A DETAILED HISTORY
Taken from “The Shiven Years” by Mike Conway.
It’s claimed that television has been the biggest contributing factor to the changes in Irish society in the last 30 years. Whatever the validity of this argument it certainly introduced rural Ireland to the game of soccer. Manchester United and Georgie Best were seen winning the European Cup in 1968 in almost every house in the West of Ireland. By 1970 young lads around Newbridge were attempting the dribbles of Pele and the volleys of Revilino. Interest in the game was generated still further by the attendance of some lads from Newbridge at soccer playing boarding schools. Those included Luke Connolly and Pete Mockler at Summerhill College, Sligo, and Charlie Hynes and Johnnie Crehan who made the long journey to the Salesian College in Ballinakill, Co. Laois.
Tommy Lyons hailed originally from the South Galway Town of Woodford. He arrived in Newbridge in the mid 60’s to work in Paddy Cunningham’s Bar and Grocery. With his friendly manner he quickly became popular with the locals. He was also noted for the fact that he was the only person in the area to own a racing bike, and his interest in soccer.
Newbridge Gaelic Football Club had amalgamated with Ballygar in 1970 and consequently only the best young footballers around Newbridge got a game with the newly formed St. Brendan’s. Tommy organised informal games of soccer in Killyan during the summer of ’72. These games were joined on Sundays during the winter by the St. Brendans lads, who were beaten in the Co. Junior Semi –Final of that year. This group of soccer players were aware that there were other gangs of soccer enthusiasts in the area and it was suggested that the Newbridge lads test their skills against these. It was Tommy who first suggested the formation of a Club and in late 1972 he approached Fr. Scally and asked him to announce that a meeting would be held in Paddy Cunningham’s Taproom on the following Friday night to discuss that idea. He remembers receiving some good natured ribbing about introducing foreign games to the area. The meeting went ahead and in the best tradition a committee was formed. This included Tommy himself, Joe Turley, Sean Connolly (Wood brook), Tim Hynes and Pake Crehan. Newbridge United was the adopted name of the new Club and the first friendlies were organized against the Mountbellew lads in Killyan. The first set of jerseys was those formerly worn by the Newbridge juveniles. These were “borrowed” from Paddy Cunningham and the first ball was bought out of the lad’s own funds.
Though informal, the games against Mountbellew were keenly contested affairs.
The Mountbellew men, for whom Patsy Cunningham was the star player, were slightly more experienced. They had been meeting together since 1970 and had even travelled as far as Co. Offaly in 1971 to play the Forestry College in Kinnitty where Tim Hynes and Frank Rushe were model students. Early Newbridge regulars included John Delaney (Summerhill), Larry McLoughlin, Pat Noone, Tim Hynes, Charlie Hynes, Noel Hynes, Tommy Lyons, Ollie Crehan, Joe Turley, John Hynes (Killyan), Sean Connolly, Luke Kerrigan and Johnny McInerney.
Summer of 1973 saw St. Brendan’s make an early exit from the Co. Junior Championship and these lads would have no outlet for their talents for another year. Players such as Tomás Heavey, Tommy Noone, Padraig Conway, Tommy Quinn, Noel Larkin and the Lohans tried their hands at soccer and enjoyed the experience.
Moving Farther Afield
More friendlies were organised as the Club began to seek new opposition. Abbeyknockmoy, Dysart and Roscommon were visited and by the Christmas of ’73 the notion of entering a league began to circulate.
Holy Rosary College, Mountbellew had won the Connaught B Soccer Championship in April ’73. Players from Newbridge, Mountbellew and Moylough had enjoyed the competitive organized games and wished for the experience to continue. Meeting socially over the Christmas of ’73 in places like Barretts and the Sound of Music in Glen, these matters were discussed informally. It was generally agreed that to enter a league, a pooling of player’s talents and financial resources between the area of Mountbellew and Newbridge would be the best policy. The first formal meeting with this idea in mind was held in Pauric Ward’s (now The Hawthorn) in Mountbellew on Jan. 20th 1974. For the present the Club adopted the unwieldy title of The Mountbellew and Newbridge Football Club. The following officers were elected to the first committee: President – Tommy Rushe, Vice President – Frankie Kitt, Chairman – Gerry Rushe, Secretary – Tommy Quinn, Assistant Secretary – Pat Kelly, Treasurer – Pat Fleming, Assistant Treasurer – Jimmy Creaven, P.R.O. – Tommy Lyons. The back up committee consisted of Tim Hynes, P.J. Carr, Charlie Hynes, Mick Hynes, Bob Kelly, Tom Fleming, Frank Rushe, Gabriel King, Gerry Kitt, Patsy Cunningham and Pat Keating. The name of Shiven Rovers was formally adopted at a meeting in March 1974 and as Tomás Conlon says Tommie Quinn is credited with suggesting the name which conveys the notion of a combined Newbridge I Mountbellew team. At the same meeting it was proposed that Shiven should apply for membership of the Galway League for the following season.
In common with all newly formed clubs, money, or the lack of it, was a major problem. A fund raising social was held in Barretts on St. Patrick’s night, 1974. Paul Forde and The Country Boys supplied the music for £20. Barretts supplied 248 meals at a cost to the Club of £0.65 per head. Not for the last time in Barretts, the composition of the newly formed team was a matter of debate. Because of the number playing soccer some of the early enthusiasts weren’t getting their place on the team. Shiven had played one of their first challenges against Brideswell, winning 2 – 1 with Frank and Gerry Rushe doing the scoring. Their second game in April was against the newly formed Killererin for whom present day R. T.E. presenter Michael Lyster was the star. This match was the first given coverage in a local newspaper, as Michael was at that time a reporter with The Tuam Herald. The game itself finished in a 1 – 1 draw with Joe Heavey scoring for Shiven. The team on duty was Hughie Crowe, Tim Hynes, Pat Keating, Tom Fleming, Gabriel King, Frank Rushe, Tommy Quinn, Gerry Rushe, Joe Heavey, Bernie Madden and Luke Connolly.
The Carnival Cup 1974
Mountbellew Carnival was still thriving in those years and for 1974 it was decided to run a soccer competition for teams from the area. Invited to take part were existing clubs, St. Bernard’s (Abbeyknockmoy) Tuam Celtic, Tuam Town and Tuam Hoteliers. These were to be joined by teams from Moylough, Menlough, Ahascragh and Creggs. The tournament proved to be a great success. Shiven’s participation in the Final helped generate interest. The Convent Grounds on Fri. July 5th 1974 saw the biggest crowds ever to see a soccer match locally. That summer’s World Cup in Germany was the first to be televised in full colour by RTE, and several locals came along to the Convent that night to see soccer played in the flesh for the first time. Shiven had beaten Greenwood Hammers (Creggs) 3 – 0 in the Semi – Final with two goals from Johnnie Crehan and one from Bernie Madden.
