50 years on, how Offaly won the 1971 All-Ireland final

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Plain of the Herbs
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50 years on, how Offaly won the 1971 All-Ireland final

Post by Plain of the Herbs » Wed Mar 17, 2021 7:55 pm

There were no guarantees. Countless great times have come and gone without winning that coveted All-Ireland. Cork in the 1970s, Roscommon on the late ‘70s, and Mayo God help them, arguably the second best team of all time.

Offaly had been sowing the seeds. A Leinster Senior breakthrough in 1960 before two agonising defeats as they were unfortunate enough to come across THAT Down team offered hope. An All-Ireland Minor win in 1964 (there were Leinster Minor wins in ’60, ’62 and ’65 as well) provided a new generation of talent, the ’65 Minors adding a Leinster U21 in 1968.

The new generation landed the Leinster Senior title in 1969 only to see their All-Ireland dreams smashed by Kerry and a Croke Park gale. And a year later they threw away a 10 point lead in the Leinster Final against Meath, their 4-7 to 0-9 half-time lead becoming a 5-12 to 2-22 deficit by game’s end. Better to win a scrap than lose a classic.


PROLOGUE
Offaly began the recovery from 1970’s Leinster Final defeat with a decent run in the autumn section of the league. It began with a 2-12 to 0-8 win over Roscommon, followed by a 1-10 to 2-12 defeat by Dublin, before recovering with wins over Cork (1-9 to 1-6) and Longford (2-10 to 0-11).

They should have beaten All-Ireland champions Kerry in Tralee in February but threw away a six point lead, stunned by a brace of late Kerry goals, and had to settle for a draw, 2-5 each. A month later, they again lost a game from a winning position when Kildare forced a draw with a late equalising point. They clicked in the final round of the league, beating Galway 3-13 to 1-7, the tally of 15 wides showing their dominance, Seán Evans playing a roving full-forward role. A performance that marked then out as a leading contender for September glory, though the 10 league points accumulated was a single point short of progression to the NFL semi-final.


LONGFORD
The championship campaign got underway on Sunday 9th May with a trip to Mullingar to face 1968 Leinster champions Longford. It took Offaly two games to get over Longford a year earlier, and they lined out without the injured Willie Bryan.

Offaly left their Ballinasloe form behind them though, winning 1-7 to 0-3. Johnny Cooney’s 27th minute goal helped them to a 1-3 to 0-2 half-time lead (all five points coming from frees). Martin Heavey replaced Seán Grogan during the first half before Willie Bryan was brought on at half-time when Kieran Claffey went to full-forward. The Walsh Island midfielder became the game’s outstanding midfielder in just 30 minutes. A pointed McTague free was the third quarter’s only score, and by game’s end each side had managed just a single point from play.


LAOIS
Eight weeks passed before Offaly travelled to Portlaoise to face the home side in the Leinster semi-final. In the interim, the Senior county championship’s first round was played. The home side reached that stage following wins over Carlow, Wicklow and Dublin. Previewing the game in The Irish Press, Pádraig Puirséal wrote “Offaly, Leinster Senior chanpions in 1969 and defeated by Meath in last year’s classic, are warmly fancied to defeat Laois in tomorrow’s semi-final at Portlaoise. In the two counties, however, directly concerned, fans will also remember 1968, in which the Laois men convincingly conquered their near neighbours, 0-11 to 0-6, in Offaly’s capital of Tullamore.” And Offaly could have done without Nick Clavin and Kevin Kilmurray having to endure a 20 hour delay at JFK before their transatlantic flight carried them home.

Offaly made changes, a first championship start for Martin Heavey in defence and Willie Bryan restored to midfield with Paddy Fenning making way in the reshuffle. Though Laois started the stronger, they didn’t hit the scores. Offaly’s break came when McTague’s free was deflected to the Laois net. Seán Evans’ goal made it 2-2 to 0-3, which became 2-4 to 0-4 by half-time. Offaly had little difficulty going on to record a 2-12 to 0-10 win that 23,055 attended.


