Castlelyons GAA

30 April, 2020

Castlelyons GAA Notes week ended 13.4.20.

The Rise of Castlelyons Hurling in the Nineteen Fifties with some Controversary.

Castlelyons experienced a little disharmony in the early fifties but Fr Corkery PP did a mighty job in restoring goodwill and a focus on the camán resulting in the Club winning the East Cork B Championship in 1953. They were unlucky to lose the A Grade by just one point in 1954. However, driven on by Fr Seamus Corkery and some very strong characters in a good team the had a right cut of it in 1955. They trained hard in Abbeylands under Paddy Fraher from Fermoy and done well in East Cork getting to the final once again against neighbours St Catherines in Clonmult Park, Midleton.

Clonmult Park is regarded as epicentre and Croke Park of East Cork hurling. There was a record crowd for the final that stood for 20 years until Bride Rovers played Erins Own and John Arnold tells me there was over 3500 at that Rovers game. Indeed, there is a strong argument to have all East Cork finals in Midleton. There was even a souvenir programme for the day as it was St Catherines first and Castlelyons second final and there would be a new name on the cup anyway. Florence Waters and Ned Fitzgerald were young lads that time and both St Catherines men got to the game but when I spoke with Dave Hegarty, he could not get a spin to that game even though I think a lorry load of supporters went from Coolagown side. The atmosphere was electric with the Midleton Holy Rosary Brass and Reed Band providing the musical selections. The weather was good and the Midleton referee Michael O Brien threw in the ball it was get out of the way and let them at it as the standard was excellent.

Castlelyons settled well with Martin O Riordan, Dan Shaughnessy and James Coughlan Keeping the scoreboard ticking over. During this first half the Castlelyons defence was sound under pressure with Tom Joe O Riordan, Liam Cronin in the back and James Murphy outstanding in goals. Half time read Castlelyons 2-5 St Catherines 2-3 The backs held well in the second half. Jimmy Lomasney the captain was a stylish operator and an outstanding athletic as he had many medals for running while having the hurling skills to match. He had a mighty game that day. Jim Coughlan showed well, and Dan Shaughnessy banged in a vital goal with Martin O Riordan landing the winning point from out the field for Clubs first East Cork JAHC title.

This writer had a chat with James Murphy the goalie at the time as he is still hale and hearty. James is an uncle of another great Gael namely Ger Lane, Bride Rovers the former County Chairman. He said Fr Corkery was a great man and put a lot of work into the club and the team during the fifties. He started out in goal at the age of fifteen and never played outfield. James himself played a game for Imokilly against the Glen and Christy Ring was full forward the same day. Ring got a few goals as the full back spent too much time outfield. James

said Tom Joe was not available that day and if he was, they would have kept Ring quiet as he thought Tom Joe was mighty. He told me how there was little transport to games at the time but a Coolagown man was great to make his lorry available and they had a driver. He recalls over eighty travelling in the back of it one day to a game in Midleton and they used to travel by the Lisgoold road. On the way back a bit of a scrap broke out as lads had a few pints taken and they stopped at Charlie Smarts pub for more porter so four of the lads including himself walked it home. A big lorry but so much for health and safety. James Murphy himself, joined the Garda in 1958 and after a short time on operational duties he moved in the special transport section at Garda HQ. He was a trusted performer just like in goals for Castlelyons drove many of our government ministers and provided protection as an armed man until his retirement.

Anyway, back to the hurling and lads prepared hard for the county. They went on to defeat Courceys Rovers in a fever of excitement in the first Round of the county in the Cork Athletic Grounds now Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Aghabullogue were next up in the semi-final who had lost a few players after winning the Mid Cork Division as they had clerical students who on return to their seminaries could not get out for games those times. A Tipperary man living in Aghabullogue came up with an idea of replacements. He decided that they would bring down a few good hurlers from Tipperary to give a hand. The song goes “there are some men both big and strong as I will let you see. So, fix the date and pay the rate and leave the rest to me.” Down the boys came from the Premier county all good ones too including some county hurlers. In fact, one fellow was nicknamed “Glamour” and he wore white boots.

They beat Banteer and all was going to plan. However, the secretary of the Tipperary club got wind of what was going on and informed the Cork County board of the shenanigans and the Board just advised Aghabullogue of this. Aghabullogue heard that Castlelyons had a few outsiders and were suspicious. This which was true, but the outsiders were legal being the three O Regan brothers from Bartlemy all good men too. Anyway, Aghabullogue ignored the Boards instruction and decided to put out the illegal Tipperary boys again.

So, on Sunday 30th October 1955 both junior semi-finals were played before a huge crowd in Mallow. Ballyhea bate St Finbarrs in the first one 6-2 to 2-2. Castlelyons were next up against Aghabullogue as this was billed the top game and once again there was a huge crowd at the game. However, the mid Cork champions with the packed the team of four or five Tipperary men including one guy who won and All Ireland minor in 1949. Castlelyons were up for it as it was always said the 1955 team had hurling, heart and steel and they gave it everything. Castlelyons were down 2-2 to 1-1 at half time they were well in the game. However, the overall hurling ability of the loaded outfit was too much for Castlelyons and Aghabullogue won the game 4-7 to 3-2.

