However much Gaelic games dominated the sporting scene in the 1960’s – and filled the pages of the local press with team photographs and match reports, it remained a closed world as far as I was concerned all through my teenage years.
And it was an exciting time in Newry for Gaelic sports lovers. The great Down teams of the Sixties were injecting a new life into Gaelic football. The Sam Maguire Cup crossed the border for the first time. Then again – and again in 1968!
Some of these Gaelic football heroes were known to me, were my neighbours!
Yet I was never invited to go and watch a game.
In any case local heroes such as Peter McParland and later Pat Jennings – making a name for themselves in England – were of more interest.
Even the scoring system of Gaelic Football seemed odd, and the flags and colourful hats and rosettes of the supporters lent it an unshared ambience.
In comparison, the gallant efforts of the mixed-religion Newry Town FC seemed to be a very positive contributor to the whole community.