1940 to 1950
The Golden Decade ( Paddy Cromwell )
The Golden Decade 1940-1950 By PADDY CROMWELL As has been said already it would be impossible to do justice to the wonder- ful record of the club from 1940 to 1950. It is difficult to summarise the story of six Senior Championship Titles and six Feis Cup Titles especially for someone who was not yet born when the Golden Decade began. The historic first Senior Championship, came to the club in 1940, when Kells were beaten in the final. The lineout for this along with all other Championships are recorded elsewhere in this book and it is interesting to record that there were three survivors from the first ever Championship winning side of 1933 namely Nicky Kennedy, Kevin Johnshon and Kit Smyth. The great Matt O’Toole who had starred against Kerry in the 1939 All-Ireland Final won his first Senior medal. Packy Mooney of Comme was still starring at midfield and other names who were to be virtually ever present through the forties were Tommy Moo’~ v (R.I.P.), Billy Long (R.I.P.), Kit Browne and Tony Clarke.
The title was retained in 1941 when Kells were again the defeated finalists. This was the year that the Skryne team introduced a teenager called Micael O’Brien, Micael was to thrill the Gaels of Meath for all of twenty years with the skills and indomitable spirit and for the greater part of this time his name was a household word the length and breath of Ireland and he starred for Skryne, Meath and Leinster in a variety of positions. After a slight lull in ‘42 and ‘43 Skryne were back to fetch their third title in 1944 after three epic battles with Parnells which are still spoken of to this day. Just as 1941 introduced a rare talent in Micael O’Brien the 1944 final was the first important occasion in which the Gaels of Meath saw the great Paddy O’Brien in action. Paddy later made his name as one of the acknowledged great full backs of all times but he was by all accounts, a great midfielder to start with.
Pat ‘Red’ Donnelly also returned to the colours in ‘44. The title was retained in 1945 by virtually the same fifteen with an easy victory over Oldcastle. By the time the next title was won Paddy O’Brien had gone to work in Dublin and had thrown in his lot with Sean McDermotts but there were compen- sations. There were two names on the half forward line to strike fear into the hearts of any defence namely Brian Smith and Tony Donnelly. Syddan were the defeated finalists, a team that was to enact sweet revenge on more than one occasion though a great rivalry that extended for over a decade. The ‘47 side is considered by some good judges to have been Skrynes greatest ever combinat- ion and were well nigh unbeatable over two seasons ‘47 and ‘48. There was one notable absentee from the team to retain its title in ‘48, namely Matt O’Toole who had called it a day after giving sterling service to club and county. He also represented Leinster in the Railway Cup series.
This brought to an end the Golden Decade and although Skryne were to win their seventh title in 1954 by beating Kells they also had the heartbreaking experience of contesting 8 senior finals in the fifties, and losing seven, which leads me to the next part of the story which became known as the Skryne—O’Mahonys Saga. I should say here that this part of the history had already been written previously by Colm Cromwell and is reproduced here practically word for word.