The Beginning

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The beginning

 The Gaelic Athletic Association was established in the winter of 1884. At that time, the games of hurling and football had been neglected and in a state of decay. True, the games were widely played in some parts of the country. Football had been popular in Kerry for centuries and, in common with hurling, it was played all over the county. There were three types of football – rugby, old Irish football, played within a field, and cross-country football, or ‘caid’, as it was called in the Irish speaking districts. It would appear that the game played by the men, who were later to be known as the Laune Rangers, was rugby. After the GAA was formed and started activities, the majority of the young men gave their allegiance to the new code of football – Gaelic. In the Tralee area, before the GAA arrived, football was played in a field with sidelines and ‘scoring-gap’. It was on that old game that Cusack and the pioneers based the rules of what became subsequently known as ‘Gaelic Football’. Through the Dingle peninsula the game was ‘caid’. That was in vogue in North, South and East Kerry, also. The contestants in ‘caid’ were generally the young men of two rival parishes. The number participating could embrace all the able-bodied men in the two parishes. The arena often ranged over a whole countryside. The ball was crude, home-made, more oval than round. It was thrown up at an agreed central point and victory went to the side, which brought the ball ‘home’ to their own parish. The game was across country, as already stated, over hedges and ditches. Tripping, pushing and wrestling were permitted. It was no pastime for weaklings! It invariably lasted from after Mass till the shades of winter’s evening called halt. Often the results were inconclusive. Seanachaís often related stories of the feats of strength and endurance performed by those old footballers, whose activities were not restricted by a referee’s whistle and men, stout of limb and wind, whose natural exuberance was not restrained by any ‘Treoraí Oifigiúil’ as are the exponents of the modern game.

Generally speaking, however, in the decades after the famine, Irish-Ireland went through one of its darkest periods, with the native pastimes becoming almost extinct. Hurling survived in some locations, particularly in Munster. Cricket made great inroads in many hurling areas while rugby looked set to take over completely from the native football game from which it was not too dissimilar.

In keeping with the Gaelic revival at the time, it was with a view to re-organising the games where they already existed, and to re-establish them in places where they had been neglected, that the seven men met in the billiard-room of Miss Hayes’s Commercial Hotel, Thurles, on Saturday 1st November 1884. These were the founder members of the GAA, Maurice Davin (Carrick-on-Suir), Michael Cusack (Carron, Co. Clare, working in Dublin), John Wyse Power (Waterford, but working in Naas), John McKay (Cork), P.J. O Ryan (Callan), Joseph Kevin Bracken (Templemore) and Thomas St. George McCarthy (Templemore, but originally from Kerry). It is thought that others, also, attended that meeting.

The initial rules adopted by the infant GAA, at its third meeting in Hayes’s Hotel, Thurles, on 17th January 1885, were crude, particularly in football. You will be amazed to hear that wrestling was permitted. A player from each side got into handgrips but one fall only was permitted, referees being instructed to intervene if a second was attempted. The game was expected to continue whilst this went on, although it was not explained how referees were to watch both the wrestling and the football or hurling. The result was a frequency of exciting scenes, in which not only players but spectators often became participants. It was no surprise that wrestling was abolished, even before the first All-Ireland championship series in 1887.

On the early teams, the maximum number of players was 21. The formation, in itself, was extraordinary. The only similarity to present day line-outs was provided by the goalkeeper and the three fullbacks. The halfback line was comprised of five stalwart men. At midfield each team had six players. The six players left to complete the team were divided into four half-forwards and two top scoring men.

Reports of some of the earlier games speak of fierce melees at centre-field with rough and tumble tactics paying the highest dividends. The most rousing spectacle in many games was provided by a tearaway downfield charge of fiery forwards and burly midfield men sweeping the ball, and their opponents, before them, often to initiate goal-mouth tussles that were simply awe-inspiring. The recognised formation made no provision for individual marking. Men of powerful physique were the general rule, the ball was much bigger than that in use now, whilst fields were generally grassy and uneven, and not anything like as fast as most pitches are today. Backs lashed at the leather with sweeping kicks, whether it was on the ground or in the air, and oftentimes got amazing distances into their kicks. For the rest, there was little positional play, and it was not unusual to see more than half a team swarming down on goal, in a wild, headlong charge.

One such game took place in Jerry Breen’s field in Gortnascarry between Tuogh and Over Laune. It was a rematch – the previous week there had been a bout of stone-throwing between the sides. Denny Coffey, Botharglass, was nearly killed while putting on his shoes – he saved himself with a furze-root. Johnny Connor, Mealus, climbed the ditch to follow the ball, which had gone out onto the road. Johnny Mangan, Dromin, pushed him off the ditch. Shrathar Doyle challenged the Over Laune man to a fight, which continued until the unfortunate Mangan fell to the ground. The McGillycuddy brothers (Coolbane) took Mangan between them and headed for the Laune. ‘Laddy’ Curran, a carpenter from Shanacloon, a thin hardy man, lifted Jack Slattery, a big man from Milltown, and struck him off the ground. He them waited with up-turned sleeves but Slattery walked away. When the Over Laune boys were in the river, the sergeant from Beaufort challenged them to return, as the game was only half over, but they refused.

Goals were the only scores recognised at the beginning – a goal was scored when the ball was kicked through the goalposts under the crossbar. The goal posts stood at each end in the centre of the goal line, they were 15 feet apart with a crossbar 8 feet from the ground. If no goal was scored, the game was declared a draw. These rules were amended in 1888 and the following were the rules that were adopted:

