Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Carlow GAA History



Football Milestones

1898 - Carlow's Football Debut

Carlow made their first appearance on the inter-county scene when travelling to Jones Road, Dublin (now Croke Park), on Sunday, July 11th, to play Wexford in the opening round of the Leinster Senior Football Championship.

A special train left Kilkenny at 8.30 a.m., serving Bagenalstown, 9.00 a.m., Milford, 9.12 a.m. and Carlow 9.23 a.m., arriving in Kingsbridge at 11 a.m. and the return train leaving at 7.00 p.m.

Carlow won the toss and played towards the Clonliffe goal having the advantage of the sun and wind. At half-time the Barrowsiders led 0-5 to 0-3. Wexford had scored a goal in the first half but to this the Carlowmen objected on the grounds that a Wexford player had thrown the ball through the goal. Eventually, the Wexford team, with the sportsmanship that is characteristic of their county, waived their claim and the dispute being amicably settled both teams resumed play.

On the change-over Wexford took complete control and ran out easy winners by a big score, 2-24 to 0-5. W. Allen captained the pioneering Carlow team which read: W. Allen (captain), J. Croke (goal), P. Foley, J. Geoghegan, M. Murray, M. Dwyer, T. Shelley, M. Kenny, P. Doyle, P. Timmons, J. Kennedy, J. St. Ledger, L. Nolan, M. Clowry, J. Finn, J.F. Reid, A. Dwyer.

1905 - Carlow's First Final

Carlow reached the inaugural Leinster Junior Football final in 1905 when beating Wicklow at the third attempt. As was the norm in that era the championship ran behind time and all games were played in 1906. March 18, 1906, saw Carlow gain their first inter-county 'result' when by scoring 2-2 in the second-half against Wicklow in Jones Road they forced a 2-3 to 9 points draw. The replay in Enniscorthy also ended level, Carlow scoring 2-5 to Wicklow's 1-8. It was back to Jones Road on May 20 where a first half performance laid the foundations for their first ever inter-county victory by building a 1-8 to 0-2 half-time lead. By the end Carlow's place in the final was secured on a 1-13 to 0-4 scoreline.

The final took place in Jones Road on July 22 where Westmeath emerged narrow and controversial, 1-4 to 1-3 victors.

To D. Haughney fell the honour of scoring Carlow's first point in a Provincial final and by half-time Carlow led 0-3 to 0-1. On the changeover Carlow launched a series of attacks, eventually breaking through for a goal, this historic first 'major' being registered by James Hennessy.

Westmeath rallied with a brace of points before striking for a controversial goal. The leather went over the side-line but the linesman did not raise his flag. A Westmeath player kicked from across the line to his centre-forward who scored a goal while the Carlow backs stood waiting the referees decision. Westmeath then procured the point which put them ahead for the first time and despite strong Carlow pressure held out to become the inaugural Leinster No. 2 champions.

Carlow - P. Haughney (Captain), John Fennell (goal), D. Farrell, B. Hennessy, William Mulhall, M. Murray, L. Nolan, P. Moran, John Hoare, M. Haughney, M. Callanan, W. Ryan, J. Sleator, E. Webster, D. Haughney, M. Byrne, James Hennessy.

1912 - Second Leinster Football Final

Carlow contested their second Leinster Junior Football Championship final on October 27, 1912 but again narrow defeat was the outcome, Louth winning by 3-1 to 2-2 in Jones Road.

The Wee County played to the Clonliffe end in opening half and took an early 1-1 to no score advantage.

Michael Leo registered Carlow's opening score, a good point, being his sides only first half 'flag-raiser'. Louth led 3-1 to 0-1 at the break. Mulhall opened the second-half scoring with a Carlow point, his shot hitting the cross-bar and going over. Another fierce Carlow attack ended in a goal, the ball entering the net off a Louth player. Carlow, captained by John Millet of Borris, continued to attack and were rewarded with a William Murphy goal. Just two points separated the sides and Carlow were in possession when the final whistle sounded.

Carlow's path to the final was an impressive one, beating Dublin 1-3 to 0-1 in Carlow-Graigue, Kildare 5-5 to 0-1 in Athy and Westmeath 2-7 to 0-2 in Jones Road.

The Carlow team that lined out in the final was: John Millet (captain), William Kennedy, Michael Leo, William Quinn, Michael Cody, Joseph Redmond, James Murphy, P. May (goal), A. Murphy, William Murphy, P. Haughney, C. Haughney, Martin Hogan, William Cooney, Michael Lawler, J. Mulhall, L. Shaw.

1913 - Carlow's First football Title

Carlow's first football title was won in brilliant fashion when on November 30, 1913 at Jones Road the Barrowsiders hammered Meath 3-4 to 0-0 in the Leinster Junior Football Championship final.

