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Keith Madigan 10 year anniversary match

posted 6 Mar 2011, 14:23 by Tom Duggan

Saturday the 23rd February 2011 saw a very unique match take place in the hurling field in Mullinavat.  The game was played between Mullinavat senior football selection and the Good Counsel College New Ross Hogan cup winning All Ireland College’s team of 1999.  On that victorious team were two Mullinavat clubmen Conor Conway and the late Keith Madigan. This game was organised to coincide with the 10th Anniversary of the tragic death of Keith in a road accident.  For a guy so young Keith had fitted a lot into his short life.  His passion for sport was immense and through his college education in Good Counsel College New Ross this passion was fed and nourished.  Their finest day arrived when in 1999 they annexed the Hogan cup in Croke Park for the first time.  Both Keith and Conor played their parts in this great day for the college in 1999. So 10 years  after the sudden death of their colleague the college schoolmates and the club mates of the late Keith Madigan came to play in his honour.
Such was the enthusiasm about the game that Keith’s former schoolmates and team members of that 1999 team travelled from Arklow Geraldines in Wicklow along with Wexford clubs Gusserane,Adamstown,Clongeen,Horeswood,Cushinstown and Bannow/Ballymitty  to play this game.  Add to this the representatives of The Rower Inistioge Paul Sheehan and Michael Grace and  the Phelans Michael and Mark from Glenmore and this shows you the esteem that Keith Madigan  was held in among his schoolmates.  Looking after the Good Counsel College team were the mentors from 1999 Aidan O Brien and Kevin Keogh and to cap it all off the referee on that All Ireland Final day in Croke Park Paddy Russell came all the way from Emily on the Tipperary /Limerick border to officiate at the game.
As is the way of these football matches they sometimes can take a mundane or non competitive speed.  Well think again both teams played some very entertaining football as was fitting of the individual they were honouring.  The late Keith Madigan wore his heart on his sleeve and what you saw was what you got speed, courage and skill never one to sidestep tackle, fair and honest at all times.  The Mullinavat lads were quick out of the blocks and by halftime had a commanding lead of 2-2 to 0-3 with the goals coming from James Culleton and Willie Dwyer, indeed only for the Good Counsel goalie the margin could have been greater as he made 2 point blank saves during the first period.
The second half saw Good Counsel get on top and they started to score at will.  Mullinavat were running out of steam and conceded some soft frees which proved costly and were punished.  In the finish the Good Counsel team won on a score line of 2-2 to 0-9.  Both teams used all their substitutes and so everyone had an opportunity to take part in this unique occasion.  Great credit must go to Ciaran Hyland of Arklow Geraldines and Wicklow senior football team.  Ciaran came to play this match in Mullinavat and left straight away to attend a Wicklow senior football training session.  Speaking with Paddy Russell after the game he was most impressed with Mullinavat’s performance as he too has heard all the negative press that Kilkenny footballers get.  He indeed said there were some fine footballers in the Mullinavat squad.
After the game both teams formed a circle in the middle of the field and were addressed by Keith’s mother Biddy.  She was delighted with the turnout and the effort that both teams had made and the spirit in which the game was played in.  She also made reference to both her son’s Keith and his younger brother Alan and said that there was no doubt that both  were looking down on proceedings here today and most likely picking a Man of the Match.  She then presented a piece of Waterford Crystal to Good Counsel Captain for the day David Keogh (Gusserane).  David accepted the trophy on behalf of his fellow team members and thanked Mullinavat club for the use of their facilities.  He then commented on the individual in who’s memory this game had taken place he said Keith was inspirational both on and off the field and without doubt he was one of the driving forces behind the team and their success that year.  He also said that Keith was a man of few words but when he spoke everybody listened.  David then presented the trophy back to the Madigan family and said it was on the Madigan mantelpiece that the trophy belonged.
Both teams then retired to the Rod Iron Bar main street where hosts and great GAA  and Camogie supporters Sean and Eily Kelly had laid on refreshments for both teams.  The trophy was also kindly sponsored by Peader Kelly of Peader Kelly Landscapes.  To the players mentors and supporters who turned up we say a big thank you and to Michael and Conor for their efforts organising the event well done a fitting tribute to a friend and fellow clubman.
Michael Duggan P.R.O.