by Vourneen Gavin Barry
by Vourneen Gavin Barry
In 1934 the Vocational School Newcastle West opened its doors to students in the West Limerick area.
It is fitting that 80 years later, as we hold the official opening of our school playing pitch, that we now endeavour to record the highlights of sport and present a brief sporting history of the school.
In doing so, we pay tribute to the achievements of the many students and their teachers. The ‘old’ vocational school was demolished and in 2001 the ‘new’ Desmond College was opened.
Within these pages we have collected stories and photographs from both the old and the new schools. Cuttings from newspapers, some held as precious momentous of youth, faded photographs pulled out of storage boxes from the attic – have all helped to make this the remarkable collection it is today.
We hope that this collection will be welcomed by former students, their families and by all associated with the school. It is our own distinctive story made up of moments of victory and moments of disappointment or near wins. We don’t promise to capture all, but perhaps many more stories will be unearthed as this collection is perused in the homes and parishes of West Limerick…..another collection could indeed follow!
It is a privilege and honour to be involved with this in some small way. Time marches on so fast it is important to seize the day and put to paper all these wonderful stories and events for all to read now and into the future.
When looking through this collection one cannot help but shed a tear for some of the heroes of these stories who have gone before us to the next life. As long as we talk about them and tell their story they continue to live in all of us, may their spirit continue to inspire the present and future generations of students. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anam.
As we browse through the stories we see the strong influence GAA sports had in the life of the early school. As the years progressed we see the introduction of soccer, rugby, equestrian and a cycling club. A sign of changing times and changing interests, yet the love of GAA sports still as strong as ever before in shaping the lives of our young students.
We are all very grateful to two men have been the driving force behind this project – they are Pat O’Connor and Mike Nash. These two men are like a bridge or link between the past and the present. They know many of the leading characters in this collection by name or in person and have helped to shape many of the triumphs written about here. We salute them for their vision and are indebted to them for their research, editing and compilation of this book. We also thank Claire Sheahan McMahon – a lady whose love of the school is evident in all she does.
I hope you enjoy the read and I hope it brings back many precious memories of your time in the Vocational School and Desmond College Newcastle West.
Vourneen Gavin Barry
Games and the Student
by Risteard De Barra
by Risteard De Barra
First of all I wish to compliment all involved in developing the playing field. In particular I would like to pay tribute to Mike Nash and his team who have done an excellent job in bringing it to such a high standard.
In an era of technology and economic recession it is very important that students be educated in the proper use of leisure time.
The old Latin quotation of the Poet Juvenal- ‘Mens Sana in Corpore Sano’ (a sound mind in a healthy body) still holds true today.
Facilities for games in schools offer an opportunity for students to develop their skills. A basic requirement for any educational institution is to have a playing pitch adjacent to the school. We are fortunate in Newcastle West to have such a facility in Desmond College since the foundation of the Vocational School. In recent years the field has been developed to its present condition.
Games were always a feature of the VEC. We had internal school leagues for different classes. The better players represented their school against other schools and the winners of these competitions in the county competed against the county champions in Munster and finally at All-Ireland level.
A County team was also chosen to play against other counties also at Munster and All-Ireland level. We were fortunate in Newcastle West that Newcastle West Vocational teams played in Croke Park in All-Ireland finals on two occasions.
It must be emphasised that in the 70s and 80s there was only one level in all competitions. Unlike at present where we have A, B and C grades.
It was always a pleasure to observe that students who may not excel in class were to the forefront on the playing field and could demonstrate such skill and imagination in games.
It is very rewarding to experience the delight in young people’s faces when they play as a team representing their parish or school. It takes them out of the rigid class routine and gives them the opportunity and freedom to express themselves in another world.
Games, of course, are a great leveller. You are a winner today and a loser tomorrow.
Students have to exercise great self-discipline on the playing field. They have to be team members and they must play their part in the game. They develop qualities that will help them through life.
I have seen students develop no end on the playing field. I have witnessed leaders coming to the fore.
Individuals inspire each other and ultimately accept victory or defeat with dignity and graciousness. I could name scores of players over the years who have developed into leaders on the ‘field’ but I would be reluctant to do so for fear of leaving so many out.
I have seen many changes to games over the years. I miss the skill of overhead striking and ground hurling is now almost non-existent.
Players are now so fit physically that they are expected to move from defence to attack and vice-versa throughout the game. It is not uncommon to see five or six players contesting for a ball and each want to rise it and break loose.
The level of fitness of the players and the pace of the game is now phenomenal.
The club is the bedrock on which games are developed. It is in the parish setting that young people learn the basic skills of games. Thanks to the voluntary work of legions of selfless people.
Night in, night out, they give of their time willingly to help our youth to become as good as players as they possibly can. We must also acknowledge and admire the part played by the feeder schools in our catchment area.
There are very many dedicated games teachers in our national schools who give of their time freely to the young boys and girls under their care.
We are blessed by the calibre of students who attend our schools. Their commitment and sportsmanship are second to none and it was a pleasure and an honour to be associated with them at all times.
Finally, it is a pleasure to see our camogie teams in the county faring so well. Limerick Minor Camogie Team are All-Ireland champions for 2014. This is the first time this feat has been accomplished at this level premier grade. The junior camogie team won their league final. The Intermediate team hopefully have a very bright future.
Tá súil agam go mbeidh an t-ádh leo sna cluichí sa todhchaí.
Risteard De Barra
Purpose of Book
by Pat O’Connor
by Pat O’Connor
The purpose of this commemorative book is to provide a brief history of some of the sport played in the Vocational School, Gaelcholáiste and Desmond College.
It is satisfying to present this collection of information gathered from some past pupils, teachers, newspaper cuttings, and other written material.
We hope that it will revive happy memories of school friends and give an opportunity to see photos which will focus the memory.
We hope that each picture will speak the ‘thousand words’, would it, that with space, we could present a thousand pictures.
While this booklet recalls many sporting activities, it is with sincere regret that more reports and photos from earlier years could not be sourced.
Unfortunately, we were unable to make contact with each individual past student – as I’m sure many people reading this book will have additional memories and memorabilia. Even at this stage, if you have any information that you think would enhance our records it would be greatly appreciated if you could forward them to Desmond College where they will be filed for future publications.
In the 1960s we participated in hurling, football and athletics, now camogie, basketball, soccer, golf, chess, rugby, and equestrian are organised within the school.
Read positively and enjoy the content, even for nostalgia, because when your ‘race is run’ and you have ‘played the game’ that is the future reward and it shortens the nights of age.
Our past becomes only important when we can’t recreate it any more.
On this historic year, of the official opening of the sports field in Desmond College, it is also the 80th anniversary of Newcastle West Vocational School, which opened in 1934.
This, a momentous occasion and a huge debt is due to all concerned. To have your own recognised playing pitch within the campus gives the School, an independence it never before had. It also gives an opportunity to share this valuable asset with local clubs and schools.
This is for the sports enthusiast that reads only the sports section of any paper.
In 1928 Fr. Pat Carroll asked Matt Noonan and William Cahill to act as guarantors for a loan of £600 to buy the 6 acres that the school now stands on from Mrs. Kennedy of the square. For the following few years this field was used as a sports field for the town specifically hosting athletics.
In 1930 the Vocational Educational Act was passed and in 1934 the ceardscoil was built on a one acre site off the six mentioned earlier. Sometime later the other 5 acres were acquired by the Co. Limerick VEC.
In 1955 the school gained a standalone extension of 5 rooms and also a substantial solid fuel boiler house which supplied the heating and hot water needs of the whole school. Numbers increased with the introduction of the Leaving cert, and other courses were offered to the students also.
Further increases in student numbers created a demand for a more suitable school, then with good planning and a masterful design, Desmond College and the Gaelcholáiste were built in 2001.
Sports and its Importance
Even though there are so many diverse pastimes available nowadays, sport is still probably regarded as the most romanticised of all.
It benefits the individual, the school community and the family, it unifies parishes, counties and countries and all the popular sports are available to young sportspeople in Desmond College.
While sport for a minority is not so important but for many it shortens many a day at work, remembering, talking, analysing, thinking, criticizing, praising, hoping and at most time having a great sense of pride for professed heroes.
Sport will often distract our attention from the challenge of some of the stern realities of life. The writer Con Houlihan said of sport “It is the opium of the people”, and the old adage that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy rings true.
Then thinking of the many hours spent on sport, be it playing, coaching, supporting and reading and the easily given financial support, all show our belief in sport.
For a top-quality lifestyle, it could be some lifestyle to strive for, if we could get the balance right between family, work, education, sport and recreation.
Many people profess their faith in their sports clubs openly and would rather ‘die’ than deny it by stylishly fashioning themselves with the attire of their club and county colours.
Parish sport and the club loyalty is a harmless form of tribalism and it can bind people sportingly to their native parish, club, school and county for life. Unfortunately some of our emigrants don’t have all those choices.
Many ‘sporters’ firmly believe that sport is the ultimate character builder, a landmark for sense and sanity.
That could be the underlying reason for so many people in this catchment area giving generously in these financially challenging times to fundraising activities to develop this fine college sports field or maybe it’s just a West Limerick trait.
Another contributory factor for this support may be the fact that there is a strong relationship between the people of Newcastle West and the school.
The opening of the new school pitch is an idealistic way to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the school – Míle buíochas.
Sport in Desmond College has always provided an identity and pride in our school.
The students of this school value their jersey with the same pride as those of the more illustrious schools and colleges that generate national press coverage.
A badge of distinction for the player in school is and always has been the gearbag or hurley that accompanied him or her from class to class on the mornings of matches. Students should be encouraged to participate at whatever level they are suitable for. Bíonn gach tosnú lag.
