Memories of the great Killarney 1946 objection and the death of Jimmy Joy

August 24th, 2010
by Weeshie Fogarty

Jimmy Joy was ninety two years old when he died in Dublin two weeks ago. The name will mean very little to most Kerry people but when I read of his passing in the papers it brought memories and heated debates of the past flooding back to me. His was a name that had reverberated around the Kerry/Killarney GAA circles away back in the forties and fifties and it was this (to me) mysterious person from my past who had precipitated what became known as "Killarney's famous Objection". Up until recently I had know absolutely nothing about this man who had been an outstanding all round sportsman.  The events following the Dick Fitzgerald's/Killarney Legion county championship match of 1946 are still spoken about today and the name Jimmy Joy will forever be associated with an objection lodged by  my club The Legion against their opponents who had won that game.

The events surrounding the objection are very clear and simple. It was the era of the infamous ban which barred GAA men from playing the so called foreign games. The Fitzgerald's selectors had unwittingly included Joy at right half forward on their team despite the fact that they were not short of top class material. Jimmy was recommended to the selectors by a Dublin based supporter. However the highly secretive vigilance committee had information that the Killorglin born man had been playing rugby in Dublin, The Legion objected, Fitzgerald's counter objected to Fr. Mickey Lyne, whom they alleged was a member of Glasgow Celtic soccer club and there the sage began. Fr Mickey was ministering in Glasgow at the time. To make a long story short, Din Joe Bailey the county board chairman at the time appealed to the two sides to re-play the game, Tom Lynch (father of Kerry greats Brendan and Paudie) representing The Fitzgerald's told the meeting under no circumstances would they re-play while Pat o Meara secretary of The Legion said his club did not want the match on an objection.  There was stalemate and eventually the game was awarded to The Legion who later went on to win the county championship of 1946 which was played the following year due to the prolonged process of the objection and the bad harvest of the year due to the months of continuous rain.
So now after all those years I have discovered something of the life and times of the man in the centre of the controversy. Jimmy Joy was one of a family of nine born in Killorglin. He won a scholarship to Rockwell College where he became a very good rugby player. He moved to Dublin and joined the Geraldine Rugby Club and won two Dublin Championship medals with them. He then played Gaelic with Dublin and also won two Leinster medals with them. In 1942 Jimmy scored the winning point against Carlow in the final; however Carlow objected to the Kerryman due to his past rugby achievements. They were awarded the game, this was later overturned, and Dublin went on to win the All Ireland and Jimmy got his precious medal scoring two points in that final.  He resumed his rugby career after this and went on to get a trial for Leinster at which he was badly injured and his competitive career came to a premature end. He was an accountant by profession and is survived by his second wife Elaine; four children, stepdaughter and sister. And so after all these years the mystery man who was in the eye of the storm during that infamous Killarney objection all those years ago for me in death comes to life. May the sod rest lightly on this remarkable man.

For the record those two now long forgotten great teams and great names lined out as follows;
Killarney Legion; Tommy Cooper, Dinny Lyne, Jimmy Fleming, Tim Hurley, Ml o Connor, Jackie Lyne, Denis Bailey, John Murphy, Tom Spillane, Teddy o Sullivan, Mixi Palmer, Teddy Lyne, Gerald o Sullivan, Donal Brosnan, Fr Mickey Lyne.

Dick Fitzgerald's; J. F. o Sullivan, Dl o Keeffe, Billy Myers, Jim White, Paddy Moynihan, Tom Lynch, Gerald Teahan, Teddy o Connor, Dan Kavanagh, Derry Burke, Brendan Kelleher, Jimmy Joy, Donal McMonagle, Paddy Burke, Tim Keogh.

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