Up the Banner! ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 258

There are some posts that come more from the heart than others and I can tell you that this one is driven by some of the most intense feelings I know.


Today, we have the replay of the All-Ireland Hurling Final with Co. Clare battling it out against Co. Cork.  My father was a Clareman, through and through, and used all sorts of expressions like  One of our own and God’s own County when talking about Clare people and the county itself. It was like oceans of Clare blood ran through his veins and he certainly passed on that great love to us kids, through sharing memories of growing up in Co. Clare and building up a great collection of photographs of his beloved and stunningly beautiful county over the years.

He never tired of telling me how Clare was pretty much divided, unlike Co. Kilkenny, in terms of hurling and football with hurling very much associated with the East Clare and football with West Clare which was his place.

His younger brother, Michael, won an All-Ireland Football Medal with Co. Cork, of all places, playing alongside Jack Lynch, in 1945.  But, it was hurling that captivated Dad, the sheer skill, pace, excitement of the game and, of course, the dream of seeing All-Ireland Glory in his lifetime.

He was there in Croke Park to witness Co. Clare win that amazing All-Ireland in 1995 and like so many of his era, it was undoubtedly his greatest sporting moment. All talk of East and West Clare evaporated when it came to  Championship Hurling and its waving flags of blue and saffron.

Jerseys and Hurls of Davy Fitzgerald and Brian Lowan photographed at Torpey Huley Makers, Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare http://torpeyhurleys.com
Jerseys and Hurls of Clare Heroes Davy Fitzgerald and Brian Lohan
Photographed at Torpey Hurley Makers, Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare.

So, as the game gets underway this afternoon, I’ll be screaming for mighty Clare, managed by that man of passion, Davy Fitz.  It’s on days like this that I’m both proud to be Irish but also forever grateful to have had a father who loved sport, shared that love, and taught me the meaning of the term Pride of Place.

Up the Banner!

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

4 thoughts on “Up the Banner! ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 258”

  1. Fair play and congratulations to Clare – two fantastic matches. And Corkmen would rather lose to Clare than Tipp or KK.
    I appreciate the Gaelic sports, their traditions, their marshaling of support from parish, town and county. Such is the GAA strength though that other sports with an international aspect suffer, but that’s for another time 🙂

    1. Hi Roy, they certainly were brilliant games. My heart is in overdrive since Saturday with all the tension and euphoria.
      I’m inclined to agree about the impact of Gaelic Games on Ireland’s international performances in many sports. But that IS for another day!

  2. I watched the match live. It was one of the greatest matches in many years. I live in Feakle co. Clare. But I’m a kilkenny Cat so it was great to watch this match, my dad played minor for Kilkenny in the forties. He was a good reader of the game. I smiled and thought of my father sitting up close to the tv, days like these are pure pearls. I was cheering on the banner( my grandparents were Kilkee/Lahinch people).Up the Banner

  3. Hi Michael, a pure pearl indeed and it looks like this Clare team could go on for a long time. No doubt you have a touch of sympathy for the Cats???
    Speaking of televisions, I watched it with my Clare-supporting son and the pair of us made enough runs at the television to keep us fit for a month!

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