In 1960 there was no GAA club in the town. Football was our main juvenile game. DannoMahony was our main mentor and my father, Matt Hickey and Paddy Scanlan brought us to all our matches. As no club existed, we played under the CBS by doing that we were able to add a few outside players to the panel.
We had three excellent players Roger Gould and Bernie Savage from Kilmallock and John Byrnes from Bruree. Bernie was my mid-field partner and to this day when we meet, we still discuss 60 years ago and the memory is still vivid.
We sailed through the early round. In one game we changed the backs with the forwards at half time.
For some reason there was a delay in this championship. By the time our game came up, Fermoy had advanced to the County semi-finals, so when we played them we were playing for the North Cork Championship and a place in the County semi-final.
We had agreed with the Kilmallock and Bruree club that if there was a clash of fixtures that their players would play with their clubs. We had a least four more players on holidays or at Irish College. The thought of bringing home players for a football match was not heard of at the time.
The game was played in the local town park and we were beaten. I was captain of the team and I was inconsolable.
I can’t remember all the team but some I can were John Madigan, Pat Ryan, Paddy Scanlan, John Howard, Denny Curtin and Connie Curtin.
Missing that night were Bernie Savage, Roger Gould, John Byrnes and Niall Hickey.
Michael Harding was recently interviewed on the radio. He announced that he has a book coming out in the autumn on ‘Seasides’. I am looking forward to that. A break at the seaside is always something special, be it for a day, a weekend or longer.
I made my first visit to Ballybunion as a 4-month-old baby in 1947. Our family and aunts, uncles and cousins would rent ‘a lodge’ for a month. The biggest of these lodges would have been 3 or 4 bedrooms. There would always be 10 or 12 in the house between coming and going. It would be a different house every year, but always in the town. A conversation would arise every year on the quality of the beds. As a child it always puzzled me. And in later years I often wondered was the bed judged on your ability to sleep in or for extra curricular activities. Every year an account would be opened in Carroll’s grocery and settled at the end of the month.
There would be two trips when starting the holiday as blankets, pots and pans and many household items were not supplied with the house. I remember going to Bally, one year, on the second run and my seat was the handles of a kettle in the back of a commur van Z7 4138. There would be a prize for the first person to see the sea. To reach the two-mile cross would be a fair achievement, before somebody spotted the Atlantic.
One of the big amusements was ‘The Penny Pongo’. This used to be played in a shed in the Church Road. It used to be an old penny for a game with a prize of a half crown. There would be road show on for the season and trips to the show would be a major highlight. There was also a cinema. These shows had an exotic name. One you could not forget would be ‘MacFaddens Olympic Hippo Drome’ The McFadden family are still in the entertainment business, most of the time was spent on the beach. I wasn’t a keen swimmer, but I could be lured in by a spin on the donkey. That costs 6 old pence. Tea for the elders would come down on a tray from Maggie Daly’s. At the time very few had cameras. ‘Frank’s Snaps’ would visit the beach every day taking photos. You went to their hut, the following day and view the photos. You then ordered them if you wanted them.
An early morning visit to the ladies' beach was often done. There, were rocks where the concrete stops now, a good search between the rocks would land a good fist of coins for you.
A visit to ‘Cissy Macs’ might arise from a good catch of coins. It was Ballybunion’s ‘Wool-worths’. As a very small boy, I had a massive boil over my eye. I had to get it lanced. As a reward I was brought to Cissy Macs.
As a teenager it would be mandatory to fall in love every summer and dream about it until the following summer.
In the later years, inspired by beaches, other tastes were developed and JD’s was better than nay open university.