Laune Rangers – 1892
Laune Rangers regained the Co. SFC (winning it for the 3rd time) by defeating Ballymac in the final on the score 3-7 to 1-7.
Kerry (Laune Rangers) won the Munster SF Championship for the 1st time by defeating Dungarvan in the final on the score 0-10 to 0-0.
JP O Sullivan was a member of the Central Council of the GAA.
The one that got away:
Laune Rangers lost the All-Ireland Final to Young Irelanders, Dublin, on the score of 1-4 to 0-3.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
James McCrohan was Chairman of the Laune Rangers Club and Bill O Brien was Secretary.
Co. Senior Football Championship
15 teams entered for the Co. Senior Football Championship Laune Rangers, Castleisland, Keel, Annascaul, Ballyhar, Killarney Crokes, Dingle, Castlegregory, Milltown, Cordal, Ballymacelligott, Listowel, Tralee Mitchels, Irremore and Tuogh.
At the Annual Congress in Thurles in January, teams were reduced to 17 a side and a goal was made equal to 5 points.
Rd. 1 on Sun. 17th April at Firies: Laune Rangers 2-5; Castleisland 0-0.
Quarter-final on Sun. 15th May at Tralee: Laune Rangers 1-7; Keel 1-5.
Laune Rangers won the toss and played with the wind. On the oval being thrown in, Keel took it in hand and rushed into the Killorglin territory. It was quickly returned, however, and after five minutes of rather exciting play, Laune Rangers scored a point, to which they added four more at short intervals. During the remainder of the first half, Keel was kept mostly on the defensive and at the sound of the referee’s whistle, the score was announced as Laune Rangers 0-7; Keel 0-0.
On change of sides, Keel forced the pace and within three minutes had placed a point to their credit, to which they quickly added another. For the next ten minutes, play was mostly in the vicinity of the Killorglin goalposts and two points more were added, after which a well-directed kick from Cahillane sent the oval flying under the crossbar amid a scene of great enthusiasm. The kick-out was followed up in excellent style and Keel was forced to exert themselves to the utmost to save their goals. The oval was, however, once more returned and Keel scored another point. After the kick-out by James O Sullivan, the oval was rushed round by the left sideline by Dan Phil Murphy to Paddy O Regan, who never lost possession of it until he succeeded, by a splendid effort, in scoring a beautiful goal. Half a minute later, the referee’s whistle blew ‘time’. The feat was roundly and deservedly applauded.
Keel lodged an objection to the goal scored by Rangers on the grounds that the ball had first gone out a point. The referee, Tom Slattery, overruled the objection, but Keel intended appealing to the Co. Board.
Semi-final on Sun. 26th June at Tralee: Laune Rangers v Ballyhar
Ballymacelligott v Milltown
Although the teams had travelled, the games were postponed because of the death of Tom Slattery’s child – Tom Slattery was Chairman of the Kerry Co. Board.
Semi-final on Sun. 3rd July at Tralee: Laune Rangers beat Ballyhar.
Final on Sun. 25th Sept. at Tralee: Laune Rangers 3-7; Ballymacelligott 1-7.
This was, without exception, the finest display ever witnessed in the Tralee grounds. In physique, the teams could scarcely have been more evenly matched, and, as they lined up for the contest, it would be difficult to find a more athletic body of men. Throughout the progress of the match, their play was of such an even character that, up to the last, the issue seemed doubtful. A close observer of the play, however, would be forced to the conclusion that the superior skill and judgement exercised by the Rangers would eventually tell in their favour, for, while they all seemed to be at the goal-lines and defended them effectively whenever an attack was made on them, their adversaries were not at all so quick in rallying to the defence of their lines when defence was needed. They were, besides, not such adept at scoring as the Rangers, whereas in the general play they seemed their equals, if not their superiors. With the exercise of more skill and judgement on the part of Ballymac in the placing of their men, they would have proved most formidable opponents on any field. After an hour of the most brilliant and fastest play on record, the Rangers were once more installed as Champions of Kerry and there could scarcely be a doubt but that they were the right men in the right place. It was felt that if they were to continue to maintain the form in which they showed up in the final, there would be every reason to believe that the close of the season would find then not alone as Champions of Kerry but of Ireland.
The coin turned in favour of Ballymacelligott, who elected to play with the breeze, which was blowing pretty briskly. The leather was thrown up at 2.30pm and was immediately taken possession of by Ballymac and rushed up to the Rangers goal-lines and within two minutes it was sent flying between the point posts. After the kick-out, the ball was transferred beyond neutral ground and the ball travelled up and down with lightning velocity for two minutes. A minute later, John Corcoran scored a beautiful goal for Ballymac, from near the forty yards’ mark. The kick-out was well followed up and, in the teeth of the pretty stiff breeze, the Rangers invaded their opponents’ line and were rewarded with a point.
Up and down play was again the order and, after a lapse of five minutes, the Rangers’ lines were again attacked and another point was scored. The kick-out was again followed up in splendid style and the Rangers scored another point easily, there being a very weak defence. The scene of attack was quickly transferred to the Rangers’ lines that were so hard-pressed that they had to yield a forty yards free, which Ballymac turned into a point, to which they quickly added another. After the kick-out, the Rangers made a headlong and apparently irresistible dash, which culminated in another point for them. The leather, for the next few minutes, was kept continually travelling up and down the field. Ballymac, at length, interrupted the order of things by scoring a point. The kick-out this time availed but little, for it was immediately struck back and, to all appearances, a point was scored but was not allowed. A spell of up and down play again ensued and shortly before the referee’s whistle sounded halftime, Ballymac added another point to leave the score Ballymac 1-6, Laune Rangers 0-3.
On resuming play for the second half-hour, the Rangers forced the pace and Ballymac had to call forth their every exertion to save their lines. After an exciting scrimmage, the ball was forced into neutral ground and, for the next few minutes, both goal-lines were alternately the scene of action. After ten minutes, Ballymac had again to assume the defensive and, after a tough struggle, Paddy O Regan put the ball between the goal posts and the referee allowed the goal. Ballymac lodged an objection on the grounds of a foul having been committed immediately before and, also, that the ball was only ‘thrown’ in. The referee, however, adhered to his ruling.
