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1956 Paudie Fitzgerald Kerry Wins Rás Tailteann
By Eddie Dawson
Feb 24, 2007, 17:13


 An  Rás Tailteann

5th. - 12th. August 1956



Stage 1:  Dublin To Newry,  102 Miles.

Dublin, Navan, Slane, Drogheda, Dundalk, Newtownhamilton, Camlough, Newry


Stage 2: Newry To Armagh, 106 Miles.

Newry, Bambrifge, Lurgan, Crumlin, Antrim, Randalstown, Toome, Castledawson, Magherafelt, Cookstown, Coalisland, Dungannon, Benburb, Armagh.


Stage 3: Armagh To Ballina, 132 Miles.

Armagh, Aughnacloy, Augher, Enniskillen, Belcoo, Manorhamilton, Sligo, Collooney, Tubbercurry, Ballina.


Stage 4: Ballina To Nenagh, 132 Miles.

Ballina, Pontoon, Casrlebar, Claremorris, Tuam, Horseleap, Moylough, Ballinasloe, Portumna, Borrisokane, Nenagh


Stage 5: Nenagh To Tralee, 106 Miles.

Nenagh, Birdhill, Limerick, Patrickswell, Croom, Rathluirc, Drumcollogher, Newcastlewest, Abbeyfeale, Castleisland, Tralee.


Stage 6: Tralee To Kenmare, 108 Miles.

Tralee, Killarney, Killorglin, Glenbeigh, Cagirciveen, Waterville, Castlecove, Sneem, Parknasilla, Templenee, Kenmare.


Stage 7: Kenmare To Clonmel, 133 Miles.

Kenmare, Loodridge, Ballyvourney, Macroom, Millstreet, Banteer, Mallow, Fermoy, Ballyporeen, Clogheen Clonmel.


Stage 8: Clonmel To Dublin 112 Miles.

Clonmel, Carrick-On-Suir, Glenbower, Callan, Kilkenny, Castlecomer, Athy, Kilcullen, Naas, Dublin.


Race Director:   Joe Christle


Joe Christle Race Director



Stage Winners:


Gene Mangan Kerry Double Stage Winner In 56


Stage 1:  Dublin To Newry, 102 Miles.  C. O'Donoghue (Dublin)  4-01-05

Stage 2:
  Newry To Armagh, 106 Miles. 


The Rás bunch in triumphant mood with the tricolour they "recaptured" from the RUC No.18 S. Abbot Dublin, N. Fahy Exiles, No.7 P. Moriarty Kerry, No.22 P. Sweeney Dublin,  No.25 P. Pegley Kildare,  No.4 J. Switzer Kerry,  No.6  P. O'Callaghan Kerry,  C. O'Donoghue, Dublin In Yellow & J. Landes Cork.


Stage 3:  Armagh To Ballina, 132 Miles.  C. Carr (Kildare)   6-35-33


Stage 4:  Ballina To Nenagh, 132 Miles.  G. Mangan (Kerry)  5-44-14


Stage 5:  Nenagh To Tralee, 106 Miles.  P. Fitzgerald (Kerry)   4-21-10 

Stage 6:  Tralee To Kenmare, 108 Miles.  P. Fitzgerald (Kerry) 5-18-51


Stage 7:  Kenmare To Clonmel, 133 Miles. G. Mangan (Kerry)  5-27-30


Stage 8:  Clonmel To Dublin 112 Miles.  P. Moriarty (Kerry)  4-49-05


Paudie Fitzgerald, Double Stage & Overall Winner

General Classification












P. Fitzgerald, Kerry
J. Keane, Exiles

P.O’Meara, Wicklow

G. Mangan, Kerry

C. O’Donoghue, Dublin

J. Gearon, Tipperary

D. O’Connor, Dublin

T. Flanagan, Meath

M. Mooney, Antrim

J. McGarry, Antrim

 37-15-37       07-33









County Team Winners Kerry

The Winning Kerry Team

G. Mangan, P. Fitzgerald, P. O'Callaghan, J. Switzer, J.O' Connor,
P. Moriarty

The Tipperary Team Paddy O'Meara, Frank Whelan,John Gearon,Tom Whelan, Ted Power & Tom Kiely
Con Carr Kildare Winner Of stage 3

Ronnie Williams Dublin Was In The Yellow Jersey On Stage 5

List Of Competitors 1956

Competitor No. 1           Philip Clarke T.D.

Competitor No 1 will not be riding. He Is Phil Clark of Dublin, at present serving a term of 10 years' imprisonment in Crumlin Road Prision Belfast.
"Phil" is a Vice-President of the N.C.A.I.

