Donard / Glen GAA Club
The G.A.A. - its beginning and development.
The first meeting of the Gaelic Athletic Association was held in Hayes' Hotel, Thurles on 1st November 1884, at which seven men attended, to whom belong the honour of forming what has developed into the greatest organisation he Irish race has produced and the unequalled amateur athletic organisation of the world. To Michael Cusack and Maurice Davin belong the honour of bringing the G.A.A into being. The Association received what has been truly described as its Charter from Archbishop Croke of Cashel.
Sprung from the people, the G.A.A. naturally progressed or suffered with the race, and was deeply affected by the national movements down the years.
It has proceeded from one triumph to another, until today it has assumed international characteristics.
We should pay tribute to the men who inaugurated such a marvellous organisation and steered it through the last 100 years.
G.A.A in Wicklow.
Launched in November 1884, it was in 1885 that, thanks to the efforts of Cusack and his fellow workers, the association began gradually to spread all over Ireland. The first Club or Branch as they were then named, was established in Ashford in May 1885.
On St. Stephen's Day 1886 the first Co. Wicklow Convention was held in the Town Hall in Wicklow, when the Association was put on an official footing which it has maintained ever since throughout the county. As early as 1889 championship games were played in Imaal.
In 1890 reviewing individual West players special mention was given to Dick Leniston, Broomfields.
Among other teams featuring prominently in the Junior line of the early 1900's was Merginstown.
Camogie was first introduced into the county in 1921.
The name of "Donard", the little village perched at the entrance to the famous Glen of Imaal, is known far beyond the boundaries of our county, not only for its great footballers of yester years, but also for the great games of football played which accounted for many opponents.
It has been said that, on St. Patrick's Day in particular, the golden voice of Michael O'Hehir lent a "spent romantic ring" to the name "DONARD" as he described the deeds of Ger Reilly, Jim Rogers or Paddy Lennon in one of the many Railway Cup finals in which they represented their village, county and province.
The 1930's saw the beginning of Donard's climb to the top in Senior football, that was to make them Kingpins of Wicklow for more than two decades. Just when the G.A.A. had developed into a truly National Movement, came the unfortunate "Parnell split" and the subsequent death of the "Chief" in October 1892. The G.A.A. was particularly forgotten in the political turmoil.
As the bitterness died down, every effort was made to restore the great organisation to its former proud position. It was around this time that a branch of the Gaelic Athletic Association was formed in Donard. Unfortunately we have not been able to discover the exact date the club was formed.
Some of our older Gaels could recall Donard teams fielding in the early 1900's, having practice matches with townlands playing townlands e.g. Kilbaylet, Imaal, Knockendarragh and Merginstown. Inteest was so keen that each man had to give his total dedication to obtain a place on the team. Names like Lennon, Doyle, Reilly, Kelly, Leniston and Walshe which appear on early lists of Donard teams, keep cropping up at different stages in our history. During this time, Donard could boast of having two playing fields, one in Kilbaylet and the other in Kilcough.
At the inagural meeting of the West Board in Valleymount on 5th November 1910, Donard was one of the four clubs represented, Blessington, Lacken and Valleymount being the other clubs present. Tim Moynihan was elected Vice-Chairman and went on to preside over the first meeting of the West Board held in Poulaphuca on 26th November 1910. The first available records of a Donard match was on 22nd January 1911 when they played a friendly with Merginstown. This was a lead up to the West Wicklow Championship.
Mr. Deegan kindly placed a field at the disposal of the players. Mr. Tim Moynihan was a very capable referee.
Result: Donard 1-1, Merginstown 0-0.
The teams lined out as follows;
Donard: T.Doyle, T.Byrne, J.Halpin, P.Lewis, F.Kenny, M.Barrett, J.Whittle, L.Deegan, N.Lynch, J.Kehoe, F.Whittle, D.Kinsella, J.Kearney, J.Byrne, B.Flood (Capt.).
Merginstown: G.Reilly, J.Kearns, J.Reilly, P.Smith, T.Reilly, J.Nugent, A.Metcalfe, G.Reilly, J.Metcalfe, W.Reilly, W.Lawlor, W.Whelan, B.Dunne, B.Byrne.
