One Monday evening in the late summer of 1962 a big group of volunteers, young and not so young, gathered in Barney Smith’s field in Ballinacree to tidy up after Sunday’s parish sports. When the jobs were done a football was produced and sides were picked – the appetite had been whetted by watching a game the previous day. Everyone got into the fray and, complete with shoes, shirts and pants, played until darkness made play even more dangerous; but very few went home immediately. As they sat on the grassy bank people like Joe Blake and Seamus Maguire were suggesting ‘Could we not have a club of our own?’ By the time they decided to go home the majority had been convinced; it was possible. If Mountnugent could do it so could we; Millbrook had just disbanded and locals playing with Moylagh said they’d be happy to join. A meeting would have to be called. Chaired by the recently-ordained Fr Sean Connaughton it was held in the ‘big boys’ room’ of the old school (Community Centre).

Members of the old Ballinacree club, men like Pat (Rufus) Brown, Pat ‘The Merchant’ Brown and Jackie Lynch provided a link with the past. It was standing room only at a second meeting on 20 August 1962 when Seamus Maguire was named chairman; Joe Blake, secretary (he had been secretary of Milbrook); and Patrick Connaughton, treasurer.

There were a few little problems to be solved; ones like ‘Where will we get a field?’ Silk (or Syl) Park, a field then owned by the Kidmans was the preferred option – but could it be rented? ‘The Master’ (Connaughton) was the one delegated to negotiate with the owners. After a few visits he was able to tell a meeting that the Kidmans would be happy to rent the field at £20 a year on condition that the area was fenced off. Things were looking good. Michael Heery was asked to contact P.J. Morrissey on Mullaghmeen about goalposts. For £2.10s.0d he bought four long poles at a forestry auction and Tom Briody traced them down to the road. On St. Stephen’s Day 1962 a group of about 30, under the supervision of Tony Coyle, worked all day to erect the fence and goalposts. A few days later, at a packed meeting in Katsie Brown’s cottage the Ballinacree club was set on an official footing and affiliation papers were prepared for the Meath County Board.

The new Ballinacree club was approved but because of matters arising (from 1929) the official name eventually became St Brigid’s. The report in the Meath Chronicle tells the story of how the first game went.

St Brigid’s (Ballinacree) and Moynalty served up very poor fare indeed at Kells Park last Sunday in the junior football ‘A’ championship. Moynalty won by 3-9 to 3-1 but have no reason for rejoicing over victory. It was not a very impressive one considering that the opposition was playing its first match. The standard of the football would have been extremely low but for the six goals and the spasms of determination that characterized the second half. On this form Drumconrath would have ‘eaten’ either team without salt. Ballinacrees inexperience was obvious but it is only equitable to state that their debut was not without promising features. They have plenty of enthusiasm and doggedness. One of the best players on the field was the loser’s centre half back Ollie Gilsenan who played a tremendous defensive game and from time to time took a hand in the attack. Centre-forward Paddy Govern was Moynaltys schemer in chief. Paddy could do more than scheme as his tally of 2 goals and 3 points emphasize. P Cahill, P Cussen, Ollie Govern, Jim Lynch, Terry Gilsenan and Mark Clinton also did well for the winners. For Ballinacree, O Gilsenan, P Purcell, A Finnan, M. Donoghue and J Farrelly were best.

Meath Chronicle 11 May 1963

 

Poor Fare at Kells

In the second game St Brigid’s were leading Carlanstown by five points with about six minutes to go but conceded two late goals. In the early years there were no cups or medals at championship level but that never affected the level of enthusiasm of players or supporters. The most important thing was not just winning but entertainment and watching a team that was actually from Ballinacree. An occasional win in a medals tournament or even a victory over neighbours Oldcastle or Moylagh was enough to keep the battery charged. From the start the club generated a new sense of community. There was no shortage of volunteers for whatever work had to be done and a lot of it was done by the players. Funds were scarce and the annual social was the main source of income. Michael McCabe’s terms for the Sheelin Shamrock were always generous. The pitch was eventually bought from the Kidmans and a more permanent fence was erected. In the 1970’s dressing rooms with toilets and hot showers were built so teams could now move out of Paddy Lord’s sheds – but not completely. The forge, with its warm embers, was still a good place to hold a meeting on a cold winter’s night.

