Some Snippets from The Rich history of Bray Emmets.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Now that we are reaching the end of 2008 it is appropriate that
we look back and remember our past. There are many famous stories
and personalities associated with Bray Emmets so as an occasional
piece we try and record some for posterity. Thanks to Jackie Napier
and Michael O'Byrne who contributed to the following. We would
welcome contributions from any others who have any interesting
pieces of history.
Bray Emmets has a great history, both on the playing fields
and in the administration of the GAA. There have been many
individuals who have contributed to this history, and in this issue
we remember two great figures, who had strong association with
Bray Emmets and who held the top post of President of the GAA.
These were Patrick Breen and Hugh Byrne.
Bray Emmets had the honour of winning the 1902 All-Ireland
(representing Dublin). On that team was Patrick Breen, a native of
Wexford, but selected by Bray Emmets. (At that time the
winning County Club had the right to pick from all players
within the County). He held the post of President of the GAA
from 1924 to 1926.
In more recent times Hugh Byrne held the post of President of
the GAA from 1961--1964. Hugh Byrne, who was a native of
Rathdangan, taught in St Peters, Bray in the 1930's after
graduating from UCD with a BA and an MA and joined Bray Emmets. He
won 2 Senior Football championships with Bray Emmets in 1934 and 35
before returning to Rathdangan where he took over as Principal of
the National School, replacing his father PJ. He rejoined the local
team and played a key role on the 1936 Senior Championship with his
3 brothers Mick, Nick and Paddy. It was ironic that Rathdangan
defeated Bray Emmets in the semi final. (An amusing story from that
game was that Hugh, having won the ball from the first throw-in
inadvertedly kicked the ball into the Rathdangan net thus
giving his old club a great start, however it was enough. He went
on make a major contribution to the Rathdangan performance during
In 1936 Wicklow went on to win their first All Ireland Junior
Football Final and while Hugh did not make the panel, his brothers
Mick and Paddy both won All Ireland medals that year. Hugh went on
to become Chairman of the West Board and in 1947 County Chairman,
later Chairman of the Leinster Council and a Trustee of the
Association culminating in that famous day in the Gresham
Hotel in 1961 when he became Wicklow's first President of the
GAA. He served in various roles right up to his death in the 90's.
His daughter Marcella also a teacher, is a member of Greystones GAA
and her husband, Con O' Suilleabhain is the well known Gaelic
Correspondent for Greystones. The connection with Bray
Emmets continues also as Hugh Byrne's nephew, Michael
O'Byrne was the Chairman of Bray Emmets and is a very active
mentor of the club.