History

Barryroe GAA Club was founded in 1892. Unfortunately, its founding members are unknown. The oldest report on record is a Southern Star report from that year detailing a football match between Barryroe and Clonakilty in a Timoleague tournament. That report details the Barryroe team on the day and we must assume those players were involved in the club’s formation.

In the early days, there was only one grade. From research and talking to some deceased past members, local historian and long-time Barryroe GAA club member Sean Barry provided the following findings about a major match in the club’s early history.

“Barryroe played Fermoy before 1900 in a County Championship game. It was played on St. Patrick's Day. It must have been the final stages of the previous year's championship or competition. Barryroe had blue jerseys with a big white star. A story that I heard was that Barryroe had a very big football and played with it for the first half and did alright. Fermoy had a "much" smaller ball for the second half. Barryroe couldn't manage or control the different size ball and were (well) beaten in the end. It was three pence to travel on the train from Timoleague to Cork - return journey, I was told. This was pre decimal currency when 240 pence equalled one pound (sterling). This game is mentioned in Jim Cronin's book on Cork GAA results - just the score. We were well beaten according to that statistic. However, it was great to get so far in the early 1900's. It must be remembered that Fermoy won a number of County Championships between 1899 and 1905. So Barryroe were up with the best. They beat Carbery Rangers in one of those years. Team would have included the Barrys from Grange, John (Jim's & Kitty's father), Jamesey (Seamus' grandfather, Courtmac) and Willie, the Brodericks from Butlerstown, Holland from Kilslaugh (Michael's father possibly), Willie O'Regan Grange (Larry's and Jerry's father), McCarthy (Simon) the Rock, Jerh Deasy Lehina (Michael's father), Mike Madden, Lehina, O'Driscoll (Augha - Derry's grandfather), O'Carroll (Timothy's granduncle) and some guest players. An O'Connell man from Skibbereen area, later Secretary of the Carbery Agricultural Society, was one of Barryroe's guest players that day. They may have had one or two more. The team travelled by train. On the train journey they met a few guest players who later played for Fermoy against Barryroe that day. Fermoy was a garrison town at that time so they had the help of a few players from the military barracks that were billetted there at that time.”

A Junior grade was introduced in the 1920’s in which Barryroe entered a team. Again, Sean Barry provided the following information :

“Barryroe had a very good team in the 20’s. In the late 1920's they played a very good Dohenys team in the Junior Football Championship Semi-final. For some reason the Dohenys decided to come to Barryroe to play the match. They were very confident of victory. However Barryroe surprised them and achieved a sensational victory. The game was played in the field straight across the road from the Central School. They were now in the JFC Final. Unfortunately they lost narrowly to Clonakilty in the final. Clonakilty went on to win the County and won the County Intermediate Championship the following year. Then they went Senior. Team of the late twenties would have included W. Condon (goal), Batt Whelton, Eugene O'Hea, Michael Minihane, Larry Sexton, Mike Connolly, Denny O'Flynn, Tim O'Flynn, Pattie Whelton, Jack O'Donovan, Michael John Collins. At the end of the 20’s, the pitch was moved to where the graveyard in Lislevane is now and ran east west incorporating the present graveyard”

Hurling was obviously a more expensive game to play at the time and this explains the popularity of football. John Sexton, ex club PRO has confirmed that Hurling only got introduced to Barryroe GAA in the late 20’s on the initiative of the Creamery Manager. Although the club had always been principally known as a football club, it was in hurling they won their first silverware. Barryroe won the South-West Junior Championship and the Kilbrittain Tournament in 1932. Although the photo below is from the year previous, 1931, we have to assume that most of those players played in 1932. John Sexton’s father was secretary of the Barryroe GAA Club at the time.

