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Charlie Gallagher - The Supreme Cavan Marksman
This Cavan gael left behind a host of golden football memories in the late 1950s and also throughout the 60s. Born at Cootehill, Co. Cavan, Charlie Gallagher gave many memorable exhibitions in the art of scoremaking and especially scoretaking. Historians recall a memorable game at Carrickmacross against Down in May 1966, when Charlie imparted an imperious display that left spectators spellbound. The occasion was a qualifying match to contest the annual Wembley stadium showpiece, which was a major event on the calendar for Irish exiles in Britain in the first half of the 20th century.
Two football and two hurling teams from Ireland were a major annual attraction for exiles and in the Carrickmacross qualifying match, Charlie scored 2 - 10 in a vintage performance of clever,purposeful and opportunistic football. A major star of colleges and minor football competitions in the 1950s, he made his natural progression to Cavan senior ranks in 1956.
He became an ace freetaker from very acute angles and his 1964 historic scoring spree of 6 goals and 107 points from twenty five games epitomised his natural scoring abilities. Ulster senior football medals were won in 1962; 1964; 1967 (as captain); and his last medal was won in 1969. In the Ulster colours he enjoyed a great amount of success. In the Railway Cup triumphs, notably the four in - a - row titles achieved from 1963; 1964; 1965 and 1966, Charlie Gallagher was an influential figure in this sequence of historic victories. He won another Railway Cup medal in 1968.
Cavan football is renowned for its conveyor belt of football legends. Jim Smith, John Joe O'Reilly, Jim McDonnell, Mick Higgins and other greats of Breffni fame, have all entered gaelic footballs hall of fame and the man from Cootehill ranks alongside those illustrious legends with great ease. Charlie Gallagher was a forward who was especially singled out by opposing counties as Cavan’s trump card. Only defenders with close marking capabilities would be detailed to man mark the razor sharp Cavan sharpshooter.
From the Glens of Antrim to Bantry Bay in Co.Cork, the reputation of Charlie Gallagher was rich and immense. Spectators turned out in large numbers all over Ireland when the great Cavan player came to their local sportsfield for league and challenge matches and he seldom disappointed. The Cavanman will never be omitted when recalling Ireland’s greatest gaelic football giants.
Derry JF Doody