History - Castlemartyr
Though Carrig had done it before in 1940, it was not accepted practice to drop from senior directly to junior. The issue aroused debate at the AGM, but given the poverty of the performance against Blackrock in 1960 and the dissipation of the side which had made Carrig a genuinely senior club for most of the 1950s, it was decided to ask the county board to make an exception. The county board agreed.
Carrig did not adjust well at first to their new status. Cobh and Knockraha beat them in early league games. The Knockraha defeat by 4-13 to 5-4 was particularly distressing. “As far as I’m concerned that was the lowest point in the history of the club,” says Paddy Duggan, a Cork minor that year – along with clubmate ‘Gah’ Ahern who, ironically was from Knockraha. “If you think about it Knockraha are only a quarter of Erin’s Own now. We were just after having ten years as a senior team. They didn’t even have their own pitch so it was played in Lisgoold. The grass was a foot high the same night, but that was no excuse.”
Carrig gathered themselves for the Glenbower tournament in Killeagh where they hammered Owenacurra Rovers, 8-4 to 2-2, and in the first round of the championship they easily beat Midleton‘s second team, 11-3 to 2-2. In the second round Cloyne would be a different proposition. In a fiercely competitive championship they were a young team with prospects.
Interest in the match was such that 3,000 people packed Castlemartyr in the middle of July. As they had always done for their big senior matches in the 1950s, Carrig ran a doubledecker bus for their supporters, with a return adult fare of four old pence. They filled it that day like they had every other: “They’d be hanging out of the pole at the back of the bus it used be so packed,” remembers John O’Connor.
A broken nose sustained playing for Cork against Waterford a week earlier kept O‘Connor out of the game and he was a grievous loss. He had become a Cork senior in 1960 and retained his place for the 1961 championship. Without him Carrig started Mattie Fouhy at centre half back, twenty years after he first played junior for Carrig. He was one of Carrig’s best players on the day, but he couldn’t prevent a comprehensive defeat, 4-12 to 3-3.
Carrig played with the strong breeze in the first half, but their interval lead of a goal, 3-2 to 1-5, offered little protection. Eddie Roche got two of Carrig’s goals and Fouhy, who roved forward whenever the chance presented itself, got a goal and two points. Tommy Jeffers got Carrig‘s only other score. At least Cloyne did Carrig the service of going on to win the county but for a once proud senior club the defeat stung.
Carrig: Davy O’Keeffe, Leo Kidney, Willie Savage, Val Deasy, John Barry, Mattie Fouhy, Paddy Hartnett, Tommy Jeffers, Neilus Kidney, Finbarr Kidney, Joe Neville, Dominic Neville, Eddie Roche, Paddy Roche, Val O’Connor.
Despite the disappointment of losing to Cloyne there were significant signs of hope for the future. The U-14s won the East Cork championship for the second year in a row. In 1960 they had reached the county final where Blarney beat them; in 1961 Churchtown were their conquerors, 5-2 to 3-0, with Mick ‘Fox’ Sheehan scoring a hat-trick. Still, it was the first time Carrig had won two U-14 championships in succession, an achievement which would be repeated in 1964/65.
The U-16s of 1961, however, were a force of nature, sweeping to the club’s first East Cork A title in the grade with a series of devastating performances. Eddie O’Riordan was in charge of the team for the first round against Ballymacoda, when he reckons there were just three other Carrig people at the match; Johnny Roche, Jim Keane and Tom Wallace. Carrig scored 23-3, the greatest recorded total in the club’s history, and suddenly interest swelled.
Eddie enlisted Paddy Duggan and John Barry as selectors for the rest of the campaign and the team swatted all comers. Youghal were crushed with a total of 17-5, a score of 6-6 saw off Cloyne in the semi-final and Cobh never landed a blow in the final, going down by 4-9 to 1-3. By the end of the campaign Carrig had amassed 50 goals and 20 points. The only pity was that, in those days, there wasn’t an U-16 county championship. Also that summer a young minor team lost narrowly to Sars in the East Cork semi-final; Sars later reached the county final. It was this concentration of young talent which would propel the club for the next decade and more.
Carrig (U-16 final): Danny O‘Riordan, Willie Jago, Davy Sheehan, Danny Conroy, Noel Cotter, Johnny O‘Riordan, Ollie O’Connor, Liam Harris, Anthony Kelly, Pat O‘Connor, Tom Browne, John Cotter, Pat O’Brien, Michael Barry, Michael John Roche.
