August 10, 2007
The late Eamonn Young
Eamonn Young passed to his eternal reward on Friday, August 3rd, 2007. One of the great exponents of gaelic football he was regarded by all and sundry as being equal to if not better than the best that have graced the playing fields of Ireland over the years. We did not have the privilege of seeing him playing at his prime but we were honoured to have been on the same team with him, albeit in the twilight of his illustrious career, when he returned to his home club Dohenys to finish where he had started.
Down through the years many Dunmanway families have figured prominently with the Dohenys club. One of these was undoubtedly the Young family, two generations of them in fact. Jack and Ned made up the first generation. Jack made his debut as a footballer with the club in 1905, won an All_Ireland senior football medal with Cork in 1911 when playing with Nils, but returned to play with Dohenys in the 1920's. He is best remembered by later generations of Dohenys as principal of St. Patricks National school where he organised school leagues and entered teams in school shields competitions. Ned's playing career spanned 25 years, captaining a Dohenys team to a County final back in 1912 and continuing to play both football and hurling into the 1930's. He was President of the Dohenys club for many years up to his death.
Jack's sons, Tom, Jim, Eamonn, Fachtna. Brian, Colman, and Kieran played various grades of football and hurling with the Dohenys, mainly in the 1930's and 1940's, while Ned's sons, Leo, John, and Edda, played leading roles with the club's successes in the 1950's, 60's and 70's.
From a football point of view the most outstanding member of this second generation of Youngs was, without question, Eamonn. Eamonn had great memories of growing up in Dunmanway where football was almost a religion for the local youth and street leagues were fought out with the intensity of an All-Ireland final in the Mallowman's field in Railway Street. The young players had a great pride in the Dohenys instilled in them by their teachr, Jack Young, who constantly reminded them of the achievements of the 'old Dohenys, who fought their way to an All - Ireland final in Jones Road in 1897.
Eamonn played on the Dunmanway school shields team which won the West Cork and went on to win the County in 1933. A favourite story of Eamonn's was about a match played in Connell's field across from the school, now occupied by Sackville Mews. The player Eamonn was marking dared him to stand on his head. Never one to to shirk a challenge Eamonn obliged but while doing so his man got possession and unchallenged scored a goal! He father had some choice words for Eamonn afterwards but a valuable lesson had been learned.
In 1936 and 1938 Dohenys were beaten in Intermediate football finals by great rivals, Bantry. This grade was abolished in 1939 and Dohenys decided to follow the Blues into the senior grade where they were drawn against their old rivals in the first round. This game was played in Drimoleague with Eamonn Young making his debut although he had played junior the previous year. Although still a minor he was picked at midfield, a daunting task against a team which contained players of the calibre of Tim Harrington, Tim cotter and Danny Mc Carthy. Eamonn, however, was equal to the occasion and helped his team to a memorable victory. Eamonn subsequently played most of his football at midfield although he lacked the inches usually associated with midfielders. He compensated for this with his athleticism, strength and determination. Dohenys played Beara in Bantry in the second round with Eamonn being partnered by his brother, Jim, in the middle of the field. Although victorious Dohenys lost the game on an objection with Beara progressing to the County final where they were defeated by 2 points by Clonakilty. Dohenys were left to ponder on what might have been.
Eamonn continued to play senior football with Dohenys until 1943. Having joined the army he then transferred to Collins, the army side, with whom he won county titles in1949, 1951 and 1953. In 1961 he returned to play junior football with Dohenys and playing at corner forward his free- taking was an important factor in the club winning the County in 1966. He also donned the Carbery jersey during this time.
Eamonn won his first inter-county football medal in 1939 when he was a member of the Cork minor football team which won the Munster title. In 1940 he won another Munster medal, this time with the Cork junior footballers and was also selected on the senior football team. In 1941 he was picked to play with the Munster footballers. For the next dozen years or so he was a regular on both teams winning an All-Ireland medal in 1945 and a National Football league medal in 1952 as well as winning Railway Cup medals in 1941, 1946 and 1949.
Although best known for his football achievements Eamonn was no mean performer with a hurley. He went to school in St. Augustines in Dungarvan and there won an All-Ireland Colleges title in 1938. This won him a place on the Cork minor hurling team which won the All-Ireland title. Eamonn was on the team again the following year when the title was again won. He also won a N.H.L. medal with Cork in 1940 as well as a County medal with the Glen with whom he played his club hurling. However, with his brother Jim already assisting the Cork hurlers to many victories Eamonn, perhaps, felt that the Cork footballers needed his talents more than the hurlers and he decided to concentrate on the big ball game!
Eamonn had many other talents besides his playing ability. He was trainer of the Cork senior football team in 1956 when the National league was won. He was a selector in 1966 when the Munster title was won and also served with Billy Morgan in the !990's.Under the pen name 'Rambler' he wrote a weekly column for the Evening Echo and the Cork Examiner as well as for G.A.A. magazines like Gaelic Sport. In these he was not reluctant to express views which might not be popular. He fell foul of the Cork County Board for writing his life story for the News of the World. Was it because it was a foreign newspaper or because he might have made a few shillings out of it? He was also a well-known squash player.
In 1962 Eamonn, although in his early 40's, was prevailed on by Doheny selectors Liam Grainger, Jack Casserly, Michael Byrne and Tim Hurley to come out of retirement. The West Cork junior football title was won that year. Eamonn was missing the following year when the lack of a freetaker, Tony Crean had left the club, cost them dearly and the West Cork final was lost to Skibbereen in Bantry by a point. !964 was the year of the famous or infamous, depending on which way you look at it, Ned Roche case which began with a Skibbereen objection to Dohenys but quickly mushroomed to capture the attention of G.A.A. followers the length and breadth of Ireland. More about this, perhaps, at a later date. 1965 and '66 were great years for the club as the county junior football final was reached and lost in '65 and won in '66. Eamonn Young, playing at cornerforward, was top scorer during these years. He was an expert at 'engineering' frees which he rarely missed. Dohenys victory over Grange in 1966 in a replayed final, on December 11th, marked the end of the road for 46 year old Youngey. A long and distinguished career had brought him many honours over the years but he readily admitted afterwards that the one that he cherished most was the County Junior football medal that he won in 1966 with his home club, Dohenys.
Ar dheis De go raibh a anam.
Courtesy of Doheny GAA club August 2007
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