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FEW JANUARY BLUES AT ALL-WHITES COUNTY CONVENTION

Leinster Leader, January 22, 2009
 
Few January blues at All-Whites County Convention
by
LIAM KENNY
 
 
 
The month of January brings something of a lull on the Gaelic playing fields as players and managers sit out the mid-winter waiting for more playable conditions. However it is the time when the back-room people, the administrators of the sport come to prominence with that great staple of the GAA calendar, the county convention.
The Kildare GAA convention of 1959 was covered comprehensively in the paper in the last week of January. The report began by highlighting an example of longevity in the administration of the sport with Mr. Tadgh O’Cleirigh re-elected County Board secretary for the thirty-ninth successive year – surely a record of some kind.
 
In his report to the Convention Mr. O’Cleirigh provides a fascinating record of the state of GAA in the short grass county. He said that although the county seniors were engaged on at least 20 Sundays yet the championships were completed before the end of the season and the only outstanding match was the junior final proper. The weather was the worst for many years with the result that gate receipts were down by more than £200. He had some stern judgements to make on the quality of football on view in the county over the previous twelve months. He maintained that the standard of play in the competitions was not greatly improved. His solution was to urge for a greater introduction of youth in some teams and this would lead to the competitions being more appreciated.
He reported that at the beginning of 1958 Kildare had full points in the National Football League but the chances of reaching the League final looked slight. The first (pleasant) surprise was at Naas, when Kildare, in rampant style, took the points from Kerry and gave Lilywhites supporters a glimpse of what their team could do. However the next outing against neighbours Carlow came as a cold ‘douche’ to the Kildare selectors and supporters, Carlow leaving Kildare guessing until a draw was ground out at the end of the hour. It was lucky for Kildare that Carlow had already lost two points in the League. In the replay at Athy, Kildare players made no mistake and overwhelmed Carlow in the second half. To show the popularity of Kildare the gate receipts at this match amounted to an impressive £1,000.
Kildare’s display against Tyrone proved that the All-Whites were the better team and, according to the Co. Secretary, the clash between Kildare and Dublin in the final would have ended differently only for circumstances. However if Kildare’s longer than expected run in the National League was to give supporters something to cheer about, the county was not able to keep up the momentum for the All-Ireland championships.
Mr. O’Clerigh reported that after the great display in the League many of the Kildare players were on the injured list when the county was called on to play old rivals Offaly in the first round of the championship. He remarked that ‘ we can blame nobody but ourselves for our defeat on that occasion.’
Looking to the 1959 fixtures he was guarded about the prospects for Kildare. ‘Our chances this season do not look very rosy’ he reported ‘ We are two points down in the National League and to make any sort of impression we must take the points from Kerry and Carlow in the coming matches’. He went on to say that the senior team was nearly as good as it was in the beginning of 1958 but in an interesting assessment of Kildare’s psychology he said that senior team lacked ‘enthusiasm and faith in itself’.
Despite this judgement he paid tribute to the team’s trainer – G Fitzgerald of Saggart – for all the work he had one for the Kildare team.
Another stalwart of Kildare GAA administration was Liam Geraghty who was re-elected to the position of county board chairman. Speaking as Gaeilge he promised that he would continue to do all in his power to maintain ‘dignity, honesty and fair play’. Casting his net wide he paid tribute to the Kildare men domiciled in America who were doing staunch work for the Association and he expressed regret for his absence at the Kildaremen’s Association function in Dublin.
The All-Whites clearly had strong support in the capital and across the Atlantic. But the hard grind of training and preparing teams for the 1959 season would have to take place on home grounds through the county
 
series no 103.
 
 

The Kildare GAA convention of 1959 was covered comprehensively by the Leader in the last week of January. In his regular Leinster Leader feature 'Nothing New Under the Sun', Liam Kenny takes a look at the coverage.


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