Subs (known to us): Billy Kidney, Denis O’Keeffe, Mick ‘Fox’ Sheehan, Pat Ahern.
In 1962 the juniors picked themselves up to lead the club again. Two goals each from Paddy Duggan and Paddy Roche eased Carrig to a 4-2 victory over Cobh’s second team in the first round of the championship. The second round against Ballinacurra on a sunny night in Midleton wasn‘t so handy. John ‘Baker’ O’Flynn – who had left Carrig again for a second spell with Ballinacurra – played centre-back that night and they fancied themselves to beat Carrig. “They were a strong team,” says Paddy Duggan, “they had nice hurlers and they were fit. We were under fierce pressure that night and we were there for the taking.”
ln the event they held out to win by 4-10 to 4-6, but they had it even tougher in the semi-final against Carrignavar. Carrig played badly and were nearly punished for it. They trailed by 4-1 to 1-2 after only 13 minutes and were still five points down at the break. In freakish weather the first twenty minutes of the second half were scoreless, but then two goals in rapid succession from Tom Browne, still a minor, and John O’Connor from a 70 put Carrig ahead for the first time and they held on to win, 6-5 to 6-2.
Carrig: Davy O’Keeffe, Mick Savage, Billy Savage, Leo Kidney, John Barry, Val Deasy, Donie Buckley, Eddie O’Riordan, John O’Connor, Neilus Kidney, Joe Neville, Paddy Duggan, Finbarr Kidney, Paddy Roche, Val O’Connor.
The other semi-final turned out to be a superb match and Castlemartyr’s victory sent them into the East Cork final as hot favourites. However, long before the end of the most extraordinary saga in the history of the East Cork championship, favouritism was an irrelevance.
The first match took place in Midleton on the second Sunday of September. A hard, close match on a heavy sod it was the least engaging match of the three. Liam Dowling, a great Cork full forward of the 1950s, played at full back on Paddy Roche and their duel would become an outstanding feature of the matches.
On that first day Paddy Duggan remembers delivering a ball into the square in the first couple of minutes: “There was this massive clash and the referee blew for a free. Well as he blew the whistle the two of them went out to the ref and told him if he didn’t stop blowing that whistle they’d shove it down his throat.” The tone was set.
Castlemartyr were two points ahead at half-time, 0-4 to 0-2, but Carrig drew level at 0-5 each with Mattie Fouhy getting all of the points. Then a soft shot from Paddy Roche dribbled into the Castlemartyr net to give Carrig the lead with ten minutes to go and at last the game loosened up.
John Abernethy got a goal for Castlemartyr, before Fouhy got another for Carrig. Castlemartyr had pulled the deficit back to two points when Val Dowling broke through to get their second goal with only minutes remaining. With time running out though Carrig won a 21 yard free and Fouhy put it over the bar to leave it 2-7 to 2-7 at the finish.
Carrig scorers: Mattie Fouhy 1-6, Paddy Roche 1-0, Finbarr Kidney 0-1.
Two weeks later the replay was a much better match. “There was plenty of open play,” reported the Examiner, “at a remarkably fast pace under ideal conditions.” Carrig led by a point at half time, 3-1 to 1-6, but the lead changed hands three times in the second half. At three points clear Castlemartyr seemed comfortable, but then a goal and a point put Carrig in front and this time it was Castlemartyr who were scrambling to get an equalising point to tie the match, 3-9 to 5-3. The match should have gone to extra time, but neither team wanted to play it and in the absence of the East Cork board secretary their wish of another replay was granted.
Carrig scorers: Paddy Roche 3-1, Tom Browne 1-0, Paddy Duggan 1-0, Mattie Fouhy 0-2.
Two weeks later they met again in Midleton. Interest in the match was now such that a train was laid on from Cork to carry supporters. The huge crowd witnessed the biggest reversal of fortune in the three matches. At half time Carrig trailed by 1-5 to 0-2 and seemed dead. But within nine minutes of the second half they were level and at the final whistle, after 180 minutes of hurling, Carrig were the winners by an inconceivable margin of three goals, 5-6 to 2-6.
The game turned on a goal by Paddy Roche. Gathering a ball about 35 yards from goal he threw it up and missed; but when it bounced he pulled again and the ball flew into the top of the net. Thereafter Castlemartyr wilted. In the last ten minutes Liam Dowling went to full forward, but the game was beyond rescue.