  1. The ground for full teams (21 aside) shall be 196 yards long and 140 yards broad, or as near that size as can be got (in any event the field shall not be less than 140 yards by 84 yards). The ground must be properly marked by boundary lines – boundary lines to be at least five yards from the fences.
  2. There shall not be less than 14 or more than 21 players aside in regular matches.
  3. There shall be two umpires and a referee. When the umpires disagree, the referee’s decision shall be final. There shall also be a goal umpire at each end of the ground to watch for goals and points. The referee shall keep the time and throw up the ball at the commencement of each half.
  4. The goalposts shall stand at each end in the centre of the goal-line. They shall be 21 feet apart, with a crossbar 8 feet from the ground. Beside the goalposts there shall be two upright posts standing on each goal-line 21 feet from the goal-posts. A goal is won when the ball is driven between the goalposts and under the crossbar. A point is counted when the ball is driven over the crossbar, or over the goal-line within 21 feet of either goalposts.
  5. The captains of the teams shall toss for choice of sides before commencing play and the players shall stand in two ranks opposite each other in the centre of the field until the ball is thrown up, each holding the hand of one of the other side.
  6. Pushing from behind, butting with the head, tripping and holding shall be deemed foul and the player so offending shall be ordered to stand aside for such time as the referee shall think fit and his side cannot substitute another man. The referee may also allow a free kick if he sees reason for it. If a player is hurt and unable to play through any breach of this rule, the referee shall allow his side to take in a man in his place.
  7. The time of actual play shall be one hour (unless otherwise arranged), sides to be changed only at halftime.
  8. When a player drives a ball over the sideline, it shall be thrown back from the point, where it first crossed the line, by a player on the opposite side. It may be thrown in any direction, but the thrower may not play it himself until it has been touched by some other player. Neither goal nor point can be scored by a throw-in from the sideline, unless the ball is struck by some player after the throw-in and before it crosses the goal-line. When the ball is driven over the goal-line, the goalkeeper shall have a free kick from goal – no player on the opposite side to approach nearer than the 21 yards line until the ball is kicked and no player of the kicker’s side to be further out from his own goal-line than the centre of the ground until the ball is kicked. If a ball, that otherwise would not have crossed the line, be driven over the crossbar or over any part of the goal-line outside the goalposts by a player whose goal-line it is, the opposite side shall have a free kick 40 yards out from the goalposts.
  9. The matches shall be decided by the greater number of goals. When no goal is scored or when the goals are even, it shall be decided by the greater number of points.
  10. The ball may be struck with the hand. It may be caught when off the ground, and the player so catching it may kick it any way he pleases, but he must not carry or throw it.
  11. When the rules are broken, the referee may allow a free-kick if he thinks fit. In all free-kicks the ball must be kicked from the ground – no player on the opposite side to approach nearer than 14 yards until the ball is kicked. If, however, the free-kick is allowed nearer than 14 yards of the goal-line, the opposite players need not to stand behind the line.
  12. If the ball strikes a bystander near the side-line, except the referee or umpire, it shall be considered out of play and must be thrown in as directed in Rule 8. If it occurs at the goal-line, it shall also be considered out of play and must be kicked from the goal. In the latter case, the referee may allow a point or goal if he considers that the ball would have passed through the goal or point space but for being stopped.
  13. The referee shall have, during the match, full power to disqualify any player, or order him to stand aside and discontinue play, for any act he may consider unfair, as set out in Rule 6, or for vicious play. No nails or iron tips allowed on the boots. (Strips of leather fastened to the soles will prevent slipping). The dress for football to be knee breeches and stocking, and shoes or boots.

 

The meeting on 17th January 1885 (mentioned above), presided over by Maurice Davin, also adopted rules for hurling, weight-throwing, running, jumping, walking and cycling. Apparently, athletics had become the preserve of the well-to-do to the exclusion of the ordinary people of Ireland at the time. It was to counter this development and to revive the native games that Michael Cusack had called the meeting in Thurles. It was declared that after 17th March 1885, any athletes competing at meetings held under laws, other than those of the GAA, would be ineligible from competing at any meeting held under the GAA. It was arranged that a club be formed in every parish throughout the country, the governing body to consist of President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and a committee of six members.

A major trial of strength between the GAA and the rival Irish Amateur Athletic Association (IAAA) took place at Tralee on Wednesday 17th June 1885. The GAA organised a meeting at Rathonane Paddock (a short distance from the top of Rock Street, then owned by Collis Sand and now by the Crean family) on the same day as one organised by the Kerry County Athletic and Cricket Club (which had the backing of the local National League, led by Edward Harrington of the Irish Party) in present-day Austin Stack Park. Approximately 10,000 spectators attended the GAA event, for which about 400 entries were received, while the other meeting was almost completely deserted. Kerry had shown its hand and had come down unanimously on the side of the GAA, which was trying to emancipate the natives from the chains of bondage. This was to prove a turning point in the GAA’s fight for survival. The promoters of the GAA meeting were Moore Stack (father of Austin), B. O Connor-Horgan, Michael Power, Maurice Moynihan and Patrick Clifford. Michael Cusack was the starter. Over forty athletic meetings were held in Munster in the course of 1885 and all were exceptionally well attended. It must be said here that the focus of the GAA in the beginning was on the promotion of athletics. Hurling and football progress was at a slower rate. (It should furthermore be pointed out that the Kerry Athletic and Cricket Club decided by a large majority in May 1886 to adopt the rules of the GAA for their sports. Indeed, the Kerry County Athletic and Cricket Club Grounds were handed over to the GAA in 1903 and that heralded the beginning of a great upsurge in football in the Kingdom).

Hurling and football tournaments and festivals were organised in many counties. The publicity, which the first Annual Congress of the GAA held in Hayes’s Hotel, Thurles on 31st October 1885, received, resulted in the GAA rapidly spreading into districts, which had not previously been organised and within a further twelve months almost all of Nationalist Ireland had enrolled itself under its banner. Hurling and football clubs sprung up in nearly every parish. Things, however, moved much slower in Kerry. In a September issue of the Kerry Sentinel 1888, Maurice Moynihan described Kerry as being ‘one of the most, if not the most, backward in Ireland in the ranks of the GAA’. He urged every parish to form a club and declared that it would be a disgrace if a County Board was not formed before the Annual GAA Convention, which would be held in Thurles in November. The following month (October 1888), Moynihan again wrote in the Kerry Sentinel that since the requisite number of clubs had become affiliated, a County Board could be formed.

The first All-Ireland series was organised in 1887 on an open draw basis, the only one so far to be run on that system. Twelve counties entered and the draw for both codes was made at a meeting of the Central Council in Limerick Junction – Galway v Wexford, Wicklow v Clare, Dublin v Tipperary, Louth v Waterford, Cork v Kilkenny, Meath v Limerick. Each county was to be represented by its champion team who were not allowed to select players from any other club. Thurles won the hurling Championship and Limerick Commercials the football. Championship draws were made on a Provincial basis for the first time in 1888, although Provincial Councils, as we now know them, were not formed until 1900.

The Kerry Co. Board was formed on 17th November 1888 in the Young Ireland Society rooms in Tralee. The following officers were elected: President –Thomas Slattery, Tralee; Secretary – Maurice Moynihan, Tralee; Treasurer – Michael Hanlon, Tralee. Laune Rangers Club was represented by its delegates, J. P. O Sullivan and William O Brien. The latter was defeated in a vote for delegate to the Annual Convention in Thurles. At the end of the meeting, in the course of a brilliant speech, he said that the GAA was destined to do a good deal for the future of Ireland.

 

Formation of the Laune Rangers’ GAA Club

 

Patrick (Patsy) Begley, in the course of a lengthy letter, dated July 1944, to Rev. John P. Devane, a Kerry priest ministering in Monticello, Florida, USA, wrote, “About 1884 -5, we had a rugby team here in Killorglin, able to hold its own against the best in Munster, captained by J.P. O Sullivan. They beat The Telegraphers in Valentia. They did the same to Waterville, but, I think, they met good stiff opposition in Killarney. There were return matches for all these in Killorglin.