After kick-out, the ball was again returned and would have gone for a point but it was struck by one of the Ballymac men and sent behind the lines. The referee allowed for this a forty-yards’ kick, which the Rangers converted into a point. After kick-out, the ball was rushed up to mid-territory but it was quickly returned and, a well directed kick for goal resulted in the ball striking one of the uprights, rebounded and was kicked out between the posts. After kick-out, the ball was again returned and Ballymac were forced to yield a forty yards free, which the Rangers converted to a point. The kick-off was now well followed up by Ballymac and the scene of action was transferred to the Rangers’ territory. However, the leather was rushed down the field and ended in a point being added to the Killorglin score, to which was immediately added a beautiful goal, the feat being very cleverly performed by Danny Clifford. From that to the end of the second half, the Rangers had the better of the play, for, though Ballymac made some splendid rushes and repeatedly attacked their opponents’ goal-lines, they only succeeded in increasing their score by one point.
The match was characterised by the utmost good temper and, at the conclusion, the victorious team called for cheers for their defeated, but brave, adversaries. The call was heartily responded to, as was also a similar call from the conquered team for their conquerors. The referee was John Langford, Killarney.
A special train departed Killorglin at 11.00am and returned from Tralee at 6.30pm. By special arrangement, the double journey cost a single fare.
Munster Senior Football Championship
At the Annual Congress in Thurles in January, champions’ clubs, for the inter-county contests, were allowed to select players from other clubs in the county in order to strengthen their teams. Only three counties took part in the Munster Championship.
Semi-final on Sun. 30th Oct. in Killarney: Laune Rangers 3-6; Clondrohid 0-5.
Favoured by delightful weather and in the presence of a large crowd, the Inter-county Football and Hurling Championships between Cork and Kerry were brought to issue in a field (owned by Mrs. Curtin) a short distance east from Killarney. In the hurling, Redmonds, Cork defeated Kilmoyley by 4-3 to 2-5 and went on to regain the All-Ireland title. Special excursion trains from Tralee and Killorglin conveyed the two Kerry teams and a large number of their supporters.
The Clondrohids worked as well as they could but they were overmatched in every respect and the play of the Kerry men was so exceptionally brilliant that one was safe even then in hailing them as the football champions of Ireland. Their coolness, their superior kicking and their work in combination was admired by all and, from an early period in the game, it was quite apparent that the Cork men were bound to taste the bitters of defeat. Mr. Frank Dineen, Ballylanders, attended on behalf of the Gaelic Central Council to referee both matches and he discharged the duties of his office in a most competent manner.
Clondrohid won the toss and played with the sun at their backs. When the leather was thrown up, Laune Rangers at once got into possession and, without being checked, a goal was scored. When the leather came into play again, the Cork men made a good rally and drove the obstacle up the field, but it was speedily returned by the Rangers, who got it over the Cork end-line. During the next ten minutes, the play was fast and furious and Kerry added a point to its score. From the start, the combination play of the Kerry team was admirable and their long drives were splendid. Several times the Cork goalposts were invaded and, though the rushes were stalled off by Clondrohid for a time, the Rangers could not be denied and, within fifteen minutes, had place two more goals to their credit. Kerry got a forty yards kick for a foul and, although nothing came of it, a point was scored in a few seconds to leave the halftime score at Laune Rangers 3-3, Clondrohid 0-0.
In the second half, Cork commenced well and thrice invaded their opponents’ goal line but they were only rewarded with two points. For some time after this, play was equal, Kerry taking matters rather easily. In the end, they invaded the Cork territory in force and made two great rushes on the goal-line. There was no score, however. Cork then, working well together, secured two points in quick succession and when they charged down a third time, a goal was narrowly missed. Laune Rangers then put on full steam and three points were soon registered to their credit. There was no further score until time was called and Rangers were declared victors amidst loud and ringing cheers.
Laune Rangers: J. P. O Sullivan (capt.), James J. O Sullivan (goals), Jim Curran, Tim Curran, John Phil Murphy, John Langford (Killarney), Pat Sugrue, Moss O Brien, Mick Flynn, J. Flynn, Dan P. Murphy, William O Sullivan (Killarney), Mick Hayes (Killarney), John O Reilly, Danny Clifford, Paddy O Regan, Bill Fleming (Killarney). Field-umpire – Pat Teahan.
Clondrohid: D. Kelliher (capt.), Corney Duggan, Johnny Duggan, J. Kelliher, P. Desmond, A Desmond, T. O Shea (Ass. Co. Sec.), T. O Riordan, J. Leary, J. Sullivan, D. Sullivan, M. Quill, M. Riordan, W. Riordan, T. Buckley, T. Dooney, C. Kelliher. Field-umpire – C. O Leary.
Goal umpires – T. Buckley (Clondrohid) and John Murphy (Laune Rangers).
Ref: Frank Dineen (Limerick).
Final on Sun. 4th Dec. at Fermoy: Laune Rangers 0-12; Dungarvan 0-0.
Seldom indeed had a football or hurling contest been decided under such unfavourable circumstances as this game between Kerry and Waterford, which was played near Fermoy. The weather could scarcely have been worse, but bad weather could only be expected at that advanced season. The Kerry Sentinel later commented, “it would be no harm if, in the future, the promoters of these contests saw their way to getting them finished off earlier in the year. Of course things will occur from time to time to prevent this being done, but with an united effort on the part of all concerned, the difficulty might, as a rule, be overcome and no such scene as that witnessed on Sunday permitted to take place.”
Without exaggeration, it might be said that the teams played up to their knees in snow. Snow fell heavily all through the district on the previous night and Sunday morning saw the entire country, as far as the eye could see, under the ‘fleecy mantle’. Considering the awful state of the weather and the still threatening character of the morning, the number of people who assembled to witness the match was quite extraordinary. The military element, as might have been expected when the vicinity of the garrison was taken into account, was extremely large. The fair sex, too, were numerous and that was, more or less, to be wondered at, when it was remembered that it required no little effort to face the slushy roads and snow-covered fields. Two special trains, one from Killorglin and another from Cork, ran into the town in the morning. Those were in addition to the ordinary from the Lismore side. The Cork train was but poorly patronised. Mainly due to the fact that the Munster Council had appointed a venue so far distant from Kerry, the train from Killarney was only fairly filled, as was also the Waterford train.