As much as anything the match was a tactical triumph for Carrig. John Barry, the team captain and normally a defender, was sent to mark Paul Hartnett in midfield. Hartnett had played for Carrig in their last couple of seasons as a senior club and had earned a place on the Cork panel, but Barry’s fitness and tenacity stifled him.
The overall fitness of the team had been crucial too. That year Willie Harte, a top class athlete in the 1950s, was the trainer and Carrig were bouncing off the ground.
“I’ll never forget the emotion of it,” says Davy O‘Keeffe. “There were fellas in Carrig who weren‘t sober for a month. There was an awful lot of money after changing hands. Carrig fellas got fierce odds the first day and fellas kept doubling their bets for the next day and the day after. At one stage the priest on the altar asked if they could put a rope on the cup and drop it in over Slatty.“
Nemo Rangers were Carrig’s opponents in the first round of the county championship on the third Sunday of October. Carrig seemed to be comfortable with a two goal lead at half time, but half way through the second half they had a man sent off and by the finish Carrig were desperately clinging to a one point lead.
“This was a game much like any other in the first half,” reported the Examiner, “but in the last quarter it gripped the crowd like an All Ireland final.” Finbarr Kidney got both of Carrig‘s goals in the first half, and at one stage in the second half Carrig had stretched their lead to several points, but then Nemo produced six points without reply and Carrig were hanging on for a 2-7 to 0-12 win.
“Carrig had a strong defence, as is proved by Nemo’s failure to notch a goal,” said the Examiner. “John O‘Connor was the star of the defence and indeed of the whole team. His lengthy clearances and overall do-or-die spirit was a great source of strength to the side in that decisive last quarter. Dave O’Keeffe was always sound in goal and was fronted by a hard hitting full back line. Paddy Duggan and Val O‘Connor in the half forward line were impressive and Finbarr Kidney was the pick of the full forward line. ”
Carrig: Davy O’Keeffe, Mick Savage, Val Deasy, Leo Kidney, Tommy Jeffers, John O’Connor 0-3, Neilus Kidney, John Barry , Anthony Kelly 0-1, Tom Browne, Paddy Duggan 0-1, Val O’Connor 0-1, Finbarr Kidney 2-0, Paddy Roche, Mattie Fouhy 0-1.
Two weeks later Carrig met Kildorrey in the semi-final in Fermoy. It was an appallingly bad day and the hurling was rugged, but Carrig were clearly the better team and won handily in the end, 4-4 to 0-3. Their five point lead at half time, 2-2 to 0-3, didn‘t reflect their dominance but a goal each by Anthony Kelly and Finbarr Kidney after the break put the issue beyond doubt. “In the final analysis Carrigtwohill’s combined strength and balance were decisive,” reported the North Cork edition of The Kerryman.
Carrig: Davy O’Keeffe, Leo Kidney, Val Deasy, Willie Savage, John Barry, John O’Connor, Neilus Kidney, Anthony Kelly 0-2, Tommy Jeffers, Tom Browne 1-0, Paddy Duggan, Val O’Connor, Finbarr Kidney 2-0, Paddy Roche, Mattie Fouhy 1-2.
The County final against Eire Og was Carrig’s first since the intermediate final of 1950 and their first junior final in 14 years. Val Deasy and Mattie Fouhy were the only surviving members of that team. When an Examiner reporter arrived in Carrig during the build-up he encountered nothing but confidence.
“A particularly pleasing aspect to Carrig’s supporters,” said the Examiner, “is the fact that during the season the team has nearly been composed of the same players throughout. The defence is particularly strong and since the defeat of Castlemartyr in the East Cork final they have conceded no goal on their way to the final, which speaks volumes for goal-keeper Dave O’Keeffe and the defence as a whole. Talking to Tim O’Shea at the training session he told me that the greatest enemy had been emigration. Whereas previously they had to find three or four new players each year they were now in the happy position with a number of new players coming along.”
“President of the club is Fr John Ahern PP and the vice-president is Fr Foley, CC. Honorary vice-president is former All Ireland hurler Tom Barry, club chairman is Mr John Roche and vice-chairman is Mick Barry. Eddie O’Riordan is secretary, John Barry is treasurer and the East Cork board representatives are Tim O’Shea and Jim Cotter. The selection committee is made up of John Roche, John Barry, Val Deasy, Tommy O’Donovan and Peadar Seymour NT.”
The final on the second Sunday of November, however, turned out to be a huge disappointment. Carrig simply never got going. Though they trailed by only two points at half-time, 2-1 to 1-2, with the benefit of a cross wind to come, they failed to reduce that deficit in the second half.
