The Road to the 1971 Final
Our last and only appearance in the Cavan Senior Football Championship was in 1971. The Club was only formed in 1966 and in that short time we had won three Junior titles and one Intermediate title. It was also the first time that Killygarry played on its own in the Senior Championship. Prior to that we had played in an amalgamation with Butlersbridge. We defeated Cornafean in the first round in 1971. The game was played in Stradone on 6th June.
The next round was the quarter-final against St. Brigid’s (Laragh-Stradone) which was played in Breffni Park (pre-Kingspan days!) on 18th July and won it by a convincing 2-7 to 0-6. Killygarry dictated the exchanges from an early stage right up to the final whistle. Killygarry’s victory was thoroughly deserved. Dessie Agnew scored a goal at the beginning of both halfs to lay the foundations for the win. Francie Galligan controlled matters from centre half forward. For Killygarry, Donal Crowe and Packie McGovern were best in defence. Jackie Conaty and P.J. Galligan dominated midfield. Dessie Agnew, Francie Galligan and Ollie Malone were best in the forward line. Team – Seamus McGovern; Oliver Crowe, Donal Crowe, Gerry Keating; Vincie Smith, Packie McGovern, Paddy Lynch; Jackie Conaty, P.J. Galligan; Dickie Smith, Francie Galligan (0-2), Ollie Malone (0-1); Dessie Agnew (2-1), Niall O’Brien (0-1), George Crowe (0-1).
Next up was the semi-final against Lacken in Breffni Park on 15th August. The Celt wrote that “Killygarry, a team barely five years in Senior competition, gave its club, and football in Cavan generally, a great boost when they qualified for the final of the Cavan Senior Football Championship for the first time in the club’s history, defeating pre-match favourites, Lacken, by a single point – 3-8 to 2-10 in an exciting semi-final played before a big attendance, approx. 2,500” They went on to say that it was easily the best game for some time. The endeavour of both sides, the display of the finer qualities of football and well-taken scores made the game worth watching. The decisive score was a Dickie Smith goal in the 23rd minute of the second half. Killygarry made every attack count throughout the game. We had to come from behind on three occasions. Dickie Smith was the star in attack and he crushed Lacken’s hopes with two fine goals. Ollie Malone also scored a vital goal early in the first half to lay the foundation for the victory. Philip Fitzsimons had a fine game at midfield. Goalkeeper Seamus McGovern was sound in defence along with Packie McGovern, P.J. Galligan and Paddy Lynch. Team – Seamus McGovern; Oliver Crowe, Donal Crowe, P.J. Galligan; Paddy Lynch, Packie McGovern, Vincie Smith; Philip Fitzsimons, Jackie Conaty; Ollie Malone (1-0), Francie Galligan (0-7), Niall O’Brien (0-1); Dickie Smith (2-0), George Crowe, Dessie Agnew. Sub used: Gerry Keating
The final was against the famous Crosserlough 7-in-a-row team and, unfortunately, we lost by 1-12 to 1-4. We were just two points behind at halftime but we couldn’t match Crosserlough’s superiority in the second half. We were dealt a big blow in the run-up to the final when key forward Ollie Malone picked up an injury which ruled him out on the big day. Team – Seamus McGovern; Oliver Crowe, Donal Crowe, Gerry Keating; Vincie Smith, Packie McGovern, Paddy Lynch; P.J. Galligan, Philip Fitzsimons; Jackie Conaty, Francie Galligan (0-3), Niall O’Brien; Dickie Smith (1-1), George Crowe, Dessie Agnew. Sub used: Pa Lee.
The 1971 squad in the photo: Front row (l. to r.) – Brendan Crowe, Johnny Lynch, Ollie Malone, Oliver Crowe, Gerry Keating, Francie Galligan, Niall O’Brien, Dessie Agnew, Sean Donohoe, Sean Doherty, Declan Crowe. Back row (l. to r.) – Vincie Smith, Dickie Smith, Ton Doonan, P.J. Galligan, Philip Fitzsimons, Donal Crowe, Malo Reilly, Paddy Lynch, Seamus McGovern, Bartley Smith, Jackie Conaty, Packie McGovern, Phil McEvoy. Missing from photo – George Crowe, Pa Lee.