The New Year celebrations came a little early in Fivemiletown last Friday night with a parade of the Tyrone town by members of Clogher Valley RFC with their haul of silverware from what was a successful calendar year for them.
The reason for kicking the celebrations off early was sparked by the current 1st XVs success in winning the Millar, McCall, Wylie Ulster Junior Cup for the first time in the club’s history.
It was their fourth appearance in the final and Clogher went in as underdogs against what was a highly respected and strong Ballynahinch IIs, who had accounted for Kukri Section One leaders, Portadown in the semis and Cooke in the quarters.
Clogher were to emerge victorious 22-21 after a pulsating affair at Ravenhill and claim the first junior honours of the 2012-13 season.
It added to what was a superb second half to last season’s Towns’ Cup success and winning the Kukri Qualifying Ulster Junior Championship as well as the Past Players’ Cup, awarded to the winners of the Ulster Conference League.
Clogher became the second club to achieve a major clean sweep on the domestic front in a calendar year - City of Derry winning the league title, Towns, Junior and the All Ireland Junior Cup in one season, along with the Crawford Cup which their second string won in the 2009-10 season.
Clogher remarkably went through their Kukri One season undefeated and although they did not achieve senior status through the AIl round robin, it was not a major disappointment.
The Tyrone club still have to defend the Towns’ Cup in the current season and they are also in the semi-finals of the All Ireland Junior Cup, meeting Enniscorthy at The Cran, Fivemiletown, on Saturday, January 26.
Last Friday was a special occasion for Clogher Valley skipper, Barry John Wilson.
He was determined to emulate his father David who won two Junior Cup medals in the 1980’s with Omagh Academicals.
Wilson had chosen to play against the driving wind and rain, and that was to prove crucial in the end - although interestingly the team playing into the elements were the victors in each half.
Clogher led 12-9 at the break thanks to a penalty try, converted by Philip Galbraith and an unconverted try from Aaron Best.
Michael Lawton kicked three penalties for Ballynahinch.
With the wind, Clogher dominated the early stages of the second half and build up a 22-9 lead following a try from Ally Breen and Galbraith added a penalty to the successful conversion.
Rodney Bennett was sinbinned for the leaders and Hinch scored 12 points during that to leave just a point between the sides at the end - the Co Down side winning the second half 12-10, but still coming up short.