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Mooncoins Hurling History

Introduction
Early 1900's (Dick 'Drug' Walsh)
1920's (Wattie Dunphy)
1930's(Eddie Doyle)
1960's
Bob O' Keeffe

Mooncoin Ploughing Association
Soccer
Badminton

(Click on your choice from the above index)


Mooncoins Hurling History

Introduction

By far the most popular sport in Mooncoin is hurling. It is held in high esteem by the locals. At the moment, Mooncoins main team are in the intermediate division. Mooncoin is also represented in many different ages in hurling and camogie. These include minor, junior, Under 21 and Under 16. The local colours are green and white.

Mooncoins hurling history started officially with the founding of Mooncoin GAA in January 1886. The committee was:
Richard Dunphy-President, John Walsh (portnascully)-vice president, James Comerford-Treasurer, Pat Fogarty-secretary.

A gaelic football team was also officiated at the same time.

Mooncoin played in Kilkennys first county final in April 1887 but lost to Tullaroan. The following year in 1888 Mooncoin won their first county final and went on to win Leinster. Mooncoin had an immense rivalry with Tullaroan in the first 40 years of the GAA. One interesting fact is that either Tullaroan or Mooncoin were in every county final from 1887 up until 1930.

Below are pictures of Mooncoin teams who were Kilkenny Champions(Click to enlarge):

1908 champions 1927 hurling champions
1928 hurling champions
1932 hurling champions
The last year Mooncoin wom a county championship, 1965
Mooncoin Kilkenny S.H.C 1908. 4th title Mooncoin Kilkenny Senior Hurling Champions 1927 Mooncoin Kilkenny Senior Hurling Champions 1928
Mooncoin Kilkenny Senior Hurling Champions 1932
Mooncoin Senior Hurling Champions 1965(last time they won)

Many Mooncoin players have played for Kilkenny over the years. When Kilkenny first won the All-Ireland in 1904 there was three Mooncoin players on the team, namely Drug Walsh, Eddie and Dick Doyle. Kilkenny were actually represented by Tullaroan but the Mooncoin players were added because of their huge talent. Kilkenny won against Cork which was represented by St. Finbarrs.

Mooncoins most famous son is Richard (Dick) 'Drug' Walsh. His medal hall is incredible and his record of captaining 3 all senior winning teams is still unsurpassed in Kilkenny, 100 years after he created the record. He was a great leader and is said to have been a key driving force in Kilkenny winning their first three in a row (1911-1913).

At this time in Kilkenny, the team that won the county final represented Kilkenny, so Mooncoin jerseys would be worn when playing for Kilkenny (if Mooncoin had won the county final the year previously).

1904 All-Ireland winning team
Kilkennys first all Ireland win in 1904 with 'Drug' Walsh, Eddie and Dick Doyle

Mooncoins biggest achievement in hurling is that it has the 3rd most county senior titles in Kilkenny (12 in all). Only Tullaroan and (very recently) Ballyhale are ahead(13 and 20 respectively). Futhermore, some people say that Mooncoin have 14 county titles. The reason for this is that the 1916 championship was not completed until 1919 because of political troubles. The Kilkenny county board decided to award the winners of the 1916 championship (i.e. Mooncoin) as winners of both the 1917 and 1918 county championship. Mooncoin also has the 2nd most county minor titles (8) and the joint most junior titles (4).

Mooncoin Roll of honours, Click to enlarge
Mooncoins Roll of Honours


Early 1900's

Throughout the first half of the 1900's, Mooncoins senior hurling team dominated Kilkenny hurling. They were feared all over the county and competed with Tullaroan as the greatest hurling parish in Kilkenny. Here are some of the great names who represented Mooncoin at this time. They were known as the famous six

  1. Dick 'Drug' Walsh
  2. Eddie Doyle
  3. Dick Doyle
  4. Mick Doyle
  5. Dick Doherty
  6. Jimmy Kelly

"If I could play in one more game - just one...i think i could die happy"
Drug Walsh speaking at the age of 51 in July 1929.

