Heroes of 1951 to mark 70th anniversary of All-Ireland minor football success

Today (Thursday, December 16th) marks the 70th anniversary of Roscommon’s All-Ireland Minor Football Championship win of 1951 and a number of former players will meet at The Abbey Hotel this afternoon in order to mark the occasion.

Trained by All-Ireland winner and future Olympian, Sergeant Bill Jackson and captained by Barry Molloy, Roscommon overcame Armagh on a scoreline of 2-7 to 1-5 in Croke Park on this day in 1951 to capture the All-Ireland title.

This was the culmination of a long, drawn-out campaign which had started all the way back on July 8th of that year with a comprehensive 3-5 to 0-2 win over Sligo at St. Coman’s Park in the Connacht semi-final.

Controversy surrounded the Connacht final just one week later as Galway beat the Rossies in the initial fixture only for the result to be overturned due to the Tribesmen fielding an overage player in the form of Mountbellew Agricultural College student, Bobby Buckley from Kerry.

  Roscommon were eventually declared provincial champions and they took their place in the All-Ireland semi-final against Louth. That match, at the CBS pitch in Roscommon on November 25th, saw the Rossies running out 2-5 to 1-3 winners.

The final itself was played in warm conditions, in front of a small crowd at Croke Park and, according to reports; the Roscommon team was well worth their subsequent victory.

Speaking to the Roscommon People this week, Barry Molloy said the team celebrated in fine style by “going to the pictures” in Dublin, before returning home to a hero’s welcome in Knockcroghery and CBS Roscommon. They concluded their celebrations that evening with a meal in The Royal Hotel.

“I have great memories of captaining that team,” Mr. Molloy said.

“There were a really wonderful bunch of lads, great teammates and friends, and it was an honour for me to be their captain and now to be able to relive it all after 70 years.

  “I’ve often wondered if there is anyone else around who remembers going to the final or to those games back in 1951. It would be lovely if people were to get in touch with their own memories or indeed to say hello to us if they see us in The Abbey today,” he added.

Today (Thursday), 70 years on from that famous All-Ireland victory, Barry Molloy and his teammates including Harry Connolly (Castlerea), Michael Kelly (Newtowncashel), Micheál Shivnan (Cootehall), Frank McKevitt (Thurles), and Fr. Dominic Gillooly (Sligo), will meet at The Abbey Hotel in Roscommon at 1 pm to share memories of a long but ultimately successful campaign.