Their opponents in the final were to be St. Bernard’s for whom Tom Lane, a bustling centre forward was the undoubted star. Bernard’s dominated the early stages and were awarded a penalty after 10 minutes. Tom’ Lane’s shot came off the post and Shiven then scored against the run of play with a penalty from Joe Heavey. Almost immediately Bernie Madden added a second to leave Shiven 2 – 0 up at half time.
In the second half Bernard’s laid siege on the Shiven goal but fine goalkeeping from Hugh Crowe kept them at bay until a goal from Gerry Flaherty made it 2 – 1. In their anxiety to equalize the Bernard’s defence pushed forward and the Shiven attack exploited the space to great effect. A break-away goal from Bernie Madden and a spectacular effort from Frank Rushe sealed a Shiven victory. The on – pitch celebrations were to match anything seen in Germany that summer. Paul Connaughton who at that time was Chairman of the Mountbellew Development Committee donated the plaque (which can still be seen in the Hawthorn) and it was he who presented the trophies and medals at the Carnival that night. The victorious Shiven team was Hugh Crowe, Pat Fleming, Tim Hynes, Frankie Kitt, Pat Keating, Mike Connolly, Tommy Quinn, Johnnie Crehan, M. Cafferty, Joe Heavey and Bernie Madden, Subs were – Frank Rushe and Noel Larkin.
The North Galway League
The summer of ’74 also saw the running of a mini – league for clubs from the North Galway area. Shiven reached the Semi – Final and in late July were once again to meet St. Bernard’s. The great run of 21 games without defeat was to end abruptly here. The Abbeyknockmoy side put five goals past the Rovers goalkeeper and Shiven could offer no reply. Bernard’s went on to win the competition beating Athenry 3 – 1 in the Final. Shiven’s application for membership of the Galway and District League was accepted at the August meeting of that league’s council. Soccer was now an official sport in the Newbridge / Mountbellew area. The days of a casual kick-about in Killyan or Patsy’s were over. The euphoria of the initial Carnival Cup celebrations had abated and the hard work was about to begin.
The Galway Days 1974-’75
Tomás Conlon mentioned in his earlier article that the first manager of Shiven was Tom McGuire from Brierfield, who was reputed to have played for Stoke City in the 50’s. Tom was unable to devote the time required and Dan Leahy from Mountbellew undertook the off – field running of the team. Dan had experience of soccer management from other counties. This knowledge and the fact that he owned a mini – bus made him an ideal choice for the job.
For their first season in Galway, Shiven were to participate in the Pierse Cup; a Sunday league that was basically a second division. Also in the division were St. Bernard’s, Galway Rovers (no connection with the club that was later to join the League of Ireland), Athenry, Tuam Celtic, Loughrea, Claddagh Rovers, The Regional Tech., Newcastle and Furbo.
Most of the team was eligible for youth’s competitions and it was agreed that a team should be entered in the Youths Cup. At this point Bernard’s and Shiven must have been a little tired of playing each other and ironically it was against Bernard’s that Shiven made their league debut on Oct 6th. Bernard’s won on a 4 – 1 scoreline. Frank Rushe made his mark in this game in a manner he would not have wished. He became the first player sent off in a Shiven jersey. The panel for that Sunday included all those mentioned in the Carnival Cup report along with Patsy Cunningham, Rory Heavey, Tomás Conlon, Gerry Leahy, Tomás Coppinger and Gerry Barrett.
Personnel have changed greatly over the years, but some things never change. A note from late ’74 says that several players had not yet paid their subscriptions. The names of these offenders are listed but for legal reasons we cannot disclose their identity.
This was to be the winter of discontent in England with strikes in many vital industries. For Shiven it was a winter of some worry as well. Because of Mountbellew’s involvement in the Connaught Club Championship, Rovers could not always field their strongest squad and results suffered accordingly. The end of 1974 saw Shiven in a mid-table position.
After Mountbellew’s defeat the soccer team strengthened and good wins were gained over Loughrea (4 – 2, Tom Fleming, Bernie Madden (2) and Pat Keating scoring) and Furbo (6 – 4 with Johnny Crehan, Gerry Barrett, John Fallon, Patsy Hynes and Charlie Hynes noted as having played well. In the second half of the season away form was poor. At home in Killyan (which had now been adopted as Shiven’s home) they were formidable opposition.
Wins over Loughrea (5 – 3) and Ballinasloe (3 – 2) ended the season in the Pierse Cup. As at Christmas Shiven were mid table. Given the youth of the squad and its inexperience of competitive soccer the first season had been one of relative success. Though early exits had been made in the Connaught Cup (5 – 1) to Ballinasloe and the Ellis Cup (3 – 0) to Galway Bohs, Dan Leahy was happy with his first season in charge and like a politician felt he could look forward to the future with optimism.
August of 1974 had seen Shiven pay a visit to Dublin on its first “official” tour. Seamus Rushe from Mountbellew worked in RTE. On the weekend of the Galway – Donegal All Ireland Semi – Final, Seamus invited Shiven for a game on the Saturday and some social activities afterwards. RTE were to return the compliment in Feb. ’75. One RTE player remarked that Shiven’s nets must have been used for catching whales. The Dublin boys enjoyed the North Galway hospitality and nobody seems to remember the result, but Tim Hynes seems to think that Shiven lost.
As mentioned earlier most of the Shiven senior squad were under age for youth competitions so it was decided to enter a team in the Youths Cup. These games were played on Saturdays and naturally this did not suit eighteen year olds from a rural area. If it did suit the young lads it would certainly not have suited their fathers. Most of the teams in the Youths Cup were from. Galway City and they would definitely have fancied their chances against any newly formed rural team. They were in for a shock.
Dan Leahy had formed a formidable squad including Hugh Crowe, Pat Fleming, Pat Keating, Tomás Coppinger, Tommie Connolly, John Mannion, Joe Heavey, Noel Hynes, John Fallon, Des Lawless, Bernie Madden and Tomás Conlon. Defeats of Athenry, Mervue (3 – 1, Rory Heavey, Joe Heavey and John Mannion scoring) Renmore (4 – 2 Joe Heavey (2) and Rory Heavey (2) scoring) left Shiven in the Semi-Final. Unfortunately the Youths season was to run very late, and exams deprived Shiven of some of their best players at the penultimate stage. Exams rightly came before football and the dream of youth success was at an end.