  1. Richard (Dick) 'Drug' Walsh(1878-1958)

    Introduction
    By far, Mooncoins most famous son is Dick 'Drug' Walsh. Winner of 7 Senior All Ireland hurling medals (some pictures below) and still the only man to captain Kilkenny to three Senior hurling All Ireland final victories. If the four letter name 'Drug' was mentioned throughout Ireland in the first half of the 20th century, people instantly knew who was being talked about. He captained his club, county and province to many victories during the course of his career.


    Drug was said to have been a great leader amongst his men, and drove his teams to victory on many occasions. Drug normally played full back for Mooncoin and centre back for Kilkenny. He was a medium sized man (around 5ft 10") with exceptional speed of delivery and was super fit.
    He also had the distinction of playing in 7 All Ireland Finals and never losing any. Whats more remarkable is he was 28 years old when he won his first All Ireland (1904 All Ireland was played in 1906). Drug made his Kilkenny debut in the Leinster Final of the 1904 championship (played in Enniscorthy in 1905). The 1904 All Ireland win was not only Drugs first, but Kilkennys first, so this had special historical significance (since the founding of the GAA, Kilkenny had lost four All Irelands previous to that). In addition, Drug scored the winning point from midfield in the last minute. Not a bad start to an intercounty career!

    In winning his 7 All irelands medals, Drug was part of a Kilkenny team that beat Cork four times and Tipperary three times (even though one of these games was supposed to have been against Limerick). The All Ireland championship's he won were 1904, 1905, 1907, 1909, 1911, 1912 and 1913. The year 1913 could be considered his crowning glory after securing his last all Ireland medal as captain in Croke Park (Jones road) against a Tipperary team that were the red hot bookies favourites
    . He was captain of Kilkenny again in 1914 at the age of 36, when Kilkenny were surprisingly beaten by Laois in the Leinster Final by a last minute goal. That game was his anticlimactic, final curtain call. He played with Mooncoin for a few more years until around 1917. The last known match Drug played in was in 1924 when he was 46 years old. In that game, played in St James Park Kilkenny (were the greyhound stadium is now), the old famous Kilkenny golden era team came out of retirement to play the younger Kilkenny team in a friendly challenge. The younger team won!

    There is unfortunately no memorial or statue to 'Drug', which is very disappointing as throughout Ireland there are many memorials to people and players who have achieved a lot less than Drug. He did however have a song written about him which is printed below.

    Drugs Early Years
    Dick 'Drug' Walsh was born into a farming family in Rathkieran in 1878, in a house on the Ballinlough (Creamery) road (where Hasseys farm is located). His parents were William and Anastasia Walsh (nee Quinn). They had 7 children, four boys and three girls (the majority of Drugs siblings emigrated to England and New York in later life). Drugs parents would live to witness his success and hero status, his father dieing in 1913 and his mother in 1921.
    Many people ask how he got his nickname 'Drug' or 'Drog'.
    The family have said he picked it up from the song 'Clares Dragoons'. This song is also known as 'the Bould Dragoons' and it dates back to the early 1800s. Clares Dragoons were an army regiment. The song was Drugs 'party piece' and he sung it often from a young age. His friends nicknamed him 'Droog' or 'Drug', as it was corrupted to, because of his pronunciation of the word 'Dragoons' (as he is supposed to have pronounced it 'Droogoons', which was how most people sung it at the time), and the name stuck. However, it is worth noting that Drug hated his nickname with a passion until the day he died! But he could do noting about it as that what his friends had christened him, and it stuck for life.


    Achievements & Records
    Drug was a legend and hurling icon in his own lifetime. Along with his exploits in Kilkenny, he also helped train Laois to their only all-Ireland victory in 1915
    (against Cork), helping fellow Mooncoin man Bob O' Keeffe (future GAA president) who was on the Laois team.

    Drug was captain of the winning Kilkenny All Ireland
    team on three occasions; 1907, 1909 and 1913 (the only Kilkenny man ever to achieve this feat). The next person in the history of hurling to match Drugs achievements of captaining 3 All-ireland winning teams was none other than Corks, Christy Ring in the 1950's. Only three people have achieved this feat, the other being Tipperarys Mickey Maher in the late 1800's. Christy Ring was also the next person to break the record of 7 all-Irelands, when he won 8, again in the 1950's. Four Kilkenny men, held the record up to then (Drug Walsh-Mooncoin, Dick Doyle-Mooncoin, Jack Rochford-Threecastles, Sim Walton-Tullaroan).

