Rare Louth GAA medals, including All-Ireland wins from 1910 and 1912, to be sold at auction
All-Ireland Football Championship medals in Louth are about as rare as hen’s teeth but two of them could be yours if you fancy bidding at an auction later this month for them.
While Louth’s last All-Ireland success of 1957 is still celebrated, it was in fact the third time that the Wee County had won the All-Ireland following on from victories in 1910 and 1912.
Johnny Brennan, a player with Dundalk Rangers, was part of those winning sides and now a collection of 12 silver and gold medals which he won between 1905 and 1915 are set to go under the hammer on Tuesday May 30th at a Rare Books, Literature, Manuscripts and Sporting Collectibles Auction in the Tara Towers Hotel in Dublin hosted by Kilkenny-based auctioneer Fonsie Mealy.
As well as the two All-Ireland’s won with Louth, the medal collection includes provincial championship medals and club honours from Louth, including senior and junior championship medals.
However, if you want to get your hands on them expect to pay in the region of €15,000 – €20,000.
Commenting on the medal haul and Johnny Brennan, the auctioneers said described the medals as a “truly magnificent collection from the rudimentary stages of the GAA.”
On Brennan they said he “was leading scorer in many of the 34 matches he played for Louth between 1902 & 1916. Brennan was one of Louth’s nominated players in their team of the Century. Brennan played in five Leinster Finals and three All-Ireland Finals. He also played in four other National Tournament Finals, i.e. Croke Memorial Cup & Wolfe Tone Memorial Tournament.”
Further details on the auction can be found at www.fonsiemealy.ie while the full breakdown of the medals is as follows:
- 1905 Junior Football Championship silver Medal Dundalk Rangers won by beating Newtown Blues 1-6 to 0-4. Winning the Junior Championship meant automatic elevation to Senior level.
- 1907 Senior League silver Medal Dundalk Rangers won by beating Dundalk Geraldines 1-7 to 0-6.
- 1907 Senior Championship silver Medal Dundalk Rangers won by beating Dundalk John Dillons 0-12 to 0-6 in a replay.
- 1908 Senior Championship 9ct gold Medal Dundalk Rangers won by beating Dundalk Young Irelands 2-8 to 0-5.
- 1909 Louth First Leinster Senior Football Title 9ct gold Medal. They beat Kilkenny at Jones’s Road on October 24th before a crowd of 6,000 by 2-9 to 0-4. Johnny Brennan scored 0-6. Louth were represented by Tredagh’s. Louth were beaten in the All-Ireland final by Kerry on a score-line of 1-9 to 0-6, before a record crowd of 15,000.
- 1910 Louth Second Leinster Championship 9ct gold Medal. They beat Dublin 0-3 to 0-0 at Jones’s Road on October 16th. Johnny Brennan scored 0-2.
- 1910 Louth First All-Ireland Football Final 9ct gold Medal. The final was scheduled for Jones’s Road on November 13th against Kerry. Louth won by a walk-over as Kerry refused to travel following a dispute between the Kerry county committee and the Great Southern Railway Company over travel arrangements. On April 21st, 1912 the annual convention was held in the Labourer’s Hall, Dundalk. A motion was passed that the county adapt a standard colour in inter-county matches. Red was adapted. The first time a Louth team wore the red jersey was against Kildare in the first round of the 1912 Leinster senior football championship at Jones’s Road on June 23rd.
- 1912 Louth Third Leinster Championship 9ct gold Medal. They beat Dublin at Navan on October 20th, 1912. They won on a score line of 1-2 to 1-1.
- 1912 Louth Second All-Ireland Football 9ct gold Medal. Louth beat Antrim in the All-Ireland football final at Jones’s Road on November 3rd, 1912. The attendance was close to 20,000 a record for any game played under GAA rules at the time. Louth won by 1-7 to 1-2
- 1913 Louth Dr. Croke Cup Competition 9ct gold Medal. Louth, as runners-up in the Leinster championship, represented Leinster in the 1913 Dr Croke football competition. Louth defeated Cork in the final before an attendance of 10,000 on a score-line of 2-5 to 2-1. Harry Boland refereed.
- 1913 Louth Football (National) silver Medal. Further research is needed to discern why it was awarded. This was awarded for a win over Dublin. These medals in the shape of the cross of Cong had been issued for tournaments that have raised money for an important cause at the time. (Possibly to help dependents of the lock-out?). Louth lost the Leinster final in 1914. As runners-up in the Leinster championship, they represented Leinster in the 1914 Croke Cup Football Competition. This time Cork defeated Louth in the final by 2-1 to 0-3. Harry Boland referred and Johnny Brennan scored 2 points.
- 1915 Wolfe Tone Memorial 9ct gold Medal. In 1898 it was decided to erect a memorial to Wolfe Tone. Michael Davitt was one of the sponsors. A design proposal was got from John Cassidy and discussions were held with Dublin Corporation relating to its location in Stephen’s Green. John O’Leary was one of the trustees. This project seems to have involved many of the 1916 leaders. It was again discussed in 1926 when Kathleen Clarke is in discussion as to where monies collected in the USA might be found. The project was again revived in 1964 with a sense of urgency. A fine memorial by Eddie Delaney was eventually erected opposite the Shelbourne Hotel in time for 1966 commemorations. Louth & Kerry fielded teams in Frongoch internment camp. Kerry defeated Louth by one point in the Frongoch Wolfe Tone Football Final. Tom Burke, one of the greatest county players captained Louth.
Further details and interesting points from history can be found here.