History - Major
The AGM for 1913 was held on a bad day in mid-January. It was unusually early for Carrig, but there was a large crowd and a mood of contentment. In his presidential address John Barry highlighted the potential that existed in the club and urged the players to recognise it. The Examiner reported his speech: “They had splendid material, said Mr Barry, and all they required was continuous practice. There was a fine field at their disposal; in fact very few teams had the like to play on all the time, and he hoped they would avail of it more often in the future.”
Barry was returned as president, Patrick Ahern and Michael ‘Major’ Kennedy were his vice presidents, Patrick O’Connell was elected secretary with Lawrence Cotter as treasurer. J Cotter was made the county board representative with WP Ahern and John S O’Donovan the delegates to convention. The Examiner reported the others present at the meeting and it is worth recording them all, some of them family names which recur through the club’s history:
T Cotter, J Fouhy, P Fitzgibbon, J Mulcahy, E Grey, P Cotter, WP Ahern, JS O’Donovan, D Murphy, J Cotter, M O’Donovan, D Mulcahy, J Cotter, M O’Donovan, D Mulcahy, Matt Fouhy, J Grey, J Ahern, H Lane, T Collins, M Ahern, W Lynch, P Whelan, A O’Mahony, D Hayes, J Kennedy, E Cummins, T.F. Mulholland, T Twomey, M Martin, J O’Connell, M Conroy, D Nagle, D Mulcahy, D Fitzgibbon, M O’Leary, E.P. Cotter, D Mulcahy, W Fenton, J Cummins.
The president’s counselling at the AGM seemed to generate a response from the players. In the first week of March Carrig had a good win over Ballincollig in the Beamish Shield, 5-3 to 0-1, and a week later trounced Redmonds, 8-0 to 2-1, in a tournament in aid of the Midleton Young Men’s society. The first reverse of the year was a narrow defeat by Midleton in the Beamish Shield, 4-0 to 3-1.
It was only a temporary setback. In the middle of April Carrig disposed of Sars in the first round of the championship with a clinical performance: “It was not as interesting a game as was expected,” reported the Examiner, “but considering the fact that it was the opening championship engagement it must be said that the form displayed by each side was very creditable.
“Early in the game Sarsfields established a three point lead, but Carrigtwohill were not slow in equalising and assuming command. Soon afterwards they gradually asserted their superiority and eventually won by the margin of seven points, (3-1 to 0-3). The victory of Carrigtwohill was thoroughly deserved and was principally due to their training, as well as their good combination. Their work at times was slow, but in every department they were sound.”
Carrig: Jerh Fouhy(c), Pat Fitzgibbon, Wm P Ahern, John Ahern, Matt Ahern, Matt Fouhy, John Mulcahy, James Kennedy, Tim Leary, James Grey , David Flynn, John Donovan, Pat Whelan, Myles Donovan, Terence Higgins.
Buoyed by that victory, Carrig took on the reigning county champions Blackrock in the opening game of the Riverstown tournament a few weeks later and gave as good as they got in what the Examiner described as “truly, a great game.” The report went on: “Splendid as had been the exposition of the hurling code which had been given by both sides during the first half, it was even excelled by that now witnessed (in the second half).”
Carrig trailed by three points at half time, but Jimmy Kennedy brought the teams level with a goal and the Examiner was transported onto a higher plane of acclamation: “With the scoring again equal (2-1 to 2-1) the game became still more exciting. Fine overhead play by the Carrig men and good driving by the Blackrock men saw the ball travel quickly from end to end. Notwithstanding the strenuous play, the game continued to be very fast and with each side trying all they knew to notch the winning point, the spectators were treated to one of the finest and best hurling matches ever witnessed.”
We have no account of the replay but the teams would meet again in the semi-final of the county championship. Before that Carrig disposed of Collegians by 9-l to 2-1 in the second round, with Jimmy Kennedy and Billy Ahern sharing all of Carrig’s scores between them.