    Drug was also on Kilkennys first 3 in a row winning team. The next Kilkenny three in a row did not happen until 2006-2008. Some people dispute the 1911 All Ireland as Munster winners Limerick did not participate over an unplayable pitch and disputes about the venue. However, Kilkenny did play the losers in Munster, Tipperary, and bet them in the 'substitute final'. The story goes that the GAA had spent 40 pounds (a large sum at the time) on the All Ireland solid gold medals for 1911. So to get some finance they needed a 'gate' (money from a match). This is how Kilkenny ended up playing Tipperary in the 1911 final instead of Limerick who had forfeited their chance.

    During the late 1920s there was a 'Drug Walsh Tournament' held in Waterford City. Many clubs such as Tullaroan, James Stephens and Dicksboro travelled down to play in these games, including a young Lory Meagher. In 1926, 5000 people attended the final of the 'Drug Walsh Tournament' in Waterford.


    Ned Quinn (present Kilkenny chairman): "I remember Drug at the age of 70 skipping through the tyre of a bicycle. And he had a chest full of an assortment of hurleys and sliotors along with golf irons. Drug used to go to the field at the back of the house and belt the golf balls. He was just a natural athlete".

    Another final note on Drugs achievements is that he was the first man to captain a 15 a-side team All Ireland winning team (1913). Up to this there had been 17 a side. He also was the first person to captain a Kilkenny side to All Ireland victory wearing the famous Black and Amber colours, in which they now are so famously associated (previously club colours were usually worn). Drug also was captain of Kilkenny when they beat Tipperary for the very first time in an All-Ireland final.

    Club
    On the club scene, Drug Walsh played in an incredible 8 Kilkenny Senior Hurling county finals and won 4 of these. In summary, the years were as follows; 1897, 1900, 1906, 1907, 1908 , 1909, 1911 and 1913. His first major final was the county final of 1897 when he was 19 years old. Mooncoin (sometimes referred to as Moondarrig) lost to Tullaroan. In 1900, Drug won his first county final against Freshford in Loughboy in Kilkenny City. It was just Mooncoins 2nd title overall. Drug had to wait until 1906 to win his second club medal, this time the opposition was old enemy, Tullaroan. From 1907 until he retired, Drug was captain of the Mooncoin senior hurling team. His first year as captain didn't end successfully as Mooncoin lost the county final to Tullaroan, though the newspapers did state that Drug was the best player on the field. In 1908 Drugs Mooncoin team won the county final against Threecastles. The following year in 1909, Mooncoin lost against Erins Own. Mooncoin lost again in 1911 against Tullaroan, though Drug is said to have played brilliantly on his marker, intercounty star Sim Walton. This battle was said to have been the highlight of the game. Drug won his last county final in 1913 against Tullaroan. '13' is unlucky for some, but must be considered Drugs lucky number as that year he won All Ireland and Kilkenny Senior county finals as captain, against the arch rivals Tipperary and Tullaroan respectively, at the age of 35.


    Death
    Drug died in hospital in Kilkenny on 28 July 1958, after previously suffering a stroke. He was 80 years old. Drugs coffin was processed through the streets of Kilkenny City, with a guard of honour provided by generations of hurlers and with his coffin draped in the Mooncoin and Kilkenny colours. He was then brought back 'home' to Carrigeen church where he was buried in the adjoining cemetery.

    Many people have asked where his haul of trophys and medals are. Unfortunately they are not intact. Drug was a generous sort and gave away most of his medals during his lifetime. Three All Ireland medals were sent to relatives in America. Another All Ireland medal was given to a Fr. Drey, Mooncoin parish priest in the 1950s. His Railway Shield has since been donated to the Lory Meagher Heritage Centre in Tullaroan. Some others are still with family members. We are lucky to have pictures of his 1907 and 1909 All Ireland medals below and also his 1908 Kilkenny Senior county final winners medal (he was captain of all these teams).


    Drugs Achievements: 7 All Ireland Hurling Championship medals (3 as Captain). 7 Leinster championship medals, 1 Railway cup shield (as Captain of Leinster 1908), 1 Munster shield, 4 Kilkenny Senior County championship Medals (2 of them as Captain).

