Legends of The Games
CBS the dominant force in early days of Under-14
By Leo McGough
Carlow People Tuesday September 14th 2010
Photo: The Tullow team who won the 1953 Under-14
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
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
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
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
At others sectors the Tullow lads could hold their own, but
they were defeated in every effort to finish a major scoring
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
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
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.