On their way to the final Carlow had given promise of their worth, beating Kildare 1-3 to 0-1 in Athy, Dublin and Wicklow, 2-3 to 0-1 in Jones Road.

The Nationalist's final preview stated 'the latest news from the training camp says Captain Mulhall and his men are as fit as fiddles. Training was wound up on Thursday evening by a very fast practice on the football grounds, it being continued for two hours without a stop, so they ought not to lack stamina.

'Players are asked to be beware of their so called admirers during the week-end. All players to be at the station at 9.45 a.m. sharp. Travellers having GAA badges are requested to bring them for the occasion'.

Jones Road was in good condition for the final and the weather conditions all that could be desired.

From the very first it was realised that Carlow were the superior fifteen, the Carlow players showing remarkable skill and knowledge of the finesse of the game. Andrew Murphy opened the scoring with a clever Carlow goal and following good combination play Willie Murphy tacked on a point. A Hogan point and Donohue goal helped Carlow to a 2-2 to 0-0 interval lead.

A Willie Murphy point opened the second-half scoring and the same player goaled when dashing in to finish the leather to the net after Hogan had tipped over the goalkeeper's head. Hogan himself closed the scoring with a point. News pf the victory was telephoned to Carlow after the match, and was received with the utmost enthusiasm by the local gaels.

It was decided to organise a demonstration in honour of the victory, and when the team and their followers arrived at Carlow that night they were met at the station by an enormous crowd, accompanied by the Graigue Temperance Band. A torchlight procession was then formed and the captain, William Mulhall, was carried shoulder high amidst great enthusiasm, the band playing national and popular airs.

The historic, Graigue powered, Carlow team was: William Mulhall (captain), D. Fitzpatrick, M. Lawler, W. Cooney, J. Millet, James Murphy, M. Hyland, P. Haughney, Andrew Murphy, Michael Haughney, C. Callanan, L. Shaw, M. Hogan, William Murphy, P. Donohue.

1914 - First All Ireland Final

The All-Ireland Junior Football Championship was first introduced in 1913 and Carlow's Leinster final triumph put them straight through to the National decider.

That final, though, did not take place until July 19, 1914, when Carlow faced Kerry in Cork. Carlow travelled overnight to Leeside and their line-out was considerably strengthened by the arrival of the great Barney Hennessy, who along with captain William Mulhall, were the side's outstanding players in the All-Ireland final.

Carlow defended the City end in the opening half. Hogan's grand drop-kick led to the Kerry goalman being bowled over, Hogan being credited with Carlow goal.

Haughney and Hogan added Carlow points to help the Leinster champions to a 1-2 to 0-3 interval lead.

Carlow failed to score in the second-half while Kerry registered four crucial points, points which clinched for the Kingdom the inaugural All-Ireland Junior Football Championship.

The first Carlow team to contest an All-Ireland final was: William Mulhall (captain), Michael Lawler, D. Fitzpatrick (goal), J. Millet, William Cooney, Barney Hennessy, J. Murphy, P. Haughney, A. Murphy, D. Hogan, L. Shaw, M. Haughney, M. Hogan, F. Tobin, William Murphy. Subs: M. Regan, C. Callinan, M. Hyland, M. Dawson.

1923 - Second Leinster Football Titles

Led by the inspirational Barney Hennessy of Graigue - rated as one of the greatest footballers of the era - Carlow won their second Leinster Junior Football Championship on November 25, 1923, when beating Dublin 2-5 to 1-1 in Croke Park.

Carlow, who returned to junior ranks in 1922 after eight years at senior level, saw off Kilkenny, Louth (2-4 to 2-2 in a replay) and Offaly by 3-4 to 1-2 in Athy en route to the final.

The game got off to a sensational start. Doyle, within firing range, was fouled badly. Up stepped the redoubtable Hennessy and a beautiful centre into the square saw Martin 'Red' Hogan punch to the net inside the first minute.

A great move led to Carlow's second goal. Barney Hennessy sold a dummy to perfection. Instead of the usual skyscraper he short-kicked straight into Willie Hogan's hands, who made no mistake in stretching the lead.

Hennessy (free), Rexie McDonnell, William Doyle and Martin Hogan kicked good Carlow points to give the Barrowsiders a 2-4 to 0-0 interval advantage. 'Red' Hogan added a further point in the second-half during which Dublin scored 1-1 to leave a dashing Carlow outfit deserving seven point winners.

Apart from Hennessy, 'Red' Hogan and Benny Nolan came in for special praise while the backs as a unit were considered 'a grand lot'.

Carlow - Barney Hennessy (captain), William Hogan, E. Wall, Matt Hanley, M. Murray, P. Haughney, Benny Nolan, Tom Dillon, Joe Price, Martin Hogan, William Doyle, John Moore, Rexie McDonnell, Willie Quigley, Tom Dunne.