KILDARE
Having waited eight weeks for the Leinster semi-final, just a fortnight separated semi-final and Leinster Final. Kildare provided the opposition in a repeat of the 1969 final, having dethroned Leinster champions Meath 4-8 to 2-12 in a thrilling semi-final.

On the day Offaly were utterly dominant and completely outclassed Kildare before 34,255. When Nick Clavin fielded and delivered to Murt Connor to punch to the net in the 11th minute, Offaly led 1-2 to 0-0. Offaly led by 13 points, 1-10 to 0-0 before Kildare opened their account a minute before half-time.

The second half was a procession, Offaly claiming their fourth Leinster title with a 2-14 to 0-6 win. Late in the game, Jody Gunning and Kildare’s Patsy Kelly were sent off after a heated disagreement and spent the rest of the game chatting behind the end line.

Describing the action in the Irish Independent, Mitchel Cogley wrote “Most of Kildare’s troubles stemmed from their inability to find any midfield pairing capable of putting a curb on Offaly’s Willie Bryan and Kieran Claffey. Bryan made his customary contribution of spectacular high fielding and accurate distribution, but this time was outshone by the dashing Claffey, who did most of the grafting and won virtually every ball he contested. With Nick Calvin behind them, and Kevin Kilmurray in front, Offaly exerted an unassailable dominance in winning good ball, and the forwards made good use of their steady service which was so lavish that they could afford to be wasteful. Tony McTague, Seán Cooney and Jody Gunning repeatedly pulled off a number of coups with their now familiar quicksilver switches in play, and Murt Connor added to his growing reputation as a goal-scorer with two well taken efforts. The defence was hardly tested but there was no getting by the fullback line of Mick Ryan, Paddy McCormack and Mick O’Rourke, and precious little give either in the half backs.”


CORK
Gracefield, Rhode and Ferbane joined St Carthage’s (nowadays Shamrocks) in the Offaly SFC semi-finals, and Gracefield won the inaugural Leinster club final. And Offaly won the Leinster U21 final with a 1-9 to 0-11 win over Meath Seán Lowry, Kevin Kilmurray, Liam Hanlon, Mick Wright, Paddy Fenning, Dáithí Murphy, Séamus Darby and Murt Connor were on board) before attention turned to the All-Ireland semi-final against Cork. It was a first Senior championship meeting of Rebel and Faithful, though it was a repeat of 1964’s Minor All-Ireland win. Greg Hughes was recalled to the training panel who were being out through their paces at Edenderry, while Clavin and Kilmurray were again expected home from the US on the Friday before the semi-final.

The Westmeath-Offaly Independent was confident, writing “Judging by the blend of youth nd experience, backed by fitness and a splendid team spirit, the prospects of Offaly reaching and winning the All-Ireland final for the first time, never looked so bright.” That said, Cork’s form in beating Kerry 0-25 to 0-14 couldn’t be discounted.

Offaly advanced to the Final on a 1-16 to 1-11 scoreline. “A vigorous approach right through, a most determined attitude, complete dominance at midfield, and the ability to fight back when matters went against them helped Offaly at Croke Park yesterday to their first All-Ireland Senior football final appearance since 1969. It was a thoroughly deserved victory, and achieved with much more ease than the scoreboard would suggest.” So wrote Peadar O’Brien in The Irish Press.

Attended by 38,000, it as no classic, punctuated by 67 frees AND 15 Offaly wides. Offaly led 0-9 to 0-4 at half-time, Cork pulled it back to 0-9 to 0-8 before Offaly extended the lead to 0-12 to 0-8. Offaly led 0-16 to 0-11 when Jimmy Barrett gathered a loose ball and buried it in the net, the first goal Offaly conceded in that campaign. But within a minute, Kevin Kilmurray fisted Tony McTague to the Cork net to restore the lead and conclude the day’s scoring.


THE BUILD UP
A week after the Cork win, the U21s lost their All-Ireland semi-final to Fermanagh at Irvinestown by 1-5 to 3-5. On the same day, the Seniors beat Meath in the Player Wills tournament. But Eugene Mulligan and Tony McTague picked up ankle injuries and were doubts for the All-Ireland final, as was Kevin Kilmurray, injured up in Fermanagh. In better news, Greg Hughes did well at full-forward, scoring two goals for the Seniors.

Speaking to Pádraig Puirséal in The Irish Press beforehand, Fr Tom Gillooly was in ebullient form. “If God continues to be as good to us as He has been thus far, we’ll make the big breakthrough this time. They ae playing more as a combined unit than any team that ever came out of Offaly before, and that is not to decry the fine sides the county has produced in the past. Let me put it this way, we had a good team in 1969, but this is a great team and I am convinced they will prove that on Sunday.”

They could have done without their goalkeeper coming down with a temperature on the Thursday before the final. Still, all the injuries of the previous month had cleared up and Offaly confidently announced an unchanged team for the fourth successive game.


THE TEAM
The team that travelled to Dublin by train from Tullamore on the Sunday morning was: -

MARTIN FURLONG The 25 year old goalkeeper, making his 22nd championship appearance. Goalkeeper on the All-Ireland winning 1964 Minors, he’d been Offaly’s first choice goalkeeper since 1966. Had kept his net intact until the 76th minute of the fourth match of the campaign.

MICK RYAN The 25 year old Doon native, had played with Seán McDermotts in Dublin and was an Erins Isle club man in 1971. Learned his football with St Mel’s College and was three years an Offaly Minor, 1962, ’63 and ‘64. He was making his 16th championship appearance, having made his championship debut in 1965 and played at corner-back in every year since, bat 1969 when he was left half-back.

PADDY McCORMACK The sole survivor of the 1960/61 team, the 32 year-old full-back made his championship debut back in 1958 and was making his 38th championship appearance. Also a selector, he announced his retirement in the immediate aftermath of the 1969 All-Ireland defeat but soon returned.

MICK O’ROURKE Playing in his 11th championship game, the 26 year old Killeigh man made his debut in 1968. 1971 was the year he’d established himself as a defender. Was right corner-forward during 1969’s campaign when he scored two goals in that year’s Leinster final.

EUGENE MULLIGAN A 16 year old All-Ireland Minor winner in 1964, he spent three years as an Offaly Minor. Age 22, he made his Senior championship debut in 1968 and the All-Ireland final was his 16th appearance. By year’s end he would be a unanimous choice for All-Star right half-back and would be footballer of the year.

NICK CLAVIN A product of St Finnian’s College, he was a Leinster Minor winner in 1965 and U21 winner in 1968. Having made his Senior championship debut in 1968, he was making his 16th championship appearance against Galway. Age 23, he was commuting from the US in 1971, He would by All-Star centre half-back and his switch to midfield during the final was a crucial move.

MARTIN HEAVEY The 28 year old from Rhode didn’t play underage for Offaly. First played for Offaly in the 67/68 NFL, he was off the county scene for three years before making his SFC debut as a sub against Longford in 1971’s first round and quickly established himself in the left half-back slot.

WILLIE BRYAN An Offaly Minor in 1964 (corner-forward) and 1965 (left half-forward), he made his Senior debut in 1966. The 23 year old made his 21st appearance in the All-Ireland final, having established himself as a midfielder in 1969. Captain of the team, he played for Leinster in 1967, ’69 and ’70, and was an All-Star midfielder in 1971.

KIERAN CLAFFEY The Doon native, 22,, he was a Clontibret club man in 1971, having win a Senior championship with the Monaghan club in 1968. An Offaly U21 in 1970, he made his SFC debut in 1970 and scored a spectacular goal in that year’s Leinster Final.

SEÁN COONEY After McCormack, the next most experienced man on the team having been an Offaly Senior since 1964. 27 in 1971, and an Offaly Minor in 1961 and ’62, the All-Ireland was his 18th Senior championship appearance and had scored 3-14 to date.

KEVIN KILMURRAY Went to Belcamp College where he came to the attention of 1969 team manager Fr Tom Scully. An Offaly U21 in 1969, ’70 and ’71, the 21 ear old was a sub during 1969’s campaign, making 5 appearances off the bench. 1971 was the first year he really established himself on the team, scored 0-4 v Kildare and a goal v Cork. Like Nick Clavin, was commuting from the US during 1971.

TONY McTAGUE Another who was three years an Offaly Minor (’62, ’63, ’64), he made his NFL debut a week after the 1964 All-Ireland Minor success. Had scored 3-113 since making his SFC debut in 1965 and the All-Ireland was his 23rd championship appearance. A consistent scorer, the 25 year old from Ferbane was awarded an All-Star in 1971.

JODY GUNNING 25 in 1971 and another Minor winner from 1964, the Rhode man scored a crucial goal in the 1964 Leinster minor final win over Leix. An Offaly regular in 1970 and ’71, his SFC debut was in 1968 and the All-Ireland was his 9th championship appearance.

SEÁN EVANS An Offaly Minor in 1965, he was an Offaly U21, Junior and Senior in 1966 and was a regular in the full-forward line since then. The All-Ireland was the 22 year old’s 21st SFC appearance, during which he’d scored 4-10.

MURT CONNOR The youngest member of the team at 20, went to Ballyfin College and a Leinster U21 winner in 1971. Made his SFC debut in 1970 at corner-back before first playing at full-forward in 1970’s Leinster Final. Had established himself in 1971, was making his 7th championship appearance, scoring 4-7.

JOHN SMTH Minor full-back in 1964 and ’65, he made his SFC debut in 1966. A regular defender in ’66, ’67, 68 and ’70, he was unable to command a regular place in 1971 but came on in the final to play a key role at centre half-back, making his 13th appearance.

PADDY FENNING Four years an Offaly U21 (’68-’71 incl.), he made his SFC debut in 1970. Started the first round against Longford, he came on as a second-half sub to make his 7th SFC appearance.

NOEL KINNARNEY The sub goalkeeper from St Columba’s (Durrow), he was Offaly Minor goalkeeper in 1965 and U21 goalkeeper in 1968 and was Offaly Junior goalkeeper in 1971.

LARRY COUGHLAN Made his SFC debut in 1962 and had made 22 championship appearances, mostly at midfield. An Army man, an injury sustained in Cyprus limited his involvement in 1971.

GREG HUGHES A veteran on 1960/61, he made his Senior championship debut in 1958. Made 36 appearances, mostly at full-back and was recalled to the panel for the All-Ireland semi-final.

LIAM HANLON, DÁITHÍ MURPHY, SEÁN LOWRY, SÉAMUS DARBY were all Offaly U21s in 1970 and ’71. Murphy came on as a second-half sub against Cork.


THE MANAGEMENT
FR TOM GILLOOLY. A native of Fore, Co Westmeath, he came to Tullamore as a curate in 1957. He quickly immersed himself in Offaly football, managing Minors for several years during which time they won the 1964 Minor All-Ireland and the Leinster Minor wins of ’60, ’62, 64 and ‘65. He was appointed Offaly coach prior to the 1971 season and immediately established a relationship with his players and their families. The selectors were full-back Paddy McCormack, star of the 1960s Sean Brereton and Alo Kelly from Tullamore. Tom Darcy carried out physical work on the training ground at Edenderry, and Ossie Bennett was the masseur.


GALWAY
Years, decades of frustration were brought to an end on Sunday 26th September 1971 when Offaly overcame Galway in a rain soaked final. Whether the tension of the occasion, the nervousness of the hand of history upon them,
Watched by 70,798, Galway had first use of the stiff wind, playing into the Railway goal, and though Offaly opened a 0-3 to 0-1 lead playing into the gusts, Séamus Leyden’s scrambled goal inspired Galway to a 1-6 to 0-4 half-time lead, a deficit made more manageable for Offaly by the Connacht champions’ 12 first half wides.