Carnival Cup 1975
Shiven defeated Cooloo 3 – 0 in the 1st round. In a controversial semi – final Shiven won 3 -1 against Doonwood Hammers with Joe Heavey (2) and Des Lawless getting the goals. The final was again against St. Bernard’s but on this occasion Bernard’s were successful on a 3 – 1 scoreline.
The 1975 – ’76 Season
The ’75/’76 season was one that began and ended for Rovers in a degree of controversy.
Once again Shiven were involved in the Pierse Cup and Dan Leahy had been persuaded to stay on for another year as manager. Controversy arose early in the season because of a mix up over the availability of pitches. Mervue claimed the points without the game having been played. Shiven recovered from this upset and recorded wins over Loughrea, Furbo and Claddagh Rangers. Shiven’s finest performance of the season was against Decspo (now Digital) in Galway on Dec. 14th. Dan Leahy’s famous mini – bus was laid up and the players travelled in cars. One broke down and Shiven were obliged to begin the game with 7 men.
Despite a Decspo goal after 10 minutes stout defending from Tim Hynes and Tom Fleming prevented them scoring again. By half – time Shiven were at full strength and goals from Charlie Hynes and Rory Heavey ensured an historic win. Shiven looked in strong contention for league honours by March ’76. Defeats of Salthill Athletic (3 – 2) and St. Anthony’s (2 – 0) left three games left to play.
Victory in each would guarantee the divisional title and the least that could be expected was promotion. The events of the following few weeks are still a matter for debate among old Shiven hands. The legality of a player who played in both the Salthill and St. Anthonys matches was called into question. Tim Hynes and Dan Leahy attended a meeting of the Galway League to give their version of events but ultimately they were unsuccessful and the points were lost. This boardroom defeat ruined the fine morale that had built up in the Shiven team and end of season results were not to go in Shiven’s favour. Dreams of promotion evaporated and some players began to question the wisdom of remaining in the Galway League.
The North Galway League
Claddagh Mineral Waters sponsored the North Galway Tournament for 1975. This competition generated as much interest among the players as the Pierse Cup.
Having defeated Red Gap Rovers (Killererin) Shiven earned a place in the semi – final against, yes, St. Bernard’s but in this case their B team. Shiven won 3 – 1 with goals from Frank Rushe (2) and Charlie Hynes. The final was played on St. Stephens Day 1975 in Abbeyknockmoy against St. Bernard’s. An otherwise outstanding Tim Hynes conceded an own goal and a Mike Mullins header left Bernard’s 2 – 0 ahead at half – time. A Rory Heavey goal brought Shiven back into contention but they could not find an equalizer despite constant pressure. The Shiven team was Hughie Crowe, Tom Fleming, Mike Connolly, Tim Hynes, Pat Keating, Frank Rushe, Tomás Conlon, Johnny Crehan, Iomar Barrett, Joe Heavey, Bernie Madden and Sub. Rory Heavey.
Carnival Cup 1976
The semi – final of the Carnival Cup was a one sided affair with Shiven defeating Greenwood Hammers (Creggs) on an 8 – 0 scoreline. Once again the final would be a Bernard’s / Shiven affair. It was played on a scorching July 4th evening and Shiven were short Frank Rushe and Iomar Barrett because of the Connaught Final that day in Roscommon. Even with extra time no goals were scored in a game dominated by defensive play. In a penalty shoot – out Bernard’s scored 3 to Shiven’s 2 and so won the Gerry Rushe organized ’76 Carnival Cup.
The summer of ’76 saw the end of one phase of the Shiven story. Because of the amount of travelling involved in Galway it was decided to apply for membership of the Roscommon League for the 1976 / 77 season. Mounting business pressure had forced Dan Leahy to end his term of office at Shiven HQ. Special mention should be made of Dan as he ensured that Shiven survived the crucial first two years. Many clubs are formed on a whim and quickly dissolve. Dan’s hard work with an embryonic Shiven had guided them through stormy waters and by summer ’76 the future of the new club seemed assured.
The Rushe – Hynes Era
Shiven’s application to join the Roscommon League was accepted at the June meeting of the League Council. Management had also changed. As explained earlier Dan Leahy had gone and his place was taken by two men who were to have a large influence over Shiven Rovers for the next ten years – Tim Hynes and Gerry Rushe.
1976 – ’77
By the time Shiven had regrouped for the start of the ’76/’77 its character had begun to change. The Moylough element was less influential, and the Newbridge influence was becoming stronger. Gone were the Heaveys and the Mannions to be replaced by the likes of Seamus Ryan, Tomás Heavey and Padraig Conway. The change to the Roscommon League also meant far less travel. To play Furbo in mid – winter meant a round trip of over one hundred miles, on bad roads in sometimes-dangerous weather conditions.
The furthest to be travelled in the new season was Athlone. The Roscommon League in those years was divided into a Northern and Southern Division and naturally Shiven were along with Moore Utd, Skyvalley Rovers, Cam Celtic, Southern Wanderers (Roscommon Town), Ahascragh Utd, Roscommon Rovers, St. Comans (Athlone) and Creagh Utd., in The Southern Division. The season began with a home defeat to Skyvalley Rovers and a draw with Cam (2-2) Victories against Moore, St. Comans and Ahascragh followed. At halfway point in the season Shiven were 4 points behind leaders Skyvalley. The Christmas period saw the first Christmas Tournament and a Newbridge / Mountbellew derby which Newbridge won 4 – 1.
In the 1st round of the Roscommon Cup Shiven had a thrilling 3 – 3 away draw at Ballaghadereen but Shiven won the replay on a 3 – 2 scoreline with goals from Bernie Madden (2) and Padraig Conway. In round 2 Shiven met an inform Castlerea Celtic and suffered a 3-0 defeat. The second half of the season saw Shiven gain wins over Ahascragh (3 – 1), Moore (l-0) and St. Comans (2-1). Shiven finished the league 6 points behind winners Skyvalley Rovers who went on to win the League Final against Northern Section Champions Castlerea. The minutes of the Roscommon League notes that the following players were booked during the season: Padraig Conway (dissent) Tommie Noone (dangerous play) and Tomás Heavey (dangerous play).
The Carnival Cup 1977
The Carnival Cup once again drew entries from all around the local area. A new entry this year was Ballinlass. The Kellys, Conlons, Carrs and Keatings made up the bulk of the squad. Patsy Cunningham had lost none of the old skill on the wing and Pat Whyte was an eager substitute. There was to be no Carnival Cup glory for Ballinlass as they lost 6 – 3 to Shiven in the semi – final. Shiven were to lose in a replay 2 – 1 to old rivals Bernard’s in the final.
