Pre Association to 1889
It is impossible to say when Gaelic Games were ﬁrst played in Carrigtwohill but the ﬁrst documentary signpost to the existence of hurling in the parish stretches back to the Middle Ages. In The “Assault on Ireland”, a contemporary account of the Norman Invasion written between 1180 and 1200, Giraldus Cambrensis portrayed the people he encountered in Barryscourt. After describing their clothes and horsemanship he noted that “they carried a stick bent at one end.” A hurley.
That fragment of observation is rendered more precious by the absence of any evidence in the following six hundred years. Our next source is a Gaelic poet from Woodstock, Daithi de Barra. In his vivid account of a conﬂict at the height of the Tithe Wars which took place on Rossmore Strand in June of 1833 hurleys appear as improvised weapons. It loses nothing in Liam O’Buachalla‘s translation from Irish.
“In the midst of furious fighting between the people of the countryside and the military, two of the cavalry men drew their swords and commenced smiting the women, when a youth with a hurley mounted the fence and with his two hands on the hurley-drew a blow on the nearest cavalry man, knocking him from his horse.”
The robust nature of hurling at that time was ideal conditioning for hand-to-hand combat. A code of rules wasn’t established until 1885 and very few holds were barred. In the ﬁrst half of the 19th century hurling existed in two forms: camanacht was played in the north of the country with a slender stick and a hard ball. It was a winter game and no lifting into the hand was permitted. iomaniocht was the version played in the south and this was a summer game played with a broader hurley, allowing the ball to be picked.
In Munster iomaniocht was often played in a cross-country fashion called scuaibin or ‘home to home‘, Where the ‘goals’ were prominent landmarks, miles apart. It is known that Carrig were involved in matches of this kind. John Barry (NT) remembered his grandfather, who played for Carrig in the 1850s, telling him of matches against Midleton which started with the ball being thrown in at Minister’s Hill.
“Carrig tried to beat the ball towards Carrig,” he said, “and Midleton towards Midleton. He said they used be covered with blood having gone over fences and everything. I asked him would they be tired, and he said, no, they’d be dying for next Sunday.”
In 1935 the Folklore Commission mined some more gold from the local oral tradition. Children in the National School were asked to interview old people of their acquaintance and commit their stories to paper. Michael Twomey of Main Street – a brother of club stalwart Sean Twomey – interviewed Patrick O’Keeffe, better known as ‘Pats’, a famous Carrig hurler of the 1880s and 1890s and the ﬁrst man to bring an All Ireland medal to the parish in 1893.
Pats was 74 years old when the interview took place and it is safe to speculate that his reminiscences related, at least, to his childhood in the 1860s and 70s. Allow for the simplicity of a child’s writing and open your mind’s eye.
“There was a hurling match long ago between Carrigtwohill and Midleton. There were twenty men a side. The players were dressed in tights and jerseys made of bags. The ball was made of skins and it was six inches in diameter. The players used crooks for hurleys. The best hurler in the parish at the time was Edmond Buckley, father of Edmond Buckley of Barryscourt.“
Twomey also wrote brieﬂy of an “internal parish football match between a team from the east of the parish and a team from the west. “The players,” he wrote, “had to kick the ball to Lisgoold and back again, a distance of six miles, ” though this could be a misinterpretation of ‘home to home‘.
“There was a hurling ﬁeld at Murty‘s Cross,” he continued. “They used have no goal posts but from ditch to ditch, and if it hit the ditch it would be a goal. They might be a whole day before they would score.” Conﬁrming the essential veracity of this story the Folklore Commission found many accounts of hurling matches where the ditches were goals and games lasted much of the day.
Around this time, the middle of the 19th century, hurling was in crisis. It had declined so steeply that, according to the historian Kevin Whelan, its strength was concentrated in just three areas: around Cork city, in south east Galway and north of Wexford town. The famine of the 1840s had broken down rural society causing all field games to suffer, but hurling was further undermined by political turbulence. The landed gentry, whose support had been so crucial to the propagation of hurling, had largely withdrawn their patronage.
“Landlord, priest and magistrate all turned against the game,” wrote Whelan. “The older ‘moral economy‘ which had linked landlord and tenant in bonds of patronage and deference, gave way to a sharper, adversarial relationship.”
