Hurling In West Connemara

In 1928 a newly formed hurling and football club called the Clifden Shamrocks affiliated to the West Board.  At a meeting in the Town Hall, Galway, on May 26th that year, Mr. T. J. Flemming, the Clifden Shamrocks secretary read out a letter stating that the following officers had been appointed with the club;  Gearoid Mac Partolain (Chairperson), Ernest D. Moran (Treasurer) and Michael J. Lavelle (President).  West Board Chairperson Tom Kenny welcomed the advent of the new club and said that it was good to see such a project in Clifden.

Clifden Win After Strenuous Game With Castlegar

Clifden 5-1, Castlegar 4-1

The replay of the Clifden v Castlegar junior hurling match took place at Oughterard on Sunday, January 6th.  The match was fixed to commence at 2pm and both teams fielded to time.  The day was bitterly cold and as a result, the number of spectators was small.  The sod was very hard and rough, consequent on the preceding week’s frost, factors which went to make ball and foot control a matter of no little difficulty.

The Clifden men had the advantage of ground and breeze during the first half, but failed to make any impression on the Castlegar defence.  The only flag raised by Clifden during the opening moiety was a minor scored from a neat puck by M. Lyden.  Castlegar, who are apparently in winning vein, played a vigorous and determined game, and scored three majors and a minor during this half.  The fact that Castlegar’s score was not much higher at the change of sides was due to the sterling defence of the Clifden back line, in which department Barry and King played a stonewall game and gave some brilliant exhibitions of high-class hurling.

When Castlegar changed over to play with the advantage of the ground, and of a slight favouring breeze, onlookers believed that victory was theirs, and that Clifden could not overhaul a lead of nine points.  Ach Ní Mar A Shíltear A Bhítear.  The second half was not long in progress when it became evident that, whatever the result, the tussle for victory was going to be strenuous.  Clifden were playing with greater vim than in the first half, and their efforts were soon rewarded by a goal from a difficult angle per Peadar Duignan.  This improved the spirits of the Clifden men, but did not discourage Castlegar who played doggedly to preserve their lead, and shortly afterwards, Fahy rectified the position for them by scoring a goal.  They netted the ball again, but the score was disallowed on account of an infringement of the parallelogram rule.  Play once more was in Castlegar ground, and from another angled shot, Duignan drove the ball under the Castlegar crossbar.

Clifden were now playing better than their opponents, and in quick succession flashed in three goals.  Clifden were now ahead and in winning mood, and were still attacking when the final whistle blew.  Mr. T. Murphy was an efficient referee.  Fahy was the most prolific scorer for Castlegar, and played a great game, while Duignan retrieved the fortunes of the men of the west by scoring three goals.

Connacht Tribune, January 12th 1929

 On April 20th 1929 it was reported in the Connacht Tribune that “The report of the referee on the junior hurling semi-final, played at Oughterard, on Sunday, April 7th, when Claregalway beat Clifden after a very close game by 3-1 to 3 -0, was read.  It paid a tribute to the sportsmanlike play of both teams and the manner in which the pitch had been laid out.  Mr. P. Duignean (Clifden) said that whilst they did not object to the referee’s report being adopted, he thought it right to say that Claregalway had fielded illegal players and anything that could be done to stop that in future should be done.  It was uphill work to form a hurling team in West Connemara and when one was fielded, illegal players should not be allowed to play against it.  Chairman:  “It is up to this board to set up an inquiry into the complaint.”

Mr. O’Connor (Claregalway), replying to Mr. Duignean’s statement, said that the illegal players should be named.  He added that Clifden had fielded illegal players.  Mr. Duignean replied;  “I did not want to object.  There are too many objections altogether.”   Chairman:  “You are a great man for rules, Mr. O’Connor.  I am not insinuating that Claregalway fielded illegal players, but there should be an inquiry into all complaints of this kind.” After some further discussion the referee’s report was adopted.  A lengthy discussion took place regarding the venue for the West Board Junior Hurling Final between Claregalway and Maree.  Mr. Duignean asked if the game could be played at Clifden to encourage the game there.  Other members said that Clifden would be unsuitable, owing to the difficulty of travelling.  Chairman:  “We will try to organise a match for Clifden in the Summer.”

  Hurling After Seventy Five Years

For the first time in over seventy years, a hurling match was held in Renvyle last Sunday when St. Flannan’s Club, Clifden defeated Renvyle by 3-10 to 3-6.  There wasnd a very large attendance at the match.  The most enthusiastic spectator was ninety year old Mr. Patrick Salmon, Cloonluane, Renvyle who was a keen hurler in his day and remembers the last match played in Renvyle “when he was a young lad.”  Now the ice had been broken, he hopes to see more contests there.  It was rather a coincidence that Mr. Sean Duggan, who revived hurling in Clifden some years ago, should happen to have been in the district at the time.  Sean has been demonstrating and taking orders for electrical machinery and received a very warm welcome on his return to the West.

Connacht Tribune, 21st January 1955

 Petie Salmon from Tullyeg contributed 1-1 of Renvyle’s final tally in that historic thirteen a side match. According to Petie, the home side’s other corner forward Martin Gibbons also scored 1-1 and the Renvyle team lined out as follows; Goalkeeper; Stephen Daniel Kane, Full Backs; Paddy Wallace and John Wallace,  Half Backs; Donall Kane, John Diamond and Mairtin Conboy, Midfielders; Paddy Kane and Tom Gibbons, Half Forwards; Willie Diamond, Thomas ‘’Sailor’’ Flaherty and Frank Kane, Full Forwards; Martin Gibbons and Petie Salmon.

Full Version Available in “Pride in the Parish: Volume 2”

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