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  • Sport

Kilconly has a long and proud Gaelic Football tradition

Wednesday, 5th October, 2011 10:39am

 

Kilconly went on to beat Menlough in another North final, of the 1948 League, but they lost the North Championship final that year to Athenry. For the League final this was the team: Mattie Igoe; Tom Higgins, Ted Gannon, Mattie Fallon; John Fitzpatrick, Mick Fitzpatrick, John McDonagh; John Connern, Paddy Joyce; Jim Mullahy, Mick Newell (captain), Padraic Higgins; Seán Fallon, Mick Heneghan, John Nolan.

Ten years later came a golden era for the Kilconly Junior football team, winning the North Board League and then, in 1960, the North Board Championship, and it's well known how unlucky they were to lose the County final to Clifden by one point at Pearse Stadium. One of their top players, powerfully built young midfielder George Glynn, captained a star-studded U.C.G. team to win the Sigerson Cup the same year and in 1968 he won an All-Ireland S.F.C. medal with Down, where he was then working and living.

There was huge honour and glory in the winning of the 1960 North Board Championship, which included the elimination of their neighbours Milltown in a replay at Tuam Stadium, before a crowd of more than 4,000. That would be a good attendance at a County Senior final in recent years. That Milltown team had earlier scored four goals in knocking out Caherlistrane and would go on to become North Board and County champions the following year, with the mighty young full-back Noel Tierney going straight from the Galway minors to the county senior team.

Kilconly's heroes were led by captain Joe Kelly; they had young stars of their own that time too, Paddy Tierney and Mickey Mullen; George Glynn was a young powerhouse at midfield alongside Joe Kelly; Vin Connolly, Stephen O'Grady, Eamonn Finnerty, Mattie Fallon, John Glynn, Fr Mick Coen and Mick Kennedy in defence; further out Jack Hogan, a mighty man, and in the forwards Seán and Paddy Fallon, whose sons would play for Tuam Stars and Galway; another Kilconly forward who would have the honour of wearing the Maroon and White, Seán Heffernan (Heverin), scorer of two goals for Galway against Leitrim in a Connacht Junior Championship clash, and other Kilconly forwards such as Mick Keane and Liam Costello, plus several others, all of whom wore the Club jersey with pride: Mick Heneghan, Mick Keane, Joe Connolly, Oliver Curley, P. J. Mannion, Eddie Morris.

That team couldn't stay young forever and there simply wasn't the depth of playing resources in a relatively small rural area to keep the momentum going. Also, some of the most talented young players of the 1950s and ‘60s were clerical students and the Foreign Missions' gain was often Kilconly GAA Club's loss. Emigration hit the club hard too, and Ted Kerrigan is in doubt but it was their biggest obstacle to success even more recently, in the 1980s. From that decade, he can name between 20 and 25 players — in other words, a whole panel — who left home for Britain, the U.S.A., Australia or elswhere in Ireland, never to play football for Kilconly again.

 

WHAT A PITY the club could not build on their County Junior Championship triumph in 1981. That team was captained by Bernard Brady (the current Intermediate team manager) and his team-mates included Denis Ryder, Seán and Michael Martyn, John Flesk, Dermot Moloney, Oliver McDonagh, Tommy Acton, John Newell, Donal and Martin Blake, Alan, Frank, Micheál and Pat Hughes, Michael Sweeney, Mick Browne and Joe Sice.

In the same year Kilconly joined forces with Athenry to play in the Senior Championship; they drew with Killanin first time out and lost the replay. Among the Athenry contingent was hurling legend P. J. Molloy.

Three times between 1954 and 1961, Kilconly and Milltown were united: first to win the 1954 North Board Minor Championship, captained by Sean ("Skan") Concannon of Milltown. The Kilconly players on that team were Kevin Doherty, Mick Coen, Liam Costello, Mattie McGough, Eamon Doherty, Peter Igoe and Tom Flanagan.

In 1960, although fierce rivals in the Junior Championship, a Milltown-Kilconly combination won the Ryan Cup (a North Galway Senior League competition of prestige) and were then entered for the 1961 County SFC, losing first time out to Fr Griffin's.

Bringing the story up to date, Ted Kerrigan is particularly proud of the direction the club took when it embraced the promotion of the game at Juvenile level by Coiste Peil na nÓg, Gaillimh.

Ted is sure of one thing: Kilconly are where they are today, a very good place, because they looked after their young players.

Now the boys are men and next Sunday — win, lose or draw — the Kilconly football team will stand proud and walk tall onto Pearse Stadium to play for what the hero of Charles J. Kickham's classic novel of country life, Knocknagow, called "the honour of the little village." [/private]

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