The 1940s arrived with very few teams in west Galway competing in championship football. In fact only two teams were entered in the early 1940s – Maam in the north and Ml. Breathnach’s in the south. The main emphasis was on a few local tournaments with local ad hoc teams being selected. There was no team in Clifden but in 1946 the club was reformed. The new club organised a seven-a-side local tournament. No visiting teams turned out except Ml.Breathnach’s and Carna, both of whom made serious complaints because they received no refreshments and were charged for admission to the céilí in the hall that night. The new club won the West Board Championship in 1947 defeating Oughterard (who had regraded) in the semi-final and Moycullen in the final on a score of 2-4 to 2-3. The county semi-final, however, was lost to Kilgerril, 1-7 to 1-4. Amazingly, Kilgerril who drew with Caherlistrane in the county final, failed to turn up for the replay!
The difficulty of running a club at that time was highlighted by the calling of a public meeting in the town hall to complain about the fixing of the West Final in Galway city. The club wanted the West Board to pay the transport cost of £25 but the Board refused. The final was eventually played in Oughterard, with Moycullen receiving £2 travelling expenses to travel the 10 miles to the venue but there is no mention of what expenses were awarded to the Clifden club, if any!
According to the archives, the Clifden team of 1947 had 3 county players: Micko Collins, Sean Connolly and Flaherty. This appears not to be correct; however, as Sean Connolly said he did not play for the club. The Flaherty was ‘Sailor’ Flaherty from Renvyle and Micko Collins was captain of the Galway junior team at about that time. Here are some players that played on the 1947 Clifden team: Micko Collins, Michael Lovett, Jimmy Lysat, Pairic Joyce, ‘Sailor’ Flaherty, ‘Staff Conneely, the Nolan brothers – Kevin and Mickie, Hugo Carey, Peter (Jazer) Flaherty, Paddy Vaughan (Roundstone), Thomas Joyce, M. J. Conroy.
The *Mongan Cup was introduced in 1938 but it only really took off in the 1940s. This was one of the big events for a number of years to come, so much so, that some clubs that competed in the Mongan Cup did not enter the official championships at all. Teams originally involved in the Mongan Cup were: Clifden, Oughterard, Cleggan, Carna, Tullycross, Renvyle, Lettergesh, Letterfrack, Inishbofin, Roundstone, Recess, Cashel, with St. Caillin’s (Ballyconnely) joining in the late 1950s. It may appear from the records available that the only competition that Clifden competed in, in the 1940s was the West Championship of 1946 and ’47 but the fact is that Clifden competed in other competitions during that decade.
During this period players from the area played championship football with other clubs, for example in 1945, three active footballers from the area were on the Ml. Breathnach’s team that won the county title, namely Sean Conneely (Connolly), Micko Collins and ‘Taiseen’ Canavan.
*The Mongan Cup was presented by Josie Mongan T.D. for the promotion of Gaelic Football in Connemara in 1938.
To listen to Fr. Stankard’s memories of the 1940s, click on track 3.
To listen to folklore from the 1940s with Sean Connolly, Mahon’s Terrace, click on track 4.