THE EARLY YEARS ~ By Pat Brown of Ballymacad

THE first football team was formed in the parish in 1888 and was affiliated under the name of Ballinacree. The club colours were green.

The club disbanded in 1914 because of the war, arrests, raids and imprisonment and the Black and Tans. The last game was played in Kells against Syddan in 1914. The team travelled in a four-wheel brake drawn by two horses.

The members of that 1888 to 1914 team included the following names: Jim and Con Kelly, Baltrasna; Joe and Jack Clarke, Ballinacree; Jim, Matt and Pat Brown, Tubrid; Jimmy Gral1, Ballinacree; Peter Lynch. Rakea; Matt and Tom Smith, Rathiever; Joe Scally, Ballymanus; Tom Callary, Moate; Willie Farnan. Ballymanus; Bob Hanley, Baltrasna; Barnie Martin, Crossdrum; Tom Murtagh, Moate; J ames Donoghue, Hammondstown; Phil and Jack Tuite, Rathmae; Jack Roe, Tubrid; Jim Fitzpatrick, Hilltown. Tom Murtagh was also a referee.

Eleven years elapsed before a team was formed in the parish again this was in 1926. This team had a very short existence, only three years. They were suspended in 1929 for life. We are told that the Ballinacree players were not at fault on the day, that it was very bad refereeing that was the cause of the trouble. The match was played in Ballinlough in the Junior championship and the opponents were Carnaross. When the referee's report came up for discussion at the County Board meeting, Ballinacree was not represented by a delegate from the club. We can only suppose that the reason for that was because cars were not available at the time, the trip to Navan would have to have been made by bicycle. Ballinacree were well defended at the meeting by a Ballinlough delegate, Nicholas Gaynor (RIP). He owned the public house in Ballinlough at that time. He said the Ballinacree players were the most decent and respectable men in Co. Meath.

The football pitch was at Tubrid bridge, a field kindly given by James Natalie Hone of Ballymacad House. The names of the players registered with the club in 1926 were: Con McCormack, Ballymacad; Bernie McCabe, Moate; Tommie Reilly, Hilltown; Ned Kelly, Baltrasna; Harry and George Aherne, Ross; Jack and Phil Tuite, Rathmae; Jimmy Heery, Tubrid; Larry Daly, Ballycomoyle; Tom and Pat Brown, Ballymacad; Joe and Jimmy Brown, Ballinrink; Jack Reilly, Rathiever; Pat Tuite, Rathmae; Jack Donoghue, Hammondstown; Christy Traynor, Grieve; Peter Conne1l, Tubrid; Paddy Reilly, Tubrid Joe Brown and Jack Reilly also played with Austin Stacks of Kerry.

The team and subs who were suspended in 1929: Pat Brown, Ballymacad; Jack Tuite, Rathmae; Tommy Reilly, Hilltown; Joe Kevin, Rassilagh; Pat Tuite, Rathmae; George

Ahern, Ross; Tom Lynch, Annagh; Pat McGinn, Hilltown; James Heery, Tubrid; Jack McGinn, Hilltown; Matt Brown, Ballymacad; Tom Ginnell, Ballycomoyle; Malachy Kelly, Ross; Tom Brown, Ballymacad; Leo Ahern, Ross.

Subs.: Jack Donoghue, Hammondstown; Larry Kevin, Rassilagh; Mick Reilly, Tubrid; Tommy Kenny, Ballinrink; Jimmy Kevin, Rassilagh; Jack Boyle, Ross: Barney Donoghue, Hammondstown.

Club Officers: Chairman, Peter Clarke, Cullentra; Vice Chairman, Tom Butler, Hilltown; Secretary, Paddy Hennessy, Rassilagh; Treasurer, Edward J. Smith, Halfcarton.

After the club had been suspended most of the players went to play with Castletown Finea. Mattie Brown went to Dublin, where he played with the Westerns who won two Dublin Senior club championships in the years 1930 and 1931. He also played for Meath from 1930 to 1933.