A favoured Valleymount side defeated Donad in the first round of the West Wicklow Championship of that year but had their work cut out to collect their points.
In keeping with the community spirit the Donard club organised many friendly matches to raise much needed funds for the building of a new church in the Village.
For some unknown reason, GAA clubs in West Wicklow disintegrated around this time and it was not until August 1915 that efforts were made to get the club restarted in Donard.
WIth people like Bryan Flood, the Cullen and Byrne brothers, and P. Doyle at the helm, it was felt that the club would never again fall into disarray.
Donard faced a strong Valleymount team in their Championship bid in 1916, and having defeated them some weeks previous in the League series, Donard started hot favourites. Valleymount playing consistently pressed ahead and emerged with a one point victory. Both teams lodged objections with the West Board. Valleymount withdrew their objection before it was processed. Donard objected to Valleymount being awarded the match on three grounds; roughness, status of Valleymount player and illegal constitution. Records show that Donard were awarded the match and later went on to contest Carnew in the final which was to be played on 9th April. However, this was postponed because the Bishop objected to matches being played during Lent. The match was played on Easter Sunday 1916 with Carnew emerging victors.
Donard's hopes of contesting the 1917 Junior Championship final came to an abrupt end when they were defeated by Hollywood 1-1 to 0-1 at Blessington.
Again there is little on record of GAA happenings at this time but a note of importance is that in 1919 all Civil Servants who had taken the Oath of Allegiance to the Crown ceased to be members of the Association.
Rathdangan and Donard met in the semi-final of the West District Junior Football Championship in Dunlavin on 20th July 1924. Both teams had only been reorganised a short time before this. It was a hard fought contest with Rathdangan coming out on top with a score of 1-1 to 0-1. However Donard claimed the match on the grounds that they had been awarded a walk over by the referee. After a long discussion it was decided to replay the match the following Sunday. Rathdangan emerged easy winners after a disappointing display by Donard - final score 5-0 to 0-0.
On August 30th 1925 Donard once again faced Rathdangan, this time it was to decide the winners of the 1924 league. Considerable interest centered on this game which was played at Baltinglass in the presence of the largest crowd seen at a football match in the district for years. Rathdangan started favourites but when the long whistle went, Donard were winners with a score of 3-1 to 2-2. It was a typical league game in which ball control, skill and fielding were not very conspicious.
Best for Donard were Halpin, Byrne, Bergin, Sheridan, Connell, Legrue and Reilly.
Team: M.Halpin, J.Halpin, M.Legrue, J.Walshe, T.Byrne, M.Burke, T.Connell, M.Bergin, J.Reilly, Tom Byrne, D.Sheridan, W.Dalton, J.Halpin, M.Byrne, J.Halpin.
Donard went on to meet Kilbride in the final of the West Wicklow Junior Championship at Hollywood on 5th September 1925 having defeated Hollywood by a small margin in the first round. It was a great game and with less than a quarter of an hour remaining, it looked odds on that Donard with their lead on the score board. However a dramatic change came when Kilbride scored a goal and went on to defeat Donard 2-1 to 0-3. It was described as a grand clean game of fast clever football that provided excitement for the big crowd to the end. The first Donard man to play on a County team was Tom O'Connell. He played against Westmeath in the Leinster Football League at Naas on 15th November 1925. He also travelled from Dublin to Tullamore to assist his native county against Offaly in the third round of the League winning the game by one point (1-4 to 1-3). In 1926 John Reilly from Donard was chosen to represent West Wicklow in their game against Kildare Juniors at Naas.
Donard had always identified itself closely and wholeheartedly in the Irish National Revival since its inception. Hence it was in keeping with the spirit and activity of the place that in July 1926 the picturesque and historic village hosted "An Aeridheacht Mor". Representatives from every corner of the county were present convincing beyond any doubt that the position of the naitve tongue was absolutely safe in Wicklow. Athletics, football and tug-of-war events aroused keen interest. GrangeCon footballers toed the line against the local team and a rousing sixty minutes of play ended in a narrow victory for Donard.
In September, Hollywood defeated Donard in the semi-final of the West Wicklow Championship, Fr. E.Doyle represented Donard at a special Convention in Rathdrum on 31st October, which was arranged to try and restore the GAA to its former spirit within the country.
