The thirties were Caherlistrane’s West Board years. Then we played teams like Clifden, Carna and Spiddal, and during matches shouts of “Buail é,” “Maith a’ fear,” etc., often rang out.

Those were the days of the journeys to Oughterard, where most of the West Board fixtures were held. Travel was by lorry, with maybe thirty men—players and supporters – standing in the back. Those lorries left for matches from outside Gannon’s (the Post Office), and supporters would be waiting there from different parts of the parish. The problem was that only about a dozen could be brought with the team. So there was often disappointment, especially for the young hopefuls who heard “No room for grobbers today”.

Getting on a lorry didn’t mean a trouble free trip. Going to the match (or getting home) could be an event in itself. Once going through Galway, and taking the turn too quickly onto Newcastle Road, one side of the lorry was raised off the ground, and the team and supporters narrowly missed being thrown onto the road. On another occasion, this time coming home, they were stopped by guards, and the driver ended up with six summonses.

The thirties were recession years, money was scarce, and there were no G.A.A. funds to supply refreshments after away matches. But then a little pocket money went a long way, and a pint and a large bun could be bought for a shilling. Those who didn’t drink, or who had no money, waited outside or in the back of the lorry, and shared a large loaf of bread. Lack of money didn’t bother one Caherlistrane supporter when their lorry broke down in Galway as they were on the way home. He went over to O‘Flaherty’s garage and hired a bus. This was quickly cancelled, and a cattle lorry hired instead (for a pound) to take the footballers home. At the end of the journey the lorry man collected his pound in shillings and sixpences.

A feature of the game in the thirties, and onto the forties and fifties, was the amount of informal football played. Young men in their ordinary clothes, and with their jackets as “goalposts”, played on many a Sunday and on summer evenings in fields throughout the parish. All you had to do was jump over the the wall and join in. In Bawnmore (beside the Community Centre) play could be disrupted, for the owner sometimes came to clear the “pitch”. But the stoppage was only temporary. The players just sat on the long wall that was then outside Gannon‘s big shed (now gone), and waited till the owner was out of sight before resuming play.

The local team were to meet Carna in a West Board Final, and some time before the game a Caherlistrane “spy” had gone to see the opposition play, an concluded that it would be difficult to beat Carna. So outside players were brought in to help boost the team’s chances. But it was all in vain: the Caherlistrane goalie that day (a great player in his time) had previously retired and had come back to play this game; but his lack of practice showed: and he  let out two rather soft goals. So the team lost, .and then the recriminations started on the way home in the lorry. “Why were illegal players on the team?” “Why didn’t we play our own men?”, and so on. Eventually blows were struck.  Not one of Caherlistrane’s happier days.

The parish players were united again by the midrthirties, and in May 1936 Caherlistrane had their third win over the Galway City team, Eoghan Ruadhs. The game, played in Annaghdown, was “well contested”, with only one point between the teams at half time. In the second half “Caherlistrane s forwards combined well” and scored two goals in quick succession, while the backs held steadfast when Eoghan Ruadhs were “bombarding the Caherlistrane goal” in the closing minutes. The final score was 5-2 to 3—2.

The late thirties brought more victories, with Caherlistrane winning the 1938 West Board League title.

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