Reeling in the 80’s

A review of Club activities tends to centre mainly on the exploits, good or bad, of the junior footballers and rightly so.  They have carried the club banner through thick and thin since its formation.  Current players, Chip Conneely, as he is affectionately known, Joe Mannion and John Flaherty have put many a mile behind them in their quest for football.  Paddy Fitz, Johnny Sammon and Pat Lydon cried a halt in 1983.  Other golden oldies did likewise over the years but as ever, there are others ready to fill the breach.  This year saw the emergence of youngsters, who in the years ahead will form the backbone of the team.

It is not easy for young players to assert or establish themselves under the shadow of tough and tried campaigners.  How, I might ask, does a young lad set about taking over from Paddy Fitz or Joe Mannion. Nevertheless, and notwithstanding the fact that Paddy was a very active side-line mentor this year, the new lads acquitted themselves well.  Our most prolific goal-scorer was Sean Fitzpatrick, a player with immense potential. Another young player of promise is Joachim Lydon.  Others to impress when given the opportunity were Philip Kane (where would he leave it) and Andy Nee.  Juvenile players, Johnny Coyne, Paul and Michael Gannon, John James Flaherty and Tony Conneely were regulars at training sessions and their contribution has been noted by trainer, ‘Chip’ Conneely. At primary school level there are stars of the future aplenty. Matthew Flaherty has already acquired more skills than Stephen Joyce. Jim O’Neill, if he continues to play between the posts, will become an outstanding goalkeeper. We have a most promising back line player with the strangely familiar name of Barry John.  Two lads carrying the flag for Tully NS are Johnny and Gerry who together with Noel Ribbon form the most spirited forward trio currently playing for the club.  There are others too numerous to mention who will, no doubt, play for us in the years ahead but who at the time of writing have quite some ground to make up on those referred to.

For all the endeavour of the year no trophies came our way. Once again, Leitir Móir proved themselves vastly superior on the big occasion. Having topped the League table with twenty points from a possible twenty- four, one ahead of Leitir Móir, we felt rather confident of success in the ultimate decider. Alas, the records will show that we were totally outclassed. Dare I suggest that the single greatest factor in maintaining spirit and enthusiasm within the club stems from the fact that we have been thwarted time and time again at the final hurdle. This, I feel, builds up the resolve of the players to go on in search of ultimate success.  May 1984 see that resolve maintained and rewarded.  County representation came our way when Stephen Flaherty was chosen to play for the County Juniors. Stephen gained a Connacht medal to add to his Minor one. Galway were beaten at the semi-final stage by Kerry who went on to win the All-Ireland.

When the notion of a County Club Development Super Draw was first mooted we supported it fully, realising as we did the promise it held for clubs hard pressed for finance. Our belief was fully justified.  We sold one hundred and twelve fifty-pound units for the draw and with twenty pounds of each unit accruing to the club, our profit exceeded two thousand pounds. To all those who supported the Draw we extend our thanks.  In recognition of the fact that we were the first club in the County to sell one hundred units and were one of the leading clubs in the sales of tickets, the second draw was held in Tullycross.   However, Lady Luck was not smiling and we failed to get a winner from thirty three dips. We congratulate our only winner to date, Pack Kerrigan, who was lucky in the first draw. Whilst on the subject of finance, I wish, on behalf of the Club, to thank the Board of Directors of Connemara West Limited for their financial support and also the Rima family for the use of Kylemore Pass Hotel for our annual 25 Card Drive.

On a sad note, we pay tribute to Stephie Salmon RIP.  Stephy was acclaimed in his time as being as good a forward as there was in the county.  He loved football and played until well into his forties.  Whether on the Ball-Garragh or on the Beach, it made no difference to Stephie. He showed us young lads then how to control, carry and score a ball.  He travelled with us, encouraged and supported us.  He was not a young man then but when it had to do with football, he became one of the lads.

We mourn his passing.  The turnout of GAA personnel from neighbouring clubs and from the county as a whole was indicative of the high esteem in which Stephie was held.  “Ar Dheis De Go Raibh A Anam.” We congratulate Jackie Salmon, son of Stephie and Mary, on having completed six years as President of the New York GAA Board.  When one considers that Jackie took over from no less a personality than John Kerry Donnell and word has it that he may be replaced by John Kerry’s daughter, you get an idea of the kind of high office Jackie held and the resultant status attaching to it.  Finally, may we say Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year, to all the people of the parish.

 Written by Paddy Gannon. Letterfrack-Ballinakill Parish Newsletter 1983

West GPC  Has Lively Discussion On Fixtures Row

A good attendance of club delegates from Galway City and Connemara areas discussed many topics at the August meeting of the West General Purposes Committee of the GAA held at the Anglers Hotel in Oughterard on Monday night.  There was a very lively discussion about the games which were not played in Oughterard Sportsfield on Sunday, August 9th. It was pointed out that Renvyle were fixed to play Na Piarsaigh, in a Division 3 play-off game, and Renvyle were also fixed to meet An Cheathrú Rua in a Division 2 game. However, Renvyle did not fulfil the fixtures in Oughterard as they stated there was a sports and racing fixture which involved many of their players. Their opponents, Na Piarsaigh and An Cheathrú Rua had teams at the venue for their respective games which were very important to the ultimate competition results.

The Renvyle delegates felt the game should be replayed but the Na Piarsaigh and An Cheathrú Rua delegates stated that they had been instructed by their clubs, not to accept re-fixtures.  Originally the Division 2 game was to be played at Tullycross as a home game for Renvyle. The club delegates pointed out that the team would have been able to fulfil its engagement there but could not travel the long distance to Oughterard. However, the West GPC decided to play both games at the same venue to facilitate Renvyle in their efforts to field two teams. Renvyle felt that this was no help to them. Having discussed the various implications and the efforts made by Renvyle to inform the West GPC Secretary of their inability to field teams, it was decided to award the game to Na Piarsaigh in Division 3 and this means that Renvyle are now out of the competition.

Na Piarsaigh will now meet Inis Meain and the winners of this game will advance with Michael Breathnachs into the County Division 3 Championship. As regards the Division 2 game, it was felt that Renvyle had made a better effort to inform the GPC and their opponents, but due to a breakdown in communications, An Cheathrú Rua travelled to Oughterard without being aware that Renvyle were not fielding a team. Finally, it was decided to refix this game, but An Cheathrú Rua stated that they were not accepting this arrangement.

 Anon. Connacht Tribune, August 28th 1981

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

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