The game was scheduled for 2pm but it was much later in the afternoon before play commenced, three o’ clock having come and gone before the leather was set in motion. The teams were on the ground a full forty minutes before they were ordered to play, owing to the fact that the Kerry men objected to half of the Dungarvan players wearing spikes in their shoes, of the same kind as were used by athletes at sports, on the grounds that spikes were expressly prohibited by the rules and were a cause of serious danger to the opposing players. The referee asked the players to remove the spikes and gave them ten minutes to comply. However, they refused. The members of the Central Council of the GAA present, Messrs. Pat Teahan (Laune Rangers), F. B. Dineen (Ballylanders) and Michael Deering (Cork), held a consultation and upheld the objection. They then made representations to the Kerry players. The latter, who were about to leave the field, returned and pluckily, out of public interest, consented to play.
Play accordingly proceeded at 3.30pm. From the outset, it was apparent that the Waterford representatives were overmatched and, though they made a sturdy fight, their chances were never rosy. They were beaten by the better team. Michael Deering, President Cork Co. Board, officiated as referee and discharged what, at the best of times was an onerous duty, to the satisfaction of both players and spectators. The ground was excellently laid out and kept by the Fermoy Gaels.
Dungarvan won the toss and played with the fall of ground and wind in their favour. Immediately, the ball was put in play, Killorglin assumed the aggressive and, with a good rush, brought play into their opponents’ ground and scored a point within a few minutes. The kick-out was well blocked and quickly returned and a second score was narrowly averted. Then Dungarvan reversed the state of affairs and carried play into their opponents’ quarter. There it remained for a length of time, play being comparatively dull, when Kerry were awarded a free off a foul. The kick brought play into the vicinity of the Waterford posts, but those boys, playing well together, repulsed the onslaught and, in a short time, Rangers had to again act on the defensive. They gamely returned, however, and, with good play, brought the leather through the field and were blocked only by the goalkeeper, Dan Fraher, who sent it off to the side. The Rangers, however, continued to act on the offensive and, in another charge, scored a second point. Fast play ensued for some time in neutral ground, when Kerry came on again and scored a point. That was quickly followed up with another point and the halftime score stood at Laune Rangers 0-4, Dungarvan 0-0.
When the sides were changed, Dungarvan made the first rush but were quickly repulsed and Rangers, with an easy effort, brought the ball down the field and scored two points in quick succession. From that on, the game was entirely at the mercy of the Kerry men. They made repeated attacks on the Dungarvan goal but the ‘keeper, Fraher, was ever at his post and prevented the leather going between the goalposts. Points were repeatedly scored, however, and play was very one-sided, Dungarvan making but one or two rushes, which made play rather lively. None of their efforts, however, were successful.
Outstanding for the Rangers were the Currans and Murphy in the backs. Rangers could have won by more but, when they saw their own dominance in the play, they went for goals.
The Fermoy fife and drum band attended on the field and, in the evening, played the departing teams to the station. The sequel to the spikes incident was that all the front forwards, including Mick Hayes and Bill Fleming from Killarney, Moss O Brien, Flor Doherty, John O Reilly and Danny Clifford, got spiked in the second half in such a way as to make them powerless on the field and they would have been unfit to play if called upon at short notice by any Leinster county..
Laune Rangers: J. P. O Sullivan (capt.), Pat Teahan, Moss O Brien, Dan P. Murphy, William O Sullivan, Bill Fleming, Mick Hayes, Flor Doherty, Tim Curran, Jim Curran, John Murphy, James J. O Sullivan (goals), Paddy O Regan, Pat Sugrue, Mick Flynn, Danny Clifford, John O Reilly. Goal umpires – Dan Fitzpatrick and James Teahan. Field umpire – Tom Slattery (President Kerry Co. Board).
Dungarvan: Dan Fraher (capt.), T. Barry, W. Birmingham, P. Cahill, J. Wall, J. Bryan, N. Morrissey, Michael Sheridan, L. Foley, E. McCarthy, Michael Cullinane, J. Browne, Michael Flynn, Jeremiah Cotter, J. P. Lyons, J. Meade, – Fahy. Goal umpires – Michael Kiely and M. Healy. Field umpire – P. M. Stokes.
Ref: Michael Deering (Cork).
The Kerry Sentinel of Wed. 7th Dec. carried the following: “Our warmest congratulations are due to the invincible Laune Rangers for the decisive victory won by them on Sunday at Fermoy when, by the respectable score of 0-12 to 0-0, they were installed the Football Champions of Munster. All the more creditable is their victory when it is remembered that they fought under adverse circumstances. Their objection to play with opponents wearing spiked boots was most proper and reasonable, as subsequent events proved. In deference to the ruling of the members of the Central Council present and rather than disappoint the large crowd present, they consented to try issues with the Waterford team and, though the latter suffered a crushing defeat at their hands, the plucky Rangers secured their victory at the expense of the mangled and torn shins of many of their men. This, however, will not in the least dam the ardour of this excellent team, and when the season’s matches close, we have no doubt whatever but they will bring to Kerry, not only the title of Champions of Munster, but the still prouder one of Champions of all Ireland. The thanks of the Gaels of Kerry are due to their brethren of Fermoy for the excellent field they kept during the contest, and for the great courtesy extended in other respects to the Kerry team.”
The following song was composed after the Munster Final win over Dungarvan at Fermoy:
“We are those gallant Rangers, who travel on so fast,
Unto the town of old Fermoy, against a bitter blast,
To meet the bold Dungarvan boys and bring their courage down,
And bring victory to Killorglin, brave Rangers of the Laune.
When they entered on the field, it was a glorious sight
To see them stripped upon the snow, with skin like milk so white.
In come the brave Dungarvan men, it caused them for to frown,
When they saw the powerful arms of the Rangers of the Laune.
