Clare People, Tuesday, June 6th, 2006
Medals won by the famous Ennis and Clare hurler Brendan Considine were donated to the County Museum last week, writes Joe O’Muircheartaigh.
The Considines from the Turnpike in Ennis were a remarkable family – whether it was the cause of Clare or Ireland, they were in the van. That meant their sport mixed with their politics. Very strong hurlers and footballers, strong on the national question too. That both of them mixed could be seen last Wednesday when the Clare County Museum took possession of a haul of medals won by the legendary Brendan Considine. Included in the haul were two All-Ireland hurling medals, a Leinster senior hurling medal, a Munster senior hurling medal, a Dublin county football championship medal, a National Aid medal from 1918 and a De Valera medal.
The De Valera medal from 1919 was for a tournament organised to raise funds for the Sinn Féin movement. It was very easy for Brendan Considine to summon the enthusiasm for that tournament – he was heavily involved in the movement itself. “He was on the run for a long time”, says his son Desmond. “In 1916 he was in Dublin and worked in the Munster and Leinster Bank on Dame Street. Himself and another fella had to go on the run because they were involved. There weren’t too many people in the Munster and Leinster Bank involved, I can tell you”. “Brendan’s brother Joe was also involved – he was the poet in the family and was taken to Kilmainham and then was interned in Ballykinlar. Sean O’Grady, who later became a TD and who was a cousin of ours was also there. Joe had marks on his wrists from being tied up when he was inside”, says Desmond.
Brendan didn’t have those marks, but he once went on hunger strike for 42 days. He had a few marks from his hurling days however – it was no wonder as his career spanned three decades and took in Clare, Dublin, Cork and Waterford. Brendan played inter county hurling and football with all four counties. “We were like the travelling people,” says Desmond, “always moving around the county as Dad was transferred from one bank to the next.” “He had friends all over the country because of the GAA. When he was in Cork and Waterford the great John Joe Sheehy used to call. Like Brendan, John Joe was another man who used to be on the run. He played for the Cork footballers against the great Kerry team John Joe was on.”
Brendan’s career started on the Turnpike of Ennis, playing in local Town Leagues in hurling and football that put him on the All-Ireland road. He was a student in St Flannan’s when he won an All-Ireland with Clare in 1914, while three years later he won an All-Ireland with Dublin. That same year he also played for the Dublin footballers in the Leinster Final. However, Wexford got the better of Dublin on the day and went on to beat a Clare team that included Brendan’s younger brother, Tull, in the final.
The third member of the Considine clan to play in an All-Ireland was Willie “The Dodger”, who was on the 1914 winning Clare team. The other Considine brothers, Joe, Pat, Sylvie and Dermot were All-Ireland champion dancers.
Now, another set of Considine brothers are responsible for the presentation of this prized set of medals to the County Museum. “We wanted to do something with the medals,” says Desmond, “and I met Michael Slattery from Clarecastle at a wedding and after hearing of the County Museum through him, myself and my brothers Brendan, Fergus, Colm and Rory decided to donate them”. “Ennis is where Brendan was from and where he learned to play hurling and football. There is nothing my father would have loved better than to contribute in this way to the Clare GAA which gave him so much pleasure.” “He never really spoke a lot about himself – he always spoke about Dr Tommy Daly, the Spellissys, Fowler Mc Inerney. Spoke of what great men they were,” says Desmond.
With that he was off up the road to meet Sean Spellissy, a son of Jack Spellissy, in his bookshop. They talked about old times.