1.       P. Clarke


2.       G. Mangan

3.       J. O’Connor

4.       J. Switzer

5.       P. Fitzgerald

6.       P. O’Callaghan

7.       P. Moriarty


8.       J. McGarry

9.       D. MacGurk

10.   M. Mooney

11.   M. Gregg

12.   F. Thompsor


13.   T. Flanagan

14.   L. Collins

15.   A. Davis

16.   J. Reid

17.   M. Creighton


18.   S. Abbott

19.   R. Williams

20.   D. O’Connor

21.   M. Denny

22.   P. Sweeney

23.   C. O’Donoghue


24.   B. O’Brien

25.   P. Pegley

26.   C. Carr

27.   J. Crowe


28.   E. Dalton

29.   Garda T. Twomey

30.   P. O’Meara

31.   D. Elliott


32.   T.Whelan

33.   F. Whelan

34.   T. Kiely

35.   J. Gearon

36.   B. Lynch

37.   E. Power



38. D. Ryan

39. S. Ryan

40.   J. Jensen

41.   M. Hynes

42.   P.J. Collier


43.   S. McGreevy

44.   B. Monaghan

45.   D. Monaghan

46.   T. Halliday



47.   J. McIvor

48.   P. Rogers

49.   T. Rogers

50.   S. Devlin

51.   J. Skinnader

       N. S. C.

52.   C. Christle

53.   J. Fitzgerald

54.   N. Fehilly

55.   A. Williams

56.   F. Ward


57.   J. Paker

58.   N. Fahy

59.   T.Healy

60.   J. Keane



61.   J. Landers

62.   M. Carr

63.   P. Hickey

64.   G. Thomas


65.   J. Hacket


The Dublin Team Cecil O'Donoghue, Peter Sweeney, Denis O'Connor, Steve Abbott, & Mal Denny

Paddy O'Callaghan Kerry Team

Steve Abbott Dublin With Team Manager Matt Sands

What Happened On Stage Two From Newry To Armagh

The second stage was abandoned after a riot in Cookstown. The following extract describing the events is taken from the report of Con Kenneally in the Irish Independent:

‘Batons, bottles and battling bystanders came the way of the cyclists in the second stage (Newry to Armagh) of the NCA’s 8-day RÁS TAILTEANN which was to have gone round Lough Neagh to Armagh yesterday. Instead of a 106 miles stage, they raced only 24 miles to Lurgan, then ‘toured’ as far as cookstown in Co. Tyrone, where the race was broken up when the cyclists were attacked by a large crowd.

‘When the leading official car, driven by Mick Christle, and carrying a tricolour arrived at Lenaderg, near Banbridge, two constables stopped the race. Their request to have the flag taken down was refused and they did not interfere as the race continued on towards Lurgan.

‘Just outside Lurgan the race was again stopped but this time the police broke the flagstaff and, in the ensuing melee, one of the occupants of the car was struck in the face with a blackthorn stick.

When the main body of cyclists and the attendant cars arrived at Lurgan the situation had every appearance of becoming serious.

Several of the cycling party had to be restrained by their companions from coming to grips with the police, and the position was not eased by arrival of some young women who began to incite the cyclists by rendering “The Sash”.

Next on the scene was a tender full of R.U.C. re-inforcements, but this time a conference between police officers and the race management was in progress a little further down the road, and the police did not leave the tender.

The authorities were adamant that the car could not continue the course carrying the flag – in fact one of the plainclothes-men present requested Bernie O’Brien of Kildare to remove a green, white and gold flash from his shoulder which, however, he refused to do so.

Joe Christle, during all the excitement had the Flag and the broken staff in his hand, and when he and N.C.A. President Jim Killeen, returned from the conference, Christle announced the race “would not be allowed to continue.”

Instead, he said, they would complete the stage as a protest run, and that it would not be included in the times for the General Classification.

From Lurgan the cyclists continued right up along the Lough across through Randalstown to Magherafelt, uninterrupted. Then, when they were about four miles from Cookstown two of the cyclists tried to remove a Union Jack from a flagpole. Two policemen who were following the race foiled them, one of the cyclists being struck with a baton.

Entering Cookstown the cyclists were confronted by a line of police across the road. They were stopped and the drivers of the vans which were carrying green, white and gold identity discs were told to remove them.

‘The cyclists were ordered to continue on while it was being done, but they had gone less than 100 yards when a bottle was thrown into the middle of the road in front of them. The cyclists stopped to avoid the broken glass and as they did stones were thrown at them from both sides of the street. They were rushed, and a melee ensued which even the police, with drawn batons, were powerless to stop it for ten minutes.

The Kerry contingent, with their green and gold colours, came in for special attention and Paddy Moriarty was the first man struck. One of their mechanics, Jimmy Leahy was badly beaten around the face and was kicked on the ground, while Matt Fahy, of the Exiles team, was also struck.

Then the cyclists, who also collected their share of punishment from batons, remounted and got out of town. They were joined outside by their vans and as many as possible were driven the last 25 miles into Armagh, the rest following on in semi-darkness.

Today’s route from Armagh to Ballina will probably be diverted through Clones, but a definite decision will not be made until this morning.’

The scene outside Lurgan following the fracas over the flying of the tricolour No.52 in the foreground is Colm Christle and No.24 is Bernie O'Brien Of Kildare

Joe Christle with tricolour is proctected by the cyclists following the fracas in which the tricolour was retreived from the RUC. Left No.37 E. Power Tipperary, P. Sweeney Dublin No.22. & No.35 J. Gearon Tipperary.

Jackie Connor, Kerry in defiant mood after the recapture of the tricolour from the RUC outside Lurgan.

The Ulster Team car being forced to remove a tricolour pennant before leaving Nothern Ireland the following morning.

The 1956 Meath Team L to R M. Creighton, Tom Flanagan, Alex Davis, Ben McKenna, Bioll Halpenny, Joe Reid
Small Rás group passing halting site
Paudie Fitzgerald & Con Carr at the start of stage 3 in Ballina 1956
Kerry Team Van 1956 Donie O'Shes & Mossie Cantillon

A poster for a dance in Kenmare to raise money for the stage end.

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