Frank Canavan might have scored a goal soon after the restart, before the final’s key move. That move was to bring on John Smith at centre half-back and switch Nick Clavin to midfield. Offaly found their rhythm, and point by point ate into the lead. Murt Connor’s was the equalising point (0-10 to 1-7), Leyden put Galway ahead with a free before Clavin levelled it again. As the rain poured down in torrents and those in the Lower Cusack sought shelter, Seán Cooney crossed and Murt Connor found the net in the 61st minute. The joy was short lived as Leyden scrambled another goal. But Offaly were not to be denied and Seán Evans pointed, McTague added a free and Kevin Kilmurray rounded off the scoring with 12 minutes still left.

Pádraig Puirséal in The Irish Press reported “Defying their own first-half nerves, an interval deficit of five points, a second-half downpour and a fighting finish by a gallant, if uneven, Galway opponents, fifteen footballer in tri-colour jerseys ended 80 years of Midland football frustration at Croke Park yesterday when they brought the All-Ireland senior crown home for the first time to Offaly.”
In the Irish Independent, John D Hickey noted “Although a Geiger-counted, if adapted for the process, could scarcely number the myriad bits and pieces of a fragmented All-Ireland senior football championship final, in which Offaly made history by winning the title for the first time, by beating Galway by 1-14 to 2-8 at Croke Park yesterday, the combat moved me far more than many an infinitely better contest in the code.”


AFTERMATH
Offaly celebrated in the South County Hotel that night, and were welcomed home to Tullamore by 20,000 followers the following evening. There was hardly time to rest. On the following Sunday, Antrim were visitors to O’Connor Park in a fundraiser for the Northern Relief Fund. Internment had been introduced the day after Galway defeated Ulster champions Down in the All-Ireland semi-final. For different reasons, real life would never be the same again for the footballers of Offaly and Antrim.

50 years on, it is only right to salute the Offaly men who broke the mould. For, without 1971 we wouldn’t have had 1972. And without 1972 we probably wouldn’t have had 1982. Or the hurling breakthrough.

Thanks to the archives of the Westmeath-Offaly Independent, The Irish Press and the Irish Independent, and the Gaelic Press Ltd.’s ‘Offaly ’71 publication and Gaelic Sport’s ‘Offaly the Heroes’ publication, without which I couldn’t have wrote all this.
Pat Donegan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.

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bracknaghboy
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Re: 50 years on, how Offaly won the 1971 All-Ireland final

Post by bracknaghboy » Wed Mar 17, 2021 11:01 pm

Wonderful piece POTH, thanks for taking the time (considerable I'd say) to put this together.
What strikes me now is how young that team was back then. Lots of lads in their early 20's. I wonder would that have been unusual for the time or were young panels the thing back them?

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Re: 50 years on, how Offaly won the 1971 All-Ireland final

Post by Plain of the Herbs » Thu Mar 18, 2021 7:33 pm

Thank you. Lockdown Bank Holiday project.

I genuinely don't know if it was unusual or not. Sall samole size, but Galway were even younger. They had 5 who were 22 or under, 3 who were 23, 3 were 24 and 4 were 25 or over. Séamus Leyden was the oldest at 29. Their average age was 23.4. Offaly's was 24.4.

Looking at Kerry in 1972's final, they were older but then were at a different stage of their life cycle. Mick O'Connell was 35, Mick O'Dwyer was 36 while seven more were 26 or over.

One thing that struck me though was that Offaly hav a conveyor belt of talent coming through for a decade. They'd won Leinster Minors in 1960, '62, '64 and '65 as well as reaching finals in 1957, '59, '61 and '66. They won Leinster U21s in 1968, '71 and '73. and reached finals in 1964, '65, '70 and '72.

Offaly weren't slow to bring then onto the Senior team either. Mick Ryan and Tony McTague made NFL debuts the Sunday after winning the Minor Al-Ireland in 1964. And Mick Ryan, Paddy McCormack, Willie Bryan, Kevin Kilmurray, Tony McTague, Seán Evams and John Smith all made championship debuts in their first year out of Minor. Martin Furlong, Eugene Mulligan, probably Kieran Claffey, Seán Cooney and Murt Connor were 20 making their first championship starts.

