THE FATHER GALVIN CUP
The Father Galvin Cup is presented annually to the winners of the East Kerry Intermediate Championship. This competition started, by motion from Fossa club, at the 1992 East Kerry Board Annual Convention at the Park Place Hotel on the 19th January 1992 (reference: East Kerry Boards minutes). Fr Galvin, who was the President of the East Kerry GAA Board and Parish Priest in Fossa parish at the time, presented a Cup for the competition and in due course, in recognition of the outstanding service he gave to the East Kerry Board and to many clubs in the District, the cup and the Intermediate Championship were named in his honour.
As a mark of the regard in which the Fr Galvin Cup Championship is held, the East Kerry Board presents a Man of the Match Award for each of the games in the competition, sponsored by The Aquila Club, Gleneagle Hotel. These players go forward to selection process for the East Kerry Fr Galvin Cup All Star Award, which was presented for the first time in the 2013 season. This has continued annually at the East Kerry All Star Awards Banquet and Gala night in the Gleneagle hotel, Killarney, sponsored by the Kerryman Newspaper and the Aquila Club, Gleneagle hotel. Further information is available on the East Kerry All Stars section of this web site.
Fr Galvin served in many parishes throughout County Kerry, the last being Fossa where he was Parish Priest from 1972 to his retirement from pastoral duties in 1997. He was at the helm for many developments in the parish, including the construction of the new church in 1977 and he was highly regarded, kind and caring, very popular and seen as a great motivator3. Fr Galvin served in many capacities in the GAA, both in clubs in the many parishes he served in, where he made significant contributions, and on the East Kerry Board, where he served as Chairman and in later years as President. He is described as ‘An impartial, well versed in the rules and respected Chairman, and he was known for always working in the interests of the Board and the GAA in general (The Clear Air Boys).
Fr Galvin was born in Dingle in 1918 and his involvement in the GAA started there with his playing career. He was described as ‘a stylish footballer’2. Having started school in his native Dingle C.B.S., Fr Galvin went on to St Brendan’s in Killarney where he had the distinction of captaining the Senior team (The Clear Air Boys).2
Fr Galvin was a Kerry Minor in 1936, when he lined out at mid-field. Among his team mates that year were Joe Keohane, Gega O’Connor and Bill Carey. Kerry went all the way to the All Ireland Final that year. Fr Galvin was on the side that defeated Mayo in the semi-final, but his religious studies precluded him from lining out for the final against Louth, which Kerry lost. He had to go back to Maynooth college after the semi-final, and he is quoted as saying ‘there was no way in the world that I would be allowed out for the final’ (The Clear Air Boys)2.
After his ordination, he served in Caherdaniel before being transferred to Glenflesk. It was while there that he was elected chairman of the East Kerry Board for a two year term in 1951 and he was also very involved with the newly founded St Agatha’s Glenflesk GAA club2. Fr Galvin was elected as their second Chairman, at the AGM in 1952, where he contributed significantly to the club and he is credited with putting the club and its officers on a sound footing in those early years. At the AGM all outgoing officers were re-elected. Fr Galvin was also returned as Chairman of the East Kerry Board. Things were going on as usual when, sometime in May, Glenflesk club Officers and members were stunned by the news that the Glenflesk club chairman, Fr Galvin, was being transferred to Moyvane. The news came through on Tuesday that he was being transferred on Friday. This transfer (in 1953) caused dismay (Glimpses from the Glen).3
Fr Galvin issued an instruction to call a meeting for Thursday night. It was a very sad night for all in the Parish and especially the club’s Officers. Brendan Brosnan, club Officer, reminisces saying ‘We were all young with very little experience. Father Galvin had been a father figure to us and we had all looked up to him. Now we were left on our own. I think this meeting was the most important that the club has ever had because of the advise we got and of the promise we gave to Fr Galvin . It meant that the future of the club was assured and the sacrifices we made in later years were made because of it. Fr Galvin arrived at the meeting feeling rather downhearted. He refused to take any presentation whatsoever. He explained that his going was part of his priestly life’ (Glimpses from the Glen)3
The Fossa GAA Club History book records ‘From Glenflesk, Fr Galvin travelled to Moyvane, in 1953, Dromtarriffe in 1960, Rathmore in 1968 and finally Fossa, where he was parish priest from 1972 to his retirement in 1997. In Rathmore, he was very committed to the GAA club juvenile section and was elected as President of the club in 1972’. It further records that ‘Fr Galvin was elected President of Fossa GAA club and the East Kerry Board, both positions he held until his death’- in 2002. Fr Galvin is also recorded as saying that ‘he was a very lucky man. He had grown up in Dingle and had spent much of his ministry in Fossa, two locations which are among the most beautiful in the world'(Ref: The Fossa GAA Club History (2005), edited Gene Moriarty 5.
As President of the East Kerry Board, from 1974 to his passing away on the 6th April 2002, aged almost 84 years, Fr Galvin maintained an active interest in Board activities, and was a frequent spectator at games(Fossa and Aghadoe History and Heritage, (2007) edited Jim Larner6. His deep interest in all matters GAA is well described in the Aghadoe and Fossa History and Heritage book, which records that Fr Galvin ‘was a fanatical supporter of football. Many of his sermons made reference to the game. His comments on the match at the end of mass on Munster final day were eagerly awaited…. Mass became very much interactive, much to the bewilderment of any visiting Americans’.5
Not surprisingly, Fr Galvin found little comparison between the East Kerry Board in 1986, and the Board he presided over in 1951 -1952.4Fr Galvin is recorded as having said ‘the current Chairman and Board are extremely efficient, whereas in my time as Chairman the East Kerry Board was not going well at all. The interest at the time was very limited’.
Fr Galvin continued to take immense pride as President of the East Kerry Board, from the time he took up the position in 1974. His beloved Fossa team also held a special interest for him. He is recorded as saying ‘I don’t get to as many games as I would like, but I never miss Fossa games if I can, whether they be senior or juvenile’ (The Clear Air Boys)2. He summarises the ideals of the GAA as follows: It is the function of the GAA to get as many young man as possible to play the game……… (Fossa & Aghadoe History and Heritage).5
1a. Minutes(1992), East Kerry GAA Board, Annual Convention
1. The Clear Air Boys (1986) by Donal Hickey and Tony Leen, pages 81 and 82
2. The Clear Air Boys (1986) Pages 9
3. Glimpses from the Glen (2000), edited by Michael O’ Donoghue in the chapter entitled ‘St Agatha’s club the early years, 1951 -1961’ written by Brendan Brosnan,
4. The Clear Air Boys (1986)
5. Fossa GAA Club History (2005) edited Gene Moriarty page 15.
6. Fossa and Aghadoe History and Heritage (2007) edited Jim Larner, pages 364 & 365.