“Going on the extent of the Eire Og domination in the second half they should have been more than 3-4 to 2-4 up at the final whistle,” reported the Examiner. “In the third quarter Carrig got enough of the ball to win the game twice over, but found themselves powerless against a much more decisive approach by the leaders who gave a clear picture of how to turn the smallest opportunity to the best advantage.”
Eire Og got a crucial goal six minutes into the second half but to their credit Carrig stuck at it. Anthony Kelly was forced off with an injury but in the last ten minutes he came back on and Carrig finally got a couple of breaks: “Centre forward Paddy Duggan ran in from the left to connect with a short clearance and from a melee he found the net to make it 3-3 to 2-3 to Eire Og.”
“Carrig were now at their best and when Mattie Fouhy cut the gap to two points they were really hunting well. But their hopes were short lived. A Tom Brady point restored the goal lead and Carrig were in a position to do little more about it…..Davy O’Keeffe in goals saved his side from a more decisive set-back while Mattie Fouhy, Leo Kidney, Johnny O‘Connor and Paddy Duggan tried hardest.”
Carrig: Davy O’Keeffe, Leo Kidney, Val Deasy, Willie Savage, John Barry, John O’Connor, Neilus Kidney, Tommy Jeffers, Anthony Kelly 0-1, Val O’Connor, Paddy Duggan 1-1, Tom Browne, Finbarr Kidney, Paddy Roche, Mattie Fouhy 1-2.
Subs: Eddie O’Roirdan for Kelly, Kelly for O’Riordan.
It wasn‘t only the juniors who carried the flag that summer. The minors were nominated as East Cork‘s representatives in the county Championship and beat Inniscarra in the country section final to reach the county final proper for the first time in the club‘s history. Though the minors fielded five junior panelists, Anthony Kelly, Johnny O‘Riordan, Tom Browne, Davy Sheehan and Liam Harris, they were still not strong enough for Na Piarsaigh and were well beaten, 10-8 to 2-3.
“At the beginning of the year we never expected to reach the county final,” remembers Ollie O’Connor. “There were a lot of good minor teams in East Cork and in the county, so when we won the country section final against Inniscarra we were delighted. At the time Na Piarsaigh were very strong at under age level and, to be honest, we didn’t hold out much of a chance for ourselves.
“The general feeling was that 1963 would be our year because only two of the 1962 team would be over age. On the other hand almost all of the Na Piarsaigh team were up to the limit and very experienced. In those days the city was much stronger than the county, particularly at this level. So, we went into the game more in hope than in confidence, and we were well beaten on the day. Right from the start they were in control and we never really threatened. The game was over at half-time.”
When the East Cork final was finally played, Cloyne were Carrig’s opponents in Midleton. In what was reported to be a tough and “rip-roaring” match Carrig won well in the end, 6-6 to 3-3. A year later the minor championship in East Cork was played again on a knock-out basis, but with two sections, north and south. Carrig won the southern section and qualified to meet the northern champions, Midleton, in the final.
It was played in Midleton and Carrig lost an extraordinary match by 10-2 to 9-1. Midleton later lost the county final to Blackrock, but for Carrig the promise of 1962 had been allowed to dissipate. The only consolation for Carrig was the selection of Anthony Kelly, Tom Browne and Dick Hegarty for the Cork minors.
The junior B hurlers were beaten by Sars in the first round of the 1962 championship, 3-4 to 2-2, and were reportedly unlucky to lose. Their luck, though, couldn’t have been worse than Imokilly’s. With Davy O’Keeffe in goal and Paddy Duggan and John O’Connor in the half forward line, Imokilly lost by a point to the Glen in the semi-final of the county, With fifteen minutes to go Imokilly were nine points clear, but Christy Ring struck three goals to bring them level, two from close-in frees. The winning point from Davy Moore was the twist of the knife; 4-8 to 3-10.
Duggan‘s good form with Imokilly hastened his ascent onto the Cork senior panel for the National League and after travelling on the panel to a few games he started against Limerick in April of 1963. What ought to have been a signal day in his young career, however, turned to disaster. In the first half he suffered a terrible blow to the head and such was the severity of the injury that it would be two years before he hurled competitively again.
