Month: April 2014

Who will be the next Manchester United Manager

Posted on Updated on

After the not entirely unexpected announcement of the end of David Moyes’ reign as Manchester United manager today, a short-list has been drawn up of potential candidates for the job vacancy.  There is no doubt Sir Alex Ferguson was going to be a difficult act to follow and, in the past, a similar vacuum existied after the retirement of another United management legend – Sir Matt Busby.  Busby, like Ferguson, was promoted “upstairs” into the directors box and his presence there cast a long shadow over the efforts of the future incumbents in the dug out.


Just by way of remembering, what happened, it is worth summarising the events that followed Busby’s retirement and seeing how similar, thus far, they mirror Ferguson’s legacy :-

1969-70 season

Busby (a club legend) retires and chooses his successor, Wilf McGuinness.  Manchester honours Busby by naming a road after him.


1970-71 season

McGuinness struggled in his new post, however, and Busby was convinced to return for the second half of the 1970–71 season but retired from football permanently that summer.

1971-72 season

Busby succeeded that summer by Frank O’Farrell who’s stay was short-lived through his inability to control George Best’s extravagances forced the board to sack him with three years still to run on his contract and United languishing in the bottom half of the old First Division table.

1972-73 season

O’Farrell’s replacement was to be Scotland coach, Tommy Docherty, and his first task at United was to keep the club in the top flight – which he did.

1973-74 season

Manchester United were relegated in 1973–74 and the new team emerging was Liverpool, winning the league that year, as well as the old UEFA Cup. Liverpool would go on to a decade of dominance while Manchester United entered a period of decline and disappointment.

1974-75 season

Manchester United bounced straight back up, as Division 2 champions

1975-76 season

In their first season back in the top flight, United cruised to a third place finish and yet another FA Cup final – albeit beaten finalists.

1976-77 season

Docherty went one better in 1977 when his United team beat Liverpool in the FA Cup Final to claim his first and only trophy at Old Trafford. It was soon discovered, however, that Docherty was having an affair with the wife of the club’s physiotherapist, and he was immediately fired, replaced by Queens Park Rangers’ manager Dave Sexton.

1977-81 seasons

Sexton remained in the United job for four years, but was unable to produce any silverware, and was replaced in 1981 by Ron Atkinson.

1981-86 seasons

Atkinson was able to rekindle the club’s cup success, leading his side to two FA Cups in his five-year tenure. He also oversaw a series of respectable finishes in the league, but after his disastrous start to the 1986–87 season, he was sacked

1986-2013 seasons

The most successful period in the history of Manchester United but not enough space to list them all here.  At the end of the 2012-13 season, Ferguson (the new club legend) retires and chooses his successor, David Moyes.  Like Busby before him, the City of Manchester names a road after him.


2013-14 season

Moyes struggled in his new post and is sacked 4 games before the end of a disappointing season for a Manchester United club that has dominated both England and, arguably, Europe for almost 2 decades.

Now the three big questions re history repeating itself:

2014-15 season

a) will Ferguson come back?

b) will United recruit Gordon Strachan – a former United icon and current Scotland manager?

c) what current United player will transfer to City and score the goal that relegates United into the Championship 4 years from now?


Vote for your favourite to succeed Moyes as Manchester United manager:



Royal patronage for Guinness World Welly Run in Killarney on May 11

Posted on Updated on

Meath has always been known as the Royal County on account of it being the fifth, or middle kingdom and, traditionally, the seat of the old High Kings of Ireland.  Nowadays, Meath is much smaller than it was in mythical times but the only kingdom left is now the Kingdom of Kerry.

With all of the arguments and wars over who was the rightful king, the cute people of Kerry elect a new king every year – and to avoid arguments – its a goat!   Yes, folks, every year at the Puck Fair in Kilorglin, Co Kerry, they elect a big Puck (or Billy) goat as their king and crown him in Killorglin.  In Irish, this translates as Aonach an Phoic, meaning “Fair of the He-Goat”, ‘poc’ being the irish for a male goat – be careful about how you pronounce this!


