Fostering Gaelic Games (Part 111) 1928-1936


Paddy O'Reilly

The first article, dealing with this topic, appeared in Volume 2 of the Historical Society's Journal and attempted to shed light upon the men who helped revive Gaelic games in Taghmon parish. It highlighted those who fostered and developed these games during the last decades of the 19th century and into the early years of the 20th century.

The second article in Volume 3 looked at the men who nursed and fostered these games through the troubled and turbulent years 1916 – 1922 and its aftermath.

Through the efforts of these men, Gaelic games, especially football, claimed the hearts of the parish and had become, by the late 1920s, a vital part of its culture and social infrastructure. This third article continues in the same vein and deals with the years 1928 – 1936.

1928 Annual General Meeting

In accordance with the practice of the time, medals for winning the 1927 Junior Football Championship were presented to the players at the club's A.G.M. in January. The Chairman, in making the presentation, congratulated the team on their success and expressed the hope that they would be equally as successful in the upcoming championships. Obviously buoyed up by their success at junior level, the meeting decided to join the senior ranks with James Codd as captain and Phil Parle as vice captain. Several members expressed reservation about this move, indicating that a number of the current team were about to retire. Wat Murphy was elected captain of the junior footballers and Charley Fitzhenry was elected to lead the junior hurlers.

Mr. E. Rochford was elected President, Charley Fitzhenry Secretary and Paddy Quigley Treasurer. Messrs. James Codd, Phil Parle, Richard Cleary, James Bogan and Wat Murphy were elected onto the club committee.

Reunion

In late February, the club held a reunion in St. Fintan's Hall and patrons of modern G.A.A. reunions might find the proceedings rather quaint. The night's entertainment began with a three-hand reel, followed by vocal items that included a selection of comic songs. Another exhibition of dancing was followed by a production of 'Dr. Diqculum' by the Taghmon Dramatic Society. More vocals were followed by a farce entitled 'The Mad Actor' given by the Dirr dramatic class. The decks were then cleared to make way for a ceilidh.

Senior Football

The Senior Championship of 1928 was run on a league basis and the club's senior footballers began their campaign in Adamstown in May where they slumped to a heavy defeat at the hands of Ballyhogue. A couple of weeks later they beat Gusserane at Clongeen only to go under again to the Geraldine O'Hanrahans in a heated contest in which some prominent players indulged in a fistic encounter near the end. In August, they took on the previous year's senior champions, the Starlights, at the Leap, Davidstown, and succumbed to an anticipated defeat. As a consequence of these defeats, they failed to qualify for the knock out stages of the championship.

Junior Football

Meanwhile at junior level, the footballers scored a narrow 1-1 to 0-1 victory over Ballymitty in June only to make their exit a few weeks later at Bighorn, Mayglass, when the Harriers from Wexford town beat them on the score of 1-7 to 2-0.

The hurlers fared considerably better. In May, they had a facile 7-5 to 2-1 victory over Ballymitty and in August, they travelled to Lambstown to play in the district semi-final against Screen. While this game was described as a tame affair overall, it took a lively turn near the end when William Parle was sent off for striking. Taghmon got through to the district final on the score of 4-2 to 1-3.

The final, played at the end of October, turned out to be very disappointing. Played before a very small crowd, it was tame and fell far below the standard. Rosslare proved the superior side and ended good winners on the score of 6-1 to 1-1.

Senior Footballers: James Codd (Captain), Patrick Crowley, Patrick Codd, William Parle, Philip Parle, James Bogan, Patrick Culleton, James Boggan, James Kelly, Martin Cooper, James Pender, Charles Fitzhenry, Peter O'Brien, Peter Deegan, Richard Cleary, Patrick Redmond, Nicholas Cleary, Micheal Lynham, J. Colfer, James Breen, Thomas Reilly, Patrick Reilly, John O'Brien, John Donovan, William Cosgrave, Philip Doyle, James Kelly.
Junior Footballers: J. Doyle (Captain), J. Pender (Goal), J. Walsh, P. Redmond, P. Donovan, R. Brereton, J. Doyle, P. Hogan, J. Donovan, M. O'Leary, M. Crowley, J. Condon, P. Furlong, N. Brady, M. Crowley.
Taghmon: C. Fitzhenry (Captain), W. Cosgrave (Goal), W. Parle, P. Parle, J. Doyle, J. O'Brien, D. O'Brien, P. Redmond, P. O'Connor, P. Codd, J. Codd, T. Donovan, M. Cooper, J. Boggan, A. Murphy.

1929 Senior Football

The Senior Football Championship was again played on a league system. The club's senior footballers, determined to improve upon the previous year's performance, played several practice matches and did well in them. They looked forward to their opening game against Gorey with confidence as Gorey were considered to be the weakest team in the league. When they met in May, Taghmon went into an early lead and looked good. Close tackling and vigorous play from the town side, however, changed the play and gradually Gorey wore down the Taghmon boys and emerged as the narrowest of winners. In June, the team strengthened by the inclusion of Willie (Dentist) Doyle from Wexford United and Jack Fane took on Gusserane at Carrigbyrne. After what was described as a hard fought game, Gusserane took the honours by 3-3 to 1-4. Defeat was again their lot the following month when Ballyhogue easily disposed of their challenge, scoring 3-6 to Taghmon's 0-2.

The successive run of defeats must have disheartened the players because they failed to field for their next engagement against the Starlights at Barrett's Park, New Ross, thus failing to qualify for the knock out stages for the second successive year.