In July 1927 Donard beat Dunlavin in the West Wicklow Championship at Hollywood with Martin Murphy refereeing. Play reached high standards and included some brilliant exponents of the game. Ryder, Timmons, Cullen and Reilly were best for Donard.
Representing Donard at the Co. Convention held in Rathdrum on Friday 31st January 1928 were Mr. J.Cullen, Mr. Doyle and Mr. T.Byrne.
On 5th February 1928 Donard representing the West met Togher, the East representatives in the Inter District Football League at Blessington. The spectators were treated to a very entertaining match as the equally matched rivals tripped it gaily for sixty minutes. The issue was in doubt until the final whistle sounded. Donard, playing in their white jersey with green diagonal were the winners with a score of 1-2 to 1-0.
The final of 1927 County Junior Championship was played in Rathdangan on Sunday April 22nd 1928 before a fine crowd. Ballinacor, the champions of the South District, faced a determined Donard team. The exhibition of football given was disappointing. Frayed tempers and regrettable incidents marred the progress of the match. Donard was in the led by 1 point at half time. With the breeze in their favour in the econd half, Donard's chances were easy but they were slightly handicapped by the loss of one of their forwards who was ordered to the side line. In the closing stages, Donard was again in the lead by 1 point, but finally managed to secure a point to leave the final score Donard 2-1 Ballinacor 1-2. M.O'Kelly (County Chairman) was a very capable referee. Ballinacor Lodged an objection to Donard on the following grounds;
The legality of T.Winters.
Cross bar broke during play and a rope was substituted. This particular point led to a protracted discussion at Co. Board level and was finally referred to the Leinster Council. Donard was awarded the game. In April 1929, Donard qualified to meet Annacurra in the 1928 J.F.C. final at Baltinglass. The team was late in reaching the field owing to unforseen circumstances. The Donard Pipe Band accompanied the team onto the field and were accorded an enthusiastic reception. The football was fast and exciting but Annacurra outclassed Donard in the closing stages to finish one goal ahead.
At a County Board Meeting in May 1929, Donard objected to Annacurra; Playing Aidan Walsh who had played for Hacketstown in Carlow Championship without receiving a transfer, thereby suspending himself. Claimed two extra points; umpires awarded a point instead of a goal. This latter part of the objection was ordered to be deleted. Donard requested the match be re-fixed. In reply, the County Board stated that Donard, Being half an hour late, qutomatically gave Annacurra the match under the rules, and to re-fix the game would upset the continuation of the 1929 Championship. The Board ruled against the objection.
Later Donard, amid general applause, withdrew the objection. It took three meetings between Kiltegan and Donard before the former clinched the 1929 West Wicklow Junior Championship title by a decisive score of 4-2 to 2-0.
In the 1930s the World was changing fast and Ireland was changing with it. New technology was sweeping the country. Electricity was brought into the homes of the nation. Life would never be the same. The 1930s also saw a truning point for football in Donard. Mullica organised a young team and sprang a surprise at Baltinglass when they ousted Kiltegan in the West League Competition. The game was a fine exhibition of good football and played in a sporting spirit. They also defeated Donard in the West Junior Football Championship in August of that year.
In June 1931, a team representing the West which included J.Cullen, Hal Walshe and Jack Kelly Donard along with J.Reilly (Mullica) played a county Kildare selection for a set of medals. Donard, with several players short of their usual team, were beaten by Blessington six points to nil in the Junior Championship and were also defeated by Tuckmill in the final match of the 1931 West Wicklow League played on November 22nd by a score of 1-1 to nil.
1933 was the beginning of Donard's climb to the top in G.A.A. circles. They reached the J.F.C. final and faced a strong determined Aughrim team at Baltinglass. A more accurate form won the day for Aughrim. However, Donard objected to Aughrim having played illegal players. As the objection was not contested and Donard was awarded the match. The final of the Northern Division of the West Wicklow League between Blessington and Donard in March 1934 attracted a fair sized crowd. Both had been unbeaten in the competition and the prospects of a good game was promising. However these were not fulfilled. Donard flattered in the opening minutes when they secured some excellent scoring chances but a solitary point was the outcome. Blessington settled down and took the lead and remained in that position at the final whistle despite a fine rally in the closing minutes by Donard (Score: 1-8 to 1-2).