When the ball was set in play, O Sullivan he did cry,
‘Rush on, rush on, bold Rangers, have victory or die,
For we will let them know before we go, we are lads of high renown,
And we claim with fame the glorious name, the Rangers of the Laune.’
When they heard their captain shout, their blood began to flow.
It was many a brave Dungarvan man they buried in the snow.
They rushed the leather up the field and points came soaring down,
Till the glorious shout at last came out for the Rangers of the Laune.
When Dungarvan heard that shout, their hearts sunk down so low,
They pierced those gallant Rangers, till their blood had stained the snow.
With iron spikes they stabbed them, to bring their courage down,
But manfully those prongs were borne, by the Rangers of the Laune.”
All-Ireland Senior Football Championship
The All-Ireland Final was not played until Sun. 26th March 1893 in Clonturk Park, Dublin.
When the Central Council of the GAA announced the date for the All-Ireland final on Sun. 27th Feb. 1893, immediate preparations were put in place by Laune Rangers, in an effort to counteract the excellent preparations that their opponents in the final would enjoy. A tournament, proposed at Co. Convention, was arranged for Sunday 12th March 1893 in Tralee (Ballymacellogott v Keel). Laune Rangers arranged to play Killarney on the same day.
Donagh, in the Gaelic Notes in the Kerry Sentinel, made the following plea for the sake of Kerry football: ‘As the dates for the All-Ireland matches are not changeable by the decision of the Central Council, the teams, which are to compete at the tournament, must see that any failure on their part would seriously affect the arrangements of the Kerry champions and injure their chances. The tournament has been organised to help to defray the expenses of the Kerry team’s journey to Dublin, and also for the sake of practice, and the members of the Co. Board have invited those teams to the tournament who are the best able to further those objects. I am of the opinion that one of those teams (as it is probable Killorglin will not go on this year again) will occupy in the present year (1893) the position the Rangers do now, and a tournament for the same purposes, if needed, is a prospect, which any of the three teams named can look forward to with confidence. I trust that no pretext of short notice or unpreparedness will prevent the teams from attending on that day. For one day at least, they are expected to subordinate their desire for victory to the interests of the GAA in the county and to play in the condition the day may find them in.’
Unfortunately, the tournament was not as successful as anticipated. On the positive side, Mr. T.T. O Connor of Cordal volunteered assistance at the tournament ‘to help the Rangers in their battle for the All-Ireland honours.’ Cordal played Tralee in the first game of the day and though Tralee won by 1-5 to 1-2, the Cordal boys gave them a lively time of it. In the second game, Kilmoily beat O Dorney by 3-1 to 0-1 to capture the silver cup donated by J.P O Sullivan. On the negative side, Killarney failed to show up against Laune Rangers, while both Keel and Ballymacelligott were not fully represented. Consequently, Laune Rangers played against a picked team from the Keel/Ballymac players. The attendance at the games was very small and that indicated very limited proceeds from the gate. A special excursion train left Killorglin at 10.30am and returned at 7.00pm.
A number of the Killarney and Ballyhar players visited Killorglin on Sun. 5th March 1893 for a full practice match with Laune Rangers. A further challenge match was arranged for Killorglin on Sun. 19th March.
Final on Sun. 26th March 1893 at Clonturk Park, Dublin: Young Irelanders 1-4; Laune Rangers 0-3.
The following report appeared in the Kerry Sentinel on Wed. 29th March, having been written on the evening of the game: ‘The final ties in the All-Ireland Hurling and Football Championships were brought to an issue today in Clonturk Park. The weather was beautiful, as if made to order, and this, coupled with the well-known prowess of the competing teams, caused a large attendance. Clonturk has been a favourite place of meeting but, after to-day’s experience, the adjective will be no longer applicable. The area may suit the metropolitan very well, but it is extremely improbable that a provincial team, at any rate a Munster one, will ever consent to come to Dublin to wield a camán or to kick a ball in a championship contest. During the progress of the hurling match, the Dublin crowd made some show of decency and propriety, albeit the players used language the reverse of Parliamentary to the referee, but in the football match the conduct of the spectators was very bad and utterly un-Irish. They did not attempt violence, but they hooted and groaned the Kerrymen in the midst of play in a manner that was not alone discreditable to those guilty of it, but calculated to take the spirit and heart out of the Killorglin men in their play, which it did most effectually. In no other part of Ireland would such a thing have occurred and, although some representative Dublin men tried to take the sting out of the irritating and annoying exhibition of metropolitan clannishness by stating that it was the act of thoughtless lads, still it is simply undeniable that a very large number of adults took part in the performance.
Immediately that the ball was set in play, the Killorglin men charged into Young Irelanders’ ground, where they kept it for some time, the play being fast and determined. Within the space of a few minutes, the Kerrymen kicked in a point, which they speedily followed up with second. The kick-out brought play to neutral ground and Young Irelanders, acting on the aggressive, pressed their opponents, keeping the ball in front of the posts for some time when they kicked a meritorious point. A penalty free-kick to the Dublin men from midfield brought play into Kerry territory and their goalkeeper was hard pressed, but valiantly defended his post during a fierce piece of play, but a well-directed punt sent it over the crossbar and equalised the score. Matters were looking hard with the Kerrymen when, by an excellent run, (Mick) Hayes changed the scene of operations and fast and furious play ensued, being favourable to the men from the Kingdom. After a struggle, the ball was sent over. After the kick-out, Kerry was awarded a 40 yards kick off a foul, but failed to score. J.P. O Sullivan, however, availed of an opportunity afforded him and kicked a neat point. They continued to keep the Dublin men on the defensive for a length of time, during which they made desperate, though ineffective, attempts to score. The Dublin backs played an excellent game and a long punt having brought play to their opponents’ post and got another point, thus equalising the score, which was not changed when halftime was called.