They began to organise a few Gaelic clubs in Dublin – Erin’s Hope and Young Irelands, the Nils and Lees in Cork, the Commercials in Limerick and, I think, the Kickhams in Tipperary. The rest of the counties were dead silent, except in a few localities that kept the grand game of hurling alive. The papers began to give a few lines to the newly established clubs that were playing under the new rules of the GAA. There was a young man here named Mikey Doyle. He used to ramble up to the corner of the chapel wall. We used to get Monday’s paper and began reading the progress of the Gaelic game and the men who played it until we became attracted to its methods. One evening after reading the news, ‘Mike’, said I, ‘is it not terrible that there is no voice raised in Killorglin yet in favour of the new game, which, by all we have known of it, is purely national and acceptable to the youth of Ireland and what better guarantee could they have than the signature of Archbishop Croke, who put his name to the document and gave it his blessing.’

‘By gor, you are right,’ says Mikey, ‘and look at all the noise they are making about other games’.

‘What would you think’, said I, ‘if the two of us made a move? We could feel out a few others to see what they would think of it.’

‘Anything you do,’ said Mikey, ‘I’ll do my best to help you and, I know, Jamie Cluvain and Pats Darbo would give us a hand.’

‘Come on down the street,’ said I. We got the two mentioned above and some others and we invited each person to speak out and explain what he thought of our move. Each, in turn, agreed and it was arranged that we’d hold a meeting on the following Friday evening at Seamus Coffey’s door and to be there at 8 o’clock. In the meantime, it went around that we were to start a branch of the new movement. All came, some favourable, some not. Dan O Brien was appointed captain and Seamus Coffey, secretary. Mikey Doyle and I were told off to collect for a new ball. However, we were to report at the same place on the coming Friday evening and so we did. After a few exchanges, ‘How much money have ye, lads,’ says Seamus, ‘I have three shillings,’ says Mikey Doyle. ‘And I have four and six-pence,’ said I. ‘Tis very small,’ said Seamus. ‘However, show it here. I’ll be going to Cork to-morrow and I’ll see what I can do.’ The Cork train then used to arrive at half-past four and the four of us went to the station to meet it. After the train landed, out comes Seamus Coffey with a beautiful new ball under his arm, filled to capacity and fit for action. After coming out through the station, one man took it in his hand to see what it felt like. Another took it from him and, as the occasion was tempting, he took it with a wallop that sent it high up in the sky. Another met it coming down and that blessed ball was kicked along the bog road, down street, until we turned up at Morrissey’s Corner and into the Doctor’s field, where we kicked the poor ball that fine summer’s night until two o’clock in the morning, without a pause for refreshments.

Everyone was told there would be a match after Mass and an enrolment of members and, I think, a good many stayed away from their dinner that day to carry on the good work. After that it was decided to send to Dublin for a copy of the rules, which were published for a small price. Rules arrived and everyone was reading and studying them – no tripping, no collar and elbow, and the ball was to be lifted off the ground with the foot only. I don’t want to describe the first match we played over at Bansha Cross in Billy Neill’s field against the Steelroe fisherman. We were trying to keep to the rules and they, a hefty, strong lot of men, simply wiped the field with us.

In 1886, Father Lawlor built six new schools, 3 male and 3 female, in the parish. The next move was to find a staff of teachers that would do credit to their profession and among the teachers selected were two young men, just finished training in Dublin, whose names were Jack Murphy and Tom Cronin. During their training in Dublin, those two young men were playing members of the Erin’s Hope club and they had learned all the rules and tricks of the game. When they came to Killorglin, what did they find but the game was rugby. They saw that there was a Gaelic game in name only and some local teachers playing rugby. They naturally got in touch with their fellow teachers. So a debate started until it was driven home to the other side how anti-Irish they were by neglecting their own beautiful national game that the whole country was taking up. So, wholeheartedly, but after weeks of debate, it was decided rugby would be dropped and they would join the Gaelic club already existing.

A general meeting was called and it was made known at the meeting that we were to become one body in future under the banner of the GAA. There was to be no contest for honours. J.P. O Sullivan was to be captain and Bill O Brien secretary, and the two new teachers were to give instructions on the rules. All were invited to turn out and train. It was then rumoured there was a County Board started in Tralee and that every club worthy of the name should be affiliated with that board at once. In the meantime, we were going through our drill under the tutelage of the two new teachers, who gave us a perfect plan of the field to suit the twenty-one a side game. There was to be goalie with three backs at each side with a line of forwards across the field feeding the other forwards to score when they could, and on no account were two to go for the ball. If one happened to be going for the ball, it was the other man’s duty to look around and block anybody who would be a likely obstruction to his partner.

In about a fortnight after affiliation, we were called upon to play Ballymacelligott in Tralee on a fine October day with a light frost in the morning. We travelled by road and reached Tralee by 12 o’clock as the people were coming out of Mass. We landed in front of Benner’s Hotel. I often wonder was there anybody in Tralee who didn’t come to see us. I heard one remark pass between two men that lives in my memory. They looked like two men working in a flourmill all the week. Jack was one of their names. ‘Hey Billeen’, called Jack (we presume that Billeen was Bill Pendy, or Billeen the Fairy – Tom Collin’s helper). ‘Hey Billeen’, he called, ‘did you see the little lads from over the hill that came to play Ballymac up at the Sports-field today? The poor fellows, they don’t know what’s before them. Wait until you see big Ger McMahon marching off with one under each arm and throwing them across the paling into the Railway above. It was a foolish idea to put them up against Ballymac anyway. Will you take a walk up?’ ‘Yerra, where’s the use,’ replied Billeen, ‘there is no use in looking at a match where one side has it all their own way. Do you see that fellow over there? What will he be worth when side-car Sugrue is done with him?’ The crowd was thickening around us until we were becoming as noticeable as Colonel O Sullivan himself, when, to our great relief, we got instructions to move towards the field. We went up Boherbue and into the field, as fully developed a Gaelic team as could be found in all Munster or probably outside it. We had fifteen rugby men already trained. All they wanted was to change their tactics. We had the two Dublin teachers who already had a name in Dublin. So there were only four who could be called green and they were not bad either. We lined out against a grand team of hefty strong men, with big Ger McMahon as captain. I cannot remember who the referee was but I know there was no referee needed, for the ball did not cross the centre line once during the hour. Everywhere one looked, Ballymac were spoiling each other by too much bunching around the ball and in most cases the lone blue jersey got the ball by lying handy on the outskirts of the bunch, with the result that Ballymac left the field without a score and our goal-man left without a kick. This was the first match played by the newly-formed Laune Rangers under the Kerry Co. Board GAA. We were to get a return match two weeks later in Killorglin and Ballymac went into special training for it but it was the same story over again and they did not score.

