Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ballymore-Eustace’s Proud Handball Record
Part 3

Like the Byrnes, two generations of Dowlings made their mark at All-Ireland level.
I never saw Michael (Mickey) Dowling, Senior, in action but according to Bobbie Grattan Mickey was the best man he ever saw to "kill" a ball off the back wall with either hand. Mickey was one of only two Ballymore players profiled by the late Tom McElligott in his comprehensive book on handball published in conjunction with the 1984 World championships - Tommy Leahy was the other player profiled. Tom McElligott endorsed Bobbie's view about Mickey’s ability to "kill" a ball and also obviously held Mickey, who he knew well, in the highest esteem as an exponent of hardball. Mickey succeeded Jack Byrne as senior hard singles champion and was the last holder of that title under IAHU rules.

Mickey formed a good partnership with Jimmy Dolan and the pair of them won the 1937 senior hard doubles title under IAHU rules. After the IAHU ceased operating in 1938 Mickey continued his successful career under IAHA rules the body supported by the GAA. Under those rules he won a junior hard singles title in 1941 and the corresponding senior title in 1943 and thereby became the only player to win senior titles under both rules. Mickey Dowling was the mainstay of the club for many years. But for the fact that Mickey was a contemporary of the great J. J. Gilmartin of Kilkenny he would surely have enjoyed greater success in the alley.

Michael Dowling, like his father before him, took All-Ireland honours when he figured in two team successes in 40 by 20. He was a nice, stylish player who won the All-Ireland junior hard singles title in 1985 and partnered Tom O'Rourke in 1990 to win the senior hard doubles title. This success earned the Dowling family the distinction of being the first and to-date only Ballymore family to supply All-Ireland senior champions from two generations. Michael distinguished himself as a great all round sportsman.

Mickey’s wife Margaret is a staunch handball supporter and attended all of her son's matches. Margaret also helped with the catering for those who took part in our annual open hardball doubles tournament from 1972 to 1980. On June 10, 1978 Mickey and Margaret attended matches in Croke Park in which Michael was playing. In the course of Michael's game Mickey took ill and died suddenly.

The late Jimmy Dolan and his late brothers Tom and Joe lived in Weaver's Row. Jimmy was for many years a postman who did his rounds on a bicycle while Tom worked with Tom Carroll. Joe, when I knew him, did not enjoy the best of health. Both Tom and Jimmy played handball at which Jimmy achieved considerably success. Jimmy was by all accounts a lovely stylish player, who as we have seen won senior hard doubles titles with both Tommy Leahy and Mickey Dowling, and he won an All-Army senior hard singles championship in 1944.

In the fifties, Tom figured in a challenge match with younger rival Willie Mahon who also worked for Tom Carroll. The contest attracted a sizeable attendance with the bulk of the support being given to Tom. The first match was followed by a return and while I cannot recall the result of either I can still recall the heartiness of Tom's laughter in the discussions before and after the match.

Eddie and Willie Grace were two top class players who played at the highest level of handball. Eddie partnered Mickey Dowling at senior level at a time when John Joe Gilmartin was in his prime and dominated the All-Ireland championships. The GAA Centenary Book contains a photo of Eddie and Mickey, which Margaret Dowling kindly made available for that purpose along with several more excellent photos. Willie Grace and Dan Murphy were our first junior hardball doubles winners and were sub­sequently lost to handball through immigration. Knowing my interest in hardball Mrs. Estelle Grace, who had a shop in the Square and wife of Seamus, generously gave me a hardball made by Bill Aldridge and autographed by him. This ball made a surprise appearance in a match I played against Wexford's Tom Dowd in 1963 when it was given in to me in error. Because of its age, it had lost its bounce and it was necessary for us to change it without delay for a newer ball.