1977 / ’78
St. Brendan’s had reached the Co. Intermediate Final of 1977 and as a result the Shiven team was severely weakened for the first few games in the league. In the second game of the season Shiven suffered a disastrous 5 – 1 home defeat to the newly formed Glen Celtic. The young Glen players celebrated with unbounded enthusiasm. The older Shiven players could only look on and smile; these young lads would learn. On the day of the Co. Final Shiven travelled to Moore with a makeshift team and earned a creditable 1 – 1 draw with Tommy Quinn scoring. This was followed by a 5 – 0 defeat at home to Dysart in dreadful conditions. Francis Delaney was the faultless goalie.
The withdrawal of both Tulsk and Elphin meant only six teams in the division and as a result the return game against Glen Celtic came around more quickly than expected. Players such as Arthur Hynes, Padraig Conlon and Mike Conway, who had been drafted into the squad to cover for the footballers held their place for this game. In heavy conditions on the Vocational School pitch Shiven were to score against the run of play from sixteen year old Padraig Conlon. Great defensive work by Tomás Heavey, Tim Hynes and Tom Fleming kept Glen scoreless even though the referee played over ten minutes of injury time. Despite this morale boosting win Shiven were bottom of the division at halfway point in the season. Form improved-somewhat in the second half of the season.Wins over Dysart and Moore and two away draws meant Shiven finished third from bottom on 9 points from ten games.
Shiven appeared to have an easy draw in the 1st round of the Cup. Their opponents were non – league Beal na Mulla and a win seemed certain with what seemed a formidable team.
Of the team that lined out that January Sunday seven were to wear the Maroon and White of Galway at some stage in their careers. These were – Frank Rushe, lomar Barrett, Tomás Heavey, Seamus Ryan, Patsy Hynes, Padraig Conway and Mike Connolly. In addition to these, goalkeeper John Fallon was later to play for the Roscommon League Team. Obviously the Beal na Mulla players had not heard about the strength of the opposition; a 2 – 2 draw was followed by a 2 – 1 defeat for Shiven. Ironically Beal na Mulla were later to be disqualified from the competition for fielding illegal players, but not before they had put Shiven out of the cup.
The Carnival Cup
For the 5th year in a row Shiven and Bernard’s were to meet in the final of the 1978 Carnival Cup. Following four postponements the match was finally played and Shiven won 4 – 1. This game is best remembered for the display of Gerry Emmett, Shiven’s “guest player” on the night. He was to score two spectacular goals in a performance that gave Shiven much encouragement for the season ahead. Incidentally Gerry was to win an All-Ireland Under 21 Medal with Roscommon in October of that year.
1978 – ’79 The League
The start of the ’78 I ’79 season saw young players like Brendan Hynes, Paddy Kelly, Johnny Kelly and Patrick Creaven making their debut for Shiven. All acquitted themselves well but Paddy Kelly and Brendan Hynes in particular made an impression on management. Both were to have important roles in an eventful season.
The new campaign began well with a 5 – 3 win over Manor United with goals from Tomás Conlon (2) Mike Conway, Tommy Quinn and Pat Keating. This was followed by draws with Moore and Glen Celtic. We suffered our first loss of the season on Oct. 22nd losing to Tarmon 1 – O. Losses to Dysart and Ballintubber followed and it seemed the good start would count for nothing. The first half of the league ended with a 2 – 1 home defeat to Dubarry Apaches. Brendan Hynes and Fred Coyne were sent off on a day when Shiven’s promotion hopes seemed to have ended. This game is also remembered because of the referee asking a certain Shiven supporter to leave the ground or the match would be abandoned. Form improved remarkably in the Spring and Shiven were to embark on a run of almost five months without defeat. Wins at Lough Harps, Dysart, Ballymoe and Glen earned Shiven third position in the league and a promotion spot along with Dubarry Apaches and Glen Celtic.
The Roscommon Cup
The 1st round of the cup coincided with Shiven finding good form in the league and Lough Harps were beaten on a scoreline of 3 – 0 with goals from Mike Conway (2) and Noel Hynes.
The 2nd round opponents were Castlerea Celtic who at that time were reigning League champions and were once again heading for the title. Shiven took the field on March 3rd with its strongest team of the season. Castlerea may have taken the opposition a little for granted but a Brendan Hynes goal resulted in a great Shiven win.
Quarter Final opponents were Dysart for whom Galway footballer and Mountbellew man Johnny Hughes was the star. After a replay Shiven came out on top on a 1 – 0 scoreline with Pat Fleming getting the vital touch. Semi – Final opposition was provided by Southern Wanderers. Along with Castlerea Celtic they had dominated the League and were naturally hot favourites. Players of the caliber of John and Larry O’Gara and Danny Doyle were fancied to be too powerful for the team from Division 2 who were in their first Semi – Final.
The match took place on a fine April 21st evening that was perfect for football. Wanderers did the early pressing and seemed set to vindicate their role as favourites. Ten minutes from half – time Shiven were awarded a direct free kick on the edge of the penalty area. Both Paddy Kelly and Tomás Heavey stood over the ball but it was Heavey who pulled the trigger and the ball looped in over the floundering Wanderers goalie. Against the wind in the second half Shiven’s defence was under constant pressure. A penalty save from John Fallon kept Shiven ahead. The defence held firm and when the final whistle blew with Shiven still in the lead. Shiven were in the Final.
The Cup Final
Shiven’s rivals in the Final were Dubarry Apachees from Ballinasloe. The team was named after the factory where most of the players worked. With good footballers like Paul Riddle, Kenneth Coyne, Fred Coyne and Stephen Dent they were expected to have a loud and large support; Sunday, May 6th was wet and windy but a huge crowd travelled from Newbridge and Mountbellew. The attendance is still regarded as the biggest ever at a Roscommon Cup Final.
Shiven lined out at near full strength. Tomás Conlon was still suffering from a recurring ankle injury but there was a mood of confidence in the Shiven camp. Tim Hynes and Gerry Rushe emphasised to their team in the pre – match chat that we were good enough. If Rovers could beat the two top teams in Division 1 then there was no reason why Dubarry could not be beaten. The match began in a downpour and in truth the first half could hardly be described as spectacular. Both defences dominated and Dubarry’s clever use of the offside trap frustrated the Shiven attack. The standard improved in the second half. Paddy Kelly and Tomás Heavey went close with long range efforts and John Fallon tipped a Fred Coyne header over the bar. Twenty minutes remained in the game when Shiven scored. Charlie Hynes launched a high centre which was met perfectly by Noel Hynes with his head and the raindrops danced off the Dubarry net. Shiven were one up. Ten minutes remained with Rovers still ahead and defending confidently. With nine minutes to the final whistle Dubarry equalised. The circumstances of the goal are still discussed today. Paul Riddle appeared to receive the ball in an offside position but play continued and his low centre beat the diving John Fallon. It first seemed that referee John McDermott had disallowed the goal but after a long consultation with his linesman Chris Beaumont the goal was allowed to stand. Neither side went close to scoring in the final minutes and both teams were to be back again the following Sunday.
