Click here to download “In the shadow of Sliabh Mish”, a history of GAA in the area.
In the Beginning …
The earliest record of a G.A.A. club in the area on a formal basis was in the year 1929. It appears that the club i.e. Blennerville F.C. took part in the West Kerry League in this year. For a few years prior to that a team from the area played a number of challenge matches against neighbouring clubs. At that time the West Kerry League covered the entire peninsula both North and South. Teams from the Southern side included Keel, Annascaul, Lispole and Dingle.
In the Club’s second year in existence i.e. 1930, it qualified for the West Kerry League Final, which was a significant achievement. As was common-place at the time, competitions for one year often over- ran into the next and the 1930 League Final was no different. A record of the West Kerry Convention held on Sunday the 8th of February 1931 shows that the 1930 final was fixed for Sunday July 5th 1931, the venue to be agreed by the two clubs involved i.e. Blennerville and Annascaul. Records show that this team comprised of players from Derrymore to Clahane including Blennerville. Blennerville defeated Annascaul in the final, played in Castlegregory. A special train left Blennerville carrying supporters to the game.
Prominent players of this era were Dan Moriarty (Dan Din), John Greaney, Bill Sayers, Ned O’Donnell, John “Farmer” Sullivan, Dan “Sergeant” Murphy and Maurice McKenna from Curraheen / Derryquay / Derrymore; Charlie Kerins, Jimmy O’Shea and Danny Hanafin from Tonevane; Pa O’Donnell, Tommy “Tiger” Tangney, John Cournane and John “Buster” Brosnan from the Clahane area; Fr. Jimmy Duffy, Johnny Foley, Con Moriarty, “Jopsey” Lehane, Jack Mc Carthy, Henry Curtin and John Sayers from Blennerville.
For the record the Chairman and Secretary of the Club, Jimmy O’Shea and Stephen Falvey respectively, elected at the Club Convention on the 9/1/1931, were also the delegates to the West Kerry Convention held on the 8/2/1931.
Over the next number of years emigration took its toll as well as retirement of some of the aforementioned players and the Club ceased to operate on a competitive basis, although a number of challenge games continued to be played. A team of young players came together in 1939 and Johnny Foley from the earlier team came out of retirement to lead them. Jimmy O’ Shea let his village field to them and in that year they played a number of friendlies against teams from Castlegregory and Tralee. They entered the West Kerry League in 1940, which comprised of teams from Camp, Castlegregory, Stradbally, Maharees, Ballyduff and Blennerville.
At this time there were two teams from the peninsula competing in the County Championship. Dingle entered on its own, drawing players from Annascaul and Lispole. The second, titled West Kerry, came from the northern area of the peninsula i.e. Castlegregory area.
Unfortunately emigration again took its toll on the Club and in about a year ten of them had left Kerry, the majority to work in England. The panel in 1940 comprised of Michael Riordan and Paddy Riordan from Annagh; Pat,Mick and Jim Savage, Paddy Galvin and John Daly from Tonevane; Johnny Foley, Mikey O’ Sullivan, Jack Falvey, Charlie O’ Connor, Berty O’ Sullivan, Dinny Reilly, Bernard King, Tommy and Noel Cooper, Mickey Deady, Paddy Moriarty, Johnny Daly and Patsy Duffy from Blennerville; Jerry Reidy from Farmers Bridge; and Jimmy Baily originally from Derrymore. Mickey O’ Sullivan and Noel Cooper were on the (CBS) âThe Green’ team that won the Munster Colleges Championship in 1939 and 1940. Mickey O’ Sullivan captained the Kerry minors to victory in the Munster Championship in 1940. Jack Falvey later played with O’ Rahillys and won two Senior All- Irelands with Kerry. During the War Years the club again went into decline, although some challenge games continued to be played.
