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Presentation of Republican Prisoners Dependent’s Cup to GAA HQ

James Durney

In December 2012 Tom Keogh, Liam McManus and Brendan Woulfe, Naas GAA, presented a Republican Prisoners Dependents Cup to the GAA Museum. The Cup won by Kildare in February 1922 had been in the possession of Naas GAA Club for some time and for years had sat in pride of place in the front window of Keogh’s house in New Row, Naas. Kildare defeated Tipperary 0-5 to 0-1 on 26 February 1922 to win this magnificent trophy, which was competed for the Republican Prisoners Dependents Fund. About 12,000 people attended the game, which was played in very wet conditions. The ball was thrown in by Alderman Mrs. Kathleen Clarke, widow of Tom Clarke, executed in 1916. Kathleen Clarke was also an elected T.D..
Sean O’Neill, of the Dublin County Board, refereed and Transport Workers and Irish National Foresters brass and reed bands and the O’Toole Pipers played stirring selections. Several wounded IRA soldiers were in attendance on the touch line.
Tipperary were favourites to win having beaten Waterford in the Munster Championship, but Kildare with Larry Stanley back after suspension, proved too strong for them. George Higgins, Naas, was captain of Kildare. He was a brother of Jack Higgins and was most unlucky not to win an All-Ireland medal. George came on the Kildare team in 1920 after they had won the All-Ireland in 1919. He captained the team in 1922, but was dropped after the Leinster Final in 1927. He would always say he was two games away from an All-Ireland medal.
The Tipperary team failed entirely to reproduce their winning formula and were outplayed for three-quarters of the game by Kildare – in fielding and technique. Kildare threw away a few certain scores and according to the Kildare Observer with the possible exception of Mick Buckley and Albie O’Neill there were no outstanding performers. However, the Leinster Leader said Tom Wheeler gave a really remarkable display in his first match. Tom ‘Towe’ Wheeler was reputed to be the youngest inter-county player in Gaelic history when he played in this match. The Kildare Observer said: ‘Kildare undoubtedly have regained prestige by their exhibition and are unquestionably robust and clever footballers, who once the Tipperary initiative failed practically took over complete control and both made and anticipated movement in an excellent manner. The losers made a great rally towards the close, but it lacked concentration and came too late.’
The silver cup was presented by Irish National Assurance Company Limited to the Sports Committee of the Republican Prisoners Dependents Fund as a prize in a fundraising match. The final score was Kildare 0-5; Tipperary 0-1. Mrs. Kathleen Clarke presented the Cup to the Kildare captain, George Higgins.
The following were the teams: Kildare – George Higgins (capt.), P. Slevin (goal), James Moran, Mick Buckley, Albert O’Neill, Joe Loughlin, Larry Stanley, George Mangan, Paul Doyle, P. J. Farrell, E. O’Neill, Tom Goulding, Jim McHugh, P. Condron, Mick Gannon, Tom Wheeler.
Tipperary – J. Skelly (capt.), M. Tobin, R. Lanigan, M. Arrigan, J. Doran, W. Vaughan, T. Powell, J. McNamara, W. Ryan, T. Ryan, T. O’Connor, A. Carroll, J. Ryan, Gus McCarthy, E. Cummins.

In December 2012 Tom Keogh, Liam McManus and Brendan Woulfe, from Naas GAA, presented a Republican Prisoners Dependents Cup to the GAA Museum

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