    1907 All Ireland
    1909 All Ireland
    1908 Kilkenny Senior Champ
    Drug Walsh 1907 All Ireland Medal
    Drug Walsh 1909 All Ireland Medal
    Drug Walshs Senior Kilkenny Hurling Championship 1908 Medal
    Drug Walsh 1907 All Ireland Medal
    Drug Walsh 1909 All Ireland Medal
    Drug Walshs Senior Kilkenny Hurling Championship 1908 Medal
    1907 Senior All Ire Hurling Final Medal. Inscribed; 'R Drug Walsh'
    1909 Senior All Ire Hurling Final Medal. Inscribed; 'R Drug Walsh'
    1908 Kilkenny Senior Championship Medal. Inscribed; 'R Drug Walsh'

    The image below on the left shows Drug standing outside his house on main street, Mooncoin. The house was located just up the road from the current Centra supermarket. A new house exists there now.


    Drug Walsh
    kilkenny 1909
    Drug Walsh Grave
    List of all Ireland winning captains, Croke Park Dublin.
    Mooncoin & Kilkenny Hurling Legend, Dick 'Drug' Walsh
    Drug Walsh, Centre, middle row with Mooncoin team which represented Kilkenny cir 1909
    Grave of Kilkenny hurling icon Drug Walsh, Carrigeen Graveyard
    'R Walsh' on the role of honours in the GAA museum, Croke Park, Dublin.

    The following are some quotes from Drug which were printed in the Cork Weekly Examiner in July 1929. The writer of the piece was a Fr Dollard, an old friend of 'the Drug'. When Fr Dollard was home on holidays he met Drug, and a few of their old gang of friends walked up from Mooncoin to Rathkieran. At the age of 51, Drug and the gang had a puck about. Fr Dollard was still very impressed with his skill; "It was grand to see Drug Walsh in action again..the things he did to that ball were worth seeing";

    Drug Walsh discussing Waterford hurling (note; Waterford had never won a Munster title up to that time - 1929);
    "The Waterford hurlers are the nicest lot of fellows you'd meet in a weeks walk. They are grand boys and they deserve great credit for establishing the Gaelic games so strongly in a city devoted to soccer, rugby and cricket. I'd like to see them win the Munster championship and even the All Ireland. It would be good for the spread of the gaelic spirit and they deserve to have good fortune. And the Waterford boys are real finished hurlers too, let me tell you
    . "
    - Drug witnessed Waterford winning a Munster and an All Ireland in his life time.

    Drug Walsh on the 1907 All Ireland Final (one of the best up to then, Kilkenny won by a point);
    Interviewer: "Do you remember Jim Kelleher coming out like a steam engine from the Cork goal? Coming out 20 times and driving the ball through the crowd of you (in the defence)."
    Drug: "Can I ever forget it! Ah Jim Kelleher was the great man of them all and they say he is just as good a man today. You know, we weren't any better than that Cork team that day. It was point for point, and our turn was just over when the whistle blew. Another minute and Cork would have evened up and it would be the same old story."


    Drug Walsh on the Mooncoin team in 1929 (Mooncoin were on their way to winning 3-in-a-row senior County championships that year);
    "I asked John Dollard (a Mooncoin native returned from Amercia) a hard question the other day- i shouldn't have put it to him so blunt. We were after seeing Mooncoin win Eire óg and i said to John straight: 'do you think that the Mooncoin team now is as good as the Mooncoin team I had long ago'? Dollard hesitated a moment then replied bravely; 'Well Drug i wouldn't say their just as good - not quite - but they're a wonderful team all the same'. He answered me well but i had no right to ask him!
    "


