After a game at Athenry in the first round of the camogie league Derrydonnell defeated Headford by 4-0 to 1-0. The Poniard sisters, Lena Heneghan and Kate Walsh were outstanding for the winners. They played Kilconieron on the following Sunday before defeating U.C.G. at the Sportsfield by 4-0 to 3-0 in another vigorous game on 4th. May.
There were six Poniard sisters on the team Nora, Mary K., Baby, Teresa, Magie, Josie as well as Una Heneghan, Kate Walsh, Kitty Holland, Rosie Fleming, Kitty Dobbyn, Sara Farrell and sub. Masie Connolly.
Derrydonnell junior hurlers were defeated by Maree in the West Board Junior Final and in the senior hurling championship drew with Claddagh, the score 1-4 each.
In a letter published by the Connacht Tribune after Galway minors' victory in the 1931 All-Ireland Semi-final the secretary of the Tiaquin Minor Hurling Club Bernard Hardiman alleged that his Club's players were completely ignored when the county team was selected. He challenged the County side to play his team in a game to prove that he had players worthy of selection. The challenge was not accepted but four players were selected on a West Galway team to play the East in a trial game. Kilkenny defeated Galway in the All-Ireland Final.
Stephen Jordan told a meeting of Galway County Board that they were re- organising the G.A.A. in Athenry. Over one hundred and fifty circulars had been sent out to the genuine Gaels in the town and had met with a good response. As a result 96 people attended a meeting held in the Town Hall on 8th. November. Jordan addressed the members present pointing out that the purpose of the meeting was the formation of a proper G.A.A. Club in the town. After fixing the membership fee at 1 shilling the meeting unanimously elected him as President and James Doherty as Secretary. There were four proposals for the position of Treasurer. To decide the issue it was decided to divide the hall into four sections, each candidate to stand in the section allocated to him, and those wishing to vote for him to stand with him in that section. Thomas Glynn was duly elected Treasurer and seven more members were elected to form a committee.
At that committee's first meeting two football teams were selected for a practice match representative of the town and Caheroyan.
The Treasurer was instructed to purchase 20 pairs of white knickers to be sold to members for 6 pence profit for the Clubs benefit. A Whist Drive was arranged and also a draw for twelve sweepstake tickets to raise further funds for the Club.
A set of jerseys - black with an amber circle were purchased from Whelans at 3 shillings and 11 pence each and a friendly match was arranged against Renmore, to be played in Renmore on 6th. March. Two players who did not show up for this game were refunded their membership fee and their names deleted from the Club register.
Return matches in hurling and football were arranged with Renmore for Athenry. However the Club could not field a hurling team so Derrydonnell were asked to field instead. A gate of 13 pounds, 16 shillings 11 and 1/2 pence was collected at the games.
Against Renvyle in their opening game of the championship at Oughterard, Athenry won with the score 1-5 to 1-1. With some spectacular play and plenty of 'thrills' for spectators the winners proved themselves a better team. Playing with the advantage of the wind in the first half Thomas Glynn opened the scoring with a point. Leo Egan was proving to be a very capable goalkeeper and at halftime Athenry led 0-5 to nil.
When play was resumed Renvyle launched a strong attack and scored a goal within a few minutes. Athenry replied with a goal by Derry Monaghan as Renvyle continued to attack but could not beat Egan again. Conspicuous by their ability on the Athenry team were Michael Walsh, Thomas Glynn, Derry Monaghan, Martin Glynn, John Farrell and the Kilkelly brothers.
In the next round Athenry met Carna in Galway but lost by 0-11 to 0-10. Team Captain James Doherty told a meeting of the Club that he felt he made a mistake in playing a two back game. While the plan was good he overlooked the mental capacity of some of the members of the team and, as a result, their goal was left open to attack practically all of the time.
Team: Leo Egan, Michael Walsh, Martin Glynn, Michael Kilkelly, James O'Doherty, John Farrell, Tommy Monaghan, Joe Mills, Mick Hall, Jim Doherty, Thomas Glynn, Paddy Kilkelly, Derry Monaghan and Joe Whyte.