Records of the late forties are sparse but in the early and mid-fifties the club was again thriving. The club was officially registered as St. Patrick’s G.A.A. Club in 1953. In this year the club was again victorious in the Castlegregory District League. The 1953 panel comprised of the following Muiris Moriarty, Michael Keane, John Joe Riordan, Moss O’ Riordan, Paddy “Bawn” Moriarty, Pat “Fox” Foley, John Foley, Dan O’ Connor, Eddie Hanlon, Michael Dillane, Paddy O’ Connor, Michael Horan, David Fitzgerald, Michael Knightly, Paudie Murphy, Michael Horan and Tom Foley. Around this time the players from Derrymore and Curraheen learned their football skills at Clasheen in a pitch affectionately known as the “Polo Grounds”, called no doubt after its namesake in New York, where the 1947 All Ireland Final between Kerry and Cavan was played. Success
in the Club continued and in 1955 a milestone was reached when the Club won both minor and senior championships of the Castlegregory District Board on the 5th September 1955.
The Minor Panel comprised of the following Michael Murphy, Jackie Baily, Patrick Williams, Billy Kelly, Charlie Foley, Don O’ Mahony, John Joe Sheehan, Donal O’ Connor, Connie Kelly, Denis Enright, Con Breen, Donal Shannon, M.J. O’ Connell, Christy Murphy, Teddy Kerins and Jimmy O’Shea.
For the record the 1955 senior panel was Jim Foley, Tom O’ Connor, Denis Foley, Michael Moynihan, Donal O’ Donoghue, Muiris Moriarty, Tom Ahern, Patrick Hayes, Billy O’ Donoghue, Michael Fitzgerald, Pa Williams, Con Kelly, David Fitzgerald, Jimmy O’ Riordan, Paddy “Bawn” Moriarty, Eddie Hanlon, Jerry Dillane, Donal King, Johnny O’ Connor,Muiris O’ Donnell, Michael Dillane, Denis Moriarty, Stephen Finn and Donal O’ Connor.
The Club ceased to exist in 1957 but was reformed again in October 1963 at a meeting held in Stephen Shannon’s house. The A.G.M. was held in February 1964 and Johnny O’ Connor was elected Chairman with Paddy Joe O’ Shea as Secretary and Jimmy O’ Shea Treasurer. The Club affiliated to the Tralee District Board and played in the Tralee District Junior League for a number of years.
The Club reached the final in 1964 and were narrowly defeated by John Mitchels. The Club did not reach the final again until 1968 when Kerins O’ Rahillys defeated it. Players of this era included John Crean (Ballyseedy), Michael Moynihan, Moss Williams, Eddie Scanlon, Pat McKenna, Jimmy O’Shea, Con Breen, Donal O’Connor, Muiris Moriarty, Johnny O’Connor, Michael Hurley, Tommy O’Connor, Billy Galvin, Johnny Quane, Patrick Corkery, Michael Horgan, Noel O’Leary, Tom Kelliher, Christy Hallinan and John Moynihan.
St. Kevin’s G.A.A. Club
In early 1967 a number of people in the Curraheen / Derryquay / Derrymore area felt that with a young population in the area there was need for the formation of a club. This came to pass on 8th March 1967 when the first meeting of St. Brendan’s G.A.A. Club, as it was then called, was held in Flaherty’s house in Derrymore East. The following Officers were elected at a meeting on the 18th March 1967; Chairman: Con O’Shea, Secretary: Martin Sayers, Vice Chairman: Jackie O’Sullivan, Joint Treasurers: John O’Sullivan and John P. Flaherty. A field was rented from Danny O’Sullivan, Curraheen at a rent of Â£15 for 11 months.
The name of the Club was changed to St. Kevin’s G.A.A. Club, on the 8th February 1968, as there was a St. Brendan’s Club already in existence in the county. A set of 18 maroon jerseys was purchased for thirty one pounds ten shillings. The senior team did not take part in competition but many challenges were played.
