Laune Rangers – 1920
Laune Rangers did not enter a team in the Co. Championship, but some challenge games were played.
The political situation in the district and county deteriorated as the year progressed, causing disruption to GAA affairs.
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Co. Senior Football Championship
Six teams took part in the Co. Senior Football Championship, Listowel, Dingle, Castleisland and Oakpark. Laune Rangers did not partake, probably because of the lack of playing facilities.
Unfortunately, after a few games, GAA activities were suspended due to the political situation in the county and the championship was abandoned.
Senior Football Challenge Games
Sun. 18th July at Keel: Keel 2-2; Laune Rangers 1-4.
A large number of supporters travelled to witness that game (‘the hospital Sunday match’) and they were treated to an exhibition which, if not clean first-class vintage, was interesting and gave much promise of better things from both teams in the future. The fact that the Killorglin club did not have a field, once again, did not encourage the players to practice.
Sun. 19th Sept. at Cahersiveen: Cahersiveen 1-4; Killorglin 0-2.
Notwithstanding the unsettled weather conditions that had been prevalent for some time, the weather for that game was glorious and a large multitude of people witnessed it. It was an exciting contest and the better team won.
Alderman James Nolan, Cill Coinnigh, was Uachtarán CLG, for the 20th consecutive year.
The Annual Convention of the Munster Council was held in Limerick. The following officers were 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 on Sat. 21st Feb. in Council Chambers, Tralee. The following officers were elected: Chairman – Austin Stack, Vice-Chairman – PJ O Connell, Joint-Secretaries – Denis J. Baily and W.J. Foley; Joint-Treasurers – John Moran and Con Clifford, Delegates to Munster Council – Dick Fitzgerald and Denis J. Baily. Senior Football Selection Committee – Maurice McCarthy, Dick Fitzgerald, Tom Costello, M. Cleary (Dingle) and Denis J. Baily (Ballymac).
The Munster Senior Football Championship was not completed until 9th April 1922, when Tipperary defeated Kerry in the final at Cork Athletic Grounds by 2-2 to 0-2.
‘Pars from Puck’ reported in the Kerryman on Sat. 13th March as follows: “The outburst of enthusiasm, which was evident about October, has in football circles long since died out here. No practice has been held for a considerable time now, though the season’s matches will be very soon starting. The weather probably interfered to some extent with the progress, but that was scarcely sufficient excuse. Let us hope to hear the ‘hop of the ball’ and the boys at the game once more.”
In mid-June ‘Pars from Puck’ again reported on football activity as follows: “This is certainly an age of wonders. What with military passing daily, reports being circulated and denied, shootings and murders being daringly carried out, one is scarcely surprised at anything that happens, but wonder was expressed on Sunday when, for the first time for ages, a few of the local footballers had practice! It was scarcely credible, but, nevertheless, a fact. Let us hope that now that a start has been made, it will be kept up and our local team renewed.”
The death occurred on Wed. 29th Sept. of Tim Curran N.T. When Gaelic Football had been in its infancy and before Kerry had yet fully awakened to it, the Curran brothers had been widely known as members of the Laune Rangers’ team, which had reached the 1892 All-Ireland final, under the captaincy of the late JP O Sullivan. Tim’s prowess with that famous team was a matter of conversation even until his death and his funeral on Friday 1st October to Dromavalla demonstrated in no unmistakeable manner the respect and esteem in which he had been held. The procession of the members of the football club, which included some of the deceased’s old associates, was an event of note. Nothing like the arrangements or the procession had been witnessed since the tribute had been paid to his old captain. At a special meeting of the Killorglin (Laune Rangers) Football Club, the following motion of sympathy was passed, proposed by Rev. Tom Jones, C.C. and seconded by Tadhg O Reilly: “That we, the members of the Killorglin Football Club, feel it our duty to pass a vote of condolence to the relatives of the late Tim Curran, whom I (Rev. Father Jones) on the very memorable occasion called the Field-Marshall of JP O Sullivan. Tim Curran was certainly a footballer of the first order and all his life long a true friend and gentleman. Therefore, we very much deplore his loss – another old landmark gone from the field of fame.”
