Laune Rangers – 1916


Laune Rangers, captained by Dan Hayes, drew with Killarney Crokes in the Co. Senior Football Championship, which was a major feat, considering that Killarney had not been beaten in the championship since Nov. 1911.


At a subsequent Co. Board meeting, it was decided to discontinue the competition to the disappointment of the Laune Rangers’ GAA Club.


Dan Hayes played on the Kerry team that defeated Tipperary in the Munster Senior Football Championship. Unfortunately, Kerry withdrew from the competition shortly afterwards.


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Co. Senior Football Championship

The following teams played in the Co. Senior Football Championship: Laune Rangers, Killarney Crokes, Dingle, Rathmore, Farranfore, Cahersiveen, Tralee Mitchels, Farranfore, Kilcummin and Valentia.


Rd. 1 on Sun. 15th Oct. at Tralee: Laune Rangers 0-3; Killarney Crokes 1-0.

Killarney played with the aid of the strong wind in the first half and did most of the attacking but the Rangers’ defence stood firm. John Langford and Dan Hayes were outstanding. Paddy Foley also defended well and an admirer at one stage in that first half shouted, ‘Go on, Puck Fair’ to which the opposition responded, ‘Bravo, Clair Air’. Paddy Kennelly played well, helped along by Paddy Foley.  Maurice Donovan relieved for the Crokes but the wind took the ball away from the goal and wide. On the kick-out, Danny Clifford sent the leather down the field. Denis O Sullivan splendidly fielded the ball but Killarney fouled. The ball was cleared down the field but John Sugrue saved well. At that stage, a row took place on the side-line, which delayed the play for ten minutes. On resuming, P. Cronin got knocked out and had to leave the field. Jack Sewell and Connie Murphy combined in a Killarney attack but John Langford saved at the expense of a ‘fifty’. That was taken quickly and, after some good combined attack by the East-Kerrymen, Dan Hayes again came to the rescue for the Laune side. Paddy Healy drove the ball into the Killorglin goal area but it was put out for another ‘fifty’. Maurice Donovan took the kick but the ball went wide. Paddy Foley kicked out well but the ball was returned for Mick Moroney to save the day. However, Nick Flynn fouled and Denis Doyle had a shot that was well saved by Paddy Kennelly. The Killorglin backs continued to defend resolutely with Paddy Foley to the fore, while Denis O Sullivan was well in evidence all the time. Just on the halftime whistle, Dan Hayes saved splendidly from Paddy Breen to leave the score at the break at 0-0 each.

On the resumption, the winds had died somewhat. Maurice O Donovan sent the ball towards the Killorglin goal but Paddy Kennelly saved well. Killorglin fouled, Paddy Healy took the free but Denny O Sullivan saved. Killarney pressed and Denis Doyle and John Collins sent along to Paddy Breen who, with old time skill, scored a goal amidst great enthusiasm from the Crokes’ supporters. Great defensive play by Dan Hayes and PJ O Sullivan kept the Killarney outfit at bay and then the ball was transferred to the other side of the field. Fast and furious play then resulted near the Crokes’ goal. PJ O Sullivan drove the ball in and Killorglin was awarded a free. Eddie Kennelly took the kick to Danny Clifford but no score resulted. Jack Sewell took the ball down the field and the ball was cleared out over the line. Killorglin fouled at the throw-in. Murphy passed to Maurice Donovan but Paddy Foley saved. Eddie Kennelly fouled Connie Murphy but the two Kennellys saved from the free-kick. Crokes attacked again and Paddy Breen, helped by his brother, got the ball and sent it to the Killorglin net. The referee, however, disallowed the goal. Rangers then went on all-out attack and J. O Connell saved well in the Killarney goal. Paddy Kennelly got the ball and scored a nice point. Killorglin got new heart as a consequence. PJ O Sullivan sent the ball towards the Killarney goal and Jimmy O Connell fouled about 15 yards out. O Sullivan, with a lovely shot from the free, scored another point. Rangers’ spirits rose and, on the kick-out, they pressed vigorously but the ball was fouled. Paddy Healy took the free but Denny O Sullivan and Paddy Kennelly saved. Connie Murphy fouled and Killorglin was awarded a fifty yards’ free. PJ O Sullivan tried again and splendidly scored another point, equalising the game to the huge delight of Killorglin. On the kick-out, Killorglin fouled. Soon after, Jack Sewell fouled and John Sugrue sent over the side-line. John O Riordan sent the ball down the field but that Killarney backs saved well. Anything might have happened in another minute but time was called, leaving the scores level.

