Memorable night as teams of '53 and '63 are honoured

November 7, 2018

The surviving members of the 1953 teams who won  County Football titles sixty years ago pictured with committee members.

Back:   Committee  members  Tomas McCormack, Patrick Moroney, Kathrine Mockler, Nicholas Moroney, and James Ryan.
Front:   1953 Team members Mikey O’Connor, Michael McGarry, Tom Keane, Michael McGrath and Seamus Moroney.
A great crowd gathered in Cloneen Sports & Social Club on Saturday night last for a reunion of the successful St. Patricks teams of 1963 and 1953. In 1963 the Junior Hurling, Junior Football and Minor Football South Finals were won by St. Patricks and in 1953 the Co. Senior Football Final and the Co. Junior Football titles were also brought back to Cloneen and Drangan. Last Saturday night was a tribute to these men and to the many others who kept Football and Hurling alive in Drangan and Cloneen over the years. The evening began with Fr Tony Lambe celebrating mass in Cloneen Church for all deceased members of the St. Patrick’s Gaa Club .

The crowd then assembled in Cloneen hall where all the surviving members of the ‘53 and ‘63 teams were guest of honour. Considering that it was the 60th and 50th anniversaries it was great to see so many of these veterans attending on the night. St. Patrick’s club chairman Nicholas Moroney welcomed the large crowd which attended and spoke of the great achievements of the teams been honoured. The club hasn’t won a county senior football title since 1953 and it wasn’t until 1991 that the club repeated the feat of the ‘63 teams by winning three south titles in the one year. It was also great to see so many of the killenaule players who played with the St. Patrick’s minor team in 1963 attend on the night.

Each member of the ‘63 teams was presented with a framed photograph of their team by club chairman Nicholas Moroney. Some men played on two of the victorious teams in 1963 but only one man played on all three and that was Michael Power (formally Tullacussane) . Michael spoke of his memories of 1963 and how proud his was to have been a part of these great teams. He recalled the hard training which was done and some of the games which were played. He felt that horrific weather conditions probably cost them a county title in ‘63 as they didn‘t adapt as well as their opponents. He recalled the men who had trained the teams and also his team comrades who have since went to their eternal reward. In summing up his memories of these years Michael said his proudest memory is having had the honour to play with some of the greatest footballers ever to have played with St. Pats. He mentioned players like Paddy Gleeson , Tom Keane and the Hickeys who all of course are legends of the St. Patrick’s club.

Members of the ‘63 teams who are deceased or were unable to attend on Saturday night were also remembered and family members collected their photographs on their behalf.

The loudest applauses of the night were reserved for the surviving men of ‘53 (pictured above) who were also honoured on the Saturday night especially the two men who were also members of the ‘47 team Tom Keane and Michael McGarry. Three survivors of the ‘53 teams were unable to attend, Charlie Lawless and Lolo Clancy due to ill health and John Clancy who resides in England. Again they were represented by family members. Michael McGrath who played with both teams in ‘53 addressed the crowd and thanked the Club for organising this memorable function. He wished the St. Patrick’s club well and hoped the present young players of the club would enjoy success as they had done. Michael who is president of the St. Patrick’s club then presented medals to the victorious Under 21 team which won the county under 21 “C” football title in 2012.

In rounding up the evening Club chairman Nicholas Moroney thanked everyone for attending and thanked all those who had helped in organising the night. He especially thanked the ladies of the club who had provided the food and had done such a good job with the catering on the night. He thanked Fr. Lambe for offering the mass earlier for the deceased members. He thanked Cloneen Hall committee for making their premises available for the function and Eric Wilson for providing sound amplification .

The night continued for many hours as people who had not met for years caught up on old times. It was a most enjoyable night and a very special occasion for those honoured on the night.

Nicholas Moroney mention during his speech that the next time the club will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of winning three south titles in the one year will be in 2041.

So see you all then!