Friday 14 December 2018

Ballydesmond honours its four in a row heroes

Duhallow Board Chairman Tom Dennehy with the four captains Eamonn Kelly (1976), Willie Walsh (1974), Michael John Kearney (1975) and Connie Goulding (1977)
Duhallow Board Chairman Tom Dennehy with the four captains Eamonn Kelly (1976), Willie Walsh (1974), Michael John Kearney (1975) and Connie Goulding (1977)
Members of the four-in-a-row Duhallow Championship winning teams who met together last Saturday evening for the first time in 40-years. Photos: Sheila Fitzgerald

Sheila Fitzgerald

Memories of a golden era in Ballydesmond football were recalled last Saturday evening when the local club honoured the four-in-a-row Duhallow champions of 1974-1977.

In what was a truly historic occasion, it was the first gathering of this group of players for 40 years. MC Johnny Walsh said this was an "unforgettable" era in Ballydesmond football, raising the spirits of the people and bringing "untold joy and happiness" to the close-knit rural community. 

The players were welcomed by Donal Vaughan who recalled hearing as a child of the feats and achievements of legends in Duhallow folklore. 

Danno Dennehy who was a founding member of the club in 1964 thanked the players, describing them as a fantastic group who thrilled people with their skills and sportsmanship. 

Also present was Tom Dennehy, President of the Duhallow Board, who remarked that it was unusual that all the players of this exceptionally talented group were alive and well, commending  the high standard of football teams of that era. The four captains-Willie Walsh (1974),Michael John Kearney (1975), Eamonn Kelly (1976) and Connie Goulding (1977), thanked the players and mentors and commended the wonderful support they received at the time.

In his address Willie Walsh saluted a "wonderful group of players" whose friendship, spirit and loyalty helped to win many a titanic battle.

"Tonight epitomises the great spirit and camaraderie of the Ballydesmond people and it was an honour and privilege to be part of such a successful group, it is important to commemorate these great times and to support each other and continue the friendships in the days ahead" he said.

Willie paid tribute to all deceased club members and parishioners, in particular he remembered Miah Buckley and John Flynn and the late captain of the 1974 Newmarket team, John Charlie O'Keeffe.

Many games were replayed, old friendships renewed. new acquaintances forged and stories and anecdotes of the1974-77 era shared and recalled. on the night.  

Donncha O Connor, Cork footballer and All-Ireland medal winner, presented each player with an anniversary award. 

MC Johnnie Walsh entertained the crowd with songs and stories and the local anthem 'Sweet Kingwilliamstown' was sung by Eamonn Kearney.