1953 County Junior Football Champions

November 7, 2018

      1953 Drangan County Junior Football Champions
1953 was an unique year in the history of Gaa in our parish of Drangan and Cloneen with teams from the parish winning both the County Senior football title and County Junior football title in the same year. This was achieved due to the fact that for some years in the early fifties there were two Gaa clubs in our parish. St. Patrick’s which was mainly a Cloneen team competed in senior grade and Drangan which was mainly comprised of players from the Drangan end competed at junior grade. However rules at the time did allow for clubs to “borrow” players from adjoining clubs and this was evident in our parish in ‘53 with a number of players playing on both teams.

Having been beaten in the ‘52 junior final Drangan were eager to make amends in ‘53. Drangan began their campaign with a victory over Grangemockler on a score of 5-6 to 1-4. In the south semi-final Drangan minus the services of Billy Hickey and Dick Fleming defeated Mullinahone by 2-5 to 1-4 in Killenaule.

Their south final opponents were Ballyporeen and a “nationalist report on the game described it as a hard clean game in which there were flashes of great football with occasional lapses into indifference. The game was very close and at half time only a point separated the sides St. Pat’s 1-4 to Bally 1-3.

The second half started with Bally taking control of the game with some well taken points before what is described in the Nationalist report as “ the sudden storm which sent Bally out to sea”. Paddy Gleeson burst away on a solo run and a hard long shot was saved on the line however the ball ended up in the net after a goalmouth melee. On the kick out Paddy again gained possession and landed the ball in the square where Chris Gleeson dashed the ball to the net. These two quick goals set Bally back but they never gave up . In deed Drangan hearts sank in the final minutes when leading by two points Bally were awarded a penalty but spirits jumped again when the penalty struck the middle of the cross bar and the threat was cleared. The south title was Drangan’s on a score of Drangan 3-5 to Ballyporeen 1-9.

Drangan had a long wait for the county semi-final which wasn’t played until april ’54 but when it came they had a hard earned victory over Loughmore by 1-2 to 0-3.

The county final was played in Cashel and Drangan’s opponents were Arravale Rovers. Arravale scored the first two scores but failed to score for the remainder of the match. Drangan took control of the game and when Chris Gleeson scored the games only goal the result was never in doubt. Drangan were overall a stronger side helped on in no small way by the senior players “borrowed” from St.Patrick’s. In match reports published at the time Paddy Gleeson is credited to having been outstanding in all games and appears to have been the teams top scorer even though he was positioned at centre back.

Interestingly the teams combined again in the parish for 1954 but a dilemma developed as Drangan having won the junior in ‘53 were expected to compete at senior level in ‘54. This meant the club would have to field two senior teams in the same championship but following appeals to the south board provisions were made for St.Pat’s to field a senior and junior team.

On Saturday night Nov 23rd St. Patrick’s Gaa Club will hold a function to honour the two county champion teams of ‘53 and the three south champion teams of ‘63.. Naturally sixty years later the majority of the men of ’53 have gone to their eternal reward and the evening will commence with a mass offered for all deceased members of the St. Patrick’s club in Cloneen church at 7 pm. This will be followed by a function in Cloneen Hall at 8.30 pm where the surviving members of these teams will be guest of honour.

All are welcome to attend for what promises to be a great night!