JJ Cribbin RIP

The death was announced yesterday of former Mayo footballer JJ Cribbin. A native of Ballyhaunis, Fr Cribbin was Parish Priest of Milltown in Galway. He died yesterday at Mayo University Hospital following an illness.

JJ Cribbin was a talented forward who tasted national success with the Green and Red at both underage and senior level. Ordained as a priest in 1970, his senior career was a short, injury-interrupted one, lasting just four seasons during which he made 24 senior appearances.

1970 was also the year in which JJ Cribbin enjoyed his major highlight at senior level, as he bagged 2-1 in his team’s 4-7 to 0-10 National League final win over Down at Croke Park. Alongside him in the full-forward line that day was Willie McGee and the two had also soldiered together at U21 level three years prior to that on a Mayo team that claimed the county’s first ever All-Ireland title at that level.

Both Cribbin and McGee were on the scoresheet in that year’s drawn U21 All-Ireland decider against Kerry at Croke Park. Four weeks later, though, Cribbin – along with fellow seminarians on the team PJ Golden and Mick Lally – wasn’t allowed by the clerical authorities in Maynooth to line out in the replay at Ballinasloe. That could have been a crushing blow but luckily Willie McGee brought his shooting boots to Duggan Park for the replay, his four goals gaining him a place in Mayo folklore as his team powered to a 4-9 to 1-7 win.

Following his ordination JJ Cribbin played at senior level for the county for two more years. Willie McGee and himself were back amongst the goals in the 1972 Connacht final, with JJ grabbing another brace while Willie helped himself to a third. It wasn’t enough as Roscommon won that MacHale Park shootout by 5-8 to 3-10. That was JJ Cribbin’s final appearance at senior level for his county.

There are good tributes pieces today on the late Fr Cribbin in the Connaught Telegraph, Western People and Irish Examiner.

Also of interest will be an article by Daniel Carey in the Mayo News from 2010 (here) in which Fr Cribbin reminisces about the NFL title success in 1970 and how his clerical vocation didn’t always sit easily with his desire to play football for his county.

Fr Cribbin’s funeral Mass takes place at St Patrick’s Church, Ballyhaunis at noon tomorrow, with burial afterwards in the local cemetery. In line with current government guidelines, the funeral ceremony is a private one for family members only but the funeral Mass may be viewed on Ballyhaunis Parish’s webcam. It’ll also be broadcast on Ballyhaunis Parish radio. Full funeral details are here.

May this distinguished servant of football in Mayo, as well as much more besides, rest in peace.

12 thoughts on “JJ Cribbin RIP

  1. RIP Fr.Cribbin. In his club career He played for Hollymount in the 1975 county junior semi final v Islandeady. And in 1976 lines out with Carramore, reaching the Junior final where they lost against Kilmeena.

  2. RIP Fr JJ. An amazing statistic that he scored two goals in his final appearance. Was it injury that brought an end to his Mayo career? On a different topic we were due to play Leitrim today. This blog would have been buzzing in anticipation. Strange times indeed.

  3. RIP Fr JJ What a wonderful powerful strong footballer he was I wouldnt like to be have been any back that had to mark him he was strong and fearless.

  4. Fr Cribben lifted everything when he came to the Carramore club culminating in a County Junior title in 1983.
    Another man that came from the Hollymount club to Carramore in the mid 1980’s was the gentleman Richie Bell RIP. He was a great trainer.

  5. Great player. Two goals – how I remember him crashing them in – against Down to win the league final in 1970. Exactly 50 years ago. My God.


  6. That’s amazing Catcol, i made my First Holy Communion with Fr Cribbin, have the photo also but never knew till the past few days how good a footballer he was.

  7. He was on the Mayo under 21 team that won the All Ireland Final in1967 , but missed the final replay as he was a clerical student in Maynooth at the time and they were not allowed out to play football.

  8. Im not from Ballyhaunis James, Fr Cribben was a Priest in our Parish in South Mayo in the 1970’s.

  9. The 1967 u-21 team had a suberb forward line with S O Down, john Gibbons and Tom Fitzgerald.
    In the full forward line was Mick Lally, Cribben and McGhee. Cribben was the most dangerous in that line and of course McGhee had the 4 goals in the replay but actually the top scorer in the full forward line up to the replayed final was Lally with 2-15 from play.With the minor team of 66, under 21 of 67, and the senior quality of 66 and 67 Mayo should have pushed on but apart from the league final of 1970 successes were few.

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