Tramore Athletic legends celebrate 40th anniversary of cup win

Talented team landed the FAI Youths Cup trophy in 1982
Tramore Athletic legends celebrate 40th anniversary of cup win

Tramore players Ger Bickerstaffe, Kieran McCarthy, Mick O’Sullivan, Tony Neiland and Greg Cleary.

TRAMORE ATHLETIC recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of winning the FAI Youths Cup final.

A great night was had by all at the South County Bar and I caught up with two club stalwarts Greg Cleary and Kieran McCarthy who enjoyed the reunion.

“A few months back Kieran O’Regan and Laurence Neville felt that the 40th anniversary of when we won the youths cup was too big an occasion not to get together and celebrate the incredible season that we had, and so it was great to do so last weekend,” said McCarthy.

“We didn’t realise at the time how special a group we were part of, manager Denis Galvin, Niall O’Keeffe and the Tramore Athletic club in general, they were very special times for the club as we were winning intermediate cups around that time as well.

“The night went very well, everyone from the squad turned up, Kieran O’Regan travelled from England, Eddie Hennebry from Dublin and Ger Bickerstaffe from Carlow, the rest of the lads are still living in the Cork area.

We hadn’t seen each other as a group in nearly 40 years, it was fantastic to see all of the lads, great memories and stories were recalled on the night.

“It was great to have Mary Galvin at the reunion as well, wife of our deceased manager Denis Galvin, Barry Gould and Pat Lyons were also in attendance, both former Tramore managers and staunch committee members of Tramore down through the years, now with the MSL.

“John Walsh, ex-Tramore Athletic Youths manager, was in attendance, he was one of the most successful Tramore managers, winning all youth trophies with a team that included Dave Barry, Ger Cunningham, Mick O’Rourke and Sean Madden.

“Charlie McCarthy, another Tramore Legend popped in to say hello and we listened to a few of his stories, always great to meet up with the likes of Charlie and others down through the years.

“We didn’t realise at the time how talented a group we were, there wasn’t any airs and graces about any of the lads, all great buddies still to this day, if anyone stepped out of line or thought they were better than the group, they weren’t long being brought back down to earth, we trained in White Street car park every Tuesday and Thursday nights, no astros in those days, street football in its rawest form.

“On the day of the reunion, Kieran O’Regan, Laurence, Alan Murphy and Der O’Callaghan went to Wilton Nursing Home in Farranlea Road to visit Tramore Legend, Mr Tramore, Philly Burke, many stories and memories were recalled we wouldn’t have won so much without Philly’s help and football knowledge.”

The Tramore Athletic winning FAI Youths cup of 1982 pictured at their 40th reunion at the South County. Included is the wife of the late Tramore Manager Denis Galvin, Mary Galvin
The Tramore Athletic winning FAI Youths cup of 1982 pictured at their 40th reunion at the South County. Included is the wife of the late Tramore Manager Denis Galvin, Mary Galvin

Midfielder for that great Tramore youths side, Greg Cleary recalls the memorable day and how great it was to meet up as a group after 40 years.

“Thinking back to that memorable day 40 years ago, with fond memories. We travelled by bus on the morning of the final to Athlone.

Our biggest worry was whether Kieran O’Regan and Dave O’Connor would be there. Bear in mind that this was long before mobile phones and social media. 

"They had played for the Irish Youths on the Friday night away to Wales. We all got a huge lift seeing them and were so proud of their achievements.

“I played in the middle of the park that day alongside Ger Bickerstaffe, Tony Neiland and Michael O Sullivan.

“I then had Dave O’Connor and Kieran O’Regan ahead of me. I couldn’t have asked for better teammates, but overall we were an exceptional team.

“The rain was pouring that day and conditions were very slippery. Shortly before half time we attacked down our right, a cross was put in and Michael O’Sullivan arrived right on time to score at the back post.

“Half time came and we were absolutely freezing in the dressing room. It’s probably common now but someone had the foresight to bring the Senior Teams gear along so we were able to get changed into a fresh strip for the second half.

“Kieran O’Regan scored from a free-kick for our second goal, I had gone back to defend any breakout they may have had so I was right behind the free-kick, Kieran connected so well that the shot was like a guided missile and no goalkeeper was going to save it.

“And I still remember well Dave O’Connor’s third goal for us, we had a corner that Dave met perfectly and his leap that day was incredible. Game over.

“It’s brilliant to look back now and realise what a special part of our lives that period was and it fills me with pride that I was part of such a special group.”

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