For the first time since 2014 Cork are in an All-Ireland Senior men’s hurling final, and are waiting since 2005 for a win.

And for the first time since a GAA club was founded in this locality, Tower village has a representative on the Cork team.

2021 Cork Senior Hurling team
Image from Irish Examiner

Seán O’Donoughe (Photo above by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile), from Tower, will be on the team wearing the Cork colors of red and white when they run out onto Croke Park next Sunday 22nd August 2021. It is a very proud moment for Seán and his parents, Paddy and Yvonne, his family and friends but also for the wider community in Tower and Inniscarra.

Seán plays in the Blue and White colors of Inniscarra GAA club which was founded in 1886. There have been just a handful of Inniscarra players to also don the red and white jersey for the Cork Senior men’s team on All-Ireland final day. Pat McDonnell (two All-Ireland medals) Ger Manley (on the losing side) and Tomás Ryan (one All Ireland medal) have all been proud Inniscarra men to also play at Cork senior level for the final.

And of course, we cannot forget to mention the great Rena Buckley, dual camoige and football player for Inniscarra who has won an astonishing 18 All-Ireland medals at senior level, in both disciplines, for Cork at senior level.

Inniscarra GAA club was founded in 1886 and while Tower village, and it’s surrounding area, falls within both the parish and GAA boundaries Tower village had it’s own club, called Shourngah Valley that was started just before World War 1. They too wore the blue and white that are the Inniscarra colors and played matches at the Inch, down by Tower Bridge.

According to most reports the Shournagh Valley team were lucky to find fifteen players to play matches, with the joke being that the substitute was the village pump as there never was anyone to run on. The team used to parade behind the Tower Fife and Drum band onto the pitch, no doubt to much cheering and raucous shouting. There was a real sense of camaraderie between the men on both the hurling team and the band as a number of them had been soldiers in the Munster Fusiliers, they were the lucky ones who had survived the horrors of France.

There was great rivalry between Shournagh Valley and their neighboring team in Blarney during the heyday of the club which was in the years between 1930 and 1936.

The last game ever played by a Shournagh Valley team was in 1948, a Gaelic League cup, and from then, until now, any player from Tower has played his hurling and football with Inniscarra after the clubs amalgamated at this time.

All the best to Seán and indeed, Mark Coleman and Shane Barrett from Blarney, and the rest of the Cork squad who will line out next Sunday. Win, lose or draw the neighbors of Tower village are absurdly proud to see a local line out on the big day. And just maybe, in the midst of the cries and shouts of “Up Cork” and “Rebels Abú” there may be a ghostly echo of the clarion call “Up the Valley” to cheer on the local man as he steps out on the green pitch of Croke Park.

Photo from the Cork Examiner 1999 - Shournagh Valley team 1941
Picture from Cork Examiner 1999 of Shournagh Valley team 1941