Willie Frawley, Pat Greehy, Pat Magnier. Lar brought a professionalism to the group and was responsible for instilling a new-found belief to the group that would bear fruit in the years to follow.

With a new management team in place for the 2015 season we were all optimistic for the year ahead. With Declan Molan and John McGrath now at the helm we were again very competitive in league football and maintained our status in Division 1. This year also saw the introduction of a county-wide Junior B football league. We had some very good games and victories in this competition and went on to contest the final against a lively Ballingeary team who ran out winners 1-11 v 1-5.

The county championship would provide many memorable moments this year. Round 1 saw us face Goleen in Bandon and after another hard-fought encounter we emerged victorious 2-8 v 0-9. We advanced to the quarter final where we met west cork opposition again in the shape of Randal Og. We laid the foundations for a win with a good first half display and finished the game ahead by 2-8 v 0-8.  This led us to a semi-final with near neighbours Ballyhooly in Kilworth. After suffering defeat to Ballyhooly in the previous years North Cork final, Grange were not short of motivation going into this encounter. After 60 minutes of intense action the teams couldn’t be separated with Grange recording 2-4 against Ballyhooly’s 0-10. A replay seven days later at the same venue provided plenty of drama. A game that ebbed and flowed looked to be heading in favour of Ballyhooly but a dramatic late goal saw us advance to the final. The win was greeted with great jubilation and no little emotion as players and supporters celebrated our first county final appearance in 36 years. The build up to the final was full of excitement and it was great for the club to be running out in Pairc ui Rinn on county final day. On the day we were soundly beaten by an excellent Kilmeen team who having lost the previous years final made no mistake this time, 5.14 v 0-5

The North Cork championship also saw us come up short in the final against Shanballymore. After defeating Abbey Rovers 0-12 v 0-10 in the semi-final we had no excuses in the final as the better team won 0-15 v 0-5. Deccie and John stepped away at the end of the year but must be commended for the massive effort they put in all year. They couldn’t have done any more. While the year was very much a case of “So near but yet so far” the lessons learned would be valuable in the years to follow.

Our county championship campaign in 2016 was a short-lived affair. Defeat in Round 1 to eventual champions Ballyhooly 1-11 v 3-7 was followed by a defeat to Cobh in the second round, 2-5 v 1-12. Following this defeat Ciaran Hynes came in as coach joining selectors Jamesie Roche and Liam O’Flynn with Pat Magnier also involved. The North Cork championship saw us face Abbey Rovers in a semi-final in Glanworth in awful weather conditions. We displayed great heart and endeavour to grind out a 1-6 v 0-5 victory. The final would see us renew acquaintances with Ballyhooly in Mitchelstown. Playing a mix of good attacking football allied to a very strong defence we led from the front. The first half was closely fought but with 2 second half goals we stretched our lead and showed great composure to see out the game 2-7 v 0-6.  The final whistle signalled the start of great celebrations for all involved as Grange lifted a championship trophy for the first time in 22 years.

The following year saw us return to Division 2 football and record some very good wins to advance to the league semi-final where a second half goal for Shanballymore proved to be the difference as they advanced to the final 1-7 v 0-8. The same opposition would also beat us in Round 1 of the county championship. We again showed great resilience to pick up wins against Rathpeacon and Randal Og to advance to a quarter final against a much-fancied Cobh side. We produced a wonderful display on the day to prevail 3-8 v 1-12.  In the semi-final a week later we faced Kilbrin but the exertions of the previous week took their toll as we looked a tired team. Despite a brief second half comeback we came up short 1-5 v 2-11.  Again, we dusted ourselves down and switched our attention to defending our North Cork crown. We dug out a one-point win over a determined Doneraile side in the semi-final and once again would face Shanballymore in the final. On this occasion we weren’t to be denied. In difficult conditions we defended very well and made sensible use of the ball when we had it and scored the all-important goal midway through the second half. We showed all our experience to see out the game and secure back to back titles with a 1-6 v 0-5 victory. As a result of this victory we then played Clyda Rovers in a playoff to represent the division in the Inter-Divisional county championship. We beat Clyda 1-7 v 0-8 and then beat Glengarriffe 1-10 v 1-7 to advance to a semi-final meeting with Cobh. On this occasion Cobh avenged their defeat to us earlier in the year winning on a 2-11 v 1-8 scoreline. Cobh would go on to win the final. This was Ciaran Hynes final game in charge as coach, but he can look back fondly on his time in charge having delivered back to back North Cork titles. He was assisted in his second year by Paul Browne & Kieran Kelleher.