We also acknowledge the importance of school sports in combining the spirit of respect and focus of people from adjoining clubs. The courage and bravery oft times displayed by some players was a joy to behold.
Coaches, generally instil that their players respect the winning opposition – respect for your conquerors in sport is the greatest stimulant to try and emulate their achievements the next time you meet.
A further consolation is the seanfhocal ‘beidh lá eile ag an bPaorach’.
The phrase comes from the last words of a Dungarvan man, Edmond Power, before he was executed for his part in the 1798 Rebellion. Likewise, we should be both proud and humble ourselves in victory. We should learn to win and lose with dignity and grace.
Friendships thus formed last a lifetime and the pleasant sporting memories are so special because they were garnished through the exciting years of carefree youth in the pursuit of sporting dreams.
When we meet past pupils outside the school environs they do not enquire of the school curriculum – it’s just ‘how are ye getting on with the games these days?’ and talk of the finals lost get more debate than the finals won.
Later in adult years, when these sportsmen meet in social recollection, a little exaggeration is tolerated with reminiscences of “Do you remember such a game on such a day, and how good you were?” To hear the reply “and you weren’t too bad yourself either”.
As the years grow longer the games get better. In the 40’s and 50’s, rare victories were priceless for some club teams and were treasured to the extent that some of the winners adorned the lapels of their coats with a sports medal.
Denis O’Grady and Peter Cremin, who attended the Vocational School in the 1950s, recently reminisced of the very happy times spent there:
In the 1950s and 1960’s when for some work and more work was the order of the day, the chance to play games in school was a rare opportunity.
At that time, there were far fewer underage hurling and football competitions – maybe one match per year – and fewer opportunities to play in other codes. Also many young players got their first chance to play with their own age group in the school field.
Then underage games were limited to just one knock-out competition in club level. If you weren’t good enough, you were gone!
The only sport that we remembered in school at the time would be the eagerly contested games between the 1st years and 2nd years which were refereed by Mr Collery. Most of us completed the two year programme and then qualified with the Group Cert.
Denis O’ Grady and Peter Cremin
Denis and Peter continued to reminisce about their days in the Vocational School:
During lunchtime, Mr. O’Connell who was the rural science teacher would organise some students, who may not have had space for a garden at home, to cultivate a small plot within the school grounds.
This would be for a garden competition. Others students would till and tend their own gardens at home for the home garden competition. Another group of students would forsake the garden to develop their hurling skills. We were part of that cohort.
0300 : In 1953 John Delee was awarded 1st prize in Ireland for Woodwork.
Pictured with him are fellow students, woodwork teacher Mr Pat Twomey and Principal Mr Eamonn O’Connor.
Denis recalled that:
Jack Delee won a celebrated 1st place in Ireland for Woodwork with Mr Pat Twomey as woodwork teacher.
At that time students could go into the woodwork room to complete models or projects to take home, such as fireside stools and bedside lockers. Of course this gave us a great advantage of gaining carpentry skills. Health and safety was not an issue then.
The joy and satisfaction from research and help from others was worth any amount of work when this photo was unearthed.
Written on the back of this photo was the list of the names in Mr. Liam Higgins (metalwork teacher) beautiful handwriting under the title 1957 County Schools Winners:
Back row L to R: Pat O’Sullivan, Dave Quaid, Seán Raleagh, Paddy O’Brien, Donal Hartnett.
Middle row: John O’ Connor, Donal Quaid, Denny Lenihan, Vincent Supple, Jack Harrold, Pa Clancy.
Front row: Jack Clancy, Noel Wilmott, Jim Shiels, Michael Colbert.
Also in the photo were Pádraig Collery on the left and Eamonn O’Connell on the right.
Thanks to Dónal Quaid who got this photograph from Mr. Higgins when Liam Higgins was retiring from the school.
Dónal presented us with the following glowing report:
“Kilkenny may have their St. Kierans and Clare their St. Flanans but for one glorious year in 1957, all that mattered to a group of young West Limerick hurlers was that Limerick had Newcastle West Vocational School who won the Limerick County Schools’ Championship, beating fancied teams such as Newcastle West Secondary School, also known as Jim Breens.
We also beat Adare CBS who were trained and mentored by the famous hurling coach Brother Dwaine. Brother Dwaine was the noted trainer of Adare club teams for many years.
We defeated Newcastle West Secondary School in Broudair’s Field on Churchtown Road where the Garda Station is now located.
Victory was made all the sweeter as the more than likely older team from Jim Breens had some excellent players from Newcastle West, Feohanagh, Ardagh and Kileedy.
But they didn’t reckon for our trainer/coach Mr Pat Collery who had us well trained and it was no surprise to us that we came out on top.
In the Final, Adare CBS were the opponents in the Bog Garden, Rathkeale but we again rose to the occasion and brought the trophy home to the Vocational School for the first time. Our team included some excellent, determinded players who if they were playing and training at the present time would be classed as elite players.
Jimmy Shields who was on our team later played hurling with Dublin and Patrickswell. Pa Clancy, our goalkeeper, played for Limerick and was well noted in West Limerick playing with the Western Gaels.
John Sexton from Newcastle West was on that team but not in the photograph. He won an All Ireland medal with Limerick in 1958, playing corner-forward.
Paddy O’Brien was on Feenagh Kimeedy team who won Senior Hurling Championship. Noel Wilmott and Tom Markham played with St. Kieran’s divisional team in the Limerick Senior Championship Jim Shields from Kileedy went to work in the Botanic Gardens, thus hurling with Dublin. Later he returned to work as a horticulturist with Limerick Corperation.
Paddy O’Brien from Clouncagh won a County Senior Hurling medal with Feenagh Kilmeedy in the sixties. Pat McAulliffe from Raheenagh was another team member. Tom Markham is not in the above photo as it was taken in the school the following Tuesday and a few of the the players including Tom were not present.
Billy Collins from Athea came back to West Limerick with a hurling team from America and gave trials to locals to play against him and was prepared to take promising players back to Chicago. Dave Quaid was the only one of that team that went back with him to play in America, his hurling ability earned him the equivilant of a scholarship in todays world.
After that win, 1957, some of our school team were selected on the Limerick County Vocational Schools’ team. The game in Abbeyfeale against Kerry was played on a cold wet day by the banks of the Feale. Recalling it now, they were happy days.
During this time, Pádraig Collery was the sports and cultural promoter for the school.
In the 1950’s and 60’s, Pádraig was among the foremost organisers of sporting activities under the auspices of the County Limerick VEC.
They organised the first All County Sports and Gaelic Games Competitions and Pádraig introduced the school jersey colours which were predominantly red and green. He was principal from 1972 until 1982. In earlier years, one of Pádraig’s roles was the promotion of Oícheannta Gaelacha.
These concerts took place in various venues in West Limerick in conjunction with other VEC schools.
Then in the early 60’s, Paddy Duggan, the headmaster in Croom Vocational School, joined them in organising inter-school concerts. Paddy introduced a drama element to these with his own scripted plays while the other schools contributed through the music, song and dance elements.
This interaction between school communities fostered an idea that inter-school sports would also be of great benefit to the students. So the above mentioned together with principals and social and sports minded teachers from the other schools organised sports meetings once a year, generally in the month of May at different school’s GAA fields right through the 60s. These sports days were an outstanding success.
An Cumann Luth Chleas Gael Gairm Scoileanna Co. Luimní was founded in 1969.
The first meeting to form a Sports Committee for County Limerick Vocational Schools was held in Rathkeale on 10th February 1969.
Present at this inaugural meeting were:
Liam Arrigan, Rathkeale,
David Geary, Croom,
Pádraig Hynes, Cappamore,
Vincent McCarthy, Shanagolden,
Michael Cremin, Hospital,
Con Murphy, Kilfinane,
Thomas Piggott, Hospital,
Richard Barry, Newcastle West,
Pádraig Collery, Newcastle West,
Úna Finn, Rathkeale,
Eithne Neville, Rathkeale,
Michael Brosnan, Rathkeale,
Gerard Trehy, Kilmallock,
and Pádraig Cleary, Abbeyfeale.
The meeting was addressed by Mr Seán Rushe, C.E.O. of County Limerick Vocational Education Committee, (VEC) who outlined the importance of including sports in the schools’ programmes.
The first officers to the Sports Committee executive were chairman, Pádraig Collery, Úna Finn became Secretary and Pádraig Hynes was appointed Treasurer. David Geary, Michael Cremin, Pádraig Cleary and Gerard Trehy were elected to serve on the committee.
Mr. Rushe stated that any policy coming from the Sports Committee should be put before the VEC, and also that if no sporting grounds were available in a school that a sports field could be rented.
From 1969 to the present time, 6-8 meetings are held every year, attended by the officers and 1 or 2 sports representatives from each school.
At the second meeting of the Sports Committee a constitution was drafted. The objectives of the committee were:
- To promote those games best suited to the interests of the pupils
- To promote inter-schools and inter-county championships beginning this year with Hurling and Football
- To promote the teaching of physical culture in each school in the county
- To organise collection of funds to cover expenses incurred by teachers travelling to games
- To organise an inter-county teachers team
- A games master from among the staff should be placed in charge of games and physical culture in each school
- Games should be included on the curriculum in each school and time set aside on the same day of every week for the purpose.
Schools that were interested in playing Camogie matches were encouraged to contact one another to arrange fixtures. The first sports were fixed for 30th May 1969 in Newcastle West and Richard Barry was chosen to be the Sports Secretary.
The first Interschools games under this body were played in 1969 and were an outstanding success. In that first year, Newcastle West Vocational School won the U17 Football Championship. Regrettably we were unable to source a team photo or team list for this year.
