Arthur Walker, the Father Mathew connection
Arthur Walker, the battle of Ballyphehane
Ballyphehane has numerous sports clubs but is famous to many as the home of Munster Rugby, Sunday’s Well RFC, and Dolphin Rugby Club, all based at Musgrave Park on the Tramore Road.
From Declan Myers, ‘Ballyphehane, My Own Place’ –
“Musgrave Park itself was purchased by the Munster Branch of I. R. F. U. in 1938. Ballyphehane was still open country at that stage and Musgrave Park is situated in what had previously been a large turf store. The onset of the war in 1939 prevented immediate development of the grounds, but it was possible to build a little pavilion and have two playing pitches. That little pavilion (or house) was fondly known as ‘Kate Kearney’s Cottage’ and is still there today used for grounds men’s gear.”
Ballyphehane G.A.A. Club was officially established in 1957, with Mr. Paddy Hayes and the late Mr. Dan Driscoll among the founder members. The club was registered under the name Fr. Mathew’s.
Games were originally played in Tory Top Park, but the main home for Ballyphehane G.A.A was and still is The Green. The Green is a large field on the Tramore Road, provided by Cork Corporation and the County Board. There were no facilities on The Green, so players were allowed to change gear in the shed of the Hayes family home before going the 150 yards to the pitch. Games were also played in other fields in the area, e.g. behind Scoil Realt Na Maidine (now Colaiste Stiofain Naofa). The very first strip worn by Fr. Mathew’s was all white, later the blue hoop was added and the name changed to Ballyphehane.
Many young local stars began their playing days on The Green and went on to become household names, including Charlie McCarthy, Gerald McCarthy, Colin Corkery, Declan O’Mahony, Donal Curtin & Robert O’Mahony.
Ballyphehane Ladies GAA are also based at The Green. They cater for adults and children from four years upwards.
Kilreen Celtic is based at Tory Top Park in Ballyphehane. They have been winners of cups and leagues in the Cork Schoolboys League since 1971. They also entered the Cork AUL in 1977 and won the third division and went all the way to the AUL Premier. The club has also had success in the Cork Youth League and entered the Munster Senior League in the 2016-2017 season.
Casement Celtic FC is a soccer club for young people of all ages, based at Ballyphehane Community Centre. Evergreen AFC, based in Deerpark CBS and catering for those aged 6 to 16 also trains at the community centre. Casement Celtic was formed in 1970, and has its own grounds at Casement Park, Carrigrohane Road.
Kevin Finbarr Long (born 18 August 1990), from Connolly Road, Ballyphehane, is an Irish professional footballer who plays for English club Burnley and the Republic of Ireland national team. He plays mainly as a centre back but can also fill in at full back.
Father Mathew’s basketball club serves the southside of Cork and is for young people of all ages. In its first 15 years, the club has grown to be one of the biggest in the country. in Ballyphehane, the club is based at Ballyphehane Community Centre.
There is also Shaolin, weekly at the community centre, which combines Kung Fu and Tai Chi for fitness. The Odakan School of Karate was founded in 1982 Sensei John Daly and in 1985 Sensei Gary Daly (Godan, 5th Dan Black Belt) took it over and is still instructing it today. The school trains in Maria Assumpta Primary School.