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Mossie's Story! 1915-2001

Mossie originally from Araglen, has been awarded The 'Jack Furlong Award' for his fifty years dedicated service to The GAA i.e. Gaelic Athletic Association.

Here is his story......


In 1915, the year of Maurice ‘Mossie’ Hyland’s birth in Araglen 85 years ago, the Gaelic Athletic Association established by Michael Cusack and Maurice Davin in 1884, was just reaching its 31st year of existence.

Cusack and Davin, who founded the GAA as it came to be known, wanted to establish a Nationalist Organisation for Irish Athletics and to revise the ancient sport of Hurling which had been banned in Ireland since the Statute of Galway in 1527. The two men started to hold meetings and the next year after meetings in Cork and in Thurles, Maurice Davin was elected as the first GAA President.

By 1886, the Association had ‘swept the country like a prairie fire,’ wrote Michael Cusack and county committees were being formed all around the country. The same year, rules for football and hurling were drawn up and were published in The United Irishman Newspaper.

1888 saw the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) who had monitored the games from the start being banned from the sport.

Over the next few years, championship games started being organised. The influence of the GAA was beginning to spread outside Ireland, and by 1895 clubs were being formed in both London and Manchester.

Croke Park became the venue for the All Ireland Finals in 1912, just three years before Mossy Hyland was born.

His father and grandfather were already committed and keen supporters of the GAA and its not surprising that as he grew, young Mossy should inherit a life long love and enthusiasm for the game.

Now a sprightly octogenarian in his mid 80s, Mossie, father of five grown children has this year received the prestigious Jack Furlong Award, from the Waterford County GAA Board. An annual award that has been presented to him for his lifetime’s service and dedication to the Lismore GAA club.

Mossie met his wife Cassie(Casey) at an open air stage dance in Araglen, (‘I can still remember it was a warm Sunday night,’ said Mossie ) and after they married, he got a job working as a carpenter for the Castle and shortly after, brought his new bride to live in Chapel Street, Lismore in 1947.

‘I loved the town from the start, said Mossie, you could say it fitted me like a glove!’

It was not long before, he had sussed out the G.A.A activity in the town and signed up at the local club.

As Mossie shared his memories, his wife Cassie sat next to him on the settee, proudly holding her husbands’s hand as he described to Kiely his involvement with the Lismore club over the years.

‘When I joined, I devoted most of my time to the development of the club rather than on the field, he said.

Through the fifties we had our up and downs, but I remember the thrill back in 1967, while I was Chairman of the club, when we won the U.21's and the Junior title one after the other.’

‘It was an exciting time for all of us, and for the Secretary the late Jim Kearns. Success was just what the club needed. The players were promoted into the Intermediate category and a few years after that became the Intermediate champions. As senior hurlers they achieved a series of victories, which enabled the club to grow and develop.’

His two sons Eugene and Thomas have also inherited dad’s love of the game and have both played for the Lismore club, Thomas playing in the U 21 and the juniors.

Mossie, who was President of Lismore GAA for twelve years, was full of praise for the contribution the Christian Brothers made to the sport in Lismore, especially Brother Dormer and Brother Blake who both worked very hard during their time as teachers here.

‘They always encouraged the lads to take an active interest in the game and during Br. Dormer’s time, we won the All Ireland Feile na Gael. A big achievement,’ Mossie remarked.

In the 1970 and 80s we were able to provide better facilities at the GAA grounds including dressing rooms and a tea room.

Mossie, granddad to 13 at the last count, takes as much pride in the town which has been his home for 53 years as as he does in the Lismore GAA.

A few years ago, he joined a team of volunteers which included Jim Hale, Tom O’Grady, Brother Ryan, Billy Ormonde, the late Michael Ormonde, and others to construct a beautiful Grotto dedicated to Our lady Queen of Peace on the corner of Bankfield

The year 2000 is not just a special year for Mr Hyland, but has started in a special way for his wife Cassie also, because their daughter Sally, who is a missionary nun out in Africa, was able to join them for the Christmas and New Year celebrations, for the first time in 27 years.

‘It is twenty five years since our daughter was professed as a nun, and as part of her 25 years celebration she will be leaving for the Holy land very soon, where she has been allowed six months leave to take a bible study course,’ a delighted Mossie said.

Earlier in the conversation, Mossie remarked that his Granddad John lived to be almost 100 years of age, and no doubt would have been one of the GAA’s very earliest supporters.

From its small beginnings, back in 1884, the GAA. has grown to become the largest sporting organisation in Ireland, with 2800 clubs, (182,000 footballers, and 97,000 hurlers.) and worldwide membership now exceeds 800,000.

They say longevity runs in families, and it would be great to see Mossie still taking an active interest in Hurling and the GAA as he celebrates his own 100 birthday in about 15 years time!.

Mossie Hyland a man well deserving of The Jack Furlong award, is a man of quiet humility, who is shy to accept praise on his own behalf, although very proud to have seen many of the Lismore players wear the blue and white of Waterford Minor U21, junior and senior.

He was most insistent to say that he was only a small cog in the wheel that turned Lismore GAA into a successful club.

He thanked all those club members who had helped over the years, and last but not least his wife Cassie and his family who had been so patient with his lifetime’s obsession with hurling, the ‘fastest game in the world!’

Good on ya Mossie!


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