Ballintubber's Great Football

By Johnny Mulvey

Ever since the early thirties Ballintubber Club have been contributing Top Class footballers to the various grades of Mayo teams. Leading the way was John Tuohy who was a member of the Mayo Junior team that won the County’s first All-Ireland title in 1933. He was followed two years later by Paddy O Malley who played Centre-Half-Back on the Minor team of 1935 which won the County’s first Minor All-Ireland by beating Tipperary by 1-6 to1-1 - which reminds me that when Mayo won its second Minor All-Ireland title in 1953 their left Full Back was Fr. Frank Fahey now the Distinguished Administrator of Famed Ballintubber Abbey. By that time the well known Prendergast quartet had arrived on the scene with Paddy, Tom, Murt, and Ray all distinguishing themselves in the County Colours - Paddy with All-Ireland senior medals in 1950 and 1951 as well as a Railway Cup Medal in 1951 and National League Medals in 1948 and 1953. The youngest of the team was Ray who was Full Back on the National League winning team of 1970. Both of them won Connacht Senior medals of course and Ray helped West Mayo to win its only Senior Co. Title when they beat Castlebar Mitchells in the 1960 Final. Nine years later he captioned the Mitchells to win the 1969 Final and repeated the feat in the 1970 Final. Murt was also a member of the 1960 west Mayo team and played in Junior and Senior grades with the County while Tom had played in the Junior grade before emigrating to the USA. Ray made 65 appearances in League and Championship for the County. Their cousins Patsy and Mickie Prendergast played for Mayo Juniors as did Vincent Keane (Senior) and the Lallys - Mickie Jimmy and Tommy. In recent times Vincent Keane’s son (Vincent Junior) captioned Mayo Juniors to All-Ireland victory over Kerry in the 1997 Final having previously played at Full Forward in the victorious junior team of 1995. Michael Derrig and John Horan were on the Mayo Junior team of 1996 while Anthony O Connor made several senior appearances with Mayo between 1976 and 1982.


Ger Geraghty A Loss

One of the most promising players from the Ballintubber Club was former Minor and U21 star Ger Geraghty who unfortunately immigrated to Chicago in his prime and was a tremendous loss to Mayo football. He had a brilliant career in Chicago, and U.S.A championships and when I last saw him a few years ago he was still playing great football. Mickie Heneghan, Tom Heneghan, Tom Staunton, Sean McGing, Senator Paddy Burke, John Walsh, Michael Walsh, John Concannon and in an earlier era Purty Kelly represented Mayo at various levels.


The Feeneys

One of the best known officials in the Country is Sean Feeney former Treasurer and Secretary of West Mayo Board and presently Secretary of Mayo GAA Board. The most patient of men where patience is a requirement for survival, Sean has given tremendous service to club and County as a goalkeeper, and will this year complete 30 years as an administrator at various levels - a great credit to Ballintubber and to the Association. The brother Christy played Junior for the County, also, while the other Brother of the trio Gerald came to prominence when playing on the victorious Minor team of 1971, and the victorious U 21 team of 1974. He had a distinguished career with Mayo Seniors having been promoted to Senior level after his U 21 victory and 72 senior appearances. He traveled to the U.S.A with the All Stars team and was voted Player of the Tour. Mention of Ger reminds me of another great servant of the Ballintubber Club, namely Jackie Heneghan, and thereby hang’s a story. At the beginning of the 1971 Minor Campaign both of them were subs on a Mayo Minor team to play Galway in a Connacht Minor League game against Galway in Tuam. As it happened there was an absentee in the half back Line and as Jackie was unable to travel on that occasion. Ger got the vacant position, made the place his own, and went on to win the All-Ireland. Up to recently Jackie was still playing for his club and has also Two Over 40 All-Ireland Medals to show for his dedication and loyalty. Other notable representatives of the club in the past were Joe Mulrooney, Secretary of Mayo Minor Board 1963-1967 Joe also served as a Co. Board Member for many years as did Michael Cannon and Jim McNally.