So, the nearest thing to royalty in the Kingdom of Kerry nowadays are the heroes of old who wore the famous green and gold jersey of Kerry.  Seamus Moynihan and John Crowley fit this description, with 11 SF All-Ireland and 16 Munster SF medals between them.


Seamus Moynihan and John Crowley along with Michael O’ Mahony of Rentokil (Sponsor of World Welly Run)

As can be seen from the above photo, local Glenflesk legends Seamus Moynihan and John Crowley along with Michael O’ Mahony of Rentokil have already been warming up for their Club’s Guinness world record attempt.  Will it be a manic dash over 1km, or a gentile walk through a small section of the picturesque National Park in Killarney ?  The participants have a choice.

The big day is on Sunday 11 May and we are all hopeful that the good folk of Killarney and all the glens around will be at the INEC. Killarney to help us break the Guinness world record of 1,976 participants – achieved by the City of Ketchikan, in Ketchikan, Alaska, on 18th May 2013.  No mention is made of a ‘time’ for 1,000m in wellies, but we must assume that Tyler Nutter (who won the race) ran like the the wind.

For those not familiar with the two men in ‘civilian clothing’ above, perhaps the photo’s and sporting biographies below will remind you of the many achievements of these two Glenflesk men in their glory days.

GAA - Moynahan 1
Seamus Moynihan

Seamus is a former Kerry footballer from Shronedarraugh, a townland half way between Barraduff and Glenflesk.  He had a long and distinguished playing career, making appearances for St Brendan’s College, Glenflesk, East Kerry, University College Cork, Institute of Technology Tralee, Kerry Minor, U21 and Senior teams, Munster Railway Cup side and Ireland International Rules Football team.  He was a long-serving member of the Kerry Senior Football Panel from 1992 to 2006.

During his long career, Séamus Moynihan won four All-Ireland medals, three National Leagues, nine Munster championship medals, four Sigerson Cup medals, three GAA All-Stars, one Railway Cup medal and one Division 2 title.

He also won three county championship medals with East Kerry and captained his country in the International Rules series.

GAA - John Crowley
John Crowley

John Crowley is another famous Kerry footballer who played with with the Glenflesk and Bishopstown clubs, East Kerry divisional side and Kerry county team at both Junior and Senior level.

With the East Kerry team, Crowley won three consecutive Kerry Senior Football Championship titles from 1997 to 1999, starring on the side along with fellow Glenflesk and Kerry player Séamus Moynihan.  He was was a replacement for Kerry when they won the Munster SF Championship in 1996.  John went on to win another six Munster SF titles – starting in four final victories and appearing as a sub in three others.  The winning years were 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 03 and 2004.  Kerry were beaten by Cork in 1999 and 2002.

During John’s career with Kerry at senior level, they also won the National Football League in 1997 and 2004, and they won the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship in 1997, 2000 and 2004.  Crowley also appeared for the Munster provincial selection in four Railway Cup matches.  He also played with the Irish international rules team in 2001.

John Crowley was the Kerry captain in 1999, selected for the All-Stars team in 2000 and 2001.  He has also won Munster and All-Ireland medals at Vocational Schools level with Kerry, as well as an All Ireland Junior Championship in 1994.

It will be interesting to see how these two men perform in wellies on Sunday 11 May at the Guinness world record “welly race” at Killarney.


The Glenflesk GAA world record attempt is generating a lot of chat on social media, so …

Follow us and RT on Twitter at: 

Follow us, Like and Share on Facebook at:


and they have just produced a welly music video –


The great Welly Race of Glenflesk preparations are in full swing

Posted on Updated on

Today, in the picturesque village of Glenflesk, a reporter from BskyB parked his car on the forecourt of the local petrol filling station – the local pubs being closed at that hour of the morning.  The team captains from all the local parishes were present for the inaugural meeting of the Glenflesk GAA Welly Challenge.