It is difficult to imagine now, that Rule 27 was on the GAA Rule Book then, which banned GAA Players from playing ‘foreign games’ or even attending them. This was a very contentious issue for clubs and players.
Only in 1968, it was upheld at National Convention on a vote of 168 to 80. It was always spoken of ‘the ban’.
The following year it was decided that inter-schools games would be played at under-15 and under-17 level.
This decision was made by committee in order to have greater student participation and also to foster a greater interest in physical culture amongst all age groups within the schools. Games were refereed by a teacher from the home school.
The following piece is an excerpt from a remembrance of Jim Kelleher who began teaching in the late 1960s.
When I joined the staff at the end of the sixties, all sport in the school was organised by the vice principal, Padraig Collery.
Padraig had played a lot of games in his youth, and he had promoted sport in the school as much as was possible. He had a great interest in Gaelic Football.
In the bad weather he organised table tennis tournaments in the art room upstairs. He refereed and organised a lot of school leagues in football as there were no official inter school championships.
We only had first and second year boys classes and maybe a few older boys in the commercial class. The first official game that I can remember was a match organised by Padraig between Newcastle West and Abbeyfeale vocational schools.
It took place in Newcastle West GAA field on a Sunday before a West Limerick championship game. We played in the Newcastle West club colours as we had no school jerseys at that time. We had three older boys from the commerce class, and the Abbeyfeale boys were not too happy.
We got our own jerseys shortly after that. I was more interested in hurling than in football and so Richard Barry and myself tried to keep both games going. We played hurling sometimes with the boys at lunchtime, for twenty minutes or more and we built up a great relationship with them.
I can remember one particular day we had a team with Martin McNamara in goals, Richard at full back, I was centre back and a few more country lads playing against all the boys.
Padraig Collery was on the whistle giving a few advantages to the boys, and there was no mercy shown. In those years we had many fine players in the school but pride of place must go to Tommy Quaid RIP and John Flannagan. Both of these players were on the senior hurling team that went to Croke Park a few years later.
The first county sports day that I can remember was in 1969 held in Newcastle West GAA Field.
Martin, Richard and myself spent most of the previous day in the field with a group of lads cutting and preparing the field, using lime to mark out lanes etc. only to find out on the morning of the sports that there was some objection, however Padraig got the problem sorted out and a very enjoyable sports day ensued.
In 1970, at the second general meeting Mr. Rushe, C.E.O., declared that the Sports Committee had the full support of the VEC and that games and athletics were to be an important subject in the programme.
The VEC made money available for equipment through a grant scheme and further allocated £15,000 to schools around the county for the provision of hard courts for tennis, basketball, etc. Newcastle West received funding in the region of £1,100 for this purpose.
Jim Kelleher, Newcastle West was appointed manager and selector of the county VEC hurling team.
During the 1969-1970 school year, records show that Newcastle West overcame Kilfinane in under-15 Hurling Championship on a scoreline of 3-4 to 2-2. In the under-17 County Hurling competition of the same year Newcastle West lost to Croom in the final.
In this year, the ‘ban’ relating to players playing and/or attending ‘foreign games’ was removed. It was discussed at club level and the players voices were listened to. The vast majority of counties opposed it and it was only a matter of form for it to be removed from the Rule Book at Congress.
In 1971, Mr. Collery stepped down as the Chairman of the Sports Committee. He was replaced by Joe O’ Connor, Croom, and the other officers remained in place. It was decided at this meeting to introduce three age groups: under-14, under-16 and under-18.
There was an official opening of a new school basketball court in Newcastle West in this year. Martin McNamara, Jim Kelleher and Richard Barry were very much involved in promoting sports within the school.
Years later when Martin was retiring (Principal 1982-99) he recollected:
Sport, sport only for sport I mightn’t have stayed here at all; in fact it was games that kept me and Richard in the school. When we started there wasn’t much emphasis on sport, granted the numbers were small and wouldn’t support a team.
Then when the Junior Cert started numbers increased and we got our fair share of sporting success, you see we came from bigger schools. I preferred the football and Richard the hurling.
Later Jim (Kelleher) joined us and became involved in everything. Boys from Kileedy, Knockaderry and Castlemahon were the toughest hurlers. The Tour lads were very stylish. Newcastle had a mix of every style.
In later years Monagea gained a forceful identity, Ardagh/Carrickerry always supplied the most stylish of the footballers.
Sport is a great way of getting to know what young players are really made from.
Thus Martin took great pride in the sporting activities in school having himself won a rare Munster Minor Final Football Medal with Limerick back in 1956.
An extract from the Observer Newspaper stated the following citation when Martin was receiving a past players award from the West Limerick GAA Board:
From this experience, he brought his competitive spirit to the teams he trained.
While our school participated in all competitions available to us from 1971 to 1974, we were unsuccessful as far as titles were concerned in hurling and football and had reasonable success in athletics. But it should be remembered that any team could win 2 or 3 games and be defeated in a County Final. It is such a loss now that we have no records or photos of these teams. It may be a cliché but Newcastle West did play the games.
Dan Culhane was a student in Newcastle West at this time. He went on to college to train as a Woodwork teacher and returned to the school as a staff member.
“During my school days, there was a great sporting tradition in our school – hurling and football were very popular. I also liked basketball. We had a new basketball court then – that’s probably why it was so popular.
I enjoyed the hurling and football matches in our own sports field. We had a great team of trainers. Martin would be encouraging from the sideline; Jim and Richard were playing club level at the time and often played against us.
Once a year the whole school looked forward to participating in sports days held in another school. We competed in various sporting events. It was a day of great fun and enjoyment.
There were a fine bunch of lads in my class including Tommy Quaid RIP, Dan Hennessy, Pat Vaughan, Pat Lawlor, Mike Power, Tony McCarthy, John O’Mahony and many more”.
Letter from past pupil
by Tom Aherne
by Tom Aherne
I attended the Vocational School in Newcastle west from September 1969 to June 1971.
I lived in Glensharrold about seven and a half miles from Newcastle West, so I would cycle to meet the School bus in Carrigkerry over two miles away. We travelled in on Carrigkerry/Old Mill bus.
Mike Flynn, from Newcastle West, and Donal Broderick, from Dromcollogher, were two of the drivers I can recall. We called in the Tech and I spent two happy years there.
While we waited for the bus in the evenings we would play soccer in the square, against the boys from the Secondary school (It is hard to visualise the scene now with all the traffic and cars parked there, and the Milk Maid and Michael Hartnett statues). I left after completing my Group Cert in 1971 to take up an apprenticeship in carpentry at McCormacks Joinery Works in Ardagh.
Jim Kelleher, Richie Barry and Martin McNamara were in charge of the hurling and football games played in the field behind the school. Players I recall from that time were Tom Ahern from Broadford, Pat Scanlon, Kileedy, Maurice Curtin, Tournafulla, Tom Ahern, Coolcappa, Sean Adams, Pa Crowley and Patrick Mullins, Ardagh, Richie Collum and Seamus Moloney, Knockaderry, who all went on to represent their clubs.
Joe Butler, Johnny Flanagan and Tommy Quaid from the Feoghanagh Castlemahon club won the West U-14 Hurling Championship in 1970. Johnny and the late Tommy went on later to become household names all over the country and were the most famous sporting students from my years at the school.
Miss O’Callaghan taught basketball in the new court which was put in place in 1971. We kept our boots and gear in the Boiler House to keep them dry for the next day. John McAuliffe was the caretaker during my time at the school, and we had good times with him as he regaled us with good tales. We often helped him in his work in the garden and in the glass house and in return he left us warm ourselves in the boiler house in winter.
Eamon O’Connell was the headmaster during my stay at the school and he left a lasting impression on me. I have been guided by his aims and desires for community involvement and life in general. His influence has helped me a lot and I embraced his encouragement and I went on to join and form numerous organisations.
I got involved in the GAA and I was a member of the West Board in the 1990s. I became a news correspondant for my parish and I contributed articles to various media outlets and published a number of magazines and books.
Martin McNamara from Glynn was the Science teacher and he often gave us a lift in from Carrickerry to school in his car when the bus was late or did not run. He was a very nice person and a good teacher and I enjoyed the subject as well as English, History and Geography. The other teachers I recall were Paddy Collery for Irish, Liam Higgins for Metal Work, Pat Twomey for Woodwork and Miss Lenihan for English.
Jonny Flanagan from Rathpalantine, was an unsung hero and a legend of the camán whose contribution on the playing fields was immense for Feohanagh and Limerick. His bustling all action style from centre forward struck terror in defenders and created space for his fellow attackers to capitalize on.
From 1970 until he retired, he picked up a lot of honours for club and county apart from an All Ireland medal in 1980 when Galway beat Limerick in the final at Croke Park. Jonny won a Hurling League medal with Limerick in the 1983-84 season when Wexford were beaten by 3-16 to 1-9 in the final. He won two Munster Senior Championships with Limerick in 1980 and 1981, and a County Junior Intermediate hurling medal in 1988 when Ardagh were defeated.
Jonny also won three West Senior hurling medals with Feohanagh in 1986, 1989, and 1990 and a West Junior hurling medal in 1980, Jonny played with Limerick minors in 1973 and 1974 and he was also named on the Best in the West hurling team of 1989 along with Tommy Quaid.
In 2013, the West Limerick GAA Board presented Jonny Flanagan with the Hurling Hall of Fame Award which was well deserved. Seán, Séamus, Máire, and Bríd continue the sporting passion in the Flanagan household and long may it continue.
Tommy Quaid from Danganbeg enjoyed a very successful career for club and county and carried on the great tradition of the Quaid family. He was brave and courageous with talent to match, and he had razor sharp reflexes but a very humble heart.
