In the Clare Champion of 25th November 1905, we find a report of the match between Kildysart and Kilmihil junior teams, “as a result of a challenge, sent by the former to the latter”.
Kildysart Fenians v Kilmihil.
On Sunday last, the19th inst. a splendid match was witnessed between the above named teams in Kilmihil. The morning was very foggy and a severe snap of frost having occurred overnight, the Fenians had not decided to travel up to the last moment. They turned out three men short, and had to requisition three substitutes for Stephens, Moloney and O’Brien. Play opened in a thick fog, and it was almost impossible to identify players. Playing against a slight incline, the Fenians pressed, but the grand defence of their opponents’ backs nullified their efforts for sometime. From a gallant rush from the Fenian forwards, M. Bohannon scored a neat goal. The relief however was only temporary, the Fenian backs being kept busy, defending some well organised attacks. The interval arrived without another score. Half time score: Kildysart – 1-goal. Kilmihil – nil. In the second half, although the Fenians were players with the incline, their efforts were not crowned with success, especially when at shooting range. Kilmihil forwards were now playing a splendid game, and from some hard brushes, they managed to totally invade the visitors’ territory, with the result that they scored a point. Sometime afterwards a throw in from touch went clean through the visitors’ point posts, but although a score was claimed by Kilmihil, the decision of the referee went to show that the ball should be played by some player or players. Otherwise it should be counted as a “dead ball”. From this the play was a series of rushes, made by the Kilmihil forwards, which were however, repelled by the
Fenian goalkeeper, Sullivan, defending in capital style. Mr. S. Meaney gave entire satisfaction as referee.
Then in the Clare Champion of 2nd of December 1905, there is a report of the return “friendly”, played in Kildysart. Kilmihil Juniors V Kildysart.
“On Sunday last, in very unfavourable weather, the Kilmihil junior team travelled to Kildysert to play a friendly match, in return for the one played in Kilmihil on a previous Sunday. Before entering into the details of the match, it will be necessary to give a correct account of the one played in Kilmihil.
From the report sent in, it would seem that Kildysert was the only team on the field, so minutely were their movements described. And it might naturally be asked – what was the final score? , and why was it not given? Three scores were made in the second half, two were only recorded. The third score went nearly perpendicular over the point pole, and a dispute arose owing to this, although the white flag waved, and the point had been booked by the referee. The Kildysert men then refused to finish the match if this point were not disallowed, and left the field. The Kilmihil men seeing this, agreed
to disallow it, but still they refused to play the 10 minutes. So the referee awarded the
match to Kilmihil, the score being;
Kildysart – 1 goal Kilmihil – 3 points.
Cumann Luthchleas Gael Cill Mhichil
The match last Sunday was played on a well-elevated field during a storm. Main strength was required, and on this account, the Kildysert team were sure of overcoming their weaker opponents.
Kilmihil played a very fine game for the first quarter of an hour, and although the Kildysert men had the wind and the incline, they could not pierce the backs. But for the next quarter of an hour it was different, and some scores were registered, amounting at half time to:
Kildysart 2-2 Kilmihil nil.
The play during this half hour was very rough and slow, only two scores were made, a point by Kilmihil and a goal by Kildysart. Several times Kilmihil could have taken points but went for goals. A goal was impossible, while Sullivan was defending. The whistle left the score
Kildysart 2-2 Kilmihil 1 point.
Mr. Bohannon acted as referee, and did his best seemingly, to please both sides. Everyone played a dashing game. The final match will not be played for some weeks, owing to the unfitness of the season for travelling, and the place fixed is Cranny, which is mid-way between the two places.
After the match the travellers were entertained by the Kildysert team for some time, and had to face the storm soon again, characteristic of such occasions.”
The reports of these matches caused some controversy, and for the following three weeks, the Clare Champion was a “must” for those interested in the dispute.
In the Clare Champion of 9th of December 1905, the following letter appeared.
“ Sir, Referring to a report, which appeared in your last issue, from a Kilmihil correspondent, relative to the matches played in Kilmihil and Kildysart between above named teams, I must say it is both untrue and misleading. Your correspondent commenced first of all, by calling Kilmihil team “juniors”. In my humble opinion, “advanced juniors” would be the most appropriate term for him to use, when he next styles them. For if I don’t make a mistake, they all had got their wisdom teeth. Long before he framed his report.
Then the score of the match was:
Kildysart 1 goal Kilmihil 3 points.
