A ll-lreland Club Victory
When James Stephens won the All-Ireland Club final in 1976 it was hailed not merely as a club victory but as a Kilkenny victory. It was hailed as a Kilkeny victory becausejames Stephens were not only the first club in Kilkenny but the first club in Leinster to break the Munster monopoly. The All-Ireland Club Championship was initiated in 1971 and up to 1976 Cork clubs had won four and Tipperary one.
james Stephens' opponents in the final, Blackrock, had already won twice and were very strongly fancied to win their third. A crowd of over 4,000 braved wind and rain to see these two great sides in action at Thuries on March 14. It was a memorable game and a draw was on the cards up to the last minute when Mick Leahy put the issue beyond doubt with a goal. Blackrock got off to a flying start with Eamonn O'Donoghue scoring a goal in less than a minute. That, incidentally, was Cork's only goal from play, their second coming from a penalty scored by Pat Moylan. This goal in the 16th minute put Blackrock 2-1 to 0-0 in front.
The Village then made a switch, which had a big bearing on the final outcome. Joe Hennessy was moved from right half forward to right half back. The move had an immediate impact. The Village put their act together and despite playing against wind and rain, had cut the lead to five points (2-2 to 0-3) at half-time. james Stephens were a transformed side in the second half. Brian Cody, joe Hennessy and Tom McCormack showed tremendous zest on the half back line with Phil (Fan) Larkin, Paddy Neary and Niall Morrissey doing excellent work on the full line. Mick Moore kept his goal intact in the second half.
Phil ("Fan") Larkin holds aloft the All-Ireland Club Senior Hurling Trophy after beating Blackrock in Thuries ]Y76.