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R.I.P. Dan Keane… (and other ends tidied up)

“And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew,

That one small head could carry all he knew.”

Dan Keane among friends

Listowel was saddened last night to hear of the passing of Dan Keane, father, grandfather, neighbour and friend, poet, seanchaí, local historian, scholar and selfless community man.

Anyone who spent time in Dan’s company came away enlightened. His contribution to Listowel and North Kerry cannot be underestimated. I am grateful that much of his legacy has been committed to print.

As my tribute, I will give you here a ballad that Dan wrote, in his own typical style, extolling a great Clounmacon footballing victory.

Ball, Battle and Bucket

By Dan Keane

The morning sun climbed slowly up

The mid November sky.

Jack Murphy scratched his poll and said:

“ I think the day’ll dry!”

Pat Gleeson came from early Mass

“Be well prepared!” he said,

And Philly stirred the embers up

To toast the captains bread.

Ahern brushed his Sunday pants

And donned his ruby shoes,

And fell in line with those who went

In fours, and threes and twos.

Maig Doyle, she watched the crowds go by-

What memories they brought her-

“God speed!” she uttered o’er and o’er

And shook the holy water.

Tady Buckley traced the cross

Upon his frosted brow.

He blessed the flag he dearly loved

But could not follow now.

He bade them take his old brown hat

(And told what should be done)

And have it lofted towards the sky

In case Clounmacon won.

Men went of dark and silvery heads

And every sort of dame

Forgot to rub her lipstick on

In a rush to see the game.

And meadow patch and bohereen

Poured out their manhood’s fill

And Derry mustered up her troops

Led on by Donal Bill.

And Curly’s oratorial powers

In vivid picture draws

The ebb and flow of many a fight

In theirs and Ireland’s cause.

The clock has passed the noon day hour,

Then fast by Tarbert town-

Clounmacon versus Tarbert

For North Kerry’s football crown.

Then lo!! To where the teams line out,

Across the scene sublime

There strode the form of a priest

Serenely and benign.

He clasped the rival captain’s hands

And bade them fight the sod

In a manner well befitting

Their country and their God.

The National hymn and Anthem

Pour forth their solemn notes

And the banner green of Erin

Each flapping-free fold floats.

The whistle’s blown, the ball is thrown,

The rival’s slogans raise

The echoes from their hot blaze.

First Tarbert, deer-like, break away,

The surging chorus swelled,

But, grimly set, our backs defiant

Each raking raid repelled.

“Twas glorious down Clounmacon’s left

The fight flowed fierce and fast,

Where O’Connell’s peerless Paddy

And the mighty Coleman clashed.

The tide of battle turns

And Clounmacon in attack,

Like rocks upon their native shore

Stands every Tarbert back.

“Till last Mick Donal fielding high

He swerves and shoots with speed,

The leather sails above the bar-

Clounmacon takes the lead.

And Elligott on captain Joe

Some daring days recall

And fiercly through the battles wade

They are fighting ball for ball.

Jer Egan’s every effort

Prized the doors of hope ajar

Sails high above the bar.

But faster and more fiercly still

Come Tarbert down the field,

Where Buckley, Lyons and Leahy

Once more refuse to yield.

As wild waves over golden sands

Resistless pressure pour,

So Mulvihill the white flag lifts

For Tarbert’s opening score.

A deadly drive by Costello

Sails past the mid-way line

Where Phelan and Wax Scanlon

In clever work combine.

Mick Donal’s free with deadly aim

Across the bar has sped,

Clounmacon on the half-time blast

Are still two points ahead.

Still grimly through the second half

Doth battle’s red rage run,

Clounmacon fearless force the pace,

Playing into wind and sun.

But Cregan, calm in Tarbert goals

Some deadly drives defied,

As Halpin and Bill Egan

To fell his fortress tried.

With hawklike swoops our forward troops

Dash dauntless to the fray,

Mick Donal scores a brace of points

Then Tarbert break away,

Like fore and flash, upfield they dash

The white flag to unroll,

With might and main they sought, in vain,

To gain the levelling goal.

The rock rim rattled as brave men battled,

And echo ran and ran,

Twas deed for deed and speed for speed

And every man for man.

Twas pace and power for one hard hour

And fortune rocked and reeled,

Men trained and strained of strength were drained

To finish that fierce field.

And gallant Tarbert’s glorious bid,

Like tidal waves to shore,

Down on Clounmacon’s fortress

The tide of battle bore.

But Costello comes charging clean,

Undimmed and undismayed,

Of falcon-fetch and eagle eye

Each long cheered clearance made.

The rock-like Scanlon on his left

Was ever to the fore,

While O’Mahony on his back

A stainless mantle wore,

Pat Kerins roaming restless,

His colours never lowered,

While centre-field on Tarbert’s lines

The living leather poured.

Still fiercely fight their gallant backs,

Like lions brought to bay,

When, hark! Above the tow’ring trees

The thundering echoes roll- 

Joe Scanlon grips an Egan ball

To crash a glorious goal.

Ahern danced in ruby shoes,

Din Egan waved his tie,

And Tady Buckley’s old brown hat

Went soaring towards the sky.

“Lord boys, above!” Ned Sheehy cries,

“ I think we can relax!”

Then Ned went for another point-

A black one- in at Macs.

As slowly sinking down to rest

The pallid autumn sun

The ref. blows loud the final blast

The field is fought and won

To gallant Tarbert now we say

Long may each daring deed

Loom rock-like on the shores of fame

Where broken hopes recede.

The stately form of the priest

Once more outfield appears,

And there presents the silver cup

“Midst long full-throated cheers.

The beacon-light of victory

The lit that glorious scene,

Shall long illume each fame-crowned name

Of our Clounmacon team.

We filled the trophy overflowing,

And drank in gladsome glee,

A toast to every heart we love

At home and o’er the sea.

We drained its bosom o’er and o’er,

Then home the captain took it,

His daughter Joan rushed out and cried:

Where did you get the bucket?

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal dílis. Ní fheicfimid a leithéad arís.


 A better copy of the young farmers and mentors photo with Paddy Finucane included.

And as for yesterday’s boyeens, it looks more likely it’s 1948 than 68. It’s Mrs Crowley’s Senior Infants’ Class and it has a few famous scholars in it. Vincent has given me a few leads so I should have names in due course. Maybe a twin who checks in here but is currently in another time zone might help me out or maybe even a neighbour much closer to me might remember the names of his classmates all those years ago.


Old School photo, Finuge eviction


Horse Fair January 5 2012


  1. Anonymous

    It has to be late forties early fifties

  2. Unknown

    Dan a great man, God rest him.

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