Club History

If anyone has any information, photos or paper cut outs please contact Bill Mernagh on 087-3188230 or email billmernagh@gmail.com

KANTURK A.F.C. THE FORTIES

It’s hard to know exactly when this team started out and when they finished up, but after speaking to the only two surviving members there was a team in 1942 who played friendlies wherever they could grit them. The main organisers were Mick Houlihan, Mick Sullivan, Terry Burke and Paddy Curtin who used to do the driving. According to TT Galvin there was often 14 of them in a Baby Ford going to a match in Mallow. For the further away games to Cahir, Clonmel and Fermoy Paddy Dunch from Boherbue would get a loan of a car from the garage he worked in to help lighten the load on thr Baby Ford.

“Word of mouth” was how you would know there was a game coming up in those days and whoever was available was brought along to make up the numbers. The home games were played in Duane’s field(near the hospital) which also was home to the local Rugby club. The G.A.A ban on foreign games was a big issue back then so there was some players who would only play in the away games for fear of been caught playing soccer.

It seems the Kanturk Team were not too bad either, as when they beaten it was always just by the odd goal. TT Galvin remembers one season where they drew 10 of their games and beat Blackpool 1-0 in Mallow. Blackpool went on to win a cup that same year so it looks like they weren’t far off the mark when they had a full squad. Paddy McAuliffe (Boherbue) said he was asked to play by Mick O’Sullivan in 1946, but never stood in for a Photograph because of the aforementioned G.A.A ban, even though his club Boherbue discussed the lifting of the ban at their convention in 1947. They were ahead of their time. It was passed by the club but went no further.

According to Paddy there was 4 or 5 players on the team who would have got on any team of the time. Terry Burke being one whose brother Florrie got a cap for Ireland. Jimmy Power was another good footballer and Mick O’Sullivan was another that Paddy says “Would have made it if he was with a city team. I had great mass in Mick because his heart and soul was in Kanturk Soccer Club and it was he who cycled around the county scouting for players.”

We are not sure exactly when the Club finished up but it was either 1948 or 1949. They were playing their home games at that stage in yhe Newmarket road in the field to the then local G.A.A pitch. Below is a photograph of the Kanturk Team from 1943/44. The above information was taken from interviews with Paddy McAuliffe (Boherbue) and TT Galvin ( Kanturk( in October 2009. Thanks to John Bradley for forwarding the information for the Website.

Kanturk United Is Formed

1990 was a great year for Irish football.  The Italia `90 adventures of Jack´s Army gripped everyone´s imagination. 

1991 was an even better year.  Kanturk United was formed.

A meeting was held in the meeting-room at the back bar of Cashmans on summers Saturday night.  The necessary forms were filled out with the relevant officers named.  Ger Cotter was appointed chairman.

The first game for Kanturk Utd. was versus Village United on a Saturday in August 1991.   Kanturk conceded a goal within a minute.

The team that first day lined out as – Gerry McCormack; Anthony O´Mullane, Liam Honohan, Sam Barry, Eoin Mackesy; Neily McCarthy, Pat O´Sullivan, Paddy Hassett, Vinny Murphy; Andy Lynch, Rob Murphy.

Aidan O´ Keeffe and John Mullane were brought on in the second half to pull the game out of the fire.

They failed.

The score remained 1-0 to Village.  Still, Kanturk Utd. were up and (slowly) running.

Two Martin O´Neills were early in their managerial careers in 1991.  One would go on to manage Leicester City, Glasgow Celtic and Aston Villa.  Kanturk´s manager, Martin “Bam Bam” O´Neill, only ever managed Kanturk.

The home ground for the debut season was a field in Knocknacolon adjacant to the rugby pitch.  The weekend after the defeat to Village, Kanturk played their first home league game against Newberry Rovers.

They lost again, but at least scored their first goal.  Down 0-2 with 5 minutes to go, Pat O´Sullivan crossed and Liam Honohan sent a bullet of a header to the net.

“Hoops” may have won Munster senior medals with Cork and played in Croke Park, but I´m sure if he was ever asked he would declare scoring Kanturk´s first ever goal as the highlight of his sporting career.

The following Sunday morning Kanturk travelled to Mitchelstown to play Park Albion.  They returned to town with their first win under their belts.  Goals from Aidan O´Keeffe, Pat O´Sullivan, an og. and Rob Murphy helped secure a famous 4-2 victory.  There was no stopping Kanturk now.

Actually there was.  They lost the next week 0-2 at home.

And that was how the first season progressed.  Lots of highs.  Lots of lows.  Lots of in-betweens.  Kanturk Utd as a metaphor for life, perhaps?

The unquestionable peak was the 5-1 demolition of a first division side who came to Knocknacolon for a cup game.

Ben O´Dea scored the club´s first hat-trick that day.  Sky Sports technology was later deployed to ascertain the total yardage Ben was from the goal-line when scoring his three goals.  The answer didn´t reach double figures.

This trio of strikes helped Ben to a part-share in the Top Scorers Award at season´s end.  O´Dea, Pat O´Sullivan and Aidan O´Keeffe each scored 5 times in AUL-affiliated games.  To this day, Ben will claim that the goal he scored in an end-of-season-makey-uppy North Cork Cup game entitles him to the outright Top Scorer title.

Ben is wrong.  End of story.

The first ever social for Kanturk United was held in the Golf Club and Neily Galvin was awarded The Player Of The Year trophy.

Having finished comfortably in mid-table and improved steadily throughout that maiden year, Kanturk were frothing at the mouth in anticipation of the 1992/93 season.  Or maybe all that foam around the mouths was just residue from what had been a booming first year of partying as hard off the field as playing hard on the pitch.  It was an epic first season in every sense.

Ralph Mexico

This piece of history was given to us from a former player who wants to keep his identity to himself but is known in other circles as Ralph Mexico. We look forward to hearing more about that team from Ralph in the future and would just like to thank him for his contribution.