Junior

The junior footballers fared no better, losing their first round tie to Rosslare in March. In the last moment of this game, just as the final whistle sounded, Taghmon scored a goal. To their consternation, it was not allowed and they went down 1-1 to 0-1. The match reporter observed that if it were not for Guard Coughlan's efforts, Taghmon would have been beaten half way home.

The hurlers were fixed to play Na Fianna at Murrintown in March. Bad weather, however, caused its abandonment and when they met again they drew 4-1. This was a surprise as it was expected that Taghmon would have an easy victory. Taghmon were short some of their best players when they clashed for the third time in August and the town team scraped through on the score of 1-4 to 1-2.

Tomcoole, meanwhile, fielded teams in 2nd junior football and hurling. It was reported that the footballers provided 'tame enough' opposition to the Volunteers at Ballyregan, Castlebridge in March, losing 3-3 to nil. The hurlers proved to be even tamer, losing to the same opposition on the score of 9-3 to 3-1.

Senior Football v. Gorey: James Codd (Captain), Patrick Codd (Goal), John Fane, William Whelan, James Bogan, Martin Cooper, Fergus Coughlan, Philip Parle, Willie Parle, Richard Cleary, Patrick Redmond, Thomas Reel, Micheal Lynham, Charles Fitzhenry, James Murphy.
Senior Football v. Gusserane: James Codd (Captain), Patrick Codd (Goal), James Bogan, Martin Cooper, Fergus Coughlan, John Fare, William Doyle, Philip Parle, Willie Parle, Richard Cleary, Patrick Redmond, Thomas Reel, T. Reid, Charles Fitzhenry, James Murphy.
Junior Hurling v Na Fianna: C. Fitzhenry (Captain), R. Cleary (Goal), P. Sheehan, J. Boggan, M. Cooper, P. Codd, L. Butler, J. Kelly, P. Redmond, T. Codd, J. Doyle, P. Reilly, R. O'Connor, J. Donovan.
Junior Hurling v Na Fianna Replay: J.Codd, N. Cleary, R. Cleary, M. Doyle, N. Furlong, P. Redmond, J. Byrne, W. Parle, P. Parle, R. O'Connor, P. Reilly, M. Cooper, L. Butler, P. Sheehan, J. Boggan.
Junior Football v Rosslare: J. Doyle (Captain), H. Seery, J. Donovan, P. O'Brien, A. Murphy, T. Codd, F. Coughlan, W. Waters, J. Walsh, M. Brady, P. Furlong, M. O'Leary, L. Doyle, W. Fitzpatrick, R. Brereton (Goal).
Tomcoole hurling v Volunteers: J. Codd, T. Doyle, J. Doyle, W. O' Brien, J. O'Brien, D. O'Brien, M. Glynn, A. Cullen, D. O'Leary, W. Hornick, P. Hornick, L. Walsh, E. Power, N. Clancy, M. Donovan.

Disenchantment

In the fall of the year and into the winter, newspaper reports indicated widespread disillusion with Gaelic games in the parish. One scribe maintained that Gaelic was 'taboo' there and that many of the senior footballers had gone over to the 'scrum' game. Rumours about the formation of a soccer club in the locality were also reported. A disgruntled player was reported to have maintained that 'you would want a boxing club in the parish the way Gaelic football matches had gone'. Indeed it was reported that 'Sandy Cullen was already showing the boys how to use the "mitts"'. People complained that the Co. Board had made rules for one club and changed them for another. It was reported that the Gaels of the parish were left shaking their heads at the turn of events.

These concerns and other matters were ventilated at a special meeting of the club in January. Mr. Phil Parle, chairman, in explaining the purpose of the meeting, pointed out that their teams had not met with the anticipated success in 1929. Through unavoidable failure to fulfil one fixture in senior football, they had been deprived of the bonus due to senior clubs and the fact that they had no worthwhile fixtures at home left them in a very critical financial position. He then drew the meeting's attention to certain statements in the press that had claimed that the Gaels of Taghmon were occupying their minds with soccer and boxing. He went on to explain that the boxing was organised to pass away the winter evenings and was above criticism. With regard to soccer, he said that he would like to state definitely that the Gaels of Taghmon had no tendency in that direction, and if they failed in their endeavours to play Gaelic football they would not resort to soccer as a pick-me-up. Mr. E. Rochford was in agreement with the Chairman's sentiments and added that if they decided to play soccer in Taghmon, it would not be to ventilate a grievance that they might have against the G.A.A.

1930 Junior

The clubs inability to produce a football team capable of mixing it with the 'big boys' at senior level motivated a return to the junior ranks in 1930. They were destined to slide further down the pecking order, however, because having beaten Screen in the first round of the district championship, they lost out to Rosslare in the semi-final in September on the score of 3-3 to 3-1.

The hurlers, meanwhile, had a very good 5-4 to 1-0 win over Cathal Brughas at Murrintown in late February. They were fixed to play Glynn at Lambstown in the district semi-final in May. Taghmon objected to this venue and the issue remained with the district committee for several weeks until it emerged that the other side of the draw had failed to produce a semi-finalist. The match against Glynn, now designated the district final, was eventually played at Wexford Park in mid October. The Taghmon boys were no match for Glynn who ran out comfortable winners on the score of 6-1 to 1-3.