Nevertheless it survived in Carrig. In Sceal na hIomana, a history of hurling by Brother Liam P O‘Cathnia, he claims that up to a dozen teams were competing regularly in Cork during the 1860s, among them Carrig; others he named were St Finbarrs, Blackrock, Ballinora, Carrigaline, Kinsale and Shanbally.
We know that Carrig played a football match against Bartlemy at Leamlara about 1882, but hurling was the game more identiﬁed with Carrig and the area fitted Whelan’s description of the archetypal hurling regions: “In the late medieval period the Norman and Gaelic worlds fused to produce a vigorous culture…It coincides with well-drained, level terrain, seldom moving too far off the dry sod of the limestone areas, which also happen to produce the best material for hurls – ash. It is closely linked to the distribution of big farms, where the relatively comfortable lifestyle afforded the leisure to pursue the sport”.
It is difficult to state categorically when the club was established. It is likely that some informal, ﬂuid structure existed well before the GAA itself was founded in 1884. In 1893 the club held its seventh annual genera] meeting, which suggests 1887 as the start date, but this would presume that seven successive AGMs had taken place and it may be unsafe to do so. Another indication that the club was established in the mid 1880’s appears on a certiﬁcate of enrolment given to an infant Willie Moore by club administrator Jim Barry in 1931, where 1885 is stated as the year when the club was established.
An East Cork News and Star article in 1976 referred to a Carrigtwohill tournament in 1879, but we have been unable to unearth any further detail. This could have been intended to refer to the 1889 tournament run by the club which is dealt with later.
Speaking in 1897 John Grey, joint secretary of the tournament committee, described Carrig as “one of the oldest clubs in Ireland.” How much of that assertion was based on hubris and how much on historical fact is, again, a matter of speculation. However, it is quite clear that the club was known originally as St Mary’s Hurling Club.
Two years after the GAA was founded in 1884 a governing body was established in Cork. Carrig did not formally affiliate to the Cork County Board immediately, but at the county convention in December 1887 they entered the hurling championship of 1888 along with 34 other teams. Twenty six teams entered the football competition, though not Carrig. The championship was played on a divisional basis with Carrig drawn against Killeagh; the other clubs who competed in East Cork were Cobh, Caherlag, Dungourney, Cloyne, Little Island and two teams from Aghada.
The ﬁrst report we have of a Carrig match was a resounding victory over Killeagh on March 5th 1888 in what we believe to be the first round of the championship. Because of its historical signiﬁcance it is worth recording the Examiner’s report in full.
“Carrigtwohill won the toss and played with the wind in their favour. The ball was thrown out at two o clock and for the ﬁrst quarter of an hour the play was well sustained, though chieﬂy in Killeagh territory. After that the Carrigtwohill men got a goal, and then a point and another goal in quick succession. On each occasion the leather was thrown out in ﬁne style by McCormack for Killeagh, but his men were decidedly inferior to the others in activity and physique and Carrigtwohill had barely been prevented by McCormack from making another point when half time was called. “After this it was hoped that the Killeagh men would do better, but the Carrigtwohill men made three more points in quick succession. After that the leather was kept in Carrigtwohill territory for a short time but the Carrigtwohill men succeeded in making a third goal and had also made another point before time was called. Carrigtwohill – Three goals and ﬁve points to nil.
Carrigtwohill (21 a side): Denis Lenihan (c), J Hayes, D Twomey, T Buckley, J O’Keeffe, J Lenihan, J Manley, E Howard, T Twomey, P Ahern, M Mackey, E Buckley, J Barry, D Sullivan, M Lettuce, J Mackey, B Morey, W Kenny, G Finn, R Hegarty. Goal Umpire P Connor Field Umpire: J Gleason.
A week later Carrig met Little Island at Cork Park and in a cracking match won by 3-0 to 2-2. Little Island opened the scoring with a goal but Carrig responded well and plucking up spirit Carrig pushed the work fast and furious and after a grand display of hurling won a goal, notwithstanding a stubborn resistance,” reported the Examiner.
“The leather now got no rest being sent from one end of the field to the other in rapid succession. Several times both goals were seriously threatened but such was the excellence of the defence that each time the attacks were repelled.” Little Island led by a point at half time but Carrig were back in the lead just after the break with another goal.
