Kildare and Mayo Football and Handball Connections

March 11th, 2018 | Club News

Kildare and Mayo Football and Handball Connections

By Lorcán O’Rourke

There are many standout sporting connections between Kildare and Mayo, none more so than in Gaelic football and handball. Numerous men from the West have influenced the progress of clubs in the Short Grass County. St Laurence’s, Naomh Mhuire Leixlip and Moorefield are just some of the clubs fortunate to have welcomed people from the third largest county in Ireland.

John Joe Walsh came to Kildare to Kildare in 1956 and joined St Laurence’s in 1957, the year the club was established. Over the years he has made many great friends in Kildare and in St Laurence’s where he is still involved and is currently president of the club. He represented Kildare as Central Council delegate for the past five years.

Ollie Lyons gave marvellous service to Kildare football over a seven-year period as did his dad, Des from Ballaghaderreen, in handball as a member of Naomh Mhuire Leixlip, and Cathaoirleach and Rúnaí of Coiste Liathróid Láimhe Chill Dara. Cian O’Neill paid Ollie this tribute:

“Ollie Lyons owes Kildare nothing, for many years he has been our go-to guy marking the key attacker on the opposition team.”

Pat Flynn from Cong captained Moorefield to a Leader Cup victory in 1994, the club’s first success in the senior league since 1960. This was the club’s breakthrough which led to eight county championships and two Leinster titles since 2000. His son, Daryl, followed in Pat’s footsteps when captaining Moorefield to the 2017 county title, and the Leinster title on 17 December last.

Ask anyone over the age of 50 to name three outstanding Mayo footballers from 1965 to 1975 and the name Willie McGee is certain to be one of them.

From the time the red-haired Burrishole native lined out for the county minors in 1965, he was marked out as one to watch – and that was an accurate assessment of the talent of the tall, athletic and powerfully built man who scored a record four goals in the 1967 All-Ireland Under-21 final replay against Kerry in a 4-9 to 1-7 victory.

He was chosen at full-forward on the ‘best team never to win an All-Ireland’ and was nominated for a position on the ‘Team of the Century’, one of the highlights of his career.

Willie ended his career with an All-Ireland medal with Kildare in 1991 when he lined out for his adopted county in the Masters (Over 40) competition. The man who hit 17 goals from play in one competitive season eventually won a second All-Ireland medal.

Mayo Footballers/Handballers

  • Willie McGee won a Novice Team All-Ireland with Naomh Mhuire Leixlip and a 1991 World Police Doubles title

  • Andy Moran won All-Ireland U-14 Doubles with Joe McCann

  • Tom Parsons starred in All-Ireland Colleges championships

  • Kenneth O’Malley won U-14/15 All-Ireland Team medal

  • James Kilcullen won Minor Doubles All-Ireland with Joe McCann in 2001