I was playing football with Pearse’s first and it was decided to form a new club. Pete Crehan, Paddy Lohan. PJ Noone were there, then somebody asked me if I would go along up. Well, I was from east Galway so I went along with them and the Gabriel’s club was formed and I went to play along with them. The first game was out in Slough and, I tell you what, they were a tough rugged team, St Mel’s was their name. When you got possession of a ball they’d surround and they weren’t playing tennis with you, I’ll tell you that.
Gabriel’s started in 1961 and they’re still going, and I hope they’ll be going for a long, long time. They were a great club and had lots of stalwarts from officials to players as well as supporters. I think the club’s greatest stalwart was Michael Kenny from Kiltormer, Co. Galway. I think he was secretary for a long time, I think he held every position in Gabriel’s hurling club. He was a real, genuine man. If he gave you advice, it was extremely good advice.
A lot of the lads in the early years were from east Galway. Cappatagle, Killimor and Eyrecourt and all those places like that. I can remember the first team ever playing, and the photograph. There was Michael Conway, Seamus Nevin, Pete Crehan and Padraic Shiels. There was myself, Mick Shaughnessy and Mick Greally, captain, Charlie Graham and Pete Fitzgerald. Eugene Spellman right half forward, Dick Power centre forward and PJ Noone left half forward and then there was PJ Forde, Bill Gorman and Charlie Clarke. That was the team and we had just the 15 going out to play and, I tell you what, we won the Junior league and Junior championship the first year, the Intermediate league with them the second year.
The first St Gabriels team who lined out against St Mel’s of Slough in the London Junior hurling league, 19th March 1961.
But they were great days and a great club. We had great camaraderie and when you’d meet them out socially, they’d be great craic. They’re the best club I ever played for anyway. We won the (first) Senior championship and league with them in ’65, we beat Brother Pearse’s in the final and our star hurler that day was Johnny Organ from Clare, the Lord have mercy on his soul. I was at his funeral, but he had a fine game at centre-forward for us. The whole lot of us played well you know.
That first day there was Micky Linnane, from Gort, County Galway, Dave Daly was from Cork and there was Pat Bradley. He came on in the second half, he was from Westmeath. Charlie Graham and Johnny Hughes in the half-back line. Very underrated players, but great players on their day, I’ll tell you that. PJ Fitzgerald, he was Co. Galway full-forward. We won it fairly easy that day.
I remember another few lads who played full-back, with Kerril Burke and Mattie Burke, Paddy Carr. They were in the last line of the defence when we won it (’65). The two Burkes were from Athenry and Paddy Carr from Oranmore/Maree, a great hurler, a very versatile hurler. If I could pick out the greatest Gabriel’s hurler, who could play anywhere, it’d be Paddy Carr. He was simply superb.
Mickey Treacy – centre, flanked by Seamus Nevin and PJ Noone in March.1961
Interview with Patrick McLoughlin -*Excerpt from the forthcoming book St Gabriels 1961 – 2021