© Matt Purcell (July 2008)
Ballymore Ladies G.A.A.
Hi all in Ballymore!! Well, June has not seen a very hectic timetable for us ladies. With the current break in the Junior C league games, Ballymore Ladies are preparing for the Kildare Junior D Championship. Training numbers are up and jogging and sprinting and drills and whatnot are the order of the day. Junior D ChampionshipThe championship begins for us on the 30th August when Ballymore Ladies meet Balyna (2). Not to be dismissed lightly, Balyna (2) will give the ladies a good game and the nerves will be twitching as always in the first game of the competition. On the same date, Castledermot will take on Robert Emmets. Ballymore Ladies take on Castledermot on 6th September. This will prove an exciting clash as Castledermot were the very team who robbed Ballymore of last years League title in a nailbiting final in Athgarvan. Both teams are quite evenly matched and spectators won't be disappointed. On the same date, Robert Emmets take on Balyna (2). Ballymore are in action again on 13th September when they take on Robert Emmets in the Championship. We will have to do our homework on this team as we are not familiar with their accomplishments to date. On the same date Balyna (2) will take on Castledermot. We will keep you posted on any outcomes of these games and changes of schedule etc. Spectators are most welcome. Challenge GamesBallymore met Valleymount for a challenge game on 25th June. The outcome was not a positive one for the ladies. The girls came through in the last quarter of the game and gave Valleymount a run for their money however, the drive and co-operation was not there on the day from the team. Good performances on the day for Ballymore came from Treacy Cloughessy, Louise Burke and Dawn Murray (C). A challenge match is also taking place against Kilbride on the 9th July and we will give feedback on this next month. Thanks Darren!!On behalf of the team we would like to thank Darren Reilly of the Thatch for his generous sponsoship of our t-shirts this year. Darren has been a great supporter of our team and his donation is greatly appreciated. If anyone would like to purchase a t-shirt (see picture) you can call Caroline on 087-2793024 and you can get one for the nominal fee of €15. The t-shirts look great and are available in mens sizes also.The crest on our tracksuits and t-shirts were designed by artist Fiona Barrett and the team would like to thank her greatly. Best of Luck to the men's team in their Intermediate Championship campaign. Also congratulations to all the girls who got their college results recently. We hope all the hard work and partying paid off!!!Until Next Month..................Jackie and Louise

Russborough House is delighted to announce that Kevin and Dawn Farley have
taken over the franchise of the newly relaunched Kitchen Garden Cafe.
The catering duo have unveiled a delicious new menu with an emphasis on
healthy, homemade produce sourced locally.
The proud new owners said: “Our goal is to offer our customers a selection of
freshly prepared homemade foods that will keep them coming back for more. The
marketplace is ever changing and people want healthier choices that don’t
compromise on taste.”
Visitors to Russborough House can enjoy a wide ranging all-day menu full of
wholesome and tasty treats.
“We currently provide services from 10am to 5pm each day. These include
morning coffee, lunch specials, snacks, afternoon tea, as well as a range of
group menus and a ‘Walking Tour Picnic Lunch’ for those taking a stroll
around the beautiful grounds of Russborough.
“Kitchen Garden Cafe is the perfect place to meet friends for great
conversation and even better food.”
Classic simplicity, outstanding service and ingredients of the finest quality
are why this eatery is the perfect choice for those wanting to venture to
Russborough for the first time and just a few of the many reasons regulars have
returned week after week.
“Our team are passionate about the preparation and presentation of food. We
pride ourselves on purchasing ingredients locally and building relationships
with farmers and growers. Our organic garden beds at Russborough House provide
us with vegetables, edible flowers and culinary herbs.”
It has been a huge success so far, a place where people can come and enjoy each
other’s company without the formality of a fullscale restaurant, now you can
eat out in style in this high-quality cafe.
Customers can also enjoy a take-out service for lunch, with Kitchen
Garden now offering delicious lunchtime special for customers on the run.

Dawn and Kevin also run their own catering firm, Farley Catering, and
are equally dedicated to their Catering committments ‘whether you are
planning a buffet, seated dinner, wedding, fundraiser or other special event,
our team of international chefs can offer you innovative cuisine that’s
tailored to your palate, ideal for the season and perfect for the chosen theme
of your event. We can offer you a truly tailored menu and a customised service.

Kitchen Garden is open 7 days a week from 10am to 5pm

Matt’s Memories


Recently as my brother James was getting water at St Mary’s Cemetery, I came across a grave in the new section of the graveyard that I did not recognise. Later on, Sean Tracey was on his way over to pay his respects to his late father Paddy. Sean stopped to talk to us. I asked him did he know the Kathleen Tracey buried in the new section of the graveyard. I was shocked to learn Kathleen was Sean’s wife who I knew through Sean. Kathleen died on March 20 and the Bugle carried a note of her passing but I did not recognise her at the time. Way back in 1953, Sean played on the same Gaelic football team as myself and many other Ballymore stalwarts in which we reached the rural county final. From time to time, I used to meet Sean in Dublin. Some of the times, Kathleen was with him.
I hang my head in shame!

I just discovered I again got Mr and Mrs Patsy Murphy’s own family, which they raised at Liffeydale, wrong. Mr and Mrs Patsy Murphy’s family consisted of five girls namely Rita Lawler, Maureen Burke, Kitty Murray, the late Frances Higgins and Teresa Flood and four boys namely John, Meahall, the late Paddy and the late Martin.


