We Want The Shillelagh!

Dan Fitzgerald, Kevin Powers, Tom McBride, and Billie Whelan with the shillelagh | Photo from louisvilleirish.com

Dan Fitzgerald, Kevin Powers, Tom McBride, and Billie Whelan with the shillelagh | Photo from louisvilleirish.com

It has been quite some time since the Shillelagh has been home to Poplar Level Road. None of the players suiting up in Green and Gold on Friday were in high school yet to see the trophy the last time it sat in the lobby.  This Friday we look to change that, but first let’s have a little refresher on what we are playing for.

Besides the biggest bragging rights of the year, St. Xavier and Trinity will be battling for one of the coolest trophies around, the Shillelagh.  For the past 50 years, the two schools have compete for an Irish war club and symbol of great pride.

The AJ Ryan Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians have proudly donated this worthy trophy.  Each year a medallion with the game’s score is added: The medallion is Gold if the Tigers win, Silver if the Shamrocks are the victors.

Used as hunting weapons, shillelaghs were essential life support to the Irish peasants of the middle ages.  Every lad searched the hedges diligently for the prime stick which would be his companion for life and when at last he spotted the perfect specimen – he would claim it with the traditional shout, “BE JASUS AND IT’S MINE!”

He would nurture and protect it henceforth until it matured.  When it was ready he would choose a winter’s day when the sap was down and joyously claim his prize!  He would then bear it home with pride and triumph and spend every spare moment until Spring by the peat fire lovingly smoothing the knots and rounding the head.  If part of the shaft had grown too crooked, he would gently soak it and hang it from the cottage rafters weighted with sand until it was shaped right.

From the day the shillelagh was completed until his death, it never left his side, even then it would be placed by his side in his coffin!

So then… as you look upon this most honorable symbol of Irish heritage, reflect on its history and understand that it has been won in a clean, hard-fought contest.  Go Tigers!

About Jacob Hayslip

Senior at Saint Xavier High School. Editor-In-Chief of WSTX Sports.

Posted on October 1, 2014, in Tiger Football and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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