The Blackrock match was for September 14th but in a mass of confusion it failed to take place. Torrential rain in the morning prompted the county board chairman to postpone the match, but this annoyed both Carrig and Blackrock who felt they should have been consulted on the field of play about a postponement.
Carrig still travelled to find about 1,000 spectators at the Cork Athletic Grounds, and a large crowd outside waiting for an announcement. Eventually, tired of waiting and unwilling to pay, a section of the crowd tore down two portions of corrugated iron sheeting at the Ballintemple side of the ground and poured in. The crowd inside were being entertained by a Kelleher Shield football match between Youghal and Macroom, raising their hopes that the hurling game would follow.
However, it was too late for any change. A number of the Carrig players spotted the Blackrock president and asked him if his team would be turning out, but he said they were abiding by the county board’s decision. Nevertheless, Carrig togged off and took the field to a great reception in a crude attempt to claim the match. Carrig’s eagerness to play cut no ice at the county board and though a motion was passed censuring the chairman and his officers for unilaterally postponing the match it was re-fixed for November 9th at Fermoy.
The Examiner set the scene: “The incidents associated with this replay are so familiar to the smallest boy in the street that there is no necessity to enter upon the previous meeting. A large presence crowded the Fermoy enclosure. A number of special trains transported a crowd of 3,000 to the game played under leaden, rain-charged skies. The result was shrouded in mystery for the first 30 minutes and was still in the balance for at least three quarters of one of the most exciting matches for county honours played for many years.”
A Jimmy Kennedy goal and a Matt Ahern point left Carrig only a goal behind at half time, 2-1 to 1-1 , but not even another Kennedy goal, mid-way through the second half, could prevent Carrig losing: 3-2 to 2-1. In an honourable defeat many of the Carrig players made an impression on the Examiner: “Fouhy was a tower of strength in the back line; Billy Ahern was clever in scoring tactics; Higgins was sound; Donovan was a clever defender of his net; Kennedy, in the front rank, was useful but he missed one or two chances. O’Leary‘s play was good all round while Whelan and Fitzgibbon were excellent.” Blackrock went on to win another county.
Carrig: Jerh Fouhy(c), P Fitzgibbon(vc), M Fouhy, J Mulcahy, M Ahern, J Higgins, D O’Flynn, T O’Leary, J Kennedy, J Grey, P Whelan, J Donovan, M Donovan, WP Ahern, J Ahern.
Carrig’s second team entered the middle grade championship, but didn’t get very far. They comfortably beat Cobh‘s team in the opening round, 3-1 to 1-3, but Cloyne were too strong in the next round and Carrig went down, 5-1 to 3-3.
Carrig: J Mulcahy(c), E Gray, C Cotter, J Keeffe, J Cotter, C Dorgan, M Savage, M Galvin, J Donovan, P Donovan, G Cotter, N Mulcahy, M Meade, P Connell, J Connell.
For the 1913 championship the management of Cork teams was brought under the direct control of the county board for the first time. William Kennedy from Carrig was chosen as one of seven senior hurling selectors; as reigning county champions Blackrock had two on the selection committee and the others were from Redmonds, Sars, St Finbarrs and Aghabullogue.
Jimmy Kennedy (nicknamed ‘Major‘, just like his father before him), Willie Ahern and Tim ‘Killarney’ O’Leary were the Carrig players on the Cork team that year but Cork relinquished their Munster title, well beaten by Tipperary in the final, 8-1 to 5-3. It was Kennedy’s second championship with Cork in a senior inter-county career which would stretch to 1926 – the longest by any player in the history of the club. Better days in the red jersey were in the middle distance yet.
At the 1914 county convention the championships were reformed again. The middle grade was abolished and the grades would now be known as division 1, division 2 and division 3. In hurling Carrig entered a team in division 1 and 2 while in football they entered a team in division 3.
