Happy Days

by John B. Keane

To Beat Moyvane by a single point you had to be four points a better team. That is the estimation by friend and foe alike of this remarkable parish.

Always tough and resilient, they were precision footballers with great artistry and a style all of their own, great men to play to the last gasp and never, never intimidated.

I could always tell a Moyvane man by the way he jumped for a ball. There was the full-bodies lunge, chest extended, hands wide, ready to fasten like a vice and full commitment to the job in hand.

That’s a Moyvane man when his blood is up and the chips are down. They are their most lethal when unfancied.

Thirteen senior All-Ireland football medals, Con Brosnan, six; Jack Flavin, two (one for Galway); Jim Brosnan, two (injury cost him another); Tommy Mahony, Mick Brosnan and Johnny Mulvihill, one each.

There should be more. No one deserved one more than Bernie Callaghan, but he holds a National League medal. In fact he pulled that particular game against Down out of the fire.

Joe Sheehy also deserves better and he too holds a well-earned League medal. There are numerous holders of Junior and Minor All-Ireland medals as well.

For me, Moyvane is a place of happy, happy memories and I remember many different football fields, Brosnan’s, O’Connor’s and Bill Stephen’s (Stack’s) where the lovely leafy Annamoy stream flows behind the goalposts farthest from the village. Many’s the ball was carrier in high water and here too were sunk the high hopes of all too many a visiting team.

I was often sore in Moyvane when the whistle was blown but not for long because there was always the get-together in Brosnan’s after the game with Willie Finucane reciting his latest composition about the Moyvane ladies’ football team or it could have been the famous Public House Raid In Knockanure or even a freshly-made ballad about the game just ended.

I remember singing duets with Eileen whilst Cormac O’Leary conducted the massed choirs of footballers and followers with true artistic abandon.

Our repertoires, although not vast, were comprehensive, Tom Moore (Moyvane antecedents) to Thade Gowran of the Yorkshire Pigs, Stephen Foster to Bill Taylor and his Road to Athea, Robbie Burns to Paddy Drury and his Barns by the Gale.

Then, of course, there would be Con’s favourite Lily of Laguna, the anthem of the premises in those halcyon days. As my late and great friend Jack Faulkner might say: “I always brought more out of Moyvane than I brought into it.”