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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Mick 'Cutchie' Haughton


Graiguecullen Footballer

The craic was ninety - by Charlie Keegan

The Laois Nationalist Thursday, January 12, 2006

Mick Haughney, the former Graiguecullen, Laois and Leinster footballer celebrated his 90th birthday on December 15 and on the following Saturday a special dinner attended by some 30 family and friends was held in Carlow’s Seven Oaks Hotel to mark this milestone in Mick’s life.

Mick has been a resident of Bethany House in Carlow Town for the past two years, having previously been a resident of St. Fiac’s House, Graiguecullen.

Mick Haughney was an outstanding footballer, winning nine Laois SFC medals with Graiguecullen during the 1930s and 40s when the Carlow border club, along with Stradbally, dominated Laois football. He also holds four Leinster SFC medals won with Laois.

He was partnered in mid-field for club and county by none other than Tommy Murphy, the ‘Boy Wonder’ of Gaelic football and, by all accounts, they formed a magnificent midfield pairing. At county level he was a colleague of the great Bill Delaney of Stradbally.

Mick first wore the blue and white of Laois as a minor in 1933, playing a senior league match the following year before graduating to the championship team in 1935.

He was a substitute on the Laois team which reached the All-Ireland football final of 1936, only to lose to Mayo.

The most memorable aspect of Mick’s football life was the trip by Laois to New York in 1938. Laois were beaten All-Ireland finalists of 1937, losing 2-2 to 1-4 to Kerry in Dan Fraher’s Field in Dungarvan.

Kerry defeated Cavan in that 1937 final and both All-Ireland finalists were invited to play exhibition games in the United States in early 1938. When Kerry were unable to fulfil the invitation, The Kingdom readily nominated Laois to take their place.

Mick Haughney was among 20 Laois players to make the trip to the States on board the S.S. Manhatten.

Of that group eight were Graiguecullen players and nine from Stradbally.

Laois limbered up with games in Boston and the Polo Ground, New York against American sides before lining out against Cavan in the big game of the tour. The game ended level --Laois 1-4, Cavan 0-7. Laois won the replay by a handsome 3-6 to 0-4 to win the coveted Tom Heeney Cup which subsequently became the property of Graiguecullen GAA Club, at the direction of Laois County Board.

Seven Graiguecullen players who played on that team were: Mick Haughney, Tommy Murphy, John McDarby, Martin ‘Buxie’ Farrell, Ned Begley, Jim Slater and Jim ‘Rexie’ McDonald.

The Tom Heeney Cup was brought to Saturday’s dinner and seeing the trophy no doubt brought back many cherished memories to Mick Haughney.

The trophy was ‘housed’ for many years at Graiguecullen National School where it was under the care of school principal, the late Mr. Sean O’Leary. In latter years the cup has been ‘in residence’ at the Graiguecullen GAA Clubhouse.

Mick, who had first played with his county as an 18 year-old, was part of the Laois team which went on to win a third Leinster SFC on-the-trot (1936-’38) with a 2-8 to 1-3 victory over the ‘ould’ enemy, Kildare, losing out by 2-6 to 2-4 to Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final of 1938.

He was also a member of the 1946 Laois team which won out in Leinster and captained Leinster the following year when Munster beat Leinster in the Railway Cup final by 3-5 to 1-9.

After the curtain came down on his inter-county career Mick emigrated, in 1949, to the United States. He had been a regular visitor back to Ireland over the years and some years ago came back to live permanently in his native area.

He was joined for Saturday’s special dinner by wife Chrissie - the former Chrissie Dowling from Castle View, Graiguecullen and his son Edward, who lives in Florida. The dinner was also attended by friends of Mick from Graiguecullen GAA Club, by Fr. John Fingleton, Graiguecullen and Mrs. Veronica O’Boyle, Matron at Bethany House.

Special mention should be made of Paul Hurley, Graiguecullen club member and good friend to Mick and Peter Reynolds, emergency medical technican, who described himself as a ‘friend through football’ of Mick Haughney. Both Paul and Peter were present at Saturday’s dinner.

Dinny Byrne, former Graigue and Laois footballer and a member of the last Graiguecullen team to win a Laois SFC in 1965, is another good friend to Mick and visits him at Bethany House.

Joe Brennan, Graiguecullen GAA Club PRO told me that Sean Kelly, President of the GAA, had on Friday night presented the medals to the club’s winning Under-14 ‘A’ and Under-16 ‘A’ (Slater Cup) football competition in Laois this year, at a function in the GAA clubhouse.

On learning of Mick Haughney’s 90th. birthday the President ordered a birthday card which he signed and was presented to Mick at Saturday’s dinner. It was a very nice gesture from the GAA President.

Mick Haughney is the last surviving member of a family of 17 which lived at No. 9, The Numbers. Mick worked in Governey’s Boot Factory in Carlow before emigrating to the United States where he spent many years before returning to live in his native area.

Mick Haughney died in September 2006, aged 91 years of age.

Michael Lyons SentinaL 1847
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