St Lorcan O’Tooles GAA club won the Dublin junior football league in 1914. The final of the league was played at Ballyboden on Sunday 21 June – one hundred years ago today – and O’Tooles won the match by 2 points. They scored 3 goals and 4 points to Bulfin’s 3 goals and 2 points. My great-grandda, James Byrne, aged forty years, was part of the winning team. This is the medal that he won that year.
Front: Co. Dublin Football League Championship
Back: GAA Junior League 1913-14, Winner St. Lorcan O’Toole’s
The 1914 winning team were named as: James Barrett, Jim ‘Beck’ Byrne, Mick Colgan, Tom Delahunt, Tom Ennis (captain), John Fay, Chris Finlay, William Hampson, Johnny McDonald, Paddy McDonnell, Matt O'Carroll, Frank O'Growney, John O'Neill, Andrew O'Reilly, John O'Rourke and Jack Reilly.1 How on earth did my great-grandda earn the nickname ‘Beck’?
James 'Beck' Byrne, 1914
In early May 1913 (Whit weekend), a contingent of O’Toole’s footballers, hurlers and camogie players took the boat to Liverpool, accompanied by their pipe band. There, the teams played against the Lancashire Gaels at Aintree.2 I wonder if Beck Byrne went too, although, by then he would have been a married man with young six children.
James was one of the founding members of O'Tooles GAA club. When it was up and running, he and some other members went on to establish St Joseph's GAA in Eastwall. He was said to have enjoyed playing football into his fifties.
1 Jimmy Wren, Saint Laurence O'Toole G.A.C., 1901 - 2001: A centenary history, (2001).
2 William Nolan, ed., The Gaelic Athletic Association in Dublin 1884-2000 (3 vols, Dublin, 2005), i, p. 101.
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