Taghmon v Cathal Brughas: Charles Fitzhenry (Captain), William Parle (Goal), Nicholas Cleary, Richard Cleary, John Byrne, Richard O'Connor, Thomas Reel, Patrick Redmond, Patrick O'Reilly, Laurence Butler, Philip Parle, James Codd, Martin Cooper, Patrick Codd, James Boggan.
Taghmon v Rosslare: P. Crowley, H. Leary, L. Ennis, J. O'Connor, T. Doyle, P. Donovan, J. Roche, J. Kelly, W. Martin, E. Kendrick, J. Donovan, E. Murphy, A. Murphy, P. Furlong, J. Condon.

Gold Medal Tournament

Dismayed by the alarming drop in the standard of football in the parish, a committee under the chairmanship of Matty Ryan, described in the paper as 'one of the sterling old Gaels' set about organising a football tournament for a set of medals. It was claimed in late October that Gusserane, Bryanstown, Ballyhogue, Starlights, Harriers, Sarsfield, Gorey, Bannow, St. Fintans, Taghmon, Rosslare and some Waterford clubs had entered. In early February, when the committee met to make the draw, Mr. Stephen Hayes, Co. Secretary who was in attendance, suggested that some of the games could be played in Wexford Park. The meeting fixed all first round matches for Sunday, 11th February. Attracting teams and making fixtures was the easy part of the project. The nitty gritty of getting matches played, however, proved to be a major headache. The 11th February came and went, as did several other designated Sundays without a football being kicked. Matty Ryan was pressed to declare in March that the tournament would definitely start in April. In April and into May, fixture lists were published practically every week in the local newspaper, but still no match was played.

In June, at a meeting, the chairman put the blame for the delay in playing the games with the clubs, who couldn't agree on suitable dates, and upon the Co. Board who hadn't yet issued the necessary permit. In November, it was reported that still no game had been played. In March, 1932, 18 months after the idea was first mooted, the gold medals for the tournament were presented to the committee by representatives of the late Edward Brennan. When no game was played by the following June, a member of the committee suggested that they abandon the project altogether. Another member suggested that the medals be put forward for the upcoming Wexford v Kildare challenge. Some games were played in the tournament later on in the year and finally in April 1933, Mr. E. Rochford presided over the presentation of the medals to unknown winners.

1931 Tomcoole

The downward trend that characterised Gaelic games in the village and surrounding areas over the past few years was reflected in the club failing to reorganise in 1931 and as a consequence failed to enter teams for the championship. Wat Murphy, however, entered hurling and football teams from the Tomcoole area and several of the Taghmon men joined their ranks. In April they drew with Mayglass in the first round of the Junior Football Championship. Wat Murphy showed great form in this match and Tom Doyle, Tom Cogley, Jim Kelly and Mick Donovan tried their best to swing the game for Tomcoole. They met again in May and goals by Martin and Kendrick as well as a point from Kelly gave them a four point lead at the interval. In the second half, the pitch became badly cut up and the game was reduced to pulling and dragging. This did not suit the Tomcoole men who failed to score again and went down to a 3-2 to 2-1 defeat.

Meanwhile the hurlers went down badly to Screen at Lambstown. Reports suggested that the 'over the water' men were far too skilful with the hurl and the raw recruits from Tomcoole were no match for them.

Tomcoole v Mayglass: W. Murphy (Captain), P. Crowley (Goal), T. Doyle, M. Crowley, W. Sidney, J. Kelly, E. Kendrick, W. Sinnott, A. Murphy, T. Cogley, M. Kelly, M. Donovan, J. Donovan, M. Doyle, M. Crowley.

1932 St. Munn's

Re-energised by demands from young men for the chance to play competitive football, the club re-organised again. The new club, now called St. Munn's, optimistically entered intermediate football as well as junior hurling and football teams in the upcoming championship.

In March, to the delight of locals, the newly formed club had a good win over St. Martin's in the first round of the Junior Football Championship on the score of 2-5 to 1-3. They then went on to meet the Harriers in the district semi-finals. This game was described as a slow motion affair and won easily by the Harriers on the score of 3-1 to 0-3. Reflecting the paucity of the players at this level, 'King' Pender, a veteran of the 1915-1916 championships was drafted in to mind the goal. His display won rave reviews in the papers and he maintained that he would never have let the Harriers score had he not become disorganised. He claimed that his knees were as black as pots and himself as stiff as a poker from his efforts. It was said that he 'kicked the game' from Carroll's petrol pumps to Ned Rochford's and back to the middle of the square again.

It was reported that Wat Murphy had failed to get the hurlers ready for their July clash with the Shelmaliers and had to give them a walkover.

Mix-up

The Intermediate footballers were pitted against Gusserane and the match was fixed for Adamstown in late October, the day official time changed. Taghmon travelled to Adamstown but no one there knew anything about a football match. After 'hunting the country', they eventually ended up in Scullabogue to find Gusserane togged out and waiting patiently for them. Taghmon went on to win the match by a point. Gusserane, however, objected on the grounds that Taghmon had taken the field one hour after the appointed time. Taghmon, in their defence, claimed that they took to the field at 3:25 and that the match had started on time at 3:30. The Co. Board, unable or unwilling to establish whether the 3:30 starting time was new or old time, refixed the game. Taghmon declined to travel to play the refixed game at Wexford Park in mid-December, deciding to wait the outcome of their appeal against the Board's decision to refix the game. In any event, Gusserane went on to meet Woodlands in the next round. In apparent acceptance of the situation, Taghmon wrote to the Co. Board enquiring about the status of their players following the mix-up. They were informed that their status stood.