The Kerrymen showed to advantage on the change of sides. They invaded their opponents’ territory and, amidst the greatest excitement, they pressed and pressed again on the posts but their efforts were foiled by the rattling play of the Dublin backs, who were everywhere they were wanted. The Dublin men in turn assumed the aggressive and a desperate struggle ensued in the Killorglin territory. The efforts of the Kerrymen to ward off the attack were unsuccessful and, amidst the greatest excitement, Dublin put in a goal. Nothing daunted, the Southerners rushed the ball down the field, but failed to hold their own and were forced again to act on the defensive. They made a splendid fight against a determined onslaught for the Young Irelanders, but the latter succeeded in obtaining a point. No further score was made until time was called, when the championship was awarded the Young Irelanders by 1-4 to 0-3 for Killorglin.’
Laune Rangers: J.P. O Sullivan (capt.), James J. O Sullivan (Brookhill), Tim Curran (Groyne), Jim Curran (do.), John Phil Murphy (Lismacfinnane), Pat Sugrue (Brookhill), Mick Flynn (Steelroe), Moss O Brien (postmaster), Dan P. Murphy (Tullig, Beaufort), William O Sullivan (Killarney), Pat Teahan (Reen), Paddy O Regan (Lr. Bridge Street), Mick Hayes (Killarney), Bill Fleming (do), John O Reilly (Farrentoreen), Danny Clifford (Railway Terrace), Flor Doherty (Ardmoniel).
Ref: Dan Fraher (Waterford).
The Kerry Sentinel editorial carried the following comments on the game: ‘Our premier Gaelic football team, the gallant Laune Rangers, who have on so many occasions borne the laurels of victory home to Killorglin, lost the All-Ireland Championship at Clonturk Park, Dublin, on Sunday, by a narrow score, the honours this time falling to the lot of the Dublin Young Irelanders. To any person, however, acquainted with all the surroundings of the contest, it will at once be quite apparent that the issue was not fought on anything like equitable terms. The representatives of Kerry had, in the first place, to perform a tedious, tiresome train journey of over two hundred miles to the scene of action, while their opponents were able to walk fresh into the field, a circumstance which largely tended to their success, and the defeat of the Rangers. But, if this were the only militating circumstance against the Kerrymen, there would not, after all, be very grave reason for cavilling. Neither, we are sure, would the result be what it was on Sunday, but to the indelible disgrace of the Dublin crowd, which lined the Park, be it said, that they acted towards the Kerrymen, and towards both Southern teams for that matter (the Hurling Final, Redmonds, Cork versus Faughs-Davitts, Dublin, was also played on the same day), in a scandalous and utterly un-Irish fashion. In the midst of the play, they did not content themselves with cheering for the Dublin men, but actually indulged in vigorous hooting and groaning of the Kerrymen, the inevitable result of which was, of course, to take the spirit out of them. That the issue was not, therefore, fairly fought out, every impartial person will admit. The Rangers, under such adverse circumstances, made a gallant fight and, although they were not rewarded with the victory they merited, their fellow-countymen are nevertheless proud of the noble stand they made for the honour of the Kingdom and will ever continue to hold them in the highest esteem and admiration.’
The following letter from J.P. O Sullivan, captain Laune Rangers, appeared in the Kerry Sentinel on Sat. 8th April:
‘Young Irelands (Dublin) v Killorglin Laune Rangers (Kerry).
To the editor of the Kerry Sentinel.
Killorglin, 5th April 1893.
Sir, With reference to the football match played between the above teams at Clonturk Park, Dublin, on Sunday, the 26th March, for the All-Ireland Football Championship, I sincerely regret that in consequence of the unsatisfactory manner in which the matches terminated, that I am called upon to issue the following challenge on behalf of my team to the Young Irelands of Dublin, the conditions of which I hope are fair and acceptable to any Gaelic team in Ireland professing to have any spirit of manliness and fair play. 1st That the match be played for a set of gold medals, value from £17 to £20, either at Limerick, Cork or Mallow, within a given time (say a month or six weeks), suitable to both teams, the choice of referee to be given to Dublin from the following selection – Messrs Kenny (Dublin), Duncan (Limerick) or Deering (Cork).
Should the Dublin team see their way to journey to Tralee, I, on behalf of my team, will give them travelling expenses to the amount of £20 immediately on their arrival.
On the acceptance of this challenge, I will deposit, and also require the captain of Young Irelands to lodge the cost of the medals in the hands of the referee appointed, giving him full power to pay the cost of the medals out of the money lodged by the beaten team.
The admitted fact that the referee, Mr. Fraher, was incapable of discharging his duties in above match causes me to issue above challenge, as I consider my team is entitled to, and could easily win, the All-Ireland Championship if fair play were given, and if the rules of the Association were adhered to. I also think it fair in the interest of the Association in general to see this match brought to a successful termination in neutral grounds, otherwise we will claim the proud title of All-Ireland Football Champions for 1893.’
The Kerry Sentinel reported in its edition of Wed. 19th April, ‘Saturday’s Sport published a letter from the Captain of the Dublin Young Irelanders (Jack Kennedy), accepting the challenge by the Captain of the Laune Rangers to play for a set of medals. The Young Irelanders fixed on Athenry, Co. Galway, as the venue, the match to come off as soon as they will have fulfilled some prior engagements. The Rangers, in their challenge, gave the choice of three places to the Young Irelanders for the match, namely, Cork, Limerick or Mallow, but, as already stated, the Dublin team have fixed on Athenry. It is not known whether the Rangers will consent to this place.’
J.P. O Sullivan replied in the Kerry Sentinel on Wed. 26th April as follows: “It is with extreme dissatisfaction I have read the evasive and shirking answer given to my challenge with reference to the football match to be played, as suggested by me, between the above teams, at Cork, Limerick or Mallow for a set of gold medals, value from £17 to £20, at a date to be fixed suitable to both teams.
Now, as far as the public can see, the Young Irelands have neither approached nor attempted to comply with the terms of my challenge. In fact, they have put forward suggestions, which, if persisted in, puts an end to the match altogether. What is their meaning for suggesting Athenry, in the Co. Galway, as the venue? Have they any geographical knowledge of the situation of Killorglin? In fact, it would be as reasonable to expect the Rangers to go down to Belfast altogether. First of all, they should leave Killorglin on Friday night and give guarantees to two or three different railway companies for special trains, so as to reach the place suggested (Athenry) in due time to play the match on Sunday. Who could reasonably expect my team to comply with those terms? None but a person who only wants to place a barrier in the way of the Rangers, knowing very well that the latter are able to hold their own against the opposing team.