Little Island came back again but in one final surge Carrig took victory: “Carrigtwohill were not to be beaten,” reported the Examiner, “and by a magniﬁcent rush sent the ball from one end of the ﬁeld to the other, and scored a splendid goal.”
Carrig: Denis Lenihan (c), Richard Hegarty, John Walsh, John Hayes, Patrick Ahern, James Fouhy, Timothy Buckley, Daniel Sullivan, John Lenihan, John Finn, John Barry, Edmond Howard, Thomas Twomey, Bartholomew Morey, John Manly, Mike Mackey, Jermiah Mackey, William Kenny, John Barry, Patrick O’Keeffe, Patrick O’Shea. Field Umpire: J Gleeson Goal Umpire: D Twomey.
A week later Carrig played Aghada in the next round of the championship, once again in Cork Park, but this time they were well beaten, 3-4 to 1-2. “They (Aghada) showed themselves undoubtedly the superior team,” reported the Examiner, “keeping the leather from the ﬁrst in their opponents‘ ground and scoring two goals and three points before half time, though their opponents had on other days shown themselves very ﬁne men.”
Carrig had played against the wind in the first half but to their dismay “the wind slackened considerably” in the second half and Aghada pulled further ahead before Carrig got their only scores of the game.
The rules and character of hurling then would be almost unrecognisable from what we know as the game now. In 1886, at the GAA’s second annual convention, the rules were honed a little more with wrestling outlawed. Teams consisted of 21 players and matches were of an hour’s duration. The uprights were 21 feet apart and the crossbar was 10.5 feet above the ground and there were also side point posts. Matches were decided by the greater number of goals, but in the event of a tie points came into play. Hurleys were narrower than today but sliotars were twice as big, made from horse or pig skin and cased in leather. Each team nominated umpires and when they disagreed the referee adjudicated.
The playing ﬁeld was 196 yards long and 140 wide and in those days pitches would have been crude by modern standards. Few, if any, clubs owned their own grounds and instead depended on local landowners. It is likely that those ﬁelds reverted to agricultural use when not needed for matches with the result that knotted grass, stones, animal manure and hoof marks were some of the perils that players faced.
Though Carrig were out of the championship they participated in a succession of tournaments for the rest of 1888. In the early decades of the association tournaments occupied a much more important place in the GAA calendar and psyche. Large crowds attended them and apart from the honour of winning tournaments there seemed to be great prestige in hosting them.
Carrig took part in one at Coachford in July and it turned out to be a fractious affair. They played Aghabullogue’s second team but the match ended in a scoreless draw and tempers were raised.
“The hurling, though promising at the beginning of play to prove interesting, turned out to be a failure,” reported the Examiner. “The play was ﬁercely fought out and neither side, indeed, could claim much advantage over the other. However, towards the close, disputes arose and it is to be regretted that better order was not maintained on the ﬁeld; the crowd several times invaded portion of the ground, and it must be stated in all fairness, obstructed the players, principally the Carrigtwohill men, who were loud in their complaints both as to the unfairness of the way they were treated by a number of the spectators and the decisions of the referee.
“At the close of play which ended with no score being obtained on either side, the secretary of the Carrigtwohill team handed in an appeal, and offered, on behalf of his club, to play their opponents in Cork Park or any neutral ground to be agreed on.”
As a result of the match both clubs were suspended at the next meeting of the county board, only for the suspensions to be lifted a week later with an order from the board to replay the match. We have no account of the reﬁxture, but evidently Carrig won because in the middle of August they played St Finbarrs in the next round and were beaten by
2-6 to 1-1.
Carrig didn’t score in the first half, by which time they were two goals behind; their second half improvement wasn’t enough. “St Finbarrs had it practically all their own way,” reported the Examiner, “and certainly played in capital style, although Carrigtwohill at times proved themselves tough opponents.”
At the beginning of September Carrig entered the Little Island tournament and, on a pitch slightly to the north of Cobh Junction, took on the host club. The Examiner reporter was enchanted by the match, but Carrig were well beaten, 1-5 to 0-1: “The play was mostly over the ground and in this both sides excelled. Getting on to the leather in the most systematic manner they (Little Island) passed it from one to another in beautiful style, and put in a capital goal. ”
“This was followed by a point, and after this the ball never got an instant‘s rest, but up and down, from sideline to sideline, it travelled at a rattling pace.” Carrig trailed by 1-3 to 0-0 at half time and didn’t get their only score until 15 minutes from the end.