    The following is an extract from an interview with Jack Rochford, Drug's team mate who played full back for Kilkenny, which appeared in the Irish Press on the 27/8/1936. In it Jack describes how Drug was picked for his very first county game in the 1904 championship and Drug scoring the winning point in the 1904 All Ireland Vs Cork;
    "Kilkenny hurling had been slowly but steadily climbing into power at this time (early 1900s) and when we met Dublin in the Leinster final in Enniscorthy, the Black and Amber was carried to victory by as grand a bunch of hurlers as ever played for the county.....That day against Dublin, Drug Walsh made his first appearance and I want to tell you how it happened. Some of the Mooncoin lads, Dick Doyle and Paddy Fielding i think it was, told me about a youngster who was playing well with their club, so i spoke to Jerry 'Fox' and on came Drug Walsh, afterwards a household name as a hurler.....
    In the All Ireland, Drug Walsh scored the winning point as time was almost up. Jim Kelleher(Cork) pucked out a long ball that came to our twenty-one yard mark. There was Danny Harringtion(Cork), a hardy boy, waiting for it and as he raced in towards our goal i ran out to meet him. 'Fox' Maher shouted to "come back". I made a mock drive at Harrington, he raised the ball and hit me in the chest and as it fell behind me, Fox caught it, drove it up to Drug at centre field and in a tick, the point that gave Kilkenny its first All-Ireland was scored."



    The following match report appeared in the Munster Express after the 1913 Leinster Final replay where Kilkenny beat Dublin in Wexford Park in September 1913. At the age of 35, it was the last Leinster final Drug played in
    ;
    "To begin with, all the Kilkenny men are great men and fine manly players....Now I come to Dick Walsh, 'Drug', the hero of many a fight. Drug was the best hurler in this place i have ever seen, and i put Cork, Tipp, Dublin Limerick, Wexford, Queens county (Laois) or Kilkenny, nay Ireland! How many matches has the good old Drug played? How many gaelic fields has he adorned and won our loudest and boyish cheers by his magnificent exhibitions of hurling. Men, do ye remember the day of "the shields"? Have ye forgotten the day Kilkenny beat Cork by a point in Dungarvan? Drug was the hero then. Today he is even a better and much more experienced hurler...But he lacks one great essential today- speed.
    "


    Just a few weeks after the above Leinster Final replay, Drug played with Mooncoin in the 1913 Kilkenny senior County final against Tullaroan, held in Waterford city. It was the last senior county final he played in and his last club winners medal. Here is an extract from the Munster Express, 18/10/1913;
    "Drug was also in great form on Sunday. He hurled in ten times better style than in the last match against Dublin. He showed up at his very best - full of vim and judgement, and every stroke of his on the ball had a telling effect. His clearances were splendid on every occasion and were it not for his fine play, Tullaroan would have scored oftener.
    "


    One reporter in the Munster Express wrote this about Drug in 1927;

    "Off the field, Drug was as modest and unassuming, as he was as brilliant in the fray. The winning of an All Ireland medal is the pride and ambition of every hurler and to show the unassuming nature of Drug, I may mention the fact that I have never seen him sport one of his seven All Ireland medals."


    Old Newspaper prints that relate to Drug;

    1936 Irish Press: Interview with Jack Rochford(mentions Drugs debut and winning point in 1904 Championship)
    1929 Munster Exp Fr Dollard writing about Drug
    1927 Munster Exp Review of Drug Walshs career
    1978 Irish Press Drug mentioned in an interview by Richard Quinn, New York
    1913 Munster Exp Match being held in Brennan field Ashgrove

    Drug Walsh of Mooncoin

    Come all you young fellows to my my story give ear,
    I tell of a stalwart, 'mong hurlers a peer
    Whose name is still cherished wherever they join
    By sportsman and trueman - "Drug" Walsh from Mooncoin.

    When Cusack and Davin set a nation aflame
    With a fervour and pride in its own native game
    A youth from the Suirside plucked a shapely caman
    Saying "Ill strike for my sireland, fair Erin go Brath".

    Full many an evening 'mid shouts loud and gay.
    The sliotar sped swiftly in sportive affray.
    O'er green sod and cross road, a dark youth to the fore
    Whose prowess and skill -hurling's garlands foretold.

    Seven times in All-Irelands with victory crowned
    A record whose equal has yet to be found-
    Four gallant ate numbered, Rochford, Walton,Dick Doyle,
    And that youth from the Suirside, "Drug" Walsh from Mooncoin.

    With eagle-eyed vision and speed of a deer,
    No matter how hectic, in combat- no fear
    His wristwork - an artist's, Kilkenny's own Doyen
    Reigned the Prince among hurlers, "Drug" Walsh from Mooncoin
    .


