What type of transport was used?

The main difficulty most clubs had was transport to and from games, as there were very few buses available. Another major difficulty was funds to pay for bus-hire. A significant number of players would use ponies/horses and traps or sidecars in the earlier years but bicycles in later years became the norm. There are examples of teams using bicycles to travel to a county final. For example, when Ml. Breathnach’s won their first county final in 1945 they travelled on bicycles to Turloughmore. As an aside, it is interesting to note that ‘Breathnach’s’ had three players from the Clifden area on their team that day. The bicycle, as a type of transport was efficient for local games in west Connemara but when travelling longer distances, for example, from Clifden to Oughterard or Galway, the main type of transport used was the train – for those that could afford the luxury. The Clifden train was possibly the main reason why local football teams could participate in county championship games. The closing of the Clifden railway line in the early 1930s gave rise to other forms of transport being used. The open truck which was used all week for carriage/farming purposes, became the ‘team bus’ on Sunday. The government ban on the use of the open truck in 1935/36 was a devastating blow for rural G.A.A. teams. The ‘winkle’ van was one of many vehicles used for transport in Ballyconneely as late as the 1960s, this at a time when cars were still very scarce. It was not unusual to see up to 20 people cramming into a vehicle for a match on a Sunday.

The benefit of having one’s own transport at that time guaranteed an automatic place on the team. There are several stories of players not being selected as they could not guarantee that they would be at the venue on the day of the match because they did not have transport.