Campbell, Micheal

Popular Drumbaragh native Micheál Campbell was one of the most familiar faces on both the Meath club and inter county scene for decades. Micheál or Mick first hit the headlines as a skilful, ball playing midfielder on the fine Drumbaragh team of the 1950's. 

With Micheál at midfield or full forward and his late brother Harry manning the centre half back spot, the Kells parish outfit made it all the way to the senior championship final of 1960. Unfortunately for the Emmets, the all conquering Navan O Mahonys team of that era proved stronger on the day, but not without one mighty battle from the Emmets. In 1963, Drumbaragh along with another parish side Kilmainham joined up with Kells to form Colmcille Gaels. 

The Gaels with a strong Drumbaragh contingent, including the Campbell brothers and with Micheál's neighbour and future county chairman Fintan Ginnity very active in an official capacity behind the scenes, claimed the Keegan Cup for the first time in 1966. Kilbride were beaten after a replay. Their outstanding player that day was one Micheál Campbell who, wearing the number 14 jersey, shot some outstanding points in what was a very physical encounter. 

Later it emerged that Micheál had suffered a number of broken ribs but refused to come off. The Kells men captured a second Keegan Cup in 1968. Micheál Campbell turned his hand to team management in the later part of the sixties and his exploits with the fine Ballinlough team from this time brought his credentials to the eyes of the county board. 

Subsequently he was appointed coach of the Meath senior team for the 1970 championship. The era of the team manager was not yet born but Micheál was in charge of this exciting side, a mixture of veterans from the 1964 to 67 campaigns and some emerging talent like Ken Rennicks, Vincent Lynch and Mickey Fay. 

Meath after a pulsating and record scoring clash with Offaly regained the Leinster crown, beat old rivals Galway in the semi-final and only lost out to two in a row seeking Kerry in the final stages of the first eighty minutes All-Ireland decider. 

The Drumbaragh club reformed and entered the junior championship of 1974.

And as could be expected one of the driving forces behind this revival was Micheál. His coaching, training, advice and leadership proved invaluable. Something like that of another late great, Peter McDermott, 

Micheál Campbell enjoyed a remarkable GAA career. Included in a long list of achievements were the winning of a Leinster junior medal in 1958 and training the Meath minors to a provincial crown in 1972.

Micheál even crossed the border into Westmeath and managed the St Paul's intermediate footballers and sister club Brownstown senior hurlers in the early eighties. Despite being a noted 'football man', Micheál guided Brownstown to the 1981 SHC title when they defeated Raharney in the decider to claim what was then their ninth title.  He was still in charge a year later when they reached yet another SHC final, but on this occasion, Castletown-Geoghegan were triumphant. 

He was also a noted referee and amongst a list of big matches took charge of the Meath senior final between old rivals Kilbride and Skryne in 1971. 

Respected and very approachable, Micheál Campbell would have celebrated his 86th birthday last May. Sadly his wife Jean passed away in July of this year. Jean was a member of the O Reilly family from Kilskyre and all of her brothers donned the Ballinlough jersey at some stage or other.

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