Pat was onto me back in the summer letting me know about two old team photographs he had, dating back to the Fifties, and he was wondering if any of the blog’s readers might be able to put names to the faces in the two line-ups. With the championship just then cranking up, I said it was probably best to leave it till a quieter time of the year.
Of course, I forgot all about the photos in the meantime but Pat didn’t and he gave me a gentle nudge to remind me the other week. Now’s a good time to do this: the summer supporters have long since departed but the hardcore fraternity are still around and it’s possible that some of you will be able to help in identifying at least some of the people in the photos.
The first one, at first glance, should be the easy one. It’s a Mayo team (double-click on the image below to get a higher resolution version) from the 1950s but, as you scan the faces, you’ll quickly see that none of the still-recognisable players from that era are present.
I consulted John Cuffe at the time Pat sent the photos onto me and he confessed to be “stumped” by this one. He had a good suggestion, though, which was that the above team most probably is a Mayo junior line-up. Junior football at inter-county level was a big deal back then and two of the county’s five All-Ireland JFC titles were won in the Fifties, the first in 1950 and the second in 1957. For the record (sourced from the county profile page on Hogan Stand), here are the team details for both of those All-Ireland wins:
1950: T Byrne; P Gilvarry, P Doherty, T Quinn; J Staunton, J O’Sullivan, C Hegerty; S Hennigan, P Jordan; T Canavan, S Mellotte, M Loftus; F McGovern, M McDonnell, JJ McGowan. Sub: A O’Toole.
1957: E. Waters; I McCaffrey, C O’Toole, J Healy; T Lyons, J McAndrew, P Gannon; T Quigley, P Maye; D McManus, P McManamon, J Biesty; J Munnelly, M Loftus, J McGrath. Sub: P Fallon.
Can you connect any of those names to the photo above? Any idea, given that sizeable stand in the background, where the photo was taken? All suggestions welcome.
The second photo is, on the face of it, one for the real aficionados. The picture quality isn’t anything as good as the one above and, as a photo of a club team, the pool of people who might be able to recognise anyone in it is obviously going to be smaller. This one, however, comes with a significant clue attached.
The photo is of a Belmullet team (and assorted hangers-on, attired in jackets, ties and sensible coats) but the clue that came with the photo was that it was a match played against Crossmolina on 12th September 1954. Here it is (double-click it to get a higher resolution version):
Once again I laid this one before the redoubtable John Cuffe who was immediately able to identify “the guy with the beret” in the middle of the back row as Fr Vincent Moore. He also reckoned that the person fifth from left in the front row was ‘Dody’ Shevlin.
Through the wonders of technology, however, I’m able to add to this by giving you the full line-up of the Belmullet team that day. This is because I’ve currently got an annual sub to the wonderful treasure trove that is the Irish Newspaper Archive and so this morning I was able to call up the edition of the Western People for the 18th September 1954 to find the report on that Belmullet/Crossmolina match, which had taken place six days previously.
The report states that the game, played at Crossmolina, was a North Mayo Junior Football replay and was a contest that “aroused the interest of enthusiasts all over the county, and which attracted probably the largest attendance at a Junior Championship game in years”. It ended in a draw – Belmullet 2-2, Crossmolina 1-5 – but what happened next is anyone’s guess. It says in the report that “Belmullet maintain that with 16 points to 15 they have won the division, while Crossmolina argue that the match was regarded as a decider and there must be replay.” Between them it was.
Here’s the Belmullet team that the paper lists for the game (I’ve added the scorers to this from the match report provided):
Belmullet: J Cuffe; M Dee, S Reilly, P Higgins; E Barrett, M McGann, K Heneghan; S Doherty, S McManamon; S Rutherford, T Irwin, E Shevlin; J McCarthy, B Lynch (1-1, point a free), A Waldron (0-1). Sub: S McGee (1-0, free) for Rutherford.
Are any of those names recognisable in the photo above? Any idea who the hangers-on might be? And where has poor Fr Vincent Moore gone to? He’s not listed in that team-sheet.
I told you this was one for hardcore readers. All suggestions on who’s who in the comments, please.