Local Garda units were present (as a precautionary measure), as were the Order of Malta, Irish Blood Transfusion Board, the Samaritans and a battalion of African Union-UN Hybrid Operation returning from Darfur (UNAMID) and on their way to another UN Peacekeeping mission in Limerick, via Finglas in Dublin.

The Glenflesk team, represented by Dara Roche, Jeff O’Donoghue, Michael O’Shea and Cian Horan, who quipped that his team are now so fast and agile that they are catching red deer as they do laps of Mangerton Mountain in the mornings before they go to work. He also added that they are using the same training pitch where their 1982 Minor team prepared for the 1982 Kerry MF Championship. It was here, on the bare rocky slopes of Carrauntoohill (to the west of the Devil’s Ladder), that men become men … and the rest are advised to take up golf !


The Dr Crokes team captain, Eoin Brosnan, not to be out-done, mentioned that his team are “as fit as fleas” from constantly lifting Kerry and Munster Club Championships, and shouldering him off the pitch after each final. He also boasted that Crokes were “the only club in Killarney hard enough to have a hurling team” so he didn’t think winning a welly run in the “soft month of May” was beyond them.

The Spa team captain, Niall O Mahony, said “the only reason the Glenflesk boys are catching deer is because we’ve already caught all of the fast ones – sure there’s only the one’s with foot rot left up there now. The Glenflesk lads are welcome to the sickly slow ones.”

Kilcummin was represented by Brendan Kealy and he was at pains to point out that his squad for the Glenflesk Welly Run would have the new Michelin GTX Fire Fly radial wellies and would prove to be a very difficult team to beat – especially at the pit stops.

The Legion were represented on the hillside by Brian Kelly who was recently named in the Daily Mail Future Champions team. He didn’t say much about the Welly Run or how Legion were going to do on the 11th of May but, in fairness, he did produce a nice Powerpoint presentation re their 5 Year Development plan – which will be launched during the course of the Club Awards Night next Sunday April 20th.

The local hermit – a wild raggedy man, usually only glimpsed in the dim light of the hour just after dawn, was in the village to oversee the ceremony. He’s not usually seen because of the horde of flies that follow him and break up his outline, along with the mane of long, red hair down to his patchwork quilt trousers. We’re not sure if these were a gift from an American golfer in the 1920’s or just down to there being more patches than trousers left.


Apparently, it was the first time he had left the mountain since he sang for the Queen upon her first royal visit to Ireland – no, not Liz … for Victoria in 1849 when she was in Killarney! Rumour has it, he has the first welly’s imported into Ireland – a pair brought here for testing by Hiram Hutchinson in the 1850s.

Anyways … I digress … he didn’t seem too comfortable in the company of lowlanders, so he suggested we have the meeting back in the mountains. In an effort to see how committed BskyB were to Gaelic games, the hermit suggested the BskyB man cover a game of on the upper slopes of Carrantouhill – to Glenflesk’s training pitch.

The BskyB man didn’t appear to be very well versed in the nuances of Gaelic games (or the GAA) since he asked those present if they preferred playing 4-4-2, 4-3-3 or 5-4-1, how they were coping with the new offside rule, and if they thought Glasgow Celtic should be allowed play in the English Premiership on account of the fact that two bunches of Welsh gits were doing so already.

The team captains from Firies, Fossa, Gneeveguilla, Listry, Rathmore, Scartaglin and St Patricks didn’t make it up the Devil’s Ladder but they did issue a press release via the alternative to Twitter in Kerry called Twaddle – allegedly named after the quality of the content. We do, however, hope to see them on the 11th May where the mantra will be “may the divil take the hindmost.” Hopefully, the Kerry Mountain Rescue service will have released THEM by May 11th.

Not to be outdone by their local rivals, Glenflesk PRO: Áine Ni Shuilleabhain, also issued a press release (via her new iPhone) to the effect that “Although the GAA has today confirmed that the wearing of coloured boots will now be an automatic black card offence (following on from rule changes which were implemented at a recent Ard Chomhairle meeting), the wearing of coloured wellies at the forthcoming World Welly Run at the INEC, Killarney would be permitted – nay, positively encouraged.”