The teachers in the Vocational School had predicted from day one that he would play for Limerick after seeing him play in goals during matches in the school field. He was small at the time but the potential was there and he did not disappoint them.
He was also a top class forward and how he thrilled the crowds with his 2-4 against Dromcollogher in the County Junior final of 81 and his 2-11 against Ardagh in the County Intermediate final 88. He was an All Star in every sense of the word and a gentleman on and off the field and a perfect role model to encourage the youth to play our national games.
He won all the top honours, Munster titles, National Leagues, and the Railway Cup medals with Munster, apart from an All-Ireland medal. Tommy, Nicky and Jack continue the Quaid tradition at present. Seán Ó’Hairtnéide composed a 20 line poem about his winning the Puck Fada in the Cooley Mountains and I include 4 of them in his praise:
When he won the Poc Fada, we cheered ourselves hoarse, With 57 pucks he completed the course, Engineering in Milford, his fame will endure, He took over in goals from Seamas Horgan from Tour.
The Greatest Game
The greatest game I ever saw Tommy Quaid play was in the County Senior Championship in 1992.
It was, a first round match played at Newcastle West on Sunday July 12th The opposition was Western Gael’s drawn from ten other West clubs and a lot of pride was at stake.
The match had generated a lot of interest around the division and beyond and a large crowd turned up to watch the proceedings, Tommy lined out at full forward but he was all over the field giving leadership and urging on his teammates. He scored points from all angles and distances from play and frees as only a master craftsman could do. He scored four points in the opening half to help Feohanagh to a five point lead.
The Gaels came roaring back to leave just one point between the teams entering the final ten minutes. It was then when the need was greatest that the maestro caught fire.
Tommy went on a scoring spree and had the defense at sixes and sevens. He drove six points over the crossbar without reply to leave his club 3-11 to 1-10 winners.
He played many outstanding games for club and County as a goalie and a forward and everybody will have their own personal favourite game. His list of high scores and his magical saves over a twenty year period have left wonderful memories for people who were lucky to witness them. If all the greatest games were listed they would fill a fair sized book.
The 1972 County Limerick VEC Sport’s AGM noted the following achievements:
- Official recognition of games on the timetable
- An increase in games grants
- Games courts laid down at eight schools
- Appointment of Physical Education (P.E) teachers whose advice and expertise were available to all schools
- Insurance to cover all casualties
- A new sports field in Abbeyfeale
- Changing rooms and showers to be installed in all schools where they were required.
Committee members donated two trophies for the vocational pupils of the county. Ms. Una Finn, secretary received the camogie cup from Very Rev Michael Canon Tynan P.P. and Mr Michael Herbert, T.D. , Committee Chairman presented the football cup to Mr Joseph O’Connor, chairman of the Games Committee.
Michael Herbert declared:
‘my committee is ever and has always been alert to the educational cultural, social and economic needs of County Limerick.
Camogie was not widely fostered in some schools and parishes. One principal in County Limerick decided to introduce camogie to his school.
The girls had never held a hurley in their hands and he became very frustrated with the progress being made. On one occasion, he was heard to remark, “are they really supposed to strike the ball at all?”
Examining two trophies for use in games at Co. Limerick Vocational schools are Mr. Michael Herbert TD, Rev Michael Canon, Mr. Seán Rushe.
At the 1973 AGM a number of important questions were posed for reflection:
Are we as a committee living up to our aims and objectives?
Are games being properly conducted?
And is the proliferation of games interfering with other aspects of education?
These questions and evaluations clearly signify the seriousness of the role of this sporting body.
Mr. Rushe presented the Rushe Cup to the committee for the Senior Hurling Competition. The secretary was requested to write a thank you letter to Mr. Herbert, chairperson of the VEC, in recognition of “our free day” thanks to the glorious victory of the Limerick senior hurlers in the All-Ireland.
Few joys were greater for all followers of sport, especially hurling people, than the pride and joy experienced this year when Limerick won the All-Ireland senior title. Today only those who were lucky enough to enjoy that success of Eamon Grimes team understand what it’s all about, and those that did not will never know until Limerick will win another senior title.
The fact that Limerick beat Tipperary in Thurles in the Munster final and the circumstances of the final score a controversial seventy by Richie Bennis, will forever evoke memories of excitement and pride when Limericks Munster titles are being recalled.
Because of this hard won title only an All-Ireland would satisfy the great limerick supporters and that is what they deserved and this is what they got. Now forty one years later wouldn’t it be wonderful if some player from Desmond College could aim so high and to be a member of the team the next time Limerick will be All-Ireland Champions.
It is heartening to know that so many of the young players from our school attend so many Inter County matches. This shows supporter’s passionate commitment to their county’s cause.
There they experience the atmosphere of the tremendous swaying crowd, the closeness of the game and dramatic finishes which create such excitement on such memorable occasions. Here it must be acknowledged that a number of players from the school had represented Limerick in hurling and football.
John Mulvihill from Killoughteen/Old Mill started in the school in 1973.
He had a fierce love for Gaelic sport and his ability was laced with style. John reminisces of sports in his school days. He recalls with respect, the friends made on the school teams he played with. Spontaneously he reels off the names of:
Laurence Clarson, Mike Barrett, Timmy Burke, the Mulcahy brothers Pat and Con, all from the Dromcollogher area. John Markey from Feenagh, John Hennessy, Eddie Mullane and Gerard Kelly from Kileedy. The stylish Peter and Paul O’ Connor, the Ardagh twins. Also from Ardagh Kevin Crowley and Patrick Molyneaux. Paddy Copse, Mike Copse, and Martin Kennedy from Knockaderry. Seamus Mahoney and Mike Quaid from Feoghanagh. Vincent Foley and Tom McCarthy from Monagea.
John, himself played for Newcastle West and Limerick for a number of years. His contribution to the school was immense – it would be true to say that back then John lived for sport.
It is such a pity that as a school we don’t possess photographic records of John and his teammates. One of the endearing aspects of meeting such past pupils is the happiness that memories of sport have given them through their lives.
The first Leaving Certificate programme was introduced in Newcastle West Vocational School in 1974 and this considerably increased the intake of students, thus giving extra players for sport and also many new staff members were employed.
At the 1974 County Limerick VEC Sport’s AGM, a subject for discussion was that more attention should be placed on the advancement of indoor games such as chess, draughts, table tennis, cards and handball.
Blazing a Trail of Success
by Limerick Leader, Saturday May 24th 1975
by Limerick Leader, Saturday May 24th 1975
Martin Ryan’s Rural Roundabout
Last week Newcastle West Vocational School was a glitter with trophies, plaques and medals won at the County Vocational Sports held the previous Friday at Hospital.
The forty students who travelled East to match their ability with the cream of the other county centres, returned home with the county shield, two cups and forty-nine medals. And just for the record the county teachers race was won by one of their trainers Pat O’Connor.
“It was a great achievement”, said Pat Collery “and they all deserve credit for doing so well.”
Mr. Collery agrees with the view of CEO Seán Rushe who encourages recreational activities at the school.
“Sure it is good for the mind and the body” says Pat who explains; “I find that it helps the all-round development of the student. “Usually we find that the boy or girl who is good at some form of recreation is also ahead in the class. They are good all round and one helps the other.”
One of the liveliest athletes in the school is Michael Roche who comes from Castlemahon. At the county sports, he won the 500m, 800m and 3000m. A few days later he had similar success in the North Munster Colleges Competition. Michael runs with Croom athletic club and won a bronze medal in the Munster Junior Championship.
Mr. Seán Rushe renders heartfelt congratulations to Mike Roche (captain) NCW Vocational School, who received the overall county shield for the best All-round School at the County Sports in Hospital.
Another of the fast movers on the track is Mike Barrett, U.16 winner of the 500m, 800m and 3,000m. Tom Quaid won the U.16 100m and the high jump.
The school produced champions at every level and in all sections, boys and girls. Tim Burke kept the school flag high in the U.14 section, by winning the 500m and the 1,500m. In the same section, Dermot Kelly was high jump county champion.
Mike Barrett NCW receiving the Moloney Cup from Mr. Seán Rushe Limerick C.E.O. after he won the 3000m U.16 event in the Co. Limerick Vocational School Sports at Hospital.
The girls Noreen Roche, Norma Devine, Joan Moran and Elizabeth Woulfe won the minor relay race and Marietta Murphy won U.14 500m race.
Their individual successes were crowned with the clean sweep in the relay races, girls U.14 and U.16 winning and boys in the U.18 section.
Note: Honors similar to this were to be achieved by NCW just a few more times over the following four decades. Of course every year some other school in the county is fortunate to win the coveted overall shield, and in general the prominence of an athletic club in the catchment area was of major benefit to the winners.
The football team brought home the laurels that year too, captained by John Mulvihill.
1975 echoed the dawn of a new series of successes heralded by the winning of the Under 17 Football Championship. Mike Barrett, Knockgloss, Broadford, Co. Limerick was a member of that Under 17 successful team. He was invited to express some of his memories of his years in Newcastle West and the following is the letter he submitted.
From Dromcollogher to Newcastle West
by Mike Barrett
by Mike Barrett
We completed our Inter Cert in Dromcollogher Vocational School (Pat Mulcahy, his brother Connie Mulcahy, Lar Clarson, Tim Burke and myself Mike Barrett) in 1974. There was no Leaving Cert in our school at that time and it was expected of us to get a trade or some job for a few years before we went back home farming.
During the summer holidays, we decided to enrol in Newcastle West Vocational School, firstly to complete our Leaving Certificate and nearly as important to play all the games. We were always aware from word of mouth that Newcastle West Vocational School focused a lot on sport and as we were all underage for hurling, football and athletics for the following years, we headed to the school in Newcastle West.
