Connacht Senior Club Hurling Championship
|Connacht Senior Club Hurling Championship|
|Irish||Craobh Sinsir Iománaíochta Connachta na gClub|
|Title holders||Portumna (4th title)|
|First winner||Liam Mellows|
|Most titles||Athenry (8 titles)|
The Connacht Senior Club Hurling Championship is an annual hurling tournament played between the senior hurling clubs in Connacht contested from 1970 until it became defunct after the conclusion of the 2007-08 season due to a lack of meaningful opposition for the Galway champions for quite some time. The winners of the Connacht hurling championship went on to qualify for the All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championship semi-final. Winners qualified for this competition by winning their respective senior county championships in Connacht. Since Galway has traditionally been much stronger than the other counties involved, its county champions automatically qualified for the final, with the other sides beginning at the quarter final stage. In 2007, the competition's final year, this competition was won by Portumna from Galway. The competition had long since become a formality for the Galway teams.
Since the annulment of the competition, the Galway champions now qualify for the All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championship semi-final. In the latter half of the 2000s, Portumna dominated hurling on the national stage, contesting four All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championship finals in five years, winning three. Clarinbridge (2011) and St. Thomas's (2013) have also won All-Irelands for Galway in recent years.
Currently the champions from Mayo and Roscommon compete in the Connacht Intermediate Club Hurling Championship against the Galway Intermediate champions. Sligo and Leitrim champions participate in the Connacht Junior Club Hurling Championship, again with the Galway side entering the competition at the final stage.
Given traditional lack of meaningful competition for Galway within the province, the competition was - save for a number of moments - a formality with terribly one-sided games often being the norm. Thus it was not taken seriously by many when considered in relation to the All-Ireland stage. However, while the competition was dominated by the Galway sides throughout its history, the title left the county three times in all, with Roscommon providing the winners on these occasions with Four Roads winning two titles in 1977 and 1988, while Tremane won their sole title in 1976. Tremane won their title courtesy of a shock win over Kiltormer on a scoreline of 2-7 to 1-9, and went on to play the well renowned Glen Rovers of Cork in the semi final in late 1976.
Four Roads were awarded the 1977 championship as a result of Galway champions Kiltormer being handed a suspension by the Galway County Board for incidents which took place match involving the club, which happened after Kiltormer had won the Galway title and were due to play in the decider. Four Roads went on to represent Connacht in that years All-Ireland series. Their second and final victory, won on the field of play, was a much more memorable occasion as the title was wrestled from the Galway champions at a time when Galway hurling was riding the crest of a wave, having just won the second of back to back All-Ireland hurling titles in 1988. Like their previous All-Ireland semi final appearance, they were up against Wexford opposition, this time in the form of Buffers Alley, but lost out on a scoreline of 2-19 to 0-9.
Mayo side Toureen reached the final on numerous occasions, most recently in 1999 when they lost to eventual All-Ireland champions Athenry, while Ballina and Ballyhaunis made sole appearances for Mayo at the final stage. No Sligo or Leitrim side competed in a final throughout the competition's existence.
|Team||Wins||Years won||Last Losing Final|
|1||Athenry||8||1987, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004||N/A|
|2||Sarsfields||7||1980, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2015||N/A|
|3||Castlegar||4||1972, 1973, 1979, 1984||N/A|
|4||Portumna||3||2003, 2005, 2007,||N/A|
|Kiltormer||3||1982, 1990, 1991||1977|
|Ardrahan||3||1974, 1975, 1978||N/A|
|7||Four Roads||2||1977, 1988||2005|
List of finals
- "Toureen Test Athenry's Mettle". advertiser.ie. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
- Kiltormer were suspended by the Galway CB as a result of incidents in an U21 Galway club final v Ardrahan