In contrast to the previous Sunday, May 13th 1979 was a day of perfect early Summer sunshine. Unfortunately it was to be a dark day for Shiven. Because of Mountbellew’s involvement in the first round of the senior football championship Shiven were minus John Fallon and Frank Rushe. Replaced by Padraig and Mike Conway respectively they were to prove a severe loss to the team. By half – time Dubarry were 3 – 0 ahead and Shiven supporters were heading for the exits. Ironically Mountbellew were so far ahead in their game that Frank Rushe was allowed to take himself off and make a quick dash for Roscommon. By the time he arrived the damage had been done. When the disappointment had abated Shiven could look back on a great season. Promotion had been gained and, as Patrick Creaven remarked, they had one lug of the saucepan across the Shiven. John Fallon had a great season in goal.
The regular defence of Tom Fleming, Tim Hynes, Pat Keating and Brendan Hynes had blotted out many vaunted attacks. The midfield of Tomás Heavey, Paddy Kelly and Noel Hynes weighed in regularly with goals and none of the three were known to be shy in the tackling department. Up front management had regularly to choose between Frank Rushe (a certainty when available), Tomás Conlon (when injury free) Pat Fleming and Charlie Hynes. Others to play supporting roles in the season were Arthur Hynes, Mike Conway, Padraig Conway, Johnny Kelly and Patrick Creaven.
Co – manager Gerry Rushe was also a very talented player but he was beginning to lose his battle against a recurring knee injury. If this squad could be kept together then surely success could not be far away.
The Carnival Cup
For the first time since its inception Shiven failed to reach the final of the Carnival Cup. The 1st round was lost to a rapidly improving Doonwood Hammers side from Menlough who went on to win the competition. The following March Doonwood were to go on to greater success, winning the Galway First Division and gaining entry into the Premier League.
1979 – ’80
By the time Shiven gathered for the new season a strong squad had been assembled. Indeed it could be argued that this was Shiven’s strongest squad ever. Tomás Conlon had fully recovered from injury. Dave Shaughnessy worked in the Bank of Ireland, Mountbellew, and for the ’79/’80 season he registered with Shiven Rovers. An experienced free scoring centre forward, his arrival allowed Frank Rushe to revert to his favourite centre half role.
The season began with a 5 – 0 thrashing of Creagh Utd. A large crowd turned out on a crisp September Sunday to see goals from Dave Shaughnessy (2) Charlie Hynes, Paddy Kelly and sub. Mike Conway.
Draws with Carrolls All Stars and Dubarry followed.
On October 4th Shiven met Castlerea in one of the best matches ever seen in Killyan. On a heavy pitch both teams played open entertaining football though at half – time the game was still scoreless. An Austin Waldron header gave Castlerea the lead ten minutes into the second half but a superb strike from Dave Shaughnessy eight minutes from the end gave Shiven a deserved share of the points.
Shiven’s best performance of the season came against Boyle Celtic in Boyle. Pat Keating conceded an early own goal. Dave Shaughnessy equalised for Shiven and Wynne restored Boyles advantage but two goals from Paddy Kelly gave Shiven their first away win in the First Division.
At halfway point in the season Shiven were in fourth place behind Castlerea Celtic, Carrolls All Stars and Boyle Celtic. The new decade began with a scoreless draw away to Carrolls A.S. and this was followed by a traumatic 6 – 0 defeat at home to Boyle. Shiven had played the better football in the first half but two quick goals by Gerry Emmett in the second half forced Shiven to push forward and a sharp Boyle attack benefited.
Shiven finished the season in the same position they occupied at the halfway mark. This was to be Shiven’s highest mark in their years in the Roscommon League. Younger players might ask that if they were such a strong squad why did they not win the league? The answer is simple.
On some Sundays Shiven could field the strongest team in the league. On other Sundays players who could not get their place on a Christmas Tournament team would be playing.
This was especially the case if St. Brendan’s and Mountbellew happened to be playing the one day.
For other players late nights in Bartley McDonagh’s and Barretts, or Willie Mannions and The Sound of Music were not conducive to good performances at noon on the Sunday.
If Tim Hynes and Rushe had been able to field a full fit team then certainly a league could have been won.
The Roscommon Cup
For the first time Shiven entered two teams in the Cup. The B Team created a sensation by defeating Cloonfad 3 – 1 away in the 1st round and the firsts knocked out Carrolls A.S. on a 1- 0 scoreline.
The second round almost produced an even bigger upset when the B team led for most of the match against Southern Wanderers. Some late defensive slip – ups cost Shiven dearly and Wanderers ran out lucky 4 – 3 winners.
The A Team failed to emulate their Cup run of the previous season. Newly formed Ballinasloe Town came to Killyan and went away winners on a 2 – 0 scoreline. One female spectator from Newbridge at that match, who was seeing Shiven in action for the first time, remarked to me after the match that she was disappointed because it wasn’t a bit like what she used to see on Match Of The Day.
The Connaught Cup
In round one Shiven needed a replay to get past Lough Harps with Tim Hynes scoring a rare goal in a 6 – 3 win.
Second round opponents were Renmore United who at that time were leaders of the Premier League in Galway.
Owners of the Hawthorn in Mountbellew in that period were the Cooneys who had originally come from Renmore. Their son Kevin was Renmore’s star and Shiven were given little chance in the Cooney household. The two clubs had met in a Christmas Tournament and Renmore had won 2 – O. With an away draw in Renmore there was no reason to expect the result on this occasion to be any different.
Easter Sunday was fine and dry. Shiven had their strongest team of the season and an early goal from Grealish for Renmore only seemed to spur them on to greater effort. Two goals from Tomás Conlon and a titanic display in defence from Frank Rushe gave Shiven a well deserved victory. Post match entertainment was provided in the Trappers Inn by John Fallon on piano and Patrick Creaven on vocals.
The fourth round saw Shiven drawn at home to O.L.B.C. from Galway City but this match coincided with St. Brendan’s first match in the Senior League and a weakened Shiven team were beaten 2 – 1.
St. Patrick’s weekend 1980 saw one of Shiven’s best remembered Socials in Barretts. Trophies from the previous years Cup run were to be presented. Bar staff were at their busiest and when the Vicar, Joe the Tailor and Mr. N., took the stage to give their unique interpretation of “Bullfrog Blues” the crowd was ecstatic. Unfortunately, Paddy Barrett was not a Blues fan and the plug was pulled resulting in a shortened set. Undaunted the bluesmen hastened onto the Vicarage where the party continued until dawn.