The only problem was that we had to cycle seven miles to meet the bus at Foley’s Cross. I have great memories of my two years in Newcastle West and they did place a lot of emphasis on sport, especially Mr. McNamara and Mr. O’Connor on football and Mr. Barry and Mr. Kelleher on hurling. We had a very good team there in both hurling and football – I remember beating Croom in a football final but losing to Hospital in the hurling decider.
We had some very good players, those I remember are: John Markey, Eddie Mullane, John Mulvihill, the twins Peter and Paul O’Connor from Ardagh, Paddy Copse, Mike Quaid, Ger Quaid, John Hennessy, Vincent Foley, Donie Nolan and Tom McCarthy and a few more whose names I can’t recall now. A good few of us were picked to play with the Limerick VEC Team and we were delighted to represent the school playing Galway in the Gaelic Grounds.
Tim Burke and myself were members of Dromcollogher A.C. at the time so we really enjoyed the athletics in the school. I was successful in a number of the longer distance races especially in the sports in Hospital and Tim Burke won all the races he competed in, in Abbeyfeale.
One of the highlights of my time in Newcastle West was Mr. McNamara’s training at lunch break. Then the first class after the break was Technical Drawing and as our hands were wet and dirty after playing, our drawings were not always as clean as they should have been.
Tim Burke, the twins Peter and Paul O’Connor went on to play in Minor, U/21 and Senior for Limerick. Tim Burke won a Munster Senior Hurling Medal in 1981 and Tim Burke, Paul O Connor and myself were members of the Limerick Junior Team who beat Cork in 1986 in the Munster Final before losing to Kilkenny in the All-Ireland Final.
Another student on that team was Mike Roche who now lives in England.
When Mike became aware of this compilation he was delighted to contribute his memories of sports in the school – mainly regarding athletics.
by Mike Roche
by Mike Roche
I came to the school in September 1974 and got involved in all the sports immediately. At the time I had been running with Croom Athletics Club.
In 1974 I took part in all the school sport activities, hurling, football and running. Running was my special interest.
When we had our own school athletics day, I took part and won a few races. Not knowing too much about the county schools day, I went along and again won a few races. I can remember coming home that day very disappointed after some other school winning the county shield. I remember we finished around mid table and that was without any serious effort being made at training. We decided this won’t happen next year.
The following year in 1975 I remember we got John McAuliffe the caretaker to line out the pitch like a proper running track. It made the day more interesting from the off. It went off very well to select qualifiers who were all eager for the big day again at the County Sports.
I can’t remember how many races I won that day because I was looking out to see what stars we had for the big day.
After that we trained at lunch hour every day which was very well supported by the teachers including Mr. O’ Connor, Mr. McNamara, Mr. Kelleher, Mr. Barry even Mr. Collery our headmaster was there for us.
When the big day arrived the sun was shining and off we went a whole bus load of enthusiastic athletes to Hospital in East Limerick. When we arrived I was first to run in the 3000m. When we got to the starting line we discovered they were going to run us the wrong way round the track – clockwise instead of anticlockwise.
After some debate this was put right and off we set for 7.5 laps. I remember after a few laps there were two other runners who were pretty keen to take me on. We had one more Newcastle West runner in this race. I pushed these lads early and took the wind out of their sails – this was a tactic I learned from team running. I won and our other athlete over took them in the final lap to come in 2nd.
Here we were after the first race with 1st and 2nd places in the bag. We never looked back all day with both the boys and the girls from our school doing us proud. I think I won 6 medals in total that day including relays.
I felt very proud for the school that day being presented with the shield for the best school in the county. I went on after that to win 3 North Munster college medals in 5000m., 1500m. & 800m.
That year I also won an All-Ireland medal in 3 miles cross country representing Limerick & then again representing Croom A/C.
Ps. As requested here is a list of names I can recall, who were involved in sport with me while at school: Eddie Devine, David Doherty, Seamus Mahoney, Pat Mahoney, Mike (Buttie) Magner, Gerry Quaid, Noel Woulfe, Richard Woulfe, John Kennedy, Martin Kennedy, Paddy Molyneaux, Mike Molyneaux, Willie Mullane, Florrie McCarthy, Rest in Peace, Danny Collum, Pat Leen RIP.
The school year of 1975-’76 proved to be a fruitful year for Newcastle West as victory was achieved and silverware collected when we captured county titles in U.15 Hurling and Football and the U.17 Football County Championships. Again, it is unfortunate that we could not source reports or photographs for this period.
1st Year students
Some of these students played in Croke Park.
Johnny Corkery, Knockaderry ‘Man of the Match’ in the West Under 21B Football Final
At the 1977, County Limerick VEC Sport’s AGM a letter was read from the Department of Education requesting comments from teachers on the advantages and disadvantages of competitive sports. Another letter from Limerick GAA County Board was read out, asking the vocational schools for use of their facilities for the making of hurleys. Provisions were made for schools who wished to play soccer and partake in a ladies football competition. After this, U.16 boys’ soccer was included and a ladies football competition organised.
In response to the letter received from the Department of Education at the previous AGM in relation to the competitive effects of sports on children, the following points were made:
1. Competition is good provided it is fair competition.
2. It develops the individual physically, mentally, socially and morally.
3. It provides a sense of achievement and teaches one to accept disappointment and defeat.
4. It inculcates cooperation and team spirit, promotes ambition and adds variety to life.
5. Teaches acceptance of authority and discipline.
1. Sometimes there is an overemphasis on winning and this can lead to dishonesty regarding age and qualification for inclusion on school teams.
2. Success can encourage conceit.
3. Failure to make the grade can create inferiority complex.
4. Insufficient training and facilities can cause frustration.
These discussions showed that the benefits of sport were always analysed.
Newcastle West won the county under-15 Hurling championship in 1976-77.
Representatives for the County Limerick VEC Football Team were: L. Shine, P. Molyneaux, L. Murphy, M. Moore and D. Doherty.
At the 1978 County Limerick VEC Sport’s AGM, Una Finn became the new Chairperson, Mike Nash was appointed as Secretary with Mike Kenneally and Jim O’Farrell elected to the positions of Treasurer and Public Relations Officer (PRO) respectively. A topic to receive attention at the meeting was the issue of drawing up a panel of teachers who would referee matches.
The results from 1977-78 casts a light on an extremely successful year for Newcastle West. The school claimed county honours in four competitions, under-18 Football, under-16 Hurling and Football and under-16 Soccer.
The following pages chronicle the start of a very successful era for sports recognition in our school.
The next article was published in the Limerick GAA Yearbook at the end of the year and was presented by Richard Barry, School Games Co-ordinator and Selector.
A Great Year for Newcastle West Vocational School
Limerick GAA Yearbook, Richard Barry
Limerick GAA Yearbook, Richard Barry
1978 was the glorious year for the school.
This year it reached the All-Ireland vocational schools football final for individual schools and also won the co championships in three competitions U15 hurling and football and U17 football.
In the first round of the Munster vocational schools championships Newcastle West met Clonmel – one of the more fancied sides – but after a great display, epitomised by the brilliance of Liam Shine, the Limerick standard bearers emerged victorious by the slenderest of margins on the score of 2-5 and 1-7.
This gave the players the necessary confidence in themselves and they easily accounted for Kildysart, the Clare champions, winning to the tune of 6-9 to 0-1 in the Munster Semi-Final.
In the Munster Final, Scoil Eoghan Naomha of Cork City were to provide the opposition. But the Cork side were unable to fulfil the fixture and Newcastle West Vocational School was nominated to contest the All-Ireland Semi Final against the Leinster champions Nobber, County Meath.
The first match was played in Borrisokane ended in a draw on the score 1-6 to 2-3.
The high standard of football played on this occasion evoked the comment from the groundsman “I never knew that Limerick could produce such great footballers”.
This was not the first or last tribute paid to the prowess of such young footballers as Liam Shine, Liam Murphy, Michael Quilligan, Michael Lane, Michael Flynn, and William O’Doherty.
The replay resulted in a 3-5 to 1-6 victory in Birr for Newcastle West. The strength of the opposition can be gauged from the fact that two of their players were on the County Meath County Minor Football Team.
The Newcastle West U16 Football side
Back row: Oliver Flanagan, Michael Copse, Billy Sexton, Liam Shine, John Foley, Denis Roche, Conor Roche, Denis Daly.
Lá mór. The All-Ireland Final in Croke Park 1980.
Then came the All-Ireland Final in Croke Park against St Pius Secondary School from Maherafelt County Derry. The northern team drilled to perfection and containing five players who were training with the Derry Minor panel proved too strong in the last quarter of that final. But Newcastle West boys again earned the praise of the Derry trainer who gave them the compliment of being the best team they met on their path to the Final.
Three weeks later came the belated Munster Final in Buttevant, and Newcastle West School really hit top form on this occasion such was their display that the Cork mentors were convinced that half of the Limerick boys must have been imported from Kerry for the day.
A conclusive victory of 2-8 to 0-0 was accomplished over the Cork boys – Newcastle West being on top in all positions from goalkeeper Paudie Power to corner forward Kevin O’ Grady.
