In relation to the 1963 Avondhu Novice Football Championship Final, between Killavullen and Kilshannig, which made the national press, the following was recorded by the papers of the day.
“Records were broken in more ways than one at Burnfort last Sunday. It was the occasion of the Avondhu novice football final and Killavullen were seeking their first title in seventy years.
They realised their long sought ambition by beating Kilshannig but the finish of the game must be unparalleled in G.A.A history. They ran out of footballs after two became punctured.
A car had to travel some miles to get a third ball, and play was held up for twenty minutes.
No fear Killavullen will forget the day they became champions in Burnfort. If the third ball could not have been found, the match would have to be called off. Killavullen would have had to fight another day although they were well in front at that stage.”
President John F Kennedy was assassinated on the 22nd of November of 1963 and all GAA games were postponed including our North Cork football final. The game was refixed for the 3rd of December in the old Clyda GAA Grounds in Burnfort, and when the 2nd ball, got punctured, a representative of the host club had to go to his house, and retrieve a football from that club.
The leather footballs of the time was completely different to what is utilised nowadays. The footballs tend to weigh about 410–460 g (14–16 oz) when dry and were inflated to 65.7–68.8 kPa (9.5–10.0 psi). In the 1980’s, leather-encased balls, which were prone to water-logging, were replaced with balls encased in synthetic waterproof materials. The internal bladder of a football ball is what holds the air. This is the part that looks like a balloon! Bladders are usually made of latex or butyl. Butyl bladders retain the air for much longer periods of time than their latex counterparts
Clubs tended to have just one ball per club in the 1960’s, due to the cost of the ball. Typically, a ball of that period, had 18 stitched zig zag shaped panels and 6 pairs of lace holes with leather laces. With age related wear, scuffs, scrapes, scratches, and marks, a club could readily identify its own football, which was closely guarded.
When the final whistle was blown, unprecedented celebrations commenced, for it was the very first trophy that the long established Killavullen club won. Killavullen GAA Club was founded on the 15th of February 1888, and all modes of transport was utilised to convey the very large crowd to the host venue. Tom Looney’s open backed truck was vividly remembered as a source of such transport, and in the history of Killavullen GAA Club, which was compiled in 2013 to mark the 125th anniversary of the club, some of our older members fondly remember the game.