St. Munn's v St. Martin's: W. Stafford, E. Stafford, P. Rochford, P. Goff, P. Colfer, R. Lambert, R. Cleary, W. Grady, T. Sinnott, S. Sinnott, P. Quirke, R. O'Connor, J. Maher, W. Connolly, L. Furlong.
St. Munn's v Harriers: J. Kelly, M. Lynam, W. Martin, M. Walsh, J. Walsh, P. Furlong, J. Boggan, T. Doyle, J. Kinsella, L. O'Connor, A. Murphy, M. Donovan, M. Kelly, P. Doyle, J. Pender (Goal).

Tournament

In the aftermath of the new club's poor performance in the previous year's championship, it was decided to run a tournament in an attempt to unearth new talent. In September, a committee comprising Jacob Donovan (President), A. Sullivan (Vice President), N. Brady (Treasurer) and joint secretaries, M. J. Martin and J. Kelly drew up plans for a Silver Medal Tournament. They attracted teams from all quarters of the parish and surrounding districts. The venture appeared to have been an outstanding success and competition between participating teams was intense. One particular game between Taghmon and Foulksmills was described as being very rough and exception was taken to some of the language used. This tournament was described as being the catalyst for the formation of the club in Camross. In early April 1933, before a large attendance on a terrible day, Taghmon 'Bruiser' beat the Growtown 'Up to Dates' in the final that was refereed by Jack Fane.

Camross

Apart from their brief flirtation with hurling in 1910 and their equally humbling effort at football in 1918, no team from the Camross area affiliated again until 1933. As was the custom in many areas at the time, however, the young men there played football at a local level and participated in several leagues and tournaments as well as playing challenge matches against teams from adjacent communities.

Paddy Grannell, founder member of new club

Camross had a team in the 1927 parish league but were scratched after six rounds because they were so low on points. A team from the locality took part in the silver medal tournament of 1932 and in late September of that year, played an exciting 1-2 draw with Growtown. At a subsequent meeting of the organising committee, Micheal Crowley lodged an objection, claiming that his team had in fact scored 1-3. Two of the umpires agreed with him and the game was refixed. The replay also finished all square at 1-2 each. The issue was finally decided in late November, when Camross, handicapped by the absence of several injured players, succumbed to a 0-4 to 0-2 defeat.

Their display in these and in other games began to attract the attention of the sporting public in Camross and the spirit built up among the players whetted their appetite for more worthwhile games. Meanwhile, Fr. Kelly, the curate in Caroreigh at the time, was working behind the scene in an attempt to unite sectional differences in the parish and he encouraged local Gaels to seize upon this growing feel-good factor and form a club locally. The move towards the formation of a club and affiliation of teams was laid by Tommy Murphy, Paddy Grannell and Peter Fox during an impromptu meeting on the Bullaun in Camross, opposite Rochford's Public House, sometime between December '32 and February '33. The new club under the leadership of Tommy Murphy (Chairman), Jimmy Kelly (Captain and Secretary) and encouraged by the drive of near veteran, Andy Doyle, set about preparing for their championship debut.

Andy Doyle, veteran of 1920's
(Andy encouraged the Camross men to get organised)

1933 Fragmentation

Back in Taghmon, meanwhile, many Gaels were now showing concern at the decline in the club's fortunes and set about reviving the 'glory days of the old stars'. The strategies they employed to achieve this aim were, however, varied and uncoordinated. In March, for instance, the Taghmon notes proclaimed that Rathangan had united with Taghmon and that Phil Parle would take charge of affairs. In April, the notes referred to a meeting at which John Hanlon, who presided, impressed upon those present that it was their intention to pick a team solely from the parish and would be known as the 'Young Stars'. A subscription list was opened for the purchase of jerseys and £2 was collected.

In April, apparently dissatisfied with the prevailing status quo, T. Cogley, W. Kelly, T. Doyle, P. Doyle, and M. Donovan switched their allegiance to the newly formed club in Camross. Also in April, it was reported that efforts were being made by Jem Boggan to organise a football team in Trinity and that the young men there had taken up the game with enthusiasm. The outcome of these developments was that an Intermediate football team as well as Junior football and Second Junior football teams were entered in the Wexford district championships and Junior hurling and football teams entered in the New Ross district championship (Camross).

The St. Munn's junior teams contained many young players who were making their debut in competitive fare and both teams made their exit from the championship on the same day in late May. The junior team went down to the Volunteers in a slow and uninteresting game by 1-5 to 1-1 and the second juniors were no match for the more experienced Sarsfields and lost 1-6 to 0-3. The intermediate team also made a first round exit going down 2-7 to 2-4 to Murrintown in September after a dour struggle in which the football was of a dogged nature.

Junior Football v Volunteers : J. McCann, M. O'Connor, P. Hogan, H. Hogan, J. Kelly, N. Hanlon, J. Kinsella, M. Lynam, D. Murray, M. Leary, J. Condon, M. Walsh, J. Walsh, W. Walsh and J. Walsh.
Second Junior v Sarsfields: W. Stafford, N. Furlong, R. Cleary, T. O'Grady, E. Stafford, L. Furlong, J. Culleton, J. O'Meara, R. Lambert, P. Goff, W. O'Grady, W. Redmond, J. Moran, P. Walsh, N. Moran.
Intermediate v Murrintown: J. Byrne (Captain), E. Stafford, W. Stafford, P. Parle, W. Parle, R. Cleary, W. O'Grady, D. Murray, J. Dillon, M. Furlong, L. Furlong, L. McCann, P. Rochford, J. Maher, T. Sinnott.

