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Peter O’Toole

Peter O’Toole: The Quite Men of Garrymore

(In Jim Mannions Words)

“Men may go and men may come, but I’ll go on forever”, may well be applied to Pete as he is affectionately known by everyone in Garrymore.

He played for the parent club, Ballyglass in 1925, and finished with Garrymore as a player in 1952, a good record considering there was no juvenile competitions at the time. He starred in 1925, playing junior. He tells with pride of a game played at Farnarash which is near Scardaune in 1926, when Ballyglass played an Irishtown selection which included five of the Mayo County team at the period and they were from the Irishtown/Ballyhaunis area. Ballyglass beat them. The team that day was: Peter Prendergast (goal), Mattie Fitzpatrick (father of Billy, Martin, Tom, Michael, Jimmy, who all played for Garrymore and whose mother is petes sister) Mick Ruane, Pake Heaney, Pake Costello, Fr. Walter Conway, Fr.Tom Quinn, Fr James Heaney, Paddy Quinn, Pete O’Toole, Fr. Con Heaney, Gearld Heaney, Mick Flannery, Walter Heaney and Matt Murphy.

None of the priests were at the time ordained, as after ordination they were not allowed to play, indeed even clerical students were not encouraged to play football in their final year.

In 1931 and 1932 he played for the mayo Juniors. He tells of playing a match in Tuam. He cycled to Ballindine, got the train to tuam, the fare was 1s 10d and that was the amount of expenses he got for the day.

In 1933 he played with Cloneycashell, himself and his good friend, Fr James Heaney, now Parish Priest of Clonbur. They were beaten by Claremorris in the County Final. Playing for Claremorris that day was his brother Tony, who is father of Anton, the Dublin county footballer. He recalls later that year they played Castlebar at a sports meeting in Ballyglass, Claremorris, and won. He still has the medal which they got. Castlebar had the cream of the County players.I should mention it was a seven-a-side. He gives credit to Fr. James for the victory, but Fr James says Pete played a big part in it.

When Garrymore was started in Late 1936, he was one of its first officers, with the late Tom Murphy. He continued to play with Garrymore until 1952. He won seven South Mayo finals with them and played in four county finals. He also played numerous seven-a-side tournaments. He was Treasurer of the club for over twenty years. As one who served with him for fourteen years, I have never met a man who was so inoffensive and so effective. He would quietly and calmly put his cards on the table. If he had a weakness it was his concern that he might offend anyone. That was very evident, too, as a referee; he was always impartial and brilliant.

At board meetings, every club wanted Pete I never remember an instance where his appointment was questioned. At tournaments he was a very popular choice. But it was a club selector, I really saw his wisdom. He could read the trend of a game very quickly. He would never force his opinions on anyone, but one quickly found out that it was very foolish to disregard his suggestion. In those days Mick Heaney and I knew Pete did not interfere much but when he did, he was seldom, if ever, wrong.

As treasurer he always found himself collecting gates, standing at doors of dance halls all thankless jobs and places where one got plenty of abuse. But such was Pete personality he rarely ever got into difficulty. Having said all that I do not want anyone to think he was a ‘yes’ man. He feared no situation but always wanted the peaceful way out. Anyone who tried tricks with Pete soon discovered that this quiet man was quiet capable of defending himself.

He still is a regular at every match Garry are playing. Like all of us he is thrilled with the progress the Club has made. He is a true supporter of any fund-raising event and long may he remain so. He says Fr. James Heaney was the best player Garry ever had. We say Pete was.