If there was ever a day in Danny Hannon’s imagination where he saw his ‘Brosna Town’ anthem sung with passion and pride – it must be today. All the love on this St. Valentine’s morning is being lavished on the parish and its, by now, famous football team and management.
They’re well on their way to Croke Park now and the biggest test in the club’s 40-year history. They go with a deluge of Facebook and text messages and a south-westerly gale of goodwill at their backs for their All-Ireland Junior Football Championship final against John Mitchell’s of Lancashire at 3pm this afternoon.
“Brosna is gone Mental,” was how one local described the atmosphere in the village in the run up to the final in Croke Park today.
Local publican, John Cronin said the atmosphere is unbelievable there over the past few weeks and locals are finding it hard to remember anything in living memory to rival it.
“The place is awash with Orange and White flags and bunting and the whole campaign has been nicknamed The Tangerine Dream by the youngsters here,” said John.
“The team members are all heroes to the school-children of the area and both schools are decorated to the last.
It’s definitely the biggest achievement in the 40 year history of the club in the parish. We won the county novice championship in 1985 and the county junior championship in
1989. We celebrated those victories well. But this is something else altogether and what it has done for the morale of the club and the parish in only unbelievable – and that’s the only word I can think of that describes the magic of what’s going on here these days,” he said.
Asked if he thought the place would close down after Saturday if the title comes to Brosna, John fixed his publican’s hat firmly on his head and gave no consideration to his response: “Jesus Christ no – it’ll open up – for God’s sake it was closed and quiet for long enough – the celebrations will be something else if they can do it and I’ve every faith in them – I can’t see them failing to be honest with you,” he said.
“As for an event to rival this one for excitement, Johnny Cahill told me that Eamonn de Valera came to Brosna in the run-up to a by-election in 1956 and the place went mad with excitement. There was an army of local people lining the road from Guiney’s Bridge to the cross and most of them with pikes with sods of turf lighting on them. There wasn’t a good pike left in the village after him as’ Dev’ was delayed and the pikes were no more good after it.
Johnny also remembered one local man who lost the run of himself on that occasion and set his roadside reek of turf on fire to welcome his political hero. The reek burned to the ground and he hadn’t a sod left or the rest of the year,” John said.
The present journey from the county championship through to today and the firm focus on St. Valentine’s Day is well etched in the Brosna psyche.
Now there are people composing poems and songs about the modern day heroes and The Tangerine Dream. I can see the RTE Radio 1 doc on one duo, Liam O’Brien and Mairead Heffernan returning to the village soon to do a documentary on this amazing odyssey.
They are local heroes in their own way in the village after the wonderful job they did on the absolutely unique Con Carey story.
In a fit of poetic inspiration and, as a fine example of how the whole experience is gone to their heads out in Brosna, John Cronin penned the following lines. I suspect that these will be joined by many other verses and that Danny Hannon’s beautiful Brosna Town will have company where and whenever songs are sung in praise of the village and its people.
Take a look through the photographs from 1989 and see some of the players from that era now in team management. Brosna natives will see a lot more in there as there are people included who are no longer with us.
Come on Brosna!
Ode to Our Heroes – A Work in Progress
Water charges are forgotten, Austerity’s left behind,
An All-Ireland title is in sight – and history’s ours to find.
All roads will lead to Croker on this Valentine’s without fail,
We’ll roar and cheer for that gallant team to grab our holy grail.
Old friends we’re bound to meet there – many more are gone,
They’ve come from every corner to cheer the Old Town on.
We’ll talk of old times past of course and before we move on,
We’ll then salute our three wise men, Big Dave and Captain Don.
Their deeds will linger in our thoughts and in the lines we’ll write,
For the pride they brought to Brosna Town in the Orange and the White.
– John Cronin, Poet, Postman and Publican.
And, just in case there is a very odd Brosna native stuck for the words of their anthem – here they are:
MY NATIVE BROSNA TOWN
By: Danny Hannon
Oh my dear old home ‘neath the Kerry hills,
My thoughts are still with thee,
Although I’m in this distant land,
Across the deep blue sea.
I’d long to stand outside your door,
And watchthe sun go down,
And hear the church-bells tolling
O’er my native Brosna Town.
By the old wood road I’d long to stroll
With its hedges tall and green,
By Hannon’s gate I would debate
With some lovely fair colleen.
Or to take a walk to Gurney’s Bridge
On a Sunday afternoon,
Where oft I danced a polka set
To the fiddler’s lively tune.
Old Carraiga leensha’s winding bend is fancy too, I see,
The River Feale flows fast and clear
‘Round Murphy’s elder tree,
Where many a romance discussed
From dark until the dawn
And where I spent many a happy hour
With my own darling colleen bawn.
On Knockaclarig’s famed hilltop I hope to stand once more,
I’ll view from Shannon Airport to the town of sweet Rathmore,
Back from the peaksssssss of Cuddy’s Reeks to Killorglin on the Laune,
From Castlemaine to Coolegraine and home to Brosna Town.
Now to conclude, I’ll say God bless you mother and Ireland too,
I’ll ne’er forget when both of you just faded from my view.
But soon I will return again and good times we’ll put down
In that dear old home by the old woodroad three miles from Brosna Town.
And as a bonus here is the same John Cronin giving it holly after the Munster final: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjl4IDrusQk