Such was not a fact, as far as Kilmihil was concerned, as they actually scored only 1 point. Another point was claimed on their wide, but the referee disallowed it, and rightly so, because the ball was flung from touch by a Kilmihil player, but between the goal and points posts, without ever being touched by any other player.
Anyone who knows anything about Gaelic rules will understand that if such a score is allowed it would be illegal. Again he says the Kildysart men left the field 10 minutes before time-up. They did no such thing as they played a full hour and a half, allowing for arguments and all. To your correspondent’s credit, I say they would have kept the Fenians playing for another hour, if they thought they could defeat them, a feat which, I must inform him, they are not able to accomplish. So far, so good, as far as he referred to the match played in Kilmihil.
Then he gives the score of the match played in Kildysart as
KILDYSART 2-2 KILMIHIL 0-1.
I beg to inform him that it was not so. My decision as referee was
KILDYSART 2-3 KILMIHIL 0-1.
As to the point Kilmihil gets credit for – it was a Kildysart man scored it, named Murphy, unintentionally, accidentally going off his arm. Your correspondent did not mention that.
Then he goes on to say that several times Kilmihil scorers could have taken points, but went for goals. What an absurd statement to make in this enlightened age of ours, and what silly people he must imagine the readers of your patriotic journal to be, if they give credence to such a thing. Besides, the scorers in his team must be foolish not to have taken those several points.
As for his information, if he is not already aware of it, under present football rules it takes only 3 points to make a goal; and “several”, according to a great authority, means more then two, but not a great many. So then, the “several points” would at least make a goal for them, and the score of their opponents over them, would not look so great to the reading public. The correspondent, who took in such a statement to the press, will yet be a genius, and I would advise him to become candidate for parliamentary honours in the next General Election.
Now if the Kilmihil team think or imagine that they can play the Kildysert Fenians, let them be prepared to meet them at Lisseycasey, any Sunday they choose after Christmas, to play for the sum of £10. – £5 a side, – the money to be placed in the hands of some influential man, agreed to by the captains of both teams, a week previous to the match, and the match to be refereed by an independent referee, from either Ennis or Clarecastle.
Thanking you, in anticipation, for accepting this,
I am, dear Mr. Editor,
In the Clare Champion of 16th December 1905, there was a reply to that letter.
Being a reader of your national journal, and especially of the G.A.A. column, a letter from a Michael Bohannon has of course met my eyes. “Michael Bohannon” I can on sufficient grounds announce, is a forged name. As regards the challenge for £5 – I am surprised that the Kildysart team would publicly show their ignorance, by confounding gambling with football, and making a splendid Gaelic pastime, a debased form of amusement, by bringing this gambling business within its scope. Surely football was never intended for this.
As “boasting” is the characteristic feature of the Kildysart team, I beg to announce to them that after Christmas, at a date fixed by both teams, we shall play them for a set of medals in Cranny. Our conditions are:
- It be a friendly.
- That Kildysart will play, and not as heretofore Kildysart, Coolmeen, Labasheeda and Ballynacally.
- The medals to be got by both teams.
If this challenge be accepted, arrangements can be made through the post, as to the getting of the medals. The referee will also be selected by both teams, and unlike Mr. Bohannon, he must have a watch, and he must not be a weathercock, entering down a point, crossing it out, and again entering it down in the sly.
I shall now conclude my epistle, by hoping that this petty verbal warfare will be the cause of a decent match in Cranny, played in the friendly spirit of the Gael.
Hoping I have not trespassed too much on your valuable space.
I remain, dear Editor,
A Kilmihilite. “
The editor received a further letter the following week 23rd of December 1905
Allow me to contradict a statement, which appeared in the sporting column of your issue, from a gentleman who signs himself a “Kilmihilite”. He states that in the match played between Kilmihil and Kildysart, some of the Labasheeda lads played with the Kildysart team. I beg you to say that such as statement is false, as members of the Labasheeda team have never played with Kildysart, but have met both Kilmihil and Kildysart in friendly rivalry, when the laurels rested with the Gaelic sportsmen of this pretty little village, by the Lordly Shannon.
I would suggest that a friendly match be arranged between the Fenians and Kilmihil, and that Labasheeda be the venue, being central for both. If both teams are satisfied with this suggestion, the Labasheeda team will be happy to play the victors.
That ended that controversy. Unfortunately, there is no account of the matches, and so there are many question left unanswered. Were the medals purchased, and who eventually won them, and did Labasheeda play the victors?