The AGM in the second week of January celebrated another good year. John Barry, chairing the meeting, pointed to Carrig’s record of only two defeats during 1913 and hailed once again the courageous performance against Blackrock, while the treasurer’s report showed the club to be in a “strong financial position.“
These were the elected officers:
President: John Barry,
Vice Presidents: J Fouhy, M Kennedy, P Ahern.
Treasurer: L Cotter.
Secretary: P O’Connell jnr
County Board Representative: WP Ahern.
Delegates to convention: TF Mulholland, J Donovan.
First team captain: WP Ahern.
Vice captain: P Fitzgibbon.
Second team captain: J Mulcahy.
Vice captain: E Grey.
Just as the previous year Carrig began the season with a good win in the Beamish Shield, this time over Midleton, 3-2 to 2-1. They followed that with a 5-2 to 0-0 win over Sars in a challenge match and before March was out Cloughduv were thrashed in the Beamish Shield, 7-3 to 2-1. Neither side, though, impressed the Examiner in a crude affair.
“The match was characterised by an amount of cutting and chopping and it was indeed remarkable that only one player was injured during the play. The county board should take steps to ensure that there is no repetition of the disgraceful performance that was witnessed. The spectators contained a number of visitors to the city and their expressions were simply exasperating to the large body of Gaels who are ever anxious to make the national pastimes worthy of their country.
“It was apparent that both teams were untrained,” the Examiner continued, “and if either hopes to make any advancement in the county championship much attention will have to he paid to training work.” In the week of May those words had a chilling resonance.”
Carrig’s championship opponents were Collegians, a team they had trounced the previous year and were expected to beat again. Carrig, however, fell helplessly. The Examiner described Carrig‘s defeat as “perhaps the greatest surprise in the championship to date”, but the merit of Collegians’ victory was above question.
Carrig got the only two scores of the first half to lead 1-1 to 0-0 at the break, but, “Collegians had the best of the game,” reported the Examiner, “and deserved a score more than once.” In the second half though Carrig failed to score again while Collegians clocked up four goals. “Collegians won at nearly every point of yesterdays match,” continued the report, “and were it not for the fact that the Carrigtwohill defence was always very reliable the score in favour of the winners would have been much bigger.” All the promise of the season before had been dashed.
Carrig: William P Ahern(c), Patrick Fitzgibbon(vc), Matthew Ahern, John Ahern, Matthew Fouhy, John Mulcahy, David Flynn, William Kennedy, James Kennedy, John S O’Donovan, Myles O‘Donovan, Michael Savage, Patrick Whelan, James Grey, Timothy O‘Leary.
Carrig lodged an appeal against Collegians‘ victory, but we have no record of the grounds for the objection; in any case it was turned down. They recovered some pride with a 7-4 to 2-1 victory over Kilmallock in a challenge match two weeks later and at the end of October the season was rescued with victory in the final of the Beamish Shield, a competition which is now the Conroy Cup Senior League. (The cup was presented by the Carrig club to the county board in memory of the late Denis Conroy.)
Carrig went in as underdogs against the defending champions Redmonds, but by half time were 4-0 to 1-1 to the good. “It was evident from the start of the battle that the Carrigtwohill men were in splendid fighting trim,” reported the Examiner, “and the opening half was strongly in their favour.” Redmonds got two goals early in the second half and put Carrig under sustained pressure, but they finally broke away for a point and held on to win, 4-1 to 3-1.
Carrig: W Ahern(c), M Ahern, JS Donovan(g), Myles Donovan, James Kennedy, W Kennedy, James Grey, E Grey, P Fitzgibbon, P Whelan, J Mulcahy, D Flynn, T O’Leary, M Fouhy, J Ahern.
At the 1915 convention Carrig withdrew their football team, regraded their second hurling team to division three and entered a third hurling team in competitions run for weaker teams by the minor board – ‘minor’ didn’t come to describe competitions for under 18s until 1920.
The first team drew Cloughduv, but on the day of the match in early April Cloughduv gave notice that they were unable to travel. Carrig would have been entitled to a walkover but they wrote to the county board informing them of their wish to play the match and it was re-fixed for the following Sunday. Carrig won easily, 5-0 to 1-1, although the Examiner reported that Carrig were flattered by the margin.
