Victory in the 1961 County Juvenile Hurling final for the Father Tom Burke’s team from the Claddagh in the same colours their grandfathers wore in the great days of hurling in South Park recalled memories of the Moores, the Macs, the Currans, and the Carricks.
Many of these names were represented in the 1961 team who defeated Mullagh in the final by a score of 5 – 8 to 3 – 3. Mullagh started with the wind and the rain at their backs and led by 2 – 2 to 1 – 3 at half time. They scored another goal immediately after the restart and this shocked the Claddagh boys into action who quickly retaliated with goals by Gerry O’Grady and Lorcan O’Rourke. The writing was on the wall.
It is only fair to make special mention of midfielder Lorcan O’Rourke. The dark haired youth shone throughout the competition and his goal was the best of the game. He cut the ball off the grass 50 yards out and the Mullagh goalkeeper never saw it until he plucked the sliotar from the netting. O’Rourke and his captain Pat Walsh were unbeatable in the centre of the field.
Michael Coyne had a splendid game in goal and the full back line of Martin Moore Flaherty, Pat Reilly, and Michael Colohan played at its best. Centre back James Carrick, Sean Devaney, and Ronnie Coyne were industrious. Up front, every forward gave of his best. Gerry O’Grady was in great fettle at centre half and the score sheet showed how well the others did too. Scores were O’Grady 2 – 1, O’Rourke 1 – 4, Sean Morris and Michael Cubbard each scored a goal, and Gerry McNamara, Pat Sullivan, and Dominick King scored a point each.
After the game the players carried their captain Pat Walsh shoulder high around the pitch, and the famous words of ‘Here’s a Toast to Your Claddagh’ could be heard all the way back to the Fr Tom Burke monument.
They were sponsored by John Player and Sons to a trip to its cigarette factory in Dublin (where this photograph was taken ) and from there to the All Ireland hurling final, treated to dinner before being put on the train home. Our photograph of the 22-man squad (all of whom played at some stage of the competition ) shows, front row, left to right: Gerry McNamara, James Carrick, Seán Morris, Michael Coyne, Dominick Cooke, Peter Sullivan, John Walsh, Pat Walsh, Tim Ryan, Pádraic Sullivan, Dominick King, Josie Ryan, and Joe Potter. Back row: Sean Devaney, Martin Moore Flaherty, Paddy Glynn, Michael McMahon, Jim Curran, John McDonagh treasurer County Board, Michael Colohan, James Rooney, Michael Cubbard, Gerry O’Grady, James Rooney, Lorcan O’Rourke, Paddy Taylor, Ronnie Coyne, Paddy Kelly, Manus Duggan, Michael Finnerty, Harry Newton, and Ian Montgomery.
Our thanks to Martin Faherty Moore, who has lived in Canada since 1966, for this photograph.