The Beginning - The Way Things Were: By Ernest O’ Mahony / Joe Kennedy

The idea of playing football goes back to a time even before the birth of Christ. Various societies adopted the idea, interpreted or modified the rules governing its executing. One could say that football was an expression of life itself and the changes within mirrored changes in society as a whole. It was for this reason that from being a tribal war it developed to the stage of folk football and finally to becoming a more humanized sport early in the nineteenth century. The branch of enthusiasts which now participate in the greatest game on earth, the simple game, the game of billions, has it’s influence in two main streams. The rule makers of Cambridge who in 1871 gave us the beginning of the civilized game. The artistry came from the Italian game of Calico which had at its foundation the rules of chivalry. The progression through the ages has directed our sport towards nullifying the aggression and moving it to a position where it now hovers at the frontier of art.

Mayfield United - The Seeds are Shown

In the mid to late sixties soccer was very popular with the youngsters in the Mayfield area. Through the medium of television we had just witnessed the 1966 world cup finals, which England Won. Locally two very strong League of Ireland teams, Corks Hibs and Cork Celtic were doing very well.

Iona Park, commonly known as Looney’s field was the place to be. We than participated in what in olden times might be called folk football, with games continuing many hours and lasting late into the evenings. A lot of skill was evident and when some of this talent started to play competitive football with clubs throughout the City there was an urgent need to form a local club, hence the beginning of Mayfield United. Mayfield itself was traditionally a very strong GAA stronghold and the commencement of a soccer club in the area was not greeted with much sceptism. The than youthful duo of Ernest O’Mahony and Joe Kennedy set the wheel in motion and a meeting was held in the summer of 1971 at Iona Green. Among those present were the aforementioned plus Coleman Casey, Tadgh O’Neill, Richard Keating, and Pat O’Connell. It was decided to hold a weekly raffle and the efforts of one Richard Keenan who was never to take an active part in the Club, must be mentioned for the huge amount of tickets he sold. A second hand set of gear was purchased from Casement Celtic for £15. We were now ready to take to the field as Mayfield United.

The first official committee was formed later that year. Those elected were,

Chairman Tommy O’Sullivan, Secretary - Amby Guilfoyle, Treasurer - George Foley,
Committee :
Jack Harnett, Fergie Donovan, Sean O’ Keefe, Joe Kennedy, Ernest O’Mahony, Jack Joyce and Michael O’Shaughnessy was elected soon after.

During these earliest days, due to a combination of the “ban” syndrome and a feeling of insecurity, to find a place for our meeting was next to impossible. This included places like the parish hall. We were also accused of keeping young people from mass by playing our matches on a Sunday morning. But all were not bad. In St. Dominics at that time was one Fr. Moran who had spent many years affiliated to youth groups particularly in the Dublin area. He empathized with what the club was trying to achieve in creating a positive outlet for young people. He literally took us under his wing. He provided us with a meeting room and also provided a special mass on Sunday mornings prior to our matches. His influence at this time was enormous and the peace and tranquility of St. Dominics retreat house was also an abiding memory. Fr Moran’s appearance at our meetings was a very important aspect in those early days. In his quiet, intelligent, forthright manner he portrayed to us the common sense approach to Christianity which was an enormous help to us than and now. Fr Moran was elected our president than and is still holder of that position, along with holding life member of our club.

The Competition Begins

A decision was made to apply to the Cork Schoolboys League and a letter of acceptance was received from their secretary, Mr Pat Long, on the 9th December 1971. A few practice matches were than played. The first Mayfield United team to line out in a friendly was against Casement Celtic, on St. Stephen's morning, 1972. Under snowy conditions at Ballyphehane Park the game proved a thriller and ended in a draw. The team that day was,

Brian Murphy, Tadgh O’Neill, Tony Kennedy, Denis Kennedy, Finbarr Sexton, Richard Keating, Pat O’Connell, Dave Crowley, David Ryan, Daniel O’Sullivan and Donny Twomey.

Mayfield United played their first competitive game against Wolfe Tone at Wolfe Tone park and a great display was served up by the young lads especially, John Mulcahy, who was the goal keeper that day.

A team was also entered into the under 15 grade and the highlight of this team’s season was the Evans Cup victory over a fancied Togher outfit. The late, Pat “Buddy” O’Connell, was the star performer at left back in this game. Solid foundation were set for the future and such was the interest that no less than seven teams were entered in competition for the following year.


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