Included in the photo above : Dan Hallinan, Eugene Finn, Denny Harrington, Frank O’Donovan, Paddy Madden, Jamesey Barry, Mick Harrington, Tim Flynn, Jim Hurley, John Harrington, Mick Finn, Danny Harrington, Tim Cahalane, Johnny Barry, Diarmuid O’Brien, Cal Mccarthy, Denny O’Donovan, Mikey Finn, Paddy Whelton, Pat Joe Deasy, Mick O’Brien, John O’Driscoll, Sean O’Brien and Jack Cahalane

John Sexton has also provided the following fascinating insight in the 20’s and 30’s.
“there are some stirring stories about games in the Twenties, . There was an occasion when Barryroe defeated Bandon, but Bandon objected as three Barryroe players Bob Kelly, Tadgh Murphy and Mick Foley, were not registered. However ,Barryroe discovered that one of the Bandon players John Joe Phelan had played Rugby, but to prove the date was the problem. Michael Minihane of the Barryroe club and Board Treasurer was in Ring (Co. Waterford) on an Irish course, and the club secretary, Larry Sexton, contacted him that he call to Jackie Murphy, Innishannon (The Board Registrar) and some other individual on his way home and find out if they knew if Bandon had played Rugby on a specific date. The end result was that before the Board meeting started to hear the objection and the counter objection, Michael Minihane called the Bandon delegates aside and told them that Barryroe could stand by the men they played, but if the objection went through, Bandon would have no Club afterwards. Surprisingly, they asked him why and when he told them that they played a Rugby player, they immediately withdrew the objection, and that ended that.

Come 1934, and the famous football game between Barryroe and Enniskeane, in Bandon ,and with Barryroe leading by a point, it was on the 39th minute of the second half that Enniskeane drew level, and the Referee, Red Crowley had to run off the pitch. In the replay Barryroe had run their opponents off the pitch, until disaster struck after twenty minutes, when John Joe Finn went down with a bad injury and the game was held up for a quarter of an hour. However when play resumed, it was Enniskeane who got a second wind and ran Barryroe off the field and won. The result had such a devastating effect on the Barryroe players that the Club went out of existence for ten years. In the meantime, the hurlers went to Timoleague and Kilbrittain, while Clonakilty picked-up the best of the footballers. In fact six Barryroe men played Senior Football for Clonakilty; Mick & John Joe Finn, Jack & Tim Cahalane, Paddy Whelton, and Tim McCarthy. We can always claim that it was the breakup of the Barryroe Club, which helped Clon to County Championship victories, which ultimately resulted in the upsurge of Cork Football.”

John Sexton also confirmed that " in 1944, the Barryroe Club was resurrected, with Football and Hurling Teams in the Junior (B) Championship. Restrictions on travel meant that the lorry carrying the the team had to travel the highways and byways to reach scheduled destinations. The Footballers first game was against Ballinadee and it took three games before Barryroe were declared the winners. They went on to defeat Timoleague, but lost the final narrowly to Castlehaven. The following year, Timoleague won the local derby and they also lost the final to Castlehaven, and Barryroe lost the Hurling final to Ballinspittle. 1947 became the year of the mergers, Ballinadee & Ballinspittle, joined to become de-Courcey Rovers, and they have become a tour-de-force since and on the verge of Senior Status. On the other hand the merger of Barryroe & Timoleague, lasted only two years. " To this day, the rivalry between these two clubs is hard to match anywhere in the country".

Barryroe went from strength to strength from the 70’s onwards. Paddy Murphy, secretary since 1964 and possibly the longest serving secretary in Ireland believes this is down to the club's dedication to under-age affairs playing rich dividends. Four Junior A Hurling West Cork titles were won in the 80’s plus a number of minor and Under-21 Championships. In 1994, Barryroe won the Junior A West Cork title again and advanced to the County final only to be narrowly beaten by Carrigtwohil.

Barryroe won their seventh West Cork Junior A Hurling Championship on Sunday the 9 September 2007 in Timoleague defeating Newcestown by 3-12 to 0-6. They followed this up with wins over Erin's Own and Kinsale to reach their Second County Final. In this final they defeated a fancied Charleville by 2-19 to 2-13 to win the Cork Junior 'A' Hurling Championship for the first time. The club have participated in the Intermediate A since 2008.

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