Betty Deegan is a long time left Ballymore-Eustace. Of course, Deegan is Betty’s maiden surname. Betty is a sister of Mick, Ned, Harry and Martin. The late Jimmy, John and Mary (Keogh nee Deegan) were also siblings of hers. As far as I can recall, Jimmy was 54 when he died. John died on Christmas Day 1999 and Mary died four days later. For the first time in a long time I travelled by the “65” Bus. I got on at Templeogue. Once upon a time, I was a regular (pre-1970) on the “65”. Betty got on at Tallaght and we got talking before the trip ended. When I worked at Tallaght, I occasionally met Betty doing her shopping at the Square. Each Sunday, Betty visits her brothers and gets a lift back to Tallaght by one of her nephews.

Pat’s Wife

As my brother James and myself were working on our graves recently, we met and spoke to Pat Byrne’s wife who had been paying her respects to her late husband and parents-in-law.

Ballymore-Eustace Residents Association

A meeting of the Ballymore-Eustace Residents Association (the other one) took place,
outside SuperValu in Churchtown, on May 18. Present were Patsy Feeney (nee Conway), Paddy Conway, Liz McGarry (Patsy’s friend) and Matt Purcell. The matter for discussion was Matt’s health – other important matters like Punchestown were also discussed. Having discovered Matt was all right the meeting disbanded.

Jim Again!

On Saturday May 31, 2008 I was surprised to see Jim Brown of Briencan out for a drive. His chauffeur was his son Jim.


Arkle, Best Mate and Flyingbolt – which was the best? In my mind there is no doubt. It was Arkle followed by his contemporary and stable-mate Flyingbolt. Best Mate, in my book, was next best and although a very good horse he did not compare with Tom Dreaper’s pair especially Arkle.

Dbest won his third race in a row at Cork recently – one over hurdles and two chases. His Cork win was my first time to back him lately. Word has it that at least one of the Syndicate Owners is somebody we know. More recently, Debest was fourth on the flat at Down Royal.

Show Blessed

S. Breen’s Show Blessed was narrowly beaten on the flat at Leopardstown. Pat Smullen rode him over a mile and a furlong on Wednesday July 18.


Katherine Geoghegan of Broadleas, Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare died on May 29, 2008 R.I.P. Her parents, Tom and Kathleen, sister Caroline, brother Noel, niece Danielle, aunts, uncles, cousins, relatives and friends survive Katherine. Her remains are buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery. Katherine’s father was one of our top handball players winning All-Ireland titles at minor and junior levels and a couple of All-Army titles. When the All-Army championships were discontinued in 1966 Tom was the reigning champion. Tom was also to the fore when he served as chairman of the Handball Club’s Development Committee. He was also interested in politics. Speaking to Tom afterwards, he was clearly very upset by the lost of his beautiful daughter. Katherine was 37 years of age and had been ill for over twenty years.

Paddy Monaghan of Bishopland, Ballymore-Eustace, Co. Kildare died on May 31, 2008 at Naas Hospital R.I.P. His sister Rita, brother-in-law James, nieces and nephews Patrick, Kathleen, Thomas, Kevin, Brendan, Angela, Rita, Sharon, Fiona and Lorna, godchildren, grandnephews, grandnieces, relatives and friends survive Paddy. His remains are buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery. In handball terms, Paddy was a legendary figure that was both a good player and official.

At the removal of Paddy’s remains, the handball world was well represented. Faces I saw there included Michael (Duxie) Walsh (Kilkenny) and Paddy’s contemporary Bobbie Grattan. People I spoke to included Paddy’s former neighbour Jack Taaffe who came all the way from Mullingar. Paddy’s good friend Pat Hipwell (Moone) and his two companions, Vinny Farrelly and Dinny Carter, were also present. The Gaelic Football Club was well represented – John Murphy and Meahall Murphy were two football men I met. Paddy was the senior team’s masseur in 1953 when they won their only County Senior Final. I also saw Geraldine O’Rourke and Marie Murphy both of the Drama Group.
President of the Irish Handball Association, Tony Hannon (Sligo), Lorcan O’Rourke (Riarthoir) and our own Tom O’Rourke Junior attended both the removal of Paddy’s remains and the Funeral Mass. Tom O’Rourke Junior gave an oration, which appeared in the June Bugle, at the Funeral Mass.
© Matt Purcell (June 24, 2008)


No comments: