THE HISTORY OF CARLANSTOWN, KILBEG & ST. MICHAELS GFC CLUBS
Click on photos to enlarge
The first recorded team in the parish were the Kilbeg Volunteers which played a draw match with Pierce O’Mahonys of Navan in the 1889 FC. final, but success eluded them in the replay. Noted players who lined out with the Volunteers were…Christy Smith, Joe Reilly, Hughie Meehan, Jimmy O’Brien, Henry Cudden, Pat & Charlie Galligan, James Brady, Michael Farrell, Michael Lynch, Michael McDermott and Mickey and Patrick Clarke.
A man called Michael Tevlin from Horath was captain of the Kilbeg Volunteers and was also selected by the Meath County Board as one of the three delegates to represent Meath at the first Gaelic Athletic Association Congress held in Hayes Hotel in Thurles in 1884 at which the rules of the association were formed. The newly formed Kilbeg Volunteers club held their meetings in Jimmy Brady’s house which was a two storey house (now demolished) located directly across the road from Kilbeg old school (now converted to a terrace of houses) every Monday night. The club consisted of 21 members and to run the club each member had to contribute three pennies every week and this was the clubs only source of income.
Kells had a team at the time called the Campaigners who trained the Kilbeg Volunteers on how to play the game and they often came out to play matches in a field in Horath owned by Davy Farrell from Cookestown, Kells who was the landlord of Horath. In those days no amount of points would equal a goal.
A strict rule applied to all the players then which forbid the consumption of any alcohol before games ( same rule applies today….ye right ) and a story is told that Kilbeg Volunteers were due to play Syddan in a match at Ladyrath, Wilkinstown. Peter “The Pinkeen” Downey and another player arrived in Ladyrath on the Friday before the game and spent all their time drinking in the local pub and by match time on Sunday they were the worst for wear and were omitted from the team even though “The Pinkeen” was their best player and an expert “dribbler” of the ball (I take it that that meant good at solo runs), anyhow “the Pinkeen” was replaced with a man called Michael Lynch of Gravelstown House, but the game was about fifteen minutes old when Michaels mother arrived in the field in a coach and a pair of horses and ordered her coachman to go out and take master Michael home. This was done and The Volunteers had no option but to play “The Pinkeen” who later went on one of his dribbles and scored the winning goal. Here are the names of some of the players who played with Kilbeg Volunteers in the late 1880’s: Michael Tevlin captain, Joe “Watty” Reilly, Michael Farrell of Plubber, Hughie Meehan, Jimmy O’Brien, Christy “The Kitten” Smith, Michael McDermott, James Brady, Pat and Charlie Galligan, Peter “The Pinkeen” Downey, Jimmy O’Brien (the poet), Michael Lynch, Mickey and Patrick Clarke.
During my research for this website I came across “The Gaelic Athletic Annual and County Directory 1910 / 1911″ and in it I found under the Meath page that a T.B. Lynch from Kilbeg was the vice chairman of the Meath County Committee for the years 1910 / 1911. ( see page insert in this article ).
No records exist from 1889 until 1926, when Kilbeg formed a minor team which reached the championship finals in 1927 and 1928, they defeated Commons of Navan in both finals, however they lost the 1928 title after objections because they played an unregistered player in that game. The player was overage and went under the name of James Timmons, however in actual fact Paddy ” The Righto” Reilly was over the age limit and played under the name of James Timmons. Many of those players were then over age for the following years minor championship and for some reason unknown the team name was changed from Kilbeg to Horath.
In 1926 the Kilbeg Juniors won the championship title beating Oldcastle in the final but once again they lost it through objections claiming one of the Kilbeg players was not registered. In 1927 the Intermediate championship was initiated in Meath and Kilbeg went up a grade to Intermediate and with little success they disbanded in 1931. In 1932 they reformed as a junior team and again failed to have any success.
