Recollections of the 1959 All Ireland Final

May 19th, 2016
by Paddy Creedon, Tarbert

1959 was a marvellous summer, marvellous in weather, but also because Kerry had qualified for the All Ireland, beating Dublin by 2 points in the semi-final. Galway would be their opponents having beaten an up and coming Down team in the other semi-final.

There was great anticipation leading up to the match as two of the Galway team, Jack Mahon and Jack Kissane had Tarbert and North Kerry connections. Jack Kissane was from Ballydonoghue, an army captain stationed in Galway and Jack Mahon, playing at centre half back, was the brother of Mrs. Eithne Creedon, our chemist since 11th October 1946, and Jack Mahon had on occasion donned the Tarbert jersey.

In the lead up to the game, the clash between the Kerry captain Mick O' Connell and Frank Evers was very much debated, as was the threat from the "terrible twins" Stockwell and Purcell. North Kerry was also well represented on the Kerry team with Dan McAuliffe of Duagh at wing forward and Garry McMahon of Listowel listed in the subs.

Sunday the 27th of September was the date of the final that year and that morning Paddy Lynch's Ford Consul ZX 5000 left the square in Tarbert for Dublin at 7am. There was a bench seat across the front which could take a driver and two passengers, the gear lever was part of the steering column. The passengers on board were Eithne and Brendan Creedon, Paddy Kelly, Mick Goulding and Michael Joe Coolahan. It was a glorious harvest morning, and there was plenty of

hop-ball and banter about the event ahead. The tide was fully in on our departure and the Shannon was still and calm. Mrs. Creedon remarked on the calmness which led Paddy Kelly to quip, with his usual hearty laugh, that things could get a bit rougher at around half three in the afternoon.

Our first stop was to take in mass at the Redemptorist Church in Limerick. After mass, Liam Mulcahy, a former Tarbert man, informed us that he hadn't time to talk to us as he, with a number of other Tarbert exiles, was heading for the train to go to the match.

On the way through Birdhill, Nenagh, Toomevara, Moneygall, Roscrea, past the Curragh, Naas and into Dublin everywhere was very quiet with no serious traffic problems or delays right up to the top of Parnell Square. Eithne and Brendan left us there to join up with the Mahon clan, having already arranged to meet again outside the Gresham Hotel at 7.30pm, going home time.

So it was on to Barry's Hotel, where the crowds were beginning to converge. The tea and scones tasted great and were very welcome. A young Moyvane man arrived very worried that he had not got mass. Some of the group said that there was a church about fifty yards up the street and that people were going in for mass at that moment. Delighted, he rushed off and was met at the door by an usher, who shook his hand, presented him with a book and ushered him up to the very front. The church was Findlaters, a different denomination, but at that stage it was too late for an honourable retreat. He emerged an

hour and five minutes later, a little bit holier, a good bit wiser and still in good time to make it to the match.

It was time now for Croke Park. There were no tickets, it was pay at the stiles with the earlier arrivals able to claim the better vantage points. On the way there was plenty encouragement to "wear your colours", paper hats and badges. The minor match was in progress, Dublin captained by Mick Kissane, later a Dublin senior, beat Cavan with a score of 11 points to 1 goal and four points. The Artane Boys Band provided entertainment, colour and pageantry as they led the senior teams in parade. The tension was palpable as we stood for Amhran na bhFiann.

The senior final was a good hard game, robust and hard but very sporting. Kerry started well with two points but Frank Evers at midfield for Galway gave a great display, emphasised by his first-half  goal, and it is generally accepted that he had the edge on Mick O' Connell in the midfield battle. The game was level at half time but Kerry eventually won the day with a master class performance from Dan McAuliffe who scored 2-2 on the day and he was ably abetted by John Dowling and Tadhgie Lyne who both scored 2 points each, Tadhgie Lyne having got married the previous day. Garry Mc Mahon came on as a sub for Dave Geaney and scored the goal that put the result beyond doubt. The Galway team played well up to the end and despite stalwart defending by Jack Mahon, Jack Kissane and the other Galway backs, which kept three of Kerry's starting forwards scoreless, and at midfield, the rock they perished on was the Kerry

half back line of Sean Murphy, Kevin Coffey and Mick O'Dwyer, who also scored a point from play, with Murphy particularly to the fore. The final score was Kerry 3-7, Galway 1-4.

After the game there was plenty of time to hang about and savour the atmosphere and meet up with friends. Eventually it was time to be getting back to the Gresham, as was arranged. It was a wonderful surprise to find all the Mahon family there with Mrs. Creedon and Brendan, especially her mother Mrs. Mahon. There did not seem to be any despondency at having lost the match. Everyone was in great form and we all went for tea as Paddy Lynch had parked the Consul outside the door of the Gresham. The rapport was excellent.

All good things come to an end and so it was time to say goodbyes, part company and head for home. The only stop on the way home was at Roscrea, where we went into the Pathe Hotel, for an evening meal which was badly needed and most welcome. The Pathe was a favourite haunt for Kerry supporters going home from the games and there were plenty coming and going while we were there.

Next it was the final leg of the journey home. The Consul pulled up in the Square at 12.30am, having pulled out seventeen and a half hours before.

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