The knock on effects of success at under age level in the 80s filtered through to the Intermediate panel with many of those involved in those successes making the grade. However the road to Intermediate success was not an easy one.
Having achieved success at under age level in the 80s Young Irelands began to build on this. In 1989 they reached their first intermediate county final but went down on the day to a stronger Mullinavat side. At this time D J Carey was playing most of his hurling for Gowran in the goal. On that day he was moved out the field later in the game in an attempt to swing the game. However it was not to be despite a huge effort.
The following year although hotly tipped to go a step further Gowran lost to Thomastown at semi-final stage.
In 1991 the county final was reached again with Dicksboro providing the opposition. However they were well beaten on the day.
In 1992 Gowran finally fulfilled the potential they had shown on the 80’s underage scene when they won the Intermediate title and earned promotion to the senior grade for the first time since the mid seventies. Captained by John Brennan, still backboned with stalwarts such as John and Pat Kennedy and blended with those from the successes of more recent under age teams Young Irelands captured the intermediate title when they beat Conahy. That same year Gowran had won through to the final of the intermediate league where they were beaten by Mooncoin. That day, having to play without the injured Pat O’Neill, they were well beaten. Trainer Kevin Fennelly, along with selectors Dick O’Neill and Michael Hayes were more concerned with the championship outcome and refocused the players on this. Young Irelands overcame O’Loughlin Gaels relatively easily at quarter final stages on a final scoreline of 2 – 14 to 1 – 5. D J Carey notched up 2 – 5 of this with Cathal Fitzgerald and John Brennan also putting in a fine hour.
It took a replay to beat Carrickshock in the semi final stages. The drawn game was a terrific game and finished Young Irelands 2 – 11 to Carrickshocks 3 – 8 with the equalising point being scored by Cathal Fitzgerald in the last minute. One of the highlights of this game was a superbly executed goal by D J Carey. The replay never reached the same standard and Carrickshock’s form of the previous week seemed to desert them with Gowran running out victors on a scoreline of 2 – 14 to 2 – 5. By the 17th minute they were 1 – 7 to 0 – 1 ahead with the full forward line of Charlie Carter, D J Carey and James Fitzgerald causing a headache to the ‘shock defence. Toss Farrell at midfield and John Middleton in defence turned in a fine hour.
The county final victory was achieved in part without the services of D J Carey who shipped a heavy knock late in the first half and was concussed. He did play on but had to be assisted off the field in the 54th minute. His use of the ball before receiving the knock was impeccable and he had a hand in a number of scores including a goal finished to the net by Charlie Carter. Ten minutes from the end the game was still very much up for grabs with Young Irelands just two points ahead, 1 – 9 to 1 – 7. Then captain John Brennan battled his way through for a decisive goal and Gowran went on from there to win the game 2 – 12 to 1 – 7. Inter county star Pat O’Neill was influential throughout at centre forward. Defenders Brian and Patrick Farrell, Pat Drea and Ciarán Phelan played well throughout, while the mid field pairing of Toss Farrell and David O’Neill worked hard. While Charlie Carter carried off the man of the match award John Brennan’s workrate and play was second to none. These were ably support in no mean way by Toss Farrell and James Fitzgerald who provided valuable assistance in the forward line.