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Legends of The Games


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Legends of The Games

CBS the dominant force in early days of Under-14 championship

By Leo McGough

Carlow People Tuesday September 14th  2010

Photo: The Tullow team who won the 1953 Under-14 football championship

ON A JULY Sunday in 1938 at the Ritz Cinema in Carlow, Laurel and Hardy, popular comedians of the time, were playing in 'Way Out West', the matinee at 3.30pm, the evening show at 8.30pm.

Entry to the Balcony cost 1/8, the stalls 1/-while the popular Pit sent picture-mad youngsters back the princely sum of four old pennies (4d).

Midweek at the Ritz Cinema, with shows at 6.45 and 9, Douglas Fairbanks Jnr, Valerie Hobson and Alan Mowbray were starring in 'Jump for Glory'.

On that same week, the young Primary School footballers of Carlow and Tullow were willing, ready and able to 'jump for glory' as they prepared for the first ever Carlow Under 14 football championship final.

At a meeting in March 1938 to form a Primary Schools League, Rev N Cullen, CC, presided. Also in attendance were Rev T McDonald (Tullow), Rev J Kavanagh, Rev Bro Gregory (Bagenalstown), Rev J Breen, Rev Bro Hilary (Carlow) - Mr E Long. Mr T Fitzgibbon NT (Treasurer) and Mr E Power NT (Secretary).

Players were to be Under 14 on July 1, 1937 and on Primary School roll. The pitch was to measure 100 yards by 70 yards, posts to be 18 feet apart, crossbar seven feet high. Games to be of 25 minutes each-way duration.

That meeting and the subsequent enthusiastically contested matches were the fledgling steps in a competition that was to become part and parcel of the local GAA horizon, the stage upon which generations of young Carlow footballers got their first taste of the 'big-time'.

It became every 'chaps' dream to win a Primary School championship medal, the competition later morphing in to the U-14 football championship. Over the course of its 72 year history the championship has moved from being contested by the schools to being parish orientated to the present club structure. My own short-lived football career began in this competition and to this day one of my biggest sporting disappointments remains the 1974 semi-final defeat of the Tinryland parish team by Muinebheag. It is a championship of which many, many Carlow people have fond memories, huge crowds attending the finals. To-day, after after months of research, we publish for the first time ever a complete Carlow U-14 FC Roll of Honour.

Over the next couple of weeks our Legends series will take a trip down memory lane to salute the boys who jumped for glory, boys who in that fleeting moment of football joy were indeed legends of the game.

1938 - First Final

The far famed Fighting Cocks housed the first ever Carlow Primary Schools football final where, not surprisingly, the boys from Carlow CBS and Tullow's Patrician Brothers vied for ultimate honours.

While, unfortunately, the exact score was not recorded for posterity we do know that the Bro McInerney trained CBS boys emerged victors on a combined points tally of 23 to 14.

Tullow set their opponents a terrific pace throughout the opening half and led them from the start of the hour until a goal from Moore, the Carlow star, put the holders ahead and on the way to their first championship.

1939 - CBS Retain Title

Carlow and Tullow clashed again in the final of 1939, this time in Bagenalstown, most likely 'The Bog' and the Slaneysiders, despite valiant effort, were again forced to bow the knee, this time on a combined points tally of 20 to 2. Tullow had showed promising form in the earlier rounds but nothing went right for them in the final against a heavier Carlow team who were helped by a change in the wind but still were the more impressive and effective footballers.

1940 - Dr. Cullen Park Setting

The Carlow Primary Schools championship took on real status in 1940 when the final was granted a Sunday setting in Dr Cullen Park, a revered venue still in its own infancy. As both teams had taken their training seriously and were brimful of confidence, a keen close game was anticipated. Muinebheag, however, gave a very disappointing display and though the game was good, fast and clean, the issue was never in doubt after the first ten minutes. Carlow played a more combined game and turned every opportunity to good account before running out 3-9 to 0-0 winners.

Muinebheag are, however, to be congratulated on their gallant fight as the huge score which Carlow had chalked up against them did not prevent them from battling gamely to the final whistle. Indeed they were unlucky not to have scored on a couple of occasions when the woodwork saved the Carlow net. Best for the winners were Halligan, Keyes, Slater, Flaherty and Murphy while Muinebheag were best served by Phelan, Farrell, Kinsella and Somers. Rev Dr Miller presented the schools Cup to Halligan, the Carlow captain, after the game.