Carrig: Denis Lenihan (c), John Hayes, Batt Morey, John Barry, John Mahony, John Manley, Michael ‘Major’ Kennedy, Patrick O’Keeffe, John Barry, John Finn, John Lenihan, John Cotter, Richard Hegarty, Mike Mackey, Jerry Mackey, William Kenny, Dan Leahy, James Mehigan, James Fouhy, Patrick Ahern, Mike Leahy.
The teams met again six weeks later in the Cork Park tournament, but this time Carrig’s defeat was even heavier, 5-8 to 0-0, on what was an eventful day. One of the hurling games didn’t take place because Ballygarvan arrived too late, and the main football match between Macroom and Lees was abandoned when Macroom walked off; there was much to make the Examiner cross.
“Last Sunday attention was called to the disgraceful conduct carried on by rowdies who enjoyed themselves by throwing sods at the spectators during the whole day. Yesterday it became evident that the nuisance was on the increase as not alone corner-boys, but well-dressed looking persons indulged in this disagreeable pastime to such an extent that at one time it was doubtful whether the football or the sodding match should have precedence.”
The Carrig match was much less of a spectacle than the “sodding match” and they took a hiding: ” From the time the ball was struck up it was clearly seen that the Little Island team was too strong for their opponents. Carrigtwohill used their utmost power in preventing the ball to pass through their goal, but it was useless. Little Island made ﬁve goals and eight points without giving the opposite side a single point. The match, it may be stated, in short, was entirely one sided, the Carrigtwohill men not being at all a fair match for their opponents.”
Carrig: Michael ‘Major’ Kennedy(c), John Cleary, Denis Sheehan, John Hourihan, Edward Howard, John Fitzgibbon, Pat Daly, Pat Crotty, John O’Brien, William Barry, Denis Twomey, Denis Goulding, Michael Barrett, John Coughlan, William Cotter, John Donovan. Field Umpire: D Leahy Umpires: D Twomey and P Leahy.
The margin of defeat wasn’t quite as bad as it looks now because up until 1892 no amount of points added up to a goal; in 1892 a goal became the equivalent of ﬁve points and four years later it acquired its current value of three points. Carrig picked themselves up from that defeat however, to record the club’s first success four weeks later in a county board tournament in Ballincurrig.
Bartlemy were Carrig‘s opponents in the ﬁnal and according to the reporter it was “as good an hour‘s hurling ever witnessed.” The match was refereed by Michael Deering, a future president of the GAA, and Carrig, having won the toss, elected to play with the stiff breeze.
The report went on: “They (Carrig) began to attack, but before they could score Bartlemy came back at them and were quickly attacking before a great atmosphere. Then Carrig again made a determined effort to score and a well aimed stroke from near the endline resulted in a goal. A further point followed and this was the difference between the sides at the interval.
“Changing sides, Bartlemy rushed the play, and despite all Carrig could do, scored a point. Following the puck out a free was given to them, but they gained no advantage and Carrig cleared their lines. For upwards of ten minutes the ball was never permitted to go beyond the immediate vicinity of the Carrigtwohill goalposts, but at last the Carrig men worked it slowly up the ﬁeld and fought a good deal of sideline play.”
The “sideline play” was a negative tactic by Carrig, highlighted in an account of the match which appears in “By Bride and Blackwater.“ According to that report Carrig “persistently played the ball over the sideline” to halt play and protect their lead. It was so successful that only one point was scored in the entire second half.
“This they continued ‘till nearly the close of the match,” continued the Examiner, “and then, getting well up on the leather, sent it flying up the ﬁeld in splendid style and on to the goal posts, where a goal was claimed, but disputed by the opposite side. It was disallowed by the referee. When time was called a few minutes later Carrigtwohill stood the winners by the score 1-1 to 0-1.”
Carrig: Denis Lenihan(c), David Fitzgerald, William Kenny (Woodstock), John Finn, John Cotter, John Hayes, Patrick Ahern, Michael Leahy, Daniel Leahy, James Mehigan, Michael Mackey, Jeremiah Mackey, John Barry, John Lenihan, John Manley, John Barry, Edmond Howard, Batty Morey, Richard Hegarty, John O’Mahony, Patrick (Pats) O’Keeffe.
