In the early 1980s, Jack Dillon, Eddie Ryan and a number of others set about getting underage hurling going in Galbally. An under-14 County Hurling Title won in 1986 put Galbally on the hurling map. The captain was John Kiely. Nine years later, he would captain Galbally to win a County Junior B Hurling title. He has seen bigger days since on the hurling field, but those titles sit alongside his Limerick successes in his photograph archive.
It is probably safe to say that regardless of whatever John Kiely achieves in the game of hurling, he will never again lead a team to win an All Ireland Senior title by 16 points. Significant milestones like that belong in the record books for a reason. They are rare events and precious events. The great Brian Cody has won 11 All Ireland titles, but the vast majority of them were won by small enough margins. You do not win All Ireland Finals by 16 points every day. This victory will remain etched in the record books forever more. The emotional homecoming night in Galbally in 2018 will not be replicated due to Covid-19 and that is totally necessary. It would be irresponsible to seek to challenge such restrictions. The health of the nation has to come first.
Nevertheless, to have a Galbally man at the helm is a significantly proud moment for Galbally GAA. On top of training Galbally GAA teams, John Kiely has been Treasurer of Galbally GAA, Secretary of Galbally GAA and perhaps in later life he may complete the trilogy by serving as Chairman of Galbally GAA. A former son of Galbally, the late Pádraig S O’Riain went to the very top of the GAA in the boardroom, and now a current son of Galbally, John Kiely has gone to the very top of the GAA in management.
In short, John Kiely bleeds Galbally GAA and during the Easter Holidays in 2007, with he ran the major drainage project take place on the GAA field in Galbally. This was not a paperwork exercise, he got his bare hands dirty. He was never someone to shirk a workload or a challenge. There was no greater workload or challenge than taking over Limerick at a very low ebb in late 2016 and moulding them into All Ireland Champions for the first time in 45 years
His achievements with Limerick speak for themselves. To be compared to other eras and other teams, you must win what they win. You must achieve what they achieved. As a team, Limerick have now equalled what the Limerick team achieved in 1934, 1936 and 1940. They have surpassed the Clare team of the 1990s, the Offaly team of the 1990s, the Kilkenny team of the 1990s and other teams who have won two All Irelands within the same era. By moving onto three All Ireland titles, John Kiely surpasses the two time All Ireland achievements of luminaries such as Ger Loughnane, Babs Keating, Ollie Walsh, Liam Sheedy and others.
The Galbally Under 14 hurling success of 1986 was not the first Galbally Under 14 hurling success. In 1974, in the aftermath Limerick’s 1973 All Ireland success, the County Board organised an Under 14 hurling competition for football only clubs. Galbally won that County Under 14 Hurling title in 1974 and Tom Quinlan was on that team. Nowadays, Tom Quinlan is Chairman of Galbally GAA and his son Mark Quinlan, and another son of Galbally has won his second All Ireland Senior Hurling medal.
Yet another son of Galbally, Kieran Hickey has been one of the most successful underage managers in Galbally GAA, and has played a vital part behind the scenes in the analysis and stats department. He has been associated with all the recent Limerick successes, going back to the 2015 All Ireland Under 21 title.
A special mention also to another son of Galbally, Jim Cussen for his role behind the scenes.
The 22nd of August 2021 is a proud Limerick day, and is also a proud Galbally GAA day.
The Galbally Senior Footballers unfortunately did not get the weekend off to a winning start, losing by 3-11 to 1-2 at the hands of Fr Caseys in Feenagh on Saturday last. We are now in a relegation battle involving Ballylanders, St Kierans, and the team that finishes bottom of the Na Piarsaigh, Oola and Adare group. The team was: Peter Morrissey, Peter O’Dwyer, Roibeard Donovan, Ryan Tobin, Ciaran Sheehan, Liam Casey, Jack O’Mullane, Mike Donovan (1-0), Kieran Hickey, Owensie Sheehan, James Ryan, Eoin O’Mahony, Ger Quinlan (0-1), Jamie Morrissey (0-1), Gary McCarthy. Subs: Eoin McGrath, Josh Dineen, Robert Sampson
The Junior team beat Galtee Gaels on Thursday night in Round 1 of the South Junior Football Championship. The team was: Ger Ryan, Michael Dwyer, Niall Kearney, Frank Cussen, Billy Donoghue, Tony Henebry, Jack Hogan, Cathal Flynn, Dave Cussen, Joseph Johnston, Jack Donovan, Rufus Holmes, Derrick Ryan, John Kearns, Jordan Dineen. Subs: Jonathan Scully, Fionn Flanagan, Pat Cussen, Conor O’Mahony
Split the Pot will take place on Monday night this week as there were other priorities to attend to in Dublin over the weekend!