Charleville Rugby in the '60s
By Derry Moran
When we reformed the rugby club in the late sixties we were very lucky to have a few of the players from the late 50s still available. Ted O’Sullivan and James Foley played in the backs, James roaring from the out-half position, kept this pack moving. Davey Ryan who was on the first team of 1926 was the greatest supporter the club had. It is a coincidence that the three-quarter line of 1926 were alive when we reformed in the sixties. They were Davey Ryan, Ml. O’Sullivan (NT), Davey Riordan and Fr. Ned Riordan. Seanie ‘Cove’ Lynch and Billy Greensmith were well known players from the 50s and they were involved at committee and selection level. Seanie was a unique character and old players he had played against always loved to meet him. He referred to everyone as ‘cool’.
One Sunday someone asked him who we were playing against, the answer was ‘we’re playing Cobh in Cobh, Cove’. He had a great habit of getting names wrong. Sean Conway known as ‘The Boy Wonder’ was called ‘The Wonderful Boy’; Eamon Marrow from Kilmallock, he always called ‘Barnhouse’. Pa John (RIP) was Seanie’s son. If the team was being selected and we were short a hooker Pa John would be nominated by Seanie. Likewise, if it was an out half or a second row the selection method would be same.
One day on the way home from a match, Seanie asked Billy what he thought of Pa John. While Billy was humming and hawing, Seanie added that Pa John was a bit green. Billy promptly answered ‘he’s not, he’s yellow’, all hell broke loose.
Seanie spent a lot of time in the army and related many great stores to us from wartime Ireland. A few of the ladies who were part of the army social life in Fermoy were ‘scarce of hair’, ‘fly through the window’, ‘pigeon chest’ and ‘wheels of the world’. Seanie was a great man to collect membership fees from old players. I was with him in ‘The Rob Roy’ in Cork once. It was owned by an ex-player Pat Casey. Pat was behind the counter and Seanie’s praise of him was long, loud and clear. After about half an hour, Pat gave him (with a wink and a nod to me) ten bob. Seanie changed his tune and announced ‘you were never any good’. When we were leaving Pat slipped me a five on the QT.
Bill Greensmith would always render ‘Johnsons Motor Car’ when the singing began. Bill’s two sons, Pa Joe and Henry, were involved also with the club.
I was reminded during the week of a few ‘Messiahs’ I omitted. One was a teacher. He claimed to have played full back for Wanderers. We are puzzled whether ‘twas Wonderers or Wanderers he allegedly played for. We had a Kiwi who was the best man I ever met to drop names. The only thing he dropped more was balls. A second team player once asked a very senior selector why he was always on the second team. The answer was short and sweet ‘cos there’s no third team’.
Footnote on Seanie Lynch. On Monday evenings we used to have ‘Crubeen Parties’ at Ryans. Willie Lyons supplied the crubeens and Seanie’s wife Kitty cooked them to perfection. Seanie always kept a few at home and it would be a privilege to be asked to Seanie’s at closing time to finish them.
The parties only lasted for a few weeks when Eamon Ryan realised that short of a power hose, you couldn’t clean the glasses.