It was a straight line of successes. We went to Limerick where Jer Hayes got his knee broken. Hayes was most of a year laid up but when he began to stroll about, he used to paddle to the field where the boys would be practising. Soon he began to go in and grasp an odd ball and bang it with his left forearm. He got very active at scoring points off his left forearm, so much so that he used to attend regularly and was doing very well. Soon after, the Crokes and Rangers were drawn to play a county match, not a final. The Crokes went into training and they had a goalkeeper who got his eye hurt in training, with the result that he went to Tralee with tan eye-covering over his bad eye. His name was Dick Williams. The team took the field and Hayes got a place as full-forward in the team that day. When everything was ready, Dick Williams ran away down to take his place.

‘Good morrow, Dick,’ said Hayes.

‘Good morrow kindly, Jeremiah,’ replied Dick.

‘Do you know,’ said Hayes, ‘the men must be getting scarce in Kerry.’

‘How do you say that, Jeremiah?’ asked Dick.

‘Well, when they have to call in the lame and the blind to play football in Kerry,’ answered Hayes, ‘it is a sure sign that the men are going backward. However, I might be able to come the blind side of you.’

‘How would it suit if I came at the lame side of you?’ asked Williams.

‘It wouldn’t fit very well, Dick,’ replied Hayes.

‘I’ll have to watch you, Jeremiah,’ said Dick, but Jeremiah got two of the points that were scored just the same and the Rangers won the match.

On another occasion, we were drawn against the Tralee Mitchels and the Mitchels lined out with a very strong team indeed, Tom Ryle, Maurice Moynihan, Tom Slattery, Mike Gow Brosnan, Bob Kelly, the plumber, Mike Dowling, the carpenter, a big strong player called Tully Pendy and several others that I forget, except Bill Brick. That was the roughest match I remembered we played. It was so rough that they bundled the referee outside the line. The referee was a very decent man named Finn from Castleisland, who seemed to know the rules well. I do not remember who the referee was that finished the match but he declared the Rangers the winners by a point and a disputed point.

‘Blast it, Sullivan,’ said Pat Teahan, ‘don’t take it. Go over to the referee and tell him to make it a draw.’ So he did. ‘Attend the Co. Board meeting and be sure that the replay won’t take place in Tralee.’

Everything went as planned and Killarney was fixed as the venue for the replay. Tralee would not agree to this as relations between Tralee and Killarney were a bit strained at the time, and so the match was fixed for Castle Farm at Molahiffe. They picked out a big field that gave the full Gaelic measurements. There was a pond in it where cattle used to stand in warm weather. It was about ten or twelve inches deep and you know it was anything but clean. When marking the grounds, one of the lines was made to run close to this pond. The teams came together and, in lining out, the Rangers were playing a small man on the team. In his good-humoured way, Maurice Moynihan shouts out, ‘Sullivan, where you going with the gorsoon?’

‘He may be the deceitful gorsoon,’ retorted Sullivan, ‘for he knows all there is to be known in a football game and before the day is over, he might show some of ye how to play football.’

Jack Langford had charge of the whistle and the match started as rough as ever. Langford cautioned all whom it might concern that he would give the match to the deserving winners if their opponents bewildered them with the rough stuff and did not conduct themselves and play football properly. That had a soothing effect and so they settled down to the game. In the course of the match, somebody kicked the ball right into the middle of the pond and Maurice Moynihan was the very man who followed it. The gorsoon charged him. Maurice got the ball and the gorsoon ran out between his legs, taking the ball away from him and brought it into play, leaving Maurice, in his Sunday attire, stretched flat on his back in that uninviting collection of muck. Maurice had to lean on his hands to gain his footing. Opening out his hands and throwing dirty water and muck from him, he walked over to the goal where Bob Kelly was playing a defensive game. ‘Bob’, he said, ‘go down there and see if you can do anything. I am finished.’ The Rangers won this match too with a comfortable margin.

Maurice and I became great friends after – he was a butter buyer and I was his weight master. When the jokes were going round, if Maurice became vociferous, all you had to do was to threaten to call the gorsoon and that held him for a spell.”

 

Although it is most certain that Patsy’s memory of the games and events, in which he played and partook, was quite lucid when he wrote the above letter in 1944, it is in all humility, but with a good deal of certainty, that I suggest that his date for the foundation of the Laune Rangers’ Club has been misinterpreted. It has been confused with the formation of a branch of the GAA in Killorglin. The meeting referred to at Coffey’s door took place some time, I would venture, in the summer of 1887 and a branch of GAA was formed with Dan O Brien as captain and Seamus Coffey as secretary. This has led to incorrect claims that Laune Rangers won the Co. Championships of 1887 and 1888, when no such championships were organised (The Kerry Co. Board was not formed until 17th Nov. 1888, as stated above). Equally premature was the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the formation of the club in 1960 – such celebration was as a result of a misreading of Patsy Begley’s letter. Through much rummaging, I have found accounts of the meetings and games mentioned in the letter, albeit they occurred in 1888 and later.

As Patsy stated in his letter, there was a very thriving rugby team in Killorglin at that time. On Wed. 22nd January 1888, a very interesting and exciting match was played between Killorglin and Killarney at the grounds of the Killarney Cricket and Athletic Club, resulting in a draw, neither side being able to claim the least advantage. At three o’clock, Rice started the leather for Killarney, and for some time the visitors’ 25 was the scene of operations. J.P. O Sullivan soon relieved Killorglin by a fine run, but, being collared by Reardon, there was some scrimmaging in neutral territory. Curran claimed a free for Killorglin but the umpires, disagreeing, the referee decided that the ball should be scrimmaged. Dan Murphy now passing to J.P. O Sullivan, he made a splendid attempt to get through but was collared by O Callaghan. The Killorglin forwards now showed up and the ball was dribbled over the Killarney line, but Smyth, picking up splendidly and punting, sent the ball far into touch in neutral ground. Halftime was then called and after a few minutes interval, J.P. O Sullivan kicked off for Killorglin, sending the ball to Reardon, who, by a good run, brought it into neutral ground. McKay made a good attempt to get through but was well collared by J.P. O Sullivan. The ball was now kicked into touch within a few yards of the Killarney goal-line and, in the rush, the ball was driven into touch-in-goal. After the kick-out, the Killarney forwards worked up well and brought play to within the Killorglin 25 and Smyth kicked into touch within a yard of the Killorglin goal-line. C. Mitchel, getting possession, passed to Muldoon, who made a good attempt at getting through but was well collared by O Callaghan. Donoghue now claimed a free for Killarney, which the referee disallowed, and the ball was scrimmaged. The play was now transferred to the Killarney 25, and here there was a good deal of scrimmaging. McKay attempted to get away a couple of times but being always well collared by the Killorglin backs. Time was shortly after called, neither side having claimed the advantage. The game during the whole time was a hot one, each side straining every nerve for victory. In the forward play, both teams were evenly matched, for although the Killorglin men were much heavier than their opponents, the superior packing of the Killarney men told a great deal in their favour. For Killorglin the best forwards were Pat Teahan, Jim Sullivan and Eddie O Sullivan, while for Killarney John Langford, Kelliher, Courtney and Rice distinguished themselves. Muldoon, J.P. O Sullivan and J. L. O Sullivan, as halves, played a splendid game, J.P. especially making fine runs and collaring splendidly. For Killarney, Smyth was by far the best man, playing in his usual fine style and never letting a man pass him. O Callaghan and Reardon played a very good game as halves, while McKay, a quarter, could hardly be excelled.

