The Kildinan Shamrocks

The Kildinan Shamrocks
In the spring of 1931 the Fermoy GAA Club decided to organise a hurling tournament to which neighbouring parishes were invited. It was in the hope of getting a few more hurlers to join their own ranks that Fermoy ran the tournament. Jim Murphy of Raheen had previously played with the Ballyhooley hurling team and played with Fermoy in 1930. For some reason the newly formed Bride Rovers Club were not asked to enter a team in the Fermoy Tournament but Jim Murphy was requested to get a team from the Kildinan area. Many years afterwards Jim revealed that when first asked, his reaction was "I couldn't possibly muster a full team." But after a while Jim agreed to enter the tournament provided he got at least 2 months to prepare his hurlers. Castlelyons, Glanworth, Kilworth, Ballyhooly and Fermoy were the other participants along with Kildinan. The name Kildinan Shamrocks was chosen "for no particular reason" according to Jim. As the spring evenings grew longer the Shamrocks trained in a field near Kildinan National School. Jim Murphy, as well as being an accomplished hurler, was also a prominent athlete and he trained the team to a high degree of skill and fitness. In preparation for the Fermoy Tournament the team played a number of practice matches. They defeated Cork city side St. Mary's in Cork and at a pitch near Linsdays Pond. Two further wins were recorded against Upper Glanmire side St. Michael's - again played on a home and away basis.

The Fermoy Tournament was played on a league basis in a pitch at Strawhall. In the early rounds Kildinan Shamrocks defeated Kilworth, Castlelyons, Glanworth and Ballyhooley. All these games were won by margins of between 4 and 7 goals. The host club Fermoy qualified to meet the Shamrocks in the final. This was a very tough close game and in the end the 'novice' Kildinan Shamrocks emerged as winners by one point. The members of the team were presented with a beautiful set of medals, some of which are still in the parish.
It was indeed a unique situation that a team (without a club) which had come together in a little over 2 months had been welded into a fine hurling side. It was a tribute to the prowess of Jim Murphy as a trainer that Kildinan Shamrocks were able to take on and beat established club teams. The team that played in most of the games lined out as follows: Johnny Dorgan, Peter Dawkins, Bill Murphy, Pat Dennehy, Mick Thompson, Tom Collins, Batt Dorgan, Paddy Collins, Jim Murphy, John Collins, Tim Cronin, Johnny Daly, Jerome Fitzgerald, Tommy Collins, Jack Dawkins. Others who played in different games included: Dan Cronin, Jim Fitzgerald, Billy Fitzgerald, Willie Cahill, Tim Foley, Pat Condon, Mossy Collins, Billy Collins. It is possible that Pete Garvan (a first cousin of the Dawkins) also played in some of the matches. He spent a lot of his summer holidays at Cousane and definitely played minor later for Bride Rovers using the name Pat Walsh. Pete Garvan was himself a Nemo Rangers player and father of Cork Camogie star Liz Garvan.
Their mission accomplished, the Kildinan Shamrocks were heard of no more. Many of the team members joined the young Bride Rovers Club and played vital roles for many years. Others too, like Jerome Fitzgerald were instrumental in the founding of the Kildinan Athletic Club which brought an All-Ireland title to the area in 1943. Jim Murphy and Johnny Dorgan in later years recalled with great pride that season of 1931 when Kildinan Shamrocks played great hurling and lost no match.


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