Scoil celebrate classic 80s hits

Niall Scully

SCOIL'S special gathering. They were reliving old times and celebrating a memorable double.

Scoil Uí Chonaill organised a 30-year reunion to mark their Dublin Senior Football Championship success in 1983 and 1986.

Patch McVeigh was instrumental in the occasion. He was an accomplished half-back on both sides.

Only four from the two squads and managements couldn't make the night. All were presented with a lovely inscribed plaque marking the achievement.

Gerry Rowley trained both sides.

"It was a wonderful era; 1983 was the first time we ever won a championship and it was also around that time that we built our clubhouse.

"They were magical days."

The former Dublin hurling manager, Tommy Naughton, was also a fine footballer. Tony Hempenstall would go on to be a Dublin football selector under Gerry McCaul.

Robbie Kelleher was the player-manager in '83. He played at full-forward. He was marked by Vincent Conroy.

Scoil beat St Vincent's in the final. Three years later, they defeated Thomas Davis by nine points to one.

That '86 final was the last Dublin decider to be played in Croke Park. The doyen of Dublin referees, Aidan Shiells, had the whistle.

"The earlier matches were played all over the county. Parnell Park wasn't developed then," recalls Gerry. The Scoil players were past pupils of O'Connell's Boys.

Martin McCarrick from Sligo captained the team in '83. He was a teacher at O'Connell's. Scoil beat Garda, Na Fianna and Fingallians before facing Parnell's in the semi-final.


"We were dead and buried against Parnell's, but with two minutes left Seán O'Brien got two goals that got us the replay. And we then beat Vincent's after extra-time in the final," explains Gerry.

That final was played in October. The 1986 final took place in May. On their way to Croke Park in '86, Scoil knocked out Good Counsel, O'Dwyer's and Na Fianna before overcoming Parnell's again in the semi-final.

Peter Tuck was the manager. "Things went right for us on the night. Thomas Davis brought a huge crowd from Tallaght. They would go on to win the three-in-a-row," reflects Gerry. "I felt so proud to be involved with those Scoil sides. I was managing the Scoil Under-21's when Robbie (Kelleher) asked me to get involved. And Robbie, of course, had all the experience of being managed by Heffo.

"It was lovely to see everybody back together again. Patch (McVeigh) did a fine job in organising it. We had a marvellous night. Those days will never leave us. They were special. And it was a privilege to have been a part of it all."

Scoil Uí Chonaill CLG (Dublin Senior Football Champions 1983):

Kieran Brady, Jimmy Close, Leo Close, Conel Curtis, Enda Costello, Brian Hickey, Robbie Kelleher (player/manager), Joe Kirwan, Peter Lynch, Martin McCarrick (captain), Frank McGrath, Colin McMahon, Gerry McMahon, Pat McVeigh, Ken Murphy, Tommy Naughton, Dermot O'Brien, Sean O'Brien, Tony O'Brien, Maurice O'Connell, Mick O'Connell, John Tighe. Gerry Rowley (selector/trainer).

Scoil Uí Chonaill CLG (Dublin Senior Football Champions 1986):

Tom Callinan, Leo Close, Conel Curtis, Brian Hickey, Ken Kearney, Joe Kirwan, Donie McCarthy, Paul McCready, Frank McGrath, Colin McMahon, Gerry McMahon, Pat McVeigh, Gerry Mescall, David Murphy, Ken Murphy, Tommy Naughton, Dermot O'Brien, Seán O'Brien (captain), Tony O'Brien, Mick O'Connell, Sean O'Connell, John Tighe. Peter Tuck (manager), Tony Hempenstall (selector), Gerry Rowley (selector/trainer).