Michael ‘Skinner’ Behan, RIP, continued the family tradition in Moorefield Club
When Michael ‘Skinner’ Behan wore the No. 3 jersey on the first Moorefield team to win the 1962 Kildare Senior Football Championship, on 12 May 1963, he fulfilled a long-time dream of his many forebears who had contributed to the growth and development of the club over the previous 81 years.
From the inaugural meeting at which the Moorefield Club was founded in 1882, the Behan family has been actively involved in all aspects of the club. In his 1984 History of Moorefield, Alec Whelan writes that the first meeting of the founders of the club was held in John O’Kelly’s thatched cottage on the Moorefield Road. “The founders of the new club were the O’Kelly brothers, John and James, Paddy Behan, John Langton, Tom Lannery and W Geraghty… Paddy Behan lived beside John O’Kelly on the Moorefield Road. He was a great organiser for the club. Paddy and his wife ran draws to provide money to pay for the first wooden clubhouse” which was built in the mid-1880s.
Alec notes that this fundraising trait ran in the family “as their son Tommy Behan supervised the running of the club premises from the late 1940s to the late 1960s”. Tommy’s daughter, Helen, continues that tradition as a member of the very successful Lotto Committee, and several family members have played for Moorefield in all grades.
A Star is Born
When Moorefield reached the 1957 Intermediate Championship final, losing to Maynooth, a teenage Michael Behan announced his arrival as a player of great potential. A year later he is recorded as starring in the final of the Kilcullen tournament and in December 1959 Toss McCarthy, Michael Behan, Frank White and Harry Fay merited special mention in the Leinster Leader report on Moorefield’s win against Clane in the 1958 Leader Cup northern area final.
In 1959, a very important year for Moorefield, Michael was “the best player on the field” in a fundraising match against Annanough at Ballybrittas in October. He was a star man in wins against Naas, Kilcock, Killard, Carbury and Clane which preceded the ground-breaking Leader Cup victory by 2-5 to 1-6 over Round Towers in the final.
Michael Behan was lauded by the Leinster Leader reports in almost every game in league and championship during Moorefield’s most successful period in the 20th century. He normally lined out at midfield, but he wore the No. 3 jersey in the semi-final and final of the 1962 championship when the Moores won their first senior title, the last time the final was not held in the year of the competition.
In 1967, a new-look Moorefield toppled county champions, Carbury, winning by 2-7 to 0-6. One of the solid backs was Mick Behan and in 1971 Mick was one of the ‘old hands’, along with Jimmy Dowling and Paddy Anderson who were playing as well as ever. He also lined out for Kildare juniors in the Leinster championship and on one occasion he outclassed no less a player than Fintan Walsh of Laois and Leinster fame.
Irish Ropes Team
Mick Behan played at full-back on the Irish Ropes team which was backboned by Moorefield men as the following team demonstrates: John Cummins; Nick Lindy (Round Towers), Mick Behan, Mick Masterson; S Reilly (Raheens), Jimmy Cummins, E Sheridan (Ballyteague); Jim Coates, Jack Donnelly (Ellistown); J Murphy (Milltown), Tom Keogh (Sarsfields), Jimmy Dowling; P Buckley, Mick Buckley, (Sarsfields), J Martin (Ellistown). Subs: C Farrelly, Frank Fogarty.
Mick’s passing severed another link with the famous Moorefield team which included Jim McDermott, Jimmy Cummins, Paddy Anderson, Jimmy Dowling, John Farrell and Joe Moran all of whom still follow the fortunes of the club, 60 years after the Moores won the first of the 1958-1960 three-in-a-row Leader Cups.
Michael Behan will always be remembered as one of the legendary players who set Moorefield on the road to great glory. The entire club extends sincere condolences to the Behan family and all Mick’s relatives and friends. He was a true gentleman of the highest order, of quiet disposition and great integrity. May he rest in peace.
Moorefield GAA expresses our sadness on the passing of Michael Behan. Michael was a member of the historic Senior Football team that won our first Senior Football Championship in 1962.
Michael was a true Moorefield gentleman and a staunch supporter. He will be sadly missed in Moorefield GAA.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.