Noel Smith Remembers 1950-1958

I played Juvenile Football with the Oldcastle team ‘of 1950 and although we did not win any honours – we acquitted ourselves with the best. I started playing football with Oldcastle Junior Team n 1957. The first match I remember very well against local neighbours and friends on the Millbrook team. The match was played in Mi1lbrook and as is usual between neighbouring teams was very keenly contested but we won by a few points.
At that time Oldcastle had a Senior team and as the Senior team progressed they robbed the Junior team. We played some other matches but without much success. Among my team-mates were Eamon Clarke. Norbert Smith and Emmett Smith. I still played junior football for two more years.

The Senior team lapsed about the year 1952-’53 and the club were regraded intermediate. In 1952 we had great tussles with the Millbrook Team which included the Halpin brothers Charlie and Phil and the Lynch brothen Kit and Chips and Red McCabe along with other fine players. We also had great tussles with Fordstown which had the famous Meehans, Red and Johnny and Ben Ward. They beat us in 1952 on the old pitch at Bailinlough, beside the pub the score being 9 pts to 8 pts.

During the years 1953-’54 ’55 football was low grade. About 1955-’56 I was regraded junior from Inter. leading to the formation of the team which won the Junior Championship. The first match was against Millbrook and played in Ballinlough in Gormans Field and we won by 3 pts. Oldcastle were not expected to win that game as they were short some of their leading players including Batty McEnroe who had business commitments due to the Spring Show. Oldcastle won out the division and played Dundeny in the quarter final in Kells which we won by 2 points.

Our next encounter was with Ratoath which is now history. We won the first game with a last minute goal scored by Brendan Smith. Ratoath objected on the grounds that we played too many substitutes. We agreed under protest to a replay but this time we were short Emmet Smith, who had emigrated to American, Batty McEnroe and Michael Hanly who were among our bestplayers. Ratoath won.

The third match was fixed and this time we secured our passage into the final against Nobber. Ihad different partners in these games including Michael Hanly, Paul Russell and Seamus Maguire. The delayed final was played in 1957 in Navan. There was a strenuous course of training all through the winter mapped out by Jack Rahill and as a result we could all run like hares. This time we won a hard fought encounter in which the Nobber goalies leg was broken.

In this year (1957) we had to go Intermediate. The first match with Carnaross ended with their scoring a goal from a free which was taken when the Oldcastle players thought the final whistle had gone and the match was over. This match was re-fixed for Navan.We were in complete control and leading by 8 points. Carnaross attacked and in the ensuing melee our goalie was injured. But Camaross had scored a goal which was allowed. Our team collapsed completely and Carnaross were the victors.

My playing-days with Oldcastle were the happiest of my football career. Outstanding players have already been named but my memory also recalls such players as the Brady brothers, Peter and Charlie, Tom Nugent of Corstown, Tom Lynch and Tommy Donoghue of Newcastle. Jimmy (the Gardener) Gibney. My association with the Oldcastle team ended in 1958.

Noel Smith

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