Millstreet's Sports People Poem by Francis Duggan

Millstreet's Sports People

In sports perhaps Derrygallon's Pat O Callaghan was Duhallow and Ireland's best
The champion of champions when he was put to the test
The dual Olympic Gold Medallist and World Record Holder his legend lives on
Though for many Seasons the life from him has gone.

But so many great sports people in and near Millstreet Town
Who on their own right can lay claim to renown
In Gaelic Football alone so many one could name
Who in their chosen sport did scale the heights of fame.

Denis Mac, Jimmy Cooper and Dick Kiely I never see them play
Though I heard about them they were great on their day
But time renders the great and the not so great feeble and gray
And amongst life's departed they now forever lay.

The nineteen forty eight Senior Cork County Gaelic Football Champions arguably Millstreet's greatest team
It was the year in Cork Gaelic Football that the Sraid reigned supreme
In the County Final they beat St Vincents in a great game of football
That old time Cork Gaelic Football enthuasists with fondness recall.

A goal from the mighty Toots Kelleher he was a minor then
Inspired to a memorable victory the brave Millstreet men
Of greatness the great man could not be denied
In Gaelic Football circles he became known far and wide.

Johnny Keeffe Millstreet's Captain a skipper's game played
For Millstreet and for Cork a name for himself he made
In Gaelic Football against the best he did compete
Still a living legend today in Millstreet.

Cormac Dineen and Den and Con Connors were mighty in their life's prime
Stories of their greatness live on despite the passage of time
Seamie Kelleher, Tank Driscoll and Munty Singleton at their best were great
They often gave Millstreet fans cause to celebrate.

Con Corcoran, Dick Barrett and James Manley names worthy of recall
Con and Ted Kelleher and John Joe Tagney great names of Millstreet Gaelic Football
J O Connor, Weir, and Michael Byrne, Paddy Cronin and Jeremiah O Keeffe
They were known as players who played with self belief.

Paddy Kelleher, Neilly Dennehy and Denis Twomey heroes of Millstreet
And Manning their great net minder in those days often kept a clean sheet
For thirty years Millstreet in the Cork Senior Championship a hard team to beat
Always joyous in victory and gracious in defeat.

Millstreet in Gaelic Football have many great names to celebrate
Their five All Ireland Senior winning medallists in their time were great
Den Connors, Denis Long and Humphrey Kelleher amongst Ireland's best
And John Coleman and Con Hartnett never found to be wanting when put to the test.

The Burke brothers Tommy and Brendan and their cousin Thomas Kelleher great players on their day
For Millstreet so many fine games they did play
The Kenneallys Jim and Ted and goal sneak Dermy Shea
Though time wearies the best as the wise one did say.

Doc Cribben, Doney Mahony, the mighty O Learys Willie and Dan
And the late John Sing O Sullivan the talented man
Michael Cashman of Tullig, John Francis Daly and Mister O
Were all heroes of Millstreet many decades ago.

For Cork in the red and Millstreet in the green
Con Connors of Kippagh at his best was seen
Vincent Coakley, Matt Gilsenan and J J Hinchion of Canovee
Star players who live on in the memory.

Matthew Twomey, John Keeffe and the Curtins and Cronins of Minor Row,
Frankie Reen and the Aubane trio Niall Kelleher, Doney Twomey and Sean Barrett though time has left them slow
They did Millstreet proud and are known far and wide
And of them their value as sportsmen cannot be denied.

Jer Dennehy of Murphy's Terrace was a renowned football player
And his sons Tim Joe, Liam and Anthony for Millstreet no effort did spare
The Thorntons, Andrew Kiely and Denis and Derry Hare
And Pat and Joe Buckley, Pat Flynn and Diarmuid Driscoll perhaps now showing time's wear.

Goalkeepers John and Denis Twomey and John Cronin of the Priests Cross
His death at a young age to Millstreet G A A a huge loss
Denny Taylor, Brendan Moynihan and Noel and Joe Buckley in the Millstreet jersey played
And of Matty Riordan and John Kelleher the memories don't fade.

Paul Ryan and Christy Dunne for Millstreet played many a game
And the late John Francis Hickey and Connie Kelleher have trophies in their name
Classy forward Jimmy Sullivan left football as a minor with greatness in store
And John Sullivan and Robert Murphy with their best years ahead left for a distant shore.

Dual players Brian Mc Sweeney and Matt McAuliffe wore the Millstreet colours with pride
As did Dathi Dowling one liked and respected in places far and wide
The Barretts, Sheehans and Kielys and the Fordes the green of Millstreet wore
When their Club as a Cork Football force was very much to the fore.

Patsy Barry has been a mentor to many a young Millstreet player
One who continues on his mentoring role despite the erosion of time wear
Bill Keeffe and Jimmy Cronin former Millstreet G A A mentors in eternal rest now lay
Time does not wait for anyone it just ticks and ticks away.