Carrig remained junior in 1963 and took their ease in the early rounds. Knockraha, who had caused Carrig such embarrassment only two years previously, were put to the sword, 6-12 to 4-1. In the next round White’s Cross offered a little more resistance, despite having a man sent off after only 15 minutes; but still Carrig were comfortable winners, 10-2 to 4-2. It set up a semi-final against Castlemartyr in Midleton on the first Sunday of August.
You would have thought that all the drama had been drained from the fixture a year before, but this match was more outrageous than any of the three games in 1962. In the final quarter Castlemartyr came from 1-4 to 0-4 behind to lead by 4-5 to 1-4 only for Carrig to come back and lead by a point, 4-6 to 4-5, with only a minute to go.
Carrig’s lead point was a beauty. Mattie Fouhy stood up to a sideline ball yards from the corner flag at the railway end of the ground and conjured it over the bar. It was a score worthy of winning any match but Castlemartyr had other ideas. “Thrill followed hectic thrill in a magnificent game,” reported the Southern Star. “From the start both teams went into the game with no quarter asked or given. Five minutes after the beginning a player from each side had received marching orders after an incident in the Carrigtwohill goalmouth and this set the scene for a game in which broken hurleys were the order of the day and players hurled with a zest rarely seen nowadays.”
Carrig led by 1-2 to 0-2 at half-time and retained their goal lead throughout the third quarter. But then the game exploded. Castlemartyr scored four goals in 5 minutes and with ten minutes to go Carrig’s challenge seemed spent. “But now it was Carrig who pulled out all the stops,” reported the Southern Star, “and showed their great powers of recovery.”
“Paddy Roche goaled and Tom Browne shoved home another one. Then Roche (who played a few senior tournament games with Cork that year) had another goal and his side were only a point behind. Amidst scenes of great excitement Tommy Jeffers pointed for Carrig and the teams put all they had into a great final effort.”
“The old veteran Matt Fouhy gave Carrig the lead with a great point, but Castlemartyr refused to be beaten. The ball was pucked out and after some midfield play Dominic Barry got it in his hand seconds from time and though he had struck a number of wides during the match he coolly struck the ball between the posts. In goal for Carrig Dave O’Keeffe had a blinder. The back line fronted him well in which Leo Kidney and Val Deasy played well. Up front Tom Browne, Paddy Roche and the ageless Matt Fouhy shone.”
Carrig: Davy O’Keeffe, Leo Kidney, Val Deasy, Billy Savage, Johnny O’Riordan, John Barry, Neilus Kidney, Tommy Jeffers 0-1, Anthony Kelly, Dick Hegarty 0-1, Tom Browne 1-1, Val O’Connor, Davy Sheehan, Paddy Roche 3-0, Mattie Fouhy 0-3.
The replay three weeks later, however, was a desperate disappointment. Just like the decisive match in the 1962 trilogy one team fell flat; this time it was Carrig. With John O’Connor and Finbarr Kidney missing with injuries, as they were for the drawn game, and Mattie Fouhy heavily strapped Carrig’s chances were undermined from the beginning.
Still, all the early signs were positive as Carrig went into a 1-2 to 0-0 lead. Castlemartyr, however, recovered to draw level at 2-3 apiece and their momentum carried them forward to a 4-5 to 3-3 lead at half time. Carrig never got going in the second half. They didn’t score at all in the third quarter and only managed one further goal before the finish. In the end it was a rout: 6-12 to 4-3.
Carrig: Dave O‘Keeffe, Leo Kidney, Val Deasy, Willie Savage, Johnny O’Riordan, John Barry, Neilus Kidney, Tommy Jeffers, Anthony Kelly, Dick Hegarty , Tom Browne, Val O’Connor, Davy Sheehan, Paddy Roche, Mattie Fouhy.
Castlemartyr lost the 1963 county final to Ballincollig after a replay so they remained junior in 1964. Carrig were waiting for them and, the way the draw was structured, they were destined to meet in the final. Carrig had no trouble meeting their side of the arrangement. Ballinacurra were Carrig’s victims in the first round, 4-9 to 1-9, Carrignavar fell in the second, 7-4 to 1-2 while Killeagh were accounted for in the semi-fìnal, 10-5 to 6-2.
The East Cork final at Midleton in the middle of September was the sixth championship meeting between Carrig and Castlemartyr in only three seasons. Just like in all the others there were fireworks. Both teams finished the match with 14 men. Castlemartyr were first to lose a man and it spurred them into a two goal lead mid-way through the second half. Perversely, Carrig‘s come-back didn’t begin until they lost a man as well. The comeback though was ultimately futile as Castlemartyr hung on to win by a point, 2-10 to 4-3.