The Senior panel comprised of the following players Paddy Joe O’Shea, Teddy Counihan, Johnny McElligott, Tommy, Paddy and Mickey O’Sullivan, Jimmy Savage, Pat Joe Browne, Con O’Shea, John Moriarty, Francis and Paddy Sayers, Tom Ashe, John and Michael Enright, John P. and Sonny Flaherty, Pat McKenna, Bernie O’Donnell and Padraig O’Sullivan. The Club had an active Juvenile set up and fielded teams at under 14 and under 16 level in West Kerry. Michael O’Regan and Jim Moriarty won under 16 County Championship medals with West Kerry in 1969.
The Club rented a field from Michael O’Sullivan, Derrymore West for a couple of years and in later years Con O’Shea’s field in Curraheen, next to Keanes, was the Club base. Con O’Shea was the Club Chairman for the period of its existence.
The Club was well served by excellent secretaries namely, Martin Sayers in 1967, Tommy O’Sullivan in 1968, 1969 and 1973, Michael O’Regan in 1970 and 1971 and Denis Healy in 1972. Jim Savage was Vice-Chairman of the Club from 1968 to 1973.
An annual match between the veterans and younger players was played for the Silver Swan Cup kindly donated by John Keane. In 1970 the veterans comprised of Mick Heffernan, Bernie O’Donnell, Denis Moriarty, Eddie Scanlon, Paddy O’Sullivan, Con O’Shea, Michael Enright, Jimmy Murphy, Timmy Kerins, Jackie O’Sullivan, John O’Sullivan and Christy Browne. The younger players were Pat Joe Browne, Joseph Enright, Jimmy and Garrett Savage, Denis Enright, Jim Moriarty, John Hilliard, Sonny Flaherty, Tommy O’Sullivan, Martin Sayers, John McElligott, Michael O’Regan, Padraig O’Sullivan and Denis Healy.
Members of the St Kevins Committee
Club funds were raised originally by house to house collection and writing to people from the are
a who had emigrated and who were very supportive. On St. Patrick’s Day 1968 a greyhound pup donated by Con O’Shea was raffled. Over the following years numerous dances were run to raise funds. The first Social was held in the Grand Hotel on the 11th of January 1969 with tickets costing Â£1. It was a great success and went on to be held annually thereafter.
Former Chairman, Con O’Shea
St. Kevins amalgamated with St. Pats in 1973 under the Chairmanship of Con O’Shea. Prominent players at this time were Dan Healy who played with the Kerry minors in 1970, Donal Connor, Noel O’Leary, Tony O’Donoghue, Denis Healy, Sonny Flaherty, P.J. Higgins, Paddy Joe O’Shea, Danny Walsh, Mossy Brosnan, Christy Hallinan, Teddy Counihan, Bertie Moriarty and William Counihan to mention but a few.
The Club went on tour for the first time in 1974 when it visited London. This was a very successful venture, stories of which are still being told to this time.
During the seventies St. Pats played in the Tralee District Board Junior League. The amalgamated Club received great support and numerous inter club leagues and seven a sides were played during these years. Con O’Shea was a vibrant Chairman and was a major loss to the Club and his family on his untimely death in 1978. He left a legacy of a well organised club, united from Derrymore to Lohercannon with one aim, the success of football in the area.
On Con’s death, Mossie Brosnan took over as Chairman with Noel O’Leary as secretary in 1978 and Stephen Healy in 1979. Jimmy Savage was Club Treasurer during these years, a position he continues to hold to the present day. The club was on a sound footing as it faced the new decade of the eighties. The Club fostered a community spirit in the locality, which was to prove invaluable when financial support was needed in the eighties to purchase and develop facilities.
