Sporting Memories by Leo Gardner


The most outstanding memory of my time in Carnaun was the tremendous rivalry between

Cussane and Castle Lambert. You didn’t need to be from either of these areas to be firmly entrenched in either camp; it all depended on which way you went home—-up the road you were a “Cashel” man, and down the road you were a “Cussane” man. It still amazes me that this great rivalry was contested in a football match rather than in hurling, after all the catchment area of the school was and still is one of the great “hotbeds” of hurling.

On glancing back over the record books one becomes acutely aware of the great contribution past pupils have made to hurling clubs in the area. Over the years clubs like Turloughmore, Coolarne, Moorpark, Derrydonnell, Athenry, Boyhill, Crumlin, Cregmore, Tuam and Cussane were the main beneficiaries of the constant stream of talent that emanated from the school. A It must be remembered, that at that time, there was no Parish Rule and consequently there could be several clubs within a parish. The decision as to which club you played for was therefore a very personal one.

Personalities and, sadly, family rivalry played an important part in that decision. It was not unusual to find someone from Coolarne playing for Cussane and vice versa. Indeed, many past pupils of Newcastle N.S. were firmly committed Cussane men. Once you had thrown in your lot with a club, there was no going back. The rivalry between Cussane and Newcastle, Cussane and Coolarne and Cussane and Athenry was indeed intense in the 1940s and 50s. I still have vivid memories of the

Cussane team and supporters being transported by lorry to matches in Monivea and the battle cry of “Up Cussane” was enough to send shivers down my spine.

When talking to many of the old stalwarts of that era, I’m intrigued by the fervour with which they can recall those battles on the field of play and the almost inevitable objection sagas that followed. The 1943 Co. Junior Hurling Final between Coolarne and Cussane will still be hotly debated today. It was played in Monivea on the 29th October, 1944. Coolarne won by 6-1 to 3-5. But then came the objection and appeals. Eventually a replay was ordered but Coolarne refused to play and Cussane got the medals. He would be a brave man who would venture an opinion on the rights and wrongs of that one down Carnaun way.

To the historian they are intriguing stories of rivalry and sometimes bitterness but for me it’s tinged with regret, regret that the Parish Rule came too late, too late to have all those stalwarts from the various corners of the parish play under one banner. It will always be a source of speculation, to what might have been achieved in the forties, fifties and sixties had there been a united parish. The phenomenal success of the parish teams in the eighties has heightened that speculation.

I’m glad to be able to record that Carnaun past pupils have continued to contribute handsomely to the success stories of Turloughmore and Athenry in recent decades and long may they continue to do so.

 

 

 

 



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