Collection of Poems

The Clare Hunter
Cork Have Been Bet
John Doyle- A Tribute

The Clare Hurler

Oh, Pat Mc Namara from outside Clonlara
A hurler of promise and sweet I declare.
His thoughts they were jaunty – he’d hurl for the county,
He was strong as a horse and as swift as a hare.
His studies neglected, he hopes he’s selected
But his mother is crying and tearing her hair.
Oh, where is my Paddy? Oh, where is the laddie?
He’s out in the haggard a training for Clare.

He hurled as a minor and no one hurled finer,
For club and for college his play was a dream.
And now turned twenty, with hurling a plenty,
He hopes to get on to the Clare Senior team.
But the fences are falling, and the cattle are bawling,
The root crops are rotten and the barn is bare;
Pigs with hunger are squealing but with hurley he’s stealing,
To go to the haggard a training for Clare.

For ten years or more he got many a score
‘Gainst Tipperary and Limerick, Kilkenny and Cork.
And his prowess was noted, he was one of those voted
To go with the All-Stars across to New York.
And all through these years, his poor parents in tears
Not a sign of romance could be found anywhere.
They asked the man of the team – did he rightly deem
For the rest of his life would Pat hurl for Clare.

Now Sue Ellen O’Dea from the town of Kilkee
Was the girl chosen to make him a wife,
And I’d like to mention it was the intention –
To take the hurling right out of his life.
But the night of the wedding when due for a bedding
Not a trace of hime could be found anywhere
When in the carpark they found him, they all gathered round him
Watch him tidy his strokes for the next match with Clare.

Now let it be said they’re many years wed
And they have five sons from twenty to ten
Sue Ellen like a Turk on the farm is at work
Without getting a great deal of help from the men.
But she may stop her scolding and her tongue be holding
For all that they notice or all that they care.
For with Pat doing the teaching, for their hurleys they’re reaching
To go out to the haggard a training for Clare.



Tis half an hour before the start, we are waiting patiently
From North and South and East and West the Semis for to see
And in among the gathered crowd four men they wait as well
And each would have his own particular story for to tell

My name is Padraic Kelly and I’m getting on in years
And I’ve followed Galway hurling with heartbreak and with tears
O’er a span of fifty seasons, and I can call to mind
Great Galway teams that ended just a point or two behind
And I waited till the eighties to see the dreams come true
And in the spell of those ten years some wondrous times I knew
I’ll see another victory for the men who wear maroon.

They call me Paddy Kelly from the fields around Killane
And I waited for the fifties as a boy and growing man,
And then bold Wexford hit the scene and set the hills alight
And victory was ours at last in the great All-Ireland fight.
Then once in ’68 we won and then the famine years,
And I waited since through tough defeats to hear the Wexford cheers.
‘Tis a different kind of waiting now and there’s hunger in my soul
To see another victory for the Purple and the Gold

I’m known as Paudie Kelly, three miles from Patrickswell
And like the man before me, I’ve a similar tale to tell.
For three and thirty summers I’ve waited for to see
The Limerick Laurels raised on high by Grimes and company
Then the waiting game again came back for twenty years or more
And I waited six short minutes in nineteen ninety four
“Unfinished business” is the cry of Cary and his team
And two more games of hurling could fulfil the winning dream.

‘Tis Patsy Kelly speaking from the glens around Glenarm
And I can tell you other three that waiting is no harm.
For my kindred all before me and myself and all my kin
Have waited for a hundred years to see an Antrim win.
And only twice in all that span – ’43 and ’89
Were Antrim there on Final Day and each time defeat was mine.
But we are good at waiting – it’s the patience of the heart,
If we have to wait forever we’ll year by year take part.

And the rest of Ireland waited to see what would betide
As the clash of ash was heard so sweet along the Liffeyside.

(printed in All-Ireland semi-final program 1996)

Cork Have Been Bet

Cork have been bet – they can’t credit it yet,
Their crown they have given ‘oer
It’s in Garryowen where we’ll make it our own
We may not give it back anymore.
They were found in a fix, hwen going for the six
Last Sunday in old Thurles town
And now we can call – whose on the ball?
Do you want your ould lobby washed down?

Do you want your ould lobby washed down, me boys
Do you want your ould lobby washed down?
At hurling just try us – we ups and replies
Do you want your ould lobby washed down?

We’ll never more dread the men togged in red
Now Limerick emerge to be seen
From this victory, it’s now Cork that will be
From now on in awe of the green
Our full measure of tears for the past forty years
In great celebrations we’ll drown
When we meet any county, we’ll say with great bounty
Do you want your ould lobby washed down?

We hurled on the ground and the glories will sound
From Askeaton in to Monaleen
And we hurled in the air as songs will declare
From Old Frum to Fair Ballasgreen
We hurled up the middle and with bow and fiddle
They’ll sing it around Ballybrown
And we hurled on the wings and all Limerick sings
Do you want your ould lobby washed down?

The Pope was in Rome and that day stayed at home
Listening in with Father McGee
And when it did end he sideways did bend
Saying that a great victory
And I well remember, when there last September
As the copter was leaving the ground
I know by the cries that came up to the skies
That the’d was some big lobbies down.

(written July 1980, the day after Limerick beat Cork)

John Doyle – A Tribute

When I was young, oh John Doyle said
I had a hurley near my bed.
Under my pillow it I kept
And I gripped the handle while I slept.
And I had many wondrous dreams
Of Tipperary hurling teams,
Repulsing Leeside’s Red attacks,
And I was there among the backs.

In Holy cross the ball we hit
Northwards towards the Devil’s Bit
It seemed the striking was to show
‘Hell’s Kitchen’ I was yet to know –
That’s the goalmouth square at Limerick’s ground
- No quarter asked for: none is found
‘gainst Galway, Limerick, Cork or Clare,
Our Backs held out and I was there.

From forty nine to sixty five
We kept the hurling scene alive.
And eight times in those sixteen years
We heard Tipperary’s victory cheers.
And each time as the hats were doffed
The McCarthy cup was held aloft
By Stakelum, Kenny, Finn and Wall
And I was there beside them all.

I’ve shook the hands of forwards good
Like Langton, Barry and Tim Flood
And then I shook their nimble frames
In fast and furious hurling games.
And a balding Cork man from the Glen,
Who was the prince of hurling men
Said he got a ball outside the square
But the goal was lost – John Doyle was there.

In Stapletons in Borrisoleigh
An ageing man he said to me
“Your eight All-Irelands I have seen
And at your losing games I’ve been.
And I have watched your hurling thrive
From Forty Nine to Sixty Five,
And upon my soul I do declare
John Doyle and I – we both were there.”