Old photos: recognise any of the faces?

Pat was onto me back in the summer letting me know about two old team photographs he had, dating back to the Fifties, and he was wondering if any of the blog’s readers might be able to put names to the faces in the two line-ups. With the championship just then cranking up, I said it was probably best to leave it till a quieter time of the year.

Of course, I forgot all about the photos in the meantime but Pat didn’t and he gave me a gentle nudge to remind me the other week. Now’s a good time to do this: the summer supporters have long since departed but the hardcore fraternity are still around and it’s possible that some of you will be able to help in identifying at least some of the people in the photos.

The first one, at first glance, should be the easy one. It’s a Mayo team (double-click on the image below to get a higher resolution version) from the 1950s but, as you scan the faces, you’ll quickly see that none of the still-recognisable players from that era are present.


I consulted John Cuffe at the time Pat sent the photos onto me and he confessed to be “stumped” by this one. He had a good suggestion, though, which was that the above team most probably is a Mayo junior line-up. Junior football at inter-county level was a big deal back then and two of the county’s five All-Ireland JFC titles were won in the Fifties, the first in 1950 and the second in 1957. For the record (sourced from the county profile page on Hogan Stand), here are the team details for both of those All-Ireland wins:

1950: T Byrne; P Gilvarry, P Doherty, T Quinn; J Staunton, J O’Sullivan, C Hegerty; S Hennigan, P Jordan; T Canavan, S Mellotte, M Loftus; F McGovern, M McDonnell, JJ McGowan. Sub: A O’Toole.

1957: E. Waters; I McCaffrey, C O’Toole, J Healy; T Lyons, J McAndrew, P Gannon; T Quigley, P Maye; D McManus, P McManamon, J Biesty; J Munnelly, M Loftus, J McGrath. Sub: P Fallon.

Can you connect any of those names to the photo above? Any idea, given that sizeable stand in the background, where the photo was taken? All suggestions welcome.

The second photo is, on the face of it, one for the real aficionados. The picture quality isn’t anything as good as the one above and, as a photo of a club team, the pool of people who might be able to recognise anyone in it is obviously going to be smaller.  This one, however, comes with a significant clue attached.

The photo is of a Belmullet team (and assorted hangers-on, attired in jackets, ties and sensible coats) but the clue that came with the photo was that it was a match played against Crossmolina on 12th September 1954. Here it is (double-click it to get a higher resolution version):


Once again I laid this one before the redoubtable John Cuffe who was immediately able to identify “the guy with the beret” in the middle of the back row as Fr Vincent Moore. He also reckoned that the person fifth from left in the front row was ‘Dody’ Shevlin.

Through the wonders of technology, however, I’m able to add to this by giving you the full line-up of the Belmullet team that day. This is because I’ve currently got an annual sub to the wonderful treasure trove that is the Irish Newspaper Archive and so this morning I was able to call up the edition of the Western People for the 18th September 1954 to find the report on that Belmullet/Crossmolina match, which had taken place six days previously.

The report states that the game, played at Crossmolina, was a North Mayo Junior Football replay and was a contest that “aroused the interest of enthusiasts all over the county, and which attracted probably the largest attendance at a Junior Championship game in years”. It ended in a draw – Belmullet 2-2, Crossmolina 1-5 – but what happened next is anyone’s guess. It says in the report that “Belmullet maintain that with 16 points to 15 they have won the division, while Crossmolina argue that the match was regarded as a decider and there must be replay.” Between them it was.

Here’s the Belmullet team that the paper lists for the game (I’ve added the scorers to this from the match report provided):

Belmullet: J Cuffe; M Dee, S Reilly, P Higgins; E Barrett, M McGann, K Heneghan; S Doherty, S McManamon; S Rutherford, T Irwin, E Shevlin; J McCarthy, B Lynch (1-1, point a free), A Waldron (0-1). Sub: S McGee (1-0, free) for Rutherford.

Are any of those names recognisable in the photo above? Any idea who the hangers-on might be? And where has poor Fr Vincent Moore gone to? He’s not listed in that team-sheet.

I told you this was one for hardcore readers. All suggestions on who’s who in the comments, please.

31 thoughts on “Old photos: recognise any of the faces?

  1. Well done Willie Joe . I threw it out to a few Erris men as well but drew no traction. I’d stake what’s left of my reputation that the man with the cap is Fr Moore, old clerical rules back then etc, Eamon “Dody” Shevlin , great servant of Belmullet, the S Reilly at full back is probably the late Sean who played for Mayo, Donegal Connacht and Ulster . Was a guard in Charlestown before going to his eternal reward far too soon. I’m very interested in A.N Other front row with head bent.second from right. Camera shy?? The Mayo team I’d say is a junior outfit. I’m in trouble with the faces. Happy Christmas WJ and all on this blog.

