Football in the Keel

Jackie Dunlea, Loughleigh, once told me that in his young days - the early 1900's - apart from bowling and lifting heavy stones their only pastime on a Sunday evening was playing football. At that time they played in Gould's field - The Keel - across the road from the graveyard in Bawnatemple.

Once in the closing stages of a game as dusk fell one of the boys gave a mighty kick and the ball landed across the road in the graveyard. To eveyone's surprise it was immediately kicked back. All present believed that some enthusiastic spirit couldn't resist the temptation to join, so they quickly dispersed.

Patrick McCarthy of Shandangan West, originally from Mastergeehy, Co. Kerry, reported a tale that the Canovee football team went into the graveyard one night and got trapped there by the fairies. No matter what they did, they couldn't find a gap or a gate to get out. They were forced to play against a fairy team all night. In the morning, they were finally able to get out of the graveyard and trail home!