Knowing of the carry on by the Mid Cork men and their illegal players in the Banteer game and again in the semi-final Castlelyons were not going to take it to easy. It is said that they were advised by the Board to lodge an objection and they would get the match. But local history says when the objection was heard, the attitude of the County Board was completely changed, and the Club got a raw deal. Castlelyons proved that at least four of the Aghabullogue team were from Tipperary and were playing there, but as the Castlelyons list omitted one name, as one player was late for the start of the game and a substitute was put on as the team was going on the field, both teams were ruled out of the Championship. There was an interesting other side that Castlelyons claimed to have identified one of the illegal players in Clonmel Hospital, where he ended up following a crash the day after the game. However, that player still denies the evidence, not that he played - but the two witnesses couldn't have seen him as he was in intensive care and they could not get in there.

Overall, it was a shocking decision and relations with the County Board were strained afterwards. Castlelyons appealed the decision to Munster Council but they ruled that as the address of the Secretary of the Munster Council wasn't written in Irish it couldn't be heard, even though it was copied from the G.A.A. Official Guide where it was written in English. The Tipperary boys were suspended by their own County Board and Aghabullogue got a twelve months suspension.

They say the road of life has many twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. The hurlers of the fifties were special and created a niche of history and positive culture for the Club that set us on a journey. Castlelyons were back on the road to have a rock and roll sixties with success in both hurling and football as some great characters came on the scene. Then followed the seventies whereby the Club together with some outstanding parishioners developed a new pitch, community centre, Squash Club and social amenities in tough times and some great success followed on. We say a special thanks to them and no doubt the lessons from that powerful journey will help the Club arrive at a new destination whenever that will be.

The great Castlelyons team panel of 1955 was: - J Murphy M O Riordan, T J O Riordan, M Flynn, M O Regan, T Kent, L Cronin, P Meade, B O Regan, F.J Lomasney, P. O Regan, J Coughlan, Martin O Riordan Dan Shaughnessy, T Buckley J Spillane, J O Brien, W Gleeson, D Twomey and M Sheehan.

Father Seamus Corkery – a great servant of Castlelyons.

Castlelyons have been served by many great priests through the years amongst them Fr Thomas Ferris and Father Peter O Leary (an tAthair Peadar), both eminent figures of their own right. However, Father Seamus Corkery who was in Castlelyons for over sixteen years

was a great servant of the Parish too. He was a native of Macroom and the son of Mary and Dan Corkery. When Father Seamus was born his father Dan who was O/C 7th Battalion Number 1 Cork Brigade, Old IRA, Macroom was in Frongach Prison in England for republican activities. Can Corkery later went on to be a Fianna Fáil TD and a Senator.

Father Seamus studied for the priesthood at the Irish College in Paris and St Colman’s College Fermoy. He was ordained in the Cathedral in Cobh. A great writer he wrote the History of the Irish College in Paris and it contains a most interesting piece on the lead up to the Second World War from a French perspective as Fr Seamus was there from 1935 to 1939. He was also an accomplished artist and founder of the Mallow Arts Club while a priest in Mallow.

On appointment to Charleville in 1985 he was made Canon. He was given the onerous task of updating Holy Cross Church in Charleville in accordance with Vatican II and the directive of the Liturgical Commission. This was the first major reconstruction of the interior of Holy Cross Church since it was built in 1900. Canon Corkery undertook this huge project with alacrity and the result was the introduction of many changes necessary for the imparting of the new liturgy leading to a great enhancement of Holy Cross Church while keeping intact the initial Gothic nature and character of the church.

Fr Seamus Corkery during his sixteen years in Castlelyons was both a servant and a leader of the community. His contribution to the revival of GAA Club during the 1950’s was regarded as extraordinary and we thank him for it. He went to his eternal reward in 2009. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Rousing performances on Easter Sunday and Monday.

Thanks to local artist Dick O Brien who gave a great performance on Easter Sunday with a huge selection of songs. Then on the Bank Holiday Monday we had Eoin Murphy of the Buachaills giving a relaxed sing along from the comfort and sun of Ard na Rí. Both virtual performances through Facebook livened up the scene for a few hours with record hits. Well done lads and sure if this continues, we could do with some of our ladies en concert or even a virtual concert from “Sweet Castlelyons”.

Assistance during Covid 19.

With lockdown extended to May 5th and no collective training, access to training grounds or the gym at present. However, Sport Ireland have been busy collating a suite of resources from various Bodies to help you stay active at home. So, click on their Website and away you go. It is appreciated that these times have potential for Stress and to cater for the HSE Health and Wellbeing Section are offering a Stress Control Programme and this is available at

Assistance available from Castlelyons GAA.

Don’t forget Castlelyons GAA have a service available to assist as many members from the adult, juvenile and camogie sections have volunteered assistance to support parishioners who might be worried about leaving their house for: - Shopping pick up. Medication pick up. Any urgent matters. Should you need some assistance don’t hesitate to contact any of those listed below and assistance will be arranged: -

Michael Barrett - 087 244 6597:

Trish Lawlor - 086 828 8285:

Stacey Cronin - 087 637 2606:

Colm Barry - 086 238 1526:

Pam McCarthy - 087 272 9002.

We do have over 25 volunteers available to assist overall and they all will do within the

guidelines of HSE etiquette so do call if you require assistance.

Main Club Sponsor: ZEUS Packaging Group