The Management Partnership Ends
This was to be Tim’s last term as manager. Having just moved to Sligo he would continue playing, but felt he was too far from home to manage effectively.
A deceptively formidable defender, he had done more than anyone to establish Shiven as a team to be respected. He had managed to encourage the Newbridge Gaelic footballers to play soccer whenever they were available, and he still held on to the Mountbellew group whose first love was soccer.
Under his stewardship a Cup Final was reached and Shiven had finished fourth in the Premier. Those heights have not been reached since.
1980 – ’81
Summer of 1980 bad seen Shiven Rovers knocked out of the Carnival Cup in the 1st round, on this occasion by Moylough. Moylough were themselves to be knocked out by Shiven B in the Semi – Final. The final between Shiven B and Ballymacward was to be Johnny Crehan’s last game for Shiven. Even his brilliance could not save Shiven from defeat. Despite Johnny’s two goals Ballymac were to win 3 – 2 with fine performances from John and Mike Mullins and the tenacious Dickie Lally. This was to be the last Carnival Cup in which a number of teams took part. For the next few years, the Cup would be contested by Shiven and the Ballymac lads over the Christmas period. The tournament that had given Shiven its first competitive success had ended.
Summer of 1979 had seen a new club been formed in Moylough. Moylough ’79 had elected to join the Galway League. By Autumn 1980 the Moylough influence in Shiven Rovers had almost ended. Players like Bernie Madden, the Heaveys and the Mannions had done much for Shiven in its formative years. After 1980 only John Fallon and P.J. King were to continue playing for Rovers. Indeed in 1994 Fallon was still in goal for the B team.
Shiven’s early season form could be described as erratic. Some of the squad were on a fact finding mission in the States and their absence was keenly felt.
Defeats to Dubarry, Castlerea and Skyvalley meant that by December Shiven were second from the bottom. Yet they were occasionally capable of good football. On November 16th Ballinasloe were thrashed 6 – O. Val Daly scored a hat trick and also on the score-sheet was Mike Hynes with two. The previous night the Newbridge and Williamstown lads had some full and frank talks in Glen.
By Christmas Shiven bad gained 7 points from a possible 22 and relegation looked likely. The team that bad done so well in previous seasons had begun to break up. Tom Fleming’s work roster with RTE demanded his stay in Dublin at weekends. Frank Rushe was based in Donegal, Tim Hynes in Sligo, Noel Hynes in Ballina and Paddy Kelly in Dublin. Though all made occasional appearances, there was never a settled team. In addition Tomás Conlon had transferred to UCG and Dave Shaughnessy had been moved to the Bank of Ireland in Castlebar.
The second half of the season saw Shiven scrape enough draws to avoid relegation, finishing third from bottom on 17 points just one above Moore Utd., who were relegated.
Once again two teams were entered in the Roscommon Cup. The B teams run ended with a 4-0 defeat in the 1st round away to Carrolls A.S.
February 1st 1981 saw the A team begin their campaign with a 4 – 1 win over Manor at Killyan. Round 2 saw Shiven score a 5 – 2 win over Ballintubber. Mike Hynes and Val Daly had at this stage, formed a Keegan and Toshack like partnership. Daly once again scored a hat trick and Mike added another.
Daly was once again Shiven’s hero in the quarter-final scoring both goals in a 2 – 1 win. Rovers were in their second semi – final in two years. There was to be no final appearance. Because of Galway’s involvement in the latter stages of the National Football League Val Daly was absent and a team further weakened by injuries were to lose 5 – 2 to Cam Celtic.
1981 – ’82
Gerry Rushe was re-appointed manager for the new season with occasional selectorial advice from Pat Noone, Luke Kerrigan, Pat Kelly and Johnny Keating. Johnny Keating, better known as “George” or “Scirea”, was to become more and more influential in the picking of Shiven teams. In the absence of Rushe it was George’s role to finalise the team. With some of the personnel involved during this period in Shiven’s history the task of selection was never an easy one.
This was not to be one of Shiven’s better seasons. The Cup Final Team of ’79 had fallen apart and Rushe was left to guide a very young team. Young talented players like Mike Treacy, Tommy Cunningham and Kevin Kelly were beginning their Shiven careers but the vital qualities of size, strength and experience were often lacking.
By Christmas Shiven were bottom of the Premier Division. A 4 – 3 win over Moore Utd., in the 1st round of the Cup was followed by a tame exit to Cloonfad on a 4 – 0 scoreline in round 2.
The groundsman for the year must have been on sick leave as Shiven received several fines for non – marking of pitches, poor nets, and inadequate corner flags. Non payment of these fines meant suspension for Shiven. At the A.G.M. of the Roscommon League in June ’82 Shiven had to re-apply for membership. In the light of Shiven’s excellent record in the past this application was accepted.
1982 – ’83
Rushe decided to adopt the role of director for the 1982 – ’83 season. His place was taken for one season by Johnny “George” Keating. Johnny was noted for his knowledge of European soccer in general and Italian soccer in particular. Killyan is a long way from the San Siro and some of the Shiven players had difficulty in adopting to the Italian style of play, though Johnny himself had an outstanding year at centre – half.
For the 1982 – ’83 season the Roscommon League was divided into 3 divisions; a Premier, First and Second. Rovers were to begin the new season in Div. One along with Cloonfad, Creagh, Clonown, Ballintubber, Lough Harps, Manor, Dysart and CB Trotters.
The season began well with wins over Cloonfad, Ballintubber and a draw with Clonown. Fahy United from Westport were beaten 1 – 0 in the 1st round of the Connaught Cup on Oct., 10th with the following team: John Fallon, Arthur Hynes, Paddy Kelly, Pat Keating, Kevin Kelly, Tommy Cunningham, Tomás Conlon, Brendan Hynes, Michael Cryan, Gerry Rushe and Charlie Hynes. On the bench were Mike Treacy and Kieran Conlon.
Other players who contributed to the promising start were Anthony Conery, Ronan Daly, Noel Hynes and Colm Finnerty.
Because of Shiven’s good start to the season, it was decided by the management committee that the team deserved a weekend away. At that time some lads from the area were students in St. Patricks College, Carlow. An invitation to Shiven from the Carlow lads was gratefully accepted.
