Patrick Darcy may be slowing down on the legs but he's still very sprightly mentally. In fact for a man in his ninetieth year, having been born on February 12, 1920, he has a wonderful memory that can stretch back over the nine decades.
He remembers going to his first match at Thurles in 1928 at the age of eight years. Clare beat Tipperary that day but he remembers the treat he got from his father, a bar of 'Half-Time, Jimmy' which was made by Urneys at the time. His father and the 'Bear' Parsons retired to Mickey Bowe's pub for a couple of pints and they brought out the chocolate to Patrick, his brother, Danny, and Johnny Parsons.
Another long memory goes back to 1931 and the first minor hurling championship in the West. Cashel beat Arravale Rovers, Clonoulty and Annacarty along the way. Patrick, who came on as a sub in the final at the age of eleven years, believes the game was played at Cooper's field at Killenure. He is still bitter at the failure of the board to provide medals for the winners.
A Handy Hurler
Patrick must have been a handy hurler to get his place on the team so young and could have played minor for another seven years. Cashel minors didn't have much success in the following years and lost a number of matches because of overage players. There is a reference to a juvenile league in 1933 in which Cashel beat Fethard but lost the game beause of illegal players. Patrick was on the team. He does remember playing with the C.B.S. and beating Templemore C.B.S. but losing to Thurles in the final. As well as hurling they used to do gymnastics in the school and they put on a display in the hurling field once a year.
His hurling was curtailed when he emigrated to England in 1936 at the age of sixteen years. He was to remain there until the war broke out in 1939, when he returned to Cashel. He worked on the buildings and had his first drink there. Later in life he used to enjoy a drink in Lonergan's on a Monday night in the company of the 'Dasher' Lonergan.
When he returned from England in 1939 he resumed hurling and played junior for a number of years. He recalls the setting up of the Abbey Rangers in 1940 and believes the reason they broke from the Cashel King Cormac's was a perception among some players that they weren't getting a fair crack of the whip in team selection.
Divisional Senior Medals
Patrick was on the Cashel senior team that won the west final in 1945. He played in the full-forward line with Michael Burke and Charlie Power. They beat Kickhams by 4-5 to 1-3 in the final on a day when Jim and Pat Devitt were in sparkling form. They lost the county semi-final at Thurles to Roscrea. The only survivors of that team are Patrick and Jackie Corcoran.
The hurling field in these years was on the Ardmayle Road and Patrick believes the team was trained for one of the finals by Arthur Donnelly's brother from Boherlahan. They used to puck the ball about and have sprinting and running during these training sessions.
Patrick won his second senior divisional medal in 1948 when Cashel again beat Kickhams in the final. On this occasion the match was much closer. Kickhams led by four points at half-time but Cashel fought back to win by two points on a scoreline of 3-6 to 3-4. They lost by a point to Lorrha in the county semi-final. Again there are only two survivors of this team, Patrick and Jackie Corcoran.
He continued to play for Cashel for the next three years, losing to Kickhams every year, twice in finals and once in a semi-final. In January 1952 he emigrated once again to England and remained there until 1956. During his time in England he didn't play hurling.
Returning to Cashel he worked with the contractor, Paddy Murphy of Bohermore, and was involved in the building of the tower in Rockwell College. He used to walk to work there and had to be on the job at eight o'clock.
Board of Works
He went back to England once again for a couple of years in the sixties and when he returned he was involved in the building of the Cashel Motor Inn late in the same decade. He continued to work for local contractors until he joined the Board of Works in 1974 and he remained with them until he retired in 1986.
Today as he reminisces on his long existence he can look back on a life of variety that spans nine decades with a high level of satisfaction in the knowledge that he has enoyed a greater slice of life than many of his fellow men.
The Nationalist, February 18, 2010