Friday 9 December 2016

Rebel names live on through GAA clubs

the fields of battle

Published 26/11/2015 | 02:30

THERE has been a long tradition of naming GAA clubs after patriotic figures. Most counties have an Emmets, a Mitchels or a Sarsfields from earlier conflicts, and the sacrifice of the 1916 leaders has also been remembered on playing fields at home and abroad.

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Some of the clubs are obscure, others celebrated, but those named after the Pearse brothers seem to have been both the most popular and, arguably, most successful on the field.

There are Patrick Pearses clubs in Galway, Kerry, Roscommon and Antrim, while Pearse Brothers play out of Ballybay, Co Monaghan. Two Tyrone clubs, Fintona and Galbally, also attach the Pearse name.

There are four Na Piarsaigh clubs, in Galway, Louth, Cork and Limerick. The Cork version was three times county senior hurling champions from 1990-2004 and is home of the celebrated Ó hAilpín brothers.

The Limerick club is even more successful, twice being Munster senior hurling champions in 2011 and 2013 with all-star Shane Dowling to the fore, and won their county title again in 2015.

The only club with one of the signatories' names to win an All-Ireland club championship was Kilruane MacDonaghs from Tipperary in 1986. There are O'Hanrahans clubs in Wexford and Carlow, the latter winning the Leinster title in 2000.

Seán McDermott has four clubs named in his honour, in Louth, Antrim, Armagh and Monaghan, as has The O'Rahilly, in Fermanagh, Monaghan and Tyrone, as well as the celebrated Kerins O'Rahilly's in Kerry, the club of legends Dan Spring, Paddy Kennedy and Dan O'Keeffe.

Elsewhere there are also clubs in memory of Roger Casement (Antrim) and Thomas Clarke (Dungannon).

In the GAA's overseas units the men of '16 are well remembered, with such clubs as Dunedin Connollys (Edinburgh, Scotland), Brothers Pearse (Huddersfield, England), Roger Casement's GFC (Ontario Canada), Charlotte James Connollys (North Carolina, USA), and Padraig Pearses (Victoria, Australia). GS

Irish Independent

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