The weekend of Saturday Nov. 6th saw Shiven heading South East. Included in the party were Charlie Hynes, Arthur Hynes, Tommy Cunningham, Gerry Lynch, Pat Keating, Joe The Tailor, Michael Cryan, Kevin Kelly, Colm Finnerty, Ronan Daly, Gerry Rushe and Tomás Conlon. Also travelling in a non – playing capacity were Siobhan Martin and Mary Kitt. Several more would have travelled but St. Brendan’s Juniors were playing the North Board Final that weekend.
Joe The Tailor was appointed tour manager for the weekend. After all night preparation for the following day’s game a 5.00 a.m. press conference was organised at which the team was announced. Joe’s footballing philosophy was to “Attack! Attack! Attack! ” Maybe Shiven should have concentrated a little more on defence as they were beaten 5 – O. This defeat failed to dampen the spirit of trip. Shiven crew though John Fallon was a little unhappy with the shampoo. After dinner refreshments were taken in the Stonehaven and all were in good spirits by the time Newbridge was reached that night.
Loss of Form
The trip to Carlow may have been responsible for Shiven’s subsequent loss of form as losses to C.B. Trotters, Manor and Dysart followed. By Christmas Rovers were fourth in the table. January saw a first round defeat to Dubarry Apaches in the Roscommon Cup, and by March Dysart and C.B. Trotters who were so far ahead of all others in the league that there was little to play for but pride.
The Last Game Of The Season
Shiven’s final game of the season was against local rivals C.B. Trotters in Castleblakeney. At the equivalent fixture at Killyan in November ’82 a certain amount of needle had crept into the game. When the teams met on a wet and windy April 10th C.B. needed to win to clinch the First Division Title. If they lost Dysart would be winners. A large and enthusiastic crowd went to Ashfield Park to witness what was expected to be an easy victory against a Shiven side who had little to play for.
Early pressure on the Shiven goal suggested that a goalrush was inevitable but Pat Kelly in the Shiven goal was in inspired form. A Charlie Hynes goal against the run of play had the Dysart contingent in ecstasy and despite the best efforts of the Gordons, Gilligans, Tom Keeley and Tommy McLoughlin, C.B. could not score. Many of the C.B. players felt afterwards that if Shiven had put as much effort into games earlier in the season it would be Rovers rather than Dysart topping the division. The squad on duty on that April day read: Pat Kelly, Tim Hynes, Arthur Hynes, Frank Rushe, Anthony Conery, Brendan Hynes, Pat Keating, Johnny Keating, Gerry Rushe, Tomás Conlon and Kevin Kelly.
Shiven’s poor form had convinced manager Keating that it was time to move on. After playing for St. Paul’s (Ballymac) for a season he was to be instrumental in the setting up of the new Mountbellew Town Club. His emigration to the States hastened the demise of that club and it’s generally believed that Johnny has remained a Shiven man at heart.
1983 – ’84
Manager Rushe was persuaded to come back for another season. Young players like Sean Gavin, Gerry Kelly (Cloughbrack) Gerry Kelly (Tyrur), Gerry Kerrigan and Noel O’Brien were getting their first games with Shiven. Interest from Mountbellew was starting to wane slightly and there were rumours of a new club being formed.
Shiven were once again in the First Division with Cam Celtic, Carrolls A.S, Ahascragh, Knockcroghery, Cloonfad, Creagh and Manor.
With full squads Shiven would have been confident of promotion but Gaelic commitments often meant weakened teams and early season losses to Cloonfad, Carrolls and Cam meant that at Christmas Shiven were out of the promotion race.
The major talking point of the pre-Christmas period was the game against Manor on Nov. 8th . Because of a mix up in communications appointed referee John McDermott failed to appear. Each club agreed to a friendly and Luke Kerrigan volunteered to referee. Patrick Creaven, Shiven’s captain exhorted his team to play a hard sporting game and obey the ref. Unfortunately an over enthusiastic tackle on Sean Gavin by a Manor defender led to quick retribution from the Shiven captain.
The ensuing melee required Luke to abandon the game and what was a promising refereeing career was at an end.
An early Cup exit and mediocre form in the New Year meant Shiven had little to play for in springtime.
By seasons end Gerry Rushe felt he had enough. Some artistic differences over playing style had arisen. Gerry favoured a short passing continental style of play; the Newbridge players preferred a more direct, route one approach.
Many of the Mountbellew players were of the same mind as Gerry, and in the Summer of ’84 they decided to form their own club with Rushe at the helm.
Gerry’s management style owed more to the flamboyance of Malcolm Allison than to the frugality of Matt Busby. His departure meant Shiven had lost one of its more colourful characters but with Tim Hynes he had guided the Newbridge/Mountbellew Club to its greatest moments.
The Menotti Years: Noone, Kerrigan & Kelly
1984 – ’85
The trickle of emigration was to begin in late 1984. It was quickly to become a torrent. Occasional Shiven player and soccer enthusiast Brendan Lohan left in September. He was followed in February ’85 by Johnny Kelly and Arthur Hynes. Many more were to follow; Charlie Hynes, Tommy Cunningham, Gerry Kerrigan, Johnny Keating, Kevin Kelly, Joe The Tailor, Mike Treacy, Gerry and Kevin Kelly. The East Coast of the States could field a better Shiven team than the one which took the field in Killyan on many Sunday’s in the mid 80’s.
For the new season Shiven were once again in Division One. The management had changed though. Pat Noone, Luke Kerrigan and Pat Kelly had at some point in the past picked Shiven teams with Gerry Rushe. With his departure they were persuaded to accept management on a co-operative basis. Pat Noone had also been elected to the Roscommon League Council and his position of influence was to be invaluable in the future.
The new management team could have picked a better time to take over. The formation of Mountbellew Town meant the loss of players like Mike Treacy, Anthony Collevy, Padraig Conlon and Ronan Daly. Some Mountbellew lads, notably Pat Keating and Colm Finnerty remained; without them Shiven would have found it difficult to continue.
In a division including Ballaghadereen, BMW Albion (Ballymacward), Ahascragh, Manor, Cloonfad, Tarmon and Skyvalley B, Shiven had 8 points from 8 games at halfway point in the season and were in 2nd place behind Ballaghadereen. After the now traditional first round exit in the Cup to Glen Celtic 2-1, form went downhill and by the end of the season Rovers were in fifth place. Of the ’79 Cup Final Team only Pat Keating and Tim Hynes were regulars. Tomás Heavey and Paddy Kelly played when Gaelic commitments would allow and Charlie Hynes was soon to depart for Chicago. The squad for most matches included Pat Kelly, Tim Hynes, Pat Keating, Noel O’Brien, Gerry Kerrigan, Gerry Kelly (Tyrur), Gerry Kelly (Cloughbrack), Sean Gavin, Tommy Cunningham, Brendan Hynes, Mike Hynes and Gerry Lynch. How Noone and his management team could have done with the likes of Val Daly, Brian Barrett and Donal Duggan who were appearing regularly for a strong Mountbellew Town.