And so started the long descent from the mountain – amid the usual multi-stranded debate re WHO is the best club in East Kerry and if someone from Kerry will EVER win the EuroMillions???

See you on May 11th


Follow us and RT on Twitter at:

Follow us, Like and Share on Facebook at:

and they have just produced a welly music video –




World record attempt by Glenflesk GAA Club in Killarney on May 11th

Posted on Updated on

On Sunday, May 11th 2014 at 12 noon at the INEC, Killarney – the Glenflesk GAA Club will host a world record attempt at the most people to take part in a 1km welly run – that’s 5/8th of a mile in old money !

So, get your wellies on and help smash the Guinness World Record for the largest wellie run.


I have no connection whatsoever with the Glenflesk GAA Club but, upon seeing their ambitious target felt that any world record attempt in Ireland is a cause worth promoting. Ok, ok, in my murky past I do admit to have played Gaelic Football.  And I firmly believe that the smaller rural clubs are the heart and soul of the GAA, so when a small, community-based club with a loyal and dedicated following like Glenflesk try to do something like this, I believe everyone should try to get involved – especially in terms of turning up on the day and being able to say, “I was a part of that world record” at Glenflesk.

Three themes are running here (pun intended) and they are :-

a) the Glenflesk GAA Club

b) Wellington boots

c) a brisk, invigorating run (or a gentile, leisurly walk) through a short section of the beautiful National Park near Killarney, Co Kerry – one of the most picturesque areas in Ireland


Glenflesk is a small, rural village just southeast of Killarney, Co Kerry.  The inhabitants enjoy breathtaking views of the mountains including the Paps, Crohnane, Mangerton and the world famous McGillicuddys Reeks with Carrauntoohil – Ireland’s highest peak standing at 3,414 feet high.  With a landscape and scenery like this, it comes as no surprise that it was almost €450,000 will be granted to fund a proposed “international standard” mountain biking trail close to Glenflesk.


Glenflesk St Agatha’s GAA Club was founded in 1951 and plays intermediate football in the East Kerry League.  Achievements include :-

  • East Kerry Senior Football Champions: 1988, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2001
  • Kerry County Club Champions: 2000
  • Kerry Minor Football Champions (with Spa): 1982
  • Guinness World Record 2014  ???

The club logo includes St Agatha’s parish church and Flesk Castle.  St Agatha’s Church, built c. 1860 iin Gothic Revival style.  Flesk Castle was built in the early decades of the 19th C and is also known locally as Glenflesk Castle or Coltsmann’s Castle.  A gentleman by the name of Daniel C. Coltsmann was in possession of Flesk Castle at the time of Griffith’s Valuation when it was valued at £50.  Lewis (in his famous Topographical Dictionary of 1837) records it as the seat of J. Coltsmann and it continued in the Coltsmann family and their descendents until the early 20th century when it was sold to Major John McGillycuddy.  In 1943 the Irish Tourist Association survey noted that “its tall fantastic turrets dominate the countryside”.  It was then in the possession of Anthony McGillycuddy.


Wellington boots are a type of boot based upon leather Hessian boots, as worn and popularised by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington – most famous in Ireland for helping the Catholic Emancipation Bill of 1829 pass through parliament.Although born and raised in Ireland, Wellesley apparently didn’t like being called an Irishman – famously being quoted as saying “being born in a stable, doesn’t make one a horse”.  Interestingly, Wellesley himself also holds a record – as the most decorated soldier in the history of the British Army.

The Duke of Wellington instructed his shoemaker, Hoby of St. James’s Street, London, to modify the 18th-century Hessian boot and the new boot was fabricated in soft calfskin leather, had the trim removed and was cut to fit more closely around the leg. The heels were low cut, stacked around an inch (2.5 cm), and the boot stopped at mid-calf.  It was suitably hard-wearing for battle, yet comfortable for the evening.  The boot was dubbed the Wellington by his troops and the name has stuck in English ever since


This novel “Wellington” boot became a staple of hunting and outdoor wear for the British aristocracy in the early 19th century.  Wellington boots are also known as rubber boots, wellies, wellingtons, topboots, billy-boots, gumboots, gumbies, gummies, rainboots, gavin’s, and Alaskan Sneakers.