The 1970s had it highs and lows. Ten years after its foundation the club now had a strong ‘A’ team which was promoted to intermediate and a ‘B’ team that made up in enthusiasm anything it lacked in talent. Things were looking better than ever but around 1974 a number of internal tensions coupled with emigration and the loss of a semi-final was the beginning of a difficult period for the club. However, during those years excellent work was done by a dedicated committee in basic park development and seven-a-side competitions among club players of all ages helped restore morale. 

 

 

 “ … and unbounded enthusiasm prevailed among the camp followers whose support was never unstinted … “ Meath Chronicle

Ballinacree supporters 1964 

 

Oldcastle beat Parish Rivals

In a game which had everything to recommend it, Oldcastle beat parish rivals St Brigid’s (Ballinacree) by 1-12 to 1-7 in the Junior football “A” championship in Kells on Sunday. Played at a fast pace and with remarkable zeal, the football served up was highly creditable to the grade and unbounded enthusiasm prevailed among the camp followers whose support was never unstinted during an hour which was as interesting as it was entertaining. Purcell, T. Blayney and M. Devine were prominent Oldcastle defenders. O. Lynch and Smith worked like Trojans at midfield and B. Mahon gave a sparkling performance in attack receiving good support from B.Smith and B.Hetherton. L. Fanning and O. Gilsenan (a promising player) defended stubbornly for St Brigid’s. M. Heery had great moments at midfield and C.Gilsenan was outstanding in an attack in which N.Walshe and J. Tuite also were prominent. Marksmen for Oldcastle were B. Mahon (0-8) B. Hetherton (1-0) J. McEnroe 0-2 L. Meara and B. Smith (0-1) each. C. Gilsenan (0-4) V.Walshe (1-1) T. Tuite and B. Briody (0-1) each replied for the losers. Mr J. Casserly (Moynalty) refereed.

Meath Chronicle 2. May 1964

The 1964 Team. Front: M. Clarke, O. Gilsenan, T. Tuite, T. Heery, L. Fanning, V. Walshe, T. Hennessy, M. Tighe, C. Gilsenan, P. Clarke. Back: M. Gammell, A. Fanning, B. Briody, M. Donoghue, B. Murphy, J. Farrelly, J. Blake, M. Heery, A. Walshe, P. Lord. 

 

One of our early Junior ‘B’ teams on a winter’s day. Back: Patsy Clarke, Paddy Kelly, Charlie Farrelly, Eugene Brown, Niall McCabe, James Masterson, Tommy Kenny, Michael Clarke, Michael Connaughton. Front: Michael Donoghue, Joe Blake, Ollie Fanning, Peadar Clarke, Tommy Tighe, Michael Tighe.

 

Committee members in the mid 1970s. Back: Jackie Lynch, Joe Blake, Hugh Brady, Dinny Fitzsimons. Front: Eamonn Moore, Benny Briody, Michael Heery, Michael Connaughton, Paddy Lord. Development of Facilities in 1970s and 1980s

The first park development plan was put into action from 1976 onwards when the playing field was extended by 20 metres and a new fence erected. The wall along the main road was completed in early 1978 and the building of the ‘old’ dressing rooms then began and were completed in 1980. All the work was done on Saturdays by the volunteer labour of club members. These developments cost over £6,000, which was raised by various fund-raising activities in the parish. In 1979 the team was beaten in the quarter final of the championship by Meath Hill. In 1981 St Brigid’s were again unlucky to lose a league final by one point to Navan O'Mahonys. The team was: B. Daly, P. McCabe, B. Briody, P. Tuite, M. Farrelly, H. Gilsenan, P. McGinn, E. Tuite, M. Hussey, P. Farrelly, G. Farrelly, S. Treacy, V. Walsh, O Gilsenan, M. Blake. Subs.: J. Maguire, N. Walsh, P. Brown, B. Tighe, M. Maguire, C. Coyle, J. Plunkett, J. Lynch. St. Brigid’s reached the semi-final of the Junior football championship in 1981 but were beaten by Moynalty by two points. Twenty years after it came into use the Ballinacree pitch was officially opened in April 1983 on the completion of the development plan. The club hosted a match between Meath senior champions Walterstown and Laragh, the Cavan champions. The chairman of the club was Jim Maguire, son of the clubs first chairman, Seamus. He was assisted by Martin Blake as secretary and Philip Tuite as treasurer.