Jimmy Kelly of Kilgarvan, captain on the field of play and also a club secretary and county board representative

Tommy Murphy, founder member and driving force behind the new club

The cup that was presented to the Dirr Bruisers for winning the parish league in 1927

Charlie Fitzhenry, an influential clubman in the 1920's and 1930's. Charlie died in Birmingham 2 weeks short of his 100 birthday in 1999.

A week after the demise of the intermediate team, the Taghmon Notes correspondent referred to yet another special meeting of the club. This time Mr. J. Kelly presided over the proceedings. At the meeting a selection committee was appointed who then went on to select a team to play in the Kilmannon tournament. He also declared that football was more or less dormant in the locality.

Meanwhile in the New Ross district, Camross were showing their mettle. Aided by the Taghmon men, they gained a narrow 1-2 to 1-1 victory over Sean Finns in the junior football championship at Scullabogue in April. According to the Taghmon notes, the victory was hailed with delight all over the Camross area and Tommy Murphy was the recipient of warm congratulations.

They received a walkover from Fethard in the next round in July. In October, fielding a much changed team at The Knockatore, Adamstown, they crashed out of the championship when they were decisively beaten by the Geraldines of New Ross on the score of 5-3 to 0-1. The hurlers, too, made an early exit, failing to raise a flag in the first half when they slumped to an 8-5 to 1-1 trouncing by St. James, Ramsgrange, in June.

Camross v Sean Finns : James Kelly, Willie Kelly, John Kelly, Mike Kelly, Mike Donovan, Thomas Cogley, Ambrose Waters, Phil Waters, Andy Doyle, Aidan Morrissey, Wat Sinnott, Peter Doyle, Frank Sheehan, D. Nolan, Pat Lambert.
Camross v Geraldines : J. Kelly, J. Morrissey, W. Kelly, A. Doyle, A. Morrissey, T. Cogley, W. Sidney, J. McDonald, W. Sinnott, M. Kelly, P. Lawlor, M. Donovan, J. Kiely, A. Waters, F. Sheehan.
Camross v St. James Hurling : Micheal Donovan, Thomas Cogley, Joseph Bradley, Laurence O'Grady, Patrick Lambert, John Doyle, Matthew Doyle, John McDonald, John Redmond, Peter Doyle, Walter Sinnott, Frank Sheehan, Thomas Doyle, Joseph Whelan.

1934 Late Entry

Camross was the only team from the parish listed when fixtures for the new season were published. The reason for the absence of teams from the other side of the parish became clear at a meeting where Mr. Brady read for members the contents of a communication he had received from the Co. Board. It seems that the club had made itself illegal by participating in the Kilmannon tournament the previous season and the communication stated that individual members had to make application for reinstatement to the Co. Secretary before March 20th. At a subsequent Wexford district meeting, late entries were accepted from Taghmon. In the rearranged championship, the hurlers were given a bye in the first round and the footballers paired with the Geraldines of Wexford.

New Ross District

Camross hurlers were no match for Sean Finn's when they met at Ballinaboola in April. Despite gook work by A. Morrissey, J. Kelly, Hillis, T. Cogley and F. Sheehan, they failed to raise a flag and allowed the Finns in for 4-1.

In early May, before a large crowd at Cassagh, the footballers got the better of Cushinstown on the score of 2-1 to 0-1. Cushinstown objected to the result on the grounds that John Murphy of Glynn had played for Camross under the name of John McEvoy. The game was refixed for the 3rd June. Cushinstown refused to travel and Camross went on to meet Adamstown in the district semi-final at Raheen in July. Both teams were described as being well matched and finished level after a game of swift, clean football. When they met again at Courthoyle in September a brace of goals by Tom Butler helped Adamstown to an easy 4-6 to 1-2 victory. They advanced to easily win the Co. Championship, beating Tara Hill in the final by 3-4 to nil.

Wexford District

Reflecting the very poor standard of hurling in the parish, the Taghmon hurlers also failed to raise a flag when they lost heavily to Crossabeg in July. The footballers, too, failed to impress when they met the Geraldines in July. In an extremely mediocre game, they could not get into their stride and lost on the score of 2-4 to 1-3.

Camross v Cushinstown : James Kelly (Captain), John Morrissey (Goal), Aidan Morrissey, Andrew Doyle, Philip Waters, Ambrose Waters, John McEvoy, Thomas Cogley, Micheal Donovan, William Kelly, John Kelly, Martin Carroll, Micheal Whelan, Francis Sheehan, Walter Sinnott.
Camross v Adamstown : J. Kelly (Captain), J. Bradley (Goal), W. Kelly, J. Morrissey, A. Morrissey, J. McDonald, A. Doyle, T. Cogley, P. Donovan, M. Whelan, F. Sheehan, P. Waters, W. Sinnott, J. Kelly, (Moses Kiely transferred from Adamstown).
Taghmon v Geraldines : C. Fitzhenry, M. Lynam, J. Walsh, John Walsh, W. Walsh, M. O'Connor, L. O'Connor, P. Hannon, R. Martin, W. Parle, W. Martin, E. Doyle, H. Hogan, P. Dooley, P. Furlong.

