When Roscommon won the third of their four All-Ireland minor football championship titles in 1951, the side contained Newtowncashel teacher Michael Kelly.
Leinster champions Louth, who included Kevin Beahan, succumbed to the Rossies at the semi-final hurdle and last Wednesday evening in Longford library the two men met for the first time after 68 years at the launch of Seamus McRory’s sixth book, ‘Born to Lead’.
‘Kevin Beahan - A Talented Louth Footballer’ is one of thirty-two chapters in the book which has been described as a cameo of seventy years of Irish social and cultural life, focusing on the triumphs of two half-parish GAA clubs, Slaughtneil and Mullinalaghta.
Slaughtneil native Seamus, a long time Longford Slashers club activist, said there was ‘a great spread of friendship’ at last week’s launch where the speakers included Longford County Council Cathaoirleach Cllr Micheál Carrigy, Longford GAA Chairperson Eamon Reilly, Leinster GAA Chairperson Jim Bolger and Longford Slashers club man Benny O’Brien.
Seamus writes about ‘Mullinalaghta – The GAA story of 2018’ in his book and how he became familiar with the place that no one outside of Longford knew how to pronounce correctly when he met the late Larry Cunningham in 1965. Highlighting the reach of the GAA and the significance of Mullinalaghta’s 2018 Leinster club triumph, Seamus pointed out that less than 24 hours after their historic win, Minister Heather Humpreys declared, “Up Mullinalaghta”, to the audience at the inaugural Albert Reynolds lecture at Backstage Theatre, Longford town, which included former UK Prime Minister John Major.
The event commemorating the memory of the late former Taoiseach and peacemaker, poignantly was in the week of the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Downing Street Declaration. ‘Born to Lead’ includes detailed interviews with and profiles of former Longford GAA County stars, Paul Barden and Dermot Brady. A chapter also details the exploits of Longford’s marathon man Liam Fenelon, who has completed 326 marathons.
In addition to tall tales, the launch proved to be a great evening of song with country music legends, Mick Flavin and Declan Nerney performing 'The Old Schoolyard', 'The Gallant John-Joe', 'Lovely Leitrim' and a special duet of 'My Native Town Drumlish', accompanied by Ambrose MacDermott and Liam Fenelon.
There are chapters in ‘Born to Lead’ on Mick Flavin and Declan Nerney and the book also looks at ‘The Troubles’.
The foreword is written by Derry All-Ireland medal winner and Sunday Independent columnist Joe Brolly.
There will be two further launches of ‘Born to Lead’ this Thursday, October 24 in the Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast and in Slaughtneil on November 16 next. ‘Born to Lead’ is on sale at Newsround in Longford town and copies can also be ordered directly from the author via email at email@example.com