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Kilmaley GAA - 1886 to 1932

Note this article was submitted in the early 1930s as part of a submission from the club for a book on the opening of Cusak Park. (This is the original wording!)

‘It seems peculiar that during the past 2 years the above- named joint parishes have not figured very prominently in the GAA movement in the county considering that they were amongst the first to respond to the call of Cusack. In 1886 a club was formed at Inch (titled ‘The Davitts’). Kilmaley immediately followed the good example and the ‘Wolfe Tone’ Club was formed. Connolly was not satisfied to be in the background and through vigorous organisation, the Smith O’Brien’s Club was working smoothly in a short time. So in 1887 we had three strong hurling clubs in one parish. In February of that year one of the greatest gatherings was seen at Slaveen Hill when Inch lined out against Crusheen. The visiting team was met at Slaveen Cross and led by a Band to the Hill, where they received a real cead míle fáilte from the many hundred spectators assembled.

The Inch Davitts were captained b Pat Halpin, and organised by James O’Duffy, who afterwards did similar great work for the GAA in great New York. John O’Duffy, then Secretary, is still with us and has a distinct recollection of GAA events of 50 years ago. Prominent amongst the players were the Caseys, Fitzpatricks, McGuanes, Mungovans, etc. Outstanding as a player was Jon Casey, of Gortmore.

The Kilmaley Club was quite as active, and the many encounters with Crusheen, Ruan, Clooney caused feverish but healthy excitement in those days, and Connolly was not anything less active either.                         

For some years the three Clubs worked successfully, but had fallen to a low ebb until about 1902-1903, when a new Club and a good team were organised in Kilmaley. We had the brothers Darcy, Cassidy, Jack Halpin (captain), Peter Hehir, Pynes, Neylons, Hanrahan. They were at their best in 1905, when they went down before Tulla in the semi-final of the County Championship. Connolly had its football team, and were assisted by some of the players of the Kilmaley hurling team. E. Quinn, N.T. native of Bansha, who since has gone to his eternal reward (R.I.P.), was one of Munster’s greatest players and played many a game for Clare in the Munster Championships. Others prominent were Tommy Greene, M. Meere, M. Clune, P.J. Neylon, who played with Kilmaley in hurling and Connolly in football.                            

The Kilmaley team struggled on from 1905 to 1925, but from 1925 to 1928 there was no Club in the parish. The Slaveen (North Inch) young men took up the game in 1925. The Caseys, McKeys, Fitzpatricks, O’Loughlins, Considine, Griffeys, Murphys, T. McGuane and the popular Paddy O’Dea formed a Club and went far in the Junior Hurling Championship in 1929-31. This year they have joined Kilmaley. The new Club has good material for a good team. With attention, it is quite possible that some day Kilmaley may appear in the list of winners of county honours.’

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