The season went on deep into December when Carrig beat St Mary’s from the city in the Midleton tournament, 2-3 to 1-0. The – final against Dungourney was played at the end of January and it yielded Carrig another title and a set of silver medals.
“There was a large crowd to witness the play,” reported the Examiner, “which was of a very ﬁne character throughout; but Carrigtwohill showed to better advantage from the start and won, as the sporting writer would say, hands down. Dungourney played pluckily but they laboured under the disadvantage of having four of their best men absent.” Carrig led at half time by 1-6 to 0-0 and by the ﬁnish they had streaked clear to win by 3-10 to 0-3.
By 1889 it is clear that a formal club structure was in place. In May of that year the Cork Examiner reported that the executive of the Cork Board had given permission to the “newly formed hurling club in Carrigtwohill,” to hold a tournament.
It continued: “Hurling and football honours will be contested for all the surrounding clubs and already the prizes, consisting of two sets of silver medals and two valuable silver cups, have been obtained and these are at present on view at the establishment of Mr George Cotter, the local secretary of the club.”
Fr Barry, parish priest in Carrigtwohill from 1885 to 1915, was the club president, but he was not actively involved in the running of the club. His curate, Fr Patrick M Lynch, a native of Ladysbridge, was the ﬁrst Vice President and was certainly one of the driving forces in the club’s foundation.
He spent ten years in the parish and was instrumental in setting up one of the earliest branches of the Land League in Cork. When he left in 1889 the players felt such a debt of gratitude that they presented him with a cup, won at the Rathcormac tournament. It bore the tribute: “Won at the Rathcormac Tournament, 1889, by St Mary’s Hurling Team, Carrigtwohill. Presented by Denis Lenihan (captain) on behalf of his men to Rev Fr PM Lynch CC, their Vice President, as a slight recognition of his kind interest of their Welfare – 1889.”
At a club meeting in October of 1889 warm thanks was paid to Fr Lynch by the club chairman, Mr EP Cotter, “It was unnecessary for him, (the chairman)” reported the Examiner, “to remind them (club members), who knew him so well, what a serious loss his removal would be to their club. They all knew as well as he could tell them what an amount of interest he always took in their welfare, and that it was mainly owing to his kindly advice and unceasing exertions the present satisfactory condition of their club was due.
“They had at present two teams with splendid records, of which any parish might be proud, and for this result they had to thank Fr Lynch; and now when the ties which bound him to them for so long, and so closely, were about to he severed it was only right that they should in some way give expression to the sentiments which they felt towards him.
“Other members, having spoken to the same effect, the following resolution, proposed by Denis Lenihan (captain) seconded by Mr David Fitzgerald, was unanimously adopted: ‘That we, the members of St Mary’s Hurling Club, Carrigtwohill, cannot allow our respected vice president, the Rev P M Lynch, CC, to leave us without expressing the sincere regret we feel at his departure from us.”
“At the same time, we beg to congratulate him on his promotion to such an important mission as that of Queenstown, (Cobh) and wish him every happiness in his new sphere. We also take this opportunity of thanking him for the many acts of kindness received at his hands, and for the very great interest at all times taken by him in the welfare of our club.”‘
In 1915 Carrig travelled to Charleville, where Fr Lynch had spent 17 years, to play Croom in a fund raising match for the church. At the time travelling to Charleville from Carrigtwohill was a signiﬁcant journey and it was a reﬂection of the esteem in which Fr Lynch was still held.
Given the clergy’s status in the community it was common for priests to lead GAA clubs. In Carrig, however, lay support was plentiful. Apart from club secretary George Cotter, and chairman EP Cotter, John Joe Kelleher, Michael Barry, John Grey, J O’Connell, William McAuliffe, Patrick O’Connell, Patrick Fouhy, Patrick Hayes (Ahanesk), Patrick Leahy, Patrick Murnane, Michael ‘Major’ Kennedy and Daniel Leahy (Banshane) were actively involved in the club at the time. Denis Lenihan was the ﬁrst club captain, which in those days was a much more important position than it is now, comparable in status with the captain of a rugby club.
From available records it seems that three of these men dominated the role of chairman and secretary for the club’s ﬁrst twenty years. George Cotter, secretary from the late 1880s and early to mid 1890s, owned the Barrymore Bar, where O’Riordan’s Take Away now operates, and was also a builder. EP Cotter,from Carrigane chaired the club from the late 1880s to 1904 and also served on the county board.
