NAAS MAN AT KERRY G.A.A. JUBILEE. JOE RAFFERTY ON FOOTBALL DECLINE

by ehistoryadmin on August 23, 2014

LEINSTER LEADER 2 JANUARY 1954 

NAAS MAN AT KERRY G.A.A. JUBILEE

JOE RAFFERTY ON FOOTBALL DECLINE

Mr. Joe Rafferty, Naas, the veteran Kildare Gael represented the country and was amongst the 200 guests at the recent Kerry G.A.A. jubilee celebrations held at Killarney. The occasion was to commemorate Kerry’s first senior football All-Ireland victory in the 1903 championship over Kildare, then captained by Joe Raffety, after two drawn games.                                                                                                                                                 

Mr. Rafferty, replying to the toast of “Our Guests” at the banquet, thanked the Kerry County Board for their invitation and expressed the belief that the 1903 games saw the rebirth of Gaelic football. He had played football for eight years before, but there was football in [sic]. Since 1930 he thought the game had gone down a little bit, and he wished the Gaels of Kerry would help to do away with that “rotten practice of hand to toe.”                                                        

Writing in “The Kerryman” on “Some young old boys get together,” Maurice O’Leary, dealing with the celebrations, writes; – “My next encounter was with the great Joe Rafferty himself. A man small in height when compared with the long Jack Myers, who stood beside him, he possesses the lean and trim figure of a former footballer, and his 74 years sit lightly upon him. His red head is no more and grey hairs now mark what used to be the danger signal to Rody Kirwan.

GAMES REMEMBERED

Joe was captain of the Kildare team against which Kerry played in 1905 for the 1903 final. “We first clashed in Tipperary town,” he said, “and it finished over a disputed goal.” He then recalled the two games in Cork. “The first of these saw Kerry leading with a margin of three points, and with a few minutes to go, Joy Conlon got a goal for us.               

“When we met for the third time the day was blustery, wild and wet, and this did not suit us at all. We were beaten by 8 points to 2. Joe played at centerfield, but I was a bit of a roamer and moved about to help the other fellows.” Paying tribute to Kerry, he said “Kerry were very fair footballers and gave it and took it the same as ourselves.”           

Joe claimed that the games of 1905 between Kerry and Kildare marked a turning point in the history of the Association, as they raised the standard of play. “I had been playing football since 1895,” he said, “and I did not know what it was until I played against Kerry. Before that the game was very rough.”

TRIBUTE TO KILDARE

“P.F.” also writes in “The Kerryman”: – “It is hard to get the old players approach the ‘mike’ but when Joe Rafferty was forced to do so the appearance of Kildare’s 1903 captain was greeted with round after round of applause. “Of all counties we ever encountered on the Gaelic field, there is a specially warm corner in all Kerrys hearts for the men of Kildare. It is felt here that Kildare with Kerry combined to place the G.A.A. on its feet and lay the foundations for the Association’s present greatness.                                                                                                                                                                      

“In his brief address, Joe said how privileged he was to be invited and how proud he was to come, ‘Kerry and Kildare, he said put the game on its feet’. Gaelic football was improving until 1930 but after that it started to decline. He asked Kerrymen to do all they could to do away with hand-to-toe tactics. These, too, are the Kerry ‘sentiments.’”

 

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