Other hand, quite a number of the 1969 hurlers had been on the go for the bones of a decade, particularly the defence, and most of those had retired within a few years (I’m thinking Dermot Flanagan, Joe Murphy, Paddy Spellman, John Joe Healion, Éamonn Fox and Paddy Molloy).
bracknaghboy wrote:
Wed Mar 17, 2021 11:01 pm
Wonderful piece POTH, thanks for taking the time (considerable I'd say) to put this together.
What strikes me now is how young that team was back then. Lots of lads in their early 20's. I wonder would that have been unusual for the time or were young panels the thing back them?
Pat Donegan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.

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Re: 50 years on, how Offaly won the 1971 All-Ireland final

Post by Sur lookit » Sun Mar 21, 2021 11:26 am

Super stuff POTH.

I genuinely didnt realise the success we had at minor and u21 back then!
And whilst its great to be in the Leinster minor now this year, it shows how times have changed.

But that's put a pep in the step here for the day anyway and as I start me planning for the (hopefully soon) coaching season ahead!

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Re: 50 years on, how Offaly won the 1971 All-Ireland final

Post by biffinbanner » Tue Mar 23, 2021 9:52 pm

i wasnt aware the 71/72 team were so young.. was great to win 2 but you would imagine they were really only getting into their prime in 73/74/75 shud have beat dublin a few times them years.. but dublin came i suppose and we were 2nd fiddle..

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Re: 50 years on, how Offaly won the 1971 All-Ireland final

Post by Plain of the Herbs » Wed Mar 24, 2021 8:56 pm

Good point. And when you watch the available video of the 1972 replay, when they were absolutely rampant, you think the same.

Complacency cost them against Galway in 1973's All-Ireland semi-final, and probably cost them against Dublin in 1974 too. By then, Paddy McCormack's eye injury forced his retirement (1972), and 1973 was Larry Coughlan, Nick Clavin and Martin Heavey's last year. Jody Gunning was gone from the scene too.

The Diocese of Meath transferred Fr Gillooly up so somewhere in Meath during summer 1975, forcing him to relinquish his position when that campaign ended. Kieran Claffey and Seán Cooney didn't feature following that year's draw with Laois, while 1975 was also the last year for Tony McTague, Seán Evans and Murt Connor. And John Smith and Mick O'Rourke finished up after 1976. So the great team broke up quickly enough.

On Fr Gillooly, his job title might have been 'trainer', but he seems to be one of the first of the 'facilitator' manager types, who seems to be massively respected by the players. And I think his influence, and his position among the great managers, is grossly understated.
biffinbanner wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 9:52 pm
i wasnt aware the 71/72 team were so young.. was great to win 2 but you would imagine they were really only getting into their prime in 73/74/75 shud have beat dublin a few times them years.. but dublin came i suppose and we were 2nd fiddle..
Pat Donegan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.

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Re: 50 years on, how Offaly won the 1971 All-Ireland final

Post by SearingDrive » Fri Mar 26, 2021 12:15 pm

P.J. McGrath RIP, from Mayo died this week. He was the referee for the 1982 SFC Final, when Offaly ended Kerry’s 5 in a row attempt. A game always associated with Seamus Darby, and did he push Tommy Doyle or not. May he rest in piece.

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Re: 50 years on, how Offaly won the 1971 All-Ireland final

Post by Bord na Mona man » Sun Mar 28, 2021 6:13 pm

Fantastic work.

Breakthroughs are hard to accomplish in the GAA, especially when it's a county like Offaly, disadvantaged by factors like population and supporting both codes. While Offaly were getting close from the 60s onwards, until you close the deal on an All Ireland title the pressure is mounting.

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Re: 50 years on, how Offaly won the 1971 All-Ireland final

Post by Bord na Mona man » Sun Mar 28, 2021 6:26 pm

Plain of the Herbs wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 8:56 pm
Good point. And when you watch the available video of the 1972 replay, when they were absolutely rampant, you think the same.