“The score does not convey a true indication of the play. Cloughduv played well and were unfortunate in not crowning their efforts with a score on a few occasions during the first half of the game (which ended with Carrig 3-0 to 1-1 ahead). Nevertheless this does not detract in any way from the victory of Carrigtwohill. They played to win, and won, and deserved their victory.”
Carrig: J Donovan, M Donovan, J Fouhy, W Ahern, J Ahern, J Kennedy, B Kennedy, R Fitzgibbon, B Fitzgibbon, P Whelan, J Grey, N Grey, T O’Leary, D Hayes, J Mulcahy.
Midleton were next. They had won their first county championship the previous year, though they came by it in the boardroom. With the advent of World War 1 the Athletic Grounds had been commandeered by the British Army so the county final was fixed for Mallow. The weather was so bad that morning, however, that Blackrock assumed the game would be called off and didn‘t travel. The county fell into Midleton’s lap. It was unlikely that Carrig would make it so easy.
“Much was expected of both clubs,” reported the Examiner, “and in their display of the art of handling the caman neither team disappointed the very large assemblage of people who came to witness the match. During the first half Carrigtwohill certainly had the advantage from whatever point of view one judged the game. During the second half they played with great dash and good combination and made very few mistakes, though Midleton proved better in the matter of scoring.”
There was no score for the opening twenty minutes of the first half, though Carrig were playing with the wind. Jimmy Kennedy finally broke the deadlock with a goal, but it was the only score of the half. Midleton responded quickly after the break to take the lead with a goal and a point. The lead changed hands three more times but Midleton finally sealed victory with a late goal: 4-1 to 3-0.
Though the seniors were beaten in May the year was only beginning. The second team found division 3 a less taxing environment and impressed this point on all-comers. Rangers (3-2 to 2-3), Dalcassians, and Funcheon Vale (5-4 to 3-1) were their first three victims, bringing them to a semi-final against Sundays Well; but this was no match at all. Carrig plundered four goals in the first fifteen minutes and three second half goals from Jim O‘Donovan accelerated them to an 11-1 to 0-3 victory.
The final against Knockavilla (near Innishannon) wasn’t played until December 12th but the sod at the Athletic Grounds was reported to be excellent and they were blessed with a fine day. It turned out to be Carrig’s most demanding match. The sides were level, 1-0 each, at half time and for all their second half pressure Carrig couldn’t pull away. In the end two points early in the second half was enough. For the second time Carrig’s second team had brought home a county.
Carrig: John Mulcahy(c), Jim O’Donovan, John O’Keeffe, Tom Walsh, Patrick Cotter, Michael Hegarty, Pat O’Connell, Garrett Cotter, Gerald Cotter, Ger O’Connell, Jim Barry, P O’Donovan, Jim O’Connell, Patrick Mulcahy, Mick Galvin.
The following are recorded as also playing during this campaign: Moss Meade, John O’Flynn, Paddy O’Connell, Michael Brophy, George Kennedy and Dan Mulcahy.
Incidentally, the Knockavilla team included Sean McCarthy who went on to be chairman of the Cork County Board and president of the GAA between 1932 and 1935.
The club was still in debt from the purchase of ‘the enclosure’ seven years earlier, but they were actively digging themselves out of it. In October they conceived the enterprising idea of a challenge match between Midleton and Blackrock, the county final of 1914 that never was. A huge crowd came to see Blackrock win by just a late point, 1-6 to 2-2, and a carnival atmosphere prevailed.
Blackrock were accompanied by a fife and drum band which, according to the Examiner, “played some stirring national airs before and during the contest. There was also a large crowd from Midleton headed by the local working man‘s brass band, whose playing was much admired.”
