Two years after the foundation of the GAA, Currin, Sons of St. Patrick G.F.C was affiliated to the Central GAA organisation in 1886, making it the oldest affiliated club in County Monaghan and also 125 years old this year.
A small club with a long and proud history, Currin see themselves enjoying probably their most sustained period of success having won the Ward Cup in 2004 and 2009 and having retained their Intermediate status for the first time ever last year, but overall it’s fair to say that the successes over 125 years have been few and far between.
It was in 1931, a full 45 years after the club’s foundation, that the first success arrived. The junior championship title was secured at the end of a season when ‘Currin played 21 games, 19 won, seventeen successive victories and no player sent off or injured’ The final against Magheracloone was played in Carrickmacross on the 8tn November. The report of the game ran ‘It was a strenuous encounter. Both teams were weak at scoring. Currin had a point per Conlon and led at half time. Currin exerted most pressure on resumption and in the end Pat Murphy scored a clever goal. Each had a point before full time’.Currin won 1-2 to 0-02.
The highlight of what was a magnificent decade for Currin’s bold fifteen came in April 1936, when the one and still only Intermediate title was secured. The 1935 Intermediate Championship Final was played at Ballybay between Doohamlet and Currin, the latter winning, Currin 1-05 Doohamlet 2-00.’It was a hard fast game, Doohamlet leading at half time by 2-00 to 1-00, before a Currin second half comeback secured the spoils. The Currin Team was Pat Conlon, Paddy Maguire, Pa McCaul, John Connolly, James Kelly, Patrick Fitzpatrick, Jimmy Moore, Frank Finnegan, Jim Murphy, Rory Johnson, Owen Monaghan, James McCabe, Pat Murphy, Hubert Kearns and James Smith.
The Junior Championship success of 1931was replicated in 1937, when Currin again reached the Junior Championship final against Castleblayney which was played at Scotshouse and ended in a draw, 6 points each. The report states ‘Currin combined better than Castleblayney but the latter forced often and a few stiff shots were saved by the Currin goalie’.The replay took place on the 31st October, as a curtain raiser to the Monaghan-Wexford National League game. The report states ‘The game was punctuated by ugly incidents; players and spectators indulged in fisticuffs and some of the visitors received rough handling’ Currin won 2-3 to 1-5 and were agan junior champions of Monaghan.
It was to be 14 years before the boys in Gold and Blue tasted success again. Currin had reached the final of the D. Ward Cup and met Cremartin as opponents. The result of the first game was a draw, and the replay took place in Clones in April, 1952, although it was the previous year’s competition. The report states ‘Currin’s defense was particularly good. James McGarvey had a point for Currin, and Hubert Kearns scored a goal which the goalkeeper had no chance of saving. Before half time, Hubert Kearns had a second goal for Currin and Mick Quigley scored 2 points. There was no score during the second half. The ball was slippery due to rain and most of the play in the last half was confined to the centre of the pitch where Mooney and Lavelle were outstanding for Cremartin. Pat O’Neill of Lisnalee wrote ‘The boys In Gold and Blue’ of which the first verse goes thus;
‘O all you Gaels of Currin, O I pray you all to come,
And join with me in praising St Patrick’s gallant sons.
For by their display at Clones to Currin would be proved true
And Cremartin had no earthly with the boys in gold and blue’
During the 1950’s Currin was very badly affected by emigration, a situation we all hope and pray does not manifest itself on the club again in modern times. It would be 1968 before the club tasted success again, enjoying the most successful year in the club’s history to this day, winning the Junior Championship against Tyholland and narrowly losing out to Emyvale in the Dr. Ward Cup final after a replay. The Northern Standard report on the Championship final said ‘The game was never really a contest as Currin were always on top and they stamped their authority on this final right from the start. In the process they gave a really magnificent all round display which augurs well for their entry into senior ranks after an absence of almost twenty years’ The Currin scorers in a one-sided affair were Jody Martin 3-1, Jimmy Maguire 3-0, Dermot Beattie 0-5, Aidan Quigley 1-0, Val Cassidy 0-2
The crux of this team returned to the winning enclosure in 1972 with another junior championship success, with victory over Cremartin on a score line of 0-7 to 0-3.The sorers on this occasion were Dermot Beattie,0-3, Niall Murphy 0-3 and Aiden Quigley 0-1.