The 1980’s were strewn with quarter finals and semi-finals. In 1993 silverware came to St. Brigid’s when a team under the management of Leo McEnroe captured the U-21 Special League title beating Longwood in the final. They get two consolation scores; no matter, the battle is fought. In 1994 things were even better when, with Gerry Farrelly as manager, St Brigid’s won their first county junior championship. They had squeezed past Duleek in the quarter final, and comfortably beat St. Vincent’s in the semi-final. All of Ballinacree headed for Pairc Tailteann, Navan on 4 October to see their team take on Baconstown in the curtain raiser to the senior final. In the club’s finest hour so far St. Brigid's scored 2-12 to Baconstown 2-08, and Ronan Hennessy raised the cup. Celebrations went on until Christmas! Chairman of the club was Philip Tuite who has served a total of 14 non-consecutive years as chairman.

Into the 1990s

Pitch development work continued in the early 1990’s when the club spent over £3,000 installing heated showers in the dressing rooms. In 1996 the club, spearheaded by Hugh Gilsenan, decided to further develop the playing field and plots of land adjoining the pitch were purchased from Lords’ and Calvin’s. A fishbone drainage system was laid in the field and the entire surface was levelled and reseeded. New dugouts, floodlights, fencing and goal posts were part of the plan. This entire project cost over £60,000 and was funded by bank loans, small grants and of course the Blotto. From 1995 to 1999 the club competed at Intermediate level but had little success in the grade and in 1999 were playing in the junior championships once again. In 1999 the u-21’s, coached by Paddy McNamee won the special Grade C final by beating Curraha and prospects for the new century looked good. In spite of that the next three years were lean times, ‘winwise’ but in 2003 hard work began to pay off. The team reached the Quarter Finals of the Junior ‘B’ Championship and a play off in the Div 5 A League; and the B Team were runners up in the Div 6 B League and were promoted to Div 5 B League. The following year, 2004, the Junior B team reached the semi-final in the championship and won the Division 5 ‘A’ League, under the guidance of Ray Lydon and his selectors Declan Masterson and Michael Hussey. This brought promotion to Div 4 A League. In 2005 the team reached the final of the Junior ‘B’ Championship. Micheál Briody began his seven year stint as chairman with Fergal Hennessy as secretary and Stephen Farrelly as treasurer. Off the field the club were looking at options to build new dressing rooms and decided that Ollie Balfe’s field off the Ballinrink road was the best option. This was purchased for €160,000 in 2006. In a joint fundraising venture with the Community Association, €9,854 was raised by each club. Leinster Council awarded the club €25,000 for the purchase of the field. St Brigid’s won the Junior B Championship in 2006 beating Clonard in the final and were promoted to Junior A.

The St Brigid’s Junior B 2006 winning team was : Declan Masterson; Brendan Briody, Hugh Fanning, Jerome Hussey; Donal Fanning (captain), Brian Briody, Donal Reynolds; Peter Skelly, Micheál Briody; Killian Kiernan, Ian Browne, Brendan Gibson; Conor Farrelly, Tomas Blake, Fergal Hennessy. Subs - A. J. Gilsenan for Browne, Browne for Kiernan, Martin Briody for Farrelly, Philip Tuite, Shane Geraghty, Eugene Gilsenan, Hugh Gilsenan, Niall Hennessy, Stephen Farrelly, Oliver Timmons, Nicholas Smyth, Dermot Mullally, Diarmuid Fanning, Rory Geraghty, Peter Moore, David Tighe, Shane Connell, Peter Clerkin, Robert Gilsenan, Leonard Tuite. The team was coached by Gerry Farrelly and selectors were Michael Browne and Eamon Tuite.

In 2006, for the first time in 10 years, the club fielded a second team for the county championships – in the Junior D Division. This team didn’t make it to the final shakeup but the under 21 team won their Division C final by beating Moynalvy and bringing a second piece of silverware to Ballinacree inside a month. In 2007 the Junior A team reached the semi finals of the championship but were beaten by a stronger Clann na Gael team that later went on to win the Meath and Leinster Junior titles.