“Tá súil againn go leanfaidh na h-iarscolairí seo ag imirt lena gclubanna éagsúla chomh díograiseach agus nuair a bhí said ag imirt don scoil linn”
Newcastle West Vocational School team and subs: Conor Roche, Castlemahon, Michael Flynn, Carrickerry , John Foley, Killeedy, Michael Copse, Knockaderry, Denis Roche, Castlemahon, Michael Lane, Newcastle West , Oliver Flanagan, Newcastle West. Liam Shine, Killeedy, Liam Murphy, Templeglantine, William O Doherty, Newcastle West, Michael Quilligan, Newcastle West , William Sexton, Newcastle West, Kevin O’ Grady, Newcastle West, Jerry Collum, Knockaderry, Joe Nix, Newcastle West, Ben Curtin, Castlemahon, Paudie Power, Newcastle West, Donncha Dowling, Knockaderry , Vincent McCarthy, Carrickerry , John Quaid, Feoghanagh, Thomas Keane, Feenagh-Kilmeedy, Michael Duggan, Ardagh, Paul McMahon, Knockaderry , Kevin O’Doherty, Newcastle West , John King Knockaderry.
Front L-R Liam Murphy, Liam Shine, Paudie Power, Mike Flynn, Billy Sexton, David Doherty, Joe Nix, Kevin O’Grady, William Doherty.
This photo was taken in Buttevant in the Munster Final against Scoil Eoghan Naomha of Cork City. A reflection of the talent of our team was a conclusive victory of 2-8 to 0-0 with Newcastle West being on top in all positions from goalkeeper Paudie Power to corner-forward Kevin O’Grady.
The support players in the background were part of very successful teams that further annexed Munster titles in 1980 and 1981.
When we consider that we conceded an early goal and failed to convert a penalty just before half time, it can be stated that we were unlucky and even could have been on level terms. This situation put much pressure on Newcastle West and definitely gave extra confidence to the Derry Boys. These are the ‘what might have been that will always be discussed after a game.
The Newcastle West supporters were so proud of their team who played exhilarating, attacking, attractive and open football throughout the whole competition. As commented on, it was reminiscent of Kerry’s style of football.
Except on that day in Croke Park, this talented St Pius team countered this with a different game of speedy, close, combined possession football, a mirror-image of the Down pattern of previous years – a style still popular, predominantly in Ulster.
This was the Newcastle West team that set the standards and expectations for our other teams to emulate. Míle buíochas dóibh.
Neither the words reproduced in this booklet nor the photos presented can do justice to the star qualities of this team. Their ground-breaking exploits and the journey travelled were experiences to last a life-time.
When we trace back the mind 35 years and view this happy and relaxed photo, it awakens thoughts, emotions, and images of very pleasant memories.
Those memories far outweigh this tribute as did their team performance exceed the singular talents of each individual. These sportsmen motivated by Martin, Jim and Richard always had the desire to succeed through dedication, hard work and discipline.
May the first flame that they kindled keep alight the fire of hope and ambition for even greater success in Desmond College teams from 2014 onwards Now that here is a larger playing panel, a young dynamic staff with state of the art facilities. Hopefully further great achievements will be possible.
My personal view is that at school sports level, Martin was the supreme motivator, Jim his trusted lieutenant had a very positive encouraging and inspiring relationship with the students and Richard the shrewd and analytic observer and adviser who could with coolness read the football game. 15 years later, Richard and Jim had a very successful run with the hurlers from the school. For 30 years they were the perfect management team for many sports events. They encouraged players regardless of their potential but they always expected commitment.
When researching material for this compilation one recalls that this young team representing their clubs adorned the fields of West Limerick for many years. Many played on Senior Club Teams, County and Inter-Firm Teams and won many Championship Medals. They were proficient at Hurling, Football, Soccer and a few at rugby. They set the standards for all the players in the Vocational School and in Desmond College since that golden year.
Liam Shine, was multi-talented, fiercely focussed, totally committed and always very fit. He led by example and many of the players were inspired by his attitude. Mike Flynn made a name for himself on the Ardagh playing fields and the club room for St Kieran’s. Mike Quilligan was manager of very successful NCW teams. Kevin O’ Grady and William O’ Doherty were noted goal scorers in every code. Actually favourable references are deserved by everyone on that panel. In later years, Mike Lane was very co-operative with Desmond College when they formed rugby teams. He helps organise the playing field in Cullinagh.
Teachers in Croke Park:
Michael Slattery, Pat O’Connor, Mike Healy, John Considine, Pat Harnett, Jim Kelleher and Con Murphy.
Kevin O’Grady with the runners-up trophy in hand – and as a player who always played to win – just shows dejection on his face. Still what a prize and privilege for Kevin to play in Croke Park at only fourteen years of age, the youngest member on the team.
Front Row: Kevin, Vivienne and next year’s star Noel O’Grady. Noel worked in the Vocational School as a teacher ten years later.
The enjoyable reunion of this group of players, after 35 years, signifies the importance of team sports and the firm friendships that are made.
They last a lifetime. Desmond College remembered its All-Ireland U 16 Football Finalists of 1978, at a specially organised night in the College on Friday 30th November 2012.
It should be remembered that at that time, there were no grades such as premier A – B – C. There was but one competition at under 16 – under 18 etc. One always came up against county or prospective county players in every game and this could be quiet daunting for most players.
Front: Dave Doherty, Liam Shine, Billy Sexton, John Quaid, Paudie Power, Vincent McCarthy, Ben Curtin.
Though defeated in the All-Ireland Final, these teams brought great honour to the school as did the supporters who travelled to give them a rousing reception.
In 1978 M Lane, M Quilligan and M Copse were representatives on the Limerick County VEC Team
Mr. Seán Burke C.E.O. Co. Limerick VEC, Mr. Jerry Bennis Servicing Officer of Co. Limerick Post Primary GAA, Mr. Richard Barry retired Principal Vocational School and Desmond College & Mr. Jerome Conway Chairman of the All-Ireland Post Primary Body at a reunion in Desmond College of the U16 All Ireland Football Finalists 1978.
The majority of the team were present on the night, with one member travelling from London to be at the reunion. Mr Jerome Conway commended the team who achieved such huge success in a time when competitions were open and grading did not take place.
All team members were presented with a photograph of that U16 Team and an engraved crystal bowl as a special memento. Presentations were made by Mike Nash, former principal Richard Barry, and Jim Kelleher who trained the team with former principal Martin McNamara (now deceased).
The following is a recollection from Michael Flynn, Ardagh, who was captain of the team:
I had the honour of being captain of the school football team that won the County, Munster and were beaten in the All-Ireland in Croke Park. While attending the Vocational School, we had many great occasions on the playing field – winning county titles in both hurling and football, but that year 1978 topped the lot.
We won the County and got to a Munster Final which was not played until after the All-Ireland. We were nominated to contest the semi-final against Nobber of Meath.
The first game was a draw but we won the replay. We became the first Limerick School Team to reach an All-Ireland Final in any grade. I missed the semi-final due to the death of my father Dan (R.I.P.) who was only 52 years of age.
My father was a great influence on me and he was a dedicated GAA man all his life. I would love if he had seen me play in Croke Park. I know he would have been very proud of Newcastle West School.
The team shared mass with Fr O’Gorman, Ardagh, in the school on the Saturday before the final. The team then travelled up by bus – the day before the final. I went up by train the morning of the match.
John Considine, our woodwork teacher collected me at the station and took me out to meet my team mates. It was a dream come true to play in Croke Park – memories I still treasure.
It was special with my friends and school colleagues. Unfortunately however, we were beaten on the day by a better team.
A number of their team went on to play for their county and Damian Barton went on to win an All Ireland Senior Football Medal with Derry. A few weeks later, we went on to win the Munster Final in Buttevant and crown a great year for the school.
A number of our team went on to play football for Limerick and won many honours with their own clubs.
But the time spent together at school, still remains dear to all of us. We had a lovely get-together last year which we very much appreciated. It was to celebrate the 35th anniversary of that special occasion. It was great to meet people whom I had not met for years and to share again great jokes and yarns of the times we had representing the Vocational School on the field of play.
Mike Flynn, Ardagh.
At the 1979 County Limerick VEC Sport’s AGM it was noted that at this time approximately 80 teachers were promoting games throughout the county.
Discussions took place about pre-employment classes for people to focus on the construction of sports facilities for schools. For safety reasons, professional block layers would be required to complete works above a certain height.
Though we have no match reports or team photos from 1979, Newcastle West reached the Munster Final. It can be assumed that some of the players from the 1978 and 1980 panels were the nucleus of this team.
Students from Newcastle West who took part in and won a number of races at the County Sports.
Back row: John Peter Cremin, ——-, William Doherty, ———, Kevin O Grady, Tim Mulcahy, John Foley, ———, Ger Cremin.
At the 1980 Convention Mr. Rushe proposed that a member of the Sports Committee would sit as a member on the Adult Education sub-committee.
New competitions for first year students were introduced at this AGM.
From this year forward inter-schools cross country competitions were to be organised and initiated.
Newcastle West claimed victory in the under-18 County Football Competition and also in Girls Soccer.
Back Row: Niall Buckley, Joe Hoyne, William O’Doherty, John Danaher, John Magner, Eddie Moloney, Tim Mulcahy,————, Tom Keane, Neilus Murphy, ———–.
John Foley, John Danaher, Joe Hoyne, Tim Mulcahy, Kevin O’Grady, William Doherty, John Magner, Patrick Lyons, Tom Keane
That detailed report gives some idea of how important Gaelic football and this victory were to the Armagh side. There were many similar reports in other papers. When we remember the political situation called ‘The Troubles’ we, should understand the passion that those players and their numerous supporters had for Gaelic Football during that period. From our point of view it was an important game, but for them it was something far greater.
In 1980 and 1981 Newcastle West’s dominance in the competitions of that year with county accolades in U18 Hurling and Football and at U16 level in Football and Soccer, shows the talented group of sportsmen that were in the school at the time.
Agreement was reached at the 1981 AGM that teams for the Cross Country Athletics competitions were to consist of six members per team.
