“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't.” - Mark Twain
In 1651, the inhabitants of the besieged "Lymericke Cittie" went to seek terms with Henry Ireton, son in law of the beloved & much admired Oliver "Sky sports" Cromwell (aka "Gentle Oliver"). Ireton thus decreed that he would only spare the citizens of Lymericke if they would turn their backs on that "ridiculous Gaelic pastime played with stick & ball" & instead take up more gentle English pastimes such as burning Catholicks, soccer, boiling Irish children in malt vinegar and rugbie.
All but a few agreed to these terms. The misfortunate souls who didn't submit were taken away, hung upside down from the crossbar at the Ennis road end of the Gaelic Grounds where Ireton & his captains took penalties (using only soccer,rugbie & other non-Gaelic balls). Hugh Dubh O'Neill was spared this cruel &ironic fate as, luckily enough at the time, he was chairman of the Lymericke county board &, as we all well know, the Lymericke county board is neither answerable to man nor God.
Later on, in 1690 it is reported that when William of Orange camped at Caherconlish he went to see an East Junior hurling final between Fedamore & Kilteely Dromkeen. Such was his alarm at witnessing such atrocities & such a blatant disregard for all things decent (& English - even though he was Dutch) he left the county immediately. It was around this time that Patrick Sarsfield blew up a massive consignment of Canterbury rugby gear near Pallasgreen, which was destined for the planned Anglo-sports shops in the Cittie of Lymericke. It was reported that exploding rugbie balls, shoulder pads & containers of brillcreme (all endorsed) were seen from Twickenham stadium in London (where the by now petrified William of Orange took refuge with his loyal servant Captain M. Johnston, note: legend has it that even the hardened nut Johnston couldn't get his head around the actions of the Fedamore full back described to him in great detail by his extremely disturbed King).
In 1691, Sarsfield & the rest of the GAAcobite army retreated back to Lymericke from yet another All Ireland defeat at Aughrim, in the countye of Galway. It was said that the chasing Williamite cavalry in their bloody & relentless pursuit "didn't spare a single individual holding a hurley, wearing clothes made by O'Neills or Connelly sports. Even those who hummed the Sunday game theme tune were cut down where they stood with cricket bats".
However, the final blow came when the famous treaty of Lymericke was signed by Sarsfield & Orange's right hand man in Ireland - Ginkell. Within the articles of the Treaty it was stipulated that; 1. GAAcobite games would be treated equally in the Cittie with all other sports – getting equal local press & radio coverage &
2. the Lymericke county board would always be maintained as an open, democratic, forward thinking organization, efficiently run & with deep moral values & etiquette.
But alas! as the gallant people of Lymericke waved farewell to the Wild Geese leaving on the French ships bound for the continent, Ginkell was flanked by some local business tycoons determined to have their way, rewrite history & make a packet doing it. And so it came to pass & it seemed the future fate of Lymericke Cittie Gaeldom was sealed forever.
Years later a young Daniel O'Connell, on visiting the City, lamented at the state of the place remarking: "Oh! what a shame to see a once proud, resolute Gaelic people reduced to these multi-screen sports bars & such blatant anglo propaganda & paraphernalia. Even the infamous walls of Limerick are all but gone where manys a young boy once honed his hurling skills". O'Connell was in "Limerick" for a trial, the famous case of a county Limerick camogie player "The Colleen Bawn" who was murdered by a member of the local gentry.
But for all this misfortune, for all the slings, arrows & dry sliothars of outrageous fortune a man came from Dublin in the 1960's & he helped found a club in the north side of the City. He had a dream...... Indeed, sometimes fact is far stranger than fiction!
William of Orange... was not impressed by an East Junior hurling final between Fedamore & Kilteely Dromkeen...