1924 - First All Ireland Semi Final

Carlow's first experience of an All-Ireland semi-final came in Croke Park on October 19, 1924, when beating Ulster champions, Antrim, 2-3 to 0-3, a game played almost a full 12 months after Carlow were crowned Leinster champions!

By the time the 1923 junior semi-final was played Carlow had exited the Leinster Senior Championship, losing to Wexford 1-2 to 4-1 in Barrett's Park, New Ross. That game took place on April 13 and Carlow were forced to field seven substitutes as 'a heavy fall of snow put the idea that there would be no match into some of the most wanted'!

There was no such problems for the Antrim game. Over 300 travelled on the train from Carlow Railway Station and saw Carlow go into an early 0-2 to 0-1 lead, Dillon and Doyle the point scorers. The sides were level 0-2 apiece at half-time and Moore and an Antrim player exchanged points before Carlow struck for their two goals.

Willie Cooney set a Carlow attack in motion which ended with Mick Tobin netting and from a Murray clearance, Haughney shot the Barrowsiders second goal. Carlow were the clear masters at this stage with the popular Barney Hennessy here, there and everywhere.

Carlow - B. Hennessy (captain), T. Bolger (goal), W. Hogan, J. Moore, M. Tobin, P. Haughney, W. Cooney, W. Quigley, W. Doyle, W. Murray, B. Nolan, T. Nolan, T. Dillon, M. Hanley, R. McDonnell. Subs: J. Price, L. Hogan, L. Sweeney.

1924 - Second All Ireland Final

On November 9, 1924, Carlow took on Munster champions, Tipperary, in the 1923 All-Ireland Junior Football Championship final at Croke Park. But the Barrowsiders were outpaced and outweighed by the Premier County who emerged 2-6 to 1-1 victors.

Tipperary shot over three points and then broke through for a goal to establish a 1-3 to 0-0 advantage at the break. A very strong wind favoured Carlow on the resumption but a Tipp point, a second goal, and another point saw the Munster men into an unassailable 2-5 to 0-0 lead.

A Tipperary goal-kick was charged down and rebounded straight to the net for a fortuitous Carlow goal and good play led to a Barney Hennessy point for Carlow but Tipperary closed the scoring with a point and condemned Carlow to their second All-Ireland final defeat.

The second Carlow team to pay in an All-Ireland final was: Barney Hennessy (captain), William Hogan, Willie Cooney, William Quigley, William Doyle, Mick Tobin, M. Murphy, John Moore, Patrick Haughney, Benny Nolan, Tom Nolan, T. Bolger, Matt Hanley, Rexie McDonnell, Tom Dillon.

1930 - Fifth Leinster Final

Tom 'Drakes' Walker was the star of the Carlow team which contested the 1930 Leinster Junior Football Championship final, beating Kilkenny 3-5 to 0-3 and Offaly 0-9 to 1-4 to reach the county's fifth decider and the first since the departure of Graiguecullen.

That final took place in Athy on August 31 and a game of poor football was the general verdict as Dublin ran out comfortable winners 3-3 to 0-2. Carlow trailed by the soccer-type scoreline of one goal to nil at half-time, the Dublin goal coming early on and being of the 'soft' variety.

The Carlow panel was: P. Foley (captain), J. Cahill (goal), D. Murphy, T. Moran, J. Byrne, J. Hendrick, L. Keeffe, W. Moran, T or J. Neill, J. Foley, J. Moore, E. Murphy, T. Walker, W. Doyle, J. Finn, W. Hughes, E. Lillis, P. Brien, M. Hayes, M. McDonnell.

1932 - Carlow's Sixth Leinster Final

The year famous for the Eucharistic Congress being held in Dublin saw Carlow play some fine football to reach their sixth Leinster Junior Football Championship final.

Wexford (4-3 to 2-4), Westmeath (1-7 to 1-5) and Offaly (3-7 to 0-3) all gave way to Carlow with 'Drakes' Walker scoring a goal in each game and a classy 3-2 against Offaly.

He was Carlow's star in the final, too, which was played in Croke Park on July 31. Louth proved that bit too strong for Carlow, winning 2-7 to 1-5, having led 1-6 to 1-0 at half-time.

Walker, who had scored Carlow's first half goal, kicked three points early in the second-half. Louth's second goal made Carlow's task a difficult one and although Lawler and Price managed further points and the Barrowsiders were attacking at the final whistle, the title was destined for the Wee County.

Quigley kept a fine goal, Mulhall, Moran and O'Brien were outstanding in the Carlow defence, Lawler and Murphy formed a good mid-field partnership while Walker was always a threat in attack.