In 1936 Kilbeg formed a senior team, which in 1937 amalgamated with St. Marys Moynalty who went on to win the S.F.C. and the Feis Cup in the same year. Of the St. Marys team, eleven were from the 1936 Kilbeg team. They defeated Martry in the final and then went on to play Cornafean the Cavan champions. Cornafean fielded seven Cavan county players and a crowd of 10,000 people watched St. Marys beat Cornafean in the Vale, Bailieborough. The members of the Kilbeg team who won the S.F.C. and Feis Cup with St. Marys Moynalty were…. Johnny Smith, Hugh McEnroe, Peter McEnroe, Pat McEnroe, Tom Ginnity, Patsy McGivney, Peter Cassidy and Dick Cassidy. In 1938 St. Marys reached the S.F.C. final but were beaten by Navan Gaels, after this they lost heart and disbanded after the 1938 final and most of the players lined out with Kells the following year.
In 1939 former Minister for Local Government, Jimmy Tully and his able assistant Owen Gaffney formed a team in Carlanstown called St. Patricks. They went on to lose to Longwood in the 1942 J.F.C. they then went up a grade to intermediate and won the I.F.C. in 1945 defeating Carnaross in the final. The 1945 Intermediate winning team was….P. Reilly, D. Cassidy, J.O’Connell, J. Bruder, J. Gaffney, M. Curran, P. Kiernan, J. Collins, P. Cassidy, P. McGivney, E. Reilly, R. O’Connell, T. Curran, J. Cassidy and J. Morris. Carlanstown played Carnaross earlier in the 1945 championship and in that game there were six Cassidy brothers playing for Carlanstown and seven Yore brothers playing for Carnaross. The 1945 Intermediate winning team was….P. Reilly, D. Cassidy, J.O’Connell, J. Bruder, J. Gaffney, M. Curran, P. Kiernan, J. Collins, P. Cassidy, P. McGivney, E. Reilly, R. O’Connell, T. Curran, J. Cassidy and J. Morris. Carlanstown went through a lean period between 1945 and 1978, when in its inauguration year 1978 they won the Division 3 F.C. defeating Rathmolyon in the final replay by 2-4 to 0-5 having drawn the previous game 2-5 to 2-5.
Carlanstown spent a period of time in the Intermediate ranks following their win in 1945 without having any success and they were eventually relegated back to junior level. They progressed well in the junior grade and in 1958 they eventually reached a championship final, however they were beaten by Clonard. The drought continued until 1978, when in its inauguration year they won the Division 3 F.C. defeating Rathmoylon in the final replay by 2-4 to 0-5 having drawn the previous game 2-5 to 2-5 which was played as a curtain raiser to the county senior final in Pairc Tailteann. The 1978 Div. 3 F.C. winning team was….Sean Briody, Michael Vaughan, Pat O’Connell, Justin Stafford, James Murphy, Jackie Lynch, Michael Reilly, Robert O’Connell 0-2, Jimmy Farrelly, Martin Stafford, Barney Gaffney, Jimmy Rafferty, Gerard McMahon 2-0, Gerry Stafford, Danny Reilly. Subs…Paddy O’Reilly, Hughie Madden, Eugene Farrelly, Joe Carolan, John Reilly, Christy Regan 0-2, Thomas Murphy & Charlie Farrelly, Jimmy Gaffney.
Carlanstown won the U-14 F.C. in 1951 and the U-16 F.C. in 1952 under the management of James Keaveny who was headmaster in Carlanstown school, Jimmy Curran, Fr. Conway PP of Kilbeg and B.O’Brien. The 1951 team was: J. McGillick, M.Kearney, O.Morris, P. Duffy, M. Lynch, H. Fitzsimons, J. Meehan, A. O’Connell, M. Downey, P. Keaveny, P. Curran, P. McMahon, P. O’Brien, F. Maguire, T. O’Brien, P. Downey, A. McGillick, R. Keaveny, J. Thompson. No details are available but it is most likely that the above panel of players made up the bulk of the U-16 winning team of 1952.
