Tyrone’s CCC has made the call to push the wrap-up of our 2020 Season into 2021.
A radical call in radical times.
But it’s not the first time Kildress football has crossed over from one year to another.
Up until 1975, when Tyrone went ‘All-County’ on all fronts, the Feis Shield was a big early-season completion in East Tyrone. In fact, Kildress Wolfe Tones’ first ever official game was a Feis Shield match against The Rock, on 20 January 1952 … a game we lost!
Twenty years later we were in Senior Football and going well. And still taking part in the Feis Shield.
Our opening 1972 Feis Shield game was on 7 May, against Coalisland, a game we won by 3-10 to 2-3, with Charlie Monaghan, Mickey Gallagher, Sean McCullagh and Frank McGurk all prominent. That win put us into a Semi-Final against Cookstown, played at Derrylaughan’s old Washing Bay pitch. Oliver Mulgrew’s great second-half goal was the match-winner and that put us into the Final, against Ardboe, then in the middle of their three-in-a-row Tyrone Senior titles.
For those who think a wee bit of fixture chaos is just a modern thing, we then waited all of 10 (Yes, TEN) months to play that Final. It was eventually played on 17 March 1973, more than a month after Kildress had been knocked out of the 1973 Feis Shield. After Eglish beat us by 2-6 to 0-8 on 11 February 1973 we found ourselves in the weird position of still being in the 1972 competition but already knocked out of the 1973 one.
That delayed 1972 Final was played in Cookstown and Kildress fell to one of Tyrone’s finest-ever Club sides by 3-16 to 1-5. Frank McGuigan, just out of Minor and showing all of his unrivalled talents and skills as the supreme footballer, scored 2-11 that day, 2-9 of it from play.
Our Kildress Feis Shield Final team was: Paddy Heagney | Charley McGurk, Charlie Monaghan, Dermot Monaghan | Patsy Grimes, Matt Tracey, Danny O’Driscoll | Frank McGurk, Martin Lennon | Gerry Lennon, Jimmy Loughran, Eamon Potter | Sean McCullagh, Oliver Mulgrew (1-3), Martin Heagney (0-1) | Kieran Kelly (0-1)
Just to finish the Kildress Feis Shield story, 1974 marked the last year of the competition. Wins over Donaghmore, Mountjoy and Galbally brought us to the Final, where we fell by 1-5 to 1-4 to Kileeshil. So, our first-ever game as an affiliated Club was in the Feis Shield and 22 years later we completed a wee bit of symmetry by playing in Tyrone’s last-ever Feis Shield game.