Killorglin: Fullback – Patsy Sheehan. Halfbacks – J. P. O Sullivan (capt.), J.L. O Sullivan, P. Muldoon. Quarters – Dan P. Murphy, Maurice O Sullivan. Forwards – P. O Sullivan, Eddie O Sullivan, Jim O Sullivan, C. Mitchel, Pat Hurley, Paddy O Regan, Pat Teahan, R.W. Dodd, Jeremiah Hayes.

Killarney: Fullback – T. Smyth. Halfbacks – F. O Callaghan, J.D. O Donoghue, W. Reardon. Quarters – J. McKay, J.H. Moriarty. Forwards – R. Rice (capt.), John Langford, J. Courtney, D. Kelliher, M. McSweeney, Dan Guerin, D. Casey, J. Martin, P. O Reilly.

The replay took place in Killorglin on Wed. 16th February 1888 and the home side won by a try and touch down. This was the last recorded game of rugby played in Killorglin for many years.

 

Although only two young teachers were mentioned in Patsy Begley’s letter, three members of the Dublin Co. Championship winning Erin’s Hope team of 1887 were appointed to teaching positions in Killorglin at the time, namely, Tom Cronin, Jack Murphy and Denis Downing. Tom Cronin was appointed to the teaching staff of Glounaguillagh Boys’ N. S. on 20th February 1888 and was transferred to Killorglin Boys’ N. S. on 8th May 1888. It was he who taught the local lads the finer points of the game. Unfortunately, he left Killorglin on 19th Dec. 1890 and he was a severe loss to the team. Jack Murphy, a native of Newmarket, was appointed to the teaching staff of Killorglin Boys’ N. S. on 1st May 1888. He was responsible for the formation of the Laune Rangers Club, and showed the local players the basic skills of Gaelic Football as he had learned them in Dublin. He later became principal of Clounclough N. S. in the parish of Currow. Denis Downing, a native of Kenmare, was appointed to the teaching staff of Cromane Boys’ N. S. on 1st October 1887. When they arrived in Killorglin, they found a ‘Gaelic club in name only.’ This had been the Killorglin Branch of the GAA, which had been founded by Patsy Begley and his compatriots. However, they still mainly played rugby.

The general meeting of the club, referred to in the letter, took place late in September or early in October 1888. It was decided to form one body from the rugby and the GAA under the banner of the GAA – that was the formation of the Laune Rangers Club. John Murphy NT was appointed Chairman, William O Brien was appointed Secretary and J.P. O Sullivan was appointed captain. The new teachers, Cronin and Murphy, were appointed as trainers. Within a month, the numbers training had swollen to fifty.

 

On Oct. 21st, Laune Rangers were invited to play Ballymacelligott, then known as Ashill (Alderman Hooper’s) Club, in a tournament in aid of the National Monument Fund. This fund was organised to complete the monuments over distinguished Irishmen interred in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin. Three games were played on the same day in Tralee – Ballyduff v Kilmoyley (in hurling), Dr. Crokes v John Mitchels and Laune Rangers v Ashill. In the latter game, it was evident from the outset that Ashill were no match for their opponents, and though they made several determined efforts, they never scored once. There was some roughness displayed by the Ashill team during the match. Mr. Tom Slattery refereed.

 

At the meeting of the Killorglin GAA Branch (in the beginning, a club was called a branch) on Sunday 4th November 1888, Mr. John Murphy presided. He said that, though they were established but little more than a month, he was able to congratulate them on the high state of efficiency to which they had brought the branch. Their weekly practice matches were very satisfactory, both from the numbers that attended and the discipline observed. He thought that at their present rate of progress, they could enter any competition hopefully in a short time and from the number of their playing members, which was then up to fifty, they would have a capable body of officers to supervise a sports meeting later on. The state of their funds was very good, as, after all initiatory expenses, they had a clear balance of £6. Mr. P. Riordan addressed the meeting and referred to the previous meeting where J.P. O Sullivan had informed them that a large number of the elders of the parish had told him that, though they could not attend the meetings or be expected to turn up at a football field, they would willingly subscribe to the branch and do their best to make the purpose of the GAA a success in the locality (hear, hear). As proof of their good wishes towards the object, he handed the treasurer £12, which he had received from them (cheers). He also said that he had received promises of spirited support, at any time that the branch would determine, to hold sports in the town (hear, hear). The election of delegates to the forthcoming Co. GAA Convention then took place, the result being that William O Brien (Hon. Sec.) and J.P. O Sullivan (captain) were chosen. J. P. O Sullivan then proposed a motion, which as he said, needed only to be read to commend its purpose to the hearty approval of the meeting. It had reference to the Parnell Indemnity Fund. Mr. O Sullivan said, “Parnell and the others are Patrons of our organisation and I think it is only right that, when an occasion like the present is offered to us of showing our gratitude for what they have done for the GAA and our admiration of their splendid services to our country, we should joyfully avail of it by acting as a body and making ourselves felt in such a cause (cheers). I therefore submit the following resolution: ‘resolved that as a parochial collection is being made for the Parnell Indemnity Fund, we consider it our duty as true Gaels to advance that patriotic project as best we can and that we hereby open a subscription within our body to be given to the local committee in the name of the Killorglin GAA branch.” Pat Teahan seconded the resolution and said that there were over 1,000 branches in Ireland and he thought that the aggregate of their subscriptions would have no mean appearance on the National fund. The growth of the GAA would show that they had among  them not only the best athletes, but they had whatever was pure and patriotic and enterprising in the manhood of Ireland. It behoved them there to assert themselves in every good cause and to make their organisation a factor in the vindication of their patron’s honour and in the union and progress of Irishmen (applause). A sum of £2 was made up immediately.

 

On Wed. 7th November 1888 at 12 noon the first Co. Convention of the Kerry GAA was held in the rooms of the Young Ireland Society, Tralee (as already mentioned). The following clubs affiliated in 1888 for 1889: Tralee, Ballyduff, Laune Rangers, Castleisland, Killarney, Listowel, Ashill, Barraduff, Kenmare, Doon, Kilmoyley, Dingle, Currans, Castlegregory, O Dorney, Irremore/Lixnaw, O Brennan, Rathmore.

 

Sun. 9th Dec. 1888 at Killorglin: Killorglin (Laune Rangers) 2-3; Tralee (John Mitchels) 0-1.