Carlow - W. Quigley, T. Mulhall, T. Moran, P. Brennan, J. Hendrick, M. O'Brien, E. Murphy, L. O'Keeffe, J. Lawler, M. Price, K. Maher, E. Haughney, P. Barron, M. Walsh, T. Walker. Subs: J. Geoghegan, P. Brennan, E. Whittacker, J. Byrne, P. Lacey.

1933 - Third Leinster Title

Carlow's third Leinster Junior Football Championship title was won in dramatic fashion, a great goal by Paddy Shine late in the final giving the Barrowsiders a narrow 5-3 to 4-5 victory over Wicklow in Enniscorthy on August 13, 1933.

On their way to the Provincial decider Carlow had given a number of 'electric displays of full-blooded, dashing football.' Captained by Tom 'Drakes' Walker Carlow overcame Laois (4-6 to 1-4 in Bagenalstown), Offaly (18-16 in Portalington) and Dublin (2-9 to 1-2 in Portlaoise after an 0-8 apiece draw in Athy).

A crowd of 3,000 witnessed one of the best junior finals in years. Only in the last few minutes did Carlow clinch the issue. The opening half produced delightful football, a tremendous pace maintained throughout.

Wicklow turned over 1-2 to 1-0 to the good, Walker having procured the Carlow goal. In the second-half the lead changed hands four times and with a couple of minutes to go Wicklow had two points to their credit when Carlow launched a final rally which ended with Paddy Shine dispatching the leather to the net for the winning goal.

Paddy Lyons kept a good goal while Jim Hendrick at full-back was sound. Lar Keeffe was outstanding at mid-field well assisted by Paddy Fennell with Paddy Barron and Brennan untiring workers in the half forward line.

'Drakes' Walker was superb in attack with Paddy Shine also playing a big part, most notably the title winning goal.

The line-out that brought Carlow it's third Leinster football title was: Paddy Lyons (goal); Jackie Geoghegan, Jim Hendrick, Billy Nolan; Rexie McDonnell, Tom Mulhall, James Farrell; Lar Keeffe, Paddy Fennell; Ned Butler, Paddy Barron, Mick Brennan; Tom Walker (captain), Mick Price, Paddy Shine. Sub: Sylvester McGrath.

1933 - Second All Ireland Semi Final

Carlow contested their second All-Ireland Junior Football Championship semi-final in Athlone on September 17, 1933 and it was a case of their chances being "gone with the wind".

Carlow, on winning the toss, decided to play against the strong wind and Mayo took full advantage racing into a 2-5 to 0-2 interval lead.

On the change-over the Connacht champions played eight backs and made Carlow's path to goal a difficult one, the Westerners eventually running out 2-6 to 1-3 winners.

Owing to the similarity of colours - red and green - a change was deemed necessary and Carlow, losing on a toss, which decided the matter, were obliged to don blue jersies. It was because of this that Carlow added yellow to the county's colours.

Paddy Barron gave Carlow the lead with the opening point of the game but Mayo goals from H. O'Brien and J. Carney (a fisted effort) helped the Connacht champions build up their healthy half-time lead.

Tom Walker scored Carlow's second point from a free, going for a goal with his shot. Laffey extended Mayo's lead with an early second-half point before Paddy Barron pointed a Carlow free awarded for a foul on Mick Price.

Paddy Shine, after catching a high ball, shot a dazzling goal for Carlow. Carlow squandered chances going for goals from frees while a hard shot from Mick Price rebounded off the upright and flew across goal with 'Drakes' Walker also in hard luck.

Paddy Fennell and Paddy Shine were Carlow's outstanding players. A big Carlow crowd travelled to the 'centre of Ireland' availing of the Great Southern Railway's Special Excursion train, the 3rd class return fare being 6/-.

Those who remained at home thought the result incredible until Sean O'Ceallachain gave the full particulars at 11 o'clock!

Carlow - Paddy Lyons (goal); Jackie Geoghegan, Billy Nolan, Jim Hendrick; Dinny Nolan, Rexie McDonnell, Tom Mulhall; Lar Keeffe, Paddy Fennell; Ned Butler, Mick Brennan, Paddy Barron, Paddy Shine.

1941 - First Leinster Senior Final

Carlow reached the Leinster Senior Football Championship final for the first time in 1941 but due to the 'foot and mouth' epidemic of that year the Minister for Agriculture declared that Carlow could not travel until the scare had abated.

The Leinster Council nominated Dublin to represent Leinster in the All-Ireland semi-final where the Metropolitans went under to Kerry in a replayed in Tralee.

The Leinster final was finally played on November 9, 1941 and while the original game was due to be played in Athy, Dublin agreed to travel to Dr. Cullen Park for the delayed decider.

