Men who starred for Dublin hurlers
March 31, 2005
In the early years of the GAA, Dublin was one of the most successful hurling counties, thanks in no small part to the contribution of players who had moved to the capital in search of work from other parts of the country. Two of Dublin's most prominent hurlers in the 1930s and 1940s were Westmeath men, Colm Boland from Horseleap and Raharney's Frank White.
When Bally-keeran wom-an Martina Farrell captained Dublin in each of the last two All-Ireland ladies football finals, she wasn't the first Westmeath native to skipper the Dubs in a national decider.
Sixty three years ago, Raharney's Frank White captained Dublin in the All-Ireland hurling final against Cork. He was following in the footsteps of another Westmeath man, Colm Boland from Horseleap, who was captain of the Dublin team beaten by Limerick after a replay in the 1934 final.
Boland, who passed away in 1995, was born in Rosemount, but along with his sister Agetha (also deceased), was reared by his uncle and aunt - Larry and Peggy Scally - at Spittalstown, situated on the Streamstown side of Horseleap. He attended Horseleap National School and some years later, commenced his studies at UCD where he qualified as a school teacher.
From an early age, Colm took a keen interest in both hurling and football and was to become an accomplished performer in both codes. He played much of his club hurling and football in the capital, and won senior championship medals in both codes with UCD. He also represented the Geraldines and Erins Hope clubs.
Colm first came to national prominence in 1934 when he captained the Metropolitans in the All-Ireland hurling final against a Mick Mackey-inspired Limerick. He lined out at right corner forward in the drawn game but was absent for the replay defeat. At about this time, he was also a regular on the Dublin football team.
Colm had transferred back to his native county for the All-Ireland junior hurling triumph of 1936. He lined out at left corner forward throughout much of the campaign and was one of Westmeath's most prolific scorers. In the All-Ireland final, he is remembered for scoring the point which preceded Tom McGrath's late winning goal.
Boland was one of 12 players from the all-conquering '36 team to feature in the following year's senior side which suffered an unlucky defeat to Kilkenny in the Leinster final at Portlaoise. Not only did Colm have to endure the disappointment of defeat - he also sustained a very serious head injury which threatened to end his career.
A number of weeks later, Ardnurcher - a newly former club based in Horseleap - met Castlepollard in the county senior hurling final, but Colm's injury put paid to his participation in the game. One man who did line out for Ardnurcher in the final, however, was Eamonn O'Boyle, who was to play for Dublin in the 1941 All-Ireland decider. Ardnurcher lost the '37 final and not long afterwards, the club was forced to disband owing to objections over so-called illegal players from the Offaly side of Horseleap.
In 1938, Colm was selected to play for Leinster and was introduced as a substitute during the Railway Cup final defeat to Munster. He returned to the Dublin club scene some time later where he played out the remainder of his career.
Boland worked as a school inspector before his retirement and a spent a number of years living in both Athlone and Westport. He died at his home in Blackrock, Co. Dublin and was laid to rest at Deansgrange Cemetery.
Frank White, who died in 1984, was arguably the finest hurler ever to emerge from Raharney. White played alongside Boland in the 1936 All-Ireland junior final and in the following year's Leinster senior final against Kilkenny before transferring his allegiances to Dublin.
He also played in no fewer than five Railway Cup finals with Leinster, but only finished on the winning side once.
Hailing from a renowned hurling family in Raharney (his brothers Mattie, Nick and Jim were also accomplished stickmen), Frank moved to Dublin at an early age to pursue a career in butchering. He immediately became involved with Young Irelands, a club which comprised mainly of players from country backgrounds. It wasn't long before he established himself as one of the top hurlers on the Dublin club scene and he went on to win a number of senior championship medals with his adopted club.
Despite living in the capital, Frank played his inter-county hurling with Westmeath until 1940. Playing at centre back, he was an inspirational figure in the 1936 junior success and actually got on the scoresheet in All-Ireland final win over Waterford.
As a Dublin player, White's reputation grew considerably. He played at centre field in the 1941 All-Ireland final defeat to Cork and was in direct opposition to former Taoiseach, the late Jack Lynch.
Dublin returned to the All-Ireland decider in 1942 but once again, Cork proved too strong. Frank, who captained the side, played at centre back and was given the task of marking Sean Condon.
Two years later, Dublin and Cork renewed acquaint-ances for a third time in the showpiece game, but once again the outcome was the same with the Leesiders winning comfortably. It was to be White's last All-Ireland final appearance - that much sought-after All-Ireland senior medal proving elusive.
Frank was still playing his inter-county hurling with Westmeath when he lined out at left corner forward on the Leinster team that lost the Railway Cup final of 1939. He was introduced as a substitute in the following year's Railway Cup final and lined out at centre back in the 1941 victory over Munster. Frank also played in the Railway Cup finals of 1942 and '43, filling the right half back position on both occasions.
After his retirement from hurling, Frank ran his own butcher shop in Baldoyle and lived in Howth. He remained a great supporter of Raharney and Westmeath until his death at the age of 71. He is buried in St. Fintan's Cemetery in Sutton.
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