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1897 All Ireland Final

The following is a report on the 1897 All Ireland Senior Club Championship Final, played on the 5th of February, 1899, courtesy of the Skibbereen Eagle.
 
Dublin (C.J. Kickhams) 2-6
Cork (M. Dohenys) 0-2
 
Rarely, very rarely indeed, if ever in the history of the G.A.A. did teams bearing such truly Irish nominclatures, meet in the final of the football championship, as thoser which contested at Jones1 Road last Sunday. Based on a desire to propagate the physical and mental teachings of such men as C. J. Kickham and M. Doheny, the formation of the G.A.A. revolutionised the former system of Irish football life, and we witness today the inhabitants of every parish, townland, and barony, follow with unswerving fealty the fortunes of their champion men. Some 16 years ago it may be truly said that the Irish youth were disbarred from disporting themselves on the fields and valleys which their fathers won. The barrier of bigotry, however, crumbled to the ground before the democratic principles of the G.A.A., and no longer do we witness the youth of Erin stalk idly around the barn door, heedless of manhood's rights, or the superior prowess of the men of their sod.
 
Amidst the hush of the cornfields by old Galtee, C. J. Kickham wrote well for the Gaels of his ove - here, where the lark loves to carol in the early morning dawn, darkness no longer steals over the plains of Knocknagow unheralded by the sounds of athletic rivalry or Gaelic song. That the formation of the G.A.A. resulted in thebconsummation of Kickhams' aspirations was never more in evidence than on Sunday last, when a team bearing his name threw down the gauntlet to one who, after travelling all the way from the banks of the Argideen river, proudly revealed to a Dublin audience the cherished name Michael Doheny on their breast.
 
The Dunmanway men fought their way across the Bandon, the Lee, and the Shannon, a record which shall remain for ever indelibly associated with the history of this West Cork town. To knock under' at the storming of the Irish capital was no wonder, but the little band of strangers fought out the issue ,with that tenacity peculiar to the Dohenys, finally succumbing to the Kickhams, after having played their part, and carrying with them back to the mountains, the admiration of 6,000 Dubliners, won by the manly characteristics of genuine Gaelic men.
 
Ever since the inception of the '97-championship the interest taken in them has been increasing day by day, and with the magnificent display of Dunmanway against the famous Limerick Commercials, Clonmel Shamrocks, and Waterford, who went down in decided fashion before the Dohenys, and the Kickhams waltzing through Wicklow, Carlow, and Wexford, the tension of feeling rose to such a pitch on Sunday, that standing room was scarely available at Jones' Road.
 
Althougn the morning wore a threatening aspect, the day answered all requirements, all bets on bad weather being called off at noon. It is true we failed to discern the sun coming over the eastern hilltops. Still, towards noon, it ripened out into a genial spring day, and was in every way favourable from a player's point of view. Long before the scheduled time of starting, streams of spectators were seen wending their way towards Jones' Road. Among them you had many an exiled Corkman, the central figure of a batch of sons whom circumstances prevented from being born on southern soil, who listened attentively as the old men recounted the former deeds of 'the rebel county'.
 
A Dunmanway lady, resident in Dublin, viewed the struggle with an intensity of feeling, born of a love for the old sod, and when all was over, graciously invited the principal members of the Dohenys to her home. To one who often played against the Dunmanway Gaels on the arenas of West Cork, the cheers of 'Bravo Dohenys', as the gallant fellows dashed past him on the ball, brought old time recollections to the mind, a desire to once again throw off the coat and join in the fray, for old remembrance sake, being uppermost in his thought. It was indeed hard to look on at their defeat, but they took it with that grace, characteristic of the days of 'Carthy Cruig', when the green and white stripped jerseys adorned the Dunmanway men.
 
 
Coming to the contest it must be admitted that the Dohenys played a bad forward game and in the act of 'centring' the leather, have something yet to learn. For catching they are also a little deficient, while the general combination of their play may also be improved. They are quite fast enough but must acquire the habit of 'catching and kicking without checking their pace. A general balance of the play, the backs being careful to judge the length of kick necessary when 'feeding' their forwards, according to the circumstances on the field, would be also necessary. The Kickhams study these combined sciences carefully, and always manouvre for a score when in front of their opponent's goal.

The Dunmanway men won the toss and elected to play from the Clonliffe Road side, with little wind in their favour. On the ball being thrown in D. Crowley headed away for the Dohenys, when Downey transferred in brillant style for Kickhams, the game holding in midfield, where some very fast exchanges sent the crowd on the tip-toe of excitement. Colman came through for the city men, when Mullane dashing up again transferred for Dunmanway, an open fast game ensuing, both sides displaying first class form. Gannon now transferred far down the field for Kickhams, where Donovan caught brillantly, and having returned a fast shot to midfield, some fine play again followed in neutral territory. A throw-in from the stand side enabled O'Kelly-Lynch, Mullane, and O'Crowley to get away for Dunmanway, and the trio having come clean up the field, the Dohenys sent over.
 
