IN November 1972, Wolfe Tones celebrated winning the club’s first title, that year’s junior football championship and on Saturday, there will be a reunion at the Goalpost for all involved in the triumph.
John Morris is still involved with the Tones and was a member of the panel in 1972, although injury ruled him out of the final in which the Tones beat North Clare side St Michael’s. “It was in Kilrush at the Michael Tubridy pitch, 1-8 to 1-6 was the final score,” he reminisced this week.
People were coming from all over the country to take up employment in Shannon and the side’s composition reflected that. “Of our ’72 team, there were only two Clare men, Joe Kelly was in goals and the other one was Flann O’Neill from Doonbeg.
“Our captain at the time was Seamus Flanagan, who was from Fermanagh, from Enniskillen. He’s over in California and he’s coming back for the weekend.”
The Clare Champion report from November 10, 1972 said the final had been an outstanding game. “In what must surely rate as one of the best football finals in any grade ever seen in Clare, Wolfe Tones na Sionna captured their first title when they defeated St Michael’s (Ennistymon) in a very close and hard-fought junior football championship final at Captain Michael Tubridy Memorial Park Kilrush on Sunday last. There was never really very much between the sides and the winners just about deserved their victory.”
It said the victory was an important one for the fledgling club. “Wolfe Tones must be the youngest club in Clare and their victory will prove a great incentive to the followers of the game in Shannon. For Shannon, it was a dream come through. For the past three to four years, they had been one of the foremost teams in the junior competition having been beaten in the closing stages each year.”
The winners had solid performances all over the field, the report stated, although it picked out a few individuals for special mention. “This was essentially a team victory for Wolfe Tones on Sunday but they also had outstanding performances from some players. Pride of place must go to wing-back Mick Sullivan who stood in for the injured John Morris who was unable to play because of an ankle injury. This man really had a ‘blinder’ and it was in the closing stages when St Michael’s piled on the pressure that he really shone.
“Charlie McTaggert, at right half-back, was another player to give a sparkling performance and he must be a very strong contender for a place on the Clare senior football team. Christy McGrath, Paddy Carrigg and Tom Crowe were other defenders to shine.
“Once again, Seamus Flanagan, the current Fermanagh inter-county footballer had a great game at midfield, while up front, Con Buckley, Jackie Keane and Michael Shelley were always dangerous.”
It noted the delight that greeted that first win in Shannon. “There were great scenes of jubilation at the Wolfe Tones na Sionna GAA pavilion on Sunday evening when the captain Seamus Flanagan and other members of the team arrived with the cup.”