Carrick Rovers

'in the community, for the community'

Carrick Rovers History - Part II

The Early Forties

 

The team went from strength to strength and in the Jackson Cup they shattered Monaghan's unbeaten record. In the old Free State Cup Carrick joined with Castleblayney, as was permitted in those days, and beat a very strong Monaghan team. However St. Pats, Dundalk who got to the semi-finals that year beat them in the next round. John McKenna from Darkley, Co. Armagh was playing for Carrick that day. He had a brother Mick who was on the side line. Rovers did not know what they missed because Mick went on to play for Limerick and got Inter-League honours when he was there. At a more local level Carrick got to the Charity Cup Final in Dundalk but in the final in the Athletic grounds they lost 1-0 to St. Leonard's. They played in the Monaghan League against Clones, Monaghan, Blaney, Glennan. The second world war with the petrol and coal shortages put large restrictions on travel and by 1942 soccer had to take a back seat. Carrick were lucky to have an Irish Junior International with them at the time. Sean Munster who worked for the E.S.B. was capped when he played in goals for Drogheda. In Carrick he played on the left wing especially after George Mohan broke his leg. Around this time the Cairns family came to live near Crossmaglen and they played for Carrick. Their mother was Kierans from Keenogue over past Blackstaff near the border and in Carrick for some reason they were called ‘McKiernans’. Joe, John and Eddie all played but Eddie was the jewel in the crown. He played at the time when you were expected to beat an opponent with skill and Eddie had a body swerve that could cut you in two. He played either wing-half or inside-right and when soccer started again after the war Eddie was still there to display his glorious skills. 

It was 1940 before soccer was rekindled in any kind of a serious way. It was in Steadfast Shoe Factory where Patsy Dwyer was working. Patsy had a large postcard of the Welsh International team wearing red jerseys and white togs. He never played himself but was keenly interested and stirred the imagination of young men, Danny O'Donoghue amongst others, about having a local team wearing red and white. It was agreed to hold a meeting in the library room of The Catholic Hall. About twenty turned up but the meeting lacked direction and Joe Brennan suggested that they approach Barney Keoghan, the Town Clerk, who was an excellent sportsman and athlete in his day, to come to the meeting. It was adjourned, Mr.Keoghan approached and he accepted the invitation. He was immediately proposed and seconded as chairman and in his opening speech he set out guide lines - no corner boys, no abusive language, ambassadors from the town etc. With enthusiasm instilled, money was collected and Mick Clarke in O'Neill St. was approached about renting a field where Emmet Road is. Danny O'Donoghue made the goal posts and on June 22nd 1940 a challenge match was played against Kells. Both teams togged out in Larry McMahon's between Deery's and the Stables and marched behind the Drumconrath Brass and Reed Band up to the field on that Sunday afternoon. A huge crowd turned up but Kells won by four goals to three. Rovers were captained by Hughie Mohan. It was in Mohan's Cafe in O'Neill St. that earlier Rovers players were fed.

The team went from strength to strength and in the Jackson Cup they shattered Monaghan's unbeaten record. In the old Free State Cup Carrick joined with Castleblayney, as was permitted in those days, and beat a very strong Monaghan team. However St. Pats, Dundalk who got to the semi-finals that year beat them in the next round. John McKenna from Darkley, Co. Armagh was playing for Carrick that day. He had a brother Mick who was on the side line. Rovers did not know what they missed because Mick went on to play for Limerick and got Inter-League honours when he was there. At a more local level Carrick got to the Charity Cup Final in Dundalk but in the final in the Athletic grounds they lost 1-0 to St. Leonard's. They played in the Monaghan League against Clones, Monaghan, Blaney, Glennan. The second world war with the petrol and coal shortages put large restrictions on travel and by 1942 soccer had to take a back seat. Carrick were lucky to have an Irish Junior International with them at the time. Sean Munster who worked for the E.S.B. was capped when he played in goals for Drogheda. In Carrick he played on the left wing especially after George Mohan broke his leg. Around this time the Cairns family came to live near Crossmaglen and they played for Carrick. Their mother was Kierans from Keenogue over past Blackstaff near the border and in Carrick for some reason they were called ‘McKiernans’. Joe, John and Eddie all played but Eddie was the jewel in the crown. He played at the time when you were expected to beat an opponent with skill and Eddie had a body swerve that could cut you in two. He played either wing-half or inside-right and when soccer started again after the war Eddie was still there to display his glorious skills.

 

NEXT UP - AFTER THE WAR