Carlow, who back in the Summer had played some powerful football, had been idle for virtually three months, due to the 'foot and mouth', proved no match for Dublin, losing 4-6 to 1-4. Carlow football followers were strongly of the opinion that if the final had gone ahead in August the Barrowsiders would have won their first title as the county had come through a very tough campaign.

Having beaten Laois 3-4 to 3-1 in Dr. Cullen Park, Carlow then faced Wexford in the semi-final and this tie entered GAA folklore for it took the neighbours and unprecedented four games, plus one period of extra-time, to decide the issue.

The first game took place in Dr. Cullen Park on June 8 when after an exciting tussle Carlow scored 3-10 to Wexford's 4-7, the Model County levelling with a point from a J. Murphy free.

A fortnight later the teams renewed rivalry in Wexford Park, both scoring 2-7 in a dour contest, Wexford's J. Murphy again kicking the equaliser from a placed ball. Croke Park housed the second replay on July 20 and not even extra-time could separate the sides. At the end of normal time Carlow had accumulated 1-9, Wexford 2-6, the purple and gold again landing the leveller from a free, W. Howlin the scorer on this occasion.

An Underwood goal for Wexford was the only score in the first period of extra-time.

The second period saw Carlow, through Jimma Rea, kick two points to reduce the arrears to the minimum. Then, in one last glorious attack John Doyle was fouled close-in but managed to pass to Rea, who levelled. Final score: Carlow 1-12, Wexford 3-6.

A week later the teams returned to Croke Park for the fourth meeting and Carlow recorded a convincing 2-8 to 0-3 victory to qualify for their first Leinster final, Jimma Rea and Micky Byrne the Carlow goal scorers while John Doyle was involved in the build up to both as well as kicking half a dozen points.

The men who won Carlow their place in the senior final for the first time by beating Wexford at the fourth attempt were: John Quinlan; Johnny Darcy, Johnny Lawler, Jim Archbold; Peenie Whelan, Tom Donoghue, Lar Moran; Jim Morris, Luke Kelly; John Moore, Micky Byrne, Jimma Rea; Tom Walker, John Doyle, Ned Butler.

Unfortunately, an outbreak of 'foot and mouth' and a farm near Carlow town denied Carlow of playing in a 'real' Leinster final. When the delayed decider took place in Carlow a torrential downpour and high winds proved a major spoilsport!

Dublin's close ground play was better suited to the conditions than Carlow's 'open' game. Carlow mounted numerous early attacks but shot seven wide. Fletcher scored for Dublin before Willie Hosey shot Carlow's first point in a Leinster final, and walker and Doyle (2) also scored in the opening half at the end of which Dublin led 3-3 to 0-4, G. Fitzgerald and O'Connor securing Dublin goals.

McCann added Dublin's fourth goal early in the second-half. Carlow's first goal in a Leinster final came about when Luke Kelly beat his man and sent to mid-field partner, Jim Morris, whose powerful drive was connected to by Rea. Kelly, the Dubs 'keeper, punched out, Tom 'Drakes' Walker snapped it up, rounded his man and slapped the leather into the net!

John Quinlan in goal and Micky Byrne at centre-half-forward were truly brilliant for Carlow while Jim Morris and Luke Kelly fared well at mid-field.

The first Carlow team to play in a Leinster SFC was: John Quinlan; Joe Brennan, Johnny Lawler, Jim Archbold; Peenie Whelan, Tom Donohue, Lar Moran; Jim Morris, Luke Kelly; Ned Butler, Micky Byrne, Willie Hosey; Tom Walker, John Doyle, Jimma Rea. Subs: Lar O'Neill, Charlie Nolan.

1942 - Champions for 24 Hours

In late July 1942 Carlow were Leinster Senior Football champions for 24 hours! Having lost 0-8 to 0-6 to Dublin in the Provincial final in Athy on July 19, Carlow objected.

On Monday, July 27, 1942, the Leinster Council held a meeting to deal with the Carlow objection to Dublin on the grounds that James Joy was a constant rugby player.

Carlow called as a witness, Joseph Fox, a respected member of the Kildare GAA, who stated he saw Joy enter Kilcock Rugby Grounds on April 26th.

Joy admitted being in Kilcock on that date but not playing rugby. He had played rugby but was re-instated in 1941.

On a 6-3 vote, with 4 abstentions, Carlow were awarded the match. An emergency meeting of the Central Council took place the following night, Tuesday, July 28, commencing at 10 p.m. and not finishing until 1 a.m.

The Leinster Council decision was over-ruled as the President of the GAA, Seamus Gardiner (Tipperary), ruled that Mr. Fox's evidence was inadmissible due to the fact that he was not a member of the Vigilance Committee.

Thus, Carlow were Leinster champions for 24 hours!

