1910 Re-enactment match

Tensions rose in both the Shelmalier and Blackwater dressing rooms, as word came through that the Archbishop of Cashel (aka Frank Ryan) had just arrived in the grounds by horse and cart.

Both teams now felt the enormous task that lay ahead as they attempted to re-enact Wexford’s very first All Ireland hurling victory on 20th November 1910. Dressed in 1910 attire – working boots, baggy shorts, flat caps, long sideburns and moustaches, and holding the unusual hurling stick of the day these brave men from over the water were ready to do battle for the honour of becoming champions of this great historic hurling area. As the teams lined up behind the Castlebridge Fife and Drum band for the parade to the pitch, the great crowd of spectators that had gathered, gasped with amazement as they were now witnessing something exciting and part of our proud hurling tradition. The Bishop, in his cart led the parade to the pitch along the path lined with supporters of both teams. Shelmalier Chairman Seamus O Leary and the club doctor (aka Donal O Connor) both dressed in the costume of the period brought up the rear of the parade. Before the match began both teams lined up in front of the official viewing stand where the Arch Bishop was introduced to the teams, by the Shelmalier Chairman. MC for the day Mr. Paul Tobin then introduced each player culminating with the victorious captain of 1910 Mr. Rich Doyle. The referee for the day Mr. Justin Heffernan sporting his flat cap, blazer, long white shorts and working boots got the game on the way at 3-45pm. The play was tame at the beginning as both teams attempted to come to terms with the new stick and clothing. Blackwater pressed from an early stage with Michael Lillis, Jason O Leary, Owen Lacey and Ned Whelan pressed forward, but they were restrained by some fine defending from Fergie Parker, Conor Byrne, John Kelly and Eoin Doyle. Showing that they still have a lot of talent and age is not a barrier George O Connor, Tom Dempsey, Damian Fitzhenry and Billy Byrne put over some great scores when lining out for both teams. The score was level at half time as the teams took the traditional slug from the medicine bottle, had a smoke, rubbed some ointment on their wounds while listing to their respective managers Billy Byrne and Senan Lillis. The Shelmaliers came out with fierce determination in the second half with Vinny Parker, Joe Kelly, Denis Kelly and Willie Redmond firing over some great scores, however Blackwater backs of Brian Curran, Sean Cash, Peter O’Brien and Declan Byrne showed that they are make from strong stuff. As the game progressed the spectators grew restless and began to question some the referee’s decisions. Tempers were rising. With ten minutes to go a spectator, Mr. Jimmy Nolan from Ardcavan ran on to the field of play following some hard pulling and proceeded to attack a Blackwater player which resulted in a free for all with the referee caught up in the foray. When the fracas ended the referee had no other alternative but to abandon the game with the score null and void. With many of the previous All Ireland finals ending this way it was the right and meaningful way to end such an enactment of the 1910 final. Both teams left the field to loud applause as they realized that they had taken part in something historic and special and not seen in the previous 100 years. The spectators were kept well informed throughout the match by the master himself Mr. Liam Spratt and his able assistant Mr. Gerry Forde and the Shelmalier GAA Club would like to thank both teams, the spectators and the many people who ensured that is was historic day for both the Shelmalier and Wexford supporters.