content zone archives
"speak out!" archives
vote on it
Tue 02-Oct-2001 16:11
More from this writer..
Ar ‘Cuala’ Tú an Scéal Faoi?…
The month of September, just passed, is justifiably the high point of the GAA calendar, reflects An Fear Rua …
That, of course, is because it’s the month that showcases the ultimate tests of GAA ambition and achievement – the senior All Ireland finals in hurling and Gaelic football. But there are other events that give the month a distinctive rhythm and flavour – RTÉ’s pre-match TV ‘specials’, the post-All Ireland banquets, the homecomings of victors and vanquished, the minor finals, the camogie final, the womens’ football final, the famous Kilmacud Crokes’ All Ireland ‘Sevens’ - and a relative newcomer to the September calendar - the annual Cuala GFC pre-All Ireland lunch.
Cuala are a club based in the unlikely GAA stronghold of the suburb of Dalkey, in county Dublin. Indeed, that celebrated former denizen of Dalkey, the late writer Flann O’Brien,
Myles na gCopaleen, would be highly amused at the thought of Dis Great Assosssheeayshun Of Ours flourishing in the unlikely soil of the ancient borough –
‘What are they, only a bunch of crawthumpin’ civil servants, ‘polismen’ and jailers … hop-off-me-thumbs and go-be-the-walls from the likes of godforsaken places like Tipperary and Leitrim … some of them so large in build that you could play handball off the gable end of their arses?…’
Each year, for the past five years, the Cuala club organises a fundraising lunch, with interesting speakers, on the Friday before the football final, in a large Dublin hotel. The idea is, forty tables at IR£1,000 a ‘go’, with members of the club using every effort to persuade corporate contacts to take a table and entertain their employees or clients. Having RTÉ’s own Sports Caller in Chief, Des Cahill, as a leader in this fundraising effort is obviously a big advantage to the club, and the attendance at the most recent Cuala lunch was impressive: leading executives from the financial sector mixed familiarly with stars of the past like Paddy Cullen, Mick Spillane, Brian Mullins and Dermot O’Brien. But, as Des himself pointed out, the club badly needs every penny it raises. After all, keeping the Dalkey stalwarts well supplied with prawn sandwiches, vol-au-vents and Perrier water after training is a costly exercise.
The guest speakers this year were the redoubtable Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh and his fellow-county man, former rugby international Moss Keane. Moss enjoyed a short-lived inter-county football career when he played on a Kerry Junior side that had the unique distinction of reaching an All Ireland final … only to be beaten by Wickla’!
Given the pairing in this year’s All Ireland final, Ó Muircheartaigh had some interesting comments on previous involvements by Galway and Kerry in what might be termed the ‘acquisition’ of All Ireland football titles:
Meath had the distinction of playing in the first All Ireland football final ever played in Croke Park, in 1895. Navan O’Mahony’s took on Arravale Rovers from Tipperary, under a Dublin referee, JJ Kenny. The game went to Tipp by a margin of a single point. A short time afterwards, a flustered Mr Kenny looked at his notebook and spotted a mistake in his ‘tot’ of the scores. In fact, the result was a draw! But, by then, everyone was well on their way home or adjourned to the nearest hostelries. The conscience-stricken referee immediately wrote to the Central Council and to the national newspapers pointing out his error. However, when the matter came up for discussion at the Council, the Meath delegate gallantly announced they were not interested in a replay and were happy to leave the result stand.
Thus, JJ Kenny began a long tradition of curious refereeing decisions in All Ireland finals!
In 1925, Kerry won the Munster provincial championship and went on to meet the Ulster champions, Cavan, in the All Ireland semi-final. Kerry won the game, but both counties later exchanged objections against allegedly ‘illegal’ players on their respective teams. (This was in the good old days of De Assooosheeeayshun when the filing and counter-filing of objections on Gaelic-watermarked notepaper, written in Irish, at every level was almost a way of life). In a decision worthy of King Solomon himself, the powers-that-be decided to disqualify
teams! By this time, the Connacht championship hadn’t ended, so Mayo were nominated to contest the other final against the Leinster champions, Wexford, whom they duly beat. After that, the Connacht final was actually played and Galway beat Mayo. After that, what else could the authorities do than award Galway the 1925 All Ireland championship!
Hello! Hello! … Are you still following all this? …
So, while the record books now show Galway on nine titles and Meath on eight, a change of heart in the committee rooms all those years ago, might have reversed those numbers – Galway on eight and Meath on nine! In fact, these years are but two examples of the many dubious paths to All Ireland ‘titles’ in the early years after the foundation of the GAA and – to an extent – they make a nonsense of the various lists of All Ireland ‘records’. In AFR’s view, a consistent basis for deciding All Ireland championship
on their merits on the field of play
only came into being around 1932 and many ‘titles’ before that time must be considered to be of dubious validity in modern times. Counties that haven’t yet seen their names inscribed on the Sam Maguire or the Liam McCarthy in ancient times shouldn’t feel so bad after all.
In any event, the
attaching to All Ireland titles and medals varies from county to county, depending on their degree of familiarity with them. Ó Muircheartaigh told a good story about the entertainer, Dermot O’Brien, who captained his native Louth to victory over Cork in the football final of ’57. Dermot was extremely proud of his achievement – and rightly so! – and, of course, travelled the country widely with his band. Some time in the month of October of ’57, he arrived in Kerry to do a ‘gig’ and dropped into a local pub for a few pints before hand. Inside at the counter were a couple of old timers and they all got into talking. Eventually, one of them enquired: ‘Are you the lad captained Louth in the All Ireland a few weeks ago?.’ ‘I am’, says the bould Dermot, as proud as punch. ‘I have the medal out in the van. Would you like to see it?’. ‘Ah no’, says the oul lad, ‘Sure, I have three or four of those at home meself …’
Wan ‘Hoor’ iv’ a Final!
Tuam Stars Make it a ‘Double’ for Galway!
Beamish ag Imirt Peile!
‘No Incineration’ – But Galway Ignore The Message!
‘We talk just like lions, but we sacrifice like lambs…’.
Whatever Happened to….
Anyone you know in your club?
Bin Tags Don't Make a County
‘Some a’ Dem’ Lads are only Dow-en for the Showers….’
Heavenly Hurling: How the Gods pass their time...
GAA Time and Real Time
Saint Patrick and the camogie princesses
Keats and Chapman at the Munster Final
Mass, the Mater, ‘The Dergvale’ and Mullingar…
More "Content Zone" Topics >>
More "Speak Out!" Topics >>
There are 10,277 members signed up to anfearrua.com
All times are Dublin, Ireland.
Always here... with the best in GAA discussion and comment!
© An Fear Rua, 2000 - 2018
Make AFR your home page
[ Top of Page ]