HURLING IN THE EAST KERRY DISTRICT
Well, legend has it that a hurling game between the Fianna and the Tuatha De Danann took place in the countryside between Fossa and Glenflesk over 1000 years ago! Legend aside, however, we have to go back roughly ninety years at least for the first mention of an East Kerry side in the County Hurling Championship at senior level at least. In 1910, a Killarney team defeated holders Tralee Mitchells and went on to defeat Kenmare in the semi final. However, a Kenmare objection stating that Killarney had illegally played players from Kilgarvan was upheld and Killarney was thrown out of the competition. Killarney also took part in 1911 and 1912, and in 1918 a team from Rathmore reached the semi finals.In the following decades Killarney took part in the county championship with varying degrees of success as follows:
1920’s: Killarney took part in 1928 and East Kerry in 1929
1930’s: East Kerry took part in 1930, 31, and 32. Killarney reached the semi final in 1933 while Rathmore took part the following year, receiving a walkover from East Kerry. Killarney represented the area from 1935 to 1940.
1940’s: Teams from the area took part in the early 40’s; however Killarney were back from 1946 to start a 26 year unbroken run in the championship.
1950’s: The fifties heralded a very successful period for hurling in the East Kerry area. Under the guidance of Laois man, Ben Campion, Killarney won 3 Minor County Championships in a row between 1950 and 52 and were beaten by Crotta in the senior final in 1951. Building on that base they went on to contest the Senior championship with a greater degree of success. 5 players played in all 3 finals during Killarney’s unprecendented run of success winning 3 Co. Minor Championship in a row:Liam Brosnan, Paddy O’Shea, Patrick O’Donoghue and Michael Looney of Dr. Crokes together with Legion’s Johnny Culloty.
1960’s: Johnny Culloty brought the first All – Ireland hurling medal to East Kerry when he was on the Kerry team that defeated London in the 1961 All Ireland Junior final.
Success at last – Unlucky to be beaten by two points at the Quarter final stage in 1968, Killarney took the championship by storm in 1969 defeating Causeway, Kenmare, O’Dorney and Austin Stacks (in the final) to take the County Senior Hurling title for the first and only time completing a Championship double with East Kerry Footballers. Killarney were back in the final the following year defeating O’Dorney and Ballyduff (Semi Final) before going under to Kilmoyley in the final with a score of 2-12 to 4-4.
Killarney – 1969 County Champions. The team that defeated Austin stacks by 2-6 to 2-5 were as follows: Mikey Culloty, Eamonn Fitzpatrick, Bill Moloney, Mickey Culloty, Ultan Breen, Dan Kelleher, Denis Russell, Tadhgie Fleming, Derry Crowley, Brendan Lynch, Tom Prendergast, Johnny Culloty, Pat Lynch, Mick Spillane, Con O’Meara (captain). 1970’s: Successive defeats by Ballyduff in 1971 and 72, followed by walkovers to the same opposition in 1973 and to Austin stacks in 1974 heralded the demise of hurling in the Division. It would be another 17 years before a team from the division would contest the Senior Hurling Championship.
1980’s: in 1982 St. Patrick’s E.K Hurling Club was set up to cater for hurling in the divistion.
St. Patricks East Kerry Hurling Club
On November 15th 1982, on the initiative of the then chairman of the East Kerry GAA Board Mr. Sean Kelly (now of course Uachtaran CLG) a meeting was called for the Park Place Hotel with the aim of setting up a Club to promote hurling in the division. Among those present were Connie Carroll Runai E.K.B, Pa Doyle, Gerald Landers, Brother Justin, Derry Crowley, Johnny Culloty, Michaell Culloty, Tadhgie Fleming, Joe Doherty, Liam McGuire Tom Holohan, and Noel O’ Connor.
It was decided that the name of the Club would be St. Patricks East Kerry GAA Club.
Officers elected at that inaugural meeting were as follows: President: Donie Brosnan Chairman: Pa Doyle, Vice Chairman: Colm Dennehy, Secrterary: Tony Devine Treasurers: Tim Healy and Liam McGuire
The Club has enjoyed varying levels of success with the winning of the Co. Intermediate Championship in 1983 and 1990 and the County League division 2 in 1985, being chief among them.
The role of the Club has also changed over the years. Initially, St. Pats players with a few exceptions, were drawn from the football clubs mainly Dr. Crokes, Spa, Glenflesk, Kilcummin, Legion and Fossa.