1985 – ’86
In the annals of Shiven Rovers the 1985 /’86 season is best forgotten about. It was now that the split with Mountbellew and the effects of emigration were felt most. A bad start was followed by a worse finish resulting in a play – off with C.P. Ajax to decide who would be relegated to Division 2 of the league.
Shiven were beaten 4 – 0 in one of Shiven’s darkest days. The Roscommon Cup offered no consolation either as Rovers exited in the 1st round to St. Johns. Shiven Rovers management had no need to employ a sports psychologist to find out what was wrong. I can still see Pat Kelly and Pat Noone coming into Hynes’ on a Sunday morning in April ’86 to cajole a group of players into togging out. The lads were more interested in playing Auction 15 than football. Why Shiven were doing so badly was no mystery. On a happier note veteran defender Pat Keating married Phil Reynolds on Easter Monday ’86. Shiven Rovers were well represented and the Vicar kept the clientele in The Royal Hotel and The Seven Oaks entertained.
1986 – ’87
Co – manager Pat Kelly broke his leg playing Junior football in July ’86 yet he continued on as manager with Noone and Kerrigan. The autumn of ’86 saw Shiven in Division 2 for the first time along with Tarmon, Skyvalley B, Slieve Bawn, Clonown, Moore and Ballaghadereen. Management had assembled a stronger squad than the previous season. Heavey was back playing regularly and Paddy Kelly often made the effort to get down from Dublin to participate.
Early season form was reasonably good. Aughrim were beaten on a 6 – 1 scoreline with goals from Paddy Flynn (2) Tommy Cunningham, Colm Heavey (2) and Brendan Hynes. On Nov. 15th . Ballymoe were seen off 6 – 3 with Michael Conway (2) Noel O’Brien, Tommy Cunningham, Brendan Hynes and Sean Dowd doing the scoring. The most memorable match of the season was on Halloween weekend, away to Slieve Bawn. It was fitting that this was the time when the Compromise Rules Series was being played in Australia. Slieve Bawn, though a good footballing side, tended to concentrate on the more physical aspect of the game. Men like Tomás Heavey, Paddy Kelly and Pat Keating are not easily intimidated and they revelled in the cut and thrust of the robust exchanges in very soft conditions. A 2 – 2 draw was a fair result against a team who we would often clash with in the coming years. Mid season saw us drawn away in the Connaught Cup to Boyle Celtic. John Cunningham was dragged from his bed at 10 o’clock to make up the eleven. Despite a 6 – 0 defeat, flying bonnets, locked toilets and a controversial game of Auction our two supporters Mr. B and Martin Gavin had an enjoyable day. Future star defender Pat Delaney also came along for a look. Shiven’s poor performance encouraged Pat to give the game a try and he’s still playing today.
Christmas ’86 saw Shiven in second place in the league behind Slieve Bawn. Wins over Ballymoe (3 – 0) and Tarmon (3 – 0) encouraged the notion that promotion was guaranteed. Two draws and a disastrous 4 – 0 defeat at home to Skyvalley in March put a question mark over our chances of returning to Division One. The loss to Skyvalley was particularly disappointing as Shiven had drawn with them away earlier in the season on a score of 1 – 1. The basis of what appeared to be a good Shiven team had taken shape at this stage. Sean Gavin, Kevin Kelly, Tim Hynes, Pat Keating, Brendan Hynes, Willie Flynn, Tommie Greally, Noel O’Brien, Colm Heavey, Tomás Heavey, and Mike Connolly had started the game in Skyvalley. The poor run in meant us having to play – off to decide on promotion. Once again Skyvalley provided the opposition but despite playing well Shiven lost 2 – O.
Though losing, Shiven were offered the chance of going back to the higher grade because of a number of new teams entering the League. It was decided to refuse the invitation; a decision that would be hotly debated afterwards. The ’86/’87 season had seen a marked improvement in performance. Against Cloonfad in the Cup Shiven had played very well and were extremely unlucky to lose 2 – O. There seemed to be hope for the future. Brendan Hynes had been Shiven’s best player for a number of years. His ability had been recognised by the Roscommon League as far back as 1980. In the 1986/’87 season he was again to pull on the league jersey for a team beaten in the area final of the Oscar Traynor Cup.
1987 – ’88 One Last Try
Noone and Kerrigan decided to give it one more season. Shiven began on September 9th with a 3 – 2 away win to Moore B. A home 3 – 1 win over Aughrim followed and BMW (Ballymac) were beaten 3 – 2 at home by the following team: John Fallon, Sean Gavin, Noel Larkin, Brendan Hynes, Colm Heavey, Noel O’Brien, Willie Flynn, Tommy Cunningham, Mike Conway and Kevin Kelly. Goal scorers were – Brendan Hynes, Kevin Kelly and Colm Heavey. By Christmas Shiven had 13 points out of a possible 20.
Having been knocked out of the Cup in the 1st round in recent seasons we felt that a home draw against Ahascragh gave us an excellent chance of getting to the 2nd round of the ’87/’88 Cup. Ahascragh had other ideas and a 3 – 0 defeat precipitated a dramatic loss of form in the league. .
An 8 – 0 defeat at home to Ballinasloe on Feb. 29th highlighted Shiven’s problems. Two weeks later we were to lose to the same opposition in Ballinasloe. A meagre total of 5 points were gained in the second half of the season, in a division that was of the lowest standard in Roscommon.
For Noone and Kerrigan this was enough. Their best efforts had seen no response from the players. I recall one particular night in Barretts during the Spring of ’88. We were to have a league match the following day but at 2.30 a.m. there was eight of the team present and enjoying the entertainment.
Some proceeded on to a 21st birthday party afterwards. Much to our surprise we lost the match 4 – 0 and worst of all it was considered funny.
Brendan Hynes also felt it was time to depart. At the start of the season he had been appointed trainer but soon resigned in frustration at the lack of effort. He was to play his soccer in future with C.B. Trotters where he won several honours at the highest levels in the Roscommon League.
In these circumstances it is easy to have sympathy with Noone, Kerrigan and Kelly. At a time of high immigration and a profusion of clubs in the area, their greatest achievement was to keep a club going. So many clubs folded in those years. That Shiven still exist is in a large part due to their work.
No Cups were won under their stewardship but given the nature of the times this is hardly surprising. Even today in places like Dysart and Manor one is asked if the three boys are still involved. When they departed in 1988 there was still a club to hand over.
Other managers could not say the same.