Heroes of 1962 Kerry victory meet for the first time in Manchester

November 17th, 2009
by Weeshie Fogarty

Last Saturday week at the invitation of the Kerry Association in Manchester in the company of Johnny Culloty I made a weekend trip to that city of soccer renown. The Association whose President is the exemplary and greatly dedicated Firies man Fr John Ahern have been doing mighty work in that city for many years and as expected Kerry football and its traditions are closely interlinked with all their undertakings. And so it was on this occasion. Kerry priests have been ministering in the Manchester area for many decads and four of them were honored at this year's gala event. Fifty years ago this year Moss o Connell from Ardfert won an All Ireland senior medal with Kerry. That same evening he boarded a plane in Dublin and returned to his priestly duties in Manchester. Johnny Culloty was the Kerry goalkeeper that day in 1959 and believe it or not the two "old Kerry footballers "had not met since that day following the win over Galway.

And so it was a lovely occasion when Moss now Cannon Moss and Johnny walked across the foyer of the Ramada Hotel in Piccadilly Manchester and clasped each others hand like long lost brothers and began some wonderful remising about their dual careers as both hurlers and footballers with their beloved Kerry. The adage "old friends are best" was never truer than on this very special and for me I must admit touching occasion. Other members of the committee who made our visit so pleasant included, Ciss Breen and her daughter Margaret, Joe Buckley, Christina Conway, Tony Doyle, Patsy Keane and John o Rourke.

Canon Moss o Connell is still in active service as parish priest of St Josephs, Reddish. His other appointments saw him in St Ann's, Crumpsall, the Cathedral parish in Salford and St Teresa's, Firstwood. In a magnificent semi-final win over Dublin that year of 1959, 1-10 to 2-5 Moss had the unique experience of first being substituted; Tim "Tiger" Lyons replaced him. Then later in the game he himself returned to the fray when he replaced Dave Geaney. For the record Garry McMahon replaced Jim Brosnan also.   

Through its history the Salford Diocese has had a real live connection with Kerry. Over eighty priests from Kerry have served the Salford mission. Henry Vincent Marshall from Listowel was the 6th Bishop of Salford and during his time there was a steady stream of vocations rising in Kerry.  The student priests studied in All Hallows and other Irish Seminaries and settled in the See of Salford. Bishop Bill Murphy as always was superb company as long discussions of all aspects of Kerry football dominated. He presided at a special mass on the Sunday at Fr Johns church, St Mary's, on Elbow St. off Stockport Road.

Fr. Eddie Morrissey is a native of Brosna brought his native Kerry wit to all aspects of hi priestly life. He was respected and highly valued in Accrington, Langley Droylsden and Rusholme where he served his community with great dedication for all those years.  His dancing skills lit up a party and when called upon at the recent function he brought down the house as he nimbly danced some jigs and reels.  A wonderful conversationalist is FR. Eddie and obviously a very caring man who gave generously to those communities he worked with all his life.
Fr Peter Sheehan comes from a parish and family that has been sending priests to Salford Diocese since the 1870s. A gentle kind and quite spoken and learned person who due to ill health retired two years ago and is presently at Nazareth House Nursing Home.  It was great that Fr Peter was fit and well enough to attend the special mass and reception the Sunday following the Association Dinner where we discussed all the old memories from Kilcummin and Killarney.

Fr Pat Keane we were informed in a sense gate crashed the occasion. As his  Golden Jubilee is not until 2010Pat from Ballydonoughue in North Kerry has been a model of priestly life. A man of many parts he possesses skills from I. T. to carpentry. He spend ten years in the Catholic Missionary Society and is fondly remembered from Burnage to Burnley. Ill health unfortunately forced his retirement and hr is greatly missed by all those he ministered to for all those years. However his family in and around Ballylongford are the beneficiaries of that enforced retirement. We wish him well.

Fogra; Niall Flynn's long awaited book "Thirty six and Counting" the definitive history of ALL Kerry championship winning teams since 1928 will be launched in the Farranfore GAA hall next Saturday at 7pm sharp. The author a former Kerry minor goalkeeper no w domiciled in America has been working non stop for five years on this mammoth 400 page publication which will in my opinion answer all queries re Kerry footballers and their championship matches since 1928. It is I guarantee different from any other publication I have seen in relation to our football history. Not alone that but I am fully convinced that no other county in Ireland has published such an amazing work. I can see Dara o Se, Mickey Sheehy, Johnny Culloty, Niall Sheehy, Sean Murphy, Mick Finnucan and hundreds of others together with the families of all those great men who have answered the final whistle leafing through its pages as they retrace their playing careers in the green and gold.  Where they played in the first round of the Munster championship, who they were up against, what they scored, who were the leading scorers in any particular year. The substitutions in all those matches. It goes on and on. It will be a must for every follower of the game. Niall has requested me through this Kerryman column to invite everyone to come along to the launch and enjoy what promise to be yet another memorable Kerry football occasion.

Radio Kerry - The Voice of the Kingdom