New Pitch 1982
In 1980 St. Pats purchased land at Tonevane from Mr. Jim Savage with a view to developing its own pitch. This was the first time ever that the G.A.A. owned property in the locality. The practice had always been to rent a field. In this context the Club must thank Mr. Paddy Hurley of Tonevane who facilitated St. Patrick’s with a pitch for many years in the seventies and early eighties. In 1982 Mr. Jimmy Duffy very kindly agreed to sell approximately 4 acres in the village of Blennerville for development as a playing pitch. This was deemed to be an ideal location and the sale was agreed at Â£34,000. The initiative taken by the Secretary/P.R.O. of the time, Peter Breen, in negotiating the purchase is worthy of note. The Chairman of a hard working group of Club Officers and Committee was Mossie Brosnan.
The Club would like to place on record its thanks to Mr. Duffy and indeed to his late father Mr. Charlie Duffy who had for many years made the same pitch available to the G.A.A. in the locality. The property at Tonevane was then placed on the market and serious fund-raising commenced.
The Club published the first of a yearly series of Newsletters to inform the community of the developments and to help promote 6 monthly fund-raising draws at Â£5.00 per month. The prizes for the 1983 draws were attractive holidays abroad or Â£400 in cash. The 1984 draws included a special prize of a new Fiat Panda car. The Club debt now stood at over Â£30,000.
In 1983 Mr. Thomas Williams very kindly made the cottage across the road from the new field available for the Club to purchase. This was converted into a clubhouse for St. Patrick’s. The Club would like to place on record its thanks to Mr. Williams. The Club also record here the generosity of Jeremiah and Sheila Griffin who donated the extra land needed to extend the cottage.
By the G.A.A. Centenary Year of 1984, St. Pats were therefore proud owners of its own pitch and clubhouse. Mr. George Hayes of Derrymore designed a new Club Crest in 1984.
Clubhouse Project 1985
Work on converting the old cottage, purchased from Thomas Williams, into a clubhouse began on 24th June 1985. An Comhairle OiliÃºna adopted the work as a community project. The foreman was Mr. Tom O’Riordan from Annagh. Six young people were employed. In the spring of 1986 sandstones were gathered from the frozen mountain top for the front wall of the pitch. St. Pat’s Treasurer, Christy Murphy, administered the project. The official opening of the new St. Pat’s Clubhouse was performed by Pronnsias Mac an Riogh (Frank King), Cathaoirleach Choiste Chontae ChiarraÃ on Sunday, 3rd August 1986. This was preceded by the celebration of Mass and blessing by an tAthair PÃ¡draig Ã SiochrÃº. A reception followed, hosted by the ladies of the Derryquay I.C.A., which was typical of the co-operation that existed within the community.
Club of The Year Award 1986
The work of the Club and its community focus were recognised later on in 1986, when the Club won the prestigious Club Of The Year Award. The award was presented to Club Chairman, Joe Foley by Mr. Ronnie Delaney, Chairman of CospÃ³ir and Mr. Maurice Dorney, Southern Area Manager, Cantrell and Cochrane (Sponsors). Mr Delaney was of course the Olympic Gold Medallist at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956 for the 1,500 metres.
Speaking at the presentation, Mr. Delaney said that voluntary effort is the backbone of sport.
Tommy Doyle and Charlie Nelligan brought the Sam Maguire to the clubhouse and received an ecstatic welcome. This was of course the last All-Ireland to be won by the great Golden Years Kerry Team. The first Community Playgroup in St Pat’s Clubhouse opened on Monday, 1st September 1986. Joe Foley and Gerard Savage were Chairman and Secretary respectively in the years 1985 and 1986. The development of the Club continued under Chairman John McElligott in 1987 and 1988. Mossie Brosnan and Joe Foley were the Club Secretaries in 1987 and 1988 respectively. Both Mossie and Joe were of course former Chairmen.
Our Club Newsletter won the first Communications Award sponsored by Kerry County Board in 1989. The Newsletter, which was the work of John McElligott and Peter Breen, was highly praised by Eamon O’SÃºilleabhÃ¡in, P.R.O., Coiste Chontae ChiarraÃ. John McElligott, former Club Chairman accepted the award on behalf of St. Pats.