Twohill returned the Kickham kickout, when Geary transferred beautifully, and the Kickhams fairly waltzing through their opponents, Lordan saved for Dunmanway right under the cross-bar. Downey, however, came on the scene, and amidst much cheering went clean through the opposition, the 'red haired' youth displaying his best form. Bernard now came out strongly for Dunmanway, and being joined by Fuller, Searles, and D. Crowley, the quartet came through the C.J.'s in grand style, the Corkmen sending over. After the kickout Twohill fairly beat the Kickhams opposition, opening up the game in fine style for the Dohenys, when Walsh (captain) stopped him, and the popular 'Paddy' having gone through his field he sent on to O'Donnell, who transferrred to Curtis, the latter scoring brillantly.
 
After kickout Downey 'let go on the Kickhams' right wing and once again electrified the spectators with his dash and judgement, leaving a couple of Dohenys hors-de-combat. Mullane again relieved for Dohenys, Donoghue replying for Kickhams. The latter were around Dohenys' posts, where Skelly muffed badly, and D. Donovan (captain, pictured), O'Kelly-Lynch and Crowley heading away for Dunmanway the latter sent over, the forwards having been completely at fault in the art of scoring. Mathews and Redmond now came out for the Kickhams, when Lordon relieved for Dunmanway and Luke Kelly having returned the sphere, the Kickhams went clean through the opposition. Mullane and Lordan relieving right in front of their posts, when Walsh came through midfield, and passing to Skelly, the latter scored a goal, amidst intense excitement. Mathews boxed the Dohenys' kickout, and a free taking place on the stand side, Guiry sent over.
 
The Kickhams still had the best of matters, Curtis catching beautifully, Mullane again relieving for Dohenys, when Downey got hurt and had to retire in the midst of his brillant play, and Guiry having taken a free for Kickhams scored grandly. The Dohenys at length got away on the stand side. Crowley displaying fine form, came right through the defense, Dohenys scoring their first point Crowley again stopped play, gaining possession and sent the sphere over. A free for the Dohenys, Mullane delivered effectively, when L. Kelly relieved. J. Crowley intercepted the shot, but was beaten by Mathews and Redmond, the latter scoring for the Kickhams. Another desperate struggle ensued in front of the Corkmen's posts, Mullane, Twohill, and Searles playing magnificently; the trio kept going and Mullane having centered a 'free', Redmond relieved and Curtis, countering for the C.J.s, Coughlan transferred for it. Redmond again came on the scene, and Twohill boxed the ball away, half-time leaving the score, Kickhams 1-2 Dohenys 0-1.
 
On resuming the Corkmen headed strongly up the field, when transferred, but Mullane came away, and Coughlan and Dan Crowley joining in, fairly waltzed through the opposition, Crowley scoring brillantly. After kickout Redmond came through for Kickhams, and the latter sweeping down the field, looked like scoring but the efforts of O'Kelly Lynch and Searles saved Dunmanway; the city men, J however, kept going great guns, and Guiry, J having taken a free, struck the bar, the ball resounding into play, where the 'light-weight' of the Kickhams gave it the coup-de-grace, O'Donnell bringing off a goal amidst great cheering from the Knocknagow boys.
 
Searles again came out for the Dohenys, Guiry, however, relieved in undeniable style, but the grand combination of O'Brien, Skelly, and Chambers, completely baffled the Corkmen, Chambers winding up a brillant bout of play with a minor. After kickout Dohenys retaliated, when Kelly and Donoghue relieved; from the play between Chambers, Cannon and O'Brien, the latter missed by inches. The Corkmen once again retaliated, and bringing the ball right up to the Kickhams' posts, the latter relieved to the stand side corner, when again the Dohenys came through, the play of their front division being, however, completely frustrated by the back display of the Kickhams. Once again the latter waltzed through the Corkmen, and O'Brien struck the bar, the Doheny goalkeeper defending grandly.
 
A fine game ensued in front of the Dunmanway posts, and C. Coughlan, playing desperately, at last came through, Donovan sending over, missingly badly. Another fine display by the Dohenys followed, but the grand combination of the Kickhams held them in check, and Chambers having passed to O'Donnell, the latter again scored and just before full time the Kickhams scored another minor, winning the All-Ireland championship with a score of 2 - 6 to 0 - 2 for Dunmanway. Referee Mr. Lyons, Limerick, Co. Board.
 
The following are the names of the men who competed:
DUNMANWAY: F. Crowley (goal), D. Coughlan, D. Lordan, P. Lordan, J. Fuller, T. Coughlan, T. Mullane, T. Murphy, C. Coughlan, F. Searles, T. Twohill, D. Donovan (capt), T. Crowley, D. Crowley, J. Crowley, D. Bernard, J. O'Kelly-Lynch.
KICKHAMS: P. Walsh (capt), W. J. Guiry, L. O'Kelly, P. O'Donoghue,    C.    Cannon,    R.    O'Brien,   W. Colman, J. Mathews, P. Redmond, M. Byrne, R.    Sullivan,    V.    Skelly,    J.    O'Brien,    D. O'Donnell,   M.   Chambers,   T.   Downey,   R. Curtis.