The Galway camogie team, 1937

It is heart-warming to see the Galway Senior Camogie Team travelling to Croke Park on Saturday to play an All-Ireland final against Kilkenny, so, to honour the team of 2020, we thought to show you the team of 1937 who, having beaten Sligo in the Connacht final, went on to beat Antrim in Killester in the semi-final of that year. The score in the game was Galway 5 – 0 to Antrim’s 3 – 3.

The team were, back row, left to right: Nancy McKenna; Monica Duggan, full back; Josie Melvin, goalkeeper; Kathleen Cosgrave, midfield; Nora Conroy, left wing back; Peg Morris, right wing back. Middle row: Josie Coen, centre back; Louise Griffin; Celia Mulholland, left wing forward; Mary Joyce; Maureen Hynes, sub; In front are Nora Kavanagh, centre forward; Eveleen O’Beirne, full forward; and Nonie O’Connell.

Eveleen O’Beirne played for UCG, Peg Morris played for Headford, and all the others were from the Galway City club. Galway led Antrim by 2 – 0 to 1 – 2 at half time but Antrim equalised with 10 minutes to go. A press report stated, “Unfortunately for Antrim the excitement seemed to spread to some of their players, they spoiled chances through their eagerness and their marking was not so keen. Galway took their chances and two quick goals from Celia Mulholland and Mary Joyce settled the issue. Thanks to their livelier forwards and more accurate striking, Galway qualified for the final.”

Nancy McKenna was a sister of the actress Siobhán McKenna, who herself was a fine camogie player and represented Galway and Connacht. Monica Duggan was a great player, a member of the famous hurling family from College Road whose brothers Seán, Paddy, and Jimmy featured on many Galway hurling teams. Celia Mulholland was a sister of Ned Mulholland who in 1938 won an All-Ireland medal with the Galway football team.

Peg Morris was regarded at the time as the best camogie player ever in the country to wield a camán. She played the game from 1927 to 1945 and modelled her style of play on that of the great Galway hurler Mick King. She made her first hurley herself from oak. At the time, arrangements for the travelling of teams were often haphazard and Peg often had to cycle long distances just to participate in a match. Later in her career, she took up refereeing and once cycled to Dublin to referee a game, stopping off in her sister’s house in Kells on the way. She cycled home in 13 hours and would have done it in 12 had she not taken a wrong turn and ended up in Ahascragh instead of Mountbellew.

So let us give our support to the Galway Camogie girls this weekend, and hope they have a more comfortable journey home than Peg while they are carrying the cup.

Gaillimh abú.

 

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