Gaelic Sunday 100 years ago today
August 4th 1918 was one of the most remarkable and significant days in the history of the GAA. It will be forever remembered as Gaelic Sunday- the day when the GAA peacefully stood against the British Empire – and won!
Blackwater had two teams competing in the junior hurling grade this year, one team in the first division of junior while the second team competed in the second division. The first team also competed in the intermediate hurling league. Unfortunately it was not noted who the club officers were at the time but Thomas Murphy was secretary of the club.
In 1918, the authorities in Ireland tried to impose conscription to supplement the war effort but there was massive opposition to this. There was great frustration on behalf of the British authorities at this and they blamed the GAA in part for this opposition. The issue came to a head on July 9th when an Ulster Championship match was prevented from taking place in Cootehill by Crown Forces.
British Authorities attempted a crackdown on GAA activities by insisting no matches could take place without prior written permission being sought and granted. The GAA not only objected they decided to defy the order and hold a match in every parish in Ireland at precisely the same time – 3pm on Sunday 4th August.
The protest was far more successful than could ever have been imagined and an estimated 54,000 players participated in a game with over 100,000 watching across the entire island. It all ran entirely without major incident and Forced the abandonment of the requirement to seek a license to play a GAA match (GAA page).
Blackwater of course played their part with the local constabulary (the police) noted to have entered the field but left after some time. The brave men who took part in the game are as follows: T Murphy, P Murphy, D Murphy, E Murphy, J Murphy, N J Murphy, P Whelan, L Whelan, J Whelan, E O’Brien, M Dempsey, P Dempsey, M Cullen, P Cullen, W Cullen, T Cullen, J Dempsey, John Dempsey, J Sinnott, T Marsh, T Carty, J Kavanagh, D Lacy, M Lacy, O Lacy, P Mangan, T Kelly, J Breen, A Dempsey, J Whelan, John Whelan made a capable referee. The first team played the second team with the first team winning by a point.
Check out the brilliant video below from the GAA explaining what happened on that faithful day and its great to think that our club were part of it.