Major Developments

Off the field, the largest development so far in the history of the club commenced. Club officers looked at different facilities around the county and finally decided on plans to build new dressing rooms with parking facilities and open an entrance off the Ballinrink road. This was a very major undertaking by a small club and could not be achieved without major funding from the Sports Capital Program. The first step was to apply for planning permission. Once this was granted a submission was made to the Dept of Sport outlining the need for the facility and showing that it would be as inclusive as possible in its use. The submission was supported by the schools, other local sports clubs, neighbouring clubs and the county boards as well as local politicians. The club also had to prove that it was in a position to fund its share of the project. The documentation was delivered to the Dept of Sport just in time to meet the closing date which had been brought forward from early 2007 to November 2006. In May 2007 the club received the news that it had been allocated a €240,000 grant with a further top of €40000 because it was in a Clar area. Leinster Council allocated another €30000.

Now the work could begin. The project involved levelling the site and erection of dressing rooms and a bridge across the river; then an entrance roadway, a car park, lights, and finally, landscaping of the site. Initially it was planned to sell off part of the land for sites but because the Dept of Sport and the Credit Union had a charge on all of the land it was decided to apply for further funding to develop a walking track and training pitch. Unfortunately the club was not successful in this effort. Further funding efforts with the ‘Friends of St Brigid’s’ draws in 2008 (€23,700) and 2009 (€25,512) helped to defray some of the costs. The list of contributors inside the clubroom door and on the bridge leading to the pitch are a testament to the success of these draws and the support of the community. The contract was awarded to Brady Plant Hire and Civil Works. The work was completed in early 2009 and the official opening on 10 April 2009 was performed by Seamus Howlin, Chairman of Leinster Council and Barney Allen Chairman of Meath County Board. An adult seven-a-side and underage races and football matches were held over the weekend in conjunction with the official opening and a tree was planted at the entrance gate to mark the occasion. The club raised over €10,000 in successive years 2010 and 2011 with a world record solo run attempt and a vintage tractor draw. The team reached the knockout stage of the championship in both 2009 and 2010 but was beaten both times by the eventual winners, Longwood and Ballivor respectively.Kiernan Farms took over the sponsorship of team jerseys from long time sponsor T.P.Fox. The death of the Celtic Tiger affected club income. The club has managed to restructure its loans under the new chairman Michael Heery and with the aid of the Blotto which is now in its 19th year and special fundraisers like ‘Scrap Saturday’ it is now in a position to continue repaying outstanding loans. Over the years the club has also managed to raise money for a lot of deserving causes with its St Stephen’s day fun games.

All served as chairmen of St Brigid’s Club: Back Jim Maguire, Micheál Briody, Hugh Gilsenan, Alo Connaughton, Philip Tuite. Front: Benny Briody, James Masterson, Michael Heery, John Farrelly. Joe Farrell was also chairman. Seamus Maguire and Tom Geraghty are both deceased.

 

What the Papers said back then

Ballinacree F.C – the first meeting of Ballinacree. F.C will be held at Ballinacree on Sunday next at 2 p.m. All members and intending members are requested to attend.

Meath Chronicle. 12 January 1963

 

Rev P Tully C C Moynalty (chairman) presided at the adjourned convention of the Meath GAA Board in the CYMS Hall Navan on Monday night. The proceedings lasted from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m ……. Transfers: Brendan Briody, Paddy Farnan, Michael Heery, Liam Fanning, Oliver Gilsenan (Moylagh to St. Brigid’s)

Meath Chronicle 2 Feb 1963

 