1935 Annual General Meeting

In late February, Mr. C. Fitzhenry presided over a well-attended meeting of Gaels at the Social Club. The meeting elected Mr. Nicholas Brady to the position of secretary and Messrs. L. O'Connor, W. Waters, W. Walsh, S. Stenning, A. Sullivan, M. O'Leary and R. Power onto a committee to oversee the club's affairs. Mr. Brady informed those present that he had entered junior hurling and football teams for the upcoming championships.

During the meeting, unease was expressed about the club's financial position and the lack of worthwhile 'gates'. Mr. S. Stenning proposed that the club run a parish league and the meeting discussed dividing the parish into four quarters. Aidan Sullivan said that he was sure of organising his area of Coolcull, Ardinagh and Coolraheen as the youth there were very eager. 'That's the spirit' said the Chairman, 'think of what we did last year with a "scraped up" team. We want no more "scraped up" teams. Let us put good, trained hurling and football teams in the field next season and if we do, I'm certain that victory will reward our efforts'. 'Hear, hear'.

Change of Format

The Wexford district committee at its March meeting decided to run their championships on a league system, dividing the district into three groups. In football, St. Munn's, Glynn, Bannow and St. Anne's formed one group. The hurlers were grouped with Glynn and Bannow. In March, also, it was reported that the club had recruited new blood that the hurlers and footballers were practising hard and that confidence was high.

The hurlers were first into the field. After about twenty minutes of play in their match against Bannow, some of the spectators protested that Taghmon had sixteen players on the field. Upon lining up the sides, the referee found this to be correct and J. Kelly had to retire. Hardly surprising, Taghmon won the game easily on the score of 2-3 to nil. Naturally, Bannow objected and in the inevitable replay at Rack's Cross in July, Taghmon barely scraped through on the score of 1-1 to 1-0.

Hurlers must have been thin on the ground around this time because in spite of this good result, the team made no impression in the league and Camross didn't even enter a team in the Ross district.

The momentum that started at the club's A.G.M. and built upon in the practice field continued in April when the footballers also beat Bannow in a robust affair on the score of 0-3 to 0-1. This match had to be played again in May at Whitechurch because it had been one hour late in starting. Taghmon, who were described as a 'light, young crowd' won the replay with the same score, 0-3 to 0-1.

Their next match was at home against Glynn. Despite trailing 1-3 to 0-1 at the interval, they rallied in the second half and emerged winners by 0-9 to 1-3. They then went on to meet St. Annes in the final of their group at Rack's Cross in June. In an unusual action, the referee ordered two of the St. Annes players off the field as they lined up waiting for the game to start. The two players were wearing trousers and St. Annes had to play twenty minutes of the first half with thirteen players, as messengers had to go several miles to procure a few pairs of shorts. Taghmon, taking advantage of this situation led by 2-0 to 0-1 at half time. It was reported that though the first half was good, the second half was a thriller as a reshuffled St. Annes tried to make up the leeway. Indeed up to the final whistle it was anybody's game. However St. Munn's got through on the score of 3-1 to 2-2.

Their displays were now attracting both fans and notice and they were accorded a noisy welcome on their return to the village. The 'I hear' man (the non-de-plume of a writer in The Free Press newspaper) reported that a member of the St. Annes club had begun canvassing for empty flour bags to make togs for their next match.

During the early 30's, Racks Cross and Whitechurch emerged as the most popular venues for Gaelic games in the south of the county. When Taghmon met Rosslare at the former venue for their district semi-final tie, they attracted the largest crowd ever to assemble there. Rosslare were warm favourites, but Taghmon, playing what was described as fast attacking football, banged in five goals in the first half to lead 5-0 go 0-2 at the break. The tacked on a further 1-4 in the second half to book their place in the district final on the score 6-4 to 2-3.

The following week, the 'Taghmon Notes' correspondent compared that Sunday in Taghmon to Goldsmith's 'Deserted Village'. He stated that there was nobody present in the village except the pump in the square and that bikes, cars, motor lorries, 'shank's mare' and 'hikes' were used to get to Rack's Cross. He described how Nicholas Brady, at a club meeting soon afterwards, had instructed the team to take up road running in the evenings to get their wind and stamina right for the tussle with the Wexford Volunteers. In the weeks leading to the final, he kept his readers informed of the teams preparation. He pointed out that even though they were having a tough time getting in the hay and harvesting the corn, that the team was in good order as a result of James Kelly's training regime and he described how the team's 'physical cultural exercises' had become a popular attraction for many spectators. Near the end of August the big day finally dawned and Taghmon followers set out for Whitechurch confident that they would see off the Volunteers' challenge. As often happens after a big build up, the game turned out to be an anticlimax as Taghmon, despite scoring and early goal from a 50, became totally disorganised and allowed the Volunteers to win in a canter. Final score, Volunteers 3-4 Taghmon 1-1.

Meanwhile New Ross district continued to play their championship on a knockout system and in June, Camross footballers played a 1-3 each draw with St. James in a very lively and exciting first round tie. The replay two weeks later at Newbawn was again a ding-dong affair with the experience of St. James proving the decisive factor seeing them through on the score of 0-4 to 0-1.

