Leinster Leader 1 March 1958
Former Kildare Footballer’s death
It is with deep regret that we record the death, which occurred recently at his residence in Richardstown, Cklane, of Mr. William (Bill) Bracken, one of the pioneers of Gaelic football in Kildare. Aged 77 years, he had been ill for a short period.
A footballer of outstanding ability, he was one of the last surviving members of that great Lily White team which in 1905, only a few years after the inauguration of the competition, won for Kildare their first All-Ireland championship.
This All-Ireland medal was only a fitting award for one who did so much to popularize the game. From his youth he was a member of the Clane team at that time the kingpins of football in Kildare, rising to become one of the foremost exponents of the code in the county when such men as Joe Rafferty, “Steel” Losty, the Fitzgeralds, Jack and Gundy and many other stars wore the white jersey.
His service on the county team was a long and glorious one. He was among the Lily Whites who in 1903 fought three epic encounters with Kerry for All-Ireland honours. Many critics term these 3 matches, the last of which Kerry won, as “the games that made the G.A.A.”
Some time ago, at the Golden Jubilee celebrations in honour of the men who brought All-Ireland honours to Kildare for the first time Bill, as one of the them, was the proud recipient of an illuminated address to mark the achievement.
On his retiral from active participation in the game, he directed his attentions to the administration of the club (Clane), and served with distinction on its Committee up to a few years ago. Until his death he maintained an unflagging interest in the affairs of the club and also in the progress of the county team. Kildare Gaels and those of many counties of Ireland will mourn the passing of this great gentleman and sportsman who in an exemplary career annexed the majority of honours football could offer. He is survived by five sons and three daughters to whom deepest sympathy is extended in their bereavement.
The funeral cortege to the Abbey cemetery, Clane, which included leading members of the G.A.A. in Kildare, was of extremely large dimensions. Very Rev. J. Doyle, P.P., officiated; assisted by Rev. P. Keogh, C.C.; Rev. J. Gahan, C.C.; Rev. Fr. Baggott, S.J., Rector, Clongowes Wood College, S.J. Chief mourners were: Messrs. Michael, Seamus, Joseph, John and William (sons0; Mrs. Kathleen Connolly, Mrs. Anne Cooney, Mrs. Elizabeth Moloney (daughters); Mrs. M. Bracken and Mrs. S. Bracken (daughters-in-law); Messrs. Patrick Cooney and Christopher Moloney (sons-in-law), etc.