Donard and Valleymount met in the District final of the Intermediate Championship at Dunlavin in June 1934. Supporters of each team had great confidence in their own men. Being old rivals the game provided some thrilling displays of football to the end. Donard surprised football enthusiasts by emerging victorious in their match with Tuckmill a few weeks previous, and left nothing undone to merit the support of their admirers.
Donard and Blessington met once again in a league match in July 1934. Anticipating a delightful exhibition of football the big crowd at Hollywood were tip-toe with excitement when Mr. A. Toomey set the game off. There was even play throughout the game until up to ten minutes in the second half when Donard drew level and then took the upper hand to score repeatedly before the whistle went with the score of 4-9 to 0-3 in their favour. In September, the Donard 'B' team was beaten in the West Wicklow League by Baltinglass and Rathdangan but their display on both occasions indicated that a wealth of fine young material was at the disposal of the Donard selectors. In October 1934, Donard met Coolboy in the final of the Intermediate Championship at Aughrim. There was a big attendance present. Almost every available bus was engaged to carry the contingents from Donard, Baltinglass, Hollywood, Rathdangan etc. The spectators included many well known people, T.D.s, Senators, Priests, Captains of teams from other counties, Leinster and Central Council officials and members. Two of the most interesting of the spectators were the nephews of the King of Siam.
Donard brought a nicely balanced team but they faced by a sturdy Coolboy side. The general opinion prevailed that the Southern men would come out on top. Donard had the breeze in the forst half but made little headway and turned over with only a two point lead. In the second half however, the Donard men showed their true metal, stamina and speed against the bigger Coolboy men and scoring three goals and one point against three points, they came off east winners. Final score: Donard 3-3, Coolboy 0-3.
In December 1934, a beautiful set of medals was presented for a challenge game between Donard (Wicklow Intermediate Champions) and Rathvilly. Donard fielded at full strength and dominated the play putting together a fine lead at halk time. They continued their doninance in the second half to emerge easy winners.
The transfer of Fr. Leahy to Enniskerry in the latter part of 1934 was seen as a great loss to G.A.A. in Donard. His practical interest in the club contributed largely to their success in the county championships of the past two years.
At the Convention in Ashford on 27th January 1935 John Cullen received the Championship medals on behalf of the Donard Club from Mr. Byrne, Chairman of the County Board. The picturesque village was the scene of a delightful function on Sunday 10th February when three sets of medals won by the team were distributed. To win a Junior one year and follow it up with the Intermediate Championship and inter county tournament the next season was an achievement any club might feel proud of.
Jack Kelly was chosen on the Wicklow panel to play Carlow in February 1935.
Jack Leniston played a good game for the Wicklow minors against Carlow in the opening of the Leinster Championship. However, the team were completely outplayed and finished with a score of 0-1 to Carlow's 8-6.
The West League final between Donard and Rathdangan was played in Baltinglass on June 2nd 1935. The game attracted a large crowd but did not realise its expectations. Over anxiety and frayed tempers spoiled what would have been one of the best games ever staged in West Wicklow. The unfortunate mishap to Ned Byrne (broken leg) put a further dampener on the event. Score Donard 4-1, Rathdangan 2-0.
The most enjoyable game seen in a long time was the one between Baltinglass and Donard in the West WIcklow Boys League. Every feature was first class and it would have been a salutary lesson for some of the griwn-ips to have seen the lads battling in a clean vigorous fashion. The score was Baltinglass 3-2, Donard 1-1.
The Donard team that day was;
J.Lennon, P.Rogers, P.Neill, E.Dwyer, J.Lennon, W.Nolan, J.Murray, P.Lennon, M.Lennon, D.Doyle, P.Brophy, J.Whittle, J.Burke, E.Walshe, J.Flood.
Donard secured vistory over Annacurra in the first round of the Senior Championship with a team that was described as one of the best to represent the club in the district for years.
On 14th July, the Donard 'B' team was defeated by Hollywood in an enjoyable match in the Junior Championship. Both sides served up clever fast football with plenty of thrills. The semi-final of the Senior Championship between Rathdangan and Donard in August has gone down as one of the finest exhibitions of football that most followers have ever seen. It was a test of skill, courage and endurance fought in good spirit to the end, but the superlative exhibition of the back line saved the day for Donard. Every man on the side pulled his weight to secure the victory Score: Donard 1-5, Rathdangan 1-2).
