This page is especially dedicated to the gallant Athea Senior football team of the mid to late ’60s. They played all through the year of ’68 with the underdog tag, but repeatedly pulled out brilliant performances to bring the coveted senior county title back to the banks of the Gale.
Following here is a poem that captures perfectly the feelings around our small village and inside the Gaelic Grounds that fateful day in 1968, when by beating Treaty Sarsfields, they brought county honours back to Ath An tSleibhe. Written by PJ Brosnan of Knocknagorna Athea, it captures perfectly our heroes of ’68. It’s well worth a read.
Athea the champions – 1968 County Champions
The cheers ring ‘round the Gaelic Grounds,
They echo far away,
The Limerick football championship has come to sweet Athea,
The dream at last it has come true,
No longer must we wait,
They’ve brought the cup home to the West,
These men of sixty-eight.
The first they beat was Patrickswell,
Next did Askeaton fall,
Then Oola’s best they failed to test,
With our boys to play the ball,
Now came Treaty Sarsfields in the final game to play,
Some wise men shook their heads and said “they’ll surely beat Athea”.
The Autumn sun was shining on that field near Limerick town,
When they came from Clash and Cratloe, the Village and Knockdown,
From Knocknagorna’s hills as well, from Keale, Coole West, Tooreen,
From Gortnagross and Knockanair and the vales of sweet Dirreen.
Then old men’s thoughts they drifted back to the games they used to see,
And to the men who fought in harder fields to make our nation free,
Con Colbert, Gortnagleanna, Paddy Dalton came to mind,
Many hearts with pride were beating for those days long left behind.
But every face is turned now to the scene of the present day,
The Treaty boys they struggled hard but were no match for Athea,
And when the final whistle went there was no doubt who was best,
The cup had found a worthy home in it’s journey to the West.
Here’s to the men of sixty-eight with Con Mullane full back,
Tom Keeffe in goal beside him “Morgan” Moran and Sean Mack,
Ken Dermody, Frank Collins and Mike Hayes made no mistake,
And when Gerry Carey gets the ball the West is wide awake.
The Barrett brothers and Joe Keeffe were always to the fore,
And from a player like Timmy Woulfe no one could ask for more,
Murt Liston the young captain was indeed a shining light,
Kevin Dillon and Joe Brouder they too played with all their might.
The other men who also served, the subs behind the scene,
Tim Enright, “Haulie” Moran, and Pat Dalton from Dirreen,
Tim Keeffe and Danny Barry, Patie Moran, Jim Dillane,
Mick White and Jack O’ Connor too, strong men of brain and bawn.
We will always look upon you as the greatest of the great,
And in many a future battle we know we’ll never fail,
To bring the laurels often home to the town beside the Gale.
1968 County winning team in full:
Athea V’s Treaty Sarsfield :
2 – 5 to 0 – 4 making for a winning margin of 7 points!
Tom O’ Keeffe, Ken Dermody, Conor Mullane, Michael Moran, Frank Collins, Jim Barrett, Murt Liston (Capt.), Timmy Woulfe, Joe Brouder, Joe O’ Keeffe, Tom Barrett, Michael Hayes, Sean McAuliffe, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Carey. Subs – Seamus Dillane, Paddy Dalton, Haulie Moran, John O’ Connor, Danny Barry, Timmy O’ Keeffe, Tom Shine, Timmy Enright.
Trainer : Johnny Walsh – Ballylongford