Ballyhogue enjoyed many great spells during their long career, but perhaps some of their greatest moments were in the early 1960s.
It was a very determined Ballyhogue that set their sights on senior championship honours in 1962. Thirty years had elapsed since Ballyhogue and Davidstown had won a senior title. They had reached the final in 1945 and again in 1956. Could they now go that one step further?
In their opening games they were anything but impressive. Narrow victories over Taghmon and Rathnure saw them through to the final. Their opponents were none other than the stronghold of Wexford football, reigning county champions Wexford Sarsfields.
It was on September 9th, 1962, when Ballyhogue and Sarsfields met to decide the destination of the ’62 senior trophy. A wet and windy day marred what was to be a football spectacle but yet what a game these two wholehearted teams served up.
Ballyhogue’s strong, fanciful fifteen deserved victory in this hard fought final. They led from start to finish and particularly in the second period played with a determination and spirit that was unconquerable. With the aid of the wind in the first half they led 1-5 to 1-2 at the break but it was in the closing stages that they really excelled. Sarsfields, with the wind behind them, threw all they knew into these final moments, but they were met by a hard, stubborn defence.
Frees were numerous in a game that was “tough, mighty tough” and an odd outburst of swopped punches was not surprising. All in all a very enjoyable game that held the interest of the large crowd right through.
Ballyhogue were first to score when Liam Swan pointed a free following a foul on Micky Byrne. Three minutes later the added a great goal. A sideline ball from Johnny Martin found Pat Murphy, who evaded Jimmy Roche’s tackle and shot hard to the net. Great running by Phil Wilson brought heavy pressure on the Sarsfields defence and Pat Leacy added a point after 12 minutes of play.
In the 17th minute, a lovely Sarsfields move involving Rory Kelly, Jim Bailey, F. Kavanagh and again back to Bailey resulted with the ball rocketing to the Ballyhogue net. Ballyhogue replied with points from Liam Swan and Johnny Martin.
Martin Crowley pointed for the Wexfordmen but Pat Murphy placed Pat Leacy perfectly for him to score his second point.
Packo Sheehan pointed a Sarsfields free just on the stroke of half-time to leave the score at the interval, Ballyhogue 1-5, Sarsfields 1-2. The second-half was played in a downpour and became a rugged affair. Ballyhogue were early to attack and forced the Sarsfields defence to concede frees. A costly offence as freetaker
Liam Swan was in fine shooting form. Two points from Swan put Ballyhogue 4 ahead with 20 minutes remaining.
A long range point from Carthy was the signal for an all out effort by the town side. Try as they did they could not break down the resolute Ballyhogue defence in which Eddie Walsh, Johnny Dawson and Nick Doyle were imperious.
It was at this stage that Phil Wilson really cut loose. His long, sparkling solo runs played havoc on the opposing defence.
Mick Byrne, hero of many an hour, was making his presence felt and set up the youthful Pat Leacy to swing over another point. In the closing stages, Sarsfields again rallied but their only reward was a point by Packo Sheehan.
Phil Wilson, who had won the hearts of Wexford followers a week before in the All-Ireland Hurling final, played a major part in Ballyhogue’s success. Their defence also played gallantly. Eddie Walsh, Johnny Dawson and Denny Kehoe formed a compact half-back line. Nick Doyle was a tower of strength at full-back and the rock on which many a Sarsfields raid perished.
He had sound flankers in Paddy Wickham and Willie Gorman. Pat Walsh, as usual, was sound manning the goal.
The midfield partnership of Nick Asple and Johnny Martin reigned supreme throughout. Young Pat Leacy from Knockduff gave a grand display in the right corner. Pat Murphy, Liam Swan and Andy English contributed in no small way to this victory, while Micky Byrne was always a thorn in the side of the opposing defence.
For Sarsfields, who were gallant losers, corner back Fergus Hall rose to splendid heights. Jimmy Roche, M. Murphy and D. Dunne were others to shine in defence.
Tommy Nolan played his heart out at midfield. Packo Sheehan and John Crowley never gave up in attack.
Final Score – Ballyhogue 1-8 Sarsfields 1-4
Ballyhogue: Pat Walsh; Paddy Wickham; Willie
Gorman; Nick Doyle (Capt); Johnn Dawson;
Eddie Walsh; Denny Kehoe; Nick Asple; Johnny
Martin; Andy English; Phil Wilson; Liam Swan;
Pat Leacy; Pat Murphy; Micky Byrne.
Subs: Dick Doyle for Willie Gorman. Mick Leacy;
Nick Cloke; Peter Byrne; John Curtis; Nick
Fortune; Phil Jordan (RIP); Paddy O’Gorman;
Sarsfields: Jim Kirwan; M. Murphy; J Roche; F
Hall; P Dunne; Jim Crowley; R Kelly; Tom Nolan;
W Carthy; Tim Bailey; John Crowley; Pete
Crowley; F Kavanagh; Packo Sheehan; M
Subs: F Traynor for Jim Crowley (who returned)
Referee: Tommy Owens, Enniscorthy.