The following account appeared in the Kerry Sentinel: ‘The collision of these two leading teams took place in Killorglin and was an event well worth going some distance to witness. The appointment was known for miles around and the greatest possible interest in the match was evinced by the public. Happily, the general expectation of a rattling days sport was fully realised. It was a gala day, which the masses placed to the credit of the GAA. The sunniest of Gaelic weather, the largest of Gaelic crowds and the most exciting and masterly play on the part of the tradesmen on Sunday made the meeting the most interesting and most successful held under Gaelic auspices in the South of Ireland. Indeed the largeness of the crowd, which could not have been less than 10,000 people, was suggestive of ugly probabilities of disorder but all fears on that score were allayed after about ten minutes play by the admirable manner in which the Rangers’ stewards kept the people to their lines. The venue was at Annadale, about a mile from town, in a field kindly given for the day by Mr. James Joy. The ground was capital and, in addition to its fitness, commanded a beautiful view. The Laune shimmered at one side and the hollow sunlit valley, on the other, stretched away to the reeks, along whose lower slopes the frost vapours were trembling airily, while the peaks and sides seemed to have lost half their jaggedness under a sunny haze against an opal sky. The broad bold scene in the distance, with summer-like touches even yet in is colouring, and around the surging multitude with its bustle, humour and enthusiasm, all as Irish as the Reeks, might serve as a prototype for the stirring pictures in ‘Knocknagow’ drawn by Charles Kickham from the Ireland of his boyhood, before sad ’48 had stricken Irish sport as it did Irish national strength and hope in the decimation of the Gael. But the dark epoch was spanned by the gay meeting on Sunday and the association must have been happy, which made the eyes of the veterans flash, as stewards, by prescriptive right, repaired to their posts eager for a good day’s sport and happy at taking part in the revival of the golden long ago. It is too little to say, for these veterans, that they kept perfect order. They did it in such a way for the players that the ball, even when it was sent over the sidelines, did not once touch the person of a spectator, and in such a way for the public that the weakest and youngest there had a safe and easy view of the proceedings. Mr. P. O Sullivan’s share in, and his result as a steward, was too large to be overlooked. The match, for all its agreeable circumstances, was just what a Gaelic re-union ought to be, and could not fail to extend the association in Kerry. Now for the play.

The game, having been started at two o clock, the ball was carried to the Mitchels’ camp, but their backs soon sent it into neutral ground, where for about ten minutes there was loose play, both sides taking the matter easy enough. When the ball next returned to Tralee ground, a free was gained by Killorglin from the 40 yards mark for Tralee putting the ball beyond its own line. The captain kicked the free and a point was claimed, but disallowed by the referee. The match then began in earnest. Tralee, by good play, got the ball among the home backs and the latter had work enough for some time in defending the goals against the rushes of the Tralee forwards. This pretty play resulted in the ball going over the home line and, immediately after kick-out, Tralee in its turn found its goal well attacked. Yet there was no score as the backs of both teams, playing with great skill and relieving themselves with long and ready punting, really seemed impassable. For the remainder of the first half, the ball was rarely allowed to rest midway, as the play consisted of a series of rushes, now one goal being threatened, then the other.

Sides being changed, the captain and Pat Teahan made a point each for Killorglin. This was followed by a goal by Jack Murphy and then came the finest piece of play of the match, the Mitchels from kick-out carrying the ball to the Killorglin goal, where the play was at close quarters, the hands being used for the most part. The ball was shot directly for goal three times, and was at last sent to neutral ground from the kick-out after a point being made cleverly by William Brick from Tralee. A goal by Jimmy Doyle for Killorglin made the victory certain and, on time being called, the home team was declared the winners by two goals and three points to one point.’

The return match was fixed for Sunday 16th December at Tralee.

Killorglin: J.P. O Sullivan (capt.), Pat Teahan, Tim Curran, Pat Hurley, Tom Cronin, Patsy Sheehan, Denis Downing, Tom Curran, Dan P. Murphy, Jack Murphy, John Sullivan, Maurice O Brien, Jeremiah Hayes, Tom Foley, Pat O Shea, Eddie O Sullivan, Jimmy Doyle, Patsy Begley, Paddy O Regan, Dan O Neill, Denis Coleman. Goal umpires – Messrs. Dodd and Reddan; Field Umpire – James Cotter.

Tralee: Maurice Moynihan (capt.), D. Chute, P. Parker, Tom Ryle, Michael Landers, Gene Landers, M. Myles, Robert Kelly, E. Scanlon, Dan Sugrue, James O Brien, P. Barry, E. Lenihan, W. Sweeney, Mike Dowling, Tom Slattery, T. O Connor, Bill Brick, M. Murphy, Dan O Keeffe, Mike Brosnan. Goal umpire – Mr. Patsy Clifford; Field umpire – J. Burke.

Ref: John Langford, Killarney.

 

Sun. 16th Dec. 1888 at Tralee: Tralee (John Mitchels) 0-2; Killorglin (Laune Rangers) 1-2.

The return match between Tralee (Mitchels) and Laune Rangers was played in Tralee at the Amateur Club grounds. The weather, that great factor in the success or failure of all outdoor exercises, was everything that could be desired and, as a consequence, the attendance of spectators was comparatively large. There had seldom been a football match that had aroused such local interest and, considering the close and well-fought contest and the spirit of determination tempered with good feeling displayed by those engaged, the Gaelic Athletic Association was advanced greatly in the good grace of the spectators. Nobody could fail to perceive the vast strides that had been made, even in Kerry, both as regards discipline and the science of play, during the short time that had elapsed since the association had been practically introduced into the Kingdom. Even the old veterans, though by no possibility would they admit that the ‘modern’ footballer nearly approached him of an earlier generation in physical prowess, were still ever ready to concede that, in the qualities described, he took the cake.

The ground, for the game, was in anything but good condition, owing to the fact that it had been constantly used for practice by two clubs. However, this did not prevent some brilliant play being shown by both sides. At about 2.30pm the men lined up, each cheerily grasping the hand of an opponent. The captains tossed for choice of sides. Tralee won but there was no perceptible advantage either way, so sides were taken, so to speak, at random. The ball was quickly rushed into Killorglin territory where, one of the visitors committing a foul, Tralee got a free kick from which a point was scored. Laune Rangers soon succeeded in placing a point to their credit, also. The play then waxed faster, Tralee scoring another point from a forty-yards’ free. After kick out, the leather was rushed on towards the Tralee goal, and was speedily driven through the posts. The goal, however, was disputed by the Tralee man, who alleged that the ball had been taken off the ground and that they had relaxed play in obedience to a cry of ‘foul’ that was raised. The referee, however, decided in favour of Killorglin and an intimation was given, on the part of Tralee, that an appeal could be made. Nothing of importance occurred during the remainder of the first half and when sides were changed, the play stood –  Tralee 0-2; Laune Rangers 1-1.