St Brigid’s went down fighting Martinstown Narrow Victory A rousing game of football was served up by Martinstown and St.Brigid’s on Sunday when Martinstown unexpectedly beat the Ballinacree boys by 2-5 to 1-7 in the Junior “A” championship. This was a hell-for-leather affair in which no quarter was asked or given. Yet a grand sporting spirit prevailed for the hour. If the losers had a few more players of the calibre of Ollie Gilsenan they would win the junior championship at their ease. Operating in the pivotal position of the halfback line Ollie turned in a veritable Horatioon- the-bridge performance, particularly in the second half when he almost played himself into the ground in a spectacular one-man war on the Martinstown attack. Martinstown was a desperately narrow win but taking everything, including luck, into consideration they were deserving winners. It was a victory that emphasized the importance of ‘pull’ at midfield. John Keogh and Mike Mellotte did magnificent work in this sector for the winners … Playing with the wind in the first half St. Brigid’s operated like a winning team yet it was of some considerable significance that Martinstown were on level terms at the interval … The Martinstown mentors made a shrewd move when they switched the centre half back Mike McGovern on to Ollie Gilsenan in the fourth quarter The tiring Ballinacree ‘tiger’ found Mike hard to handle … St Brigid’s, who have one of the most enthusiastic sets of follower in the county, went down fighting and took their beating like sportsmen … The heroic Ollie Gilsenan – what a man – was called upon to take the kicks out and to travel all over the place to take frees. It was a form of football lunacy to pile so much work on a defender who was playing his heart out otherwise. Gilsenan was undoubtedly the man-of the match. A very impressive display was given by full back B.Briody whose dynamic clearances deserevdly brought roars of approval from the Ballinacree supporters. T.Hennessy, B.Murphy, J Farrelly (a tasty corner-forward), Walsh and Finan did well in spots

Meath Chronicle 16 May 1964

 

Enfield Beaten

St Brigid’s (Killeagh) produced a brilliant performance in beating Enfield 1-14 to 1-7 in the Intermediate Football Championship at Navan. Enfield dictated matters in the first half but on the resumption St Brigid’s, inspired by superb performances from midfielders M. Tighe and T. Lynch gained complete supremacy. Man of the match was St Brigid’s right half forward Gerry Farrelly who tormented the Enfield defence throughout and finished with a personal tally of 0-6. In addition to Farrelly, T. Hennessy, T.Clarke, O. Gilsenan, Peter Farrelly and T.P. Cox impressed for the winners Enfield’s best were M.O’Neill, M. Cosgrave N.Brogan, P McManus D. O’Neill and E. Mulvihill.

Meath Chronicle 6 May 1972

 

The current Meath senior football team must be the youngest the Royal county has put on the field in the premier grade for quite a while … One of the newcomers who has been causing a huge impression in recent weeks is 19-years old Gerry Farrelly of the St Brigid’s (Killeagh) club. Ice-cool Gerry has been proving himself a top-class forward and was the hero of the Armagh game, shooting 2-2.

Meath Chronicle. Window on Youth 1972

 

Will Gerry Farrelly or Jimmy Keavney emerge as the leading scorer for this season’s Leinster Senior Football Championship? There is only a single point separating this pair at the top of the chart starting this appealing Croke Park decider but the Dubliner has a big advantage in the averages line-up … Farrelly helped himself to 3-11 in three engagements. This gives him a fine match average – the second only to Keaveney – at 6.6 points … If Farrelly maintains his dominance it will mean a first for Meath on top of the Leinster table since 1967 when Tony Brennan finished ahead of the field with 4-4 in three matches.

The Evening Press 1974

 

A last-minute goal by Kevin Walshe gave St Brigid’s a 1-6 to 1-4 victory over near neighbours Oldcastle in the Division 2 F.C. at Athboy. Oldcastle led by 0-3 to 0-1 at the interval. Best for the winners were O. Moore, C Farrelly, E Tuite, N. Clarke and K.Walshe.; while P Geraghty, P Dolan and L Meara were good for Oldcastle.

Meath Chronicle 22 June 1974

 

St Brigid’s 1-10 Trim 0-7

Though they wasted a lot of possession by kicking nine wides in the opening half St Brigid’s (Ballinacree) led by 1-5 to 0-3 at the break and finished more strongly against Trim in this J.F.C. first-round game in Kilskyre on Sunday. Their best players were midfielder Ollie Gilsenan who played with Moylough last year and Eamonn Tuite who scored 1-5. These were well assisted by half-back Pat McGinn and forwards Eamonn Moore and Sean Treacy. St Brigid’s B Daly, B Tuite, B Briody B.Tighe, McGinn, S. Coyle T. Walshe, O. Gilsenan, E Tuite, M. Farrelly, H. Gilsenan, C. Coyle, M. Blake. Sub M Hussy for Blake

Meath Chronicle 19 April 1980

 