However, with the renewed interest in Hurling and the success of such ventures as the 7-a-side tournament and East Kerry 11-a-side competition, the likes of Dr. Crokes, Rathmore, St. Marys and Spa/ Glenflesk were able to field teams on their own and these sides competed well in County Competition.
These teams continued to play under the umbrella of St. Pats in the County Championships.
In recent years the numbers playing hurling at senior level has declined and only Dr. Crokes continue to field in this grade. There has been a huge increase in the numbers playing at Juvenile level however with the indoor competition during the winter proving very popular. Once again, hurling at Juvenile level is thriving in some of the rural clubs, especially Rathmore where a fine tradition of hurling has always existed.
It is hoped that this renewed interest at Juvenile level will bear fruit at senior level in the coming years.
St. Pats Hurling Team 2005
Focus on the President of St. Pat’s Hurling Club – DAN KELLEHER
Dan, who hails from Aghabullogue in County Cork, had a distinguished career as both a hurler and footballer.In his glorious college days he won Fitzgibbon Cup medals with both UCC (1955 & 57) and UCD (1958).
He hurled with his native Cork in 1954 (Minor) and 1957 (Junior) and had several appearances at Senior level in tournament and Oireachtais games. A last minute goal by the master himself, Christy Ring, deprived Dan of a Cork Senior hurling Championship medal with UCC in 1962 but he returned in 1963 to win the title with the College. In 1969 he won a Kerry senior hurling championship medal with Killarney, and was on the Kerry senior hurling sides of 1969 and 1970 who went under to Warwickershire In the National Hurling League Div. 2 finals those years.
Dan was no mean Footballer either, and won East Kerry League and championship medals with Dr. Crokes in 1968 and County and Munster Championship medals with East Kerry in 1970.
Over the years Dan has filled many roles with St. Pats from coaching at Juvenile level to selector with the successful Intermediate championship winning sides.
The Officers of St. Pats for 2007 were as follows:
President: Dan Kelleher
Chairman: Pat Delaney
Vice Chairman: Pat O’Brien
Secretary: Mike Leahy
Players Representative: Fergal Clarke
Treasurer: Tom Holohan
PRO: Pat O’Brien
South Kerry Board Delegate: Mike Ryan & Pat O’Brien
Co. Board Delegate: John O Leary
E.K.B Delegate: Pat Delaney
Registrar: Bridie Cronin
Senior Trianer: Mike Ryan Selectors: Jimmy Smith, Denis Russell
A Plan for Juvenile Hurling in East Kerry – National Schools Survey
As part of St. Patrick’s Hurling club plan for Juvenile Hurling in East Kerry, a National Schools survey was undertaken to identify the level of coaching, in all sports, available to our youth. The results of this survey make interesting reading and highlight the need for Games Promotional Officers (GPOs) to visit our schools on a regular basis to teach the skills of Gaelic games. A games promotional officer will be appointed for Hurling in the near future for the South Kerry Hurling Board area
We recognise the importance of presenting hurling to children of national school age at a time of their development when the skills are best learned. We were conscious that many sports are being presented to our children during school hours and it was necessary to identify the amount of exposure given to hurling through a survey of sport in our National Schools in the East Kerry Divisional Board area. This survey was conducted in the Spring of 2005.
“The integration of sport and education represents the future of games development” Sean Kelly, Uachtaran CLG.
The following table summarises the results of our survey.
East Kerry Schools Coaching Survey*
Number of Schools providing Coaching
Coaching Hours per week
Number of Pupils to whom coaching is available at school
Percentage of East Kerry Pupils to whom coaching is available at School
*This survey was conducted in schools in the East Kerry Bord Na nOg area only, i.e. not including Currow, Cordal and Scartaglen who are in the Castleisland area.
Highlights of the Survey
A total of 27 National Schools with a population of 2,978 students were surveyed.
Schools in the Glenflesk area, together with Lissivigeen and Rathmore, provide a total of 4 hours of coaching per week.
There is NO HURLING COACHING in 20 of the 27 National Schools in East Kerry.
Out of a total of 91.9 hours of sports coaching each week in East Kerry Schools, Hurling accounts for 4 hours or less than 5%.
16% of East Kerry National School children have the opportunity to experience hurling at school (485 children from 2,978).
23 of the 27 schools surveyed would welcome the introduction of hurling coaching and the provision of regular hurling sessions in school.