During the last half-hour, the play was really brilliant, the ball being kept flying up and down the field, both goals being defended with the most consummate skill and ability. About ten minutes before the call of time, Tralee made a determined onslaught on the Killorglin goal-line. The defence was really splendid and after more than five minutes, Tralee was repulsed. When seemingly relaxing their efforts, their own goal was quickly invaded and a point for Laune Rangers brought the best Gaelic match yet played in Kerry to a close. The teams then made the welkin ring with cheers for each other and the GAA.

The outstanding feature of the game was the play in the back-field of the two Currans for the Rangers. Not that they had very much to do, but every time they were called on, with wonderful understanding each knew the proper thing to do and did it. The two of them would be idly standing and chatting near the Rangers’ fifty yards line, with the ball at the other end of the field, as usual. Presently, a long kick sent it up the middle of the field, with the pack in hot pursuit. Bob Kelly, the plumber, was at the head of the gang, running for all he was worth. As the ball neared the Currans, Tom Curran advanced, as we thought, to kick it. That was not what he did though, but accurately judging its speed and the velocity of Kelly, he simply lifted the fast rolling ball as it passed him with his foot without retarding its progress. He then, neatly and very effectively, blocked Kelly out of the play without any unnecessary roughness, and the ball, bouncing nicely back to the taller one of the Currans, with a tremendous kick he met it and sent it back down the field again. With the Rangers, there was always that calmly thought-out method in all they did that made them as a team so truly great, added to the fact that they were perhaps as likely looking a body of athletes as was ever compacted together.

Laune Rangers: J.P. O Sullivan (capt.), Pat Teahan, Tim Curran, Tom Cronin, Dan P. Murphy, Tom Curran, Jeremiah Hayes, Patsy Sheehan, Pat Hurley, Pat O Shea, Patsy Begley, Jimmy Doyle, Dan O Neill, Moss O Brien, Denis Downey, Tom Foley, Eddie O Sullivan, Denis Coleman, John Sullivan, Paddy O Regan, Jack Murphy. Goal Umpires – J. Sheehan and M. O Doherty. Field umpire – James Cotter.

Tralee (Mitchels): Maurice Moynihan (capt.), William Brick, Michael Landers, Gene Landers, Dan Sugrue, W. Sugrue, Jeremiah Hanafin, E. Scanlon, Mike Brosnan, Tom Slattery, W. Sweeney, Dan O Keeffe, Mike Dowling, Robert Kelly, T. O Connor, P. Barry, John O Brien, M. Murphy, M. Myles, P. Parker, Tom Ryle. Goal umpires – Patsy Clifford and J. O Brien. Field umpire – J. Burke.

Ref: J.D. Foley, C. E. Killorglin.

On the same date, the second team from Tralee played the second team from Killorglin. The name of the second Tralee team was ‘The Holy Terrors’, though Jack Fleming, the wit, and Jim McCarthy, the painter, referred to them so often, standing at the hall door of the Castle Street House, as ‘The Divils Entirely’, that we are not sure just what their name was. The second Killorglin team was called ‘The Harrington’s’ (called after Ned Harrington) and, wearing red jerseys, they, also, won the game. Dan McGillycuddy, Quaybawn, wrote on 11th Nov. 1939, ‘I came out, one of the twenty-one, with my red jersey on that occasion, out of the stand house at the north side of the field, with two dressing rooms in it and a fine long drinking bar in it. I was then in the parish of Tuogh and, with James Doyle, joined the Harrington’s for a short period. Shortly, afterwards, we got up our own team, titled the Parnell’s and a good one it was.’

 

The draws for the All-Ireland Championship were made on a Provincial basis for the first time in 1888. Five counties took part in Munster – Tipperary v Cork, Limerick v Clare and Waterford got a bye. Kerry did not take part. The concluding stages of the Championship were delayed because of the ‘invasion’ of America. Maurice Davin, President of the GAA, proposed to hold an international Gaelic festival in 1889. To finance this project, it was decided to send 50 of the top athletes in Ireland to compete in America in 1888. J.P. O Sullivan, who had been distinguishing himself as an athlete, was invited but declined. As it turned out the athletes competed very well but the whole thing was a financial disaster, accumulating debts of £450, because the athletes were split at the time in America and this seriously affected the attendances at the meetings. Michael Davitt advanced the money to the association, averting potential embarrassment. In later years, Davitt declined to accept the refund, saying that he had been satisfied that the money had been well spent on a worthwhile project.

 

The following is an extract from Sceilg’s ‘Reminiscences of a Boy’s Love for the Native Games’ in An Camán (He had been raised in Valentia):  “Hurling had a vogue in South Kerry up to the founding of the GAA. Soon after, strange as it may seem, it fizzled out, though it continued to flourish in North Kerry and Kenmare. School teachers, in training in the early days of the GAA, were the principal instruments in bringing the new football code to South-Kerry and I may here record my feeling that to no institution in Ireland does the Association owe its progress and virility more than to St. Patrick’s Training College, Drumcondra and the Catholic Training Colleges generally. Up to that time, the oval ball was a good deal in use in our midst, due largely, I should say, to young people educated where rugby was played. (This account was equally true of places like Killorglin) The discipline of today was almost entirely lacking and the numbers of players was determined by the numbers that could be put forward. In practice matches, two prominent players stood apart, one crying out, ‘Cuirim ort,’ and the other responding, ‘Leigim leat.’ They then proceeded to name their choice, one after the other, until they had exhausted those present. Having tossed for position, the match started. When one fielded the ball, he stuck his heel in the ground and stood back, and no member of the opposing team was permitted to approach beyond the ‘mark’ thus made until the man in possession had kicked off. One was not allowed to catch from a hop nor was lifting with the toe, except it was done without bending the body. When a goal was scored, the teams changed sides.

Meanwhile, the Laune Rangers of Killorglin had come into the limelight. Previously, they had practiced something like the rugby code but lined up promptly with the GAA. In their heyday, I had the pleasure of a close personal friendship with their popular captain, J.P. O Sullivan. He was a paymaster on the railway then under construction between Killorglin and Valentia. He drove twenty miles down that historic road every Saturday as far as Kells, where I was engaged, and often took me for a weekend to ‘Puck’ where I made the acquaintance of many members of his team, the brothers Bill and Moss O Brien, one of the scarce less famous Curran brothers, Pat Teahan, Paddy O Regan, Jerry Hayes, his cousin Jim O Sullivan and many others.

Pat Teahan, a man of excellent presence and physique, often accompanied J.P. to Kells for a swim. They were fast friends, though rivals for the hand of the same lady. Ultimately, the winning of the All-round Championship of Ireland turned the scales definitely in J. P’s favour. All three have since been called to a better world. It was in 1891, I think, that J.P. won the All-round Championship of Ireland. I can yet recall the life-like picture of him that appeared in ‘Sport’ with the announcement that his next engagement would probably be a matrimonial one. He gave me the paper and, what I treasured more, let the championship belt in my possession for a week and I’ll not easily forget the pride, with which I showed it to my young friends. My recollection is that he was in special training for the All-round Championship of the ensuing year and quite confident of winning it, for he was a much improved man. But, unless my memory deceives me, his favourite sister died suddenly some days before the event and he did not compete.