The current world record for a “welly run” is (ironically) held by a city in Alaska. It involved 1,976 participants and was achieved by the City of Ketchikan, in Ketchikan, Alaska, on 18th May 2013. A gentleman by the name of Tyler Nutter won the race.

Wellington boots were at first made of leather but in 1852 Hiram Hutchinson met Charles Goodyear, who had just invented the vulcanization process for natural rubber.  Goodyear decided to manufacture tyres, Hutchinson bought the patent to manufacture footwear and moved to France to establish À l’Aigle (“to the Eagle”) in 1853, to honour his home country. The company today is simply called “AIGLE”, “Eagle”).

In mid-19th C France, almost 95% of the population were working on fields with wooden clogs and when the wholly waterproof, Wellington-type rubber boot – it became an instant success: farmers would be able to come back home with clean, dry feet.  Irish farmers were just as pleased and they are the ubiquitous symbol of rural Ireland.  We might drive different types of car, we might play different sports, we might not even be farmers … but we ALL own a pair of wellies !

I will post a picture (or two) of a Wellington Boot every day from now until the 11th of May, when the World Welly Run takes place.

Follow me on Twitter @GAA_Corner.


World Record Welly Run

I’ve done a quick bit of research and it seems that this is a very popular event, with lots of places throughout the world trying to bring home a new world record for racing in wellies.  With wellies being the footwear of choice for most farmers in every country in the world, the competition is fairly hot. I don’t have any winning times so, obviously, this is a participation and family fun event.

2010 – Ballybrit, Galway, Ireland

1,300 participants (YouTube)

2012 – Lincolnshire, England

1,366 particpants

2013 – Ketchikan, Alaska, USA

1,976 participants / winner: Tyler Nutter

2014 – Glenflesk, Co Kerry, Ireland

2,000 participants (target)

Meanwhile, please follow the Glenflesk GAA Club and their campaign to attract more runners for their WorldWellyRun on Twitter.

Please also visit and “like” the Glenflesh GAA and World Welly Run on Facebook.

Most, importantly, turn up on the day and take part in this world record attempt !

Wear your club or county colours and make it a great GAA day out.

Everyone is welcome and all ages can join in.


and they have just produced a welly music video –



The Wild Atlantic Way

Posted on


I often wondered why so many people from the USA, Canada and even from the UK and Europe come to Ireland and use coach tours to discover it. I used to take so much for granted. I have lived most of my life in south Co Dublin and have had the mountains of Wicklow and the plains of Kildare on my doorstep. I played sport and quietly enjoyed the car trips to the ‘away’ games to the point of simply not appreciating how nice it was to grow up here.

Then I did all of the usual things – graduated from university, worked for a while in Ireland and emigrated. Working and travelling throughout the world, whenever I came back to Ireland I began to take a little more interest in the historical landscape I grew up in. In 2003, I returned to Ireland.

Nowadays, I have an American wife and a 10 year old son and they just love exploring Ireland. My mother-in-law, whenever she visited, used to go on and on about the wild ferns and the stonewalls … and the loose farm animals that wander along the side of the road, grazing ‘the long acre’ and seeming oblivious to the many cars that slow down to get past them. 

Both America and Canada do have a fabulous wealth of historical and archaeological sites but they are spread thinly throughout a vast, often inaccessible landscape. The advantage we have here in Ireland is that we are on a small island and our sites are relatively close together – something not always appreciated by the Irish themselves.  This, it seems, is why the tourists love Ireland so much.