Carrig also continued to repay its debt of gratitude to Fr Lynch. He had been stationed in Charleville and Carrig travelled there to play Croom in a fund raising tournament for the local church. The match is mentioned in the oldest known Carrig hurling song, sung to the air of “Care a Jot.”
Come all ye lads of Carrig
I hope you will draw near
And appreciate this little song
Which will make the county fear
Here’s a health to the Gaels of Carrig
And their committee also
Their deeds will live in history
Wherever they may go
Now I’ll give you a brief description
And the names of those athletes
There’s the Fouhys and Jack Mulcahy
Who hold three full back seats
There’s ‘Bobna’ and Bill Gibbons
The Kennedys two likewise
And the trio of Aherns
They’re a terror for their size
Our goalkeeper John Donovan
Like a stonewall safe and sound
And ‘Killarney’ in the centre
His equals can’t be found
There’s David Hayes and Jimmy Grey
And Billy Fenton too
Why in fact there’s not a waster
In the famous Gold and Blue
Down from the north there comes a band
It would do you good to see
Of strapping able fellows
From a fine big country
There’s Mulcahy and Whelans
And the Cotters likewise too
Not forgetting bold Mick Savage
He was loyal to the Gold and Blue
We travelled down to Charleville town
To play the Crooms you see
In this indeed we did succeed
And come home victoriously
We brought the honours to East Cork
And brought them manly too
So give three cheers for the Carrig boys
They’re the pride of the Gold and Blue
It was a significant year for Carrig’s outstanding forward Jimmy Kennedy who had his best year so far in the Cork jersey. They beat the All Ireland champions Clare in the Munster final, 8-2 to 2-1, with Kennedy scoring three of the goals. He scored a goal in the All Ireland final too, but Cork were defeated by Laois, 6-2 to 4-1.
The 1916 season had barely begun when the Easter Rising took place at the GPO in Dublin. Less than a mile away the GAA‘s annual congress, at which Carrig man Billy Ahern was one of the Cork delegates, was just starting in a council chamber of City Hall. Nobody had any grasp of what the Rising’s impact would be.
In the immediate aftermath, the Rising was universally condemned, not only by the British authorities, but also by almost every prominent public figure and influential body on the nationalist side. “In these Circumstances,” Wrote de Burca in the GAA‘s history, “it would be surprising if the GAA were found to have emerged more creditably from the immediate aftermath of the Rising than the other nationalist bodies. That the association failed to appreciate the long-term significance of the Rising is not to its discredit. Nobody else did either…”.
The first thing the GAA felt were the consequences. Soon after the end of fighting in Dublin the military authorities, now effectively governing the country, imposed a ban on all GAA games. By mid-June this had been modified to a ban on inter-county matches Though this ban was lifted a few weeks later, harassment of the GAA by the British army and police continued to varying degrees in different counties.
In Cork the club championships finally got underway in July. Before the Rising Carrig had played a couple of matches and the signs were mixed. In March Midleton beat them by 7-3 to 1-3 in a challenge, but shortly afterwards in an Egan Cup match they showed a big improvement against St Finbarrs. The Barrs had beaten Carrig in each of their previous 18 meetings and the 19th was no different, but the margin was slim, 3-2 to 2-3.
In March Carrig failed to fulfil a Beamish Shield fixture against Redmonds and got into a bind with the county board. Having won the Beamish Shield in 1914 Carrig believed they were entitled to €17.21 in prize money, but only received €11.48 from the county board. The matter was raised at the next county board meeting and the chairman, J N Down, tried to point out a gap in Carrig‘s understanding.
“The clubs did not seem to understand the competition, or did not want to understand it,” said Down. “The shield was given by Alderman Beamish for the senior hurling clubs and in allowing expenses the winning team got €17.21 and the runners-up €5.74, if the competition made the amount; if the competition did not make the amount, the receipts were divided in that proportion. With reference to last year‘s competition an undertaking was given that if this year‘s competition made enough, the money which was short last year would be made up.” We don’t know if Carrig accepted this explanation, but we have no account of any Beamish Shield matches involving Carrig that year.
