In the early Fifties the team trained in what is now Ned English’s field opposite the “Slate Houses”. 1954 was the first year that Kilbrin took part in a Duhallow Board competition. They competed in the Junior hurling league of that year and defeated Newmarket while losing all other outings. The following year proved to be a very different story. Having, played very consistently during the entire league campaign, they qualified for the final against Millstreet. The game was played in Bolsters field in Kanturk, and Kilbrin were given very little chance of success against a very experienced and successful Millstreet fifteen.
Having played with a strong breeze in the first half, Kilbrin built up a good lead and were very much in the driving seat by half time. Many Kilbrin supporters felt that the lead would not be adequate against the experience of Millstreet. However, the youth and enthusiasm of the locals prevailed and they held out, winning by seven points on the score of 4-2 to 1-4. This was a great achievement for Kilbrin and many of those who played at that time felt that if the training and management of the present day prevailed at that time, many more trophies would have been won. This team had three sets of brothers in its ranks, namely The Duanes of Clash, The Dennehys of Coolmahane and The O’Sullivans of Corbally.
In 1956 great things were expected from our hurlers. The team again qualified for the league final, this time against Kanturk. The memory of this league final will live long in the memory of those who played in it, and also those who were fortunate to witness it. It took three epic games to decide the issue, and finally, the laurels went to Kanturk by the narrowest of margins. Many of those who played for Kilbrin in those games still feel that victory should have been theirs, because two of Kilbrin’s most influential players, namely Dermot Curtis and Dermot Curtin, were injured and unable to play on the third day. Kilbrin were also on the loosing end in the league final of 1957. They had to give best to a much more experienced and sharper Castlemagner outfit.
In 1957, Kilbrin won the novice football championship, beating Dromtarriffe in the final, which was played in Bolsters field in Kanturk, on December 23rd. Weather conditions were appalling at the time and the pitch was a sea of mud. Goals from Pat Dennehy and Denis O’Donoghue (penalty) swung the issue in favour of the locals. Kilbrin were beaten in the final the previous year in the same competition by Lyre. Kilbrin played Junior Football after the '57 victory, but with very little success.
Kilbrin’s fortunes declined after that and they found it very difficult to field a team, through lack of numbers, right up to 1962. However, in 1963, Kilbrin competed at Novice level and qualified for the final against Meelin. Having beaten Meelin in a previous round of the league, Kilbrin fancied their chances. However, the arrival of Fr.Finbarr Kelleher to Meelin put paid to that. An injury to both Pat Duane and Mick O’Mahony early in the game also contributed to Kilbrin’s downfall. Kilbrin had to wait another year before a hurling trophy would come to the little village again. In 1964 Kilbrin qualified for the final of the Novice hurling championship to be faced on this occasion by Knocknagree. The team was led by Mick O’Mahony and ran out convincing winners on the score 2-6 - 0-0.
The club struggled during the late fifties and early sixties from a hurling point of view. However, the under-21 side, which had merged with Castlemanger, won the Duhallow Championship in 1968. After a great and sporting contest Kilbrin defeated Meelin on the score of 2-8 - 2-7. The winning team was as follows:- M.Heffernan (Kilbrin), D.Dinan (K), T.Barry (Castlemagner), M.Buckley (C), F.Sheahan (K), M.Dennehy (K), N.Meade (C), J .Moylan (K), D.Daly (C), L.O’Mahony (K), M.Nagle (C), D.J.O’Callaghan (C), T.O’Riordan (K), N.O’Sullivan (K) and B.O’Callaghan (K).
During the 50’s many junior hurling tournaments were held by the local club and played on Noel Corkery’ s field. Great contests were witnessed and attendances were on par with Duhallow Championship games. Many teams from Avondhu took part in those tournaments and the standard of hurling was very high and Kilbrin proved the victors in one such competition.
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