“Castlemartyr just got the title in a hectic finish from their old rivals,” reported the Southern Star, “and I must say that, from the start, when Castlemartyr were playing against a fairly stiff breeze, they impressed by the manner in which they opened out the play with long deliveries against the wind. This gave me the impression that they would coast to a comfortable win in the second half with everything in their favour.”
Val Deasy got Carrig’s first half goal, but despite the breeze they were only level at the break, 1-3 to 1-3. With 15 minutes left they had fallen two goals behind until finally a goal from Neilus Kidney brought them hack into it. In the last three minutes Paddy Roche and Tom Browne both found the net, but all the while Castlemartyr had been picking off points, and Browne‘s goal was the last score of the match.
Carrig: Davy O’Keeffe, Leo Kidney, Willie Savage, Seanie Barry, Johnny O‘Riordan, John O’Connor, Billy Kidney, Tommy Jeffers, Neilus Kidney, Dick Hegarty, Tom Browne, Anthony Kelly, Liam Harris, Paddy Roche, Val Deasy.
Carrig’s junior B hurlers had already lost to Youghal in the first round of the championship, 7-12 to 4-3, while two weeks after the East Cork final the junior As were shocked by White’s Cross in the play off stages of the league, beaten by 2-6 to 2-3 in Riverstown. In the meantime Castlemartyr were on their way to the county final where they made amends for the year before by beating Cloughduv, 4-5 to 2-9.
With Castlemartyr and Cloyne both in the intermediate championship, Carrig were hot favourites to win the East Cork championship in 1965. After an absence of a few years Sean Twomey returned as trainer and selector with the junior team and after two years Paddy Duggan resumed his playing career, Wearing a cyclist‘s helmet at first and later an ice hockey helmet sent from America – one of the first hurlers in the country to wear one. The evolution of hurling continued with a decision at Congress that only the four centre-fielders would contest the throw-in, rather than both sets of forwards lining up with them.
In the first week of June, Carrig began their campaign with a 9-9 to 1-6 victory over Fr O’Neill’s and carried on with a 6-7 to 1-3 win over Aghada. The final against Youghal‘s second team was more of a match, but thirteen of the Youghal team were under 21 and Carrig were much too seasoned for them.
Carrig won the toss and elected to play against the breeze in the first half, but still led at the break, 2-7 to 2-3. Youghal had a man sent off with ten minutes to go and responded by scoring two goals but with Dick Hegarty scoring the last of his three goals the match was already over as a contest and in the end Carrig won by 5-12 to 4-5.
Carrig: Davy O’Keeffe, Leo Kidney, John Barry, Seanie Barry, Johnny O‘Riordan, John O’Connor, Neilus Kidney, Anthony Kelly 0-2, Billy Kidney, Paddy Duggan 1-2, Tom Browne 0-2, Tommy Jeffers, Paddy Roche 0-4, Dick Hegarty 3-1, Michael John Roche 1-1.
Carrig met Inniscarra in the first round of the county at Douglas on the second Sunday of October. Carrig played with the strong wind in the first half and were cruising at half time 3-6 to 0-2, with three goals from Paddy Roche. Mid-way through the second half, however, Carrig hit a crisis with Inniscarra scoring three goals in four minutes. Fortunately Ollie O’Connor replied with a goal almost immediately and Carrig sailed on to victory, 5-8 to 4-3.
“The all-round superior hurling of Carrig won the day,” reported the Examiner. “They played hard, constructive hurling and excelled especially when the ball was in the air. Inniscarra, on the other hand, looked like a team of individuals and the forwards and backs could never link up with each other.”
Carrig: Davy O’Keeffe, Leo Kidney, Johnny O’Riordan, Billy Kidney, John Barry, John O’Connor, Neilus Kidney 0-1, Tommy Jeffers 0-1, Anthony Kelly 0-2, Michael John Roche, Tom Browne 0-1, Davy Sheehan 0-1, Ollie O’Connor 1-1, Paddy Roche 3-1, Dick Hegarty 1-0.
The County semi-final against Brian Dillons at Riverstown a month later turned out to be a disaster. At half time Carrig trailed by 3-5 to 1-0, and Dillons added another 1-2 in the first ten minutes of the second half before Carrig made any impact on the match. The Examiner praised Tommy Jeffers, John O’Connor and Tom Browne, who scored two goals from centre forward, but in a 5-13 to 3-3 defeat many reputations took a beating.