The following year, the ladies entered the annals of Currin sporting history when the Camogie team accepted an amalgamation from neighbouring Clones, also short of numbers at the time, and under the retained Currin name of ‘St. Patricks’ they forged to success in the 1973 Junior Championship and were beaten finalists in the Intermediate Championship of 1974. The attached photograph shows the Currin Camogie team who will be honoured at the culmination of our 125 celebrations, the Currin 125 Celebration night at the Kilmore Hotel on 19th November, 2011.
It would be a long time before Currin would take the spoils again in Junior football, a long barren spell of 32 years on the senior front was tempered by several successes at juvenile and U-16 levels, aswell as the pride we took in the notable successes of Hugo Clerkin on the bigger stage, and indeed it was under the stewardship of Hugo and Liam Quigley that Currin again lifted the Dr Ward Cup after a gap of 53 years.
Sunday 31st October, 2004 was the date for the Dr. Ward Cup final against the much fancied Corduff side, who had filled pole position for practically the entire League campaign and who had also overcome their semi-final opponents. Clontibret was the venue this time and what a contest ensued. Despite conceding a couple of early goals, Currin fought back bravely, but were still in arrears at the half-way stage, 3-3 to 1-4.
A great opening to the second half, however, saw Gerard O’Callaghan find the Corduff net and the issue was now very much in the melting pot. With time running out, Corduff still had their noses in front but O’Callaghan again came to the rescue, when he once again found the Corduff net in injury time, to draw level and send the game to a replay. Final score 3-7 each.
The replay took place the following Sunday, 7th November, at the same venue and what a result was forthcoming for the Scotshouse side as they triumphed by 1-10 to 0-11 and so earned for themselves a place in the history books and promotion to Intermediate ranks for 2005. Corduff were again installed as hot favourites to succeed as they had played for much of the drawn game with fourteen men, but they hadn’t reckoned with the fighting spirit of the Currin brigade who, led by county player Dick Clerkin, showed that they are going to be quite a handful for the other Intermediate teams in next year’s competitions.
The Dr. Ward Cup had not rested in Currin since 1951 and there was no way that it would be allowed to slip from their grasp on this occasion. With time running out, it looked as if that might be the case, however, but this time it was Gareth Beattie who came to the rescue, with the right-half-forward finding the Corduff net for the winning goal well into injury time.
It was a dramatic end to a dramatic game in which the south county side had led for most of the way, and were three points in front at the interval, 0-7 to 0-4. The sides were level on two occasions in the nail-biting second half and, as the game went into injury time, Corduff appeared to be coasting when they sent over a vital point only to see that slender lead disappear with Beattie’s ’late-late’ goal that sent the Currin supporters into delirium.
A mere 5 years later and Ray McCarron’s men again brought the Dr Ward Cup to Scotshouse after yet again having to replay a talented Sean McDermott’s team
The two teams simply couldn’t be separated after 120 minutes of football, as they went in level on 0-5 apiece at the break in this decider and Seans were then made survive a point onslaught from Currin in the second-half before Damien Larkin netted which left the full-time score at 0-11 to 1-8.
In extra-time, Gerard O’Callaghan restored Currin to the lead in the second minute with Ciaran McCaffrey then putting them two up in the 5th minute following good work by Francis O’Callaghan, Gerard O’Callaghan and Ben Clerkin. Both sides did have chances in the following five minutes but Currin stayed ahead by two at the break in extra time, 0-13 to 1-8.
Currin goalkeeper Waylon McEniff made a superb save off David McEntee early on in the restart of extra-time to keep his team in front and soon after Gareth Beattie sent a nice ball in to Jack McCarron to wrong foot his opposite number and slotted over and put his team three points in front and Seans needing at least two scores to turn it around.
Damien Larkin pointed a free in the fourth minute, but Currin again picked up the pace and finished much the stronger with Jack McCarron pointing a free a minute into stoppage time at the finish and it took some last-ditch defending and the intervention of a Sean McDermott’s upright to deny them further scores with three points separating the sides when Damien Helferty blew the full-time whistle to signal the Currin club’s return to intermediate level for 2010.
Currin begin their 125th year in Intermediate football and we know the lads will do their utmost to gain success in what is a very special year for us. We wish the players and our new management team of Gerry and Mickey well in that quest. We wish our present County players Dick Clerkin at Senior level, Jack McCarron at U-21 and Ellen McCarron with the Ladies Senior Team the very best of luck for the year ahead and here’s hoping for a Currin/Monaghan double in the 125th year of the oldest club in the county!!