Now, I will give the Young Irelands an easier chance on meeting my team, and that is by playing either at Limerick Junction or Tipperary, under the same conditions, as I suggested before. Now, Young Irelands, speak out, and say what you think of this very fair offer. Can any wise-thinking person say but I have made a very reasonable one – not reasonable for my own team, as, in fact, it is asking them to play Young Irelands at their own threshold. However, my men are by no means dissatisfied, as the pluck of the ‘Old Kingdom’ is still within them.
What is the meaning of Mr. Jack Kennedy’s foolish remarks with reference to the challenge thrown down to me by Mr. T.F. Kiely, of Carrick-on-Suir, for the All-round Athletic Championship in August last? I fail to see what this business has to say with the above challenge at all. But, at the same time, as the matter is introduced, I am entitled to make a few remarks on the subject. Perhaps, Mr. Kennedy is not aware – at least he should be – that I was a competitor for the all-round honours for the two previous years, getting third the first year and winning right through the second. Why did not Mr. Kiely meet me then, when he had every opportunity of testing his athletic abilities with me, he being in training and on the track at the time? But the idea of the notable captain of the Young Irelands coming down on me for not meeting Kiely in August last, when I had resigned from the athletic arena altogether – notice of which appeared in the columns of Sport – is simply monstrous. Better for Mr. Kennedy confine himself to my challenge, and not be making such foolish, blundering and cowardly remarks on a subject he is entirely in ignorance of.
In another part of this answer he gives to my challenge, he brings before the notice of the public the slang of vanquished dog-fighting niggers, where he says, ‘Ye’d have won if it hadn’t been for the odder dogs.’ Well, I must give Mr. Jack Kennedy credit at last for the honest expression he has given to this statement. He honestly and truly caps his own men with the real name they are entitled to. Not only did they prove dogs against the Laune Rangers, but (as I can vouch on the best authority) they have proved themselves dogs against all the teams they ever yet came in contact with.
In conclusion, sir, I will leave all lovers of sport judge for themselves and see whether my second offer to the Young Irelands is not fair, reasonable and sportsmanlike. I will anxiously await a reply and will request it to be given in very few words. Otherwise, I will take no notice of any foolish and unmanly productions, knowing, as I do, that the last one did not emanate solely from the captain of the Young Irelands, but from a gentleman who has already proved himself in Dublin to be one whose main object is to wreck and destroy the Association altogether.”
The Kerry Sentinel on Wed. 3rd May reported that Mr. Jack Kennedy, captain of the Young Irelanders, had replied to J.P. O Sullivan’s second challenge to meet the Young Irelanders in Tipperary or Limerick Junction. The writer boasted that the Young Irelanders were the rightful Champions of Ireland, but he did not accept the Rangers’ challenge and the game was never thereafter played.
In the Liberator in Nov. 1923, the GAA Correspondent, P.J. O Connell, wrote, “I have often been asked by followers of Kerry football which of the many All-Ireland teams that Kerry played was the best. That is a very hard question to answer and requires more than ordinary care before giving an answer. There are many who believe that the Laune Rangers, who did duty for Kerry against Dublin Young Ireland in 1892 were physically the finest and the best that ever represented the Kingdom. On that occasion, they were captained by one of Ireland’s greatest athletes, the late JP O Sullivan. Those were not the days of full selection and picking throughout the county. The team that won the Co. Championship always represented the county in inter-county contests and, while occasionally they might select a few men from outside the club, the bulk of the players were taken from their own team. Killorglin experienced hard luck in having to go under to Dublin and many unbiased spectators averred that they were the better team and that outside influences (side-line) was more responsible for their defeat than the superiority of their opponents. Although they did not succeed in bringing honour to the Kingdom then, they broke the ice and gave lesson to those who were capable of reading that Kerry was, and would later be, a powerful factor in the football life of the country.”
In the Liberator in October 1924, GAA Notes from Killarney contained the following piece about the Laune Rangers by an old Killarney Gael: “Years have elapsed since I dabbled my pen in matters Gaelic and feel rather cob-webbed in making an attempt at the request of some of our Killarney Gaels to contribute a few articles on the boys that were. From its inception, the Laune Rangers dominated Gaelic Football in Kerry. They were up to then a first-class rugby team and the training, which they had in rugby, asserted itself to no small extent. The style of play was in this year much different to the period when the Laune Rangers played the All-Ireland in Dublin, the players being of different physique, more active, and with the introduction of more scientific methods in the play. If, however, the teams then were more active, one need not imagine that the famous Laune Rangers’ team was slow. It is my opinion that, in Tim Curran, the Laune Rangers had one of the best backs that Kerry produced. One can without difficulty nominate Roddy Kirwan and Maurice Moynihan as class men, and also Connie Healy and Tom Costello but none of them was the superior of Tim Curran. There were three of the brothers Curran playing for the Laune Rangers but Tim was far ahead of any of them. Hayes of Killorglin was also a fine footballer but, unfortunately, he was not able to play in the All-Ireland, having a leg broken at the time. We must, however, take off our hats to JP O Sullivan as the one man who kept that team alive. He was adored then, being an athlete of the first waters, winning the all round championship of Ireland. As a footballer, he was good, but his excellence was seen as captain. Captains then were entrusted with a roving commission, coming to the assistance of a weak spot in the team when it appeared.”
