Tramore Athletic F.C.
Tramore Athletic FC who in 2008 celebrated its sixtieth anniversary, one of the top amateur clubs in the country, owes their very existence to a string of controversial circumstances in 1947. Evergreen FAI Junior Cup winners in 1936 who after graduating to Munster Senior Football won the League in ’37 folded through lack of numbers, like many other clubs, following the outbreak of WW2. Evergreen reformed in 1946 when they entered minor and junior teams and had a runaway success in the Minor Shield. Then came a split which rocked the club to its foundations resulting in the majority of the underage players leaving. Evergreen were given three weeks to register new players so that they could continue their revival while the breakaway group, including players from Turner’s Cross, Douglas and Blackrock, decided to form a new team.
As the Tramore River was a common link with those three localities Tramore Athletic was the name chosen by the founders. They were formed at a gathering in the doorway of O’Connell’s Corner House Pub (Turner’s Cross Tavern) by John O’Sullivan, Mossie Cronin, Des Doherty, Leonard Gould and Michael Dwyer. They were too late to affiliate for the 1947-48 season which had already commenced. But, fortuitously, in October 1947 they were thrown a life-line when Munster Minor Cup holders Rock Rangers surprisingly withdrew from the league and Tramore were accepted to fill the vacancy. At the end of their debut season Tramore suffered a huge setback as most of those still eligible for youth football, including Patons Keating (later Sheff Utd) and Bunny Horgan, returned to Evergreen and helped them win the FAI Minor Cup. When they resumed for the 1948-49 campaign Jerry O’Brien was Tramore’s only survivor from the inaugural season.
c. For four years they offered gallant resistance to teams like Glasheen, Tower Rovers, Collins’ and Crofton before eventually, amidst joyous scenes, claiming their first ever trophy the 1954 U14 League. Frankie McCarthy, one of Tramore’s and the Schoolboys’ Leagues greatest products, was a member of that victorious team. Tony Murphy (later Chairman of the MSL) and Micky Sheehan, both life time members of the club, also won medals that year. Tramore quickly made up lost ground and by the time the CSL celebrated its 21st birthday they overtook Glasheen and Tower to top the all-time honours list. Frankie McCarthy, capped against Wales in 1955, became the clubs first international in any grade and in the following years dozens of Tramore lads joined that illustrious list.
Tramore gained national prominence in 1958 when they recorded an unexpected win over Johnville (Dublin) at Turner’s Cross. The final was brought forward to 12. 0 clock to avoid a clash with a Crazy Ball game at the Mardyke. A crowd of over 1,000 paid 2 shillings or sixpence if you claimed to be under 18. The roar which greeted Connie Moloney’s first minute goal for Tramore drowned out the toll of the Angelus bell and could have been heard by the majority of parishioners who were attending last mass at a thronged Christ The King Church. There was no loitering after Mass that Sunday as the men folk hurried the 100 yards up Curragh Road to the pitch where officials who expected late arrivals charged half- price (one shilling) to watch the second half. Tramore now had a few hundred extra voices roaring encouragement and they responded in great style by outplaying the neat Dubs. Tony Wilson’s cracker in the 60th minute put the seal on a famous victory after which Tramore, with Noel O’Mahony dominant, easily contained Johnville’s best efforts.
Encouraged by the national success Tramore kept a junior team in the AUL but wisely afforded the graduating youths the opportunity of playing at a higher grade by joining the Munster Senior League in 1959. At that level they progressed to become one of the most successful clubs in the country contesting seven FAI Intermediate Cup finals with outright victories recorded in 1979, 1981 and 1986. That was a golden decade for the Turner’s Cross lads as they also won the FAI Youths Cup in 1980 and ’82. Dave Barry starred on the side which beat Home Farm in 1980 while Kieran O’Regan played in both finals and scored in the 3-0 victory over Athlone. Kieran went on to become the first former Tramore player to gain full international honours when capped against Malta in 1984 and subsequently was honoured on three further occasions.
Tramore Athletic, founded in 1947, has always been recognised as one of Cork’s most productive soccer nurseries and, apart from Frankie McCarthy, Noel O’Mahony, Dave Barry and Kieran O’Regan, others to blossom included Pat O’Mahony, Brian McSweeney, Denis Galvin, Ricky Galvin, Billy Treacy, Barry O’Brien, the Neiland brothers, Gerry McCarthy, Mick Mackey, Carl Humphreys, Liam Roynane, Mick Tobin, Charlie McCarthy, Redmond Lane, Dave Waters, Pat Kirby, Dave O’Connor and Fergus O’Donoghue. Two members of the FAI Youth Cup winning team