That was a great result for the Rangers against the reigning Co. Champions. Both teams had been instrumental in making the GAA in Kerry. For some years, owing to petty differences, the Killorglin men had been unable to place a representative fifteen on the field. However, in 1916 a better understanding seemed to have been arrived at, with the result that they gave the champions the fright of their lives. By a curious co-incidence, the important scores for both Killarney and Killorglin were made by two Firies men, with the good names of PJ O Sullivan (son of JP O Sullivan) and Paddy Breen, who, though very closely connected themselves, were found on opposite sides. Public opinion afterwards differed as to who should have won. The Killorglin team was a very good one indeed and were it not that Killarney had sent some trained veterans like Paddy Healy, Connie Murphy and Paddy Breen into the fighting line, the result might have been different. On the other hand, the Crokes were unlucky to have to play most of the first half with fourteen men, J. Cronin having been injured. A lot of people said that Breen’s goal should have been allowed, while a still greater number asserted that, on the whole play, the Rangers had the better of it.

Laune Rangers: Dan Hayes (capt.), John P. O Riordan, Danny Clifford, Nick Flynn, John Foley, John Sugrue, PJ O Sullivan (Firies), Jimmy O Leary, Jimmy Flynn, John Langford, ‘Small’ Den O Sullivan, Paddy Foley, Paddy Kennelly, Eddie Kennelly, Mick Moroney.

Killarney Crokes: Paddy Healy (capt.), Maurice Donovan, Humphrey Murphy, Jack Sewell, Timothy Doheny, P. Cronin, Connie Murphy, John Collins, M. O Connor, W. McCarthy, Paddy Breen, M. Breen, P. Dillane, Denis Doyle, Jimmy O Connell. Sub: M. Callaghan for P. Cronin (inj.).

Ref: Tom Costello (Tralee Mitchels).

Present at the game were former Laune Rangers John Phil Murphy, Mike Joy, William Roche and John O Riordan.

Local opinion after the game proclaimed that it was no small achievement for an untried fifteen to hold its own against such warriors at the game as Killarney possessed and fielded. 171 people left Killorglin for the game. Hopes of success were entertained by scarcely any. The game the Rangers played surprised everybody. Paddy Kennelly was as good as new and played in grand style. Paddy Foley, as a back, was the saving of the day. ‘Small Den’ was the surprise of the day, as he played a splendid game. John Langford did some remarkable work. Eddie Kennelly deserved to be a brother of Paddy’s. Pat O Sullivan (son of the great J.P.), by his fine shooting, raised himself to a high level in the estimation of the crowd. Indeed, all the others deserved mention for the fine game that they played. It was hoped that the local Gaels would then take the thing seriously because it was felt that if the matter was taken in earnest, and no time lost, a team could be selected, which would give Killarney, at its best, a good match.


The replay was scheduled for Sun. 19th Nov. in Tralee and all the preparations by the contestants and organisers were put in place for the eagerly awaited contest. However, on Saturday morning, 18th Nov, a letter from Mr. Millar, District Superintendent G.S & W.R., to Mr. Denis J. Baily, Hon. Sec. Kerry Co. Board, informing him that train arrangements for the matches had been cancelled, was received. The matches, therefore, had to be abandoned.


At the Co. Board meeting on Sat. 2nd Dec. in the Railway Hotel, Tralee, Dan Hayes represented Laune Rangers. It was reported that the authorities had cancelled the train fixtures. Dan Hayes proposed that the matches would be postponed until after the war. However, it was decided to postpone some games until the New Year when the weather would be finer.


At the Co. Board meeting on Sat. 27th Jan. 1917, Dan Hayes proposed that the replay between Killorglin and Killarney would be played in Milltown. He thought that there would be a good gate and that Killarney would be agreeable. It was pointed out that there was no affiliated club in Milltown and that it was the rule of the Board not to grant such places a contest. The Chairman, PJ O Connell, said that, despite Hayes’ assurances, he did not think that Killarney would travel to Milltown. After further discussion, the matter was dropped. Another motion ‘that, in consequence of the suspension of Sunday railway facilities, we hereby discontinue the 1916 Co. Hurling and Football Championships’ was carried by 4 votes to 2, Dan Hayes and J. Coleman, Kenmare, voting against.


Football Challenge Game


Sun. 18th June at the Sports-field: ‘The Redoubtable Rovers’ defeated the ‘Wee Wonders’.

