Jack Moriarty and the famous Croke Memorial Medal

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(1997)

“Moriarty of that famous clan from Littor sandy shore.

Where Fionn McCool played Gaelic Games at the foot of Knockanore.

To play for the dear old Kingdom was ever his cherished dream

And to-day he holds an honoured place in the Kerry Football Team”.

This was a Kerry poets tribute to Jack Moriarty following Kerry’s famous victory over Louth in the Croke Memorial Final played on May 4th 1913, with the game ending in a draw. The replay took place on June 29th and Kerry were victors. The game attracted a then record crowd of 32,000 and a cash flow of £1930.

It was that windfall which enabled the GAA to purchase the then Jones’s Road from Frank Dineen of Limerick who had purchased the grounds in 1908 and held it for sale to the GAA without profit until such time as the Association had sufficient funds to buy it. Thus, did Croke Park come into existence and Asdee’s Jack Moriarty was one of the players who helped to buy the now famous ground.

Jack was born in Littor, Asdee around 1890 and at a young age became interested in football. A great team known as the Craughdarrig Emmets came to an end when Moriarty began to play senior football and he threw I his lot with Ballydonoghue; a parish with a great football tradition.

In 1912 when playing with Ballydonoghue in Ballybunion he impressed William O’Sullivan the great Ballybunion sportsman who got in touch with Dick Fitzgerald, and Jack was selected for Kerry. That year Kerry were defeated by Antrim in the All-Ireland semi-final.

In 1913 Kerry won the All-Ireland which was played in November, defeating Wexford. However, Jack Moriarty had gone to America by then. He was a star forward on the New York team for the next decade or so and when he lost some of his speed at midfield he played in goals for a few years.

He returned in 1933 and though his speed was gone by then he was still the most accurate forward in the area and was Craughdarrig’s top scorer when they won the 1934 North Kerry Championship.

He hung up his boots in the late 30’s but the Beale mentors coaxed him out of retirement for the North Kerry Junior Final played on Easter Sunday 1940 and some of the old magic was still in his feet. He scored the only goal of the game and Beale won by 1-08 to 0-08. It’s nice to recall that such a career ended on a winning note.

Jack enjoyed great health and took a keen interest in the game he loved to the end of his days. He died after a short illness in 1975. Ar Dheis De go raibh a anam.

Incidentally the Croke Memorial medal, which has the head of Dr. Croke on the side, weighs 40z. and is nine carat gold. The medal is now kept at the Doran household in Asdee and is the property of Mrs. John Doran a niece of the late Jack Moriarty.

The Croke Memorial winning Kerry team of 1913 is as follows.

D. Mullins (Tralee), Maurice McCarthy (John Mitchels), Jack Lawlor (Ballyheigue), Tom Costello (Tralee), Tom Rice (Abbeydorney), Paddy Healy (Headford), Paddy Kennelly (Laune Rangers), Con Murphy (Listry), Pat ‘Aeroplane’ O’Shea (Castlegregory), Con Clifford (Tralee), Dick Fitzgerald Capt. (Killarney), Jack Moriarty (Asdee), J. Skinner (Killarney), Dinny Breen (Headford), Danny Doyle (Killarney).

Jack Moriarty won the Croke Memorial medal with Kerry on June 29th 1913.

Kerry 2-4 Louth 0-5.

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