ScoreBoardMemories.com Ireland.. Irish Home of All Ireland Hall of Fame Online Gallery
Mick Morrissey Put Carlow Firmly On The Hurling Map In 1955
Hall of Fame Posthumous Tribute to Wexford 1955 & 1956 All Ireland Champion Hurler
He was the first Carlow hurler, albeit in the purple and gold of neighbouring Wexford, to win an All Ireland senior hurling medal since the first ever All Ireland Hurling Final between Tipperary and Galway on the 1st August 1888 at Birr, Co. Offaly. That was 67 years since the very beginning of the first All Ireland final and despite playing for his adopted county, Carlow gaels around the globe were mighty proud that at last a Carlow hurler went up the Hogan Stand steps to make history.
Born in the historic County Carlow parish of Ballycrenegan in St. Mullins, Co. Carlow, in 1932, Michael Morrissey grew up on a family farm surrounded by his siblings under the Blackstairs Mountains and the name of the game was hurling and more hurling as he wore the green/white St. Mullins colours in his introduction to hurling. Part of a family of seven boys and two girls, the journey to pastures of profitable work was difficult and when an opportunity arose to migrate to a New Ross drapery store as an apprentice, Michael made a huge decision to move southwards to the Wexford town and hence began a famous hurling journey that would make history.
He later opened his own man’s drapery shop in New Ross and hurled with the local Geraldine O’Hanrahan’s club and it was here he came to the attention of the Wexford selectors in the early 1950’s. Michael of St. Mullins in Wexford, became Mick, and he became the first Carlow man ever to win an All Ireland senior hurling medal. He went on to claim a total of three All Ireland senior hurling medals and two National Hurling League medals also in the purple and yellow of Wexford.
The first All Ireland title came in 1955 against Galway; the second in 1956 when Wexford reversed the 1954 All Ireland defeat V Cork and Christy Ring and Co. and in 1960 against mighty odds, Wexford defeated Tipperary, who had the famous Doyles (no relation) Jimmy and John in their ranks. Mick Morrissey came on as a sub in the 1960 final and did not start due to a nagging injury.
The achievement of a Carlow man making hurling history in 1955 swept all over Ireland and wherever hurling was played, Mick Morrissey at that time was regarded as one of the greatest wingbacks in the game and was highly respected in all counties. In 1956 Cork, and 36 years old Christy Ring, did not know that a Wexford victory in the All Ireland final would be responsible for the famine it created in Cork’s All Ireland roll of honour. It took a mighty 12 years before Cork re-emerged as All Ireland senior hurling champions in 1966 after their 1954 defeat of Wexford..
1956 was also the year when the famous Wexford goalie, Art Foley, made a wonder save that All Ireland believed would be one of Ring’s greatest ever goals. It did not happen for Ring and Cork on that historic 1956 September day at Croke Park.
Mick Morrissey wore the No.7 jersey on that great Wexford team of 1955 and No.4 in the 1956 victory. Meantime in Leinster Kilkenny were waiting in the long grass in 1957 to re-emerge after a wilderness that lasted from 1953 until 1957 to again become Leinster champions.
Wexford were back as Leinster Champions again in 1960 beating Kilkenny on a scoreline of 3 – 10 to 2 – 11. In the 1960 All Ireland final Mick was called in from the subs bench to replace Séamus Quaid and proceeded to win his third glorious All Ireland senior hurling medal.
Two National Hurling League medals won in 1955/56 and 1957/58 against Tipperary and Limerick respectively, also can be included in Mick’s roll of honour. The Carlow hurler played 17 championship games in the colours of his adopted Wexford.
In 1960, at the age of twenty eight, Mick Morrissey made a life changing decision for his family and for himself. By now an established All Ireland champion hurler, the former St. Mullins player crossed over the Atlantic in emigration to New York. In the city that never sleeps, Mick Morrissey reinvented his hurling career, initially with the Kilkenny club and then Wexford.
He played on New York teams that contested N.H.L. finals, took up coaching and also refereeing after finishing his playing days. He also became the only New York G.A.A. President with the distinction of winning an All Ireland senior hurling medal and he made a huge impression as coach of New York hurling teams.
Golf was a sport that occupied a great amount of Mick’s leisure time and as founder of the Emerald Golf Society in New York, he served fifteen terms as Club President. Mick Morrissey, born in Ballycrinegan, St. Mullins, Co. Carlow, died suddenly in New York in 1993, and is buried far away from St. Mullins and New Ross.
May he rest in peace.