Laune Rangers – 1923
The preparation of the Co. Senior Football team took precedence over the needs of the clubs and the Co. Championship was not played.
The Civil-War dragged on until May, but the resulting scars remained on much longer.
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Co. Senior Football Championship
Five teams entered for the Co. Senior Football Championship, Dingle, Tralee Mitchels, Listowel, Castleisland and Killarney.
Only one game was played, Dingle 2-3; Mitchels 0-2, as the preparation of the county team took precedent, and the remainder of the championship was abandoned.
Senior Football Challenge Game
Challenge on Sun. 9th December at Killorglin: Laune Rangers scr.; Cromane w/o.
Cromane arrived in their numbers, only to be disappointed at the non-appearance of the local fifteen. ‘Pars from Puck’ wrote on the following edition of the Kerryman: ‘It was most unfair to have the westerners brought in without having a team ready to meet them and, in the ordinary way, they would be awarded the match. We hope that the locals will, in the near future, at least travel to Cromane and meet them to make amends.’
Daniel McCarthy, Áth Cliath, was Uachtarán CLG.
The Annual Convention of the Munster Council was held in Limerick on 12th March. The following officers were re-elected: Chairman – Jerry O Brien (An Clár), Secretary – Pat McGrath (Tiobrad Árainn), Treasurer – Ailbe Quillinan (Luimneach).
Although the Annual Convention was not held, the outgoing officers officiated at Co. Board level as follows: President – Austin Stack, Chairman – PJ O Connell, Joint-Secretaries – Denis J Baily and William J. Foley, Joint-Treasurers – John Moran and Con Clifford, Delegates to Munster Council – Dick Fitzgerald and Denis J. Baily.
Kerry defeated Limerick in the first round of the Munster Senior Football Championship, Cork by 3-4 to 0-3 in the semi-final and Tipperary in the final.
Kerry: Dan Hurley (Killarney), Tom Ryle (Tralee), Toss Kelliher (Castleisland), Phil O Sullivan (Tuosist), Jack Sheehy (Dingle), Michael Graham (do.), Dick Fitzgerald (Killarney), Con Brosnan (Newtownsandes), Donncha O Donoghue (Mitchels), Tommy Mahony (Listowel), Jeremiah Begley (Dingle), John Baily (Ballymac), Johnny O Mahony (Killarney) capt., Jimmy Birmingham, Martin Carroll.
They accounted for Cavan by 1-3 to 1-2 in the All-Ireland semi-final, played in April 1924. The final was delayed because Kerry would not play until Austin Stack and other political prisoners were released. The final was eventually played at Croke Park on Sun. 28th September 1924 and Dublin won by 1-5 to 1-3.
Kerry: Phil O Sullivan (Kenmare) capt., Jack Sheehy (Dingle) goal, Joe Barrett (Mitchels), Euge Moriarty (Killarney), Paul Russell (do.), Toss Kelliher (Castleisland), Jerry Moriarty (Mitchels), Con Brosnan (Newtownsandes), Pat McKenna (Derrymore and Mitchels), Jackie Ryan (Mitchels), Mundy Prendiville (Castleisland), John Joe Sheehy (Mitchels), John Baily (Ballymac), James Baily (do.), Bill Landers (Mitchels). Subs: Donncha O Donoghue (Mitchels), Jack McCarthy (do.), Moss Galvin (do.), Bob Stack (Ballybunion and Listowel), Michael Murphy (do.), Tommy O Mahony (do.), Dan Hurley (Killarney).
Few of the hundreds of men and boys who played football realised how much time and labour went to making the ball with which they played. Actually, it took twelve months to make a really first-class football. Ordinary cowhide would be too thick, since balls had to conform to a regulation weight. It was necessary, therefore, to split the hide and upon the skill, exercised in doing that, depended the quality of the finished ball. The hide was firstly soaked for twelve months in tan-pits. Then the leather was taken out, skinned and passed to the ‘dubbers’, who massaged it thoroughly with grease. The various sections of the ball were cut from metal templates, and each section had to be examined and tested for flaws before the parts were sewn together. After sewing the case, an inflated bladder was put inside and the ball examined from every possible angle. Little irregularities or misshapen parts were beaten out with a special tool like a heavy butter pat and, when perfect symmetry of shape was secured, the bladder was deflated, the case examined once more for flaws in stitching, and, finally, a new bladder was inserted and the ball was ready for play.
The civil-war dragged on into 1923 and, eventually, it ended in May with a Free State victory. Gradually, normality returned to Killorglin. The Railway Hotel, which had been occupied by the military since the previous September, was vacated at the end of September and the troops were transferred to the Carnegie Hall, which was the only post held by them in the town. The strength of the military had been greatly reduced as the keeping of a large force had been considered unnecessary. Prisoners were released daily, P. Fenton (Muingaphouca) and Con Lucey (Caragh Lake) in October, T. Griffin and M. Hogan, from the Town in November.
The scars of the civil-war were slow to heal except, perhaps, on the field of play. Players from both sides of the divide played together for Kerry over the following years with great success. One could say that the GAA in Kerry helped greatly to heal the wounds of the bitter civil-war.