The unbroken sequence of victories over an extended period plus their systematic training under Jack Higgins (Kildare) justified the universal optimism felt by everyone in Donard, in spite of the powerful reputation of the opponents, as they prepared for their first ever Senior Championship final. The little village was the scene of extraordinary enthusiasm on that Sunday morning in October 1935 when the fleet of I.O.C. buses prepared to load the huge crowd of supporters for their long journey to Aughrim where their favourites were facing the most formidable task of their careers - the beating of Bray.
High expectations dwindled in Donard supporters as they watched Bray steadily rising the one-sided score that spelt defeat for Donard. The game was somewhat disappointing for the majority of spectators. Donard had a commendable fighting spirit but did not combine as they should have done. They fought their best even when defeat was iminent. Bray who had staged a come-back in the Wicklow Championship after an absence of some years became the winners of the 1935 Championship. Hugh Byrne (National President of the GAA in later years) who was teaching in Bray at that time was a member of the victorious team.
In November, Dick (Gunner) Walshe was picked to play on the county team which was defeated by Wexford in the National Football League. He formed part of a great defence line which withstood terrific battling. He also played a significant part in Wicklow's well merited victory over Carlow in the same competition. During the early part of t1936, new hurling and handball clubs were established in the village. A minor football team was also in action at that time and shocked spectators when they finished level (1-1 each) with a fancied Baltinglass side in a thrilling game in Baltinglass.
In May of that year, Donard faced Ballymanus in the second round of the Senior Championship. Bad weather spoiled what would have otherwise have been a first class game. Donard made little use of the wind advantage in the first half but improved dramatically in the second alf. The closing minutes were hectic and a draw seemed a fair outcome.
A fine crowd turned up for the replay and were rewarded with a thrilling fist half with both teams racing neck and neck. Donard was marginally ahead at half time. With minutes from the end, Ballymanus reduced the lead to one point and set up a movement that looked like smashing the Donard defence but the Donard men rose to the occasion and re-directed play to midfield where it remained to give them a hard earned victory. They were now in the semi-final and Roundwood was the team to beat. It has been reported as one of the cleanest and fastest games in the Championship series for some years. Donard's back line of Grace, Cullen and Walshe was first class. Donard looked like having the game sewn up midway through the second half, but Roundwood rallied and brought off a fine goal leaving Donard with just a two point victory.
The senior football championship of 1936 was a clash between two West teams, Rathdangan and Donard, played at Aughrim on September 20th. Play was not of a brilliant standard but grim determination, pace and stamina made up for a lot. It was a grand game to watch and the crowd really enjoyed it. It was played in a sporting spirit and the low scoring does not reflect the true picture of the game (0-6 to 0-2). Rathdangan were worthy winners. A feature of this Rathdangan side was the presence of Hugh Byrne who had recently transferred from Bray to teach in Rathdangan.
1936 was a glorious year for football in Wicklow. When after 50 years of endeavour, they succeeded in winning the All-Ireland Junior Championship. Donard people will always hold that day in special memory when they remember Gunner Walshe stepping in to take the place of an injured defender. He played extremely well, doing his county and club proud.
1937 is the most memorable year in the history of Donard. They defated Blessington in the first round of the Senior Championship and then went on to beat Tuckmill in a very exciting second round game. On the 15th of August, Castledermot, who played such delightful football typical of Kildare's inimitable style, faced Donard ina challenge match in the High Park Tournament. Donard proved too good for the opposition and enhanced their prospects of winning the Senior title.
On the 22nd of August the semi-final of the Championship between Donard and Rathdangan at Baltinglass fulfilled anticipation in many ways. The attendance was the largest in the West for years. It was like a Senior Final of the previous year over again. Both teams played well and a draw was the best result. Regrettable incidents marred the replay at Baltinglass. Again, a wondeful crowd assembled and every requisite for a great game was available. Donard had a comfortable lead at half-time (1-4 to 0-2). On resuming, Rathdangan cut the lead so substantially that a neck and nect struggle produced terrific football. Donard held on to win with a final score of 1-5 to 1-4 and went on to meet Rathnew in the final.