  2. Eddie Doyle (1887-1971)
    Like his two brothers, Eddie got his love for hurling from Pat O' Neill principle of the national school in Mooncoin. He started playing senior for Mooncoin at the age of 15 and made his debut for Kilkenny a year later in the 1904 all-Ireland final against Cork. Achievements: Won 7 all ireland medals, A railway cup shield, Munster Feis and 3 Co. S. H. Championships.
  3. Dick Doyle(1888-1959)
    Dick was probably the most famous of the Doyles. Dick played in the full forward line usually partnering his brother Mick, whether it be for Mooncoin or Kilkenny. He played in the 1903 championship and the same year with Kilkenny at the age of 16. He was a fitness fanatic and would often stay after training for a few extra laps of the field.

    The Doyles did not play much after 1913. One reason was that their father died that year. However another reason was that their was controversy around Kilkenny after the 1913 all-Ireland. This was Kilkennys first, and to date, only three in a row. At a banquet in Kilkenny, the county council decided to give each member of the team 18 pounds which was a lot of money in 1913. However the Doyles came under fire with snide remarks from certain people, as they jointly received 54 pounds. They did not like this kind of jibing and never fully returned to hurling afterwards.
    Dicks Doyles Achievements: Won 7 all ireland medals, A railway cup shield, Munster Feis, 3 Co. S. H. Championships and one triple S.H.C 1916, 17, 18.
  4. Mick Doyle(1889-1970)
    Mick started playing for Mooncoin in 1904 at the age of 15. He played full forward with the county team of 1907, combining with his brother Dick. He was a classy, stylish player with pinpoint accuracy
    . Achievements: Won 5 All-Ireland medals, Railway cup shield, munster feis, 3 co. senior championships and 1 triple.
    Doyle family
    The Doyle family
    Between the 3 brothers there are 19 All-Ireland medals in the Doyle family.
  5. Dick Doherty (1886-1966)
    He was a very light player but was a magnificent classy hurler with lightning pace. He had pub in Mooncoin village, which is roughly where the Rose of Mooncoin pub is located now. Achievements:
    Won 5 All-ireland medals, Railway cup shield, munster feis, 3 co. senior championships.
  6. Jimmy Kelly (1884-1966)
    Jimmy was born in Ballygorey and educated in Carrigeen NS. He played with Ballyduff, Co Waterford across the river suir in 1900. He is credited with arousing new interest in the game in Waterford. He was noted for his deadly accuracy and his wide rang of skills. He is noted to have practiced for hours. He used a 20 foot ladder for shooting up and down between the rungs and narrowed the opening by angling the ladder. A natural left-hander, he was equally good either side and was brilliant on the ground and over head. He played with Mooncoin in 1901 and with Kilkenny in 1904. Achievements: Went on to win 7 all Ireland medals with Kilkenny, Railway shield, munster feis and 3 county championships.

1920's (Wattie Dunphy)

The next star to emerge from Mooncoin was Wattie Dunphy (1895-1972). He lead Kilkenny to all-Ireland victory in 1922 and holds the distinction of being the first Kilkenny captain to bring the Liam McCarthy cup back to Kilkenny. The Liam McCarthy cup was introduced the year previously, before this, the Great southern railway shield was presented to the All-Ireland winners. Great celebrations were had in Kilkenny as they had not won an all-Ireland for nearly 10 years (and they would not win another for 10 years).

Wattie was a farmer by trade. He was a big strong well built man with broad shoulders and weighing in at 13 stone. He played centre back for both Mooncoin and Kilkenny. His nephew Joe Dunphy carried on the tradition of playing for Kilkenny when he captained the Kilkenny minors to victory in 1961 and 62.

Wattie also created more history by captaining Leinster to win the very first railway cup on St. Patricks day 1927. Wattie also captained Mooncoin twice, in their famous 3 in a row victories(1927 28 29). He won 5 county senior medals with Mooncoin.

Wattie Dunphy

1930's (Eddie Doyle)

The 1930's saw another star emerge from Mooncoin. His name was Eddie Doyle(1897-1948). He was no relation to the other famous Doyles of Dournane. This Eddie Doyle was from Luffany, Carrigeen. He played with Mooncoin and Kilkenny throughout the 20's and 30's with is usual position being in defense.

