Connie Neenan and Clem Foley   19/03/2015

In 1970 New York GAA was on a high and it’s hurling and football teams were equal to the best Ireland could offer. The hurlers had never won the League but in 1970 this looked set to change. They met with Cork, the ‘Home’ League Champions, and Cork won the first game in Gaelic Park by three points (4-11 to 4-8). The referee for that game was Dublin’s Clem Foley. In the second leg New York played to their potential and beat Cork, but only by a point, leaving the Rebels as champions.

The real story of that shameful day was just starting. As he made his way from the pitch, Clem was seriously assaulted by several people. “He was kicked and struck twice in the face,” said an Irish Press report from the game. “He was subjected to threats and abuse all the way to the dressing room.” Fr. Jimmy Morrison, a Barr’s man, managed to grab Clem and guide him to the dressing room. Clem was in hospital for a few days with his jaw broken. He had to get a steel plate inserted. He was out of work for 14 weeks.

There was, however, one good element to emerge from the affair. Clem died on 29th May, 2013. When his son, David, was going through his papers he found a series of letters from Connie Neenan. Connie had paid for Clem’s operation and stay in the New York hospital. The letters are about the incident and other things that were going on in the GAA at the time.

David presented the letters to our Club for our archives on Friday night. Other members of the Foley family, members of the Neenan family, Barr’s players on the 1970 Cork team and Club members were in attendance at the occasion.

**Our Gallery photos show members of the Neenan and Foley families at the recent event which was also attended by former Barrs legendary hurlers Gerald McCarthy, Tony Maher, Dr. Seamus Looney and Charlie Cullinane each of whom played in those games in New York back in 1970!!