The final was staged in Aughrim on September 19th before a record crowd. Widespread interest was manifested in this game. Football on both sides was strenuous. Each player did his best for the honour of his home town. While the football was not always of the best standard, it was most enjoyable to watch. The sides were level at the final whistle. At a County Board meeting in October, Donard applied to be allowed expenses to enable their club to fulfil their engagement in the replay of the county final. They had played two games in the semi-final and nowhad to play two in the final. This was putting an unbearable strain on their resources. Rathnew were also seeking expenses. The County Board congratulated both teams on their splendid performance in the drawn game and said the Board was lucky to get the replay. It was agreed to pay £5 to each club on the evening of the replay.
Interest in the replay was so keen that it took five buses to carry the enthusiastic Donard followers to Aughrim flying the colours of their team and the National colours. The finest possible spirit prevailed throughout the whole game to the delight of the c.3000 spectators. Donard had a hansome lead at half time. They were a better team in fielding, passing and catching, but gave away a great many frees which Rathnew took advantage of.
However, it was Donard's day, nothing was to stand between them and victory. They emerged victors in a thrilling game and were very proud of themselves on winning the County Senior honours for the first time. They fully deserved the tributes paid to them. It was a pity that any team had to lose on the day. Mr.C.M.Byrne heartily congratulated the Donard team on winning the title and joined with the Donard team in paying tribute to a gallant Rathnew side.
J.O'Reilly, W.Burke, J.Allen and J.Doyle were chosen on the Wicklow panel in April 1938.
In a West Wicklow League game on the 21st May, Baltinglass proved too good for Donard. They were short of training but their side included some outstanding youngsters especially M.Kelly, S.Conron, W.Nolan, J.Reilly, J.Neill, E.Dwyer and J.Lennon. In June, frayed tempers spoiled the big crowd's enjoyment of the Senior Championship clash between Blessington and Donard. The match was a disappointinment from the start. Donard were distinctly superior and every man pulled his weight. In the second half, tackling developed into most regretable incidents in which players and spectators were involved. Mr.M.Murphy had a difficult job with the whistle. Final score; Donard 2-3, Blessington 1-1.
Donard faced Rathdangan in the next round and finished easy winners with a score of 2-7 to 0-4. Rathdangan lodged an objection with the County Board on the grounds that R.Walshe was not eligible to play, and as a result Rathdangan were awarded the game. Donard appealed the decision. The Chairman Mr.Byrne said that they had no option but to award the match to Rathdangan as R.Walshe was a member of the Whitestown hurling team which was previously suspended for bringing in players from other counties. Donard applied for the re-instatement of Walshe. The Board agreed to reinstate him if they had the power. Rathdangan representatives walked out in protest on hearing this decision, and left the match with Donard. Donard lodged a counter objection stating that a Rathdangan player who had been ordered off in a game in 1937 had not applied for re-instatement, and therefore was an illegal player on the day of the match. The Chairman of the Leinster COuncil hald that Walshe was not knowingly illegal but stated that the Rathdangan player was illegal and had no right to take part in the match while he had failed to apply for re-instatement. R.Walshe applied for re-instatement and it was granted.
The final of the Senior Football Chmpionship was fixed for November 1938 - Rathnew playing Donard in a repeat of the previous year's decider. Donard's forward line did not make full use of the chances thay got but Rathnew's score gives a very good idea of Donard's splendid defence. Both teams finished level with a score or Rathnew 0-12, Donard 3-3.
According to available reports, Rathnew objected to Donard for knowingly playing illegal players. After numerous objections and counter-objections, the Leinster Council declared the Wicklow Championship of 1938 null and void. The Donard club was suspended for 12 months, but were entitled to affiliate 15 other players and new officials for Congress. At the Leinster Council meeting in 1939, a motion proposing tht the practice of playing hymns before or during functions under the auspices of the GAA be discontinued.
In July 1939, Donard played Blessington in the Senior Football Championship at Hollywood. The standard of football never reached the heights associated with these two teams. Looking at the particular Donard team, a gael recorded;
"one could not but note what a wonderful place Donard must be to put a senior team on the field with all the experienced hands on the sideline."
