18th May, 2000
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
THE CORK FAMINE '54 - '66
The welcoming glow of the summer sun brings memories flooding
back, of Munster and All-Ireland campaigns. 1956 the year of my
debut following 'The Rebels'.
Sandwiches packed, Mass at St. Patrick's, and a train bound for Limerick or Thurles. "Programme of the Game, Official Programme!" "Hats or colours Mister! Colours of the Game!" All this, while banjo players and fiddlers blasted out 'Sliabh Na Ban' and 'The Bould Thady Quill'.
The Treaty Stone Bridge in Limerick was a pick up point for horse drawn drays, Ben-Hur style, fully laden, galloping to the stadium, a quick turn around and then back for another load. I recall the scorcher, when water from a nearby stream was sold to parched followers.
I witnessed one of 'Ringey's' greatest hours. A hat trick of goals for the Reds. The heartbreak of defeat at 'Croker' in 56'. Art Foley, Wexford's netminder spoiling the Leeside party. The fittest team my young eyes ever saw were from Suirside. Blossoming in the late 50's and culminating in 59' with victory for Waterford's best; Cheasty, Grimes, Flynn, Morrissey, Power, all cult heroes's to this very day.
Arguably the Premier County's greyest squad came to the fore in the early 60's, keeping the Cork famine going. I see John Doyle and Christy Ring wrestling with the sliotar. The giant Tipp man pummelling the ageing maestro. Then minutes later revenge for the Cloyne wizard, the handle of Ring's caman in Doyle's gut. A mighty blue and gold team was the line of; Maher, Doyle, Carey, English, Devaney, the graceful Tony Wall and the cobra like accuracy of ciotog Jimmy Doyle.
Finally September '66 dawned. A cocky 'Cats' fifteen coming a cropper V. the Blood and Bandage. Colum Sheehan the three goal hero. During the last ten minutes it dawned on the hordes of rebel fans that the damn had been breached. Softly at first the chant "Cork, Cork" rise around the hallowed ground. Then rising to a crescendo of sound. Our tears of joy mingling with beads of sweat on our brows. The famine had ended! Success at last! Thank God! Success at last!
GREETINGS FROM BERLIN
Just a short line to say how much myself and my friend love
reading the "weekly" here in Berlin, it really makes
our week! We are working here for 6 months and look forward to it
every week, you really ARE the voice of Douglas for us at the
moment! We especially love your excellent column, it gives us a
great insight to what is happening back at home, little snippets
of news that we wouldn't hear about.
We miss seeing you flying around the place every Thursday trying to deliver the "weekly" everywhere you can, we really don't know how you do it! We have been promoting Douglas here in Germany too, by the time that we come back we'll have the Germans speaking Irish, chalk it down boy!
Keep up the good work, we know you will!
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