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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
To Jimmy's wife and family, his many relations
and friends we extend our deepest sympathy at this
- Leo McGough