Club colours in the Carlanstown / Kilbeg eras were : The Kilbeg Volunteers wore black & red jerseys ( present St. Michaels colours ), Kilbeg wore jerseys with blue and yellow hoops and Carlanstown wore green jerseys with yellow collars and wrist bands.
In 1980 the two clubs in the parish, Carlanstown and Kilbeg decided to join forces and St. Michaels GFC was born ( St. Michaels being the name of the Church at Staholmog ). This combination proved successful and in their first year together they reached the quarter final of the JFC. The following year 1981 they reached the final and after a thrilling game with Moynalvey the sides ended up level 1-8 to 1-8, but the Saints went down in the replay. In 1982 St. Michaels recharged their batteries and after beating Carnaross in another superb semi-final they were once again in the JFC final and on the 26th day of September 1982 they lifted the Matthew Ginnity Cup for the first time in their short history after beating Seneschalstown 2-6 to 1-7 in the final at Pairc Tailteann. Between 1982 and 1987 they reached the quarter finals of the IFC in all but one year but their hard work and perseverance paid off when on the 24th October 1989 captain Robbie O’Connell climbed the steps of Pairc Tailteann and lifted the Gaelic Weekly Cup for the first and only time, details of this win are on another page on this website.
THE OFFICERS ELECTED AT THE FIRST AGM of ST. MICHAELS GFC IN 1980 WERE:
Presidents: Fr. Patrick Adams PP & Eugene Briody
Chairman: Paddy O’Reilly
Vice Chairman: James Brady
Secretary: Jim McCormack
Ass. Secretary & PRO: Martin Stafford
Joint Treasurers: Sean Gaffney & Henry Curran
Selectors: Jimmy Meehan, Sean Gaffney, Paddy O’Connell & Larry Stafford
Junior Captain: John McCormack
Vice Captain: Pat O’Connell
Committee: Thomas Clinton, Charles Cunningham, John Reilly, Mick (hay) Smith, Hugh McEnroe & Paddy Farrelly
County Board Delegates: Paddy O’Reilly, James Brady
Juvenile Committee: Patsy Curran, Paddy Farrelly, Martin Stafford, Henry Curran & Paddy O’Connell
THE PLAYING PITCHES BACK THEN
Kilbeg played all their games and held their sports days back in those early years in Finnegan’s field, which is the field on the Nobber road just past the Church where the National School now sits. Carlanstown and then St. Michaels used Briody’s field which is the field on the Ardee road ( N52 ) where The Village Green housing estate now stands for their games and sports days, they used a shed which is an integral part of Smith’s house across the road as a dressing room. Carlanstown also used a field on the Kilbeg road known as “The Croghan field” for their underage games in the late 1940’s and the 1950’s, this field was located just past where Maguire’s house is on the right hand side as you travel towards Kilbeg.
OLD TEAM PICS FROM BACK THEN
Click on photo to enlarge
THE HISTORY OF ST. MICHAELS GAA PITCH & CLUBHOUSE
For many years the idea of providing a playing pitch in Carlanstown was often mooted but invariably forgotten about. Having availed of a field ( now The Village Green housing estate ) to play on for many years, generously given to us by Eugene Briody and Brian Smiths hayshed across the road ( dressing room ), it was decided in 1977 to purchase five acres on the Ardee Road which had come on the market. It was ideally located between Carlanstown and Kilbeg and for the reasonable outlay of £5,000 the club had acquired a permanent home. Supporters and friends were asked to subscribe to various draws and events to raise funds to pay off the bank loan.