The ‘Wee Wonders’ were a budding local football team of which there was more talk in Killorglin than one cared for. The name was appropriate, although the ‘weeness’ was more wonderful than the prowess. On Sunday they were out-starred by a fifteen who modestly (?) styled themselves as the ‘Redoubtable Rovers’. A friendly rivalry had sprung up from which good was expected as, unless something after that manner was done, whilst the GAA was being shorn, the standard of the Association would suffer.


Munster Senior Football Championship


Rd. 1 on Sun. 9th July at Cork: Kerry 2-2; Tipperary 0-1.

Kerry: Dan Mullins (Tralee Mitchels), Tom Costello (do.), Con Clifford (do.), Paddy Healy (Killarney Crokes), Connie Murphy (do), Humphrey ‘Free’ Murphy (do.), Denis Doyle (do.) capt, Maurice Donovan (do.), Jimmy O Connell (do), Dan Hayes (Killorglin), William Keating (Cahersiveen), Myers, J. Murphy, Ned Murphy (Killarney) and E. Healy.


Just over a week later, Kerry made the decision to withdraw the senior and junior teams from the series, causing widespread surprise throughout Gaelic circles in all parts of the country (The Junior team had beaten Tipperary on 23rd July at Fermoy by 2-5 to 1-1). The reason given at the Co. Board meeting on Sat. 22nd July was that the Co. Board and Co. Sports-field Committee were in bad financial condition and, in order to alleviate the pressure, an application for permission to hold tournaments in their aid and sports meetings throughout the county were made. The Munster Council and Central Council refused permission to hold the above tournaments and Kerry was left with no option but to withdraw their teams and play matches for its own benefit within the county. Amazingly, the Kerry Junior team continued to play in the 1915 All-Ireland Championship, beating Westmeath in the final in Athlone on 20th Aug. by 0-6 to 0-5. Equally perplexing, the Kerry Senior team continued to play in the Wolfe Tone Tournament, losing, with a makeshift team, in the semi-final to Mayo by 2-1 to 1-2 in Ennis on 6th Aug.




James Nolan, Cill Coinnigh, was Uachtarán CLG.


The Munster Council Convention was held on Sun. 5th March in Limerick. The following officers were re-elected: Chairman – Jeremiah O Brien, An Clár, Secretary – Pat McGrath, Tiobrad Árainn, Treasurer – Ailbe Quillinan, Luimneach.


The Annual Convention of the Kerry Co. Board was held in the County Council Chambers, County Hall, Tralee on Sat. 5th Aug. The following officers were elected: Chairman – PJ O Connell, Vice-Chairmen – Denis Lawlor (Causeway) and Diarmuid Cronin (Rathmore), Joint-Secretaries – Denis J. Baily (Ballymac) and James McDonnell (Tralee), Joint-Treasurers – John Moran (Listowel) and Con Clifford (Tralee), Delegates to Munster Council – James McDonnell and Denis Lawlor. A motion was passed unanimously condemning Sir Matthew Nathan’s action in describing the GAA as being almost wholly responsible for the (1916) rebellion.


‘Pars from Puck’ by Laune Ranger in the Kerryman of Sat. 5th Feb. urged the local footballers to action as follows: ‘The footballers are conspicuous by their inactivity in Gaelic circles. Much of the blame lay at the feet of the Co. Board. However, the local Gaels should be up and doing.’

‘Pars from Puck’, in the Kerryman at the end of September, announced that there was some preparation being done in Killorglin for the coming match, Killorglin v Killarney. A few practice matches had been held but there had been no move made to select a team to take the field against the ‘Clear Air’ boys. Certainly, the material was there for the selecting but the selection committee seemed rather careless in the performance of their duty.

Football practice in the Sports-field had to be cancelled on Sunday 22nd Oct. due to the flood after the incessant rain.

‘Pars from Puck’ reported in the Kerryman on Sat. 4th Nov. that upwards of a dozen members of the football club put in an appearance at the Sports-field on the previous Sunday. Amongst the dozen were included a few who had not on any previous occasion taken the trouble to be present at a practice. The field was in very bad condition, however, and so nothing could be done by way of preparation for the replay against Killarney, which had been fixed for the 19th Nov.

‘Pars from Puck’ reported in the edition of the Kerryman on Sat. 11th Nov. that the Rangers – despite the rain and storm – did an hour’s hard football practice in preparation for the big contest. As on the day of the first encounter, the fates seemed to be against the boys from the Laune, as the weather was anything but good for football practice. He hoped that, on the one available Sunday, a strenuous evening’s training would be in order.

