Blues have played in most provincial matches

One consolation for Newtown Blues on Sunday last: their match with Summerhill was their 16th in the Leinster Club Championship, putting them one ahead of Cooley Kickhams.

One consolation for Newtown Blues on Sunday last: their match with Summerhill was their 16th in the Leinster Club Championship, putting them one ahead of Cooley Kickhams.

The Louth champions gave a good account of themselves before going down by a goal in a high-scoring and thoroughly enjoyable quarter-final.

Summerhill laid the basis for their win in the third quarter, scoring 1-5 without reply. Yet, it was in this period when Blues had a real chance to nail the game down. They turned over with a three-point lead, and in a short space of time, soon after the restart, were given three genuine chances of adding to the fine goal Brian Kermode scored in the opening half.

None was taken, and the game was gone, though having fallen five points behind, they fought back to get to within a couple of points before finishing a goal in arrears, 2-13 to 1-3.

It may be 23-years since Cooley Kickhams played in the competition, but the green-and-golds can still boast of having won more games in the Leinster Club Championship than any other Louth outfit.

The competition was first played in 1971, Offaly’s Gracefield beating Newtown Blues in that year’s final. Cooley made their debut the following season, and won at the first time of asking, beating Longford Slashers at home.

Between then and losing to Dublin’s Thomas Davis’ in 2000, the Fr McEvoy club, calling on some outstanding teams, was represented in 15 games, winning eight of them. Some of those wins were responsible for appearances in the finals of 1974 – beaten by UCD – and 1977, when Portlaoise proved seven points too good.

Mattock Rangers did magnificently to reach the final in 2002, the year in which they made their bow. Their dream of adding the provincial title to a first Joe Ward Cup win was ended by Meath’s Dunshaughlin, the scoreboard reading 0-13 to 0-7.

Subsequent match wins give Rangers the best percentage record, 55%, but this can be misleading. Young Irelands, for instance, are on 50% having won one of the two games in which they were involved.

St Patrick’s, the team with the best record at domestic level since the turn into this century, have failed to make significant progress in the higher grade, winning just two of their seven matches. Their record is identical to Clan na Gael’s, who were at their best in the 1980s and 90s.

Teams come and go, so not a lot should be read into the statistic which shows that of the 12 Louth teams to have played in the Leinster Championship, six are no longer competing in senior at local level, Irelands, St Fechin’s, Clan na Gael, Stabannon, St Joseph’s and Roche Emmets. Geraldines are moving up next season.