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Bernadette McCabe St. Kevin's GAA Philipstown

Bernadette McCabe- An Appreciation by Tommy Powderly

According to Margaret McArdle and Alice Brennan the seeds of a camogie club was sown when in 1979, Pat Lane, secretary of St. Kevin’s organised a summer football league for girls. Yet, to get the very primary seed of the venture. Margaret says that the first person to articulate the idea was Bernadette McCabe. One evening when the ladies committee of St. Kevin’s were having a chat in the kitchen of St. Kevin’s community hall “Everything seems to be for the lads” Bernadette saids, “Should we not have something for the girls”

And it was from those few words grew the plant that bloomed into one of the most vibrant camogie clubs in the county; a club that was destined to win championships and leagues at all age-groups and levels. 

A prime motive for the foundation of the club was the fact that most of the parents were driving their sons to football games and practice had daughters as well. Bernadette had three, all of whom wore the club colours with distinction; Bríd, in particular was player of the year in 1985. 

The dedication and patience required for the early days of a camogie team by their mentors is more easily imagined than described, and it was in those early days that the three ladies, Bernadette, Alice and Margaret, proved to have a super abundance of those qualities. Together they created order out of chaos, so that their team won their first every trophy- The Dunleer St. Vincent de Paul trophy in 1982. 

Sadly, this was the only trophy Bernadette was destined to see being won by the team she had played such a major part in founding. Her death in April 1982 was, naturally, the cause of trauma and distress to the club. As Margaret and Alice wrote in the ten year booklet- “it was unbelieveable. She had been an inspiration to us all.What would we do now? How could we cope without her? The loss of Bernadette as an organiser was on us all as we lost a good friend”

It was only fitting, then, that the team she had nurtured were first to win “The Bernadette McCabe Cup”, the minor championship trophy presented by Nicky in her memory. The advice given by Bernadette all those years ago still holds good. She would say “one hour in the fresh air can be as good as one hour in study” and “success is not always measured by the number of trophies won rather in the confidence acquired and friends made.”

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