Hurling Memories

Ger Corrigan

Taken from an interview with Echo, Feb 11th 1972, looking back at his fathers playing days back when they competed for two All Ireland Titles in 1899 and 1901.

Ger Corrigan is by his own right an old Gael and has a fund of memories of the past where gaeldom is concerned. He won the Co. Wexford minor hurlingb championship with Enniscorthy in 1943 and filled the same birth n the Blackwater team which beat Ballyvaldon in the memorable final of Blackwater parish hurling league in the early fiftes (he played outfield in earlier clashes). He also played as a goalie for Blackwater teams in the football upsurge that resulted from Garda Jim Rogers transfer to the village in the forties.

Recalling some memories of the 1901 ‘Home’ Final that have come down through the years, Ger said Blackwater were handicaped, the referee (he was a corkman) sent to the line a few minutes from the start, Tom Byrne of Garryvadden, so that the Wexford selection was forced to play with only 14 men.

Ger recalled to the names of the lines that were familiarly used in the early part of the century. There was the culbaire (known as the goalie), 4 men manning the full back line of defence, points could be scored if the ball was sent of the bar or between the spaces made by uprights at each side of the uprights (goalposts), 3 men at the centre of the breast, and 2 centre of the breast, 2 wings of the breast, 2 centre field men, 3 men the drivers (half forwards today) and 4 men the full of the drivers (full forward line today). In those days a goal was greater than it is today , at one time five points were regarded as equal to a goal. The GAA was founded in 1884 and in its early days teams were 21 a-side. Then or perhaps, earlier still, according to Blackwater tradition, there was no 60 or 80 minutes play – the team that secured the first goal was regarding as the winner and play ceased when that goal was scored. The match was played from ditch to ditch, the goal itself was made by bending a sally switch and the scorer of the all important goal was called a bowman. There are memories too of such a game of long duration, some 100 years back between two townlands of Blackwater parish, Ballyvaldon and Ballyconnigar.