He gave great performances for Kilkenny in the 1926 and 1931 all Ireland finals which they lost. However he received his first all-Ireland medal the year later in 1932. He capped off a great career by captaining Kilkenny to victory the following year(1933) in both the League and all-Ireland. He also captained Kilkenny in a tour of the USA in 1934.

He retired from club and county after this but was forced out of retirement for the 1936 county final against old enemies Tullaroan. He gave a man of the match performance along with his friend Tommy Carroll who also came out of retirement. Eddies son Noel went on to set up the Suir Electric company (which presently sponsor the Mooncoin hurling team) and the present GAA complex in Mooncoin is dedicated to Noel Doyle.

Eddie Doyle

This decade was to be the end of the great era of Mooncoin hurling that stretched back to the founding of the GAA. They would never be as dominate again despite a brief renascence in the 1960's.

1960's Mooncoin revival started with the minors winning in 1958. They also went on to win the minor title in 1960, 61, 62 and 64. However the success at minor did not totally translate to the senior grade with Mooncoin only winning one senior county title in 1965. They also lost the county final the following year. One record was set in this era when Joe Dunphy (nephew of Wattie Dunphy) captained the Kilkenny minors to victory in both 1961 and 1962. This record has never been equaled. He also went on to captain Kilkenny in the senior all-Ireland of 1966 when they lost to Cork. Other Mooncoin players such as Claus Dunne were also on this team.

Mooncoins last major victory was the minor title of 1979 although they have also won the intermediate title since.

Bob O' Keeffe:

Bob O' Keeffe is another famous son of Mooncoin. He was born in Glengrant, the most southern point in County Kilkenny and Ossary, in 1880. He is famous because the current Leinster Hurling trophy (the Bob O' Keeffe Cup) is dedicated to his memory.

Bob trained to be a teacher in De La Salle, Waterford City and his first post was in Meath. While in Meath, he twice won the long puck championship of Ireland for Dunboyne. Later he moved to Laois were he was a prominent figure in them winning their only All-Ireland title in 1915. He managed to talk Drug Walsh into travelling up to Portlaoise in the weeks leading up to the All Ireland final to help their training, which was said to have been very beneficial in helping them win the All Ireland that year. After his hurling career ended he was involved in local administration. While he was secretary of the Laois County Board he acquired and purchased O'Moore Park in Portlaoise. Bob was also president of the GAA from 1935-1938. He continued to be secretary of the Leinster council until his death in 1949. Bob never did play for Kilkenny.
Every few years, his old club team in Laois, Borris-in-Ossary, come down to play Carrigeen in a hurling match in his memory.

The original Bob O' Keeffe Trophy was the biggest trophy on offer in the GAA. It is 3 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 563 ounces with a capacity of 6 gallons. The celtic chase work was taken from the Book of Kells. The hurler depicted on top of the cup is barefooted which is attributed to Bob who originally played in this manner. A new Bob O' Keeffe trophy was introduced in 2005. The original trophy is in the procession of the Croke Park museum. The new trophy is a lot smaller and was originally a horse racing trophy!

Bob O Keefee Click to enlarge
Bob O Keeffe
Kilkenny legend DJ Carey with the original Bob O'Keeffe Cup(2003)

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Mooncoin Ploughing Association

Towards the end of 1800's and the first half of the 1900's ploughing was very popular in Mooncoin with matches held often by the association. The meetings were very popular and competitive. Matches were held all over the parish, including Dournane, Polrone, Clonmore Aglish and Clogga. But over the years the interest in ploughing as waned.

Ploughing
Ploughing match in the 1930's

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Soccer

Soccer has become very popular in Mooncoin over the last number of years. The main soccer team is called Mooncoin Rovers. The Mooncoin teams play in the Waterford League. There is a soccer pitch in Ashgrove.

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Badminton

Mooncoin badminton club was set up over 10 years ago. Since then it has become hugely popular. Mooncoins badminton players are widely recognised as some of the best in the county of Kilkenny. This has been proved with the amount of county medals the players have won in both double and single tournaments.

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