Cussane won the 1932 north Board Intermediate Final that was played in June 1933 at Mountbellew. In one of the best hurling games seen at the venue for some time they defeated Ballymacward by 2.6 to 2-4. In a closely contested game both sides settled down quickly and kept up the pressure for the full hour. A great goal in the closing stages for Cussane clinched the title
Team: Martin Treacy (Capt.), Jimmy Madden, Mick Gill, Dick Williams, Andy Gill, Mick Coffey, Jim Feeney, Mick Waldron, Tony Madden, Padraic Fahy, Tom Fahy, Willie Coen, Jimmy Waldron, Tommy Forde, Bernie Doherty, Martin Forde and Paddy Treacy.
Tiaquin had four players on the County Minor panel; Christy Murphy and Mattie Hynes were at centerfield with Thomas Murphy and Paddy Monaghan among the subs. Tipperary defeated the minor side in the All-Ireland semi-final at Limerick on the day Clare, after trailing by sixteen points at halftime, won by five in the senior game.
Newcastle juniors qualified for the North Board Final but were defeated by Ahascragh, with Derrydonnell losing to Craughwell 7-1 to 3-3 in the County Senior Hurling Championship. The Morrissey brothers Martin and Dick were outstanding for Craughwell with Jimmy Waldron impressive on the Derrydonnell side.
Team: Peter Heneghan, Patrick Waldron, Sean Heneghan, Paddy Kelly, Joe Hardiman, Con Broderick, and Tommy Broderick. J. Broderick, Mike Poniard, Jimmy Waldron, M. Coffey, Michael Costello, John Hynes, Peter Mullins (Capt.), Johnny Mullins.
The Galway 1933 Minor Hurling Team
Padraic Fahy, Athenry (3rd from left back row), Christy Murphy, Newcastle (2nd from left second row) and Thomas Murphy, Newcastle (4th from left second row) who were members of the team defeatd by Kilkenny in the All-Ireland Semi-Final.
Johnny Mullins was selected on the Galway senior team against Roscommon. When the G.A.A. celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1934 it had reached a pinnacle which would have been unbelievable to Croke and Cusack. The previous quarter of a century of the Associations existence was marked by such notable events as the reduction of teams to fifteen aside (1913), the introduction of National League (1925) and Railway Cup competitions (1927), junior and minor championships and the purchase of Croke Park.
The G.A.A. had brought a new spirit of 'friendly' rivalry between Parishes, parochial barriers began to be broken down and a new interest was added to the lives of young people. They were no longer mere spectators at infrequent athletic contests but active participants in the national games. Among those from Athenry who held prominent positions and maintained the movement in County Galway since its foundation were Patrick C. Kelly, Johnny Kelly, Larry Lardner, Stephen Jordan, Jim Barrett and Fr. Martin Broderick.
Galway All-Ireland Senior Football Champions 1934
Front Row: (left to right) Cussaun Brennan, Dinny Sullivan, Mick Ferriter, Mick Higgins(capt) with mascot, Tadhg McCarthy, Dermot Mitchell, Brendan Nestor and Dick Kenny (team manager). Back Row: (left to right) M. O'Regan (Secretary Galway Football Board), Frank Fox, Ralph Griffin, Martin Kelly, Hugo Carey, Mick Connaire, John Dunne, O.J. McDonnell, Tommy Hughes and Stephen Jordan T.D., a well-known referee at the time.
Athenry's championship hopes were ended by Carnmore in junior hurling 5-5 to 1-2 while the club's footballers recorded a good win over St. Michael's winning by 4-6 to 3-1. Emigration deprived Newcastle of three of their best hurlers when Joe Hardiman, Lar Hardiman and Mattie Hynes immigrated to England. The Club was forced to rely on their younger players yet ended with the highest number of points in the league and were nominated to contest the County Championship. During the thirties Athenry handball players were very successful at County and Provincial level, winning numerous titles. They also qualified for All-Ireland Finals during that period but were unsuccessful until 1939.
