First Feile

The first Clare team in Féile

A SPECIAL relationship has existed between Ruan GAA’s association and Feile Na nGael since the club became Clare’s first representatives at the competition in 1971.
When the competition was launched and hosted by Tipperary it was for teams at U-15 level. Ruan, managed by Des Crowe, now a member of the county executive in Clare, were hosted by Nenagh.
“It was truly a great occasion and our All-Ireland competition. We played a couple of matches before going out in extra time in our last one. The following day we took part in a huge parade in our club colours and hurling boots and marched through Thurles town,” said team member and now club PRO, Ger Lyons. 
“The A final was between Eoghan Ruadh from Dublin and Blackrock from Cork who were a physically smaller side but with more skill on board, emerged as the inaugural winners of the competition,” Ger continued.
“This marked the emergence of young Tom Cashman who was to play a starring role for Cork in later years. It also proved an uplifting platform for Ruan who went to become one of the strongest underage clubs in the Banner for the next decade.
“The first Féile was inspiring, as it was an enjoyable and a proud time for Ruan hurling club, its players, supporters, and officials who had endured some lean times prior to that period. Ruan later went on to host other clubs in the intervening years of this most enduring and successful Gaelic pageant, which has proved a splendid platform for all that is good in Gaelic culture,” Lyons concluded.

Ruan’s Féile team from 1971: (back, from left) James Marrinan, club chairman, Derek Clune, Ger Lyons, Gerry Kelly, Patsy Hehir, Eugene O’Halloran, Donal Hassett, Martin King, Des Crowe, team manager; (front, from left) Timmy Casey, Pat Donoghue, John King, Noel Lyons, Cyril Lyons, Christy Crowe, Flan Lyons, Pat Keating. Missing from picture are Kevin McDonnell, Michael Hurley, Dermot McDonnell, Jimmy Courtney, Gerry Daffy (RIP) Liam Nealon, and John Lyons.