‘Pars from Puck’, in the Kerryman of Sat. 18th Nov., reported that ‘all is now ready for Sunday’s encounter. The Rangers are in fairly good form and expect to give the Crokes at least a pretty lively match. Knowing the personnel and form of their opponents, however, their hopes of victory are not very high, but in the event of defeat, which – as well as victory – has often previously come their way, they will accept the result with the knowledge that many of them have done some training and practice, and that the Killarney team is a team worthy of losing to.’

The edition of the Kerryman of 25th Nov. carried this message from ‘Pars from Puck’, ‘Much disappointment was felt here when it became known that the train, which had been arranged to run to Tralee on Sunday last was cancelled and that the matches to which we had been so long looking forward were indefinitely postponed as a consequence. The Killorglin fifteen were in fairly good form and – the old interest awakened in their followers – quite a crowd would have travelled with them on Sunday.’


The Co. Board was very inactive and by 22nd April there had been just one meeting held. Competitions did not commence until much later in the year. Perhaps that was as a result of the proscribing of football and hurling by the British Authorities in counties where some of the Rising took place. The imprisonment of some of the players was also a probable reason for the inactivity. ‘Ciarraighe’ expressed his disappointment with the Board in an article in the Kerryman on 22nd April as follows: ‘It was on last Sunday twelve months that the last Championship match was played in Kerry. Of course, we had two replays, but still it is only the one championship match. I don’t think there is another county in Ireland where a championship match has not been played inside twelve months. There were at least five or six more affiliated teams in Kerry a few years ago than there are today. You have practically but two teams here at present – Killarney and Tralee. Where are the Castleisland, Currow, Rathmore, Gloria, Ballydonoghue, Kilcummin and Killorglin teams, which were all so prominent about  two years ago? Who is to blame for the falling off in the number of teams in the county? The Co. Board seems to be to blame. Are the members of the Co. Board so interested in the doings on the continent that they have not time to look after the affairs at home?’


The Killorglin Sports, under GAA Rules, were held on Sun. 9th July. Messrs. O Brien (Chairman) and Nick Flynn (Secretary) organised the event. The conditions were most favourable and contestants came from Tralee, Killarney, Cahersiveen, Castleisland, Beaufort, Cork, Dingle, Rathanny (Limerick), Dublin, Kilfinane (Limerick), Lombardstown (Cork), Knocknagree (Cork), Lixnaw, Castlemaine and Currow.


‘The Story of the GAA’, written by Thomas F. O Sullivan, Listowel, former Secretary of the Kerry Co. Board, went on sale in Dublin in the middle of October at the cost of 1/- per copy.


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The first victims of the Easter Rising were drowned at Ballykissane Pier on Good Friday, 21st April. The occupants of the car had taken the wrong road to Cahersiveen and the car had been driven over the unguarded pier at about 10.00pm. Two bodies were initially recovered from the water, one of whom was identified as Con Keating, aged 22, from Renard. A second body was recovered at the same time and a third some weeks later. Those were identified as Donal Sheehan and Charles Monaghan. The driver, Thomas A. McInerney, was arrested and imprisoned.


The leaders of the Rising in Dublin were tried by court-martial, found guilty, sentenced to death and executed as follows: Tues. 9th May – Thomas Kent; Thurs. 11th May – Joseph Plunkett, Edward Daly and Willie Pearse; Fri. 12th May – James Connolly, Sean McDermott, Padraig Pearse, Thomas Clarke and Thomas McDonagh. The people of Killorglin looked upon the killing of so many Irishmen as unnecessary. Even those who were altogether opposed to the Rising admitted that less stringent measures would have quelled the disturbance and with certainly better results, for the ire of many had been raised by the execution of such a large number.