  2. Yes, you are right John….the Seán Reilly was my Dad and you are correct in the teams he played with.
    Thanks for sharing that picture.
    As always lovely to see.
    Happy Christmas to you all.

  3. In that picture of the Belmullet team from the fifties I can confirm that third from the left kneeling down & togged out is Eamon Shevlin and fourth from the right kneeling down & togged out is Eamon Barrett.

  4. Dody Shevlin still
    Looks fit and healthy God bless him I wonder did the late Seamus Cafferkey play with Belmullet around that era?

  5. An online wikipedia of club and county photos would be a great Site. Especially to track down names.

  6. Leave it with me. My 87 year old neighbour (he traveled to NYC with Mayo in the 50’s) might have an idea. He won a league with Mayo and a bag full of medals with Mitchels in the 50’s. He was a member of the renowned Mitchels full back line known as “the slaughter-house”! Apparently sledging went on back then too 🙂

  7. It seems Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly are about to break their silence and give their interpretation on the ‘heave’ in tomorrow’s Independent. This I believe has been coming for a while and I reckon it might become really ugly.

  8. This type of thing is always ugly. Only the selectors can pick the team.In winning teams leaders emerge that can read the game and make subtle game winning changes.

  9. Can everyone please refrain from commenting on this article that’s apparently going to be in Saturday’s Indo until it’s actually published and everyone has a chance to read what’s in it?

  10. Looks like Tom C was the starter and we’re getting the main course served up on Saturday…Normally I’m quite a fan of desserts but…

  11. Well said Ger Bohan. Sadly I lack the necessary historical expertise to comment on this one!!

  12. All – the sniping has already started in the comments (some of which I’ve deleted without letting them up on the site, some others I’ve edited back) on Pat and Noel and the heave and all that. I just want to give warning in advance of whatever appears in the Indo tomorrow that, festive season or not, I’m not going to tolerate any incendiary comments here on the site that poke a stick at either side of this debate, in particular comments aimed at individuals. So, if anyone feels they have an intemperate point they feel compelled to let the world know about on this issue, I’d suggest directing this to your social media account of choice rather than attempting to post it here. Reasoned, sober discussion on this issue is fine (though, I’d suggest, more than a bit pointless at this stage) but I know how these things can quickly get out of hand so I want to give fair warning before this happens.

  13. That’s a great read HSE, and so true not just on the playing field, thanks for sharing that with us.

  14. Read the summary. Nothing more than you would hear in any bar in Mayo. Egos, player Power etc. Quite dull stuff.

  15. WILLE JOE rightly you asked us to refrain from comment on tomorrow piece in the
    Independent until its read.

    Do you think it might be better if we all did not comment on it at all as it will inevitably bring
    forth controversial material,some of which could be distasteful or even bitter.

    That episode is over-its best to leave it ignored and support the management and players
    in a positive way only.

    I can’t see any value talking about a matter that is over and done with.MOVE ON

  16. Mayo football under attack from within and without. 4 All Stars, 1 senior POTY, 1 Young POTY, lost All Ireland by a point after replay. Won All Ireland U21..,and Mayo football is in crisis!!!!! I fear that a campaign to gut us is in progress. This folks is going to be very messy. The first stone has been put through the glass. It won’t be the last.

  17. It’s a time for cool heads and to do our talking on the pitch. This is probably the best squad we have had in 60 years maybe the article in the Indo will galvanise them further and devolop that us against the world winning Meath of yore mentality

  18. The main part of INDO article this morning….Mayo’s All-Ireland famine will continue unless “some egos are checked and outside influences curbed”, according to Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly,

    Now i know its late December/off season for the inter county season but really… Mayo football could have done without comments like that especially from two of our own.

  19. Agree airing dirty laundry in public is not the way to go. That said what is in the article is nothing new to anyone in this county with their ear to the ground of what is actually going on

  20. I read the whole thing there, whatever about doing the interview one thing I don’t agree with is naming players by name who were unhappy about being dropped etc whether it’s Kerry or Dublin, major players are always unhappy about being dropped, I don’t see why Alan Dillon should be criticised for that. Very poor form in my opinion to go naming him in particular

  21. Your welcome PJ, yes that Valeria Mulcahy article in The Examiner is a very interesting one alright. I love reading pieces like that.

  22. bit late to the party, but thats my uncle, eamon Shevlin, 3rd from the left at the front, kneeling ( beside the lad with the ball)

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