So to the action on the field of play during 1942. Carlow beat Wexford at the first time of asking in the opening round, winning 0-10 to 0-7 in Kilkenny.

Offaly provided the semi-final opposition in Athy on June 14 and the game ended level, Carlow scoring 0-13 to the Faithful County's 1-10, John Doyle kicking Carlow's last point from a free following a great Jimma Rea run.

In the replay at Portlaoise on June 28 Carlow were leading 1-9 to 0-6 when the game came to a premature finish, the referee blowing the final whistle with minutes remaining.

Confusion ensued as the crowd came on the field. At a Leinster Council meeting in Kilkenny the following Sunday, Carlow were awarded the game as Offaly refused to continue after the referee realised his mistake.

Offaly also received a 6 months suspension. Offaly appealed the result of the game to Central Council but on Friday, July 3, it was ruled out by P. McNamee, though the suspension was lifted.

The Leinster Senior Football Championship final took place in Athy on July 19 and Carlow's gallant effort just failed, going down 0-8 to 0-6. Jim Morris gave a great display at mid-field with Peenie Whelan outstanding in the half back line.

Carlow trailed 0-2 to 0-0 at half-time but points from John Doyle and Jimma Rea had the Barrowsiders level early in the second-half. Quinn and Rea bartered points to leave matters all square after 41 minutes play.

The Metropolitans, through P. O'Connor and T. Banks (2 frees), went 0-6 to 0-3 up by the 47th minute. Carlow rallied strongly and shot three points in a four minute burst from the 50th to the 53rd minutes, Tom 'Drakes' Walker hoisting over two, John Doyle levelling from a free, 0-6 apiece.

Unfortunately, that was to prove Carlow's last score and in the closing seven minutes Banks (his fifth free of the hour) and the one and only Jimmy Joy kicked the title clinching points.

Dublin went on to win the All-Ireland SFC, beating Cavan 1-6 to 1-3 on August 2 in Croke Park in the semi-final before ousting Galway 1-10 to 1-8 in the final.

The Carlow team that came so close to glory was - John Quinlan; Johnny Darcy, Johnny Lawler, Paddy Farrell; Peenie Whelan, Tom Donohue, Lar Moran; Jim Morris, Luke Kelly; John Moore, Tom Walker, Willie Hosey; Micky Byrne, John Doyle, Jimma Rea.

1944 - First Railway Cup Medal

On St. Patrick's Day 1944 Carlow won their first Railway Cup medals when Jim Archbold lined out at right full back and Jimma Rea at left half forward on the Leinster team that beat Ulster 1-10 to 1-3 having earlier beaten Connacht 2-11 to 1-8 in the semi-final.

1944 - Carlow Crowned Leinster Champions

"What a change in the last half did the minutes unroll,
The boys from the Barrow were swarming the goal,
It was blue in and odd spot, but red, gold an green,
Were the colours that rallied the Carlow fifteen".

That verse from the "Carlow Fifteen", the county's victory song, captures the magnificent rally staged by Carlow in the Leinster SFC final of 1944.

Housed in Athy on July 30 in front of an enormous crowd, the final proved a thrill-packed encounter, played at tremendous speed. Carlow trailed 0-5 to 0-1 at half-time, Jimma Rea having scored their lone point in the 8th minute.

However Carlow produced a terrific second-half performance. Early in the period a well flighted Jim Morris '50' was punched out by the Dublin goalman, Fagan, only to be sent crashing to the net by the opportunist Jimma!

Counihan replied with a Dublin goal, John Doyle registered an excellent Carlow point from a placed ball and then, in the 45th minute, Carlow launched an attack, Paddy O'Sullivan and John 'Buller' Moore being prominent, before John Doyle hammered the ball to the net, 2-2 to 1-5. Level!

A minute later Doyle points a free to give Carlow the lead for the first time and in the 50th minute the full-forward converts a free from an extremely difficult angle. Two up, 2-4 to 1-5.

Dublin's McGuire narrowed the gap to the minimum before Jimma Rea, who minutes earlier was denied a goal by the woodwork, restores Carlow's two point lead. In the 55th minute John Doyle, following a foul on Willie Hosey, flights over another free, the closing score of a memorable game, declaring Carlow Leinster champions for the first time ever on a 2-6 to 1-6 scoreline.

'Pim' Quinlan was a most capable goal-man. Johnny Lawler, Jim Archbold, Paddy Farrell constituted a very solid full-back line. Johnny Darcy came on at left full back early in the second half, with Farrell moving to the half back line to allow the injured Ted Joyce go off.

Joyce had done well as had Brian O'Rourke, at centre-back, but the star of the line was the mighty 'Peenie' Whelan, the team captain.