Fáilte Ireland are now promoting a new tourist train – the Wild Atlantic Way – Ireland’s first long-distance touring route, stretching along the Atlantic coast from Malin Head in Co Donegal to Mizen Head in West Co Cork. The route includes over 500 visitor attractions, as well as 53 Blue Flag beaches, 120 golf courses and 50 loop walks – a cultural tourist’s dream – with thousands of Irish restaurants, hotels and pubs along the way.


We’ve come a long way since the late 1980s when I left Ireland in terms of food tourism and the sheer range of wild and farmed foods is astounding. Every county in Ireland now has luxury and specialist food production, cookery schools for all levels and ambitions. The arts, crafts and leisure industries have not stayed behind either and nowadays Ireland hosts cultural, heritage, adventure and nature tourists from all over the world.

To drive the mazy 2,500km (or 1,560 miles) of jagged coastline in one trip would be truly ambitious, so the folks in Fáilte Ireland are marketing it to the coach tour industry and report that 15 major tour operators in Germany, America, Britain and France have already begun marketing holidays to the Wild Atlantic Way – which should bring tens of thousands of visitors in its first year. The immensely successful “Gathering of 2013” brought huge numbers of the Irish Diaspora ‘home’ for the first time, so it will be interesting to see how this venture compares.

Obviously, the indigenous Irish coach tour operators are not far behind in their efforts to attract new customers and their challenge will be to entice people with a range of scenic, heritage, cultural and historical content – utilising their intimate knowledge of the local landscape and the best of Irish hotels and places to eat or drink.


Other perspectives:

We will captivate your imagination and bring you the authentic story of Ireland.

by Pure Ireland Experience, Escorted coach tour operator with 5 exhilarating scenic, historical and cultural tours


Driving the Wild Atlantic Way on the West Coast of Ireland

by Don Mankin, Travel writer, blogger and author




Who are the oldest surviving Gaelic Games clubs in Ireland?

Posted on Updated on

Prior to 1884, there were no GAA clubs because the GAA did not exist before that date.  However, this does not mean that Gaelic games were not played, or that some form of organisation did not exist.  Some for of organisation must have existed in order for teams to play against one another.  It also required some form of organisation to define the rules but these rules differed from place to place, and this is probably one of the reasons Gaelic games were struggling from the mid-19th C to the beginning of the 20th C.

In 1884, when the GAA was formed, it’s founders were more interested in athletics and other (similar) sports than in Gaelic football, hurling, camogie or handball.  Michael Cusack et al formed an ‘athletic association’ of healthy Irishmen (primarily working men) and their sporting interests – which centred on athletics.

This is graphically illustrated in 1888 when, as a fundraiser for the GAA’s Tailteann Games, they staged “the invasion” of the USA when they sent athletes over to America to compete in various events there – while the fledgling All-Ireland Championships in Gaelic football and hurling were cancelled.  To add insult to injury, due to a split within American athletics and bad weather amongst other reasons, the tour was not a success, losing money for the GAA – and 17 of the 51 who travelled to the USA, remained there.

The GAA rapidly evolved into a nationalist organisation that tried to define and control sports that were recommended as being appropriate for nationalists.  They quickly dropped their focus on athletics and began to organise Gaelic football and hurling.

Obviously, this caused problems. People resigned or were ousted. There was an IRB takeover and nationalist politics took over.  The GAA later tried to evolve into a non-political, non-sectarian organisation whose primary interest was sport.  Over the next 130 years it would truly achieve that but that is not the topic for today.  This blog is devoted to those Gaelic football and hurling clubs that existed before 1884 and still survive today.

So, what was happening before 1884 in the world of Gaelic games?

Yes, there must have been pre-existing clubs which affiliated to the GAA in late 1884 and throughout 1885.  However, some records show that these were pre-existing athletic and rugby clubs.  An example of this would be Laune Rangers in Killorglin (Co Kerry), which was a rugby club until late 1887 when its members decided to forgo rugby and instead affiliate as a Gaelic football club under the auspices of the recently formed Gaelic Athletic Association.

