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KILDARE GAELS HONOUR MEMBERS OF FAMOUS TEAM

Leinster Leader December 8th, 1956
 
Kildare Gaels Honour Members of Famous Team
 
The greatest moment in the history of Gaelic football in County Kildare-their first All-Ireland victory, which they secured at the expense of their traditional rivals, Kerry, in the 1905 championship-was recalled at a dinner in Mrs. Lawlor’s Ballroom, Naas on Thursday last, when the survivors of that team were presented with illuminated addresses to mark the Golden Jubille of their victory.
 Of the seventeen men who brought to the county the highest honour of Gaelic football only eight now remain alive. Six of them still live in their native country, but, like too many of our people, the other two have joined the ranks of Irish exiles in America.
Five of them were present at the functions; Mr. William Merriman, Mr. William Bracken, Mr. Laurence “Hussy” Cribben (Clane); Mr. Edward “Ned” Kennedy (Monasterevin) and Mr. Thomas Keogh (Roseberry). The absent ones were Mr. Tommy Kelly (Kilcock) and “Steel” Losty and Michael Murray now in the U.S.
The dinner, organised by the County Board and the Kildareman’s Association, was attended by over a hundred of the best known Gaels in the county and country.
 Before the proceedings commenced letters of apology were read from Rt. Rev Dr. W. Miller, P.P., V.F; Mr. Gerard Sweetman, Minister for Finance; An Tanaiste Mr. W. Norton, Minister for Industry and Commerce; Mr. P. O’Keefe; Mr. Martin O’Neill and “Squires” Gannon all of whom were regrettably unable to attend.
Foundation of Success
Mr. Liam Geraghty, Chairman of the County Board, who proposed the toast of “Our Guests”, extended a hearty Cead Mile Failte to each and everyone present. Not only, he said, did these men bring to Kildare its first All-Ireland, but together with Kerry laid the foundation of success of the G.A.A. They achieved a great victory and introduced an artistry that was so to singularise and characterise Kildare’s football.
They introduced to Kildare a sense of fair play that was to make the “name of Kildare” honoured The feats of these men on the playing fields were discussed at the threshings, at the cross roads.
 In replying to the toast, Mr. Frank Sheehy, Chairman of the Kerry County Board, spoke first in Irish, and said it was a great honour for him to be in Naas to celebrate Kildare’s first All-Ireland victory. Those of you who know a bit of Irish, he said, saw that I used Kildare as an adjective not as a noun showing you that in the minds and hearts of the people of Kerry you are nearer to us than any other people in the country. Kerry thinks more of you than we do of ourselves”. He thanked the Chairman for the honour done to Kerry in inviting them to the celebrations. He knew that somewhere in the near future that Kildare and Kerry would meet again. “There will be white jerseys and green and gold, and as always has been the case, green and gold and white will give a display of Gaelic football that will be a credit to this country”. The gathering then drank to the guests, and also to those who were absent.
Kildare Taught Kerry
Mr. Gus Fitzpatrick, a member of the famous Lily White team of 1927 and ’28, and Chairman of the Naas Club, welcomed those present to the town, and said “we must admit that we played the game with Kerry, and they played the game with us, but Kildare are the ones who taught them the game.”
Amidst loud applause Mr. Geraghty then made the presentations.
   Col. Broy of the Kildareman’s Association said the G.A.A. had taught the people of Ireland administration. Larry Stanley, the most famous of all Kildare Gaels, said the occasion was indeed an historic one. At the table were five of the men, who started the tradition of Gaelic football in its finest sense, and passed on its sportsmanship. For good performances on the sportsfield, he said, you wanted opposition, and those men met that opposition when they came up against Kerry. The names of Kerry and Kildare will always be associated with everything that is good about Gaelic football.
 Frank Burke, a Kildareman who won fame as a hurler and footballer with Dublin, said he was only a “nipper” when he heard the result of the first All-Ireland Kildare won, and he was overjoyed when he heard they had beaten Kerry. The county that could beat Kerry were real champions.He recalled that on one occasion long ago he had the pleasure of seeing Clane and Roseberry. (Roseberry now defunct was at one time the leading team in the county. Clane hold more senior championships than any other team in the county). His first experience of meeting one of the old players was when playing with Dublin against Kildare in Newbridge. To his horror he saw that the man in goal was Larry Cribben. “I think we beat Kildare that day” he said, “but I was sorry in a way.”
 Mr. Burchill, Chairman of the Kildaremen’s Association, in proposing the toast of the G.A.A., took the gathering back a few years before Kildare’s first All-Ireland victory, when, he said, the Gaelic games were going to die. A group of Irishmen formed an association to protect and promote Irish games, and after a few years went by, Kerry, Kildare and other counties responded and the association grew from strength to strength.
Kept Game Going
An ex-Lily White and former chairman of the County Board, Mr. Tom Lawler, said, in replying to the toast, that he came from a parish (Caragh) that never, since the G.A.A. was formed, failed to have a team. They played the games of the association and kept them going not alone in the parish, but in the county. They kept the game going although they were beaten. The game was always strong in the county, and the gaels in our county are always as sincere as any other county. Kildare won only a few All-Irelands, and they were beaten in a few by our great opponents Kerry, but they were great men in this county.It was not easy to keep the G.AA. going as they had great opposition, probably greater than in any other county in Ireland.
 Mr. T. Harris, T.D. recalled that one Monday morning when the teacher came to school he told them about all those men; what they stood for and what the G.A.A. stood for. The G.A.A., he said, kindled a national spirit in the youth of that generation, and on looking back on it now, around that period the national spirit was very low. With the Gaelic League, the G.A.A. is the most powerful organisation in the country. The purpose of the G.A.A. was more than to make good athletes. It was to arouse the national feeling of the people. The youth of the Association, said Mr. Harris, can make it their aim, and take it on themselves to bring back the national language to be the living language of this country.
Memorial Cup
Col. Thos. Feeley, the representative of the present county champions, Military College, also spoke.
Mr. Geraghty then introduced the Jack Higgins Memorial Cup which will be inaugurated in the near future and presented to the junior county champions. The cup had been subscribed to by the clubs in the county as well as individuals.
 
 
 
 

The Leinster Leader of December 1956 reports on a social event held in Naas which recalled "the greaterst moment in the history of Gaelic football in County Kildare".


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