SEAN TREACY’S LONDON AND
THE DOON CONNECTION
AS THE CLUB CELEBRATES ITS 50th YEAR OF ITS EXISTENCE
On the 28th of January 1954, Pakie Hourigan and myself set out on an adventure of hope to seek employment in London, and as our long journey progressed by rail and sea we had time to reflect on what we were leaving behind and what the future may lay in store for us.
And I suppose one of our concerns was how much we would both miss our favourite sport, the game of hurling. This applied more so to Pakie as he was already recognised as a member of the Limerick Senior hurling panel.
On our first weekend in London, on the Saturday morning we both got fixed up with jobs for the following Monday morning, so we decided to go out socialising that evening which took us to the Shamrock Dance Hall at Elephant & Castle, quite close to our new accommodation at Clapham Common, and after being a short time in the hall, we were approached by two members of the Brian Boru GAA Club, Danny O’Brien from Murroe and Tom Hayes from Kilmallock. They invited us to join their Club, and as we had prior information of The Brian’s being one of the top clubs in London we had no hesitation in joining up.
We gave four happy and enjoyable years with the club and during that period Pakie Hourigan won a senior hurling championship medal in 1955.
The Brian’s Club was based in North London and their training grounds at Blackheath, so it was a long journey across London two evenings a week for training. We would also have a puck about week-ends on Clapham Common and the numbers were increasing all the time. So by the end of 1957 we decided we would form a new club in South London, a meeting was arranged for the last Sunday in October at our flat at Balham. Fourteen people attended, so officers and committee were elected to pursue the formation of the club.
The officers elected were as follows:- First Chairman Paddy O’Brien from
Blackboy, Secretary - Sean O’Donnell RIP Kilteely, Assistant Secretary -
Paddy Quinlan Blackboy, Treasurer - Con McGrath Blackboy, Committee:Pakie Hourigan, Jimmy Hourigan and Paddy Crowe all ex members of
Blackboy Athletic Club, and Mick Maunsell Garryspillane.
First business was to find a name for the new club. The name chosen was Sean Treacy’s which was Pakie Hourigan’s idea, as he remembered his father mention that Sean Treacy stayed over at their home at the Blackboy during the troubles,
The Club was affiliated and registered with the London Co. Board, and competed for the first time in 1958 as a Junior Hurling Team, which reached the final of the Championship, captained by Pakie Hourigan, only to be beaten by the narrowest of margins by Bros Pearce Club.
Pakie Hourigan was a regular on the London County Team from 1955 to 1962, and won an All-Ireland Junior Championship medal in 1960, when London beat Carlow in the final.
In 1961 the Treacy’s reached another Junior Championship final, and were unlucky to lose out to a strong Tara GAA team. Doon players who contested that final were, Pakie and Jimmy Hourigan, TP Anderson RIP and Jamsie Butler.
Emmigration was now rife at this period, with lots of good hurlers coming over, and Sean Treacy’s as a Junior Club, wasn’t attracting many of those, so the club decided to move up a grade to intermediate and an influx of new players joined the club. So in 1962 the club won its first trophies, the Intermediate Championship and Collins Cup, its first year of inauguration, those victories also gained the club senior status. Doon men who featured on winning team were Pakie and Jimmy Hourigan and Mixie O’Brien, and in 1963 Mixie O’Brien was picked for the London County Team at Corner Back, and London went on to beat Antrim in the Junior All-Ireland Championship Final.
In 1965 the club decided to have its first tour home and played matches in Waterford, Dunhill and Ballyduff, Turloghmore Galway, Garryspillane and Doon in Limerick. The Doon game ended in a draw.
After a very successful tour the club on its return to London reached the final of the Senior League which ended in a draw versus Brian Boru. In the replay the Treacy’s had a comfortable win by six points.
Half the players that played on that victorious team were from Doon as follows: Peter Ryan ‘Bawn’, Con O’Connell, Pakie and Jimmy Hourigan, Mossy and Mikie Dunne and Michael Anderson RIP.
It was the club’s first Senior Title so the celebrations were something special. Jimmy Ryan gave a spell with the club in the late Sixties.
The next major milestone in the club’s history came in 1970, when the Sean Treacy’s won the intermediate double in hurling, League and Championship, captained by Mick Maunsell. Mossy Dunne and Pakie Hourigan also featured on this winning team. Also eight of those dual players went on to capture the Senior Football Championship title, along with all the other domestic football trophies. Five of those went on to win All Ireland Junior Football medals with London, when London beat Kildare 1-12 to 0-11 points in 1970 and Dublin by 1-9 to 0-9 points in 1971, to make this period one to remember in a very special way.
In 1987 Jimmy McGrath joined the ranks and won two senior medals, Collins Cup and Ryan Cup. Bernard Crowe also had a spell with club and won two Senior League medals in 1999 and 2000. The club also reached the Senior Championship Final in 2000 only to be beaten by one point by Fr. Murphy’s. Bernard also played with the London County Team in the Ulster Senior Championship only to be beaten by Antrim.
The club began their 50th year celebrations by playing Doon in Doon on the 3rd May this year. Many thanks to the Doon GAA Club for the hospitality and welcome shown to us that evening, as many of the 1965 team met to reminisce on that great period in the early sixties in London and the Doon connection.
The majority of the founder members have now returned to retire in Ireland. Paddy O’Brien now resides in Leenane in Galway, and Michael Maunsell to Craughwell Galway. Pakie Hourigan and Mossy Dunne returned in 2002. Pakie now resides with his wife Mary in Cappamore and Mossy Dunne at Doon. I returned home to Doon in June 2005 and after forty seven years involvement with the club, thirty three of that as Secretary, I brought back many great memories of this one of the most colourful and successful clubs in London of the past fifty years; winning five London Senior Hurling Championships, and five Club Championships of Britain. The first title in Centenary Year 1984, 1991, 1993, 1994 and 2002; the club made a bit of history in 2002 by winning County Senior and Minor Titles the one day.
Three of the founder members still reside in London; Paddy Quinlan, Paddy Crowe and Jimmy Hourigan. Paddy Crowe is the Proprietor of the Ramble Inn Pub, Tooting, Broadway South London, which is also the Head Quarters of Sean Treacy’s Club. And as the club continues to celebrate its fiftieth year of existence, I wish them many more years of involvement and participation in the London GAA scene. I would also like to take this opportunity to wish the Doon GAA Club a very successful 2009.
Treacy's Team of 1958
The Sean Treacy’s team that competed for the first time in London
competitions in 1958; Back row, from left: Con McGrath (Limerick), Thomas
Dermody (Kilkenny), P.J. Tobin (Clare), Eddie Hayes (Waterford), Martin
Carberry (Waterford), James Hourigan (Limerick), John O’Shea (Waterford),
Frank Finneity (Cork).
Front row: Paddy Hourigan (Limerick), Michael Leahy (Tipperary), Sean
Treacy (Westmeath), Denis Leonard (Limerick), John Connolly (Galway),
Michael Maunsell (Limerick), Thomas Gleeson (Kilkenny).
Photo taken on the 3rd May this year at Doon, when Sean Treacy’s played Doon as
part of their 50th Year Celebrations.
Left to right: Mossy Dunne, Con McGrath, Pakie Hourigan, Michael Walsh, Peter Ryan
(B), Dan Holmes, Mixie O’Brien, Mikie Dunne and Jack Mackey.