Scorers: Tom Browne 2-0, Ollie O’Connor 1-0, Dick Hegarty 0-2, P Roche 0-1.
On the inter-county front, the club was represented by Davy O’Keeffe who featured at an early stage on the Cork 1965 intermediate All-Ireland winning panel.
In the shadow of the A team the junior Bs were engaged in a titanic struggle against Youghal and after two draws they finally bowed out by two points, 5-5 to 5-3, a fortnight before the junior As. Mick Sheehan with 3-2 and Pad O’Brien with 2-1 got all of Carrig‘s scores between them in the second replay as Carrig came storming back from ten points down at half time, but their gallantry came up just short.
Carrig’s run through East Cork was even easier in 1966 than it had been the year before. Aghada were beaten 7-5 to 1-3 in the first round, Youghal were defeated 5-11 to 1-9 in the East Cork semi-final and Carrignavar rolled over in the East Cork final at Midleton on the last Sunday of August. Carrig played with the wind in the first half and led by 3-10 to 0-0 at the break, and even against the wind they outscored their opponents, three points to two.
Scorers: Tom Browne 1-7, Pat O’Brien 2-0, Paddy Duggan 0-3, John O’Connor 0-3.
Carrig had a bye into the county semi-final which meant waiting until the first Sunday of November. They met Courcey Rovers at Ballinhassig and were given their match of the year. Having played against the wind, Carrig were lucky to be only two points behind at the break, 1-6 to 1-4. Carrig pulled level early in the second half before falling behind again. The match finally turned in Carrig’s favour with a goal from Paddy Roche after good work by young substitute Donie McCarthy – who would later play senior championship with London in the 1970s.
Scorers: Paddy Roche 2-0, Pad O’Brien 1-1, Tom Browne 0-3, Paddy Duggan 0-3, Anthony Kelly 0-1, Seanie Barry 0-1.
In the lead up to the county final an Evening Echo reporter was sent to take Carrig’s pulse. Because it was so late in the year he found the squad in the middle of a physical session in the hall. The team trainer, Sean Twomey, told him that they were the “most co-operative” bunch of lads he had ever trained and he couldn‘t contain his optimism: “They are very determined to bring this title to Carrig and I feel they will do it,” he said.
“Twomey,” continued the report, “had a special word of praise for captain Davy O’Keeffe whom he described as a great leader and clubman. Seanie Barry (who had joined from Killeagh in 1964, and whose father Pa had played for Carrig in the 1930s) should be a tower of strength in the back line. He is a former Cork senior (1965) and intermediate player (1964 and 1967).
“The youngest members of the club are also making a name for themselves in inter-county fields. The most notable, of course, being Tom Browne, who this year, won an All Ireland with the Cork U-21 team (who beat Wexford after two replays). Carrigtwohill will have men on the sideline who were outstanding hurlers themselves in their day. They are, in addition to Sean Twomey, Tom Barry, Eamonn Cummins, James ‘Daw’ Edwards (a stalwart from 1936 to 1946) and Eddie O’Riordan, the hardworking secretary of the club.”
The final against Valley Rovers was played at the Athletic Grounds on the first Sunday of December before a large crowd. Carrig were sent on to the field with Twomey‘s speech ringing in their ears: “I don’t care,” he roared, “which Valley they come from…” You can imagine the rest.
Nothing much separated the teams for the half. Paddy Duggan gave Carrig the lead with a point and a great goal by Pad O‘Brien put a bit of light between the teams for a while. But Valley Rovers bit back before the break and there were only two points between the teams at half time, 1-3 to 1-1.
From the first moment of the second half, though, Carrig asserted themselves. The Examiner takes up the story: “Anthony Kelly gained possession near the sideline, soloed thirty yards and sent a rasping shot to the net. Then the fair haired Seanie Barry, Carrig’s left full back, entered the limelight and in the space of three minutes put paid to all Valley Rovers‘ prospects. He firstly sent a seventy all the way to the net in the ninth minute. Then another seventy landed in the square and was doubled to the net by Tom Browne and then he pointed another seventy to leave the score 4-4 to 1-2 in Carrig’s favour.”
“By the 20th minute Pad O’Brien, Tommy Jeffers and Paddy Roche had added further goals and two late points were added by Michael John Roche and Anthony Kelly. By the end nobody could deny that Carrigtwohill thoroughly deserved their win, (7-6 to 3-3). They were clearly the better team and played with the traditional fire that is so strong in the Imokilly village.”
