1961 Senior Champions 50th anniversary
Club Colmcille honours the 1961 Senior County Champions
Saturday November 19th saw the culmination of months of planning when An Charraig Mhór GFC welcomed its 1961 Senior County Champions to the Old Charm Inn to celebrate the 50th anniversary of what was the clubs fourth championship win. Players, wives and representatives of the deceased members enjoyed a relaxing meal before proceedings got underway. Other family members joined the crowd for the second part of the night and with every inch of space occupied maters proceeded with Club Chairman, Dermot Loughran, speaking about the impact of the 61 victory and the lasting legacy it has had on the club.
The win in 61, he pointed out
‘ was a most significant one. We hadn’t captured the O’Neill Cup since 1949 and the connections with that win were becoming more and more tenuous. Like 1940 when we secured our first, 1977 and 1995 the team of ’61 was a breakthrough team in that they secured the O’Neill Cup after a long period of absence. Their importance can only be assessed with the value of hindsight which allows us to see the fate of other top teams of that era. Many of them were not able to keep the idea of winning a championship alive in the minds of their young players. In short they stopped believing. Not for us though the tag of also-rans. The men of ’61, undeterred by a string of championship disappointments lasting from 1949 to 1960, exploded into the light of day in 1961 not only to capture the O’Neill Cup but pave the way for the glorious foot balling decade that was to be the 60’s with further championship wins in ’66 and ’69’
Following the chairman’s address everyone viewed a Powerpoint presentation of images and original press features from 1961.
Set to the sounds of Mise Eire by Sean O Riada it proved to be an emotional journey through the 1961 campaign. Speaking next, Peadar Montague, captain that year and also Secretary of the club at the time called for a minutes silence to honour the deceased members of the panel.
He echoed the sentiments of all in attendance when he conveyed how much their presence is missed in the family home and in the club as a whole. Peadar explained how the foundations for this senior success were laid by an organised youth programme in the 50’s which saw us capture the juvenile championship in 1955 and the minor in ’56 and ’57. Reaching the senior final in ’58, he said, was also another vital stepping stone.
He paid tribute to Fr James Donnelly, club Chairman, and Cyril Dolan Treasurer in 1961 for their part in running the club that year. He also spoke of the difficulties of bringing the team together in those days with as many as nine members of the panel working or studying in Dublin, England and elsewhere. Here Peadar himself must take credit were in his role as Secretary he posted the details of fixtures to the scattered players well in advance of the games so that they could make their way back in time for the league and championship games.
Peadar summed up by paying tribute to the whole panel of players who made history in 1961 and by thanking the club for honouring them in this way.
Players or those representing the deceased members received a beautiful commemorative trophy and a hard copy of the picture presentation to mark the 50 year anniversary.
Summing up club PRO, Gavan Mc Elroy, paid tribute to the men of ’61 who he said ‘not only brought honour back to the club through O’Neill Cup success in 1961 but paved the way for the 1966 and 1969 successes also. Their contribution however was even bigger than that. They also worked tirelessly for the club as supporters, committee members, managers and coaches when their playing days were over. As we know the type of commitment required stretches well beyond the confines of the individual and it is here that the mothers, wives, sisters, brothers aunts, uncles and indeed grandparents put everything else on hold for the common good of the club’.
The men of ’61, he pointed out ‘were the role models for the next two generations of Carrickmore players who learned how to win from winners. Many of them played their part in the later underage and senior victories of the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s’
With all the formalities out of the way those in attendance spent the rest of the night renewing old friendships and recounting stories of the marvellous achievement that was the 1961 Senior Championship victory.
The club would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who helped out in any way to make this night the resounding success it was.
Gavan Mc Elroy PRO