Competitions were organised at three separate age levels, U14, U16, and U19. The length of the course that U14 cross country runners were required to complete was set at one mile. The course distance was doubled to two miles for athletes competing in the U16 and U19 age categories.
Michael Healy and Michael Slattery organised the buses. School excursions were their forte. Michael Healy was the chief cheerleader. The school also received sponsorship from local business people and Denis O’ Grady sponsored a set of team jerseys without any publicity.
In later years Mike Nash got many other sponsorship deals from the Banks, Credit Union and businesses within the town. Sports contributed to the local economy by the regular use of local transport companies.
Over the years, we were very well served by all the local bus companies. We depended so much on them and they always delivered.
Most travel was within County Limerick, but in later years, we had to travel to all parts of Munster. We appreciated their understanding and co-operation when we required transport at short notice to fulfil some fixtures. Sometimes because of inclement weather, or if pitches were unavailable, or if another team could not play, engagements had to be cancelled. Never was there any conflict. You could say they were in partnership with us, and so were their comfortable buses and safe drivers.
Thanks to Tom Brouder from Castlemahon, Tim, Catherine and Timmy Madigan from Ardagh, in earlier years Tony Murphy, Abbeyfeale and presently Phelim Kinahan of Coach House Travel. An important aspect of its achievements was that Newcastle Vocational School was fortunate in having its own training pitch, which was of the standard of its time and acted as a spur for students to play games.
Training through winter’s rain, pools of dirty water and running through the yellow mud in the school field did not deter the students. They played their matches in ‘Bog Gardens’ and other affectionately named pitches. It was the same for everyone though ‘a level playing pitch it was not’.
Sports people are aware that in all contact sport there is a possibility of injury. Fortunately we had very few and they were minor ones. But we hope that those who incurred any injury in the name of school sports have recovered fully.
From 1970 onwards, there was great promotion of sports for young people. Community Games, GAA, soccer, rugby and athletic clubs introduced boys and girls to sport at a younger age and the National Schools also organised competitions. The school recognises without a doubt that by far the most important aspects in nurturing the young players are the parents and their clubs.
It is the early introduction to the many sports that require a high skill level that proves most beneficial for the players’ progression. For that, we appreciate family support, for without it, it would be impossible to have quality games structures in schools. Tús maith, leath na hoibre.
Through the years, with increasing numbers, students from this school were able to hold their own in all competitions, hurling, football, camogie, athletics, soccer, rugby and basketball.
We had co-operation from Newcastle West GAA, who made the field available to us when possible but it was always a highly sought after venue. Pat Condon, Seamus Kelly and his son Mark were very co-operative. Sometimes we would have to travel out to the National School field in Ardagh where the principal, Michael Noonan was very accommodating.
There were many times when Knockaderry GAA Club and the Monagea Club obliged us at very short notice. About every eight years, Newcastle West would have to host the County Sports Meeting. When the track at Tullylease was at its prime, we used this fantastic rural facility. Marita Murphy, from Knockaderry, was also a stylish athlete and later, played soccer for Ireland.
One memorable occasion was the year after our footballers played in Croke Park, their first game the following year was played in the school field of the Vocational School Abbeyfeale. This field brought our players down to earth – both metaphorically and literally when they brought home the laurels and a lot of turf from this field on their jerseys.
Mike Daly, one of our most competitive footballers, was the epitome of what an ‘All Black’ rugby player looks like. Our most enjoyable but fairly fought close games were always against Abbeyfeale. Unfortunately for both of us, we were at the same side of the county draw regularly.
0329 : Some achievement – Past students of this school – Thomas Quaid and John Flanagan both played for Limerick against Galway in the All Ireland Senior Hurling Final in 1981.
Standing: Paul McMahon, Liam O Sullivan, Eddie Moloney, ——-, Tim Mulcahy, John Danaher, Tom Keane, — Lynch.
At the 1983 AGM Michael O’Donoghue took over at the helm as the new Chairman of the committee with Michael Scanlon chosen as the new Secretary and Pádraig Hynes as Treasurer. Michael Scanlon taught in Newcastle West. Our representative on the County Limerick Football VEC Team was Peter Moloney.
In 1984, the centenary year, the AGM discussed a request of the possibility for more P.E. teachers to be employed in the county. Also discussed for these changing times was the setting up of clubs such as mountaineering, cycling, orienteering etc.
The use of the Education Centre in Kilfinane and the natural environment for their sporting endeavors was encouraged. This year saw Cappamore host the sports in Plassey. This changed the social aspect of visiting all county schools.
Of particular note was that competition medals were inscribed and presented to the victorious teams of each event on the day. Willie Hurley and Seamus Foley represented our school on the 1984 County Limerick VEC Hurling Team. On the athletic scene this year at the County Sports Day, the success of ten years previously was revisited when we won some major shields.
U-14 Athletic Winners in NIHE Plassey Limerick from NCW Vocational School: M. Daly, M. Murphy, P. Sheedy, P. Roche, B. Copse, S. O’ Connor, B. Enright.
Overall Shield for Best School in the County went to NCW U14 Relay Team: B. O’ Brien, Ita Hennessy, Brenda O’ Grady and Catherine Siggins.
Sometimes a serious athlete was expected to compete in as many events as he or she possibly could at the County Sports. I remember Liam Shine being one of those who was always willing to oblige. Such was his generosity of spirit and selflessness that he almost collapsed after stretching himself beyond the limits of his endurance having competed in several highly competitive races.
Mr. Nash with the some of the successful athletes on their return to school.
NCW Vocational School – A large group of pupils and school teachers attended the prize giving ceremonies to honour the pupils of the NCW Vocational School after their achievements during the Co. Limerick Sports held in NIHE Limerick
from past pupil Willie Hurley, The Old Mill, NCW
from past pupil Willie Hurley, The Old Mill, NCW
Trying to rekindle some faint sparks of memory of the time I played in the tech over the last few days, more often than not lead to an enjoyable feeling and happy memory.
The few things that spring to mind are kicking and pucking around the field at the back of the school with the lads, the powerful Kevin O’Grady a few years older, the brilliant Donal O’Sullivan younger and excellent Christy Phillips and Seamie Keeffe. Along with good friends Liam Colbert and Liam O’Brien.
The big difference was I was playing with them for the school and against them at club level as Castlemahon, St Kieran’s, Kileedy, Knockaderry and Monagea were almost sworn enemies up till now.
Jim Kelleher and Richard Barry bonded us in some shape of a team and we had some success even getting to a county final against Hospital in 82 in hurling as far as I can recall.
We had a decent football team but I can’t recall any major wins. I do remember Mr. Barry taking me to county vocational trials in Croom and being picked and playing in a few games with the county team-one of my father’s proudest memories of my education years.
Indeed two of my three children have given me great enjoyment in their sporting years in the Desmond. Katy is now in College but was part of a great team who won a Munster camogie title on a terrible wet night in Martinstown a few years ago. William doing his leaving this year is part of the present Harty team.
A few years back the new school laid out a new field which is in great condition and a credit to those involved. Indeed Mike Nash has let the local camogie team use the schools facilities on occasion.
Actually when I asked the school could we start to train our U8 GAA boys team in their Gym there was no issue. “Work away” Mr. Flanagan said. So from my own fledgling sports beginnings years ago I have had boys and girls from the local GAA club use the field and Gym from u.8 boys to adult camogie girls.
Great memories still going with all Ireland medals coming through the doors in recent weeks, The future of the Desmond college is very bright indeed.
In humble appreciation, Willie Hurley
Sport played a huge part in my life
by past pupil Joe Mulcahy – Kileedy through and true written 2014
by past pupil Joe Mulcahy – Kileedy through and true written 2014
I arrived at the Tech, in September 1980. Being the last of four brothers who all attended the same school, I knew that sport would play a huge part in my life over the next few years. It wasn’t long before our new coaches Mr. Barry, Mr. Kelleher, Mr. O’Connor and Mr. McNamara got it into our heads that we were all part of a new family now ‘The Tech Family’.
Obviously like all the other 1st year boys, it was our first time playing with lads from different parishes. And this was made all the sweeter when a bus was used to carry us to all the matches we played. Being from Kileedy, a bus wasn’t seen too often on match days! Only pack us in to a few cars! The bus trips were gas, about 25 young fellas in a bus, going to Drom, Abbeyfeale, Shanagolden or somewhere else.
I remember one day, we played a game in the winter of 1981. A cold bitter day in Rathkeale.
Diarmuid Duggan St. Kierans, was playing corner back, at one stage in the second half I turned around and there was Diarmuid wearing a fine wooly cap on his head. No one seemed to say anything during the game but afterward, on the bus back to Newcastle West, someone said to Diarmuid ‘what were you doing wearing a cap?’ ‘Sure janie, wasn’t I freezing’ came the answer. We had a good win that day, and a good laugh going home.
Another day I remember playing in Dromcollogher, our best battles in my time were against Dromcolloger. But this day we played it absolutely poured out of the heavens, we could hardly hold the hurley or see the sliotar as we ran through pools of water.
The referee stopped the game after about 15 minutes and then continued soon afterwards. However, about 5 minutes into the second half, thunder and lightning eventually forced the game to be abandoned. I can’t remember who was winning, but we were all delighted going back on the bus, because we knew we would have another day out.
I have so many happy memories from those few years 1980-84 playing with so many lads. John Barrett, Oliver Kenney, John O’Connor, Maurice Browne (Kileedy), Aidan Collins and Eamon Sexton (Broadford), Joe Murphy, Donal Copse, Gerard Copse, Paul Moran, Pádraig O’Connor (Knockaderry), Billy Flavin (Monegea), Martin Downes (Rooska), Tom Murphy (Templeglantine), and from Newcastle West there was Tommy and Jerimiah Danaher, Willie Hurley, Mike Lane, Dermot Nix, Mike Browne, John Kenny, and Tony Keane.
