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Gaelic Athletic Association - Oral History Project


gaa oral history project

The organisation of Gaelic games in Carlow was preceded by that of a number of other sports: the Carlow Cricket Club, the Carlow Rugby Club and the Carlow Polo Club were, for example, all born before the GAA in the county. The GAA in Carlow held its first county convention in October 1888 and its slow pace of development continued across the early decades of the twentieth century. The county’s problems mounted with the loss of their strongest club, Graiguecullen, who, after being absorbed into Carlow from Laois in 1904, returned to that neighbouring county after a row erupted in the mid-1920s. Despite this, remarkably, Carlow football went from strength to strength during the 1930s with the early 1940s constituting the county’s most successful era, when they contested three Leinster football finals in four years. After losing to Dublin in 1941 and 1942, the Barrowsiders overcame the same opposition to win their first, and so far only, Leinster title in 1944. Hurling developed at a slower rate than football in Carlow, being most popular in the south of the county, close to the hurling strongholds of Wexford and Kilkenny. That being said, the county’s senior hurling team have twice won the Christy Ring cup and its minors reached a provincial final in 2006.


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The six Morrissey brothers from Ballycrinnegan, St Mullins. Mick is the only native of Carlow to have won an All Ireland hurling medal, doing so with Wexford.
©GAA Oral History Project


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A letter from the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Spellman, granting Kildavin GAA permission to call their new grounds after him.
©GAA Oral History Project

Brendan Hayden
Micheál Jones

Brendan Hayden, b. 1936

Brendan talks about the different types of training he undertook for the county team and the facilities available.
©GAA Oral History Project

Micheál Jones, 1920

Micheál recalls the formation of St Andrews GAA club in Bagenelstown and the rivalry that existed in the town before the club was formed.
©GAA Oral History Project

'The 1944 Leinster Final when Carlow defeated Dublin in Athy, I travelled from the Curragh camp in Kildare to see it. They were my heroes. I was sent a photo of the team recently and re-lived their faces only to be told that they were all dead now, a reminder of our mortality.'
- Patrick Somers, b. 1923
© GAA Oral History Project

'We've Rathnure just up there and we have Kilkenny on the other side and that would've influenced the hurling. What amazes me – I'm a blow in obviously – what amazes me is that we in St. Mullins have held out players that are on the border; that are in the parish but would be living in Co. Wexford and we've held them.'
- Úna Murphy, b. 1956
© GAA Oral History Project

'The 'scallion-eaters' were Carlow…It was very fertile land – Carlow would be very famous for it and the vegetables and all that would be top quality. In '44 back again to Jimmy Travers, they went by donkey and car and they had scallions in the thing you put over the donkey's ears...They'd have scallions all around them, you know heading down the road. They drove the donkey to Croke Park, 52 miles. It could take them nearly a whole day.'
- Vinny Harvey, 1937
© GAA Oral History Project

Click here to read a sample of a full length questionnarie: Tommy Kelly b.1956