From times past with Brian Gabriel

Blarney Athletic Sports May 3rd 1885 (Under the Gaelic Athletic Association Rules) The first meeting held in the South of Ireland under the Gaelic Athletic Association of Ireland – or, in other words, The National Association – was held yesterday (Sunday 3rd May 1883) on the Green in Blarney Village, and a better start could not have been had for the association. The morning was showery, but at noon the sun burst forth in all its effulgence, and the afternoon was simply delightful. Fully 5,000 spectators were present, and not a drunken or disorderly person was to be seen in the vast crowd, while there was not the least trouble experienced by the stewards to keep the ring clear. A number of police were drafted into the village for the occasion but their services were not required s the people present at this, as well as every other National gathering, were well able to keep the peace themselves. The committee are deserving of every credit for the satisfactory way in which the meeting passed off, while the arrangements made were of the most complete character – so good in fact, that they would put in the shade those made for the conduct of some of the best reunions in the country. Where all worked so well it might be a little invidious to particularise; but we feel sure that no one will cavil with us for selecting special praise the exertions of the indefatigable hon secretary, Mr. C. Buckley and Mr. E. Cotter, a member of committee. In the centre of the field was a tall pole, bearing on it a white flag, bordered with green and the centre bore the letters “G.A.A.” done in green. Green bannerettes marked the distances in the 200 yards track, and the members of the committee and other officials wore green rosettes, ornamented with white lace in the centre. So that all the appendages were nationalistic in tone, and to crown all the Barrack Street Band was in attendance, and discoursed the following choice programme: – March; “Precioso; Quadrille, “Royal Irish”. Selection; “Maritana”. Schottische; “Calypso”. Valse; “Mells”. Polka; “Yolanda”. Selection: “Irish Airs”. Lancers; “Gems of the Opera”. Valse; “Les Cloches de Corneville”. Galop; “Kathleen”. Finale; “God Save Ireland”. The playing of the band was much admired. A large number of ladies were present and they seem to enjoy the sports just as much as the members of the sterner sex did. On the whole, the Gaelic Athletic Association has made a good start in the South of Ireland, and there cannot be the slightest doubt of its success. The real people will support no other association; and when this is the case, combined with the fact that we have now fine athletes under its banner – and will soon have more -he would be a daring man who would predicate failure for it. Some of those who have gone over to the enemy’s camp must have got their eyes opened at Blarney yesterday, and if they only wait a little longer, they will get further eye-openers in this direction. And in this connection; it may not be inopportune to state that two athletes that competed at the late Queen’s College sports have pleaded to be admitted to the fold of the Gaelic and have succeeded in being re-instated, but not without some trouble. The Gaelic Athletic Association can at present lay claim to having under banner the best hundred yards’ man in Ireland and almost the best high-jumper – namely F.B. Dineen, of Ballylanders; while for the mile and half mile Denis O’Neill and P. O’Callaghan are not bad representatives; and as a two miler T. Walsh is a veritable wonder. Then T. O’Connor and B. Dill are good high jumpers and A1 hurdle-toppers, while M. O’Sullivan is able to take a hand at anything and acquit himself creditably. W. O’Donoghue and D. Looney are also rare athletes and among the juniors brought out yesterday were evidences given of grand form in a short time. With regard to Dineen, an attempt was made yesterday by one of those opposed to the Gaelic Athletic Association to get him not to run, but like the true man that he is, he scorned such meddlesomeness and boldly stuck to his resolution to throw in his lot with the nationalist athletes of Ireland. To come now to the events: Throwing of the 56 lbs. weight without Follow. – There were nine entries for this event but only two competed as the others had not arrived when the event commenced, although it was not started until half an hour after the time announced. J. Dennis of Midleton won with a throw of 21ft. 71/4 inches. The Long Jump. – Six competed for this event out of twelve on the card. W. O’Donoghue won with a jump of 18 feet. The One Mile Handicap. – Out of eleven entries, three tried conclusion – namely, 1st Denis O’Neill (Scratch), 2nd P. O’Callaghan (Scratch), 3rd T. Lynch (65 yards). O’Neill won by 25 yds in a time of 5 mins 6 secs. The High Jump. – 5 competitors appeared out of fourteen entries. Winner was F. Dineen with a fine jump of 5ft.41/4 inches. The Half Mile Handicap. – 1st P. O’Callaghan with a time of 2 mins 17 secs. The Hop, Step and Jump. – 1st M. O’Sullivan with 42 ft 9 inches. The Boys Race 440 Yds. – 1st E. O’Reilly, the winner was a big lad but with the handicap he got, he had quite enough to do to beat the others. 100 Yds Handicap. – 1st F.B. Dineen with a time of 10.35 secs. The Two-Mile Handicap. – 1st T. Walsh, Riverstown, with a time of 10 mins 35 secs. The pace was fast all through and the time which Walsh ran it makes him out to be a top-rate performer. The 440 Yds Hurdle Race. – 1st T. O’Connor with a time of 1 min 12 secs. B. Dill 2nd. This was a fine race with the two so locked together that the Judge made it a dead heat. The pair then ran it off and O’Connor won easily. Mr. J.F. Murphy was an excellent Judge while Mr. J.F. O’Crowley, as handicapper and starter was the right man in the right place. Mr. J. McKay, one of the hon. Secs. Of the Gaelic Association timed the events. The prizes were purchased at Mr. O’Crowley’s establishment. Old George’s Street. We may mention that a race for professionals was set down on the programme at first, but no one entered for it, all being too anxious to become amateurs under the Gaelic Association. This concluded one of the most enjoyable day’s sport it has ever been to participate in. The prizes were distributed to the successful competitors by Miss Corkeran. The Band played “God Save Ireland” as a finale and many of the people present joined in singing the Irish National Anthem. A full listing of the competitors and their placings in each event also appeared in the original report. The above item appeared in the Cork Examiner of Monday, May 4th 1885