AS the local soccer season gets ready to kick off in the coming weeks, one long-standing member of the Clare District Soccer League has been very active over the past number months putting the finishing touches to a club history that tells the story of the game’s emergence in East Clare from the 1970s onwards.
The Tulla United story will be launched in the coming months, but ahead of its publication date the East Clare club has put a call out to all present and past members, as well as supporters, in an effort to source additional photographs for inclusion in the finished product.
“We have gathered a good deal of photographs so far,’ says Denis Corry of the Tulla United History Committee, “but are eager to see if there are any more photos of interest out there involving the club over the years.
“We are particularly interested to see if any of the older club members or their families might have photos from the early and formative years of Tulla United in the 1970s and 1980s, because they would add greatly to the book, while the parents of former or current players might also have brought cameras to games over the years.
“People mightn’t realise what they have until they go looking,” continues Corry.
“They might have old team photos or action shots, or just fellas kicking a bit of ball.
“There might be some photos out there from the social occasions that Tulla United had over the years after the games. There were plenty of them.
“Tulla United had many different homes before we developed our facility at The Cragg in the mid-2000s, so maybe there are some photos out there of games in places like Tyreda or behind Norrie Henchy’s that were the two grounds most associated with the club for nearly 40 years,” he adds.
This year Tulla United is celebrating its Golden Jubilee, having been founded in December 1970 and will be competing for the first time in league and cup competitions organised by the Clare District League in the 1970/71 season.
Since then Tulla United has become one of the longest serving clubs in the county in flying the soccer flag in the parish and in the wider East Clare area, with an unbroken link of service to the Clare League since 1970.
Only founder members like Lifford and Hermitage, as well as Newmarket Celtic and Bridge United can boast longer records than Tulla.
The history has been penned by well-known local journalist Joe Ó Muircheartaigh, who as well as trawling through the archives of Clare soccer history has interviewed over 100 current or former members of the club in piecing a story of longevity and commitment to the cause.
“I came at this project from the prospective of not knowing much about Tulla United,” admits the author.
“But it was a great starting point, because from there I was able to start from the ground up to explore this great commitment — which has remained unbroken since 1970 — to the game in a rural part of the county more associated other sports, particularly hurling, but also athletics and handball.
“And it’s only along that journey that I came to realise that a club’s success is not measured in terms of matches or trophies won, but in its place and part in the community.
“In those terms Tulla United has a huge history and has had a huge impact over 50 years.
“It’s great to be able to tell that story and, as Denis Corry says, this final piece of the jigsaw in trying to source old photos is very important.
“Often times, old memorabilia might be hidden away – photos and programmes that were held onto as keepsakes but forgotten about. It would be great if some old nuggets were unearthed to give some extra colour to the book,” he adds.
Photographs can be given to any member of the Tulla United FC committee.
by Eoin Brennan