Monday, 02 October 2017 20:55

Shamrocks GAA Club, Shanbally, Co. Cork

Written by John Twomey

Cork Carrigdhoun Club Steeped in History

The Club was founded in 1898 but the origins of hurling go back to 1828 when a local Landlord Captain William Connor of the Ballybricken Estate in Shanbally first mustered a team to engage with Kilmoney from Carrigaline.  Captain Conner, Trinity College educated, was an Officer on Board the English warship Bellerophon where Napoleon handed over his sword in surrender after the battle of Waterloo.

Hurling had its roots and later and even before the GAA was founded, locals played under the name of Shanbally. St. Finbarrs tell us in their history book that the first hurling game they ever played was in Shanbally in 1884.

In 1904 and 1908 Junior Hurling County titles were won and after loosing three finals in the Intermediate Grade, they took county honours in 1915.  In 1916 they were in the senior ranks for the first time and went all the way to the final against Midleton.  They lost by one point 4 – 0 to 3 – 2. 

Three members of the team won Junior Hurling All Ireland medals in 1916, Ned Frizelle, Tom Livesey and Dan Kelleher.  Dan Kelleher went on to play Senior Hurling with Cork and was a member of the 1919 All Ireland winning side which wore the red jersey for the very first time.   Earlier in 1912 another member of that team, Michael Cotter, played full back on the Cork Senior Hurling team that played Tipperary in the town of Mechlin in Belgium as part of The Congress of Celtic Nations.

Football then got a foothold with the arrival of Abie Brennan.  Abie had won a Senior County medal with Nils and soon he had the locals in fine shape and they won an Intermediate Football County title in 1923 defeating Dohenys.  The same year they won the Beamish Shield and the Senior Hurling League title.

In 1927 the Club was devastated when fifteen of their Senior players were forced to immigrate.  Hard times followed, but despite the losses those who remained were very resilient, none other that the Club President, Georgie Andrews.  The Club contested two Junior Football county finals in 1931 and 1933 only to loose both.  One of that team, George Andrews, went on to become the first Shamrock man to play Senior Football for Cork in 1935.

In 1924 the South-East Board was formed with two Shamrock men among the first

Officers, Jackie Robinson, Hon. Secretary and John Wren N.T. Treasurer.  Paddy Sisk went on to serve as Secretary of that Board for 34 years.  He was also a Cork Hurling Selector and was involved with eight All Ireland winning teams form 1937 to 1958, five Minor and three Junior. 

Joe O’Driscoll served as a Divisional Chairman for twelve years too.  In fact, Michael Henry Murphy N.T. Ringaskiddy, a club founder, was a member of the Cork Minor Hurling Committee which brought the County its first title at that level in 1929.   The Club had a great tradition in organising plays and concerts every winter to raise funds.  The Club Treasurer, Humphrey Jeffers, wrote many plays and sketches over the years.  From this the Shamrock Drama Group, under the baton of Donal O’Connor N.T. was formed and went on to reap many successes locally and nationally.

The 1960’s saw a huge upsurge in under age games with the club recording Under 14 Hurling County titles in 1963 and 1964.   Other successes followed at under 16 and minor levels with players winning College and County honours.  Michael McGrath won an All Ireland Senior Colleges with Colaiste Criost Ri in 1968.  Ger Hanley won three All Ireland Minor Medals along with a Harty Cup and All Ireland Colleges medal with North Mon.  Ger later made it five with an Intermediate Hurling medal.

John Dineen won Minor and Intermediate All Ireland medals. Adrian O’Driscoll won Junior and  Intermediate All Ireland medals.  Michael Prout played on the Ireland Under 17 Football Compromise Rules team in three games against the Australians.  He went on to win an All Ireland Minor Hurling Medal in 2001 and followed two years later with An Intermediate All Ireland Medal.  He then won two All Ireland Junior Medals with Cork, having become the very first Shamrock man to captain an All Ireland winning side.  He played Minor, Under 21 and Senior Football with Cork and has a fine collection of Munster medals too.

Shamrocks have their own pitches in Shanbally and currently a new Gym is being built and a complete overhaul of the main playing pitch is now complete.  Up to date facilities will be required going forward and Ladies Football  is now thriving.

Talking of ladies, it is nice to know that in 1949 the Shamrock Camogie Club won the Cork County Senior Title, defeating Blackrock in a game played in Cobh.  An interesting early member of the club, where he played, was Sean McCarthy N.T. who taught in Ringaskiddy N.S..  Sean went on to greater things becoming Chairman of the Cork Co. Board and National President.  A medal, which proudly hung from his watch chain, was presented to him by the Club.

The Club celebrated its Centenary year in 1998.   Among some of the events that year was the setting up of a Club website, the staging of a very successful photographic exhibition at Ringside’s Ferry Terminal and a Banquet attended by over 400 people.

The Current Chairman of the Club is Mr. Pat McCarthy and he is fully committed along with his fellow officers, to promote and keep this old Club enriched with greatness and tradition focused into the future.

Composed by JOHN TWOMEY

 

 

Last modified on Monday, 02 October 2017 22:40
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