A Soccer Game on Hogan’s Field and a Trip Back to 1981

The 1981 Castleisland Soccer Club senior team pictured before a game in Hogan’s Field on the Limerick Road where St. John’s Park housing estate was built the year after this photograph was taken. Front from left: Des McCarthy, Michael ‘Tappi’ Conway, John O’Connor, Wilsie King and John O’Donoghue. Back from left: John Begley, PJ Luddy, Martin Tigue, JJ Broderick, Arthur O’Connor, Denis Porter, Michael John Kearney and James ‘Jas’ O’Sullivan. ©Photograph: John Reidy June 1981.
Castleisland AFC ‘keeper, JJ Broderick in full control of the situation as James ‘Jas’ O’Sullivan cuts off any danger during the game at Hogan’s Field in late June 1981. The houses on the left of the picture are in St. Stephen’s Park and where the railing between itself and St. John’s Park is now. ©Photograph: John Reidy
A recent view of St. John’s Park with the nose of the car on the approximate area in which JJ Broderick’s goalposts were positioned in the 1981 image above. The houses on the left of the image above are now hidden by the nearer buildings. ©Photograph: John Reidy

I was wandering away in through file-land recently and some of the negatives from one of the first batches of photographs I took with a new 35mm camera suggested themselves to me.

One evening during the summer of 1981 I was heading off up Pound Road on a camera testing mission when I heard voices across the fields.

The voices alerted me to a sporting event from the Limerick Road and much closer to town than the Desmonds GAA grounds.

Across the Fields

I ventured across the fields and came across a soccer match in waiting in Hogan’s Field.

I plucked up the courage to ask the locals if they’d mind if I took a team photograph and they obliged.

I stood in behind the goals for a while as J.J. Broderick was keeping at the Castleisland side.

I don’t know who won or lost as I headed off for Ballinaboul Cross after a while.

Ronnie Whelan Stood Here

But I do know that the photographs I took on that evening in late June 1981 were never seen by anyone – I was only practicing.

The pitch in question, Hogan’s Field, is now where St. John’s Park stands and JJ Broderick, whose goals I stood behind all those years ago, is now my neighbour across the street.

At Georgie’s Invitation

It was one of the many fields on which Georgie O’Callaghan’s teams played over the years.

Shortly after that the great Irish and Liverpool player, Ronnie Whelan stood on the same field as he presented trophies to a squad of Georgie O’Callaghan’s young proteges and at his invitation.