St Finbarrs School in the early days, was where most of the young lads in Cabra West got their grounding in the GAA. I got my love of GAA and hurling in particular at home from my Dad and my brothers.
My dad won an All Ireland Junior Hurling medal playing for Meath in 1927. He also won Meath County Championships and Feis Cup Medals playing for Athboy. He joked that he was the first professional hurling player when he moved to Dublin and signed for Faughs. He had no job when he came to Dublin, Faughs used to give him a few bob every week until they got him a job on the buildings. Faughs and Tommy Moore were good to their players and looked after them.
Moore served as Chairman of Faughs for a total of forty years and the All- Ireland senior Club Hurling Championship Trophy is called the Tommy Moore Cup. Moore’s pub in Cathedral Street Dublin, was a meeting place for the Faughs club and the GAA men after the games in Croke Park.
Because of my dad, all our family supported Meath when I was young. I remember when I was very young and Meath won the All Ireland Football finals in 1949 and 1954 our house in Cabra West was done up in green and gold. But that all changed for me when my brother John Joe was picked on the Dublin minor hurling panel in 1957.
The great Des Foley was also on this panel. Unfortunately Des was injured that day, when Dublin played Kilkenny in the Leinster championship. My brother JJ came on as a sub in the second half of this game and from then on I was a Dubs supporter. My dad never wavered from supporting Meath, but then there’s not many Meath people would.
My other brother Seamus played for the Barrs but his career was cut short when he got a very bad injury to his mouth during a hurling match. My oldest brother Tom was a very good soccer player, he was once asked to captain a local youth GAA team for a tournament game in Croke Park. They won the match but the main talking point of the game was when one of the Cabra lads headed the ball.
My brother John Joe also played in Croke Park around this time, he represented the Barrs in an exhibition hurling match and was presented with a medal by the movie legend Hop a Long Cassidy who was a special guest at the game. This will bring back memories to all who are old enough to remember the black and white movies that far back.