St Brigid’s 2-5 Moylough 1-4

With 17 years-old Michael Maguire giving a superb performance, St Brigid’s defeated Moylough in an entertaining and enjoyable Division Two F.C second-round game at Kilskyre last Sunday. Maguire received great support from fellow-defenders Dermot Clarke and Brian Tighe, midfielders Gene Coyle and Peter McCabe and Brian Lynch and Tom Hennessey up front. Best for Moylough who trailed 0-4 to 1-2 at half time were goalkeeper Grall, John Flood, Barney Mahon, Oliver Gibney, Kevin Hanlon and Bernard Husband. Scorers for St Brigid’s B. Lynch T. Hennessy (1-0 each) M Maguire, G Coyle, P McCabe, P Hussey S. Smith (0-1 each)

Meath Chronicle 3 May 1980

 

Late Rally Foils Curraha

A dramatic final three minutes when corner Padraig Tierney was dismissed and they conceded 1-1 ended Curraha’s hopes of victory over St Brigid’s in this action-packed tie at Navan last Sunday. Trailing by a point (1-6 to 1-7) in the dying moments St Brigid’s must have thought their chances of a second win in this year’s campaign were slim. Sean Tracey, Philip (Bob) Tuite and John Farrelly are former chairmen of St Brigid’s. Bob calculates that he served about 14 years in the chair. However, shot a good goal for the winners before Ollie Gilsenan settled the issue with a fine point from virtually the last kick of the game. After leading by 1-4 to 0-5 at half time, the winners were under considerable pressure for long spells in the second half when Curraha’s Pat Coyle, Fran and Brendan O’Connor and Tierney put in good performances. Boosted by the efforts of Gerry Farrelly, Tracey and Gilsenan, however St Brigid’s came back to snatch victory. St Brigid’s Pat Walshe, E Coyle, B Briody, E Tuite, M Farrelly, V Walshe, Paul Walshe, H Gilsenan, M Brown, M Hussey, G Farrelly, N Walshe, D Clarke, O Gilsenan, S Tracey, . Sub Daly for Paul Walshe

Meath Chronicle 5 May 1984

 

 

In the spring of 2007 at a Club Development meeting it was decided that we explore the possibility of going live with our own website to keep everybody up to date on exciting new developments that were in the pipeline for St Brigid's GFC. As PRO I was charged with investigating the course of action that was now required. After some general enquiries we discovered that Meath County Council were helping Sports Clubs like ourselves set up and maintain websites for free. That summer myself and Roseanne Smyth attended an eight hour course in the County Council Offices in Navan. The knowledge gathered at this course gave us a great kick-start to our new venture and eventually after a lot of hours searching archives and uploading we went live in September. Subsequently we added a link which meant that no matter where in the world you found yourself, you could play our clubs blotto and pay membership online as if you were in the clubrooms. All blotto results are listed from the 5th of November 2007 when we utilized this link. Our Photo Gallery is a great source of interest with the album “Development in Progress” one of our most popular hits as everyone kept up to date with our clubhouse and training pitch development with photos detailing progress from the digging of foundations to the finished product. Hopefully in years to come it will prove to be an excellent archive with a lot of history recorded in club news, match reports and photos to be enjoyed by our descendants. www.stbrigidsgfc.com has been a great success and to date has had well over 750,000 hits from our local community and indeed our numerous wanderers from Ballinacree who have travelled to every corner of the globe and want to stay in touch with our clubs developments.

Declan Masterson
The Website

 

Establishing an Identity.

I think that one of the big thing the club did was that it gave us an identity. Before that you’d be up the county and when someone would ask you where you came from you’d say Ballinacree. They’d ask ‘Where is that?’ When we started to play football the name appeared on the papers. We were lucky too at the beginning with the officers; they were all the right men for the job. Joe Blake, the secretary was the main motivator. He was working in Carroll’s in the town an ideal place to meet lads like us who didn’t go to school in Ballinacree and others from the different parts of the parish to convince them to join the new club. He’s be chatting to our mothers too and telling them what a great club we were going to have in Ballinacree. Master Connaughton as treasurer was a good man at handling the little bit of money we had and he knew how to talk to the Kidmans and persuade them to rent the field to us – and then to sell. And then of course Seamus Maguire had been a county footballer with Cavan but apart from that people respected him; he was a good chairman who knew how to run a meeting, keep order and motivate people to do things.

