Friday, November 19, 2021

Soccer Clubs in Athy

The game of soccer in Athy has a history dating back to the mid 1920s. The first club, known as ‘The Barrow Rovers’, was started by men working on the Barrow Drainage Scheme which had its headquarters in Athy. The club apparently went into immediate decline with the ending of work on the Barrow drainage. Three years after the ending of World War II Athy Soccer Club was revived. Matt Tynan of the Leinster Arms Hotel is credited with bringing together the men who would guide the club over the next 12 years. It was during the second coming of Athy’s Soccer Club that the club obtained use of the former hockey club pitch which is still in use by the Soccer Club. In the summer of 1952 the Soccer Club organised its first street league which attracted teams representing Barrack Street, Pairc Bhride, Leinster Street and St. Joseph’s Terrace. The street league created a lot of interest and attracted a large number of spectators to the final between Barrack Street and Pairc Bhride, which the former won. At the end of the 1959/’60 season Athy Soccer Club for the second time went into terminal decline. For the next 4 years the club was inactive. A public meeting was called for the Town Hall on 3rd December 1964, following which Athy Soccer Club was organised for the third time in forty years. Brendan O’Flaherty was elected chairman, with Denis Smyth as secretary and Mick McEvoy as treasurer. Committee members elected included Jim Dargan, Ernie Henderson, Mick Godfrey, Brian O’Hara, Mick Aldridge, Mick Eaton and Paddy Chanders. The club revived in December 1964 continues to enjoy much success and has in excess of 300 members. It caters for male and female players from senior level to youth teams. The two photographs accompanying this Eye are of soccer teams, one of which is definitely an Athy Soccer Club team. It features Jim Dargan as the non team member standing at the back on the right. The famous Golly Germaine is the goalie in the centre back row. Can readers give me the names of the other players and the year of the photo? The second photograph has Bob Kelly of Geraldine Road standing on the right at the back. His presence suggests it’s an Athy team photo. Can any reader help me identify the team and its members?