Fr. Joe Moran
I started school in Ballintubber in April 1928 where the Master and the Mistress at the time were Sean and Katie Corkell. The school was built originally in 1850 and reconstructed in 1931. I can still remember the excitement of returning to the reconstructed school on that early September morning.
There was no playing field attached to the school so when we played games we had to trespass on Mc Govern’s field. Once in a while the owners, usually through the person of Ann Lydon objected to our tearing up the field, so we used to lie low for a few weeks and then steathily re-enter the land again.
Taking everything into account the Mc Governs were very generous in letting us have the use of the field.
We played a little football, we would have played more but footballs were expensive then, and after much mending of punctures and sewing of leather the old ball had to be discarded, and we turned to playing a type of hurling which had some resemblence to hockey with a good camog. The players procured ash plants from Mc Governs wood and the ball was hit along the ground.
The rivalry in these games was very keen and the teams selected themselves automatically - the up- the- roads versus down-the-roads. There was some doubt about the Castlebourkes, because they turned down the road after leaving the school, but after passing the Abbey they were well South of the school. After much haggling it was decided that they would play with the down-the-roads.. One day Jim Mc Nally arrived with a real hurley and caused mighty consternation, because he could take a puck out from one goal and score a point high over the head of the rival goalie without anybody touching the ball.
I left Ballintubber N.S in 1936, and I started playing football straight away because, at that time, it was everybody’s ambition who went to St.Jarlath’s College Tuam to get on the St. Jarlath’s senior team.
St. Jarlath’s won 9 Connaught Championships in a row. There were three Ballyburke players on the 1942 Jarlath’s winning team, Jimmy Reilly,Moorehall, Maurice Galvin, and myself.
My first connection with Ballintubber / Ballybourke was in 1939 when I was in Inter –Cert. Paddy O Malley Lufferton, himself a very good footballer, invited me to play a match against Partry up in Aughnish Lane. I must have played reasonably well as I played regularly for Ballyburke after that both in the League and championship.
This team moved into the South Division about 1944. They were now called Ballintubber and played their home games in Matthew Tom’s field.
I remember playing League games in the Neale and in Ballinrobe.
I played minor for Castlebar Mitchels.
I won a County Minor title with them in 1941.
I was selected on the Mayo minor team that year, and selected to play at right half back. We were playing Galway in the Connaught Championship in Tuam. Unfortunately, the hackney car, containing myself and three other players broke down somewhere around Kilmaine. By the time we got the car going and arrived in Tuam it was half-time in the match and Galway had built up an unassailable lead. We came on in the second half but by then the damage was done and Mayo were out of the Championship.
I went into Maynooth in 1942 and only played for Ballintubber during my summer holidays after that. I hung up my boots after I was ordained in 1949, but I will always cherish the memories of my playing days with Ballyburke and Ballintubber, and in particular the lifelong friendships I made both on and off the field. They will always be close to my heart.