Castleisland in Sport

Michael O’Donohoe was a keen sportsman. In the 1950s,  during his college years,  he played football for Erin’s Hope (the St Patrick’s Training College team). Later he participated in local and county sports, playing for Castleisland Desmonds and the Kerry football team.1


Michael was just as keen a spectator, as evidenced by a quantity of sports related material in the collection about basketball, pitch & putt, soccer (including the 1986.World Cup in Mexico) and cricket.


Michael O’Donohoe contributed a number of articles to the Castleisland basketball club programmes.  Their annual blitz is now something of an institution


pitch and putt
Page from the Rules Book, The Castleisland Pitch & Putt and Sports Club. The club opened in May 1966 on a site donated by Rhyno Mills. President at that time was Mr D D Twomey


The material, dating mainly to the 1980s and 1990s, includes results cards, regulations, programmes and yearbooks. There is a particular focus on rugby.


rugby results 1991-1992
Illustration of Michael’s rugby results cards

rugby results card 1990-1995


Castleisland Rugby Club


Castleisland Rugby Club was established in 1926.  In March of that year, Tralee travelled to Castleisland to meet a team ‘picked from the surrounding district by Mr E Galwey-Foley’.  The Castleisland team named at that time was as follows:


Full, Stokes; three-quarters, McCarthy, Kelliher, Kidd and Brosnan; halves, Reid and O’Connor; forwards, Hannon, Corkery, Curtin, Anderson, Lynch, Cornelius, Clarke and Shanahan.2


rugby world cup ticket


Castleisland and Killorglin Rugby Clubs numbered among those who offered condolence to the relatives of James J Corcoran, founder of the Killarney Rugby Club and his team mate, Maurice J Fitzgerald, great grandson of the Liberator, who both died in a motor car accident at Brennan’s Glen in 1929.3


Cricket playing in Castleisland


Cricket finds an older footing in Castleisland.  In 1883, a ‘very interesting game’ took place:


On Saturday a very interesting game of cricket was played between the constabulary stationed in Castleisland and a detachment of the 37th Regiment, on the grounds adjoining the military barracks at Castleisland.  The match terminated in a victory by 11 runs for the Royal Irish Constabulary, a result mainly due to the splendid cricketing of the brothers, John and Constable Robert Sealy and Sub-Inspector Taylor.4


Lieutenant de Winton (for the military) was also praised for his cricketing.  The lieutenant was Charles de Winton, later Brigadier General, who had enrolled in the 37th regiment in 1880.5


Another de Winton cricket association worth noting is that of Lady Gregory’s granddaughter, Augusta Anne de Winton, author of Me and Nu (1970) whose father Robert Gregory played cricket for Ireland.6


Augusta’s husband, Brigadier Robert de Winton, was assassinated in 1947.7



1 Michael also played billiards, bridge and snooker. The Master's Legacy, a short film about Michael's life and the history of the Michael O'Donohoe Memorial Heritage Project can be viewed on the project website.  The film was produced by John and Michael Reidy in 2015.
2 Report in Kerryman, 6 March 1926.  The Tralee team were named as M Walsh, Conway, Aherne, Fitzgerald, Ryle, Walsh, Revington, T Healy, Downing, Talbot, Davis, Mulcahy, Hobbs, Savage and F Slattery.  The Tralee club had been revived at a meeting in Benner's Hotel, Tralee in February.  Officers elected were President, M F Morris, Committee: Messrs R N McClure, W A McClure, R D F Johnson, D J, M Aherne, Thos Slattery, Chas Downing, sol, W Smith and E Talbot. Captain Robt Walsh, vice ct T Ryle, hon sec and treasurer E T Fitzgerald, address 3 Basin View, Tralee (Kerryman, 13 February 1926).  An image of the Castleisland Rugby Football team who defeated Tralee in the McElligott Cup final in 1931 named team members P O'Connor, D O'Sullivan, Joe O'Connor, P Twomey, M Hussey, G McNeice, J Corkerry, T Prendiville, J O'Connor, E Carmody, W Dennehy (cpt), E Shanahan. Secretary M J O'Sullivan,  Assistant Secretary R Walsh and Treasurer M J K O'Connor (Cork Examiner, 15 April 1931).
3 Report of accident in Kerryman, 30 November 1929.  A poem to Maurice Fitzgerald of Kinneigh by Wm M O'Brien, Killorglin was published in the Kerryman, 7 December 1929.
4 Kerry Evening Post, 9 June 1883.
5 Charles de Winton (1860-1943) sixth son of Venerable Henry de Winton, Archdeacon of Brecon, of the de Winton family of Wallsworth Hall. Other team players praised were Clements and Bishop.
6 Augusta Anne (1911-2008) granddaughter of William Henry Gregory (1816-1892) and Isabella Augusta Persse, 'Lady Gregory' (1852-1932). Me and Nu describes the childhood experiences of Augusta Anne and her siblings, Catherine Frances (1913-2000; married name Kennedy) and Richard Graham (1909-1981).  Their cricket playing father, Robert Gregory (1881-1918) who died during the First World War, was the subject of a number of poems by W B Yeats including An Irish Airman foresees his Death. Sam McCready's Coole Lady (2005) a play drawn on the letters and journals of Lady Gregory, was translated into Korean by academic, Dr Imsoo Ahn in 2007.  It was the ambition of Dr Ahn, who was employed in the English department of Kwandong University, Kangnung, to introduce Lady Gregory and her literary circle to an Eastern audience. Dr Ahn planned to translate the works of Lady Gregory but her untimely death in 2010 prevented this (further reference The Obituary Book (2013)).
7 Brigadier Robert William Michael de Winton (1908-1947), Commander of the 13th Infantry Brigade, was shot three times in the back on 10 February 1947 during a HQ guard inspection at Pula (Croatia) by 34-year old Maria Pasquinelli.  He left a widow and infant son, William, born on 30 November 1946, who travelled from Australia to Ireland in September 2004 to open the Autumn Gathering at Coole Park. Brigadier de Winton was the eldest son of zoologist William Edward de Winton (1856-1922) of Southover Hall, Burwash (who was the first to discover that the black rat was the carrier of the bubonic plague) and his wife, Sibyl Laura Edwardes (1871-1955). William Edward was the son of Captain Robert Henry de Winton (1820-1904) of Hereford House, Clifton. Robert's siblings included Herbert William de Winton (1816-1880) of Windsor-ville Clifton and Charlotte Augusta (who died in 1901), children of Cann de Winton (Wilkins) (1780-1852) of  Royal York Crescent, Clifton and Manor House, St George (Easton-in-Gordano), Somersetshire and his wife Mary, daughter of Thomas Evans of Bultloyd, Co Glamorgan (Mary died at Clevedon in 1840 aged 54. She was first married to William Williams Esq, with whom she had two children, William Evans Williams (1806-1870) of pwll-y-pant, Caerphilly and Mary Ann, who married in 1865 William Henry Gore-Langton (1802-1875), MP for Bristol).