As far as my memory serves me, the Tralee Mitchels were among the first to challenge the Laune Rangers’ supremacy in Kerry, though the Killarney Crokes and the prowess of John Langford float about my mind since that time. In a match against Midleton in Limerick, Baker Hayes of the Rangers had his knee-cap kicked off, to Kerry’s deep sorrow. I saw him play with an artificial knee-cap years later in Iveragh. He still had an extraordinary kick, driving the ball almost from goal to goal against a stiff wind with the uninjured leg. He stripped magnificently and was the centre of all eyes, with skin like snow and the strength of a Samson. We had splendidly made goalkeepers in Iveragh, Eugene McGillycuddy of Cahersiveen, and Conny Shea of Valentia, for example, of greater girth even than Paddy O Regan, but they were not of the hero mould of Hayes. J.P. O Sullivan also continued to play – for Firies – long after his marriage. I saw him keep goal for them in Cahersiveen, when he must have been moving towards forty. He still kicked an incredible length, right or left. I can visualise him now, shaping as if to kick off with the right to his right forward, and unexpectedly taking the ball with his left, with the shout, ‘Brick, you rascal, Brick,’ and landing the ball in the grip of his left forward, Brick, who shot in a goal.  As well as being an all-round athlete and a man of broad tolerance, J.P. was a splendid dancer and a most fluent Irish speaker, as was his father, who, as interpreter, accompanied the County Court Judge on his circuit.”

 

The Gaelic Athletic Championships were held in Limerick on 6th Aug. 1888. In addition to the winners, the principal competitors included J.P. O Sullivan.

 

It had been discussed as early as 1887 that a hurling and athletic team should be sent to America with a view to entering into competition with the athletes of other countries and giving exhibitions of the distinctive game of hurling. The final decision with regard to the ‘Invasion’ was taken at a meeting of Central Council at Limerick Junction on 6th July 1888.  The athletes and hurling team were selected – the name of J.P. O Sullivan was mentioned as a member of the athletic team, but he did not travel.

 

Laune Rangers GAA Club was and is based in the Parish of Killorglin. The parish extends into Dunkerron North, Iveragh, Magunihy and Trughanacmy baronies. The Moriarty clan anciently possessed the district, which was afterwards held by Mac Carthy Mór, the Geraldines, the Conways and the Mullins family. The Geraldines bestowed the castle and manor on the Knights Templars. The name was written Cill Fhorgia in the Annals of Inisfallen in the year 1215. Killorglin parish is composed of the following townlands (in alphabetical order):

1. Anglont,

2. Ardacluckeen (the height of the little stone fort),

3. Ardmoniel (the height of the neck),

4. Ballintleave (the town of the mountain),

5. Ballintleave Commons,

6. Ballykissane (village of wicker causeway),

7. Ballymacprior,

8. Banshagh (lawn),

9. Cappagh (the tribe land),

10. Breanlee

11. Castleconway,

12. Clash (the rivulet island),

13. Clooncarrig (the meadow of the rock),

14. Cloon Island (meadow island),

15. Coolbane, East and West (White nook),

16. Coomnafanida,

17. Coornagrena (flowery, sunny place),

18. Goulnacappy (fork of the plot),

19. Coornameana,

20. Corbally,

21. Cromane, Lower and Upper (the slope),

22. Derrynafeana (oak-wood of the Fianna),

23 Doaghs (the black fords),

24. Doolahig (black muddy place),

25. Douglas.

26. Dromavally (the ridge of the town),

27. Dromin, North, East and West (the little ridge),

28. Dromleagh,

29. Dungeel,

30. Dunmaniheen (Mannix’s fort),

31. Farrantoreen (the land of the little bleach green),

32. Garrahadoo (black gardens),

33. Garrane, East and West (the shrubbery),

34. Glancuttaun,

35. Glannagilliagh (the glen of the grouse cocks),

36. Gortloughra (rushy field),

37. Illaunstookagh (the island of the stacks or stooks),

38. Kilcoolaght, East and West (church of the corner flagstone),

39. Killorglin Town,

40. Knockaunglass (green hillock),

41. Knockaunroe (red hillock),

42. Knocknaboola (hill of the cattle field),

43. Knockyline (Lyne’s hill),

44. Laharan (half a townland),

45. Lismacfinnan (Mac Finnian’s fort),

46. Lonart (fortress),

47. Lyreboy (yellow river fork),

48. Maghancoosaun (plain of the path),

49. Meanus (mining place),

50. Muingaphuca (marsh of the pookah),

51. Nantinaun (the place abounding in nettles),

52. Ownagarry (the river of the gardens),

53. Parkalassa (the fort field),

54. Quaybaun (white quagmire),

55. Rangue,

56. Reen (the point),

57. Scartnamackagh (the thicket of the tramps),

58. Shanara, Lower and Upper,

59. Stealroe (red stream),

60. Tinahally (the house of the cliff),

61. Tooreenasliggaun (the bleach green of the shells),

62. Treanoughtragh (upper third),

63. Tullig, Beg and More (the hillock).

 

Whence the name Laune Rangers? Nobody seems to know. There is mention of a Volunteer force known as Laun(e) Rangers in Irish history in 1782 and 1784. They were commanded by Rowland Blennerhassett of Churchtown and were composed of ‘the neighbouring gentry, farmers and tradesmen’. Volunteers had emerged at the end of the 18th century and existed as local defence-forces, defending the landlord’s property against the threat posed by the organising dispossessed. The withdrawal of 4,000 troops from the Irish establishment for service in America led to the military resources of the administration in Ireland being revealed as inadequate and to the immediate spreading of the Volunteer idea on a nationwide basis. In Kerry there were many such Volunteer units – Ballymacelligott Volunteers, Clanmaurice Volunteers, Dingle Corps, Dromore Volunteers, Gunsborough Union, Killarney Foresters, Milltown Fuzileers, Royal Tralee Volunteers, etc. Generally, that force was a totally Protestant one. However, in some areas, wealthy Catholics joined the force. Later still, where Protestant loyalists were thin on the ground, country gentlemen began to take Catholics into their Volunteer units. At that time, the Volunteers were engaged in police-work in their areas. Nevertheless, there is no further mention of those forces after 1784 and they were eventually put down by government decree in 1793.

 

At the Lee Club Sports, held in Cork on Sun. 26th Aug. the all-round medal, given by the committee, was awarded to JP O Sullivan, Killorglin. He had secured first prize in the five-mile bicycle race, having got a handicap of 250 yards, and second place in the slinging of the 56lbs shot, long jump and hop, step and jump.

 

 

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