It is a matter of record that :-

  • Inter-village and, occasionally, inter-county hurling matches flourished throughout the 19th century.
  • In the early 1880’s Cusack turned his attentions to indigenous Irish sports.
  • In 1882 he attended the first meeting of the Dublin Hurling Club, formed ‘for the purpose of taking steps to re-establish the national game of hurling’.
  • The weekly games of hurling, in the Phoenix Park, became so popular that, in 1883, Cusack had sufficient numbers to found ‘Cusack’s Academy Hurling Club’ which, in turn, led to the establishment of the Metropolitan Hurling Club.
  • On Easter Monday 1884 the Metropolitans played Killiomor, in Galway. The game had to be stopped on numerous occasions as the two teams were playing to different rules.  It was this clash of styles that convinced Cusack that not only did the rules of the games need to be standardised but that a body must be established to govern Irish sports.

Back as far as the 17th C, hurling was a prominent sport, patronised by landlords and aristocracy.  This period became known as ‘the Golden Age of Hurling’ and lasted until the early years of the 19th C.  At this time, teams were organised from the tenants of landowners, with a valuable purse of money for the winners and large ‘side wagers’ placed on the result.  Teams were 21-a-side, the pitch was rectangular and had goalposts with crossbars.  There were field positions such as goalkeeper, backs and forwards and were subject to strict rules.

With the rise of the United Irishmen at the end of the 18th C, distrust developed between the landowners and the common people. In 1801, Ireland effectively became part of Britain with the Act of  Union and traditional culture was not encouraged.   The relationship that had helped hurling develop gradually eroded and the Great Famine in the 1840’s added to the decline of the game.  By 1860’s, hurling was in decline and in danger of fading away completely.


Pre-1884 Gaelic Games Time Line

1366 – The Statutes of Kilkenny “ordainc’d that the commons of the said land of lreland use not henceforth the game which men call hurling, with great clubs and ball upon the ground.” Despite this ban, the game seems to have survived in Kilkenny.

1527 – Another attempt at banning the game of hurling occurred in 1527, when a Statute of Galway proscribed “the Horlings  of the little Balle with hooky stickes.” It is thought that hooky is the origin of the word hockey but it must be remembered that ‘hooking’ is stil a much valued skill in modern day hurling.

1587 – Lord Chancellor William Gerrarde was forced to reprimand the English settlers of the Munster Plantation for playing the native game of hurling.

1753It is recorded that the first Tipperary v Cork hurling match took place at Glenagoul, Kildinan, in a field now owned by the Walsh family. The local Landlord, Barrymore, more or less sponsored his local team to play against one backed by another landlord from Tipperary.

1792 – ’a hurling match took place in the Phoenix Park’, Dublin in front of a vast ‘concourse of spectators’, with ‘much agility and athletic contention, until the spectators forced into the playing ground’. (King 2005, p. 18)

1806 – In the poem Iomán Innis Chaoin, there`s reference to a hurling match that took place between Inniskeen (Monaghan) and a team from Louth in 1806. The Inniskeen club was officially formed in 1883. Apparently the Louth team arrived with their hurls strapped to a donkey and the start had to be delayed because the Monagan lads threw the donkey in the river.

1810 – Trinity College Hurling Club played games in College Park, Dublin

1827 – Callan (Kilkenny) a game was reported as, ‘It was a good game. The sticks were being brandished like swords. Hurling is a war-like game. The west side won the first match and the east the second. You could hear the sticks striking the ball from one end of the Green to the other’ (diaries of Amhlaoibh Ó Súilleabháin).

1839 – On 6th January, Bonniconlon (Mayo) played a hurling match against Attymass (Mayo) in Lag na Buachailli Baire in Carrareagh, a long low hollow off the Bofield road which now belongs to Michael Foy.  Both of these clubs affiliated with the GAA in 1889.

1860Beann Éadair (Dublin)

1863Ballygarvan (Cork)

1871 – Dublin University (Trinity College) Hurling Club

1879 – The first meeting of a Irish Hurling Union was held in House 17 of Botany Bay in Trinity College – a forerunner of Dublin University Hockey Club.  It was from this this club that the famous club colours of green and black were inherited.  The Hurling Club, incidentally, counted amongst its members one Edward Carson, later to make his name in an entirely different field.  The DU Hockey Club was not founded until 1893, so the idea that this club was really a hockey club is somewhat dubious.