JJ Kelleher from Ballyrichard served on the county board, too, for most of the 1890s and was club secretary from at least 1897 to 1905. In those days the county board was a much smaller body and Kelleher was one of only eight members of the board in 1893, making it reasonable to assume that he and Cotter were very inﬂuential ﬁgures.
Early in 1889 the club had a political decision to make. In October 1888 a stormy Cork County Convention led to the suspension of a number of clubs and a split.
The original county board was perceived to be aligning itself too much with Fenianism, which, unsurprisingly disturbed the clergy. The suspended clubs, including St Finbarrs led by Fr O’Connor, a key player in the split, set up a rival city based unit called the Cork Board. To complicate things further, this lead was followed in north and north-east Cork, again under heavy clerical inﬂuence, with the formation of the O’Brien Board, speciﬁcally for teams from the north of the county, in an era when travel was often difficult.
Carrig were forced to choose between the old board and the new Cork Board and at ﬁrst the club’s position was clouded by confusion. At one poorly attended club meeting it was claimed that entries for the championship run by the old board were due the following day, and it was agreed that Carrig should enter. When word of this decision spread, however, it was clear that the debate would have to be reopened.
A special club meeting was called and Fr Lynch made a keynote address, graphically illustrating the power of his inﬂuence. It was reported in detail by the Examiner: “They had come together,” he (Fr Lynch) said, “to reconsider their attitude towards that great association which was absorbing so much of the attention of the nation, especially of its young men.
“He trusted they would not consider it ﬂattery on his part if he reminded them that they had a position to maintain. They had recently won the cup from Bartlemy, though only after a severe and spirited contest equally creditable to both teams. In the late Midleton tournament they had easily won ﬁrst medals. It was, therefore, for their best consideration under what board they would affiliate.
“As they were aware, at a small meeting of their body held about a fortnight ago, this subject turned up and as it was asserted (erroneously he believed) that the following day was the last for entering for the championship then about to commence under the old board, and as one of their members was about to go to the city the following morning, there was no formal objection made by the majority of those present against affiliation under that board.
“They were also aware how, when this fact became known, considerable dissatisfaction was expressed in many quarters how he (the Rev chairman) had accordingly called a meeting the previous Sunday for the purpose of hearing the grounds for that dissatisfaction, and how he had given them, in explanation of his action in refusing to join their club while under such control, several motives with a view to helping them come to a decision worthy of sound gaels and Catholic Irishmen. That meeting was the outcome of Sunday’s proceedings, and he now invited friendly discussion on their choice of boards.
“A brisk conversation was then carried on for some time,” reported the Examiner, “and the result of their deliberations was an absolute unanimity to sever their connections with the old board and to join the new county board forthwith. The secretary was, accordingly, directed to forward the necessary fees to that board as promptly as possible and to order the club to be entered for the tournament presently going on under its auspices. Another meeting is to be held on Sunday next at 4 o’clock when officers will be elected for the coming year.”
Carrig entered two teams for the Cork Board championship and along with Little Island were the only East Cork teams to defect to the rival board.
In the championship Carrig’s seconds drew Cork Nationals and were well beaten, 5-3 to 0-1.
Carrig: William Buckley(c), Denis Twomey, Michael Cleary, John Hayes, John Walsh, Ned Twomey, Michael O’Keeffe, Pat O’Halloran, Ned Howard, John Barry, John O’Brien, William Barry, Joe Crowley, John Lawton, John O’Brien, Tim Buckley, James Twomey, Pat Daly, Dan Fitzgibbon, Ned Barry, Denis O’Brien.
The firsts however began a run that would take them all the way to the club’s ﬁrst county ﬁnal. Blackrock’s 2nds were their ﬁrst victims by 2-4 to 0-1, a match played, “in the presence of an immense crowd,” according to the Cork Examiner, “a portion of which were not as orderly as they should be.”
In the second round they met Little Island in Carrig, before “an immense number of supporters who anticipated some ﬁne play and,” said the Examiner, “were not disappointed.” Little Island led by 2.-1 to 0-4 at half time but came under intense Carrig pressure after the break. They held out well for a long time – conceding only points – until, in a last desperate surge Carrig got two goals which gave them victory, 2-8 to 2-1. Carrig went on to beat Cork Nationals by 2-2 to 1 in the semi-ﬁnal, to set up a county ﬁnal against Blackrock on June 16th.
