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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Jimmy Daly

Ballinabranna Football

Sad farewell to jovial Jimmy Daly

By Leo McGough Tuesday April 27 2010

WE HAD just placed my father's coffin in the hearse outside the house when a man emerged from the crowd gathered by the side of the road. No words were exchanged, just a nod of heads, a shake of hands. Maybe other people shook hands with me at that juncture, I'm not sure, but Jimmy Daly's condolences registered in the memory bank.

I knew Jimmy from his regular attendance at matches in Dr Cullen Park. He would gather with the Ballinabranna contingent who had a regular outpost on the Oak Park 'bank' half-way between the 45m and 65m lines.

The banter would be good when Jimmy was around. You wouldn't be long in his company when you'd get an inkling of the rogue Daly was. He loved the crack and his smile and hearty titter after some comment of his had caused a bit of gallery brightened many a dull day in the county grounds.

'I worked with you father in Oak Park' he informed me in one of our first chats, 'he was a gentleman, I don't know where he got you?!'

On another occasion we paired off in Clarkin's bar. Think a half-one or two may have been consumed when we got a little melancholy. 'I'll tell ya Jimmy, whenever you die I'll walk to Ballinabranna for the funeral'.

Last Wednesday I honoured that promise. Purposely avoiding offers of a lift I tipped out over Graigue bridge and headed for the hills.

An hour into the walk, running behind time, a lift from Frank Dunne ensured I was just in time to watch Jimmy's huge funeral cortege climb up to Ballinabranna's chapel on the hill.

Jimmy had arrived to the area as a small child and grew up to immerse himself in everything Ballinabranna.

Ballinabranna 1957

A brief glance of The late Jimmy Daly (extreme right front row) pictured with his Ballinabranna colleagues in The Ranch, Myshall on April 7, 1957 on the occasion of their famous seven-a-side tournament final victory over Palatine. Back (from left): Michael Geraghty, Jackie Lowry, Vincent Byrne, Tom McDonald, Michael Foley, Jack Dunne. Front: Michael 'Barber' Amond, Mick Murphy, Jimmy Daly. 'Baile na mBrannach 1890-1990', the club's excellent Centenary publication, offers several sightings of the jovial Jimmy.

There he is on page 38 in a picture of famous seven-a-side team that won football glory in Myshall and again on page 39, the Ballinabranna team that won the 1959 Carlow Junior Football Championship.

That was the club's first ever championship triumph, a triumph made all the sweeter by the fact that they beat their near neighbour's Milford 1-6 to 0-3 in a tough final. Jimmy Daly scored five of the champions six points.

The club won the Junior Championship again in 1963, completed the 'double' by winning the league. Jimmy was guarding the net.

One of his finest hours came not in the green and gold of Ballinabranna but the famed green jersey with the white sash of Ballymurphy!? No, Daly was not moonlighting down South. A popular Pub League was run in Carlow in the late 1960s and Jimmy plied his trade with The Beehive on Tullow Street who donned the colours of the native club of proprietor Tom Kennedy.

The Beehive won the title one year when the heading on the local paper the following week declared 'Daly shows the way', his placed ball accuracy having proved crucial.

Jimmy was also adept with hurl in hand, captained the first ever Ballinabranna hurling team in 1953 and was still swinging ash when the club, now trading under the title St Fintan's, won the County Junior Championship.

Jimmy's talents were not confined to the playing fields on page 69 two photographs of the successful Ballinabranna Drama Group of the 50s feature Jimmy Daly on stage.

And on page 75 the story of the Ballinabranna Water Scheme of the 60s is illustrated by a photo of a group of smiling workers, Jimmy among them, once more willing to put his shoulder to the wheel.

Many, many great stories concerning Jimmy were told during his wake, a wake which went into extra-time as his son Sean Michael had to sidestep the Icelandic Volcanic dust to negotiate his way home from Austria.

Fr Lawlor's assertion during the funeral mass that 'Jimmy wouldn't be too concerned with putting the truth where a lie would do' raised a giggle.

Jimmy, for all the fun, had a very serious side. This was best displayed when, despite his strong interest in Gaelic Games, he stopped attending games in the County Grounds when they began charging pensioners.

Ironic that in the week he died that ideas concerning better value for supporters should be floated, including talks of a season-ticket.

The last time I met Jimmy was last August when with his daughter Majella he arrived into the 125 Exhibition in Dr Cullen Park. I'm glad to say we enjoyed a nice chat that eveningIt is a comfort to think that, whatever other medication he was on, the viewing of the memorabilia on display gave Jimmy Daly an injection of nostalgia that helped lift his spirits.

To Jimmy's wife and family, his many relations and friends we extend our deepest sympathy at this sad time.

- Leo McGough


Pat Dowling

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2001 Ireland Genealogy Projects, IGP TM

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