1882 – Kanturk (Cork), Dublin Hurling Club (Dublin),

1883 – Athlone (Roscommon or Westmeath), Burt (Donegal), Inniskeen (Monaghan), Killiomor (Galway), Metropolitan Hurling Club (Dublin),


Time Line from 1884 onwards

1884Clara (Offaly), Croom (Cork), Meelick Eyrecourt (Galway), Round Towers, Clondalkin (Dublin), South Liberties (Limerick), Tullaroan (Kilkenny)


Economic benefits of re-vamping the National League & All-Ireland Championship ?

Posted on Updated on

The opening rounds of this year’s championship took place last weekend and already, several counties have been eliminated from their provincial championship and face a back-door ficture that might end their season with just 2 games played.

Is this what they trained for?  All those wet, windy nights in January, February and March … 2 championship games?

I believe its time for change.  Should we be thinking about rewarding the winners of each division of the National Leagues (and those promoted to higher divisions) with a ‘seeding’ in a re-vamped All-Ireland Championship?

The National Leagues have traditionally been a testing ground for the stronger counties – the mantra from Kerry football fans and Kilkenny hurling fans has always been “its only the League, it’ll be a different story come the Championship”.

Well, its about time the League gained more status and, by that, I mean become a seeding competition for the All-Ireland Championships.

If the top 8 places were top seeds, the next 8 second seeds, the next 8 third seeds and the next 8 bottom seeds, we’d have 8 groups of four for the Championship – with each team playing home and away. Between hurling and football, every county would have 6 big weekends in June/July and have a chance to play a top team twice a season!

When is the last time a team from Clare, Leitrim, London or Waterford played football against the Dubs at Croke Park?

Have Antrim, Carlow, Leitrim, London or Wicklow ever played football against Cork at mighty Páirc Uí Chaoimh, or against Tipperary in the magnificent Semple Stadium?

In hurling, have Donegal, Fermanagh, Leitrim, Monaghan, Roscommon, Sligo, Tyrone or Warwickshire ever played against Kilkenny or Tipperary or Cork?  If we are to ever get these teams to improve, they must be allowed to play against top class opposition on a regular basis.

Clare and Tipperary footballers won promotion this year to Div 3 of the NFL. Congratulations to each squad on their achievement but wouldn’t it be nice for them if they were to host a top team from another province in June/July?

What’s the point of building a motorway all the way from Dublin to Ennis (via Limerick) if the sky blue horde can’t invade the place for a weekend in June?

Think of the extra business it would mean for publicans, hoteliers and restaurateurs in Donegal, Fermanagh, Leitrim, Monaghan, Roscommon, Sligo, Tyrone and Warwickshire if they were to host hurling fans from Kilkenny or Tipperary or Cork?

Taking London and Warwickshire as an example of how to spread the game abroad, think of the thousands Kilkenny or Tipperary or Cork diaspora that live in or near London and Warwickshire that would love to see their native counties play hurling there. This would develop a whole new market for the GAA.

Think about how many Leinster, Munster and Ulster rugby fans are based in England and rarely, if ever, see their teams play at home. Then think about the great atmosphere they help create at the away games. The GAA could truly become international in terms of both fans and players.

Would London GAA fill Wembly or Twickenham for a hurling championship match against Cork, Kilkenny or Tipperary?

Would London GAA fill one of these stadiums for a football championship game versus Dublin, Kerry or Mayo?

We were all amazed at how Leinster and Munster filled Croke Park for a rugby match – wouldn’t it be great if two Gaelic football teams or two hurling teams did the same in London at the HQ of another sport???

A European Champions League format would be very exciting and generate lots of extra cash for the GAA.

For a more in-depth view of the many sporting, social and economic benefits, see my blog post at