That year Michael Doherty was beaten by Tipperary's Joe Hassett in the All-Ireland J.S.S. Final, with Thomas Glynn losing to Jasper Dunne in the senior final. A year later Christy Barrett Snr. and Michael Doherty lost to C. Darcy and J. Cahill of Kildare in the junior doubles final, while in 1932 Christy Barrett Jnr. and P. J. Collins lost to Carlow's W. Doyle and J. Fleming. Paddy Corley and B. Walsh had no luck either in 1936 or 1937, losing to the legendary Joe and Ned Hassett. Walsh brought the second All-Ireland title to Athenry in 1939 when he defeated Jimmy O'Toote from Hospital, Co. Limerick to win the junior softball singles championship. The following year he created a sensation when he defeated Paddy Perry 3 games to 1 at Boyle in the senior championship and really proved his greatness when he was victorious over Joe Hassett in the final by 3 games to 1.
Gurteen defeated Newcastle in the North Board Junior League Final while in the championship Cussane proved too good for Fohenagh and won the title. They defeated Peterswell in the County semi-final, a game that was not played until March 1940. Ballindooley proved too good for Cussane in the County Final which was played at Clarinbridge, the score 3-4 to 0-2.
Cussane Panel: Andy Gill, Padraic Fahy, Mick Gill, Bill Broderick, Mick Coffey, Mixie Connolly, Jim Feeney, Bernie Naughton, Jimmy Madden, Paddy Lally, Mike Fahy, Dermot Glynn, Peter Mullins, Richard Shields, Tommy Lally, Tommy Glynn, Con Broderick and Joe Hynes.
Athenry affiliated a Senior Football team in 1940 but were defeated by Dunmore at Tuam in the County Championship.
Athenry Panel: John O`Dowd (Capt.), Jimmy Curley, Padraic Brosnan, Seamus Barrett, Jim Bodkin, Martin Hession, Billy Hassey, Paddy Hassey, Mick Kilkelly, Frank Kilkelly, Barney Duffy, David Connell, P. J. Collins, Johnny Cluskey, Michael King.
The following year they drew with U.C.G. at Fahy`s Field in the championship but lost the replay. Cussane took the '41 junior and minor North Board titles but lost to Claregalway and Loughrea respectively.
In the 1943 football championship, Ballinasloe, powered by John Dunne, trounced Athenry in their championship game at Mountbellew.
Following a game between Newcastle and Cussane, which ended in a draw, both teams were lucky not to be suspended for 12 months as proposed by the Chairman of the North Board. Several players were suspended but in the replay all were on good behaviour, with Cussane winning the title. They reached the County Final but were again defeated by Coolarne, 6-1 to 3-5 at Monivea.
Cussane won the 1943 North Board Junior League Final and Moorpark took the 1944 final on the same day at Menlough. Cussane accounted for Fohenagh while Moorpark proved too strong for Ahascragh.
Galway All-Ireland Senior Football Champions 1938.
Front Row: (left to right) Frank Cunniffe,Jackie Flavin, Mick Higgins, John Dunne (captain), Ned Mulholland, Mick Raftery. Back Row: (left to right) Bobby Beggs, Ralph Griffin, John Burke, Jimmy McGauran, Charlie Connolly, Brendan Nestor; Dinny Sullivan, Mick Connaire and Martin Kelly.
Galway All-Ireland Junior Hurling Champions 1939
Front Row: (left to right) Tommy Cunningham (Ardrahan); Walter Connolly (Gort); Tom Lambert (Kilbeacanty); Joe Costello (Army) captain; Paddy Forde (Ballinasloe); James Curley (Clontuskert); Michael Mulryan (Castlegar). Middle Row: J. Faherty, J. Whelan, (secretary of the Galway County GAA Board); Joe Hanney (Killimor); Mattie Leary (Ardrahan); Joe Hanniffy (Maree); Bob Forde, (Kinvara); Patrick Fahy (Kilbeacanty); Joe Muldoon (Kinvara). Back Row: (left to right) unidentified, Joe Darcy (Ballinakill); Malachy Donnellan (Maree); Willie Donnellan (Maree); Jack Beehan (Cappa taggle); Jack Fahy (Kilbeacanty); Eamon Hogan (Woodford); Willie Niland (Clarenbridge); Joe Cooney (Paterswell); Martin Lowry (Mullagh); last man not identified.
A typical Irish homestead at Derrydonnell in the 1930's