Brendan Smith Remembers

ln the 1944-’48 period the children of Oldcastle were developing into the nucleus of a powerful team. They were getting great example from the Senior players of the time, such men as Jim Kearney, T. Dolan, Jack Kellett (R.I.P.), John Smith, Paddy Kearney, Austin Brady and Paddy Dermody. Our place in the Park at that time was behind the goals retrieving balls that beat the goalie or were sent wide. It was an exrercise we enjoyed and through it we were learning the skills of the game.
Later we graduated to the pitch proper and many a royal battle we had playing backs and forwards. I could name a lot of players whom we looked up to at that time but one thing that stands out in my memory is the punching of the ball by Hughie Devine (R.I.P.) who could drive the ball further than we could kick it.

Many a dour encounter we had with the boys from Newcastle in the Bog Field. They had great stalwarts in the Tuite Brothers, Lynch Brothers, McEnroe Brothers, Halpins, Fox,s etc. etc.

Under-age football was progressing very well under the tutelage of Des Boylan. We looked forward to the journeys by train to play Navan Kells and the treats we got afterwards in the Central Hotel, Navan and Miss Murphy’s Cafe in Kells.

In 1950 I think the Oldcastle Under-l4 Team was robbed of the final against.Navan as the result of some unfair decisions. At that time also we had great encounters with Bailieboro,. Usually we lined up on the Square in Bailieboro’ and marched to the field accompanied by the local band.

In l95l, Fr.Tully, then Co. Chairman, kindly allowed us into the U-l6 Championship which was newly initiated and we repaid his kindness in foregoing a bye to his team, by beating them. We did not go much further that year. The following year was very successful in the U-16 Championship culminating in our winning by beating Clonard in the final.

The next high-spot for Oldcastle was the campaign of 1956-,57. This I am sure will be amply covered by others but I would like to give my view from, perhaps, a slightly different angle. The final was between ourselves and Nobber.In the other semi-final, Nobber gave a brilliant display, spearheaded by their great Countyman, the late Larry McGuinniss, who accounted 2-4 of their tally. Jack Rahill, our trainer, put us through a strenuous course of training during February and March even during frost and snow. It was a pleasure to partake, rather than miss. We drank in the advice of our masseur, the legendary Jackie Gilson (R.I.P.).

The great day arrived and Nobber were installed as favourites by the press, but we were ready for the fray. The game was memorable but two outstanding performances shall always remain in my memory, Batty McEnroe’s exhibition against the redoubtable Larry McGuinness and the devastating runs of Paddy Farrelly against the Nobber backs. Paddy’s goal at a crucil period in the game was a delight. To all the members of the team, thanks for the memory,

We played Nobber shortly afterwards in a charity match for their injured goalie, and thanks to our driver, Mickey Reilly, we got home safely, fortified with black pudding and Gin !

Brendan Smith

(From: ” The History of Oldcastle GAA Club 1884-1984″ – Editor Tommy Sheridan)