There was no getting out of it when Jackie called for a jingle

Joe Carroll

Reporter:

Joe Carroll

Arthur Kinahan’s photos in last week’s issue must have evoked memories for those who witnessed two great eras in the life of the Louth Senior Championship.

Arthur Kinahan’s photos in last week’s issue must have evoked memories for those who witnessed two great eras in the life of the Louth Senior Championship.

They featured many Newtown Blues players from the 1960s, a decade dominated by the Drogheda club like no other before or since, and Cooley Kickhams stalwarts, who followed their great rivals on to the victory podium in the ‘70s.

“Doesn’t your man look well”......“He hasn’t changed a bit.” I can imagine that was the reaction of many on seeing these stars of yesterday.

The occasion was a get-together in the Kickhams’ complex, organised by one of those who was a key figure in the green-and-golds’ halcyon days, Harry McCarthy. The idea came to Harry when he learnt that the Blues club, like Kickhams, was celebrating its 125th birthday this year.

So enthusiastic was the response from Blues, upwards on 30 of their players made the journey down, and they were greeted by about the same number of those who provided the opposition in many stirring battles, some of them taking place almost 50 years ago.

The craic was great, the sing-song even better. Big Jackie Hanratty was the man with the mic, and such was the standard of chanting, there was no point in answering Jackie’s request to get up if you thought you might forget the words or go violently off-key. This was vintage stuff – well, nearly all of it – and Jackie knew what he was at when he nominated Jim ‘Blackie’ Judge to throw in the ball.

There were Judges of two generations there, and none was found wanting when asked for a bar. Like the games played at St Brigid’s Park and elsewhere, there was nothing one-sided about it, and while he might have thought he’d done his bit by putting the night together, Harry McCarthy had also to come up with a jingle for Jackie.

In piecing together a neutral perspective on the era being celebrated, I established some interesting facts. Like.....

Harry McCarthy scoring all seven points from midfield in a Cooley league win over St Bride’s....

Jimmy Mulroy, Liam Leech and Matt Murphy winning a record nine SFC medals with Blues. Alo McGrath has the Cooley record with six....

Jim Thornton playing in 14 SFC finals, replays included, all but one of them at full-back....

Mickey and Joey Leech playing on the winning O’Rahillys team in the 1965 Championship final, with their brothers, Liam and Paddy, lining out for Blues. Mickey changed sides to win a further three medals....

Kevin Thornton playing in a Minor and Senior Championship final on the same afternoon....

Four judge brothers, Jim, Oliver, Paul and Mal, playing with the winning Blues side in 1967. Two other brothers, Peter and Kieran, also won medals....

Cooley and Blues qualifying for the 1967 Cardinal O’Donnell Cup final, but the title being awarded to Cooley following an investigation into the Blues team that beat Roche Emmets in the semi-final....

Blues winning nine SFC titles, including a record four-in-a-row between 1961 and ‘64, beating Cooley in the final of two of them. Cooley having a hat-trick in their five title-wins in the seventies, one of them against Blues in the final.