Valentia’s Mossie was key to Dublin club success
A RECENT Islandman issue referred to the visit of Mick Byrne, Jack Charlton’s Irish International physio to Valentia Island. It also made note of the fact that Valentia Islanders Timothy Lyne, Pat O’Connell and Tadhg O’Donoghue played football with Mick as they represented the Clanna Gael club of Dublin.
A notable and very significant ommission from that reference was Maurice (Mossie) O’Driscoll of Dohilla, Valentia, who was also a team-mate of Byrne’s at Clanna Gael. ‘Mossie’, as he is affectionately referred to in Valentia Island, captained the club – mainly drawn from the Ringsend area and comprised of students from St Patrick’s Primary Teaching Training College – to County Senior Football Championship victory as Clanna Gael defeated Scoil Ui Chonaill in a final played in Croke Park on June 19, 1968.
They defeated Na Fianna in a very tough semi-final. He also captained them to a County Senior League Final win that year and in 1967 captained the club to a County Under 21 Football Championship victory in which Valentia’s Timothy Lyne and James McGill of Ardcost also played. That under 21 team is regarded as the finest under-age team ever produced by the club, containing a considerable number of inter-co. players.
Prior to the 1968 County Championship victory, Clanna Gael last won it in 1936, captained by Sean O’Siochain, for many years Secretary and Director General of the GAA.
Through the 1940s and 1950s they fielded many outstanding teams with the club amalgamating successfully into a team of some of the best Kerry and Dublin inter-county stars, also aided by established players from other counties. The strong teams of Dublin football in the 1950s were St Vincents, Sean McDermott’s, The Gardai, UCD and Clanna Gael. Clanna Gael appeared in many finals with many years of hard luck until that victory of ‘68 after 32 years.
When Dublin won the All-Ireland in 1963, the illustrious Ringsend outfit supplied Mickey Whelan, Paddy Holden, Gerry Davy, Chris Kane, Aidan Donnelly and Tony Gilleen to the team. The appointment of Mossie O’Driscoll – fresh from the under 21’s – as the senior captain in 1968 was regarded as an inspired move. The selectors showed great foresight and courage in this endeavour as they appointed a very young player in a team containing such illustrious Dublin senior footballers as Paddy Holden and Mickey Whelan.
Both players were coming to the end of their careers, having achieved every honour in gaelic football, except for that elusive Dublin Senior Football Championship medal. Interestingly, Valentia’s Pat O’Connell also played on that winning team of ’68 as well as James McGill of Ardcost and Thady O’Donoghue from Firies. The aforementioned Irish international soccer physio, Mick Byrne played at right corner forward in a team which left it’s indelible mark on Dublin GAA fields.
The Clanna Gael team, winners of the 1968 Dublin Senior Football Championship. Valentia’s Pat O’Connell is seventh from the left in the back row. In the front row Thady O’Donoghue of Firies is first on the left, James McGill of Ardcost is fourth from the left and sixth from left is Mossie O’Discoll of Valentia. Seventh is former Dublin footballer and manager Mickey Whelan and eighth from left is Mick Byrne, former Irish International soccer physio.
Members of the Clanna Gael Football Club with the Dublin County Senior Football Championship trophy at the Spa Hotel, Lucan in 1968. From left: Mick Byrne (Irish International soccer physio), Mossie O’Driscoll (Valentia and captain), Mickey Whelan (former Dublin footballer and manager).