When the club was back in the black again in 1984 it was decided to take the next step and make the field playable. Plans were drawn up, planning permission obtained, and tenders sought for the work of leveling and drainage and in August 1984 the work commenced. The leveling and drainage work was carried out by Michael Rock Plant Hire, Slane and the supervision work by Pascal Reilly and after only four weeks the pitch was ready for rotovating and reseeding. This work sent the club back into the red again to the tune of £18,000 but with the help of grants from the Leinster Council, Meath County Board and various fund raising events the work was soon paid for, and we breathed a great sigh of relief as we awaited the emergence of the green sward. In the meantime our gallant voluntary workers were gradually getting the pitch nearer completion and every available person and form of mechanism from a JCB to a spade was used to ensure that progress was continuing on the various jobs… picking stones, erecting perimeter fencing, making and hanging gates, banking topsoil and many other chores too numerous to mention. With the pitch now complete and in use, a meeting was called in Jan.1986 for the purpose of deciding whether we should replace our prefab dressing rooms with a more permanent structure. After many late nights of debate it was finally agreed that we should build a structure which would serve as dressing rooms and which would be suitable for indoor training, meetings, dances etc. etc. Plans were prepared, planning permission obtained and the fund raising began again.
At the same time the Meath County Board were raising funds for the redevelopment of Pairc Tailteann and they had a Members Draw in progress and our treasurer Martin Stafford spent the last £100 the club had in the bank on one of the tickets. Our fund-raising continued, tenders were obtained from all the local contractors in the parish and it was decided to start and progress the work in stages to the extent of the funds available. By this time everyone had forgotten about the Meath County Board draw and our representative at the first draw could not make his way back home to Carlanstown to spread the news ( no mobile phones then ) that our ticket was first out of the hat and the club had won £25,000. With the help of Lady Luck work could now begin in earnest, the Maguire Bros. did the blocklaying, John & Paddy Moran did the roofing and carpentry, other contractors were T & J Joinery, Mark Kerrigan, Peter Fox and Mick Gillic. Henry Curran ( then Chairman ) was the foreman who was always on hand to order a load of blocks or sand from O’Reilly Bros, Kingscourt.
The building was completed for a total cost of £40,000 in November 1987 and Fr. Adams PP blessed the building and said Mass there before a large congregation on Thursday March 10th 1988. The following night we had our first function there…a social and the large attendance danced the night away to the sounds of The Lavey Trio.
The Official Opening of the pitch and clubhouse took place on Sunday August 7th 1988 when a large attendance came from near and far to see our own clubman Martin O’Connell lead out the then All Ireland and National League Champions Meath to play our neighbours Cavan in a challenge match.
Since 1987 we have added two extensions to the Clubhouse, first came the addition of a stage, dressing rooms, showers, toilets and referee’s dressing room, then we added a kitchen to the front which is fully fitted out for catering. Work is always ongoing around the pitch and in 2009 we have carried out work on the car parking areas which included reducing the height of “ The Hill “, laying concrete aprons and carpark drainage system, built a new boundary wall along “Ryans” field, built new enclosure for generator and gas tank, built new dugouts, replaced the perimeter fencing with new galvanized iron fencing with galvanized mesh panels set in a perimeter footpath, installed state of the art floodlighting and erected a shed to house our tractor and mower.
With some 21 teams in our club between our men’s teams, our ladies teams and all our underage teams it is only natural that our only pitch would have to withstand a lot of abuse over the years with games and training sessions and when it was nearly unplayable after a shower of rain as it got so compact that the drainage system has failed and we had no option but to do a new drainage job on it after the close of our football season in October 2014.
In early 2014 we finally acquired 18 acres of land on the outskirts of the village of Carlanstown known as “ The Deerpark “ from Meath County Council after many years of negotiation with them on a 25 year lease, we presently use part of this land as a training pitch and our long term intentions are to develop a second full size playing pitch, together with a juvenile pitch and an all weather pitch or two together with all associate facilities on this land, It’s a “quare” change from the days of togging out in Brian Smith’s hayshed across the road from Briody’s field all those years ago, but that’s progress for ya and credit must go to the many chairmen and their committee’s and volunteers who worked tirelessly to bring the our club to where it is today…. well done to ye all and may the next generations continue in the same vein.
DEVELOPMENT WORK 1984 to 2015 IN PHOTOGRAPHS
All photo’s by Pascal Reilly
All photo’s by Pascal Reilly