St Maurs GAA 1928-2001 by Leo Bissett
No account of the history of the Naomh Maur C.L.G. club can be given without first acknowledging the wonderful publication in 1961 by MicheÃ¡l Clerkin called, "The Saint Maur's Gaelic Football Story".
This publication is lovingly referred to as "the two and six penny book", which was the cost, in pre-decimal currency, of the book and is displayed on the front cover as 2/6. This equates to twelve and a half pence or 0.16 Euro.
The following account of the club's history has been compiled by Leo Bisset.
Naomh Maur G.A.A. club is based in Rush, Fingal, North County Dublin. Rush is a farming and market gardening area, seventeen miles from Dublin City. Football was played in the area between local Parish Teams prior to the foundation of the G.A.A. in 1884. It is known that a Club called "Emerald Isles" existed in around 1900 but there are no records to support this. After an unsuccessful attempt to set up a Club between 1914 and 1919, local Curate Fr. Skeehan organised football games in the local school.
In 1928 however, two GardaÃ, Tom MacCarville and Peter Fallon, who were stationed in Rush, and local G.A.A enthusiast Mick Jones called a meeting. The meeting was held on 28th of June 1928 and St. Maurs G.A.A Club was founded. Mick Jones was elected Chairman and our Club colours were a maroon jersey with a gold diagonal sash. These colours remain with the club to the present day.
The early years of the Club were fruitful ones. In our first year we won the Division 3 Championship and progressed to win the Division 2 title in 1929/30. St. Maurs entered the Division 1 league in 1930 and subsequent to this our "Big team" or "A team" never played below this level. In 1936 our Club embarked on a tour to Liverpool to play a game against a team of Irish farm workers. St. Maurs won the game. The Club, under the guidance if Mick Jones, had built a solid foundation and would continue to grow. The 40's were a quiet time, with a lot of our founder players "hanging up their boots", but they gave a great assistance to a crop of young players. Pat Butterly succeeded Mick Jones as Chairman in 1949 and did Trojan work with the young players.They qualified against all odds to play in the Dublin Junior Football Championship but lost out. However the Rush spirit saw them go one better in 1951 and on the 23rd of December they beat Skerries Harps in Parnell Park give us our first Dublin County Championship in 1951. This game is still spoken about as a huge crowed packed to Parnell Park to see the game. St. Maurs won by two points.
One of the players who really caught the eye was Seamus (Jim) McGuinness and he soon progressed to the Dublin Senior Team where he became one of the finest footballers of that era. Unfortunately injury cut short his Inter-County career but not before he won a National League medal and played in the Semi Final against Kerry. Liam (Willie) Price was elected Chairman in 1950 and over the next forty four years he led the Club with great skill, style and dedication. After the Club won the 1951 Championship, the target was set by Liam was to obtain a pitch. When the land of the Parmer Estate became available, nine arces on the west side were purchased from the Land Commission in 1958. With the willing hands of the Rush men, the field was turned into one of the finest pitches in Ireland. The pitch and new dressing rooms were opened in 1961 with Dublin and Kildare playing in a Senior Football Challenge.
During the 60's the Club established a good Juvenile section and by the late 60's things were taking shape. The 70's brought a golden era to Naomh Maur. 1972 saw the Club win its second Dublin Junior Championship and in 1973 Senior status was achieved for the first time by winning the Intermediate title. The Club stayed Senior for eleven years and won a Senior League title during that time but fell back to Intermediate football in 1985. This was a short stay and in 1986 the chance to go Senior came again. We qualified to play a rejuvenated and star studded Garda team in Croke Park. The Garda Team included Ashley Sullivan (Wicklow), Davy Byrne (Monaghan) and John McGrath (Tipperary) but against all the odds Naomh Maur won by 2-8 to 0-10.The final was against Round Towers of Lusk. Great friends and neighbours and a few relations playing against each other. The final was played in The Naul and a massive crowd were present for a superb game which St. Maurs won by 11 points to 6.
