by ehistoryadmin on December 13, 2019

Leinster Leader 21 March 1970

Larry Stanley honoured by fellow countymen

A framed illuminated scroll chronicling the championship triumphs of his career in football and athletics was presented by Mr. John Norton, President of the Kildare Association to Larry Stanley and a presentation of flowers was made to Mrs. Stanley at a dinner given by the Association in Dublin in honour of both.

Mick Farnan, President of the summer school of Athletics, described Stanley as “an artist with the ball” of whom nothing was too difficult, who brought something new to Gaelic football, combining skill, speed, stamina and brain.

He was, he said, completely dedicated to the game and most important of all was his discipline. He never fouled, his only focus was the ball and he liked the man he passed the ball to to be moving. In this he was, perhaps, the first man to introduce the idea of the open space. In every phase of football he was the master, unique, supreme.

He painted a vivid picture of Larry Stanley, the athletic. He said that as a boy he grew up with Stanley and even in the local boys sports he was already showing potential of a future champion


In the difficult days of Ireland back in 1924 he was there to help his nation take her rightful place in the world council of athletics. By the efforts of the G.A.A. members of the time, Ireland became a member of the International Federation and of the Olympic Council, leading to the great Tailteann Games in 1924 and the forging of a team to represent Ireland in the Paris Olympics.

It was in Paris in 1924 that an Irish team of Athletics for the first time under their own flag marched into the Olympic arena and Larry Stanley was a member of the team.

In 1918 he took the Irish high jump championship despite Kildare’s lack of tradition in this event. He also captured the British high jump title. Perhaps his greatest performance was in Croke Park at the Tailteann Games. He had marched with the other Irish athletes from St. Patrick’s Training College to Croke Park which that day saw an hitherto unequalled array of world class athletes. Stanley was pitted against the world high jump champion, Osborne of England, and in the final jump was beaten by one inch.

In a call to his countrymen of a revival in athletics Mick Farnan asked how many of them today would recognize the name of Tommy Cunnffe who, in his time was one of the world’s greatest runners and was a native of Kildare.


Fr. Seamus Conway, P.R.O., Kildare Association, said that as a member of another generation, he always heard of the unique versatility of Larry Stanley. He was surely one of the great sportsmen of modern time. His ability to take a dropping ball down with one hand at centerfield was still a matter of wonder. He was to be found today at all the major fixtures of sports interest in Kildare.

The honour he had earned was not simply of any single great achievement, but of his constant dedication to the high ideals he set of himself on the football and the athletic field. He had never faulted on these ideals and always conducted himself like a sportsman and a gentleman on and off the field.

They saluted him and thanked him for the inspiration to give to his team mates, his followers, and his opponents. John Joe Sheehy thanked the Association for inviting himself and Bob Stack to join in the tribute to Larry. He recalled what he liked to think of “the glorious 20’s” when Kildare and Kerry were so often locked in battle. He remembered the joy and pleasure both teams evoked and the great enthusiasm of the Lily White followers. The Kildare team of the 20’s was the most honourable and sporting the men of Kerry ever met.

Pat Mangan, capt. of the Kildare senior football team, said the name Larry Stanley was an inspiration to him as a boy. The tribute they were now paying him would surely act as a spur to the present county players. They of the Kildare team could assure him that they would make every effort to help him re-live some of the greatest moments by going all out for the Sam Maguire Cup this year.

Hugh Campion, Vice-Chairman Kildare Co. Board, said he spoke on behalf of the Gaels of Kildare when he congratulated the Association on doing honour to Larry and hoped that the great spirit embodied by Larry would re-emerge in present times and that Kildare would, in the not too distant future, be restored to its former greatness.

Sean O Siochain, Gen. Sec. of the G.A.A. said that all his life he had admired Larry who shone out on the sportsfield as “a king among men.” He was the greatest footballer of them all.

John Norton, making the presentation to Mr. and Mrs. Stanley said that as a child he “thrilled to every move of the master” and Larry’s point from the corner flag in the 1926 final against Kerry would never be forgotten. He was a founder member of the Kildare Association and had been with them all the time since.

Thanking his hots and all in attendance on behalf of himself and his wife, Larry asked his listeners to meet among those present a gallery of former football and athletic “greats” who had been associated with him over the years.

These included Ned Tobin (“as a weight thrower he slung them for height and for distance into the record books and was the best all-rounder in athletics in Ireland in his time”); Dr. Harry Conway, former sprint champion; Dicky Rafferty, champion in high jump for ten years and British title holder in 1938; Dan Sheehan (“of my old Garda Athletic Club, whose deeds in the hop-step-and-jump erased my name from the Garda records”); Jimmy Conlan, Jim Moran and Mick Buckley who played with him on the Kildare team who won the All-Ireland in 1919; Bernard McGlade, now living in Blackpool, and Albert O’Neill of the Curragh, who were also on the team and were unable to travel for the dinner; Joe Stynes and Martin Shanahan who played with him on the Dublin All-Ireland winning team in 1923.

He thanked the people from all over Co. Kildare, the Kildare Co. Board, and others, among them his old friend Col. Broy, for coming to honour him and his wife. His hopes – that Kildare will win the All-Ireland this year and that the athletic split will be healed so that, united, they could face the world. To improve Gaelic football he would like to see the hand-to-toe tactic restricted to one hand-to-toe and one hop because so long as a man can hold possession and kick the ball from hand to toe he cannot be dispossessed and the game was being spoiled as a spectacle and would go from bad to worse. For the future they would have to find some way to put a stop to the all-too-frequent fouls and consequent frees.


Mr. Michael Murphy, on behalf of Ballymore-Eustace G.F.C, made a presentation to Mr. and Mrs. Stanley. Larry Stanley, who coached the Ballymore-Eustace team which won the County Championship in 1953, thanking the club, said that Michael Murphy’s uncle, Martin Murphy, played football with him in 1916 and was the first man to suggest that he should take up the high jump.

Guests at the dinner included: Mr. Seamus Ryan, Pres. G.A.A. and Mrs. Ryan; Mr. Sean O Siochain, Sec. G.A.A. and Mrs. O Siochain; Mr. Hugh Campion, Vice-Chairman, Kildare Co. Board, G.A.A. and Mrs. Campion; Mr. Peter Delaney, Sec. Kildare G.A.A. and Mrs. Delaney; Mr. P. J. Carroll, Olympic Council of Ireland.

Former athletes and footballers in attendance included: Messers Fintan Brennan, Michael Buckley, Ginger Moran, George Magann, James Conlon, Paddy McDonnell, Frank Burke, Dave Guiney, P. C. Moore (1924 Olympic team), Dr. Conway, Con O’Connor, Dick Rafferty, Ned Tobin, Dr. Phelan, Dan Sheehan.

Also in attendance were: Mr. paddy Power, T.D., Kildare; Mr. Des Foley, T.D., Dublin County; Senator J. Fitzgerald, Meath; Senator Paddy Malone, Kildare; Senator Brendan Crinion, Meath; Mr. Joe Bermingham, Co. C., Labour candidate, Kildare; Mr. Tadgh Brennan, State Solicitor for Kildare.


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