Knockane, a small area around the famed Sarsfield Rock in the parish of Pallasgreen and Templebraden, is a place steeped in football tradition. The Knockane club was one of the first units formed in the county after the birth of the G.A.A. in 1884. Tournaments were held there in 1887. The Nash and Quinn families were among the first players to take up the challenge. James Nash was a member of the Limerick Senior football team which won the All-Ireland title in 1896. Dick Quin of Knockane was listed as Great Limerick Sportsmen No. 194 in the Limerick Leader, 22 December 1956. Click here to view article
In 1935 Knockane captured the Limerick county junior football title and five years later won senior honours against Abbeyfeale. The Knockane team was one of the best teams in the county for many years but was unlucky to be beaten by Glin in four county finals during the Shannonsiders heyday.
In 1935 Knockane defeated Ballysteen in the junior final with the following team: Perry Ryan (Goal), Martin Ryan, Denny Fitzgerald, John Ryan, Paddy McCarthy, Tom Quane, Tom Slattery, John Murnane, Denny Whelan, Jimmy Fitzgerald, Tom McNamara, Michael Nash, Dick Foley, Mike Joe Ryan, Danny O’Keefe.
Ahane dominated the senior football scene for a five year period from 1936 to 1939. Games between Knockane and Ahane never failed to produce interesting fare. In 1940, it was the turn of the men from Sarsfields Rock to claim senior county honours, a tremendous achievement for such a small area. The historic line up read; Perrie Ryan, Johnny Ryan, Martin Ryan, Dan Leahy, Johnny Quinn, Jerry Ryan, Denny Whelan, Chris Lonergan, Mick Lonergan, Michael Nash, Denny Fitzgerald, Tommy Hogan, Tom Fitzgibbon, Maurice Power and Ned Quinn. Sub: Billy O’Donoghue.
With the war years taking their toll on the young men from the area, emigration deprived the club of key members and some good years. Knockane stepped down to the junior grade. The south title was won at junior level in 1951 just before the club transferred to the East division in 1953. Success came the way of the green and gold at minor level in 1954, 1955, 1956 and 1972. Juvenile football started in the east in 1954 and Knockane were the first winners. The championship was retained in 1955. The last win was recorded in 1973.
A new generation of footballers arrived during the 80’s and 90’s, success came their way in the Junior B grade in 1987 and 1994. The team of 1994 was: Fergal Grace, Bob Cahill, Lance Carroll, Noel McInerney, Matt Hanley, Jimmy Fitzgerald, Eddie Murphy, Denis Fitzgerald, Ted Horan, Tommy Murphy, Eamonn Cahill, P.J. Cronin, Andrew Moloney (Capt.), Mike Joe Ryan, Diarmuid Grace. Subs: Patrick O’Dwyer, Sean Grace.
Over the years several Knockane footballers figured on Limerick county teams with Dick Quinn, Jack Moloney and James Nash. Tom Breen won All-Ireland honours with Cork in 1911. Patrick Lonergan won Munster junior honours in 1929. Martin Ryan, James and Denis Fitzgerald, Dick Foley and Tom Fitzgibbon were on the county junior side that beat Kerry in the 1939 decider at Killarney.
Paddy Guerin was on the successful county side in 1950 while Davey Whelan was on Limerick’s only Munster minor winning team in 1956. Paddy Reardon, a Knockane native, won a junior medal with Tipperary in 1952.
*The above piece has been taken from Tom O’Brien’s (East Limerick P.R.O.) article in the Limerick GAA yearbook in 1996 after a conservation with Michael Nash, Knockane Cross.
Knockane hurling club has a less glamorous history. In recent years the Knockane hurling club was reformed in 1992. Despite suffering heavy losses to hurling strongholds including Doon, Ahane and Pallasgreen improvements were being made slowly. In 1994, Knockane were defeated by Doon in the East junior B championship final on the scoreline Knockane 3-6, Doon 3-11. In 1998, Knockane had their first competitive win in the code, when defeating Doon in the league by 2-6 to 0-11.
Knockane hurlers brightest achievement came in 1999, when victorious over Caherline in the Junior B hurling championship on the score line 1-8 to 2-2. Team: John Franklin, Matt Hanley, Peter Commons, Michael. O’Connell, Conor O’Dwyer, Fergal Grace, Sean Grace, Diarmuid Grace, Lance Carroll, Jim Franklin (0-6), Mike Browne (0-1), James O’Connor, Denis O’Sullivan, Roger Butler (1-0), Liam Butler.
Subs: Niall Ryan (0-1) for D. O Sullivan, Bob Cahill for S. Grace, Denis Fitzgerald for R. Butler, Bryan Boland, Brendan Collins, John Quinn, Conor O Dwyer