The seniors and intermediates played their championship matches on the same day and met the same fate. Rangers beat Carrig’s second team by 8-3 to 1-1 and the first team fared little better, losing by 8-0 to 2-2 to Shamrocks. Carrig trailed by 4-0 to 0-1 at half-time and even though they began the second half brightly with a goal Shamrocks never gave them a moment‘s respite.
“There was little doubt about Shamrocks’ reply,” reported the Examiner. “They swept down the field and the right wing sent in a telling ball which the custodian just failed to stop.” Any chance of a Carrig comeback perished there.
Ignominy took other forms too. One Carrig player was sent off for remarks he passed to the referee, but refused to go, and challenged the referee to a fight. The referee, according to the Examiner, “maintained a dignified attitude, even when subsequently assaulted by another of the Carrigtwohill players. The game finally proceeded when the player left the field.”
We have no record of the Carrig line outs that day, but we have 14 of the team that played in the Egan Cup against St Finbarrs:
John Mulcahy(c), James Kennedy, Wm Kennedy, John O’Donovan, Myles O’Donovan, Jim O’Donovan, Patrick Whelan, Thomas Walsh, Jim Grey, Tim O’Leary, John O’Keeffe, Billy Ahern, Matt Fouhy, Gerald Cotter.
Carrig continued to vigorously promote athletics and held a well received meeting on July 30th. The long list of people on the sports committee indicates what a serious undertaking it was: “Carrigtwohill sports committee are to be congratulated on the success of their meeting last Sunday,” reported the Examiner. “The programme submitted to the public was a highly interesting one and as a whole the events were contested with the utmost keenness. The committee worked very hard for the success of the meeting and no stone was left unturned to secure this end. The sports were held under GAA rules and the following is a full list of the committee responsible for organising the event.”
Patrons: Rev Fr Bowler, Rev Fr Nagle, Capt Donelan MP, J Muldoon MP.
President: EP Cotter RDC
Hon Treasurer: William Conroy
Committee: P O’Connell, T Lawton, J Barry, C Fitzgerald, D Nagle, M Martin, T Mulholland, M Geary, E Cummins, J Fenton, P Twomey, D Fitzgibbon, L Cotter, J O’Connell. C Dorgan, M Kennedy.
Judges of jumping: Ned Cotter, J O’Connell, John Mulcahy.
Judges of cycling: P O’Connell, JP Ahern, N Kennedy, D Fitzgibbon.
Call stewards: D Ahern, C Dorgan, W Kennedy.
Timekeeper: D Daly BA (Carrig school).
Telegraph stewards: W Ahern, J Wren.
Lap keepers: P Twomey, J Fenton, P Cotter, C Fitzgerald.
Press Stewards: E Cummins, JJ Bowdren, J S O’Donovan.
Handicapper and starter: JJ Buckley, Cork.
Hon Secretary: DJ Foran.
Carrig regraded their second team to division 3 for the 1917 season, but stuck it out in division 1 with their first team. On the face of it nothing much changed. The seconds made no impression on the division 3 championship which was won by Midleton. The firsts were drawn against Cobh and were given an indication of how much work they had to do when the teams met in March in the semi-fìnal of the Nils tournament; Cobh won by 4-6 to 2-0. Carrig, though, seemed to do better in the championship match.
“The hurling was brilliant,” reported the Examiner, “delightful passages of play were witnessed throughout. The ball swiftly visited each end alternately for a quarter of an hour of the play before Cobh opened the scoring with a goal. Then Carrigtwohill attacked for Cobh to save, transfer play to their opponents’ quarters and notch a goal which was followed by a point before the interval arrived.
“After resuming, a 50 yards free was given to Carrigtwohill. This placed them in a favourable position; the ball crossed and re-crossed the Cobh goal before it was driven to the other end where a goal was got.” From there it was downhill for Carrig. Cobh stepped up a gear and won by 8-2 to 1-2 in the end.
There was no sign that redemption was so close.