During our 1st spell in Senior Football the need for a Clubhouse was realised and our fine Clubhouse,
Ãras Naomh Maur, was opened in 1983. A huge amount of hard work was done by the Committee and the kindness and generosity of the people was amazing. The Club now had a top class Handball alley, Squash court, three Badminton courts, Basketball court, kitchen, changing rooms, meeting rooms and a Lounge Bar. The cost at the time was 360,000 pounds a staggering amount at the time and teh fundraising to raise thsi is a huge testament to the committee , membership and the community
The Club remained Senior for a few years but slipped back to Intermediate football.
The 1990's brought about many changes and a big juvenile policy from 1993 will no doubt bring us back to Senior football soon. 1994 saw the end of a forty four year term as Chairman for Liam Price. It would take many reams of paper, and a lot of bytes, to recognise what this man has done for our association and our Club. Suffice to say the work of Liam and the Committees he chaired have given us a marvellous facility. Liam beacame Club President and was as active and as wise as ever and is ever-present at all games.
Brendan Harpur took over as chairman in 1994 and served for three very fruitful years. Brendan gave a very big emphases to juvenile development and coaching. A native of Co. Tyrone, Brendan was the first person from outside our parish to hold executive office. Brendan also coached our 1st football team.
In 1997 Maureen Bollard took over the Chair of the Club for one year and spared no effort with her team. Maureen came from a great football background. Her father, Rupert Newcomen, played for St. Maurs and her uncles, Pat and Jackser, were voted players of their time. Jackser captained the 1951 Junior Championship winning team.
Seaamus Carton, a native of Lusk, took over the Chair in 1998. Seamus, a noted hurler and goalkeeper of our 1972 and 1973 team and Inter-County referee, was a pleasure to work with.
He was softly spoken and things were done without a fuss. Seaamus died during his term of office and this really shook the Club. Seamus made an incredible impression on anyone he met and is sadly missed.
John Keely was elected Chairman in 1998 for a three year term and his energy and enthusiasm knew no bounds. During his term of office our Club Lounge has been refurbished and our new development plan will be launched. The 1999/2000 season saw us enter a Junior hurling team for the first time in the Dublin Adult League and 2001 saw us win the County Dublin Junior C Division 3 hurling title. This has added a new dimension to a very proud Club with a very proud tradition.
St. Maurs, like many other Clubs, have family names associated with it from the founding of the Club. These include names like Bollard, McGuinness, Price, Rennicks, Kelly, Devine, Weldon, Butterly, Farren, Walsh, Wilde, Ferguson, Newcomen, Leonard, Bissett, Flynn, Monks, Sweetman, Carrick and Clerkin. These names are as synonymous with St. Maurs as O'Sullivan or Spillane with Kerry, Murphy or MacCarthy with Cork, Loftus or Flanagan with Mayo, Stockwell or Purcell with Galway, O'Neill or Jones with Tyrone.
Long may it continue.
Naomh Maur has grown quite a bit since 1928 with the help of great people and will continue to grow with the help of great people to lead us in the future.
Founding Members Profile
The following profiles of the founder members of St. Maurs were compiled by Seamus Clerkin and were presented to the club in picture form at the annual mass for deceased members of St. Maurs on June 2003. Our 75th anniversary year. Family members of the founders were also presented with a Dublin Crystal Rose Bowl commemorating the foundation of the Club.Many thanks to Seamus for providing the information.
Founder Member St. Maurs - 28th June 1928.
