V for Val – Val Cassidy – So good they named him three times!!

By Robert Cox 2013

Val (front row, 1st on the left) lining out for Kilcloon in the 1981 Feis Cup loss to St.Mary’s

It was the 16th of May in the summer of 1971. A summer that would end in success for the Gaelic footballers of Offaly with a 1:14 -2:08 All-Ireland final win over Galway. Dawn were in the first of their five weeks at number one in the British charts with ‘Knock Three Times’. 16th of May 1971, Dublin beat Laois 2:14 – 1:11 in a Leinster Senior Hurling Championship match in O’Connor park, Tullamore while at Dunshaughlin GAA club in county Meath, Kilcloon GAA legend Val Csssidy was busy playing the role of three men in a Junior A Championship game against Donaghmore. Any of you Father Ted fans out there will know that three priests once played the part of three Elvis Pressleys but how can three Val Csssidys appear on a GAA pitch for one club when only one was registered? Some locals who watched Kilcloon play in the early 70s will tell you how Val used to run games whether in midfield or in the forwards and covered that much ground in a game that it looked like there was two or three of him out there. Well on this particular sunny evening in Dunshaughlin there certainly was.

The Rules and The Objection:
Cassidy helped his team in blue and white overcome a dogged Donaghmore side to claim the points but the defeated team from outside Ashbourne would later object to the Meath County Board on the breach of Rules 14 & 125. Rule 14 states that each club shall register annually in the Irish Language with the County Registrar its officials, players and distinctive club colours. Donaghmore objected on the grounds that Kilcloon played three players named Vál Casithede in the above match. An anonymous  spokesperson for Donaghmore said at the time that; “During the course of the game Kilcloon brought on two substitutes (both at different periods). In accordance with rule 125, both gave their names as Val Cassidy to the referee. As there was a Vál Cáisithede on the official Cill Cluáin list of players named to the referee prior to the start of the match we decided to contest that Cill Cluáin played three players named Vál Casithede in the match. However, on that date May 16th 1971 the Cill Cluáin official register did not list three Vál Casithede. This was the grounds our objection was based on”.

The craic didn’t stop there though as Donaghmore would have one more sting in the tail for Kilcloon. And it takes you back to Rule 14 and the registration of players, officials and club colours in the Irish Language. “We contested that as the Irish alphabet contains no letter V, that the above player Vál Casithede was registered in a foreign language”.

The identity of the two Kilcloon substitutes that evening still remains a mystery to this day. Dawn went on to be knocked off the number one spot by Middle Of The Road with the catchy ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Ceep’, the Dublin hurlers lost their next game in the Leinster semi final to Kilkenny and though Kilcloon didn’t go on to capture the Junior A Championship that particular year, they didn’t have to wait too long. 1973 saw them defeat Gibbstown on a scoreline of 1:07 to 1:04. Amazingly that day there was no Val Cassidy’s in the starting line up. One wonders where the three of them went!  One thing is for sure though and anyone in the parish of Kilcloon will tell you; There is only one Val Cassidy! And as seen below Val served Kilcloon well, playing well up into the 1980s.

A report from the 1981 Spring Football League Div 2 game v Slane. a game Val excelled in notching up three points.
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