Limerick SHC Final - The day Adare finally reached their promised land

Jerome O’Connell talks to Mike Alfred about the day Adare finally made the breakthrough in 2001.

Jerome O’Connell talks to Mike Alfred about the day Adare finally made the breakthrough in 2001.

UNTIL the last decade the greatest day in the history of Adare GAA club was the 1964 county junior hurling championship success.

That brought the club into the senior ranks but for the next three decades there was only to be senior heartache.

But all the time they continued to work at underage level.

Just four year after the JHC win, they lost the senior final to Claughaun but it was Bord na nOg work in the 1980s and 1990s that saw Adare finally lift the Daly Cup in 2001.

They won top grade minor championships in 1990, ‘98 and ‘99 and U-21’s in 1999 and 2000.

But all the time they were falling at the final hurdle in the senior championship.

Defeat was their lot in the county finals of 1986, ’90, ’93 and ’96.

Central to all that heartache was Mike Alfred.

“I remember losing in ‘86 to Claughaun and fellas often said if we won that one we’d have won a lot more, but I suppose things don’t work like that,” recalled Alfred this week.

Alfred, Joey O’Brien, Tom Healy and Con Murphy were among those that soldiered for years.

“I was a bit older than them alright,” laughed Alfred.

“Everyone thought after we lost in ‘86 that we were getting closer to winning one but then we kept meeting Patrickswell in finals and we just couldn’t beat them,” explained the defender.

“Patrickswell were fierce strong in those years and there was Kilmallock and Ahane. We were often close enough but didn’t do it on county final day. We never had 10 or more lads playing to their best and you need that in finals,” he said.

In 1999 Alfred was part of the club’s management team at U-21 grade.

The claimed county honours.

They retained their title the following year and this group have backboned the senior side ever since.

“I remember we used to play a very much catch and kick style. But with that U-21 team we used to do more passing and running in support. When we started to bring that into the senior team we were winning,” he recalled.

“The likes of Conor Fitzgerald, Aidan O’Rahilly were in about eight or nine of that team that played senior and mixed with Con Murphy, Joey O’Brien and Tom Healy,”

Dave Keane combined his historic Limerick U-21 duties with club management in 2001 and Adare were on the brink of glory.

Joining him were Pat Lavin and Pat McDonnell.

“I remember Dave Moriarty came in mid-season. Up until that it was looking like another season of quarter-final or semi-final for us but Moriarty was very good,” he outlined.

“We beat Kilmallock in that semi-final and then in the final against Patrickswell it was one of those days when everything went right.”

He continued: “It was nearly over at half time and I think we won by eight or nine points in the end. Everyone of the 15 players just clicked on the day.”

“It was nice that it was Patrickswell as well!”

Twelve months later they retained their title.

“When we reached the final again it was Ahane in the final and we should never have won that oen. But winning is a habit and knowing how to win is half of the battle when you are in finals,” said Alfred.

“We have done well since making the break through in 2001 and it just shows how hard it is to win the first one and that’s the way it was for Na Piarsaigh. It took us a long time but we have five won now and on Sunday we are going for number six.”

>>> Left - Joe O’Brien celebrates Adare’s Limerick SHC final win over Patrickswell in the 2001 final