Writing in the Kerryman of Sat. 9th Feb. 1929, Rev. Father John P. Devane of Tallahassee, Florida, USA, gave his opinion of the Laune Rangers of 1893 as follows: “I think Kerry never fielded a team equal to the old Killorglin Laune Rangers. In this opinion, I am not alone, for a contributor to ‘Our Boys’, on 4th February 1926, has this to say, ‘Great as has been the advance of Kerry football prestige since 1903, we doubt if the Kingdom has ever been represented by such a superb selection as faced Dublin in Clonturk Park on one sunny March day in 1893 for the final of the All-Ireland Championship of the preceding year. This we will assert without misgiving: never had a team a finer captain than he who led Kerry’s standard-bearers that day against Dublin’s well-nigh invincible Young Ireland combination. I can see that magnificent form dominating a field of thirty-four as perfect types of Gaelic footballers as ever responded to shouts of victory or rallied at the presage of defeat. Were I to try to picture any of the Fenian champions of tradition, I should envelop JP O Sullivan, of Killorglin, as I saw him that day – he is now, alas, no more – with the glamour that hero-worship gives, and would be satisfied I had done no injustice to the heroes and champions of old.’
This is, indeed, a splendid tribute and more than deserved, for no nobler soul or a finer type of athlete ever drew breath than the peerless JP O Sullivan (RIP).”
P.P Sutton wrote, describing the match, as follows: “Stronger and more fearless players, the Kerrymen were equal in every respect to the Young Irelands except in one – judgement and cleverness and it was the grand discipline, combination and unsurpassed tactics of the Dubliners that enabled them to win. The Laune Rangers had the better of the play. Though they made several terrific assaults on their opponents’ posts, they could not score a major, whilst they lost a goal very softly.”
The following letter from Father John P. Devane appeared in the Kerryman in 1940, “Whether Midleton was actually knocked out of the (Cork) Co. Championship or failed to compete, we cannot say, but, at all events, Clondrohid were the (Cork) Co. Champions in 1892. This was a sore disappointment to the Rangers, as they were yearning for another crack at Midleton. In due time the Rangers met and disposed of Clondrohid handily. Then they met and defeated Dungarvan, Waterford, and became the Champions of Munster. Subsequently, the Rangers got a walkover from Connacht and met the Dublin Young Irelanders in the final on March 26th 1893, at Clonturk Park. With the dauntless Hayes of Killorglin in the lineout, they very likely would have won that match but without him they lost it by 1 goal 4 points to 3 points, having to contend with another unforeseen difficulty, as the spectators invaded the field of play and interfered with the players.”
In another letter, which appeared in the Kerryman on Sat. 25th April 1942, Father Devane wrote as follows, “In referring to the All-Ireland final match between the Laune Rangers and Yound Irelanders in Clonturk Park, Dublin, 1893, ‘Celt’, the writer, used these words, ‘We doubt if the Kingdom has ever been represented by such a superb selection as faced Dublin on that sunny March day for the final of the All-Ireland Championship of the preceding year. This we will assert without misgiving: Never had a team a finer captain than he who led Kerry’s standard-bearers that day against Dublin’s well-nigh invincible Young Ireland’s combination. I have seldom witnessed so close and tense a contest, waged in such a manly spirit and with such uncompromising rigour. Through it all, the Killorglin captain was foremost in assault and fearless in defence, leading his men in activity and elevating their endeavours by his courageous chivalry. . He looked as he was, the perfect type of athlete, and deported himself as his nature impelled him, in the true spirit of the Gael. We can well picture him, so intelligently directing and encouraging his men in a few simple and well-chosen words, every one of which was reverently treasured by them.”
The ‘who was who’ of the famous seventeen players, who blazed the trail to Dublin for the hundreds of Kerry players to follow, was as follows:
J.P. O Sullivan, captain, hailed from Brookhill. He later married in Firies.
James J. O Sullivan, also, hailed from Brookhill and was a cousin of the captain.
Jim Curran lived in Groyne and was one of three brothers, two of whom played in Clonturk Park.
Tim Curran, Groyne, was the principal in Glencuttane N.S. He was dubbed the best fullback that the GAA had ever produced.
John Phil Murphy lived at Lismacfinnan.
Florence Doherty lived in Ardmoniel.
Pat Teahan was a native of Gurrane. After retiring from the game, he became an administrator, serving on the Co. Board and the Central Council.
Pat Sugrue, Brookhill, emigrated to the USA some time after the game.
Dan P. Murphy hailed from Tullig, Beaufort.
Moss O Brien was the local post-master.
William O Sullivan was Dr. Bill O Sullivan, Killarney.
Mick ‘Counsellor’ Flynn hailed from Steelroe and he emigrated to the USA soon after the match and gained a very rapid promotion in the police force there.
Mick Hayes came from Killarney and he left for the USA soon after the match.
Bill Fleming, also, came from ‘Beauty’s Home’ and he, also, emigrated to the USA soon after the game.
John O Reilly came from Farrentoreen and he went to live in Cork.
Danny Clifford lived in the Railway Cottages and he emigrated to Australia.
Paddy O Regan lived in Lower Bridge St.
There were others who had played with the Laune Rangers prior to the All-Ireland Final:
Tom Curran, Groyne, the third of the Curran brothers, had emigrated to the USA before the big game and it was admitted that he had been the best all-round man of the three stars.
Patsy Begley, Ballykissane, lived to the ripe old age of 100 years.
John Murphy (Black Jack) had moved to Currow and had been principal of Clounclough N.S.
Jeremiah Hayes. He had been injured in 1890 in Limerick and never thereafter played effectively.
Jimmy Doyle lived at Lower Bridge St.
Mossy O Sullivan hailed from Ardmoniel.
Eddie O Sullivan, brother of Mossy, also lived in Ardmoniel.
Patsy Sheehan from Upper Bridge St. had been the team’s goalie for a number of years and had the reputation of never having a goal scored against him.
Dan Neill, Tinahalla, was another of the strong men of the team and he had been prevented through illness from playing in Clonturk Park. He emigrated to the USA soon after the game.
Thomas Foley, Anglont, had played with the team for many years.
Johnny O Sullivan, Iveragh Road, had later been the mainstay of the Beagle Club in Killorglin.
Pat Hurley, worked on the railway and lived in Cahersiveen but his visits to Killorglin always made the opportunity of seeking out one of the old Rangers.
Thadie O Connor, Keelcoulaght (nicknamed the Wren because of his speed), became a trainer of the Gaelic Code to the youth of the district.