The display of the Junior team gave hope of a brilliant future for the village. They put up a strong battle and the issue was wide open to the last minute. Stanley, Kelly and Flood made a powerful back line in Donard's defence. J.Moran was one of the outstanding players on the field. A low scoring affair with Blessington running out 0-3 to0-0 winners.
Eleven players applied to be re-instated in November 1939. At a County Board meeting in December, it was decided that each player should seek his own re-instatement as some players had played outside the county during their suspension.
At a meeting of the County Board held on Saturday 3rd February 1940, Mr.J.Cullen proposed and Mr.J.Byrne seconded the resolution that the players of the Donard Club who were suspended for twelve months in 1939 be re-instated.
Mr.L.Moore, Blessington presided at a meeting of the West Wicklow Board on Saturday 9th March. The outgoing Chairman, Mr. John Cullen, Donard welcomed the return of Mr.Moore to the position of Chairman. He congratulated Mr.Moore on his service given to the West for many years and during his term of office, the game rose to a great height in the West. At the same meeting, Mr.J.O'Reilly proposed that the Donard junior team which was forced to play senior in 1939 be regraded.
The following were recommended for regrading;
M.Kelly S.Conron J.Lennon
C.O'Connell J.Keeffe P.O'Neill
J.Flood J.Stanley J.O'Neill
J.Bollard E.Lennon J.Mills
P.Reilly and T. and J.Moran were refused.
The following Donard players were selected to represent the West District against the South in Baltinglass on Sunday 10th March;
In a hard fought close match, the West emerged victorious. The Donard players on view gave a good account of themselves.
On April 20th, Donard made their first appearance after months of inactivity, in the West League with a victory by a substantial margin over Tinoran. The match, played in Baltinglass, was of a very high standard with referee Mr.J.Conway of Baltinglass having an easy job with the whistle. Donard were on the attack from the first whistle but for some erratic shooting from far out and a fine Tinoran defence, they were kept at bay for the first quarter. When Donard stettled down, Hal Walshe opened the scoring with a goal followed by a quick point. Jack Kelly found the net three times in succession while R.Walshe had a brace of points. Donard had a comfortable lead at half-time which they held to the end.
In a friendly match played in Blessington against Bray Emmets on June 1st, Donard had some young players on show. Stanley, Kelly and Bollard gave fine performances. Mr.P.Dunne from Hollywood, reporting on the match, described the game as having been played in a "splendid sporting spirit, without a single incident" to mar what he considered was "one of the best exhibitions of football" he had been priveledged to referee.
The Wicklow People reporter described the Senior Football Championship semi-final set for Aughrim on June 30th as one of the most interesting matches of the present championship when Donard met Rathnew. He also described Donard as having been looked up to as the classic, high standard footballers of the county for several years.
Donard won the semi-final by 2-1 to 0-4.
The man-of-the-match was John Allen.
The final was played in Aughrim before 2000 spectators with Mr.Paddy Dunne refereeing. Donard won the final against Carnew by 2-6 to 1-6. The team was;
E.Flynn, P.Reilly, H.Walshe, R.Walshe, T.Walshe, R.Doyle, J.Doyle, J.Grace, M.Byrne, W.Burke, J.Moran, J.Leniston, J.Allen, J.Cullen and J.Kelly (Captain).
The half-time score was Donard 0-3, Carnew 0-5.
Two of Donard's three points came from J.Allen. In the second half, points from T.Walshe and H.Walshe levelled the scores.
Donard were in the lead through a Flynn goal and a Walshe point, while H.Walshe had a goal disallowed. They went into a seven point lead through a Byrne goal while Carnew came back with a Fitzgerald point and a McCrea goal.
Donard held out for victory. The Doyle Cup and a new football was presented to the Donard Captain, Jack Kelly. On the minor front, Donard were beaten in the final of the West District League by Baltinglass. In October, Donard travelled to Rathnew for a challenge match. The home team won on a score of 3-6 to 1-3.
After the game, Rathnew entertained their guests to an enjoyable evening in the Plaze Hall. On the 17th of November, Donard met the Kildare Champions - Carbury, in the Bawn. Carbury was led by the legendary Mick Keating and also had prominent players in Joe Burke, Dermot Burke and Harry Ennis on view. Unfortunately, history does not record who emerged as winners.
More to come....