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First Game

The first Rathkeale team played their first game in Ennis and for the record the line-out was as follows:-

Mike Dunne, Liam Dunne, Mike Smith, Micheal McNamara, Mike Dillon, Mossie Woulfe, Jonny Jones, Liam Woulfe, Christy Jones, Seamus Tierney and Vinnie White.

The team togged out in all-white (like Real Madrid - although the real reason probably lies in the fact that it was the cheapest gear they could buy). The team was trained by the late Jimmy McGrane, who many will remember as a very popular parish clerk.

In the 1960's there were many obstacles in developing a 'British Game' in rural Ireland, primarily the 'Ban' which meant you couldn't play Gaelic or Soccer and if caught one would be suspended by the GAA authorities. The other main constraints would be finance and amenities.

In the early years, the Rathkeale Club played their matches at Ballywilliam, Wilton Hill and Courtmatrix.

Prominent players in this period included the Woulfes (namely Mossie - Goalkeeper, Liam affectionately known as "The Dad" and Anthony - Striker, Whites, Miko Dunne, Tommy Geaney, Jonny Jones, Denis O'Shea, Declan Brennan, Tommy Butler, Tommy McCann, Billy Hayes, the Reidys, etc etc.

In 1976 the Club moved to their current facilities in Holycross, Rathkeale. The move to Holycross now meant that soccer had its own home in Rathkeale and subsequently the Club's fortunes took a turn for the better. The role of Shannon Meats was most important here and were a most generous benefactor to the Club. The management team of Maurice Cowley, Paddy Lynch (RIP) and Dan Neville and others were very adapt and knowledgeable in the area of human resources and were very much in tune with the needs of their sports-mad staff. At this time the Club changed their name to Shannon Utd. (as a gesture to their sponsors).

Since their formation Rathkeale Soccer struggled along, training, playing games, each player paying to play so that the Club could pay its way. If statistics were available they would show in their early teams.

In the early 1970's Pa Sheehan and Mike Walsh put a very successful under-age team together and these young boys brought the first competitive trophies to the Club. Furthermore, these young men were to remain the nucleus of Rathkeale sides for years to come.

Messrs, Sheehan, Walsh, Sean Hennessy, Noel White, Tommy Steele, John White, Mike Dunne and Seamus Tierney had a vision that participation in sport could be a massive contribution in the development of the overall character of the local youth, and that it would act as a catalyst to promote pride, unity and teamwork for the benefit of all the community. Today, their dreams have been revised and further testimony has borne fruit by the fact that the young recipients of the 70's, 80's and 90's are now some of the key pragmatists in bringing Rathkeale Soccer into the millennium.