Kilruane MacDonaghs – Reunion for Successful Teams of 1944 and 195113 Mar 2012 by Gilbert Williams
“ I wish I were today on the hill behind the wood
My eyes on the bog there and the Shannon river
Behind the wood at home “
Thomas Mc Donagh penned these lines evoking memories of his Cloughjordan childhood. Were he to be with us tonight he would be proud of his birthplace, the progress of his people, and the club which bears his name. This club through its players, and many voluntary and dedicated members has given the community an identity, a sense of purpose and pride in its own place.
On behalf of the players of 1944 and 1951 honoured here tonight, I express my thanks to the club for hosting this event, giving an opportunity to renew old acquaintances and reawaken memories of absent team mates and friends.
I want to acknowledge the volume and depth of research undertaken by Gilbert Williams, and his professionalism in the presentation of this event.
Sport often mirrors life, success or failure is not always an accurate barometer of ability, but can be an accident of birth, timing or location. Thankfully, many of our players received recognition for their skills, others did not.
In recent years the influence of former players like Eamon O Shea, who played the game to a high level, brought administrative, coaching and man management expertise to the fore, resulting in the fair treatment of players, and success on the All Ireland stage.
Speaking on behalf of the players tonight I am aware that each one and their families have had life situations reflected in sporting occasions. For me personally the year 1959 stirs emotional memories, a mixture of sadness and triumph, all allied to my involvement in the game of hurling.
I recently read a report of our 1951 final victory over Moneygall. The star and captain of our team was Ger Hogan, one of the finest ball players this club ever produced. He did not get the county recognition his talent merited, except on one occasion. This was the official opening of Pearse Stadium Salthill in 1957 when Tipperary played Galway. Ger possibly did not help his case for further selection as we had to borrow a pair of boots for him from Mattie Mc Donagh who played for Galway against Kerry in the opening match!
In 1929 my father won a championship medal with the De Wets. Browsing through the clubs history, and looking round here tonight I note the continuity of many families hurling association with the club, and that tradition lives on.
The period of time of time from 1944 and 1951 to 2012 covers a lifetime of years, and the common bond is identity with ones own place and the game of hurling. We are proud of our club, the achievements of its members ,and acknowledge its contribution to our lives.
In the words of the poet Sir Walter Scott –
“ Breathes there the man
With soul so dead
Who never to himself hath said
This is my own , my native land “
Tonight for the teams of 1944 and 1951 , this is our native land!
Go Raibh Maith Agaibh .