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Joe Gibson

Joe Gibson - County Hurler and winner of Intermediate and Junior Hurling titles with Eire Og

Joe Gibson

Joe was born on 07/07/1934 in 29 Amcomri Street, Falls Road, Belfast.

"My association with the Eire Og club began in 1942 when I was about 8 years old as skip boy to my brother James. I then graduated to club skip boy. I remember before each match going up to Tommy Rice's house to help him pack the skip into a big brown suitcase. The skip would be all nicely washed and pressed by Tommy's mother and his sister Rita; the spare hurls were more like hockey sticks.

The first trophies I won with the club were the Antrim Junior Hurling Championship in 1951, followed by the Intermediate Hurling League in 1952. At this time I was still playing in the minor teams. In 1952 I was selected to play on the Antrim County Minor Hurling team; we were beaten in the All Ireland Minor Hurling Championship Semi-Final that year.

In 1953 I was again in County colours playing in the All Ireland Junior Hurling Semi-Final against Offaly which they won 5-0 to Antrim's 3-3. I was selected to play on the Antrim Senior County Hurling team to play in the National Hurling League Division 2; I continued to play for the county until the early 1960's.

In the mid 1950's the club was finding it difficult to field teams in both football and hurling. In an effort to prevent the club from losing players to other clubs, Tommy Rice decided to merge Eire Og with the St Paul's club for a short time. This arrangement worked very well until we were able to field our own teams again.

In 1957 and 1958 I was in the county teams that won the Ulster Junior Hurling Championships. In 1959 I played on the Antrim team that beat Cork and Westmeath in the All Ireland Junior Hurling Home Final; we were beaten by London in the final so we never won the Championship proper.

In 1961 Eire Og won the South Antrim Supplementary Football League and the South Antrim Division 2 Hurling League. They were the last trophies I won with the club.

The Eire Og club would not have survived had it not been for the dedication and sacrifices of Tommy Rice and the Rice family."

Joe Gibson 05/07/2004