The Examiner account of the match is brief but it reported that the ﬁnal was played, “before an extremely large concourse of people… and the day was a most favourable one.” Carrig started well and got the ﬁrst goal, but it turned out to be their only score. Blackrock equalised before half time and ended up winners by 2-4 to 1-0.
Carrig: Denis Lenihan(c), David Fitzgerald, John Lenihan, John Finn, John Cotter, John Barry (Woodstock), Ned Howard Daniel Leahy, Michael Leahy, Patrick Ahern, Patrick O’Keeffe, John Manley, John Barry, Patrick Morey, Tom Twomey, Denis Twomey, Michael Mackey, Richard Hegarty, Michael Kennedy.
William Lawton was Carrig’s ﬁeld umpire; Thomas Lawton and Patrick Leahy were the goal umpires.
Others who played during that championship were: Bartholomew Morey, Michael Barrett, James Mehigan, John O‘Mahony, John O‘Donovan, William Cotter and John Cleary. Patrick Murnane acted as a field umpire in earlier rounds. On the day after the county final the club turned its attention to the tournament it had been sanctioned to hold a month earlier. An advertisement in the Examiner at the end of May announced that two silver cups and two sets of silver medals were the prizes on offer. The entrance fee for a team was 7s 6d, but there was a special price of 10s for clubs wishing to enter two teams. Thirteen teams entered the hurling competition and six for the football.
The full draw for the hurling competition was: Tower Street v Knockraha; St Finbarrs 1sts v St Peter and Pauls; Bartlemy v Little Island; Passage 1sts v Blackrock 1sts; Passage 2nds v Blackrock 2nds; St Finbarrs 2nds v Carrigtwohill 2nds; Carrigtwohill 1sts a bye.
The football draw is not recorded, but the participating teams were Rathcormac, Cobh (Michael Davitts), William O’Briens 1sts and 2nds and Nils 1sts and 2nds.
Before their own tournament got underway Carrig played in the Bartlemy and Rathcormac tournament and became embroiled in another controversy. Carrig met Ballyhooley‘s first team and according to the Examiner, “a grander match has seldom been witnessed.”
At the end, however, the referee played six minutes of stoppage time during which Carrig got their winning point. Ballyhooley disputed the injury time even though, as the Examiner noted, “in the middle of the half hour one of the Carrigtwohill men received a severe cut and the referee blew his whistle to stop play.
“The signal went unheeded by Ballyhooley,” continued the report, “and in self defence Carrigtwohill played on. Meanwhile the wounded man’s head was being bound up by another of the Carrigtwohill team and by the referee, who disallowed the play for the two minutes’ time he was so occupied.” Ballyhooley lodged an objection against the result but at a full meeting of the tournament committee the result was allowed to stand. Carrig were later beaten in the ﬁnal by Bartlemy.
When the Carrig tournament got going the football competition was completed smoothly by the end of September, Nils beating O’Briens by 1-4 to 0-0 in the final. A special seconds hurling competition was finished in late July with an easy victory for Carrig over Passage, 5-10 to 2-0, having beaten St Finbarrs in the semi-final, 1-5 to 0-1.
Carrig: Michael ‘Major’ Kennedy(c), Denis Mehigan, Michael Cleary, Tom Twomey, William Buckley, Pat Daly, Ned Twomey, Michael Barrett, John Barry, Dan Fitzgibbon, Joseph Crowley, John Cleary, John Lettuce, Denis Twomey, William Cotter, James Fitzgerald, James Twomey, J O‘Shea, Arthur O’Keeffe, J Buckley.
After that triumph the second team took their chances in the tournament proper and, reﬂecting a healthy depth of resources, took the prize scalp of Tower street, who a year before had won the senior county championship. “It was certainly strange,” reported the Examiner, “to see the local team, composed as it was of mere youths, stripping before a team with such a reputation as Tower Street possesses. Events showed that the little ‘uns were fully justified in crossing camans with their opponents as they had to their credit when the referee whistled four goals and four points to two points for Tower Street. The play of the local men came as a great surprise to all and the victory was by no means easily won, as Tower street played with all their old dash and spirit.”
