“THIS cup is a cornerstone of what we are.”
The words of Frank O’Connor describing the Houlihan Cup at the Kerins O’Rahillys Clubhouse on Saturday night, an occasion to remember and honour a competition and a family which has given so much to the Strand Road club.
A large crowd was present for the unveiling of a framed history of The Houlihan Cup, a competition which stretches back to the 1920s.
Donie Houlihan was present, on behalf of the Houlihan family, to hang the framed history of the competition on the wall in the bar, with former chairman of the club Frank O’Connor lending a hand.
Donie said he was delighted to be part of the proceedings and thanked the club, on behalf of the family, for the honour.
“The Houlihan Cup goes back to the very start of our club,” said Frank O’Connor. “At the time  it was decided we needed something within Strand Road, a cup to compete for the areas of Strand Street, Caherina and Spa Road”.
The cup was called after Frank (Frankeen) Houlihan, a club stalwart, and proud Strand Road man.
He, along with Mick McQuinn, Jack McCarthy and Paddy Paul Fitzgerald were at the helm when the club was established in 1927.
“At the time, all of the football was played in Hanorah O’Donnell’s field. That’s where Cahill’s Park is today. The cup was first played for in 1928 and was won by Spa Road. It’s probably true to say that the fact that the Houlihan Cup existed, contributed to the success we enjoyed in the 1950s, which were the glory years of Strand Road.”
The cup was played for from 1928 to 1949, the heyday of the competition, but the success of the team at county championship level resulted in the popularity of the competition waning.
The competition was revived for juveniles in the 1970s between the localities – Strand Street, Caherina/Ballyvelly, Spa Road/The Kerries and Castlecountess/Ballyard. This was competed for until the 1980s.
President of Kerins O’Rahillys, Micheál Kerins, who played in games back in Hanorah O’Donnell’s field, was also present on a night to recognise a vital part of the club’s history. Scroll down for photos, courtesy of Breda Dyland…