The deciding factors in Carlow's triumph were the high catching and long kicking of mid-fielders, Jim Morris and Luke Kelly.

John Doyle and Jimma Rea were the Carlow scoring heroes. The fast moving right wing of 'Buller' Moore and Paddy O'Sullivan always posed a threat while Micky Byrne and Willie Hosey were also vital to the Carlow cause.

Carlow: John 'Pim' Quinlan; Johnny Lawler, Jim Archbold, Paddy Farrell; Peter 'Peenie' Whelan (captain), Brian O'Rourke, Ted Joyce; Jim Morris, Luke Kelly; John Moore, Micky Byrne, Willie Hosey; Paddy O'Sullivan, John Doyle, Jimma Rea. Sub: Johnny Darcy.

That historic 1944 Carlow championship campaign would never have been but for a late, late reprieve against Kildare in the first round at Athy on May 14. Kildare led by three points nearing the finish, then Carlow, as the Nationalist reported "staged a grand revival. Kelly and Morris led an attack that reached close quarters, and the whistle goes for a close-in free and from the melee the leather is put asleep in the net by Byrne".

Carlow missed late free for victory, the 1-10 (C) to 2-7 scoreline ensuring a replay in Dr. Cullen Park a fortnight later when Carlow, having sprinted into an early 2-4 to 0-0 advantage, emerged convincing 3-11 to 2-5 victors, their fielding an combination being superior to the Lily-whites. Carlow forward, Army man Paddy O'Sullivan had cycled the 37 miles from New Ross to play the game!

On June 18th Carlow wer back in Athy to play neighbours, Laois, in the quarter-final and first half goals from Jimma Rea (penalty) and Willie Hosey helped set up a 2-8 to 2-3 triumph after a game brimful of exciting football. In Kilkenny on July 9 Carlow qualified for their third Leinster SFC final in three years with a convincing 5-7 to 3-6 victory over old adversaries Wexford, right full forward Paddy O'Sullivan scoring a high quality 3-2.

Then came that oft talked about Leinster final victory over Dublin in Athy which capitulated Carlow into National prominence and an All-Ireland semi-final meeting with Kerry.

1944 - First All Ireland SFC Semi Final

Pennie Whelan CaptainA record 40,727, paying gate receipts of 2,515, thronged Croke Park for Carlow's first appearance in an All-Ireland SFC semi-final and after a thrilling performance the Barrowsiders were unlucky 3-3 to 0-10 losers.

Carlow dominated territorially but found persistent Kerry fouling difficult to overcome. Luke Kelly, until forced to retire through injury, Jim Morris, 'Peenie' Whelan and Micky Byrne sparkled but it was a glorious team effort.

Kerry defended Railway goal and Carlow were backed by breeze in first half at the end of which the Munster champions led 2-1 to 0-6, the Kerry goals coming from Dillon and Kelly (24th minute penalty) while Rea, Doyle, Moore and Whelan shared the Carlow points.

A third Kerry goal from Brosnan, deflected in by a Carlow defender, put them 3-2 to 0-7 up but Doyle and Moore pointed for Carlow before, in the 55th minute, the referee, Brendan Nestor of Galway, after consultation, awarded Carlow a free, for a foul on Willie Hosey, although Carlow had strong claims for a penalty. The free yielded a point, just a point in it!

Unfortunately, Carlow were not to score again, Kelly closing the scoring with a Kerry point and the supporters high hopes of their heroes contesting the All-Ireland final were shattered but not without an epic struggle.

Carlow: John 'Pim' Quinlan; Johnny Lawler, Jim Archbold Ted Joyce; Peter 'Peenie' Whelan (captain), Brian O'Rourke, Paddy Farrell; Jim Morris, Luke Kelly; John Moore, Micky Byrne, Willie Hosey; Paddy O'Sullivan, John Doyle, Jimma Rea. Subs: Seamus Corcoran (for Kelly injured). Kelly returned to a big cheer in the second-half, replacing Corcoran injured.

1945 - Carlow Man Captains Leinster to Railway Cup

In 1945, Carlow's status as Leinster champions bestowed on them the honour of the captaincy of the Leinster Railway Cup team.

The 'scallion-eaters' three players - and the jersies! - to the Leinster team that beat Connacht 2-5 to 0-6 in Croke Park on St. Patrick's Day, right half back Peenie Whelan, centre-fielder, Jim Morris and left half forward, Jimma Rea.

To Tinryland's Peenie Whelan went the honour of accepting the Railway Cup on behalf of the province of Leinster, who had beaten Ulster 4-9 to 2-6 in a semi-final replay following a 4-3 to 2-9 draw. Due to a shortage of wool Leinster actually lined out in Carlow's red, yellow and green jersies!

