Eighteen months after the GAA was founded the ball was thrown in, so to speak, in Irish transport.
In his book, Buses, Trains and Gaelic Games author John Cassidy tells us, “The earliest reference to Dublin Transport GAA teams is 1886 when the Inchicore railway workers founded a club called “Henry Grattan’s.” The founding members were, M. Gorman, T. Griffin, M. Kelly and the Honourary Secretary, P. O ‘Hagan. The first recorded match was against the Grocers’ Assistants and it was played, on a home-and-away basis, with each team consisting of 21 players.”
Transport workers (mainly from the railways) made up many teams in the last 14 years of the nineteenth century. There was Inchicore Emmets, Sarsfield Hurling Club, Foundry Gaels, Southern Rovers Hurling Club, Southern Gaels GFC and many more. In 1900 Transport Gaels, (later to become CIE Transport Gaels) was founded.
And now to mark 125 years (the quasquicentennial) of Gaelic games in Irish transport the GAA has given permission to Transport Gaels to play hurling, football and camogie games in Croke Park on Saturday 08th October 2011.
Criostoir O Cuana, Uachtarán Chumann Luthchleas Gael says of the occasion,
“ . . .it’s pleasing to know that the workforce of CIE still turns to Gaelic Games as an outlet for sport and leisure to this day.. . The GAA has always had strong ties with a body that has done more than any other to ensure the mass movement of our people across the island, many of them in transit to our games.”
Left: Martin McHugh
Right: Oisin McGinley
U14 GAA Player of the Year, Oisin McGinley being presented with his award by Martin McHugh at the Carrick Voc.
Fixtures and times of games in Croke Park.
12.00: Camogie match. C.I.E. Selection V Camogie selection.
12.35: Ladies Football match. C.I.E. Selection V Football Selection.
13.15: Hurling match. Transport Gaels V Liffey Gaels. (Match referee Danny Harrington, Dublin Bus).
13.45: Half-time entertainment Artane musical band.
14.45: Charity football match -
|Charity football match
Martin McHugh Media Selection V Jimmy Deenihan Oireachtas Selection in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society and Special Olympics Ireland (Celebrity match referee Garda Inspector John Toomey). 15.30: Football match. Transport Gaels V Translink, Northern Ireland Transport Company. (Match referee Kieran McShea , Bus Éireann).
16.00: Half time entertainment: Artane musical band.
17.00: Plaques presented to team captains at the end of the football match.
18.30: After-match meal in upper Hogan stand, presentations to players and match officials and other presentations.
A capacity crowd is expected: as one sports commentator put it, “The only other major sporting event to clash with it on the day will be the Ocean Lava Lanzarote Triathlon.”
Immediately permission was granted to Transport Gaels, by the GAA, the committee decided that all takings would go to the Alzheimer Society and Special Olympics Ireland.
In the words of CIE Chairman John Lynch, “The achievements, both on and off the field, testify to the dedication of so many people. . . Running a sporting organisation is a time consuming business but with the continued voluntary involvement of managers, coaches, administrators, players and supporters CIE Transport Gaels will pass on a substantial legacy for future generations to build upon.”
This historic event will provide much needed funding for two very deserving charities.
The Alzheimer Society was founded in 1982 by a small group of people who were caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s Disease or a related dementia. Today, it is a national voluntary organisation with an extensive national network of branches, regional offices and services that aims to provide people with all forms of dementia, their families and carers with the necessary support to maximise their quality of life.
Maurice O’Connell, CEO, told me, “Our Society is delighted to be involved in CIE Transport Gaels 125th Anniversary Games. By partnering with Transport Gaels we hope to raise awareness about the work that we do and also raise much needed funds so we can continue to provide important services to people in Ireland living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. The Society is the leading dementia-specific service provider in Ireland, providing people with all forms of dementia and their families and carers, information and support to help maximise their quality of life. We work in the heart of local communities to provide a range of critical services, including day care, home care, residential respite, advocacy services, carer support groups, social clubs, family carer training programmes and our National Helpline (1800 341 341). With existing and probable future funding cuts the success of this event will influence the level of service we can provide into the future.”
Special Olympics Ireland changes lives. Its mission is "to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with an intellectual disability, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendships with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community."
PRO of CIE Transport Gaels, Donegal man, John Cassidy says, ”We are very thankful to the GAA for the use of Croke Park and to all the volunteers working towards this memorable event. I haven’t felt so exhilarated since Donegal won the All-Ireland final in 1992.”