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JULY 1958 SPORTS PAGES MAKE COMPULSORY READING FOR GAELIC FOLLOWERS...

Leinster Leader 24 July 2008
 
BALLYMORE PLAY THE MAN INSTEAD
OF THE BALL AND PAY THE PRICE
by
LIAM KENNY
                                                                                    
The Kildare football championships were in full flight in July 1958 and the Leinster Leader issues of that month carried comprehensive reports of the fixtures. Naas had a ‘sterling win over Ballymore Eustace at Droichead Nua’ gaining a place in the county semi-finals. The Leader reporter enthused over the county town’s quality of play: ‘ Playing constructive, scientific football they completely over-ran the Ballymore defence in the closing quarter of the game and won easily in the end.’
It was not until the second half that the Naas men began to pull away from the Ballymore side: ‘ The first half was quiet, and had the Ballymore forwards availed of their chances they could have been on level terms with their opponents.’ The tempo heightened after the interval: ‘After half time the game livened up and the spectators were treated to some good football.’ However the reporter gave out a slap on the wrist for the Ballymore side’s approach to the game: ‘ Roughness crept in when the referee’s back was turned. Ballymore played great football in the third quarter and some of the players of that team continued to play the ball and not the man they would have done better.’ In the end Naas had the better combination and their forwards were more accurate running up an impressive 5 -6 in contrast to Ballymore’s 1-6. Best for Naas in that July 1958 fixture were: Kelly, Daly, Hogan, Curtis and Poole. On the Ballymore side Burke, Doyle, Mahon, Murphy and Mooney were given mention.
Another prominent fixture covered was that between old rivals Clane and Carbury. The match here was much more competitive. Carbury were set for victory at half-time with a lead of five points and turned over on a confident note. Clane who had not been impressive frittered away the first ten minutes of the second half without making any effort to score. However as the half went on their defence stiffened and their forwards began making forays towards the Carbury goal. In periodic attacks Clane added the points until they had hauled Carbury back to level scores. The report takes up the story: ‘ The fifty-minute was reached when Carbury made the fatal mistake of fouling on the 21 yards mark. Clane made no mistake and sent over the winning point just on the call of time.’ The result was all the more surprising given Clane’s difficulty in even fielding a team. Pa Connolly, the county team star turned out although he was carrying an injury. His brother Tom was also to the fore but ‘ the surprise packet was “Kaiser” Bracken who was a livewire for the hour’. On the Carbury side the former county ‘culbaire’ Tom Malone kept a good goal and Joe Bourke, Kane and Cummins were also prominent. In the end Clane’s last minute point gave them a score of 1-11 to 3-4 for Carbury.
The ladies were busy on the sporting fields too – an item headed ‘Naas Again in Final’ related how the Naas side had reached the final of the County Camogie Championships. The Naas ladies were out to make up for their defeat in the county championship the previous year. The panel from which the team would be selected comprised: Misses A & M O’Shea; L & M Prendergast; M & A Ryan; G & V Lee; M & C Wheeler; A Hartigan; J.Byrne; M.Mulally; R. Dempsey; P.Higgins; S.Butler and D.Wheeler. Their opponents in the county final were to a Caragh side which included: Misses M.Byrne; K.Cahill; M. Stanley; K. Lawlor; A.Dunne; P.Byrne; K.Byrne; E.Garry; C.Campbell (capt.); R.Byrne; B.Garry and B. Malone. Naas and Caragh were seeing a lot of each other on the camogie fields that summer. The Leader reported that Caragh and Naas had played a draw in the second round of the League earlier that week. It was a fairly evenly contested game but had Caragh been more accurate they would have come out winners. However the Naas backs were congratulated on their fine work which led to a draw.
In West Wicklow GAA circles the footballers of Kilbride made short work of Blessington in the Junior A championships. The Leader correspondent was not impressed with the one-sided nature of the game: ‘The winners took an early lead, never lost it and indeed, the greater part of the second half was a mere formality … The game lacked the element of rivalry which arouses interest and helps produce excitement. The referee’s full time whistle must have appeared sweet music to the homesters.’ Apart from Alphonsus Kavanagh at right half-back for Blessington the losers put on what was described as a ‘most disappointing display’. Kilbride were quite the opposite with no weak link. Indeed so one sided was the match that it was ‘just a case of how much the wearers of the blue jersey would romp home’. J Collins gave Kilbride the lead in the first minute; their forwards led in fine fashion by Joe Reilly all contributed to the scoring returns. At half-back J.Clarke, T O’Brien and A. Hanlon held the homesters attackers in a vice-like grip while P.Clarke at full-back capably flanked by P.Doyle and N. Kearns, held their lines intact. 
With reports from all levels of GAA throughout Kildare and adjoining counties the Leader sports pages of July 1958 were compulsory reading for Gaelic followers in the locality.

Liam Kenny in his regular feature, 'Nothing New Under the Sun examines newspaper coverage at the Kildare football championships in July 1958 when Naas had a ‘sterling win over Ballymore Eustace at Droichead Nua’.


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