John Joe Sheehy

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John Joe Sheehy
Personal information
Irish name Seán Seosamh Ó Síoda
Sport Gaelic football
Position Left corner-forward
Born Tralee, County Kerry
Club(s)
Years Club
1920s-1930s 1920s-1930s John Mitchels Tralee Parnells
Club titles
Kerry titles 1
Inter-county(ies)
Years County Apps (scores)
1919-1930 Kerry 35 (4-22)
Inter-county titles
Munster titles 7
All-Irelands 4
NFL 2

John Joe Sheehy (1897–1980) was an Irish political/military activist and sportsperson. He participated in the Irish War of Independence and Irish Civil War in the Irish Republican Army, where he was a senior figure in County Kerry. He also gained fame as a successful Gaelic Footballer for Kerry.

IRA activities[edit]

Sheehy commanded the Boherbee company of the IRA, and later of the Tralee battalion.[1] His brother Jimmy was killed in the British Army in the Battle of the Somme in 1916.[2]

He sided against the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1922, like most of the IRA in Kerry. In the Civil War, when Free State troops landed in Kerry as part of a seaborne offensive, he was in command of the Anti-Treaty garrison in Tralee. After the Army took the town, Sheehy retreated, burning the barracks there.[3] As the conflict became a guerrilla affair, he found himself in charge of three 'columns', or around 75 men in total, in the Ballymacthomas area.[4] He and Tom McEllistrim were in charge of an attack on Castlemaine in January 1923.[5]

Just after the Civil War, when Sheehy was still on the run, he managed to play football for Kerry. Kerry captain Con Brosnan, though a member of the Free State army, would guarantee his safe passage. And so Sheehy would pay into Munster and All Ireland finals, slip off his street clothes, play, and then at the final whistle, disappear back into the crowd.[6]

Sporting career[edit]

He played Gaelic football with his local club John Mitchels and was a member of the Kerry senior inter-county team from the 1919 until 1930. He also played hurling with Tralee Parnells. Sheehy captained Kerry to the All-Ireland title in 1930. Three of his sons - Seán Óg, Niall and Paudie - all won All-Ireland titles with Kerry in the 1960s.[7] He played in the Railway Cup Hurling final in 1927 and was captain of the Football team the same year and won other medals in 1931.

Later life[edit]

Sheehy remained a staunch supporter of Sinn Féin and was a critical of the moves to end abstension by the party in the late 1960s. He sided with the Provisionals in the 1970 split at the Ard Fheis and remained active in Provisional Sinn Féin until his death, supporting the IRA's guerrilla campaign.

References[edit]

  1. ^ T Ryle Dwyer, Tans Terror and Troubles, Kerry's real fighting story, p238, Niall C Harrington, Kerry Landing, p83
  2. ^ Ibid. p 299
  3. ^ Dwyer, p356
  4. ^ Tom Doyle, The Civil War in Kerry p161
  5. ^ Ibid. p251
  6. ^ http://www.tribune.ie/article/2009/jan/04/125-most-influential-people-in-gaa-history-100-76/
  7. ^ "125 Most Influential People In GAA History (76-100)". Sunday Tribune. 2009-01-04. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Joe Barrett
Kerry Senior Football Captain
1930
Succeeded by
Con Brosnan
Achievements
Preceded by
-
(Galway)
All-Ireland Senior Football
winning captain

1926
Succeeded by
Mick Buckley
(Kildare)
Achievements
Preceded by
Joe Barrett
(Kerry)
All-Ireland Senior Football
winning captain

1930
Succeeded by
Con Brosnan
(Kerry)