Having retained the North Cork title the previous year, attention was firmly focussed on the county championship in 2018 under the care of a new management team, Noel Barry, Ross Hanrahan & John Magnier. After many near misses in previous years it was felt that our time would come. We had a comfortable 1st Round win over Rathpeacon to advance to a quarter final v Deel Rovers. An early three goal blitz saw us in a commanding position at half time. Despite some late pressure from Deel Rovers we showed composure to see out the game 3-8 v 0-11. In the semi-final we had another epic battle with Goleen. A closely contested game swung in our favour thanks to a second half goal and we hung on for a 1-9 v 0-10 result to set up our second county final appearance of the decade. Ballinacurra were our opponents on this occasion. We got a dream start to the final with an early goal and played some good football in difficult conditions. Ballinacurra came back strongly and the game was in the balance until the very end with the lead changing hands on a couple of occasions before a Grange equaliser meant it finished honours even and we all returned the follow week to do it all again. This time around it was Ballinacurra who got the dream start and built a lead they wouldn’t relinquish despite a brave second half showing from a gallant Grange outfit they prevailed on a 3-11 v 2-7 final score. After such heartbreak it would have been easy for the players to throw in the towel, but we vowed to keep going and got some consolation in winning the Division 2 league title, beating Liscarroll in the final after a replay 1-10 v 1-7. This victory would also see us return to Division 1 football again. In the North Cork championship we strangely reached the final without kicking a ball and came up short to Abbey Rovers 1-9 v 0-13.

2019 saw us record a couple of wonderful victories in Division 1 as well as another draw to consolidate our position as a Division 1 for another team. Playing the highest level of league football certainly stood to us as the year went on. We also recorded some impressive wins in the county league and eventually qualified for the final where we came up short to Ballinacurra 0-13 v 0-11. The North Cork Championship saw us record good wins over Abbey Rovers (1-10 v 0-9) and Shanballymore (1-8 v 0-8) before losing out to Doneraile in the final 1-11 v 1-8

We opened our County Championship campaign with the narrowest of victories over Shanballymore in Round 1 in a typically tight and uncompromising encounter. A quarter final encounter with Randal Og awaited. Playing some excellent attacking football we opened up a comfortable half time lead and despite a second half revival from the west cork club we ran out 6 point winners, 3-10 v 1-10. Kilbrin stood in our way in the semi-final and having suffered defeat to them a couple of years previously we knew we had a battle on our hands. Again, we started well with a few early points but as expected Kilbrin wouldn’t go down without a fight. A crucial second half goal proved decisive as we showed great composure to close out the game and qualify for a second successive county final on a scoreline of 1-9 v 0-8. Goleen provided the opposition in the county final. Having played them a number of times over the years we knew what to expect and while we had always got the better of them, we could take nothing for granted. In what was a very tense affair played in difficult conditions a Grange goal in either half would ultimately prove to be the matchwinner, 2-4 v 0-7. The workrate and honesty of effort was never more evident than in this game as every player gave their all for the cause.  After years of near misses and heartbreak, a great outpouring of joy and emotion greeted the final whistle as Grange were crowned County champions for the first time in 40 years. Great credit is due to all involved. After many disappointments it showed great character and resilience to keep coming back and eventually, we got our just reward. Huge credit is also due to the management team of Tadhg O’ Donoghue (coach) and selectors Ross Hanrahan, John O’Gorman, PJ Roche, Noel Cashman and Padraig Howard for the countless hours they put in to preparing the team all year.

As always Grange has welcomed players from all corners to the club and these players have given great service and worn the jersey with pride. Over the last 10 years we have welcomed players from Sligo, Mayo, Limerick, Waterford, Kerry, Dublin, Carlow and even Italy! However, it is great to see that the team has been and is still backboned by players from traditional Grange strongholds such as Sheepwalk, Gurrane, Grange West, Ballyhindon and surrounding areas.

As the year draws to a close we have the small matter of a Munster championship semi-final to look forward to in the new year. In a first for Grange we participated in a Munster championship in early December where we had an excellent quarter final victory over Waterford winners Rathgormac 1-7 v 0-9. We now face Killenaule of Tipperary early in the new year. Here’s hoping that the next decade will get off to a winning start and that many more exciting and successful days lie ahead for the club.

We cannot finish without thanking all the volunteers who give their time freely to help the club in any way. There are too many to mention but thanks to all who look after the pitch, clean the dressing rooms, line the pitch, paint goalposts, sell tickets, raise money, attend countless meetings, wash jerseys and bibs, fill water bottles, pump footballs etc. And last but not least to our wonderful supporters who travel near and far to cheer us on. Hopefully ye will have plenty more to shout about in the years to come.

Gráinseach Abá½».

The victorious Grange Gaa team following the 2-4 to 0-7 point win over Goleen in Pairc Ui Rinn

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The 40 year wait is over

After waiting nearly 40 years Grange GAA are once again Cork County champions. Having contested finals in 2015 and again last year, Grange were once again knocking on the door this year and finally got over the threshold.

This Grange team deserved to be County champions but as everyone knows, you win nothing for “deserving it”, you have to go out there onto that pitch, leave it all on the field and earn it. That is exactly what this team did, they went out and earned it.

This final was contested between Grange and Goleen GAA, 2 small footballing clubs from opposite ends of the county. Goleen are no strangers to County finals having won the Junior C title in 2016, they also contested the Junior B County semi-finals in 2017 and also in 2018 where Grange were victorious by 2 points. Goleen are a very good, tough footballing side with a lot of promising young players coming through and having played them 4 times in recent years, Grange were not underestimating the challenge ahead.

