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Kildare defeat Cork on the way to 1928 All Ireland Title

By christinemurray06 Sun 12th Feb

Kildare defeat Cork on the way to 1928 All Ireland Title
Kildare defeat Cork on the way to 1928 All Ireland Title

Kildare 1928 All Ireland Champions Photo: Leinster GAA

Every Kildare supporter knows that the Lily Whites won the 1928 All-Ireland final when Bill ‘Squires’ Gannon lifted the Sam Maguire Cup which was presented for the first time that year. It was an historic occasion as Kildare outscored Cavan by 2-6 to 2-5 on 31 September.

But how many people know that Kildare defeated Cork in the semi-final?

The Leinster Leader of September 8 declared:


KILDARE, 3 Goals 7 Points; CORK, 2 Points

At the Athletic Grounds, Cork, on Sunday 2nd September, Kildare holders of the All-Ireland Football Championship met Cork in the semi-final of the 1928 All-Ireland Championship.

It was a great day for the GAA in the South and the greatest enthusiasm was displayed by the 20,000 spectators who lined the pitch. The Kildare men had been accorded a most enthusiastic reception on their arrival in the Southern capital, two bands rendering musical honours at the station as the train steamed in to the accompaniment of rousing cheers from the vast gathering which thronged the platform.

The champions were well supported, and every district in Co. Kildare sent its quota to swell the throng that, sporting the Kildare colours, lined the pitch and lustily cheered the champions on. The special trains were fully availed of, whilst large numbers travelled by road and the “Short Grass” invasion of Cork was one of the largest witnessed in recent years.

The day was nice and sunny with a fair wind blowing towards the town goal. Every available point of vantage was occupied by an enthusiastic gathering and continuous cheers greeted the teams as they were played around the pitch by the Cork Volunteer Pipers’ Band.

The Game
The outstanding feature of a game which was far better contested than the scores would indicate was the superb Kildare defence and the brilliant performance of Martin Walsh in the goal. The Kildare team played a fast and scientific game and only in the first half were the All Whites fully extended. The team throughout was sound, but the backs covered themselves with glory in a brilliant defence which was faultless and was crowned by the performance of Walsh in the goal at a critical period of the game. At all times Walsh, has been rightly regarded as a brilliant custodian, and many fine performances are to his credit, but in Sunday’s game he excelled and proved himself a regular wizard between the posts.

The whole Kildare back line was sound and “Gus” Fitzpatrick showed up prominently in a succession of brilliant clearances. He was a tower of strength to his side and was marked out by the Cork forwards for special attention. Malone showed a marked improvement on previous performances and Mangan gave the best display he has yet been responsible for.

Undoubtedly, the Cork men were not up to the standard of the Kildare men, but it was only the brilliant superiority of the All Whites that held them in check. They had many players of the highest standard, Mattie Murphy of Macroom and J. Vaughan, with J. Hurley, O’Donoghue and others, but the forward line was unable to cope with the great Kildare defence,

The champions were simply invincible, and in the face of the continuous frustration of their efforts to penetrate the visitors’ defence. A factor which contributed largely to the low Cork score was the frequency with which the Southerners transgressed by holding. A Cork Gael attributed this failing to the fact that local referees are not as strict as they might be and allow such minor infringements to pass. It would be advisable to the Cork Co. Board to look into the matter and bring their refereeing up to championship standard, as otherwise habits grow and their teams must always be at a disadvantage when the rules are strictly enforced.

The game was played in a most commendable spirit. In the first half matters were keenly contested, and despite the fact that superior tactics got the Kildare men through time after time for a score.  There was an exciting interval after fifteen minutes’ play when Cork bottled the champions on their goal line. A terrific bombardment of the Kildare posts followed and the attackers struck the cross-bar once. For a period of five minutes the attack was relentlessly sustained, but a fine defence prevailed. The half-time whistle sounded on a score of 1 goal 5 points to nil.

Despite the big lead, there were many who hoped that the Cork men would still recover at least to the point of putting the issue in doubt. In the opening play of the second half the Southerners made determined efforts to get through but a point by Keogh and a goal by Mangan put a damper on the game. Donegan subsequently put over a point, the first score for his side. Kearney scored a second point later. The Kildare forwards were in almost constant possession and the Cork backs brought off some fine clearances. It was Kildare’s game at this stage, and after Mangan registered a further goal for his side the result was beyond all doubt. The spectators had commenced to leave the field prior to the long whistle which left Kildare victors to meet Cavan in the All-Ireland Final, on the score of 3 goals 7 points to 2 points.

Kildare: Martin Walsh; Ml. Buckley, Matt Goff, A. Fitzpatrick; F. Malone, J. Higgins, J. Hayes; J. Loughlin, W. Gannon; Joe Curtis; P. Doyle, P. Martin; Wm. Mangan, P. Loughlin, T. Keogh. Subs: M. Connor, F. O’Toole, P. Pringle, Dan Ryan, Joe Reilly.

For the record, the Leinster campaign began with a 0-4 to 1-0 win over Laois. A semi-final victory over Longford (3-6 to 0-2) paved the way for a 0-10 to 1-6 win in the Leinster final against Dublin on 22 July at Croke Park.

Thanks to Lorcán O’Rourke for the article. 

By christinemurray06 Sun 12th Feb

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