"We are blessed with the most wonderful field game in the world. No sport is more skilful, more graceful, more revealing of those who play it, and nobody who has seen hurling played by it's greatest exponents can be in any doubt about what beauty is, or graciousness or courtesy either . There is something else that is innate to hurling; the spirit in which the game is played. You can hurt, maim or even kill a man with a blow from a caman. You can certainly intimidate an opponent more persistently and to more effect than in any other game. The caman can be a skilful instrument or a bloody weapon ; that traditionally it has been the former rather than the latter is something to be proud of - something to be properly cherished and nurtured.. Without a certain decency of spirit, hurling would be rendered ugly. Decency in this sense is, like the game itself, distinctly Irish. ". Beautiful words there about a beautiful game as spoken by that beautiful hurler Joe Salmon.
There is increasingly a spring in the step of the Galway hurlers this year, and we will know a lot more about them after their game next Sunday against the All-Ireland Champions. We thought it timely therefore to show you the Galway team that played in the league in November 1949 against Limerick.
They are, back row, left to right M.J. "Inky" Flaherty (Ballinasloe); Lory Murray (Ardrahan); Joe Salmon (Eyrecourt); Ned Quinn (Ardrahan); Willie Fahy (Killimordaly); Tommy Moroney (Army); Frank Flynn (UCD); John Farragher (Clonthuskert).
Front row: Miko McInerney (Ardrahan); Colm Corless (Kinvara); Bernie Egan (Liam Mellowes) who was goalkeeper that day; Hubert Gordon (Tynagh); Sean Duggan (Liam Mellowes) who played out field that day; Mick Hughes (Liam Mellowes) and Tom Boyle (Ballinasloe).
Joe Salmon Personal information
Irish name Seosamh Ó Bradáin
Born Galway, Ireland
Joe Salmon born 1931 in meelick/Eyrecourt Galway, Ireland is a former hurler who at various times with his local clubs, Meelick/Eyrecourt, Liam Mellows, in Galway and Glen Rovers in Cork. Salmon also played with the Galway senior team from 1949 until 1964. He is regarded as one of the greatest players never to have won an All-Ireland medal.
Salmon played his club hurling with his local Meelick Eyrecourt club and enjoyed some success. He also played with the famous Glen Rovers club in Cork. In all Salmon collected five county championship medals.
Salmon first came to prominence with the Galway minor inter-county team in the 1940s. He lined out in the All-Ireland final of 1947, however, Tipperary were the victors on that occasion.
Salmon later joined the Galway senior team, however, Galway hurling was in the doldrums at the time. The fact that the county faced no competition in Connacht meant that the team went straight into the All-Ireland series every single year. This was not a happy hunting ground for the county.
Salmon first tasted success with Galway in 1951. That year his side reached the finals of the National Hurling League. Galway defeated Wexford and New York giving Salmon a coveted National League medal.
Two years later in 1953 Galway defeated a star-studded Kilkenny team in the penultimate stage of the championship. This victory allowed Salmon's side to advance to the All-Ireland final where Cork provided the opposition. The game itself is remembered as one of the ugliest championship deciders ever and is clouded in controversy due to the injury to the Galway captain, Mick Burke. Galway lost the game by 3-3 to 0-8. After the match at the Gresham Hotel in Dublin a fight broke out when another Galway player struck Cork's Christy Ring. The following morning another fight broke out when another member of the Galway panel attempted to hit Ring. The fights, however, ended just as quickly as they had started.
Five years later in 1958 Galway were given a bye into the All-Ireland final in an effort to improve the standard of hurling in the county. Tipperray provided the opposition on that occasion.Liam Devaney, Donie Nealon and Larry Keane all scored goals for Tipp in the first-half, while Tony Wall sent a 70-yard free untouched to the Galway net. Tipp won the game by 4-9 to 2-5.This defeat saw Galway enter the Munster Championship in 1959. It was not a happy hunting ground for the county. Salmon retired from inter-county hurling in 1964.