1954 - Carlow in National League Football Final

Carlow qualified for their only NFL final in 1954 and the Billy McGuill skippered team beat the 1953 All-Ireland finalists, Kerry and Armagh, en route.

1953-54 NFL Divisional Section: October 11, Dr. Cullen Park, beat Cork 1-7 to 0-4; November 1, Dr. Cullen Park, drew with Wexford 0-6 to 0-6; November 8, Dr. Cullen Park, beat Tipperary 2-3 to 0-2, November 22, Dr. Cullen Park, beat Kerry 3-4 to 1-8; February 7, Dr. Cullen Park, beat Kildare 1-7 to 1-6; March 28, Lismore, beat Waterford 1-10 to 1-3.

An unusual aspect of Carlow's divisional campaign was the fact that they had only one away game as Kerry agreed to forfeit home venue and travel to Dr. Cullen Park.

SEMI-FINAL: April 11, Croke Park, beat Armagh 1-10 to 1-7.

FINAL: May 9, Croke Park, lost to Mayo 2-10 to 0-3.

Carlow raced into a 1-4 to 0-0 lead against Armagh in the semi-final, Ned Doogue goaling after a good pass from Jim Hayes. In the 27th minute the Northerners were awarded a disputed penalty which Mal McEvoy converted, leaving it 1-5 to 1-1 at half-time. In a tensely fought second-half Carlow held out for a three point victory.

The final was played on May 9th in Croke Park, a date on which Carlow were originally scheduled to play Kildare in the Leinster championship.

Carlow opened well against Mayo, who were something of league specialists, and led 0-2 to 0-1 after 10 minutes. Then the 'flying doctor' Padraig Carney, who came home from America for the game, levelled before Tom Langan punched a goal from a Carney centre in the 26th minute.

Mayo's second goal from M. Flanagan in the 10th minute of the second-half ended Carlow's dreams of National League glory. Ned Doogue scored all Carlow's points from frees.

The men who made history by playing in Carlow's only National Football League final were: Aidan Magee; Liam Murphy, Billy Canavan, Paks Connolly; Martin Molloy, Andy Murphy, Paddy Delaney; Jim Fogarty, Eamon Kehoe; Billy McGuill (captain), Ned Doogue, Micky Whelan; 'Fair' Willie Walsh, Jim Hayes, Liam Quigley. Sub: Paddy Metcalfe (for Delaney).

1994 All Ireland 'B' Football Champions

The All-Ireland 'B' SFC, inaugurated in 1990, had been used by Clare and Leitrim as stepping stones to Provincial success, so when Carlow won the title in 1994 after a high standard final against Westmeath in Tullamore it rejuvenated faith in the red, yellow and green.

Clare (4-6 to 1-9 in Dr. Cullen Park), Waterford (1-14 to 2-10 in Dungarvan) and Tipperary (3-11 to 3-5 in Tullamore) were disposed of by an Eire Og powered team before Westmeath went down 2-10 to 1-11 in the final.

A crowd of 8,000 thronged to O'Connor Park and at the end of a thrill-packed hour it was Carlow captain, Hughie Brennan, who collected the All-Ireland 'B' SFC cup. Most in the huge attendance must have felt that cup was destined for Mullingar when the sides retired level at the break.

0-6 to 1-3 read the scoreboard at that stage, Westmeath having struck for their goal right on the call of half-time, Rory O'Connell netting. Carlow had opened brightly, flashing over three good points, but that late Westmeath goal looked a killer blow, as the Barrowsiders would have to play into the strong wind on the change-over. Carlow's two second-half goals will live long in the memory of the county's GAA faithful present. In a scintillating 120 seconds of all-action football the men in red, yellow and green struck for two cracking goals.

Firstly, Garvan Ware pumped a high ball towards the Westmeath posts and Colm Hayed rose to punch to the net from close range. Shortly afterwards a frenzied Carlow attack ended with Johnny Nevin releasing to a bunch of raiders, one of whom flashed the leather to the roof of the net.

It later transpired that the goal-scoring hero was super-sub Jody Morrissey. Indeed Morrissey's name will be forever linked with this game, as upon his introduction his exceptional mid-field play turned the game in Carlow's favour. Joe Murphy, Willie Quinlan and Johnny Nevin vied for the honour of man of the match.

Carlow: John Kearns; John Wynne, Tom Hanafin, Joe Murphy; Noel Fallon, Sean Kavanagh, Alan Callinan; Garvan Ware, Hughie Brennan (captain); Willie Quinlan, Johnny Nevin, Anthony Keating; Noel Doyle, Colm Hayden, Joe Hayden. Sub: Jody Morrissey.

Source: Carlow GAA Website.

The Carlow 1944 All-Ireland Semi-finalists

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2001 Ireland Genealogy Projects, IGP TM 

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