THE ST MARY’S STORY ..

(taken from “Saints Alive” St Mary’s A.F.C Golden Julilee Anniversary Book)

St. Mary’s A.F.C hail from the heartland of the northside of Cork City and have been acknowledged by friend and foe as one of the country’s leading soccer clubs.  For nigh on fifty years (now nigh on seventy years)  the club has opened its portals to generations of soccer aspiring youngsters wishing to attain football fame  and who are encouraged through the practical coaching techniques to succeed in their quest to find their football El Dorado.

Over the years this proud, progressive and energetic Club have gained the attention of a wide circle of players, supporters and admirers who have enriched the character and integrity of St. Mary’s A.F.C.

Founded in 1948 as a minor club, St. Mary’s held their first meeting at what was to become the cradle of their birth at 79 Gurranabraher Avenue, the home of Richard O’Connell in July of that year.  At this meeting a committee was elected to manage the affairs of the soccer club who introduced a recruitment drive to build a minor team an seek entry to the MML which followed their application.

Our first committee meeting under the chairmanship of Mr. Richard (Dickio to his many friends) O’Connell consisted of the late Finbarr Edwards as Secretary, Donie Hamilton as Treasurer, and committee members, Timmy O’Donovan, Tim “Pinkio” Murphy and Donie O’Halloran and Jimmy “Dog” O’Connell.  Having succeeded in gathering around them a team of promising minors St. Mary’s were ready to compete for soccer honours.  The first instalment in what was to be the colourful history of St. Mary’s F.C was about to be written.

SEASON 1948-’49

Although there was little to enthuse about the first season there still remained a great sense of spirit and enthusiasm.  The teams excellent performance that year left a deep and lasting impression which gave the committee serious thoughts about starting a junior team.

The following season 1949-’50, the minors were joined by a schoolboys side and a junior eleven both sides joining the Munster Junior League.

During the course of that season the exciting performances of the minor team brought them their first and deserving soccer rewards with a thrilling victory over Clonmel Town in the Munster Minor Cup Final played at Turners Cross.  The famous 2-1 victory was attained through goals scored by Donie Hurley Ilater to find great success with a powerful Wembley Junior Side of the fifties) and  Danny Donovan netting St Mary’s second.

For the record the young saint’s team lined out in their positions as follows:

TOM HERLIHY

PETER DOOLAN (Capt)                                                     PADDY MURPHY

WILLIE FOLEY                JOE HEALY                       DONIE HURLEY

DENIS MCGRATH                                              DAVIE “DAW” LYNCH

MICK McGEE                    PADDY COONEY                   DANNY DONOVAN

The Junior squad (an unknown term in those early years) quickly made their presence felt and were involved in the closing stages of league and cup competitions but failed to make the decisive hurdles.

From accounts to hand there were some thrilling encounters with A.O.H in the F.A.I  Junior Cup qualifying rounds, which included four games before St. Mary’s advanced with a 3-2 Victory. A similar situation arose in the Munster Junior Cup, but again Saints had the final say proving to be the Hall’s Bogey Team.  There were no honours forthcoming this season, only the satisfaction gained of learning through experience.

“THE BRIGHTEST SHINES IN AL THE ROLLS OF FAME” Alexander Pope.

ST MARYS IMPRESSIVE ROLE OF HONOUR

1948-1949

Admitted to the Munster Minor League. A season of adjustment, learning and modification

1949-1950

Winners of the Munster Minor Cup. Outstanding success for St. Mary’s in their second season. A Junior team is formed and joins the Munster Junior League. A schoolboy team is formed.

1950-1951

Newcomers St. Marys make a firm impact on the Munster Junior League scene by winning the MJC, the Tyler Cup and the Munster Junior League undefeated.  Scenes of joy near Shandon – Mikey Dunne is offered a trial by Arsenal and declines.

1951-1952