Complacency cost them against Galway in 1973's All-Ireland semi-final, and probably cost them against Dublin in 1974 too. By then, Paddy McCormack's eye injury forced his retirement (1972), and 1973 was Larry Coughlan, Nick Clavin and Martin Heavey's last year. Jody Gunning was gone from the scene too.

The Diocese of Meath transferred Fr Gillooly up so somewhere in Meath during summer 1975, forcing him to relinquish his position when that campaign ended. Kieran Claffey and Seán Cooney didn't feature following that year's draw with Laois, while 1975 was also the last year for Tony McTague, Seán Evans and Murt Connor. And John Smith and Mick O'Rourke finished up after 1976. So the great team broke up quickly enough.

On Fr Gillooly, his job title might have been 'trainer', but he seems to be one of the first of the 'facilitator' manager types, who seems to be massively respected by the players. And I think his influence, and his position among the great managers, is grossly understated.
biffinbanner wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 9:52 pm
i wasnt aware the 71/72 team were so young.. was great to win 2 but you would imagine they were really only getting into their prime in 73/74/75 shud have beat dublin a few times them years.. but dublin came i suppose and we were 2nd fiddle..
Interestingly it was similar pastoral reshuffling in 1970 that saw Fr Tom Scully unceremoniously banished to South Africa with Offaly getting close.
It is entirely possible that if the men in the mitres had been in any way hostile towards Offaly, the transfers could have unfavourably allocated.

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Re: 50 years on, how Offaly won the 1971 All-Ireland final

Post by True Red » Mon Mar 29, 2021 10:33 am

Fantastic Article POTH.
If you don’t stand for something you fall for anything

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Re: 50 years on, how Offaly won the 1971 All-Ireland final

Post by Plain of the Herbs » Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:05 pm

Go raibh maith agat, a chara.
True Red wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 10:33 am
Fantastic Article POTH.
Pat Donegan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.

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Re: 50 years on, how Offaly won the 1971 All-Ireland final

Post by Plain of the Herbs » Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:07 pm

As well as the relative youth of the Offaly team, something that has struck me is the height of the Offaly team. Now I know people are taller nowadays anyway, but of that Offaly’s 1971 team, only Kieran Claffey (6’1”) and Murt Connor (6’2”) stood in excess of six foot tall. And Nick Clavin, Kevin Kilmurray and John Smith were exactly 6’. That’s astonishing.

I was also surprised that Willie Bryan was 5’10”, particularly after watching footage of his tour de force in 1972’s replay against Kerry, when he gave one of the great football performances in the air.

Of course, those heights could be approximates, but even still.

Some more heights:
5’11.5” Sean Evans
5’11” Mick Ryan, Mick O’Rourke
5’10” Martin Furlong, Paddy McCormack, Willie Bryan, Jody Gunning, Paddy Fenning
5’9” Eugene Mulligan, Tony McTague
5’8” Martin Heavy, Seán Cooney
Pat Donegan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.

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Re: 50 years on, how Offaly won the 1971 All-Ireland final

Post by Plain of the Herbs » Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:29 am

Aye. The posting of Fr Nicholas Clavin to California following his ordination in 1973 is another example.
Bord na Mona man wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 6:26 pm
Interestingly it was similar pastoral reshuffling in 1970 that saw Fr Tom Scully unceremoniously banished to South Africa with Offaly getting close.
It is entirely possible that if the men in the mitres had been in any way hostile towards Offaly, the transfers could have unfavourably allocated.
Pat Donegan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.

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Re: 50 years on, how Offaly won the 1971 All-Ireland final

Post by Plain of the Herbs » Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:40 pm

Something I wanted to pick up on was Offaly’s Minor football success in the decade 1957 through to 1966, who they played, who they beat, and who went on to give long Senior service and who was there in 1971 and 1972. Quite a few spent three years at the grade while others played Senior on their first year out of Minor.
Sur lookit wrote:
Sun Mar 21, 2021 11:26 am
Super stuff POTH.

