By Nickey Brennan
There was a big attendance at the James Stephens GAA Club Reunion function on Sat. 2nd Dec. at their Larchfield Club House where a number of Hurling, Gaelic Football and Camogie teams were honoured for their county championship victories over a number of years. Guests of honour on the night were Phil ‘Fan’ Larkin the legendary James Stephens and Kilkenny hurler along with Sean Boylan, a former Manager of the Meath Senior Footballers and the Irish International Rules side.
Club Chairman Aodán Ó Ruairc welcomed all present and he paid tribute to the successful team being honoured. He especially mentioned a number of former players who had sadly died since those memorable days. Among them were Billy Walton, Adrian Harkin, Órla Lawlor and Laura English and he welcomed their family representatives to the event.
The teams being honoured included:
• The Junior Hurling champions of 2000 led by their captain Fran Whelan who defeated Piltown in the County Final.
• The Under 21A Hurling champions of 2000 led by their captain Paddy O’Brien who defeated Dunnamaggin in the County Final.
• The Under 21A Hurling champions of 2002 led by their captain Gary Whelan who defeated Mullinavat in the County Final.
• The Junior Camogie champions of 2002 led by their captain Maggie Moran who defeated Clara in the County Final.
• A number of successful Gaelic Football teams were also honoured – Senior in 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 2003 & 2008 plus Intermediate in 2007.
A presentation was made to the former President of the Camogie Association Catherine Neary, who has a long association with the James Stephens club.
Returning to the club for this special evening was Jim Mulvin. Jim is now residing in Dublin and during his time living and working in Kilkenny he played a prominent role in the development of Gaelic Football in the club. In fact, many of the county football titles successes being remembered on the night saw Jim as Team Manager. The club made a special presentation to Jim on the evening to mark his huge input to the club’s footballing fortunes.
Sean Boylan, the legendary former Manager of the Meath Senior Footballers and the Irish International Rules side was a special guest on the night. Both Sean and Jim Mulvin joined Nickey Brennan from Community Radio Kilkenny City to chat about their experiences in their respective managerial roles. Jim recalled many games with James Stephens teams and players and this drew a great response from the large attendance. Sean Boylan, a hurling man at heart, outlined his early involvement with the Meath senior footballers and referenced some of the great players from that era. He also spoke about his experience managing the Irish International Rules team in the two series in Ireland and Australia.
Richie Manogue was MC on the evening.