Anthony Barry, Denis Hickey, Connie Cotter and the Coopers were good in their prime
But they too have bowed to the father of time
So many I did not include here who donned the Millstreet green and gold
My memory is slipping I am getting old

On looking back the years it seems like only yesterday
When Connie Tarrant, John Buckley and Johnny Sheehan for Millstreet did play
And the Linehans, Niall Buckley and the Crowleys the Millstreet colours did don
But the years left them slower and time does tick on.

Clement Kelleher for Millstreet was a very fine player
And the Dineens of Knocknapogue and the Clearys the green and gold did wear
And though for Millstreet G A A the best days seem to have gone
The good memories remain and they do linger on.

Leo McSweeney of Flintfield a classy half back
Often sent Millstreet from defence deep into attack
In Macroom we often cheered Millstreet on in the wind and the rain
Something that I amongst others will not do again.

But Millstreet people apart from Gaelic Football have great names in sport to recall
One was the Cockhill high jumper Pat O Shea athletic and tall
Many times Irish high jump champion he leaped to renown
In track and field meetings far from Millstreet Town.

The flying Neenan brothers of Inchaleigh Willie and John D
Led the Millstreet Athletic Team to many a victory
Willie has Cork County, Munster and Irish titles as well as a World Silver medal to his name
Perhaps Millstreet's greatest athlete his is an enduring fame.

John Kelleher the pole vaulter one who did know of success
The big wins of Millstreet Sports People brought their fans happiness
The memories of what was bring to me a sense of joy
Of the sports heroes I looked up to when I was a young boy.

Joe Buckley of Ballinatona miles of roads and fields ran
In his prime a renowned cross country runner a strong and fit hard running man
And the Ballydaly quartet Don and Michael Connors, Willie Regan and Francis Dineen
They brought honour to their Parish in the Millstreet strip of green.

Discus champion Tadgh Justice he was broad shouldered and strong
And the mighty Michael Murphys one from the Terrace and the other from Shannaknock could throw the weights long
And the famed runner Jer Murphy one of Cork's best in his prime
Though eventually the best lose out to the non stop tick of time.

More recently Donal Coffey at mountain running has earned for himself a name
To be one of Ireland's best hill runners is his great claim to fame
The latest to carry the torch of fame lit by Paddy Keeffe of Mushera a century ago Ireland's best athlete
In his many two mile hurdle races the great man was never beat.

Stella Cashman a Millstreet woman now living in the U S A
As a medallist in the World Athletic Championships for walking she is better known today
Far from the heights of Tullig overlooking Millstreet Town
She surely proved her greatness walking her way to renown.

The Claraghatlea trio Mick and Jerry Kelleher and Mick Healy jumped high and ran fast
But time seems to catch up with the best at last
Paddy Byrne for many years a Priest in the U S of A
Was a champion sprinter when in his prime day.

In the World of Showjumping Noel C Duggan and his son Thomas have done great things for Millstreet
That they have made Green Glens a World events venue for them an amazing feat
Amongst show jumping people around the World Noel C Duggan's name is known
And yet despite his Worldwide fame happy to be one of Millstreet's own.

In Motor Rallying the name of Billy Coleman is one known Worldwide
That he was born and raised in Millstreet Town to Millstreet people a sense of pride
Yet despite his sporting successes one unaffected by conceit
Twice British Rallying Champion the rally driver complete.

The former Millstreet native Todd Falvey a well known rally driver of today
And in rallying Charley Drake and Eoin Moynihan have won big races in Australia from Millstreet far away
And recently in road bowling the now deceased Jim Coleman and old timers do go further back
To two champions of the road game Denny Penny and Johnny Jack.

In Irish greyhound circles Morty Cronin, Pat Cashman, Paddy Casey and Tommy and Kitty Hennessy were well known
And Maurice Connors, Doney and Geraldine Mahony and Con and Sheila Kelleher fast greyhounds did own
And Doney Donoghue of the Tanyard was a well known coursing man
In the days when he was younger and full of life's elan.

The long deceased Denis Dennehy of the West End famous greyhounds did breed and own
In and near the Town of Millstreet many sporting legends grown
The Duggans, Finnegans, Singletons, Murphys, Corkerys, Kellys and Learys and McCarthys between them won many a race
It can be said of Millstreet that it was a greyhound place.

The O Keeffes Dan, Paddy and David of Dooneen were greyhound handlers supreme
And the Sheas and Collins of Cockhil in greyhound circles knew esteem
Duhallow's Sporting Capital was Millstreet though that now in the past
But time brings with it changes and few things seem to last.

Ever since the great Harry Coher ran his way to glory through the distant mists of time
Millstreet sports people have been honoured in story and in rhyme
Mark Ellis the dual G A A player a rising Millstreet sports star of today
The past does fade to the future as some have been known to say.

from 'rhymeonly'
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