Ballydaly’s Gaelic Football Glory Days

I’ve heard that Ballydaly does not have a football team
Which puts a cloud on Tommy Tucker’s dream
That they might win Duhallow for third time
And give some bard another chance to rhyme.
They won their first Duhallow title more than forty years ago
Some time back in the fifties that I know
Though of my dates I’m not too very clear
I think ’twas fifty seven was the year.
When Ballydaly had their first big win
And their footballers were celebtated men
And John Twomey wrote of Ballydaly Boys
And west of Millstreet bonfires lit the skies.
The Sullivans, the Buckleys, Jerome and Paddy Ring
Of them the famous Mushera bard did sing,
Tom Mulcahy and Tim Kiely at the back
To Cullen forwards pressure would not crack.
Jack Murphy and Con Kelleher were supreme
Their goals took fight out of the Cullen team
And Pat Joe Kelleher brought his skill to play
And Andy Lynch at midfield won the day.
Big Jerry Corkery played a true captain’s part
And sturdy Mick Horgan not lacking in heart
And Pat and Eddy Murphy cheered in victory
It’s nice to recall such a memory.
And of them all the Mushera bard did sing
And of how Danny Regan called each player a king
Such memories I retain from years gone by
When I was young a Primary school going boy.
But for Ballydaly a near two decades wait
Before their fans again would celebrate
I think it was in nineteen seventy five
When Ballydaly once more came alive.
Some of those fellows I remember well
They scorned the word defeat and laughed at hell
The Twomey brothers Denis, Tim and Dan
Could hold their own with any man to man.
Con Connors who was a teenager then
Years later he mixed it with the best of men
I watched him play for Millstreet in the green
And for Cork in the red he too was seen.
His brother Tim his passing caused much grief
He died quite young his life was far too brief
He did not even live to see his prime
The poor lad was not granted so much time.
As his two brothers had done years before
The Ballydaly colours Ted Ring wore
And Tadgh and Denis Murphy stood the test
In the field of play they always gave their best.
The Keeffes from Knocknalummin gave their all
And the Leary brothers fought for every ball
And D Dinneen that marvellous personality
How could he ever slip the memory.
Denny John Murphy his dad from Lisnaboy
A hardy sort he gave it his best try
And Frank Hickey could run and run all day
And Kanturk’s Mullane also lined out to play.
Big John Murphy may not have been in that team
But on his day the big man was supreme
And of Dave, John and Christy Tarrant opponents used to say
From toughest challenge they’d not back away.
And Dan Joe Casey to his colours true
And in his time a handy player too
And the Moynihans and the McCarthys John and Joe
Too played for Ballydaly years ago.
So many players since Con and Bill Jack’s day
For Ballydaly took the field to play
John Regan and the Sullivans Tom and Mick
And Humphrey Reardon he was strong and quick.
And though as a weight lifter he won all of his fame
Big J.J. Fitz another I could name
And there were more far too many to recall
Who for Ballydaly played gaelic football
And it puts a cloud on Tommy Tucker’s dream
If Ballydaly does not have a football team
That they might win Duhallow for third time
And give some bard another chance to rhyme.

by Francis Duggan

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