Liam Fanning

 

The cartoon above was used on RTE’s early 1970’s version of ‘The Sunday Game.” with a snippet from fhe previous week’s Meath Chronicle. At the Co Council meeting Willie Gilsenan had made an urgent plea for signposts for Ballinacree. One of the reasons why they were urgently needed was that football teams and supporters were losing their way when coming to visit us. The two ‘lost’ supporters above don’t seem to be in any great hurry! On a wet and windy night during the last war, a delegate from a rural club in County Meath got up on his bicycle to travel the thirteen Irish miles to a County Board Meeting in Navan. When he arrived he was soaked through to the skin and when he sat at the table the water from his clothes flowed over it to such an extent that it was a hindrance to the conduct of the business. Then, the Holy Ghost descended on the vice-Chairman and he proposed that the meeting should adjourn for twenty minutes. When the motion was carried he took the saturated delegate to Spicer’s Bakery, nearby, and placing him carefully at the mouth of one of the ovens, turned him and twisted him until he was baked dry as a bone. The meeting was then resumed, and when all the business had been attended to the delegate got up on his bicycle and travelled the thirteen miles home again in the lashing rain. It is to this anonymous delegate that this account of a personal and not always easy relationship with the Gaelic Athletic Association is dedicated.

Taken from:
Over the Bar by Brendán Ó hEithir
Ward River Press 1984
The True Believer

Poem

Our little parish was empty
On that great October day
As our loyal fans to Navan went
To see their heroes play
Baconstown started brightly
Their forwards were on song
Two goals hit the Brigid’s net
Surely it was going wrong
Brigid’s knew they had to press
They badly needed scores
Browne, Fanning, Blake with two
Here we go once more
Halftime came, we were two adrift
But we looked the better side
Hennessy finished a scorching move
Now we were in our stride
Sound levels were rising
The fans weren’t going to fret
Fanning won possession
And finished sweetly to the net
The Brigid’s crowd responded
They rocked the Navan stand
Could dreams come true they wondered?
Could victory be at hand?
Baconstown now were rattled
Pressured to defend
As the men in blue kept sweeping
Towards the hospital end
A kick out came from Gilsenan
An attack underway, an encore
Gene Coyle’s fancy footwork
The ball is in the net once more
Now we’re six in front
Surely can’t be caught
They get two consolations
No matter, the battle is fought
The final whistle sounded
As Blake just caught the ball
He raised his arm in ecstasy
And on his knees did fall
When Hennessy held the cup aloft
To the sea of blue below
The supporters raised their flags up high
And the tears began to flow
So now salute our gallant men
Who fulfilled dreams galore
They won the county final
In the year of Ninety-four
Eugene in the goals
Who saved us in many places
David, Hugh and Padraig
More than pretty faces
Brendan, Martin and Declan
Tigerish, impish and proud
Two Michaels in the middle of the field
Did they bring them from the clouds?
Eunan, Ronan and Thomas
Hardworking, they ran all day
Micheál, Tomás and Diarmuid
Baconstown backs, they made to pay
So now you have my memories
For which I hold some glee
We took the Matthew Ginnity cup
For the first time….to BALLINACREE

The Day We Won The Cup (1994)

Declan Masterson

 

Poem

St. Brigid’s, Oh, St. Brigid’s, yes!
You’ve made us truly proud;
You played the game with such prowess,
You did enthral the crowd.
For that hour long you held our gaze
With such intensity;
We shouted, cheered, we even prayed
You on to victory.
And when the final kick was done,
And it was known that you had won,
What joy, what tears, what happiness,
What smile, warm handshake and caress.
And did you see the cup held high
In arms stretched upwards to the sky,
While all around were heard to say,
“We’ve won at last, this day, hurray”.
And then the homeward journey bound,
To reassemble on the ground,
Where all had played and fought and sang,
Or ran when church and school bells rang.
For this was the dream of all and one,
Father, mother, daughter, son;
That someday, surely, there would be
This glory
sweet in
Ballinacree.
So thank you
lads, for you have shown
What must to
all wise men be known,
To win such honour, minds must be
As one in joined community.

Anne Fanning, Crossdrum.