Ballincollig and Bluebell United- The little known link between the clubs.
On 6th of December 2016, the FAI held the draw for the round of 16 in the FAI Intermediate Cup. The draw which was streamed live by John McGuinness (ex Bluebell player) of the FAI ended up pulling out some very difficult ties for the Dublin sides. It was very much a Dublin versus Cork theme which included games such as Cherry Orchard were drawn at home to Everton, Killester would travel to Cobh Wanderers and The Bell were to eventually to travel to Ballincollig after they defeated Ringmahon in a replay. Unbeknownst to many within the Bluebell ranks at the time, there was a historical link between the two clubs which would later grow into an interesting story about a man called Paddy Byrne. Here is some of Paddy’s story:
Paddy who was born in Dublin was a key member of a great Bluebell side back in the 1960’s, he moved to Cork in the mid 1970’s when the business he worked for here in Dublin (BSS) had an opening down in Cork. It was a couple years later that the link between Ballincollig and Bluebell began. Paddy’s love for the game was evident for everyone to see during his playing days and continued with his non-playing career being heavily involved in the operations of Ballincollig AFC which included roles such as treasurer and Chairman. Being appointed Chairman of one of Corks best known amateur clubs is no easy task but Paddy continued his responsibilities of Chairman of this historical club until 1999 where he moved into a position of treasurer with Cork AUL. Paddy continued his role with the AUL until his passing in 2009. When the news of Paddy’s death broke, teams across Cork flooded the http://www.corkaul.com website with touching tributes for the man who was clearly well known and loved across Corks footballing world.
When our Bluebell side arrived in Ballincollig on 4th of February 2017 we were welcomed to “The Landing Field” by a number of the clubs committee members. The game began with a quick presentation and gathering in honour of Paddy Byrne. There were a few lovely words spoken and Ballincollig invited Paddy’s son, Ian onto the pitch. Ian can be seen below pictured with both club captains just before the kick off. The game itself was a fitting tribute to the man that gave a large portion of his life to the Cork club with Ballincollig just missing out by two goals to one. The game was a hotly contested fixture and it really could have gone either way.
Bluebell United would like to wish Ballincollig all the very best for the future and we hope to cross paths once again.
Bluebell United FC was founded back in 1946 in Camac Park in old Bluebell . Our grounds are now located on the Naas road at Capco Park near the M50 junction . How many people remember the Sunday Alliance league where Bluebell United FC started all those years ago? Moving on to play in the Athletic Union League in the season 1970/71Joining the Leinster Senior League . Many honours have been achieved over the years, a lot of football games played and quiet a number of very strange footballing stories told. Some we believe some we take with a grain of salt. One particular story told concerns a certain person being sent out to buy 11 pairs of football boots, Oh he got the boots alright and managed to get one left and one right for everyone, but all of them the same size? That must have been a very balanced side.. In the early years on the Naas road Bluebell United used an old shed as a changing room on the far side of the road . In the year when England managed to win the world cup Bluebell United were already in the grip of the Celtic tiger and built their first clubhouse , a galvanised building was erected and extended again in 1988/89 . Many other changes have occurred over the years but some things will never change . The loyalty and dedication of ts members have never faltered through thick and thin they soldier on . No obstacle is ever to big to tackle .During the year 1999 the entire playing surface was removed and a new state of the art surface installed . Our playing surface is now on a higher plain than most League of Ireland team grounds . This particular project was funded by the national lottery. Just two outstanding changes lie ahead in the immediate future , Floodlighting and spectator facilities , we are currently working very hard to rectify this matter . Thanks to a recent FAI allocation of £10,000 we are well on our way to achieving our goal . One of our main targets this season is to fully expand our operations in the youth sector , to cover all age groups up to senior level . This will not be an easy task as most people in football know . getting the right people to train and coach will be more difficult than trying to get people to play . Vetting of personnel is high on our agenda for this venture , but we firmly believe we will achieve our goal . We invite like minded people to join us in this venture , the youth of today is the backbone of tomorrows game , could this be you . If you fit either discription we would love to hear from you . At Bluebell United we are proud of our traditions and all of our founding members , most are still actively involved in the day to day running of the club , the people who set such high standards for all of us taking part today . Their dedication , Loyalty and progressive outlook can be best judged when you realise that all our committee and members work on purely voluntary basis . Thats the wholehearted community spirit of Bluebell United .
Myles Byrne - Bluebell United
The Great Bert Curtis
Bert Curtis Was the first ever scorer for Bluebell United. The astonishing success of Bluebell United has coincided with the immense contribution of the great Bert Curtis. The high standing which Bluebell holds and the colossal impact the club has made on the local sporting psyche has been shaped in no small part by Bert.
It began as a dream, from humble beginnings in the summer of 1946 at 9 Camac Park - almost within kicking distance of the Red Cow. At the home of Cyril Mahony, men with foresight and a burning ambition to be the best and achieve the most for their community, a group of wise men gathered. Bert took his lead as hugely influential figures as men with the name of Mahony, Hurley, Ennis, Connors and the Behan brothers of Liam and Charlie put their heads together. There was a burning ambition among a group of youngsters to be the best, and the then 17-year-old Bert has certainly lived up to those lofty ambitions. Bert of course has the distinction of being the first ever goalscorer for Bluebell United he went on to play a major part in the phenominan of our football club.
It was in September 1946 when Bert first donned the famed colours of Bluebell, in time Mr Curtis ascended to the position of a leading football legislator.It was a Minor League game which provided Bert with his opening goal in the club colours, although it was an otherwise unremarkable day as Bohemians won 10-1!.
Within a decade Bluebell ate at the winning table – 1956 was the year in which Bert scored the winning goal in the Bradmola Cup final. Five years later and at a sprightly 31 Bert played for a final time, it was far from the end but the beginning of another decorated chapter of dedication to a club which he holds so close to his heart. Within a decade Bluebell ate at the winning table – 1956 was the year in which Bert scored the winning goal in the Bradmola Cup final. Five years later and at a sprightly 31 Bert played for a final time, it was far from the end but the beginning of another decorated chapter of dedication to a club which he holds so close to his heart. The enthusiasm on the park was replicated in the boardroom and on the sideline in roles such as Team Selector, Chairperson, Secretary Executive Director. Bert, conscious of the contribution that Bluebell United was making to it’s hinterland, fostered and developed the community side of the club. He was a leading player behind a bold initiative which saw an ambitious fundraising campaign which led to the purchase of a galvanised Nissen Hut. It served as a private social facility, and club changing rooms too, although it cost a pricey 135 old pounds at the time.
The year 1979 won’t just be remembered for the arrival of the Pope in Dublin, but the real earth moving moment was the development of the Club facilities and dressing rooms. That’s right, Bluebell and Bert stayed on course, determined Given Bert’s bustling entrepreneurial spirit it came as no surprise when he was headhunted and elevated to the position of LSL Treasurer.
In time, and in 2006 the FAI formally recognised Bert’s immense contribution, not that the grassroots needed reminding.Formal role or not, Bert will retain his passion for Bluebell United, it’s beliefs and people, in fact it’s said that Blue blood pumps through his veins. There has never been a truer statement made.
To Bert, on behalf of all the members of Bluebell United past and present we thank you, well done. Anthony O'Brien, PRO Bluebell United AFC