Brugh Pádraig Manchester 50th Year Re-union

Brugh Padraig Manchester 50th

Last year in the February March issue of NewsFour I wrote about a planned 50th year club re-union between Brugh Pádraig Youth Club (under 16 Football Team) and St Clare’s Boys Football club in Manchester. This was to mark the occasion of our first encounter playing for the Liam Whelan Memorial Trophy over a two year period 1963 and 1964 on a home and away basis.

Many of the Brugh lads that were part of the team back in 1963 who lived around the Pearse Street, Ringsend and Ballsbridge areas were contacted and indeed many of them were quite enthusiastic and excited about a re-union dinner in Manchester to mark the occasion.

Our planned programme was a three day week-end trip to Manchester in early February 2013, including flights, hotel accommodation, tickets to watch Manchester United v Norwich City, a tour of Old Trafford stadium and the re-union dinner.

When I first enquired about purchasing tickets I was assured that there would be no problem as the opposition were not all that attractive. I was simply looking to buy tickets at face value prices, but much to my surprise I was quoted ridiculous prices. So, with 10 days to departure time we still had no tickets.

In desperation I wrote directly to Sir Alex Ferguson explaining the background and the sense of occasion and calling on his good offices requesting to buy tickets at face value.

With five days to go I had a call directly from his offices saying that the tickets would be available for collection at the stadium. Happily we saw the game which unfortunately was very poor, United winning 4 nil but nevertheless everyone enjoyed the occasion and atmosphere.

The celebratory dinner on the Sunday evening was the highlight of the trip. After the dinner we had a wonderful night’s entertainment listening and hearing of the many Brugh stories and yarns finishing with a sing- song of the many hit numbers of the swinging sixties that lasted well into the early morning.

Monday midday the group went on a tour of the Old Trafford football stadium. We saw all the wonderful facilities including the players changing rooms and lounges, the fitness centre, media facilities and where all the world press conduct their interviews. We also saw the famous football pitch which is covered 365 days of the year by electronic drying machines.

We all went home that night on an evening flight after spending a wonderful trip down memory lane sharing great experiences and craic that will never be forgotten.

For me it was a pleasure seeing and meeting the lads again that I knew as young boys under 15 years of age and now in their mid-sixties as fathers and grandfathers. What memories, what friendships.

Above: The Brugh team that played in Manchester in 1964. Back: Eamonn Thomas (youth leader), Michael McDonald, Paddy Knut, Brian Murtagh, Pat Smith, Noel Murray, Father Ignatius and Mick O’Keefe.
Front row: Derek Lawless (RIP), Tony Doyle, George Molloy, captain Larry Murphy (RIP), Noel Donovan and Eddie Barter.
Below: Reunion of some of the lads in Manchester.

By Eamonn Thomas
(former Brugh Pádraig member and Youth Leader)