I genuinely didnt realise the success we had at minor and u21 back then!
And whilst its great to be in the Leinster minor now this year, it shows how times have changed.

But that's put a pep in the step here for the day anyway and as I start me planning for the (hopefully soon) coaching season ahead!
1957 – beat Kildare and Carlow, lost to Meath in the Leinster Final.
Willie Nolan (goal), Johnny Egan (full-back), Paddy McCormack and Peter Daly (both midfield), Tommy Cullen (centre half-forward) played.

1958 – beat Laois and Kildare, lost to Louth in the Leinster semi-final.
Johnny Egan and Peter Daly were on it.

1959 – beat Wicklow and Meath, lost to Dublin in the Leinster Final
Tom Furlong (goal), Peter Daly (full-back) and Larry Coughlan (left half-back) played.

1960 – beat Carlow, Dublin and Louth (Leinster Final), lost to a gifted Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final
Ricey Scully (left half-forward) and Tom Furlong (full-forward) played. Galway included Johnny Geraghty, Noel Tierney, Enda Colleran, Christy Tyrrell and Séamus Leyden who would later win 3 in a row with Galway Seniors.

1961 – beat Carlow and Kildare, lost to Dublin in the Leinster Final
Mick Ryan (goalie Mick from Doon), Paudge Mulhare, Johnny Cooney and Ricey Scully in the half-forward line and Tom Furlong (full-forward) played.

1962 – beat Carlow, Meath, and Dublin (Leinster Final), lost to Kerry by a point in the All-Ireland semi-final
Mick Ryan (the corner-back), Johnny Cooney (right half-forward), Ricey Scully (left half-forward) and Toy McTague (right corner-forward) were on.

1963 – lost to Westmeath in the quarter-final
Tony McTague and Seán Grogan played in the half-forward line. Martin Furlong was due to line out in goal but was dropped because his home was too near the soccer field on Tullamore, or something spurious like that.

1964 – beat Louth, Kildare and Laois (Leinster Final), beat Mayo in the All-Ireland semi-final and Cork in the All-Ireland final
Martin Furlong (goal), John Smith (full-back), Mick Ryan (corner-back), Eugene Mulligan (right half-back), Seán Grogan (centre half-back), Tony McTague (right half-forward), Jody Gunning (left half-forward), Wille Bryan (right corner-forward) played. Mick O’Rourke was also a medallist.

1965 – beat Longford, Meath, Laois and Kildare (Leinster Final), lost to Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final
Noel Kinnarney (goal), John Smith (full-back), Eugene mulligan (right half-back), Pat Monaghan (left half-back), Gene Henry, Pat Keenan and Willie Bryan formed the half-forward line, Seán Evans was full-forward, Nick Clavin was left corner-forward.

1966 – beat Kildare and Longford, lost to Laois in the Leinster Final
Included Eugene Mulligan (centre half-back), Gene Henry (midfield), Pat Keenan (centre half-forward).
Pat Donegan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.

True Red
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Re: 50 years on, how Offaly won the 1971 All-Ireland final

Post by True Red » Tue Apr 27, 2021 10:54 am

Brilliant Stats and Facts there POTH.

Its not rocket science and the old Irish saying comes to mind , 'Mol an Óige agus tiocfaidh sí'

The foundations were laid in the 50's and 60's for what happened in the early 70's.

I have to marvel at the fact that people ponder the lack of success at adult level in our county teams in the last 20 years.If you want the answer look no further at the lack of success/competitiveness in our underage teams. No Leinster Minor since 1989 in football and our last Leinster minor in hurling was in 2000 if im not mistaken. Success at these levels (and under 21/20) is crucial to keep lads involved and interested. Winning breeds winners.

I also wonder at the level of spade work that went in around the county in terms of Coaching & Games Administration?

Sometimes if you want the actual honest answer, you have to look in the mirror.

Have we done enough?
If you don’t stand for something you fall for anything

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