Lengthy era comes to a poignant but cushioned end

[dropcap]J[/dropcap]oe Brolly not so long ago outlined the paltry and in my view shameful treatment dispensed to the Tommy Murphy Cup and the teams competing therein by the GAA hierarchy during its all too brief existence a decade or so ago. Yours truly was among an all too small number of fans and champions of the sadly now defunct competition. For a broad-ranging variety of reasons. Now read on…

Firstly as the concept of the competition gave counties for whom chances of attaining reward in the All Ireland SFC as it was then – and still is – an unwieldy edifice the mechanism by the which they could cultivate for themselves an opportunity to harvest due reward for putting in the levels of effort as those at the elite plateaus of Gaelic football.

Secondly because it afforded due recognition to one of the best players ever to play the game – the former Laois player known as ‘The Boy Wonder’. However,  as is often the case with yours truly, especial interest in the competition, and more pointedly he whom it honoured, stemmed from something of a personal connection.

My grandfather, Patsy Geoghegan, played against – and may well have directly marked – Murphy in the Leinster Championship final of 1938. That’s probably another location from  where the first seedlings of the love affair with GAA in this seat were planted. And his life away from the football field also ensured that there was a strong tradition of and connection to farming on both sides of the family. So it’s little wonder some of us got hooked.

Like most of the best things in life, farming is a tradition that tends to be transferred from one generation to the next. It will raise many eyebrows in certain areas in particular to learn that close to home there are several generations of a farming connection with the Bruton family. My grandfather followed his father as a herd, my uncle Joe was next up and in more recent times his son Ryan has become the fourth Geoghegan generation to continue the association.

Joe Bruton

Now, in terms of books, my reading habits would be sporadic at best. Pick up a book, go mad reading it for maybe a few weeks and then leave it unattended for an undeservedly elongated period. Anyway, among what is at this stage a fairly vast library, the only agricultural offering therein is ‘Milestones And Memories’ by the late Joe Bruton.

The publication has, somewhat regrettably, fallen into the realm of being flicked through and ignored for too long thereafter. Not that any reading was required to enlighten upon the connection with and contribution to Irish agriculture made by the family over a vast number of years.

Many from around this locality gained employment on one of several farms owing to same. From a family perspective, our closest connection would have been with Sion Farm – midway between Dunboyne and Leixlip. Great-grandparents, grandparents, my mother and her brothers resided thence.

Prior to Sion though, those of the family who were around at the time resided in what was known as the ‘High Lodge’ – attached to one of the other farms, Ravensdale. Thus, a sort of closeness was felt to matters when a lengthy era came to a poignant but cushioned ending when Ravensdale recently full under an auctioneer’s hammer.

So ended an association dating back to 1919 between the now former owners and the farm. Mention of the parting being in some way softened stems from an inclination that the place’s new life will be in some ways akin to its guise of the past. Apart from a portion of sentimentality leaving one fearful of the estate becoming overly industrialised, if gut feeling regarding its future life proves correct, it would be only fitting given the heritage attached to the place.


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