Corporal Mick J. Duffy (who had played with the Laune Rangers prior to the war), of the 16th Division, one of three sons serving at the Front, wrote the following letter to his father, J. Duffy, ex-sergeant R.I.C., Upper Bridge Street, Killorglin in January: ‘Dear Father, the weather still continues very wet and cold and the places about here are veritable seas of mud. French towns and villages are not exactly models of cleanliness – particularly the streets – but one soon gets used to the slush and, I suppose, to enjoy it in time. It is scarcely to be wondered at, however, that the places near the fighting line are so dirty as the traffic, which passes over them each day, is something awful. During the whole 24 hours, there is scarcely a break in the endless procession of lorries, messes, motor-cars, etc., and one can form some idea of the greatness of the operations from watching them. The battalion was in the trenches on Christmas Eve, but returned to billets on Christmas Day. While the Christmas dinner was not exactly on a par with that at home, it was quite good when you consider the difficulties in the way and, although we had no fowls, we rose to the dignity of a fine plum-pudding provided out of the ‘Daily News’ fund. There is not very much fighting going on now beyond artillery duels and our worst enemy is the mud, which generally reaches to about our knees. Such mud as it is, too – not the respectable ‘puck’ (Killorglin) mud, bad as that is, but slim thicky stiff, which clings to you, and cloths you as in a blanket. It absolutely refuses to come off for several days and the appearance of the men returning to billets is comic in the extreme. They look like so many dervishes. The trenches, however, are not altogether so dangerous as some of the returned chaps would have you believe and, if you keep well under cover and not get curious as to what is in your immediate front, you are all right. Snipers, however, are everywhere and woe betide you if you show yourself in the least. I firmly believe they could take your little finger off if you put it over the parapet. Of course, our snipers are just as active and ‘Franz’, too, must keep well down. Then, again, there is a little spice of danger in a shell coming plump into the trench and bombs, trench mortars and other eccentricities made in Germany for your destruction. It is wonderful, nevertheless, to consider the fewness of the casualties, when you think of all the metal flying round and it is estimated that it takes three tons of metal to blow a man over, but some of the best chaps to ‘West’ every day.

At night the scene is a most eerie one. Shells scream overhead (all British) and, every few seconds, star-shells burst in the air lighting up the surrounding vicinity as clear as midday. If any suspicious movement is notices, a hail of lead follows and so on, ad infinitum, till you get accustomed to the din and then you can sleep. It is the greatest impression here (and my own, too, from what I have seen and heard) that the Germans are only just holding on here on this front and can be beaten when the proper moment comes, although I expect the cost will be immense. Our artillery is far superior, and the Germans appear to be getting fed-up to judge by the yarns of the deserters, who come in each day in large numbers. I’m sure the 16th Division will break a few spokes of the German wheel. Our battalion is in fine form and behaved like veterans in its baptism of fire. Casualties were a minimum. We manage to get on very well with the French people and the difficulties of language are not very great. Most of the chaps have already acquired a smattering and can make themselves understood in ‘pigeon’ French. The French money, however, is a dark horse to most of them, as there is paper money for every coin down to the quarter franc or 2.5d. If you give a franc for any article, you generally get two or three notes in exchange. Then some of the nickel coins are just the same in size and appearance as ones of greater value and, of course, confusion and excited explanations are the result. I can manage to get on all right with the knowledge of French I learned at school, but find it impossible to understand the language when they converse amongst themselves, as they rattle on at about 400 a minute – something of the machine-gun about them.

We are in a bad way as regards news, as we rarely see a paper and, for that reason, I would be very grateful if you would send on some of the weekly papers, just to let us see how things are moving at home.

I met some chaps here in the London Irish who knew my brother Patrick. They are a very decent crowd – the London Irish – and get on very well with them.

I think I will now switch off. I have a lot of interesting news, but it is better not try to censor too far, but when I return to Ireland, as I hope to, I will have some interesting information. Please write soon and send all the news you can. Remember me to all around and wishing you a bright and happy new year, Yours etc., Michael.’


The following soldiers from Killorglin were reported wounded in the Great War, in the Kerryman of 21st October: B. Doherty, Corporal Mick J. Duffy and Lance Corporal J. O Connor. In the Kerryman of 28th Oct., J. Moriarty of the Irish Guards was reported wounded.


By mid-April everything was in readiness for the public electric-lighting of the town.


The death occurred in July of Father Tom Lawlor, who had been Parish Priest in Killorglin for over thirty years. He had been born on 18th Aug. 1842 at Irrebeg, Lixnaw. In politics, he had been a staunch Nationalist and his eloquent speeches on many a Nationalist platform, though firm and soul-searching, were always tempered with prudence and good counsel in those stirring days of the land war. He had served his people well as a pastor and his funeral on Tues. 25th July was attended by parishioners from the remotest parts. All the business houses of the town, whether owned by Catholic or Protestant, closed until the obsequies concluded and their proprietors and their staff took part in the funeral ceremony, as did the school children from the six primary schools in the parish – Killorglin, Dungeel, Glencuttane, Caragh Lake, Cromane and Douglas.


There was a large meeting of labourers in the Carnegie Hall at the end of July demanding an increase of wages to make up for the increased cost of living. M. Diggin RDC presided and Messrs. J. Grady and E. Sheehan spoke on the low wages, etc. It was decided to start a Branch of the Transport Union.