Camross v St. James: J. Kelly, J. Morrissey, W. Kelly, A. Morrissey, A. Doyle, J. Foley, M. Whelan, A. Waters, T. Cogley, A. Kiely, W. Sinnott, J. McDonald, K. Whelan, F. Sheehan, J. Bradley, F. Doyle, E. Foley, E. Redmond.
St. Munn's Hurling v Bannow: C. Fitxhenry (Captain), J. Walsh, W. Waters, W. Walsh, T. Cogley, H. Hogan, M. O'Connor, L. O'Connor, R. O'Connor, J. McCann, P. Pender, A. Murphy, W. Parle, J. Walsh, R. Martin, J. Kelly.
St.Munn's v Bannow Football: C. Fitzhenry (Captain), W. Parle, J. Kelly, P. Hannon, P. Furlong, W. Walsh, J. Walsh, J. Walsh, R. Martin, M. O'Connor, W. Waters, H. Hogan, S. Stenning, J. Stenning, A. Murphy.
St. Munn's v Glynn: C. Fitzhenry, P. Furlong, J. Kelly, J. Walsh, H. Hogan, M. O'Connor, J. Walsh, P. Hannon, S. Stenning, M. Quigley, W. Parle, J. McCann, L. O'Connor, R. Martin, J. Pender.
St. Munn's v St. Annes: C. Fitzhenry (Captain), W. Parle (Goal), W. Walsh, J. Walsh, Jas Walsh, J. Hannon, M. O'Leary, M. O'Connor, L. O'Connor, H. Hogan, J. Kelly, P. Culleton, R. Martin, S. Stenning, J. McCann.
St. Munn's v Rosslare: C. Fitzhenry (Captain), W. Parle (Goal), W. Walsh, J. Walsh, Jas Walsh, P. Hannon, M. O'Leary, M. O'Connor, L. O'Connor, H. Hogan, J. Kelly, P. Culleton, P. Furlong, R. Martin, S. Stenning.
St. Munn's v Volunteers: C. Fitzhenry (Captain), W. Parle (Goal), W. Walsh, J. Walsh, J. Walsh, P. Hannon, M. O'Leary, M. O'Connor, L. O'Connor, H. Hogan, J. Kelly, P. Culleton, P. Furlong, R. Martin, S. Stenning.

1936 Gaels Unite

In February, the 'Taghmon Notes' correspondent reported that representatives of Camross and Taghmon G.A.A. clubs had met in Camross Hall and agreed to amalgamate. He described how Taghmon Gaels would in future cross the border and play with Camross in the New Ross District, because they had a real or imaginary grievance about their treatment last year and this was their form of practical protest.

In March, the new combination had an easy win in their first outing against O'Hanrahans at Newbawn scoring 4-5 against the Barrowsiders 0-2. Following this encouraging start they went into hard training under Tommy Murphy, Shanoule before beating Raheen Heartbreakers at Scullabogue on the score Camross 2-6, Raheen 1-4.

Gusserane were their opponents in the district final and the game was played at Clongeen in October. Both teams were reported to be evenly matched and also about equal in knowledge of the finer points of the game. The game itself was described as a fine display of football, clean, swift, and not wanting for thrills. Gusserane won the game on the score of 2-3 to 1-5. Camross objected to the result, however, and the match was replayed at Barrett's Park, New Ross in November. The game didn't live up to expectation and Camross showing better combination ran out easy winners by 3-4 to 0-1.

Co. Semi-final

The Wexford Volunteers, victors over Taghmon at the same stage the previous year, emerged as their opponents in the Co. Semi-final and excitement ran high as supporters travelled in full strength to Enniscorthy the week before Christmas. To their disappointment however, the game was postponed due to bad weather. The game was refixed for the 14th February. Camross sought a postponement of this fixture on the grounds that most of their players had not sufficiently recovered from a bout of the 'flu. Their request was not acceded to and the game went ahead as fixed on Valentine's Day. It turned out to be a game of contrasting styles of play; the speed and combination of the Volunteers proved superior to the spirited, direct style of their opponents and the final score of 2-4 to 1-1 reflected accurately the merits of the teams. O'Connor, McDonald and the two Kellys were outstanding for Camross and their defence was well served by H. Hogan, A. Morrissey and the Walshes, while John Morrissey gave an impressive display between the posts.

'Cormack', who wrote the Gaelic gossip column in the Free Press, thought that Camross gave an attractive display of football and although they had been defeated, their spirited style marked them as a team to be reckoned with for Co. honours before very long. He considered them a team of wonderful physique and that they had failed only because of a slight inferiority in the finer points of the game. He went on to advise readers to watch out for Camross and suggested that training, especially in forward play and experience, could mould them into the best Junior 15 in the county. Camross had trained for the match in Parle's field, near Kendrick's Cross, and unfortunately the pitch only had one goalpost. The team kicked many wides against the Volunteers and it was said that if they had two goalposts while training they would have won the match. A fragment from a poem that was written about one of the players, many years later, illustrates this:

Or are you the Aidan Morrissey we met when we were young,
In Parle's grassy little field in the Parish of Taghmon,
And in that little field you trained and sweated blood and tears,
If you'd had another goalpost, you'd have beat the Volunteers.
(Tom Williams)

