Des Boylan Remembers

Des Boylan, one time teacher in the Gilson School reminisces – “I think the best thing for me to do is to write about my memories of the club and the people connected with football as they come to mind. I am a grandfather now and sometimes I forget things. I hope I’ll be forgiven if I forget to mention some players.

I started teaching in The Gilson Schools in November 1946 and I left in December 1954. Shortly after I arrived the boys asked me to start a Juvenile Team. They said that Enda Gibney had organised a team the previous year. At that time there were Juvenile teams in Navan, Trim, Kells, Syddan and Skryne. The first year we won a set of silver medals at an Under 16 Tournament in Syddan. Monsignor John Hanly won a medal that day even though he seemed to know more about rugby than Gaelic. We reached the Under 14 Final once again during the time when Brendan Smith,Paddy Sheridan and Tony Ahern were playing.
We were robbed that day in Kells. An under 15 team won the County Championship in 1951. I have a photograph of that team. We discovered two years later that one of that team was over age!!!

Shortly after we started, Sgt. Paul Russell came to the Park some evenings and gave the boys a few tips. One day he was showing them how to
approach a ball when taking a free. With ordinary boots on he took twenty frees from about 21 yards and put every one over the bar!!
At that time people kept cows in the Park. As a result before every match we had to fix crossbars and uprights. A team came fiom Kilskyre to play
us one evening. When the game was over we discovered that one of the cows had eaten nearly all of a boy’s trousers. I heard later that the priest
had to give the boy a pair of trousers to go home on the bike, when they reached Kilskyre.

Besides playing in the Championship we travelled to “friendlies” in Bailieboro’, Kells and Navan. We had tea out and if there were carnival amusements on in any of the towns we visited we always managed to stay a while. To cover the costs of running the team we held Socials in The Eldorado Ballroom. Hughie Lynch never charged us for use of the ballroom and Tomsie was always ready to play. The parents supplied the supper.

When travelling to matches the parents were always agreeable to drive the boys in their cars when required. Packie Tuite’s V8 was always available free of charge even though none of his children was old enough to play at the time. The same applied to Jim Kearney when we needed the lorry.
For quite a few years we were invited by Kells C.B.S., to take part in Inter Schools Relay Races. We won every time we entered. In 1950 we won both under 15 years and under 13 years. One evening after a game Peter Tuite (Ballinvalley) and Patsy McEnroe (Liss), while waiting for the train in Kells, decided to go up the town for ice-cream. As a result they missed the train and had to walk home on the railway line!!!

One wet day in Kells we were short of players and had to ask Brendan Smith to play. He was in third class at the time but he scored a point with a big wet No.5 football. Tommy Mullen got headlines in The Meath Chronicle for his display as goalie for the Seniors in a game in Kells. He was 17 years at the time. Noel Sheridan (Mountdutton) turned out with the Seniors when he was 15 years of age. He later played with Waterford County Seniors.

Jimmy Halpin (U.S.A.) and Peter Callan (Norway) played with style and dash with the County Seniors many times. Eddie Purcell (New York) and Emmet Smyth (Dallas), Patsy Halpin and “F-sheen” Duffy, ‘Ihe Lynch Brothers, Pat, John Joe, Phil, Oliver and Senator Michael, The Russells Paul and Fintan, Joe Tynan and Mick Devine, Charlie Sheridan and Paddy Sheridan, Big Jim Farrelly and Brendan Smyth are names which come to mind. The Lord Bishop had just started playing before I left. He had the makings of a nifty forward then.

In 1951 I succeeded Paul Russell as Secretary of the Footbali Club and in 1954 I handed over to Jim Haughney. During that time we reached the final of the Feis Cup only to be beaten by Syddan.

The standard of football in the country at that time was very high with teams like Wexford, Louth, Kildare, Mayo and Meath. The standard in the clubs was high also and even with four Maguires and Connie Keily playing we were still beaten in the final. At that time playing fixtures were made at the County Board Meeting. It took a good bit of manoeuvering to avoid being fixed in the Feis Cup or Championship on days when Cavan were playing” Still we managed. On the Monday after playing with the County team Connie Kelly usually called into Kathleen Kearney’s shop in the Market House and he and Jim Kearney went over the whole game in detail.

‘It’s a great pity we haven’t a tape of what they were saying. One day during a game in Kells some time later I heard one spectator say to another “Doesn’t Connie Kelly remind you of Jim Kearney, the way he plays.” So well he might.

One great outing was the night of the Presentation to Jim Kearney in The Castle Cinema in 1949. Eddie O’Reilly of Summerbank represented Millbrook Club and Paddy Hamilton represented Ballinvalley Club and Paddy Killeen made the Presentation. Oliver Burns made his debut as an M.C. that night!!

Mlchael Hanly (U.S.A.) played all grades of football really well but he could not resist playing a game no matter who asked him. While in U.C.G., he played with Galway Senior County team. They beat Sligo in the Connacht Championship Final. The morning after the match he was knocking at my door bright and early to tell me that a pal of his in U.C.G. from Sligo, told him that two officials from Sligo County Board were coming to check up on him. We spread the word round the town. Some time after dinner I was in the room off Kathleen Kearney’s shop reading the paper when I heard the two strangers in the shop talking about football. In no time Kathleen was telling them how unfair it was to have college boys home for four months and Master Boylan could not play them or the whole team would be suspended. The two left; got into a car and drove off. Michael played a blinder in Croke Park in the All-Ireland Semi-final.

We played Kells in a Feis Cup tie in Kilskyre. The Kilskyre Club had borrowed farcing from the Crossakiel Race Committee and the pitch was looking well and was well stewarded when we arrived. lmagine the panic when Liam & Brendan Maguire failed to turn up for the game. What a Game!!! I thought Carl Gibney would be killed. Tom Gavigan was in the goals for Kells and he’ll never forget it. Stiil we won.

Another great outing was the night of the presentation to Liam and Des Maguire in The Eldorado in 1954. The whole Cavan team attended as did Joe Mullen, Chairman of Cavan County Board. The ladies put up a really marvellous supper. It was the largest crowd I ever saw in the Eldorado. It was a great night which was much appreciated by all concerned. The Maguires, Liam, Des, Brendan and Seamus gave great service to the club as players and on the Committee.
I really have very pleasant memories of the Club with men like Hughie Lynch, Paddy Kearney and Pat Smyth of Farnaglough turning out to help the Juniors. Training sessions in Jimmy Daly’s with Jack Gilson and his bottle for rubs. Jack Briody, John Smyth, Noel Smyth, Eamon Clarke, Paddy and Tommy Hamilton and the Brady Brothers

(From: “The Story of Oldcastle GAA Club 1884-1984” Editor: Tommy Sheridan)