At midnight on New Year’s Eve, the local fife and drum band paraded the town to herald in 1920 with its unknown gifts. Much interest in marriage had been aroused by the fact that it was a Leap Year, when ladies enjoyed an extra privilege.
At the end of Feb. the threatened strike in Killorglin by members of the IT&GWU had receded. Negotiations had been entered into with the happy result that the local rate of wage had been raised by 7s, which brought the weekly wage to £2-2s.
On Tues. 2nd March, an unusual stir was caused in Killorglin by the presence of a number of farmers from various parts of the county who had come to employ farm labourers and domestic servants. Killorglin was becoming an important centre for employment of labour, as it was from that district – Killorglin, Cromane and Glenbeigh – that most of the labour of that kind was supplied to other parts of Kerry and far into Limerick. Prior to that time, intending labourers had to attend the ‘Hiring Market’ in Tralee, after suffering all the hardships of the road and the weather. In the new age, in many cases the employers did the travelling, attending at Killorglin as on the above date.
On Thurs. 22nd April, the news reached Killorglin of the unconditional release of the political prisoners. Doubts were at first entertained but were shortly dispelled as the tidings were confirmed. There was everywhere felt a relief and pleasure at the turn of events and soon the Brass Band, which had not been heard for years, sent its strains floating through the air and paraded the town, followed by a delighted crowd. There appeared a few lighted candles in one window and the hint was at once taken up and all over the town the windows were illuminated. When the tar barrel blazed in the Square, the fife and drum band also contributed its share to the celebrations. It was well near midnight when the crowd dispersed quietly as the last glow of the bonfire had burned out and the last strain of music had died away.
In May the elections to the local Rural District Councils took place. John Langford, Bansha, and Dan O Dwyer, Reen, were elected for the Killorglin area. John Langford, Sinn Féin, had on many occasions already represented the town and district on the Gaelic field. He had not many years since attained manhood but still he possessed all the qualities, which went to insure the confidence of all thinking men of the district and youth, in his case, was in no way synonymous with inexperience. An active, able and athletic young man, the district was certainly safe in his hands. Dan O Dwyer was sent forward in the interests of Labour, the local branch of which he was Secretary and Organiser. Labour in all its phases he had a thorough grasp of, and certainly his selection as representative was happy. A prominent member of the Sinn Féin organisation also, he combined the two interests. Young, alert, anxious and honest, he had the interests of the labourers at heart.
On Tues. night 1st June, a number of Volunteers from the surrounding districts raided two neighbouring houses in Caragh Lake and arrested one young man from each house. Those were conveyed to a convenient venue where, in the name of the Irish Republic, they were charged with having some five weeks earlier stolen a sum of money from an old age pensioner in the neighbourhood. They confessed to the crime, expressed keen regret and promised to hand over the amount stolen. That was not considered sufficient, however, by the court, which imposed a fine equal to the amount stolen to be handed over to the old age pensioner as interest. Steps were taken to insure that it was handed over.
By their activities towards restoring law and order, the local Sinn Féin Volunteers had gained the confidence and respect of the people in Killorglin and district. The activities of the RIC had more or less been limited and their authority had been on the wane. The Volunteers, however, rose to the occasion and entered into the spirit of the work with a thoroughness and energy, which was responsible for their success. Since the Caragh Lake incident above, they had bought other erring people to justice. They had dealt effectively with the matter of filthy language being used on the streets at the midnight hour. The public houses, too, did not escape and a closing hour had been imposed of them, after which all shop lights had to be out. That had the effect of restoring calm all round at night.
The newly elected County Council for Kerry met on Fri. 18th June in the Co. Council Chambers, Tralee, and elected Padraig Ó Siochfhradha (An Seabhac) as Chairman. The tri-colour floated from the dome of the County Hall. The meeting was largely conducted in Irish. The following resolution, submitted by the Chairman, was unanimously adopted: ‘That this council of the elected representatives of the Co. Council of Kerry, at a duly convened meeting, hereby acknowledge the authority of Dáil Éireann as the duly elected Government of the Irish people, and undertake to give effect to all decrees duly promulgated by the said Dáil Éireann in so far as same affects this council. That copies of this resolution be forwarded to the Republican Minister for Foreign Affairs for transmission to the Governments of Europe And to the President and Chairman of the Senate and House of Representatives of U.S. of America.’