1941-1947 Emergency Extinction

Travel constraints due to 'The Emergency' brought about by World War 2 saw the Primary Schools competition put on hold and even when things began to return to 'normal' it was another couple of years before schoolboy footballers were again presented with the opportunity to chase the coveted silverware.

A meeting under the chairmanship of Bro McInerney, CBS Carlow, to organise and determine rules, etc to govern the Primary School competition was held in CBS Carlow at 5pm on Sunday April 4, 1948 when St Mullins, Borris, Tullow, Clonmore, Ballon, Clonegal, Muinebheag, Leighlin and Carlow entered teams in the football championship.

1948 - Tullow's First

Tullow the brave with future household names such as Jackman and Canavan to the fore recorded a merited 1-6 to 0-5 victory over Carlow in an exciting final in Tullow. Football of a high standard, played at a thrill-a-minute pace held the large and enthusiastic throng for the hour. The visitors had a slight lead at half-time but from the resumption to the end they were constantly on the defensive and when the referee Rev J Flood C.C., Ballyconnell signalled the end a mighty cheer proclaimed the home parish this year's victors. N Jackman scored the only goal and points were got by Jim Gorman, Billy Canavan, Brophy, McGrath and Breen.

1949 - Dazzling Football

'Thirty lads as game as fighting cocks but much more sporting, gave a dazzling display of football before a very large crowd at Dr. Cullen Park on Thursday evening of last week' declared a local scribe reporting on Tullow's 2-7 to 1-2 victory over Carlow, adding the contestants 'certainly deserved the enthusiastic reception they got from what must have been a record crowd for such a match'.

1950 - Miniature All-Ireland

'All-Ireland scenes in miniature were enacted at Dr Cullen Park on Sunday when the Carlow Primary Schools final was won by Borris who thus prevented Tullow from making it three-in-a-row'. Enthusiasm rose to fever pitch and at the end the little lads from Borris, who won 4-0 to 0-2, were feted as though it was the Sam Maguire Cup they had won. Borris had a very strong defence, and this proved the match winner.

At others sectors the Tullow lads could hold their own, but they were defeated in every effort to finish a major scoring movement.

Best for the winners were M Shea, P Kelly, J Flood, P Dalton, P Meaney, E Doran, J Doyle, M Dalton, P Shea and G Fleming. Tullow were well served by Mulhall, Lyons, Murphy, Carson, O'Connor and Hade. Borris: R McDonald; M Shea, P Kelly, J Flood; P Dalton, P Meaney, D Ryan; P Scully, E Doran; P Shea, J Doyle, M Dalton (Capt); S Kelly, T Ryan, G Fleming. Referee: Rev P Maher, C.C., Ballyconnell 

1951-Bagenalstown Buns 

Giving a delightful exhibition Bagenalstown De la Salle (Muinebheag) beat Carlow CBS by 5-4 to 0-4 in the final at Bagenalstown. The trophy was presented to Bagenalstown captain 'Buns' McDonald by Rev Fr Donegan C.C. Rev Bro Somers thanked the Carlow brothers for agreeing to a Bagenalstown venue for the final. 

1952 - Cricket Score

Hundreds of jubilant Bagenalstown schoolboys rushed on to the field at the end of this Primary Schools final at Dr. Cullen Park last Thursday to hail their all-conquering heroes, 11-7 to 2-0 victors over Tinryland.

Though Tinryland, through Archbold following a Hayes free, opened the scoring, Muinebheag romped to a second successive title. J Rea and M Lawlor were in control at mid-field and D O'Regan, J Treacy, M Londra and N Shaughnessy were best in a sound defence.

Up front Hughes, who shot an astonishing 5-2, O'Connell (3-0), Butler (2-1) and Comerford (1-2) sparkled. S Hayes at centre-field did Trojan work for Tinryland and was assisted by J Byrne, L Murphy, J O'Brien and P Murphy.

 Leo McGough

Source: Carlow People Tuesday September 14 2010


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