Then from Ardagh, there was Mike Guina, Diarmuid Duggan, Pat Duggan, Brendan Duggan, James O’Brien, Liam O’Brien, Patrick Murphy and Pat Daly. Patrick Flynn and Dave Culhane were from Carrigkerry. And from Feohanagh Castlemahon Christy Philips who is now managing the Mayo senior hurlers as I earlier said Séamus and Mike Foley, John Sexton, Frances O’Keefe RIP, Mike Roche, Mike Walsh RIP, and Eamon Walsh.
Some of the characteristics of the players I had the privilege of playing with John Barrett from Kileedy was a resolute no-nonsense corner back, Aidan Collins Broadford was a very skilful hard hurler and went on to play for Limerick juniors.
The greatest character of all of them in the dressing room and everywhere else as well, was Joe Murphy from Knockaderry. He was the only person to ever tell me that he like hurling in the rain and puddle. Joe’s daughter Deborah is a top class county camogie star now. Tom Murphy Templeglantine, tough as nails and a fantastic footballer and also equally effective playing hurling.
Tommy Danaher Old Mill and NCW the best and toughest centre back I ever played with. His brother Jeramiah might be more skilful but also had that same toughness of character about him. Willie Hurley Old Mill, an all-rounder, every sport came natural to him – an absolute sportsman.
Mike Lane NCW, a very sound full back in both hurling and football, a great leader inspiring and went on to play with Limerick afterwards. James O’Brien Ardagh, the most underrated player and a great hurler. Finally Séamus Foley, from Feohanagh, he was your old style corner back, you could always depend on him, he would go through a brick wall.
One family sticks out from the rest, they would be the Foleys from Feoghanagh, I played with Séamus and Mike at the Tech, but I hurled against all of them, John, Pat, Mike, Séamus and Donal, they with Feoghanagh, and me Kileedy.
Those lads had only one thing going through their veins, and that was a ‘never say die attitude’. It was great when I was playing with them, but my God when I was playing against them it was a different story. A more genuine bunch of brothers, I will never again see.
After school – Boys to Men
Eventually when it comes, to each individual student to leave 2nd level and pursue their own career, I was lucky enough to play more hurling with some past pupils again.
In 1989 the Kantoher inter-firm team that won the county senior hurling championship, and Munster runner up to Shannon-Diamond (Clare), consisted of corner back Murty Mulcahy Kileedy who went on to win 2 all-Ireland masters with Limerick in 2002 and 2004, half-back line of Mike Barrett Drom-Broadford, John Flanagan Feohanagh and myself Joe Mulcahy Kileedy, Neily and Morris Browne Kileedy were also on that team. Mike Barrett played county junior and John Flanagan played county senior.
I was lucky enough to win nine west senior hurling championships with Kileedy, spanning over 4 decades, first in 1985, last in 2012.
But my favourite medal that I ever won was with my son Darren in 2010, when we both played on the same team to win a county junior B hurling championship with Kileedy. Darren was half back and I was half forward (the wing forwards were always the liveliest on the field).
Newcastle West U16 VEC who took part in the County Final.
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Jean Siggins and Valerie Cunningham were prize-winners at the County Athletic Finals.
Ken Moran, Knockaderry had an outstanding game in the West Under 21 Football Final.
Discussed at the 1986 AGM were suggestions that sporting celebrities be invited to talk to the students. Further to this it was suggested that videos of sporting endeavors should also be used to stimulate interest in sport.
Michael O’Dwyer, NCW Vocational School who was chosen as this year’s Best Overall Sportsman at the County Limerick Vocational Sports in Abbeyfeale. Michael was a very quiet unassuming student and a very gifted athlete.
December ’86. The winning team in the U14 VEC County Cross Country Finals in Rathkeale. L – R Standing: Michael Dowling, Pat Lane, John Corbett and Michael Quaid. Front Row: Maurice Hurley, Brendan McGrath and Darren Dowling.
At the 1987 AGM, Mr Rushe expressed his opinion that games were an antidote to depressing times being experienced by young people and the CLCG played a vital role in shaping young people’s minds and pledged continued support and encouragement.
In 1987, the astute correspondent, the late Michael Hanley of Rathkeale wrote the following piece for The Observer.
Michael Hanley set high standards as local prolific photographer and correspondent. His detailed yet crisp reports were always very encouraging and constructive – no matter what the sport was or the age group he was referring to.
U.14 girls: Valerie Cunningham NCW won gold in the 100m, 200m 600m, and silver in the 400m. J Siggins silver 100m, gold in 60m. The relay team won silver.
U.16 girls: Valerie Cunningham silver in 100m, B O’Brien won bronze in 100m, S Sheehan won silver in the 400m, and C Nolan won silver in 800m. The relay team won silver medals.
U.18 girls: B O Brien won bronze in the 100m, P Roche gold in the high jump. The girls performed brilliantly in the relay to win gold.
U. 14 boys: D Cotter 3rd in 1500m, 2nd in 3000m. The relay team won silver with M. Dowling, J Corbett. J Corbett won silver in the long jump.
Girls from NCW Vocational School who competed in the Athletics Finals: Included in picture are Sharon Sheehan, Breda O’Brien, Noreen Barry, Joanne Noonan, Eileen Flavin, Valerie Cunningham, Jean Siggins, and Liza Singh.
This group of girls who ran for the school in the 80’s with Sharon O’Connor and Ita Hennessy were probably the best group of athletes we ever had. Breda at one stage established a Munster record at the Munster Secondary Schools Field and Track Championships.
April 1987 Newcastle West Vocational School defeated Hospital in the County VEC Final.
Back:John Peter Cremin, Tom Delee, Tom Shanahan, Jimmy Lacey, Mike Quaid, Peter Keogh, Martin O’Donovan, Seamus Keogh, Terry McGowan, Barry Purcell, Pat Lane.
by Mike Quaid Feohanagh
by Mike Quaid Feohanagh
Mike Quaid, Feohanagh, wrote the following profiles of some of the players he knew and played against.
“When I first started in the Vocational School it was Mr. Barry, Mr. Kelleher and Mr. McNamara that got us in to the GAA. Our biggest rivals back then were Hospital but we came out on top on a few occasions. Games like those, made us grow up and taught us about team work and working together. It definitely helped me to get what I achieved in my GAA career.
I remember at school, Dan Culhane ran a football tournament for a few weeks at lunch time and it was brilliant. It brought out the best in a lot of players as there was a lot of bragging rights with a lot of rival clubs involved.
I went onto represent my county in both hurling and football. Most definitely being involved with different players from different clubs at schools level helped me to interact with players when I went to the county scene.
I looked up to a lot of players when I first went to school and always said I wanted to be like them. The likes of Donie Sullivan, Sheamie O’Keeffe, Joe Quaid, Pat Quaid from my club and then you had the likes of Mike Murphy from St.Kieran’s and John Power from Newcastle West. They were powerful men and men you looked up to.
As for my classmates we had a great bond on and off the field which is very important even though we were from different parishes. When we went back to take on the Vocational School of Abbeyfeale as a team we put on our jersey as one and there was only going to be one winner.
We had the likes of Jack Cremin a very strong young man with great hands and wrists – the opposition’s backs used to find it hard to stop him with his strength. Also from NCW you had the two Tonys – Doyle and Aherne. They were the best of friends but they also had two great engines in them and would go all day for you. I will stay with NCW and a few more players were Terry McGowan and Derek Power, two dynamics and we always got great scores out of them which is very important for a team.
It was very reassuring for backs to know that they had great players in the forward line that could win the ball and make good use of it. We also had Mike O’Brien who was another fine footballer and hurler from St Kieran’s and also had a great engine and a good brain on the field as well.
On a team of young fellas you also needed protection and intimidation and that was brought in abundance with the two Keogh brothers. Two big men but could also hurl. Peter was a lively man and had only one thing in his head when he had the ball and that was go straight for goal and God help you if you tried to stop him – he was a great bit of stuff.
Seamus played on the other side of the field stopping what was trying to score against us and did a great job of it. At the backs we had Seanie Hartnett – he had the heart of a lion and unreal skill. For such a small man, he was a fella I looked up to. On the hurling field he had all the skills – blocking hooking striking and fielding.
Martin O Donovan was another great athlete and could turn his hand to anything – athletics, soccer, hurling and football. He was a true athlete and had always one thing in his head – winning. I also had great mates on that team, the likes of Jimmy Lacey, Tom Shanahan and Tom Delee. They were probably were more interested in agricultural things but once they came onto the field they gave it everything, 100%”.
From that team above, Tony Doyle, Martin Donovan, Tom Aherne and Mike Quaid went onto play for the Limerick VEC in Senior Hurling and won a Munster Medal. They went on to beat Dublin but lost to Antrim in the All – Ireland Final.
Mr. Barry recalls, “on one occasion we travelled by train on Saturday morning to play in an All-Ireland Inter County Vocational Hurling Final. On the same day, Ireland and England were playing each other in The Triple Crown in Lansdowne Road. The train was crowded with rugby supporters. We had a separate carriage booked but due to some confusion this did not materialize. We had to sit among the rugby fraternity with our gear and hurleys. One Irish enthusiast commented – if we could use those (the hurleys) in in Lansdowne Road we’ll surely win”.
0347 : Winning team at the RDS Young Scientists exhibition in 1990 were Michael Daly (teacher), Séamus Carmody, Michael Quaid, and Keith Massey.