Carrig: M Kennedy(c), J Cleary, J Lettuce, P Daly, M Barrett, D Mehigan, P Twomey, M Cleary, D Twomey, J Barry, T Buckley, J Crowley, J Walsh, Wm Cotter, D Fitzgibbon, E. Barry, K Twomey, Owen Walsh, Thos Twomey, W. Barry J. Barry. Field umpire: Denis Lenihan. Goal Umpires: P Leahy and J Barry
The firsts tournament, however, had a convoluted existence. Some clubs didn’t want to participate when they discovered who they were drawn against, other clubs were distracted by internal disputes. On one occasion Blackrock, one of the favourites, failed to turn out against Passage who were granted a walkover, while Bartlemy didn’t show up for their meeting with Little Island, allegedly because their team was decimated by illness.
When they ﬁnally met, Bartlemy came from 2-3 to 0-1 down at half time to win by a point, but Little Island refused to accept the result, claiming that one of their players was “collared” before a goal was scored and also claiming that one of Bartlemy’s goals was scored after the ﬁnal whistle sounded. An extra half hour’s play was mooted, but eventually the matter was referred to the county board.
Such was the confusion that in the middle of August, the Examiner carried a story claiming that the Carrig tournament had been discontinued. Club secretary George Cotter promptly rebutted the claim, however, in a slightly fantastic letter to the editor published on the 13th of that month.
“These athletic sports,” he wrote, “which have been hitherto contested in such an amicable spirit, and in such splendid ground, will be continued regularly until the programme is completed. As a proof of this, two crack teams – Bartlemy and Little Island – are to try conclusions once again on Sunday next, due notice of the hour for play to be given in your advertising columns on Saturday.”
We have no record of that match, but we suspect further complications because before the tournament was completed Carrig beat both Bartlemy and Little Island. Both victories were decisive, 4-4 to 0-2 over Bartlemy and 5-1 to 0-3 over Little Island, a match witnessed by a crowd of over 2,000.
The Examiner seemed to approve of the turn that events had taken: “The result settles altogether the long pending dispute between Little Island and Bartlemy, who were most decisively beaten on last Sunday week by the Carrig 1sts. Yesterday’s game was fully entitled to the attention paid to it by the public and the play was all that could be wished for as the Island men fought stoutly to the end.”
That brought them into a final against St Finbarrs, which marked the end of the tournament on October 20th, three months after it began. The Examiner was generous with its bouquets: “To the energetic committee who organised the tournament is due the greatest praise for the manner in which all matters in connection with it were conducted and the clubs who took part in it will readily testify to the committee’s efforts in keeping order at all times as well as to the courtesy which was on all occasions extended to them.
“The hurling final was played off yesterday, and to it must be given the palm, as it undoubtedly evoked the most superior game that had been witnessed throughout the tournament. The match, however, could not he otherwise, seeing that the teams engaged have, on more than one occasion, won a name for themselves on the hurling field. They were the local first team and the redoubtable St Finbarrs, and as a natural consequence when two such teams were to meet, the field at Carrigtwohill was crowded, the visitors bringing hundreds of their Cork friends who were most enthusiastic in their demonstrations when the “Blues” scored.
“In the first half hour,” the Examiner went on, “the latter scored two goals while the home team had only recorded a point to their credit. The play, all through, was of course, very rapid and skilful, but it was the latter quality that the home team appeared to lack, and after about a quarter of an hour’s play of the second half it was easily to be seen that they could not equalise the scoring. When time was called at about a quarter to ﬁve the score stood – 2-3 for St Finbarrs to 0-2 for Carrigtwohill.“
Carrig: Denis Lenihan (c), John Barry, John Linehan, John Cotter, Michael Leahy, B Murray, Edward Howard, Ned Howard, James Meighan, James Barry, Patrick Daly, Richard Hegarty, John Manly, John Finn, Daniel Leahy, Patrick Ahern, John Barry, John Donovan, Daniel Fitzgibbon, John Walsh.
Field Umpire: D Fitzgerald Goal Umpire: P Leahy and E Cotter Referee; Mr Wm Barry (Rathcormac)
On the following Thursday night all the winning teams were gathered for a presentation of prizes. In one sense Carrig’s defeat was immaterial. A difficult tournament had been successfully completed and the first test of the cIub‘s cohesion was passed. The club was on its feet.