by mohara on September 15, 2010

All-Whites lose out to Metropolitans in rousing game

The excitement for fans of GAA ramps up at this time of year as the All-Ireland championships approach the semi-final stage. Fifty years ago, in August, 1960, this seasonal pattern held true with much coverage of GAA in Kildare and its adjoining counties. Although Kildare were out of the 1960 Championship stakes they were still playing competitive games right into August through such competitions as the Byrne Cup. The Leinster Leader’s coverage was as extensive and as supportive of the Lilywhites as if they had been heading for an All-Ireland semi-final. Although in the O’Byrne cup game reported Kildare lost to Dublin by 1-10 to 1-6, the Leader’s sportswriter was enthusiastic about the loser’s performance stating that it ‘certainly was a rousing game’ and those in charge of Kildare could be well satisfied.

To digress for a moment, the Kildare team is referred to in August 1960 as the ‘All Whites’ and not as the ‘Lilywhites.’  It would be an interesting study to establish when the term ‘Lilywhites’ supplanted ‘All Whites’ as the catch word for the Kildare team.

Commenting on the game the Leader reporter referred to individual player’s performances. He said that ‘Curtis played a good game, the best he has ever played up to the present.’ In similar vein he remarked that the other members of the back-line, Flood and McCarthy, were safe also. However he chastised them over the nature in which the conceded the Dublin goal pointing out that ‘The goal came as a result of slapping down the ball, a habit that should not be indulged by the defence lines.’ Next to come under his scrutiny was the half-back line: ‘Carolan has greatly improved and seems to have overcome the handicap of an injured ankle.’  The Leader reporter went on to say that Coughlan fitted in well at left-back and was a back not a forward. Jim Connolly, a recruit, could do better with further trial. The centre pair, Maguire and P. Moore, was praised for holding the upper-hand and gave the forwards plenty of ball, especially in the last fifteen minutes when Kildare could have pulled the game out of the fire.  Of the forwards Aldridge, Cummins and O’Malley were hard workers.

As regards the flow of the game proper, Dublin took their chances every time and mounted up the scores. They were well held during the first half and it looked rosy for Kildare when they were forward by a point. Kildare however, seemed bottled-up when they got near the Dublin and two goal chances went abegging by slow thinking and acting. 

The weather conditions on the day helped neither side. It was so wet on that Sunday in August that even the characteristics of the match ball were affected: ‘The rain seldom ceased with the results that the ball towards the end became utterly unreliable.’ While the Leader commentator agreed that each player ‘did his best under the circumstances’ he went on to highlight aspects of team selection and performance which would not be strange in modern sports analysis. He felt that the team management changed players too often which gave the players no chance of developing ‘combination’, a word  used in early sports-writing to indicate team play and cohesion.  He identified another bad habit on the part of the Kildare players which was their frequent practice, when awarded a free, to attempt to go for a goal.  He pronounced that ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’ and advised the Kildare forwards that the ‘securing of a goal is often problematical but a fairly accurate player should be able to secure a point when suitably placed.’ However all told the Kildare performance was commendable and, presumably on the basis of a visit to the victor’s dressing room, the Leader man claimed that the match winners, Dublin, had conceded that Kildare was the better team. How even the must chivalrous winner could come to that conclusion with a four point margin between teams is something of a mystery. Such questions aside, he maintained that the praise from the Metropolitans must be deserved and this praise was lavished on the ‘All Whites’ for their great display on that Sunday in August, fifty years ago.  Series no: 188.


Liam Kenny in his column ‘Nothing New Under the Sun’ from the Leinster Leader of 5th August 2010 reflects on when the term ‘Lilywhites’ supplanted ‘All Whites’ as the catch word for the Kildare team. Our thanks to Liam. 


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