Tribute to Jack Higgins, Killererin and Galway footballer in the 1950s

Title of Jack Higgins story from Tuam Herald 2017
Jim Carney

The late Jack Higgins from Dangan, Barnaderg, Tuam, Co. Galway who passed to his eternal reward early last month, aged 86, was a popular highly respected man in his community. He will also be remembered for the very important role he played in the development of his local Gaelic football club, Killererin, in the 1950s.

At the age of 22, Jack had his first success as a footballer when he won a North Board Junior Championship medal, not for Killererin but for the club further out the road, Moylough. At that time, the Killererin club was dormant, chiefly because of emigration. As a famous song in one of John B. Keane’s best known plays puts it so poignantly:

Many young men of twenty said goodbye,

All that long day

From break of dawn until the sun was high

Many young of men of twenty said goodbye

From its foundation as Killererin John Dillons in 1889, the club did not survive the Parnellite split and later the Civil War but football was played in the parish any year there were enough men available to be affiliated.

The longest barren period was 1927 to 1948. Some very talented footballers represented other clubs, as they were entitled to do. They included two outstanding footballers, brothers Tommy and Joe Hughes who played for Tuam Stars and Galway in the 1930s and two Connacht Minor Championship medal winners in 1937, Martin Lyster (played for the Corofin senior team at the age of 17) and Tom Hogan (son of a Kerryman) who was stationed at Ballyglunin, the railway station which won global fame for its role in the Quiet Man).

Killererin fielded teams in 1949 and 1950 but didn’t affiliate again until ’55. By then, Jack Higgins had helped Moylough to the 1952 North Board and County JFC titles playing in defence against county senior player Gerry Colleran.

Séamus Colleran, a member of the Galway senior football panel for all of the second half of the 1950s and a big name in the legendary Tuam Stars in 7-in-a-row-team, grew up in Moylough and remembers seeing Jack arriving on his bike two or three times a week. “He would cycle to training sessions and games from his home in Dangan, and he was made very welcome by everybody in Moylough. He was strong steady footballer, and a really fine man, tall and fit, and he always carried himself well. He was great fun too, I remember

Many years later, I met him regularly

This page was added on 09/04/2021.

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