A native of Derrymullen Co. Galway, Peter was mainly responsible for reforming the St. Maur's G.F.C. in 1928, while serving as a member of the Garda SiochÃ¡na in Rush. Peter went to St. Grellan's National School. One of the teachers, Sean Keating, from Fethard Co. Tipperary, was very interested in Gaelic Football and was Secretary of the local G.A.A. Club. In 1910 Jim Tully from Derrymullen, a close neighbour, was selected on the Galway Senior Football team which beat Roscommon in the Connaught Final in Athlone on 8th October 1910. Jim won provincial medals for Galway again in 1911 & 1914. Jack Fallon, Peter's brother and Inter-county Referee, was very dedicated to football. He was a member of the Galway Football Board and he represented Galway at the Connaught Council. It was against this background that Peter Fallon got involved in football Ballinasloe won the Galway County Championship from 1913 to 1919 and all of this time Peter Fallon played half-forward on the great seven-in-a-row team. From 1919 to 1926 Ballinasloe remained unbeaten but because of the Civil War some of the county championships were not completed. Peter Fallon was a sub on the Galway side that defeated Roscommon in Tuam on 10th August 1919 in the Connaught Final. They beat Kerry in a replay but were beaten by Kildare in the All-Ireland Final, now known as the Larry Stanley Final. There was no championship in 1921 but in 1922 Galway were beaten by Sligo. Galway objected and a replay took place at Croke Park, which Galway won. Peter Fallon was a sub on this team. Mayo beat Galway in 1923 & 1924. In 1925 Mayo represented Connaught in the All-Ireland Semi-Final which they won beating Wexford. However, there were objections and counter objections with the results that Mayo were the only team left in the All-Ireland championship. As Galway had qualified for the Connaught Final beating Leitrim in a replay, they were deemed to be eligible to contest the Connaught Final against Mayo. The Connaught Final fixed for Parkmore, Tuam resulted in victory for Galway. With no one else to play against in the championship Galway were deemed to be All-Ireland Champions. Peter played full-forward on the St. Maur's team that won the Division 3 Championship 1928/29 & and won the Division 2 Championship in 1929/30. His advice to young players is to keep practicing, as there is always something new to be learned every time you take to the field.
Founder Member St. Maurs - 28th June 1928.
Any record of G.A.A activities in Rush would not be complete without reference to Mick Jones, a man who has a long connection with Gaelic Football and St. Maurs. Always keen to establish a Gaelic Football club in the town, he was one of the prime movers in the re-organisation of the club in 1928. Mick was a well-known Rush victualler, proprietor of a prosperous and thriving business. Not so prominent as a footballer, perhaps, Mick's talents lay more in the theoretical end of the game and as a Legislator in the Council Chambers; he had few equals in the county. He took an interest in Gaelic Football when he came to Balbriggan in 1911 as an apprentice to the late Mr. J. Corcoran, Drogheda Street. He was one of the original members of Balbriggan Commercials and when he returned to his native Rush, he adapted for the colours of the Rush Club, the same as those worn by Commercials - white with a green sash. In 1921, when St. Maurs were reorganized, Mick was Chairman and selector-in-chief, but as usual he forgot to select himself and it was only when someone failed to turn up, could he be prevailed upon to turn out. As a goalie, he was top class. The reason he did not continue as a player was because he had not enough time to train properly and it gave him greater satisfaction to see the younger men out. The Club lapsed for a couple of years and in 1928, with the help of Garda Fallon, a Galwayman, and Garda McCarville of Monaghan, St. Maur's Club was reformed and Mick was unanimously elected Chairman. A position he held with distinction for twenty-one years. During his tenure, the Club gained many successes but none gave him as much enjoyment as the Fingal League Div. III victory in 1928. For many years he represented St. Maurs at the Fingal League and in 1937 he was elected chairman of that body. He held this position for seventeen years, during which time he won the acclaim of all for his fair rulings and wise counsels.
A sound Gael, Mick must surely rank as "one of the best".
Founder Member St. Maurs - 28th June 1928.
Tommy McCarville was born in Crossreagh, Newbliss, County Monaghan, in the year 1900. He attended the local Rawdeer Park National School. Secondary education in those was non-existent so the only option was to stay on in Primary School until one was seventeen years of age and act as a monitor to the Headmaster. Tommy followed this pattern with the intention of becoming a teacher but changed his mind when the New Irish Government of the 1920's set up the Garda Siochana to replace the Royal Irish Constabulary. Tommy became a Garda and received his first appointment in Rush. It was during his time in Rush that he became one of the founders of St. Maurs G.A.A club. He was transferred from Rush to Coolock and ended his Garda career in Howth. One of a family of nine, Tommy married Ellen Carr from Balgaddy near Naul. They had a family of three boys and four girls. Ellen McCarville lived all her life in the family home at Baldoyle and many times before Tommy's death in 1977; she had heard him praise Rush people as the most friendly he had ever met.
St. Maurs G.A.A Club is proud to remember him.