Pat O Shea, Langford St. (brother of Jack) had been one of the brave men of the team. He emigrated to the USA.
Tom Cronin N.T. had been one of the founders of the club and it was he that trained the team and had taught the players the finer points of the game. The members of the Old Brigade paid a very high tribute to him. In 1890 he moved to a teaching post elsewhere.
Bill O Brien was the Club Secretary and, as the silent one, not the least important, as he enjoyed the confidence of all and his discussions of ways and means and his general work went a long way to bring the Rangers to the proud position, which they had reached. JP always consulted him on all matters concerning the team and was guided to a large extent by his views.
Tom Curran, Mick Flynn and Pat O Shea played with the Shamrock’s Club in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA (see 1900).
Peter J. Kelly (An Ghaillimh) was Uachtarán CLG.
The sixth Annual Congress (The 1891 Congress) was held in Thurles on Jan. 13th 1892. The Kerry delegates were J. P. O Sullivan, who was a member of the Central Council, and Tom Slattery. The difficulties posed by the Parnell ‘split’ were exacerbated following his sudden death in October 1891. Members left the Association in large numbers. The following decisions, amongst others, were taken at the meeting: 1) That teams in hurling and football should in future consist of seventeen, and not fewer than fourteen, players. 2) That five points should be equal to a goal. 3) That the winning teams in the county championships might exercise the right of picking the best men in the county for inter-county matches. 4) That from the 1st July to 31st Aug. would be a close season for championship matches.
All the outgoing officers were returned at the Co. Convention – Thomas Slattery as President and Maurice Moynihan as Secretary.
At the Co. Board meeting on Sat. 6th Feb. a vote of congratulations was passed to J. P. O Sullivan on the occasion of his marriage to Annie Spring.
‘Sport’, in the Kerry Sentinel of 13th Feb., wrote as follows: “The receipt this week of a pretty little box containing a tiny bit of cake and a still more tiny gold-gilt card bearing the inscription, ‘With Mr. and Mrs. James O Sullivan’s compliments’, conveys to me the information that our All-Ireland Champion from Killorglin has become a full-blown Benedict. The happy young bride – Annie Spring – bore, up to last Saturday, a name, which was well known in Southern athletics some years ago through the medium of her brother, familiarly known as Bob Spring. Ireland never produced a more genuine sportsman than O Sullivan, who went in for all kinds of athletics for the pure love of them and who, in every branch, met with the success he deserved. It is not generally known that O Sullivan commenced his career on the track, as a cyclist, which he soon discarded for the more muscular pastimes of jumping, weight-throwing, running, football and hurling, in all of which he distinguished himself. It was principally through his exertions that the Laune Rangers, of which team he was captain, placed the Kerry Football Championship twice to their credit. It is to be hoped that, should the genial J. P. decide upon retiring from practical athletics, he will, at least, give the GAA, of which he was always a member and an ornament, the benefit of his great integrity and experience for the future. In wishing Mr. and Mrs. O Sullivan every happiness and prosperity in the race of life, I am sure I am only echoing the sentiments of every Gael in the country.”
At the Co. Board meeting on Sat. 23rd March, the draws for the first rounds of the Co. Championship were made. Laune Rangers delegates were R. Moriarty and Dan P. Murphy. The fixtures included Milltown v Cordal – referee Pat Teahan (Laune Rangers), Ballyhar v Killarney at Beaufort – referee Dan P. Murphy.
At the Co. Board meeting on Thurs. 5th May, the draws for the concluding stages of the Co. Championship were made. Laune Rangers delegates were Dan P. Murphy and Pat Teahan. Laune Rangers were drawn against Keel, who had defeated them in the semi-final on the previous year.
A general meeting of the Laune Rangers club was held on Sun. 11th Dec. 1892. Present were Pat O Sullivan, Dan P. Murphy, Pat Teahan, Moss O Brien, Paddy O Regan, Danny Clifford, Jim Curran, John Phil Murphy, Flor Doherty, John O Reilly, James O Sullivan, Pat Sugrue, Coleman, Bill O Brien, Mick Flynn and Paddy Joy, etc.
Patrick O Sullivan, Brookhill, who occupied the chair, explained that the meeting was a special one for the purpose of making preparations for the final All-Ireland match. They were not aware yet of when it was to be played but he understood that it was the feeling of the club the sooner after the holidays the better. Along with hastening the date of the match, they should also try to get the longest notice the Central Council could give them of the exact time when it would come off (hear, hear).
Pat Teahan said, ‘Yes. We all remember Kenmare, a few years ago, got less than 48 hours’ notice and they were quite illegally put out of the contest.’
Chairman: ‘I think three weeks’ notice, at least, should be given in order that proper arrangements should be made.’
Moss O Brien said it would be well for them to know that they could not communicate with Dublin directly on the matter yet, as four or five Leinster counties had yet to play off. However, they could get Mr. Michael Deering, Mr. Frank Dineen and Mr. Pat Teahan, of their own club, who were Central Council men, to press Leinster to hurry up and then fix their match without any unnecessary delay.
Paddy O Regan: ‘Dublin is the whole fault of it. Both Cork and Kerry could have their matches finished in June last but for waiting for them and the worst of it is that they not only keep back the All-Ireland matches but the Co. Conventions and the next Convention will be six months behind on account of them.’ (hear, hear)
Dan Murphy: ‘As matters stand, it is plain that the match cannot take place before the last Sunday in January and I propose we adopt Mr. O Brien’s suggestion and communicate immediately with Messrs. Deering, Dineen and Tobin on the matter.’
The proposition was agreed to.
Dan Murphy: ‘As the Co. Convention will be on before a fortnight, I suggest we hold a meeting this day week to elect delegates for it and, also, elect a committee for the ensuing year.’
The proposition was agreed to and a vote of thanks to the Chairman terminated the meeting.
The All-round Athletic Championship of Ireland, under the auspices of the IAAA was held at Ballsbridge on 1st Aug. The defending champion, J.P. O Sullivan, was in the grounds but did not compete. It was said that he had trained very hard in the pursuit of retaining the Championship but that his sister had died on the week prior to the meeting and he did not take part as a result of that.