The new Taoiseach, Jack Lynch, in one of his first public functions in office, presented the cup to Davy O‘Keeffe.
Carrig: Davy O’Keeffe, Mick Barry, John Barry, Seanie Barry 1-1, Johnny O’Riordan, John O’Connor, Dick Hegarty, Tommy Jeffers 1-0, Donie McCarthy, Paddy Duggan 0-1, Tom Browne 1-2, Anthony Kelly 1-1, Michael John Roche 0-1, Paddy Roche 1-0, Pad O’Brien 2-0.
Neilus Kidney and Ollie O’Connor both came on as subs. Mick Sheehan (Rossmore), Tony Ahern, Noel Cotter, Ray Kelly and Davy Sheehan were also on the panel.
Carrig erupted in a celebration that went on for days. Official ceremonies were arranged for Wednesday night, but due to the death of one of the club’s greatest supporters, Denis Fenton of Killacloyne, they were postponed until Thursday night.
The Cork City Pipe band were originally booked, but they were unable to come for the re-arranged evening. Instead a band was organised with local musicians: Danny O‘Riordan (drummer) John O‘Keeffe, Seamie Wright, Sean McCarthy and Willie Jagoe (side drummers); Davy Ahern, Eddie Barry, Donal Long and Garret O’Keeffe (accordian). The parade formed at the community hall, marched down to the West End and back again. The team led the parade, transported, as so many Carrig teams were, in Sean Twomey’s lorry.
At the same time a bonfire, made up of about 50 tractor tyres, was set alight on the site of the old RIC Barracks, where O’Donovan Transport is now. Unfortunately, a gale of wind was blowing and the flames rose above the roofs of two adjacent houses. Clouds of black smoke and sparks reached along Main Street as far as O‘Brien‘s bar and traffic was delayed. Looking like it might get out of control Sergeant Cotter called Midleton Fire Brigade. The Cobh unit, who were passing on a practice run, also joined in and the situation was soon under control.
The mood of the evening, however, couldn‘t be quenched and the Muskerry Ceilí Band played later at the dance where all of the cups were on display. To mark Carrig‘s achievement in winning their first county for 16 years, Billy Power of Belvelly wrote a song in tribute to the air of The Irish Rover.
In the year of our Lord 1966
We set out for the great Park of Cork
We were bound for to meet and to defeat
Valley Rovers the pride of South Cork
We had a whale of a team in
Full of courage and spirit untold
Who had vowed for to fight
And to bring back that night
The county cup for the ‘oul Blue and Gold
In goal we had O’Keeffe who had saved
Old Carrig on many a day
Our fall back line was strong
The Barry brothers, Mick and John
And a namesake Seanie from Killeagh
At left half back we had young Donie Mac
In the centre Dick Hegarty held sway
While Jawser O‘Riordian full of brains
Made one half-line that glorious day
At centre field two men would
Tom Jeffers and O’Connor of renown
Then our first line of attack three men who
feared no back
Kelly, Pat Duggan and Tom Browne
We had Fagan on the left, small but quick
With big Rochie from the garage on
Flanked by brother Mickey John, just to
help the score along
That was our team that day in
Mossie Walsh’s whistle shrilled and the
crowd awaited thrilled
As the ball sped from end to end like light
We hadn’t long to wait as Duggan’s shot
A point and Carrig fans went wild
Valley Rovers tried their best but our backs
they stood the test
Johnny Barry and O’Connor a Stonewall
Though the scoring rate was slow at the
half time whistle blow
Carrig were ahead but by a margin small
So the second half began, again t’was man
But the game was only seconds old
When Kelly’s smashing shot quickly found
Twas a goal for the lads in blue and gold
Said Sean Twomey to Daw I feel the cup
safe in me paw
I know the lads won’t leave us in the lurch
Though it‘s too soon to crow I ‘ve a feeling
don’t you know
That tonight boys we’ll be top of
Well Twomey he was right
now the lads were full of flight
Seven goals from Kelly, Jeffers and
When the full time whistle blew the lads in
gold and blue
Had safely in their grasp the
Oh! the cheers they rent the sky as the
Taoiseach passing by
Presented to Dave O’Keeffe the county cup
‘Era Twomey bhoy,’ said he, ‘I’m glad at
It’s about time that ye thought of going up’
Oh! what a scene that night as bonfires
The faces of the cheering fans lit up
Twas a night of memories to store down
through the years
When our lads brought home the