Camross v O'Hanrahans: J. Morrissey, J. Kelly, A. Morrissey, W. Kelly, J. Kelly, J. McDonald, M. Whelan, S. Stenning, T. Cogley, M. O'Connor, W. Walsh, J. Walsh, J. Kelly, H. Hogan, R. Martin.
Camross v Raheen: J. Kelly, J. Morrissey, A. Morrissey, W. Kelly, J. Kelly, T. Cogley, M. O'Connor, R. Martin, W. Walsh, D. Nolan, S. Stenning, M. Whelan, J. McDonald, H. Hogan, J. Walsh.
Camross v Gusserane: John Morrissey, John Kelly, James Kelly, James Walsh, William Kelly, John McDonald, Thomas Cogley, Martin O'Connor, Micheal Whelan, Laurence O'Connor, Henry Hogan, William Walsh, Stanley Stenning, Aidan Morrissey, Micheal Whelan, Daniel Nolan.
Camross v Volunteers: James Kelly, John Morrissey, Aidan Morrissey, William Kelly, John Kelly, Robert Martin, Henry Hogan, James Walsh, William Walsh, John McDonald, Micheal Walsh, Martin O'Connor, Laurence O'Connor, Thomas Cogley, Stanley Stenning.

Jack Fane as a young man

Jack Fane

'Every follower and player of Gaelic football in Co. Wexford will regret to learn of Jack Fane's retirement from active participation in the game. Jack, who is one of the most popular players that ever went out on a football ground, is a great footballer and a true Gael in every sense of the word. His play was sporting and clean and at all times his one and only ambition was to play the game for its own sake. His service to football in Co. Wexford will not be forgotten in this generation'.

These sentiments were penned by the Gaelic games correspondent of the Free Press in May 1936 on the occasion of Jack Fane's retirement. Letters to that paper and comments by other scribes suggest that the sentiments reflected accurately the affection and esteem in which Jack Fane was universally held.

Jack was born in Taghmon in 1902 to John Fane, master baker, and Mary Kehoe, from Clongeen. He started his football career when he was very young and captained the Trinity Stars when they lost to Dr. Dwyer's, Wexford, in 1919 at 17 years of age. He then moved into Wexford town to begin his apprenticeship to the grocery trade at the 'Irish House' owned by Pat Whelan.

In 1926 he won a senior football championship medal with Wexford United. He returned to help Taghmon in 1929 and for the remainder of his career he lined out with Young Irelands, Pearses and the Sarsfields whom he captained to win the first two of their three in a row championships in 1934 and 1935. He became a member of the Co. Senior Football team in 1925 and was their captain for several years during which they played memorable championship games against Kildare, Dublin, Laois and Louth. He played with Leinster in 1933 and 1934 and was a member of the Irish team that defeated America in the Tailteann games in 1932 and the medal he won that day was perhaps his proudest possession.

He was described as one of the great footballers of his era and certainly Wexford's most consistent player. He generally played at midfield, where his immaculate skill, grace and style were a delight to watch, as was his placekicking, punting and general all round play.

He broke his collarbone when playing against Dublin in the drawn Leinster final of 1932 and nursing a bandaged shoulder, sadly watched his teammates go down in the replay from a seat in the Hogan Stand. He was also a hurler of repute and won intermediate championships with Glynn and the Geraldines. In addition to his hurling and football prowess he was an athlete of outstanding class and he won innumerable honours and prizes for sprinting. In 1931, he won the 100 yards Championship of Wexford. He was the first president of Wexford Athletic Club, a position he held for many years. On the 1st June, 1936, he opened a grocery and licensed premises on Wexford's Main St.(where The Tack Room is now situated) which over the years became a popular meeting place for parishioners when in town. He retired from the business on 1st June, 1974, and passes to his eternal reward on 5th August, 1985, aged 81 years.

Jack Fane, outside his premises with Mr Con Macken

  1. Senior football championship - Sarsfields 1935
  2. Interprovincial football
  3. An Bainriogan Tailte Baile Átha Cliath 2932
  4. Peil na nAosánac Sreat Baire - Cill Dara v Loch Garman 1932
  5. Senior football championship. Won by Wexford United 1926
  6. Feis Garman 1934
  7. SF Championship 1934
  8. Inter. hurling championship Glynn 1934
  9. 200 yd flat championship runner-up 1931
  10. Inter. hurling championship Cathal Brugha 1930
  11. N.A. and C.A. Wexford County Board. 100 yd championship of County Wexford. Winner 1931
  12. An Connrad Naisiumta sa Peil, Teas Roinn. Loch Garman a Buaid 1932
Silver Cup: Carlow mental health sports 1930

The Sarsfields senior football team who were champions 1934/35, winners of Loch Garman Feis Cup, 1934, Wexford Park Cup, 1934, Cherry Silver Shield, 1934. Back row L to R: Frank Clancy, Mike Morris, Bob Roberts, James Furlong, Ger Howlin, Jack Fane, Willie Hore, Aidan Furlong. Centre row: Lar Roche, Jimmy Browne, Nick Scallan, John Myrtle, Harry Doyle, Mick Brosnan, Patsy Boggan. Front row: James Walsh, Willie Reville, Davy Morris, Pat Morris, Martin Roche, John Moriarity.

Acknowledgements

Mr. Jim Curran, Castlehayestown
Mrs. May Doyle, Oldtown, Camross
Miss Marie Fane, John's Road, Wexford
The Free Press, Wexford
May and Eddie Hayes, Claremorris, Co. Mayo
Mr. Phil Kelly, Kilgarvan
Mr. Liam Lahiff, Hill Street, Wexford
Mrs. Maggie Morrissey, Oldtown, Camross
Mr. James O'Sullivan, Oldtown, Camross
Mr. Seamus Seery, John Street, Wexford
Wexford County Library