Paddy Kearney Remembers

I will always have happy memories of my membership of the Oldcastle G.A.A. Club, both as player and later as chairman of the club for fifteen years. During my term as Chairman I was very fortunate that the late Phil1y Smith was Secretary of the Club. Philly was one of the most outstanding club secretaries of his time and both as player and official gave marvellous service to the Oldcastle Club. He certainly made a name for himself in the annals of football in Oldcastle.

I would like to pay tribute to the late Jackie Gilson, guide, tactician and masseur of the Club, whose enthusiasm for the game knew no bounds. Jackie would recall with pride the great Oldcastle players of the past, Peter Tuite, Mick Markey, Paddy Dowd and Rev. Fr. Michael Kilmartin, still ministering in Ballinacarry, who lined out with Oldcastle while a reader here in the early twenties.

He also recalled how in those days the team would travel in a car known as a ‘brake’ to all the matches. The players of to-day assemble at John and Joe Herbstreet’s Shop on the Square.

The purchase of the G.A.A. pitch at Millbrook was a great step forward by the Club. The debt incurred has been completely cleared as a result of holding dances in the Showhall and concerts in the Castle Cinema in Oldcastle. I thank sincerelly all who took part in those fundraising efforts, people such as Oliver Burns, Jim Haughney, the Lynch Bros. Ceili Band and many, many more. Presidents of the Club in those years were Very Rev. John Shortall (now P.P. Kells) Stephen Roe, (R.I.P.), Leo Herbstreet (R.I.P), Paddy Gilleran, (R.I.P.) and Jack Caffrey (R.I.P.). The fine pitch at Millbrook is a tribute ro their foresight. Committee members were Tommy Tully, Tommy Hamilton, Aidan Brady, Jackie Smith, Kevin Halpin, Tommy Mullen, Paddy Galligan, Brendan Smith, Tommy Donoghue, Seamus Maguire (R.I.P.), Mick Devine, Pat Smith, Dennie Smith, Leo Halpin, Sean Craughan and Willie Tuite.

I would rate Jack Briody as one of the most outstanding footballers of the club because he had all the attributes which a county player needs. Other top class players were Paddy Dermody and John Smith and I would rate John Rahill, the present chairman, as the best clubman of my time. Tribute must be paid to the trainers of the team during my years, Jack Rahill (Snr.), Paddy Smith, Sean Gaffney, Aidan Galligan, Alo O’Donoghue and Mick Campbell. All these trainers were noted footballers and referees and many of them hold Senior Championship Medals. Jack Rahill is a former Cavan County player and toured America with the Cavan team in the thirties. Sean Gaffney, an accomplished trainer of many Oldcastle teams, captained the Denn team that won the Cavan Minor Championship in 1952. Sean played with Crosskeys, Drumavaddy, Castlerahan and finally with Oldcastle when he came to live here. Paddy Smith, who was a regular on the Cavan county team for several years, was a cashier in the Bank of Ireland in Oldcastle and later was Manager in Bailieboro’ and Trim. He gave valuable assistance to Oldcastle teams during his time here. Alo O’Donoghue, a teacher in the Gilson School and later in St Oliver’s School is brother of Hugh Barney of Cavan fame. Mick Campbell was also trainer of the Meath team.

When discussing famous games of Gaelic football one interesting story is related by Bob Willis, a former goalie for the Millbrook team. In1947 two teams from Oldcastle parish, Millbrook and Ballinvalley met in a medal tournament at Killskyre. The game ended in a draw and the replay was fixed for the following Sunday at Killskyre at 2 p.m. but bolh clubs were wamed that a definite result must be reached. After the first hour the result was again a draw and after periods of extra time, no final result was reached. The game went on until the Angelus Bell rang but there was still no decision. The game continued until 6.30 p.m. when Ballinvalley were
declared winners by a very controversial point. It took three referees all-told, Very Rev. Fr. Casey, (R.I.P.), Dick Goodman, (R.IP.), and Frank Nulty (R.I.P.). Bob Willis claims that this game should be in the Guinness Book of Records.

My late father played football with Oldcastle and he passed on to me his love for the game. My son in turn has turned out for the underage teams and captained the St Oliver’s Team to victory. I am very happy that he is carrying on the tradition. I wish the Oldcastle Club every success on entering its second century.

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