Brief History of our Club
The first report of an organised football match involving Cahersiveen appears in the Kerry Sentinel on February 23rd 1889. The game was between Cahersiveen and Waterville. A regretable feature in connection with this game was the frequent and oftentimes acrimonious disputes. With four minutes remaining the Caherciveen team walked off the field refusing to abide by a decision of the Referee. For the first time Cahersiveen affiliated with the County Board in 1890 and were pitted against Dr. Crokes in the first round. The game ended in a draw but as the Cahersiveen men were engaged in the mackerel season it was impossible for them to muster a team when the replay finally took place, Killarney were victorious.
On the 10th of December 1890 the Cahersiveen players met at the Carneige Library for the purpose of reorganisation. The team was named after the illustrious and immortal Liberator Daniel O’Connell. The colours of the O’Conells were to be black and amber. The O’Connells were very fortunate to receive the services of Pat McGillicuddy, a native of Renard, who trained as a National School Teacher, and showed his football preness with Erins hope in the Dublin County Championship. Before leaving Dublin Pat and his fellow classmates were personally told by Michael Cusack to form and develop Clubs in every Parish. Pat McGillicuddy took up Principalship of Knockeens National school and brought with him a great knowledge of scientific Gaelic Football as laid down by the recently founded G.A.A. The Cahersiveen O’Connells were beaten in the 1895 County final but were successful in 1896 when Pat McGillicuddy captained the team to its first County title. Pat had also won a County Championship with Laune Rangers in 1890. With the formation of the South Kerry Board in 1903 O’Connells, the first champions of Iveragh, and in the next 30 years O’Connells were champions on six occasions.
In April 1929 Cahersiveen C.B.S. applied to the South Kerry and County Boards to affiliate a team in the South Kerry Junior Championship. The request was granted and so the St. Marys Club came into being. Having captured the South Kerry Championship in 1929 St. Marys now joined the O’Connells in the Senior Championship of 1930. The star of the young St. Marys outfit was P.J. “Peachy” O’Sullivan who won minor and senior All-Irelands in 1931. The youthful St. Marys team were emerging as the Kingpins of football in Cahersiveen and the O’Connells with most of their players now regarded as Veterans. In 1934 Cahersiveen could only field one team and St. Marys with their distinctive blue jerseys and a white sash became the team to represent the town of Cahersiveen in the future.
A great concern for the St. Marys Club in the 1930’s and 1940’s was the lack of a permanent headquarters. However in 1947 information reached officers of the Club that a stretch of land, to the west of the town, was to be offered for sale. The wide awake mentors, Messers Jackie Walsh (Chairman), Seamus O’Shea (Secretary) and Michael O’Shea (treasurer), immediately approached the owners of the property and a deal was quickly clinched for a sum of £650. For the first time in its history the Cahersiveen Club came into possession of a field it could call its own. Despite the fact that the playing surface was not fully completed until 1950 the South Kerry Championships of 1948 and 1949 were played at St. Marys new headquarters. It was the unanimous wish of the Club to dedicate the new Park to the memory of Con Keating, the first man to die in the Easter Rising of 1916. The Con Keating Park was declared officially opened on August 6th 1956 before the largest attendance ever seen at a sporting fixture in South Kerry. The game between Kerry and Wexford ended Kerry 1-8, Wexford 0-7.
St. Marys have had remarkable success on the playing field since its inception in 1929. It holds 30 Senior South Kerry Chamnpionships; County Junior Final in 1982 and 2010; All Ireland Junior Champions 2011; Intermediate County Champions 2001 and 2015 also Munster and All-Ireland Intermediate for 2015. County League Division 1 title holders in 2003.
Since 1924 Club Members have won 22 Senior All-Ireland medals Jack Murphy 2; P.J. “Peachy” O’Sullivan 1 ; Jerome O’Shea 3; Gerald O’Sullivan 2; Jack O’Shea 7; Maurice Fitzgerald 2; Bryan Sheehan 5; . Both Jack O’Shea and Maurice Fitzgerald have been honoured as Footballer of the year- Jack on four occasions, 80, 81, 84 and 85, and Maurice on one occasion 1997. Jack O’Shea received six All Star awards 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, and Maurice Fitzgerald 3 awards 88, 96, and 97. Bryan Sheehan received an All Star in 2011.
It’s hoped that the standards set by Mentors and Players of the past will be followed by future generations and that more success will be achieved to add additional chapters to the tradition and deeds of the famed St. Marys Cahersiveen.