FOSF 27th April 09

Friends of Sligo Football

Congratulations to Sligo Football team on a deserved victory over Antrim and emerging as Champions of their League  last Saturday in Longford. In doing so they beat every other team in the division and emerged with jewellery again. In the last 4 or 5 years Sligo teams have tasted a reasonable degree of success including St Attracts College and Sligo ladies - both crowned All Ireland Champions, Sligo Hurlers Nickey Rackard winners last year and Sligo mens team  Connaught champions in 2007.So hopefully we can build on this recent success. On Kevin Walsh’s appointment there was scepticism in some quarters and vitriolic comment on the Sligo web page but so far he and his selectors and players have delivered on their first objective and we wish them well for the Championship.

With regard to the match we had to line out without Kenneth Sweeney but Stephen Coen acquitted himself well and after a shaky passage in the first half Sligo finished the half strongly and continued the momentum at the start of the second half. Not for the first time there were some confusion in the referee’s interpretation and one wonders how does one strike deserve a red card while other dangerous strikes by the opposition merit only a yellow card or no censure?

Congratulations to Marty Duffy on his selection as referee for the Division League final.

We extend congratulations to Hugh Cawley, our First President and a leading light in Friends of Sligo Football since inception, who was elected to the  Coisti Bainisti (the 10 person  Management team, which advises the GAA President) at the GAA convention in Cork recently. Hugh has been chairman of Croke Park Committee in recent years and oversaw negotiations relating to the opening of Croke Park to other sports. He has given a lifetime to the GAA and his counsel his often sought and much appreciated. He rarely misses a Sligo game despite his heavy schedule.

At the same convention former Connaught President, Lauri Quinn from Shamrock Gaels was elected Chairman of the Finance and audit Committees  so Shamrock Gaels club hold two prestigious positions on the inner circle of the GAA and we wish them both the best of luck. It is a great honour for the individuals, their club and County Sligo.

Continuing our review of famous Sligo players this week we take a quick look back at the great half back line of 1975- collectively  probably the best in the country at the time. At right half we had the tenacious Mattie Brennan, whose surging runs up the wing were legendary and his teak defending kept his opponent under control. Mattie first came to prominence playing for the Vocational school, Tubbercurry under the watchful eye of Colm Mullarkey - Manager of the great  Sligo minor team 1968 and have played minor for Sligo he quickly progressed to the senior team and represented Sligo in Croke Park in the league Semi final 1968 against Kildare at corner forward. He made his championship debut on 23rd June 1968 and was an ever present until his retirement after Mayo game 3 July 1983 playing 26 championship games.

On the other wing was Mattie’s neighbour and club colleague Paddy Henry a very stylish player and a great reader of the game. Paddy was a very talented under age player with Club and St Nathy’s, Ballaghdereen and later as a Sigerson cup player with Maynooth College and it was from these exploits he was called into the county squad and made the number 7 jersey his own. Like Mattie he played for a while as a forward and perhaps it was this experience which prompted their attacking instincts. Paddy made his debut against Mayo on 18th June 1972 against Mayo and played 23 championship matches up to his last game 16th June 1985. More recently he has excelled at commentating on matches an as an analyst and is a superb raconteur and  his stories are compulsive listening.

In the centre stood Barnes Murphy strong and direct, who won an all star in 1974 and managed and captained the team to a Connaught title in 1975. Barnes made his championship debut on 2nd June 1968 against Leitrim and went on to play 21 times up to his retirement on 14th June 1981. Barnes, like paddy played college football for St Nathys and played club football with his native Castleconnor before switching  to St Mary’s where he won major success with that very successful team. He is a regular analyst on local media and still has a huge interest in Sligo football.

These 3 men between them played 70 champioship matches for Sligo (and this was pre back door days) and several league matches and gave sterling service to the county. Still they are visible at nearly every Sligo match encouraging today’s heroes. In the embryonic days of Friends of Sligo football Paddy and Mattie travelled to Dublin to support one of our first functions, which was greatly appreciated.

Last weeks notes we referred to Kathleen Kilcoyne(nee Egan) who died recently and described our good friend and supporter Padraic as her nephew , he is of course her brother and we apologise  for this error.

We extend sympathy to the family of Tom Walsh, – an iconic man down through the years around Bunnadden and Tubbercurry .

A Final reminder about John McDwyer's  play Love is, which  we are hosting this Thursday night in the Civic Theatre Tallaght at 8 pm. Tickets €20 available from Vincent Brett at 086 8114095.


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