Pat J. Cahillane, formerly of Rangue, was selected by the Manchester City Employees’ Union, USA, as their secretary and treasurer and delegate to the American Federation of Labour in Montreal.
Throughout the country, RIC constables were shot, army barracks were raided and burned, people who associated with the British soldiers were punished and mail-cars were raided. On Sun. 4th July, the mail-car proceeding between Killorglin and Cahersiveen was held up near Kells Station by a party of armed and unknown men who seized the mail bags and compelled the driver to return to Killorglin.
On Sunday morning, 19th Sept., the mails were being conveyed as usual by motor-car from Killorglin to Cahersiveen. At Caragh Bridge the driver was held up by masked and armed men and he was ordered to hand over the Glenbeigh mail bag. That was opened and any letters addressed to the RIC or military were extracted and the others handed back. The driver was then ordered to proceed on his way.
On Sun. 17th Oct. the car conveying the mails from Killarney to Killorglin was made the object of a raid at Meanus Bridge. The car was searched and three bags containing the Killorglin mails were taken away across the fields by the raiders, of whom there was a big number. The houses of the local members of the Sinn Fein Club were searched by the RIC sergeant but nothing was found to incriminate them. Meanwhile, the letters were handed in to the Post Office on Tuesday morning and were delivered in the usual way.
A little stir of excitement was caused on Sat. 4th Sept. when a number of military in usual regalia made the town of Killorglin their field of operations. The presbytery first claimed their attention and, with sentries placed at each gate, they sought the Rev. Fr. M. O Donoghue C.C. They demanded the gun for which he had a permit. Calls were also made on the National Bank, where the manager handed up any arms and guns he had in his possession. Dr. Dodd had also to deliver the goods, Messrs. Stephens and D.M. O Sullivan and the Railway Hotel were in turn visited and the guns handed up. On the Friday night, probably anticipating that raid, a number of houses in the district were raided by disguised men and the arms and ammunition taken away.
Many Railway men refused to handle ammunition for the British soldiers and some lost their jobs as a result. The local Irish Volunteers made a house to house collection in Killorglin on Tues. 13th July in aid of the Railway Munitions Fund and £40, a satisfactory sum, was collected. On Sunday 11th July, a church-gate collection yielded £28 10s, bringing the total to £68 10s.
The introduction of the Black and Tans, and later the Auxiliaries, to Ireland led to an increase in tensions throughout the country. Those were exacerbated with the assassination by Crown forces of Lord Mayor McCurtain in Cork on 20th March and the death, while on hunger-strike for 73 days in a British jail, of his successor, Terence McSweeney on 25th Oct. It was a year of continuous raids, arrests and deportations by the British and of guerrilla warfare by the Volunteers, the army of the Irish Republic. The almost total collapse of the British legal system occurred in Ireland and it was replaced by the Dáil courts operated by the underground republican regime. On Nov. 21st, during a Dublin v Tipperary football challenge game in Croke Park, the Black and Tans entered the ground and fired indiscriminately at the crowd, killing the Tipperary captain, Michael Hogan, and thirteen spectators. That incident became known as Bloody Sunday. It later transpired that the shootings were a reprisal for the execution the previous night, on the orders of Michael Collins, of fourteen British intelligence officers, who had come to Ireland to execute some of the Sinn Féin Dáil ministers.
On 31st October, two Black and Tans, who were returning to the town, having escorted two girls home, were shot dead at Hillville. People slept little in Killorglin that night or for many nights afterwards as the killings were avenged. Windows were smashed, Miss McCollum’s house was burned, the Sinn Féin Hall was set alight and the Old Mill, which housed the creamery, was burned to the ground.
Shootings, burnings and robberies were such that Martial Law was introduced by the British Government into four counties in December – Kerry, Cork, Tipperary and Limerick. By order of the RIC, P. O Reilly, Langford Street, was compelled to efface his name written in Irish from his facia board. Similarly with P.T. O Sullivan, Main Street, who had to take down an Irish sign from over his door, though, in that case, the name was in English on the facia board.