Grange had prepared well for this game but were rocked by the injury to influential wing back Darren Roche who suffered a serious muscular injury in the semi-final which ruled him out of a starting place in the final. Always ready to protect his baby brother, John Roche stepped up to the plate to ensure that Darren would have a county medal to show for his efforts all year. That was the only change to the starting team from the punishing semi-final against Kilbrin. All roads led to PaircUiRinn for this game, unfortunately the sun didn’t get the memo as it was a wet, miserable day.

Goleen were quicker to settle and were 2 points to the good while Grange struggled to make chances. Alan McNamara and Dave Keating were making great runs in the full forward line but the conditions were making it difficult to find them. When the ball did find them they looked dangerous. Noel Barry, Alan Deegan and Kurt Wheeler were having to play a lot of defence at this stage but were still making lung bursting runs forward when the opportunity arose. Grange’s first score of the game was a score of the highest quality. Alan McNamara, seemingly trapped towards the corner, got his head up and spotted the marauding run of wing back Darragh Scott who had sprinted 60m to give Alan an option. Alan McNamara gave a defence splitting pass right into the hands of Darragh Scott who broke a couple of tackles before dispatching the ball into the Goleen net with aplomb. Suddenly Grange were a point ahead and were growing into the match. Alan Deegan was next to change the scoreboard with a point before elder statesman Dave Keating decided to start his own assault on the scoreboard as he slotted a point of his own to push Grange 1-2 to 0-2 ahead as half time was closing in.

The Grange full back line was proving a formidable last line of defence as Mark Timlin, flanked by Brian Cashman and Johnny Magnier were breaking up Goleen’s attacks. The half back line of John Roche and Michael Hennessy along with the energetic Darragh Scott and John Carmody were the foundation of many Grange attacks but no doubt one of the star performers of that first half was goalkeeper Gavin Dawson. Goleen pummelled a barrage of high balls on top of Dawson but he was well up to the task as he won every one of them and his distribution was top class. Kickouts are one of the most important parts of any match now and the accuracy of Dawson coupled with the aerial abilities of Devon Roche and Ricky Fraher were proving very difficult for Goleen to counteract. Goleen did manage 2 more points before the short whistle to leave the minimum between the sides at the break. Grange 1-2 Goleen 0-4.

Straight from the second half throw in Goleen were to let Grange know that they were not going to have everything their own way as Goleen copied their first half blueprint by tacking on the first 2 points of the second half to regain the lead. Grange however, had the same blueprint as true to the pattern of the first half Darragh Scott was again instrumental to a Grange goal. Scott again charged up the left wing and saw an effort for a point come back off the upright and into the waiting arms of a Goleen defender who tried to pass out of defence only to be intercepted by Scott. Scott showed great composure as he found the unmarked David Keating and the silver fox found the bottom left corner, in off the post, to register Grange’s second goal of the game but more importantly, it gave Grange a lead that they were not to relinquish.

The workrate of the Grange players really showed in this second half as Goleen were limited to only one more score in this match – a point in injury time. Kurt Wheeler epitomised this spirit and effort when despite his legs cramping from his immense effort, and twice having treatment for it, he still stood over a long range free in the 57th minute and powerfully dispatched it over the bar for the insurance point to put Grange 2-4 to 0-6 ahead approaching the final whistle. It was all shoulders to the wheel at this stage as the fresh legs of Niall McCarthy, Kevin Murphy, Jordan Kelleher, Peter Stapleton and the ever willing Darren Roche all made major contributions from the bench as the game entered 6 minutes of injury time.

Alan McNamara’s experience showed as he dropped back into defence for the closing stages and was in the right place at the right time as his goal line clearance from Goleen’s onslaught was a pivotal moment in the game. As the long whistle approached Goleen had one final score – a pointed free to leave the final score Grange 2-4 0-7 Goleen. The final whistle was greeted by joyous scenes as the heartbreak of previous years was soon forgotten and replaced with an equal measure of rapture and relief. Alan McNamara proudly walked up those steps to receive the cup from County Board chairperson Tracy Kennedy and 40 years of waiting finally came to an end.

Team: Gavin Dawson, Johnny Magnier, Mark Timlin, Brian Cashman, John Roche, Michael Hennessy, Darragh Scott (1-0), Devon Roche, Ricky Fraher, Kurt Wheeler (0-1), Noel Barry, Alan Deegan (0-1), Alan McNamara (0-1), David Keating (1-1), John Carmody. Subs used: Niall McCarthy, Kevin Murphy, Peter Stapleton, Darren Roche, Jordon Kelleher.

Following the victory the team had a homecoming at Grange school where a large crowd of former players and supporters gathered to welcome the team home with the cup. There are many people that deserve thanks for helping the team get to this point but to name them all here would probably take up another few pages so for now, let’s enjoy this victory, savour the celebrations and look forward to continued success.

For the full match report click -  Here 

County final

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Grange captain Alan McNamara receiving the Junior B cup from County Chairman Tracey Kennedy.

Father and Son lift County Junior B title


Kieran and Jordan Kelleher pictured following the County final victory

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