Portglenone Schools Sports Day 1925

When it comes to tracing old family names in a region, it’s always nice to find a new unexpected source of information.

A few months ago, while perusing old newspapers, I discovered this specially arranged school sports day in Portglenone held on Saturday 19th September 1925. This was a special one-off event, involving many schools in the area. Perhaps some of the names may be of interest to you.

Joint Schools’ Sports Day

It was initially anticipated that sixteen schools would take part. However on later reflection this was found to not be practical, both numbers-wise, plus it would have meant the inclusion of schools not in the Portglenone district.

The Ballymena Observer, 18 September 1925, looked forward to the special day, saying “If all goes well the present weekend should witness an event unique in the history of meetings in Portglenone……all the children from the eleven schools in the area will attend and more or less take part……fully 300 children are expected to attend, and (with) the parents and public, the fixture should ensure a monster gathering.”

portglenone school sports day

The idea for this special sports day was that of Mr. T. Riley, principal of St. Mary’s School.  On mentioning the matter to the Portglenone Justice of the Peace, Mr. R. A. Alexander, he instantly had a supporter.  The Portglenone man immediately  placed the Portglenone Demesne at the disposal of Mr. Riley’s committee.

There was a small admission charge to the event.  This enabled the organisers to provide refreshments for the children.

The Observer noted: “the happy relationships obtaining in Portglenone between all parties is stressed by the event.”

The Event Involved Eleven Schools

The event was a wonderful success. Over one thousand children attended, with some 300 taking part in the actual sports activities.

The eleven schools competing were: Portglenone, St. Mary’s, Garvaghy, Largy (i.e. Sherman Memorial), Tullynahinion, Aughnacleagh, Lisnahuncheon – all from the Antrim side of the Bann.  From the County Derry side of the river, we had: Glenone, Innisrush, and Greenlough.

The activities took over seven hours to complete.  The day included a refreshment interval, during which every scholar from the various schools was served with cakes and sweets.

The Northern Whig (22 September 1925) noted that the refreshments “must have cost a considerable outlay, as over a thousand children were present.”  It went on to say that “the greatest credit is due to Messrs T Riley (principal of St. Mary’s), the Secretary at St. Mary’s, and W. Heanen, Chairman (Portglenone Town School), on their triumph in organising the sports.”     The Ballymena Observer further noted that “as chairman of the committee, Mr. W. Heanen, principal of Portglenone School, has been indefatigable in his efforts to make it a success.”

The Results

The winners, and those who came up a little short, were as follows:—

100 yards, boys (8-11 years) 1) J. McAteer, Greenlough
2) W. Greer, Portglenone
3) W. McKeown, Portglenone
100 yards, girls (8-11 years) 1) Sara McCann, St. Mary’s
2) Mary McCloy, Greenlough
3) Jeanie Law, St. Mary’s
High jump, boys (8-11 years) 1) Winston Greer
2) Henry H. Henry, Greenlough
3) Jim McGall, Portglenone
100 yards, boys (11-14 years) 1) Charles O’Neill, Greenlough
2) Harry Henry
3) Tom Timmins, Largy.
Long jump, boys (8-11 years) 1) Patrick Jordan, Largy
2) John McAteer
3) Winston Greer
Sack race, girls l) Jeanie Ross, Aughnacleagh
2) Adelaide Kyle, Portglenone
3) Bridget McKeown, St. Mary’s
Schools’ relay race, boys 1) Largy P.E.S.
Egg and spoon race, girls 1) Rose O’Neill, Glenone
2) Mary McCloy
3) Bridget McAuley, Largy
100 yards, girls (11-14 years) 1) Susan Murphy, Garvaghy
2) Kathieen O’Neill, Glenone
3) Susan Greer, Maboy. 
Long jump, boys (11 -14 years) 1) Harry Henry
2) James Cassidy, St. Marys
3) Andrew Scott, Portglenone.
Schools’ 5-a-side football competition Largy P.E.S.
Long jump, girls 1) Susan Greer
2) Kathleen McAtamney, Greenlough
3) Jane McQuillan, Largy.
440 yards race, boys 1) Harry Henry
2) Jim McAllister, St. Mary’s
3) Malcolm McCann. St. Mary’s
4) Frank McLarnon, Portglenone
Schools’ relay race, girls Largy P.E.S.
Schools’ tug-of-war Greenlough
Obstacle race, girls 1) Bessie Miller, Portglenone
2) Annie Campbell, Innisrush
3) Agnes Barclay, Aughnacleagh
220 yards race, girls 1) Maggie Holmes, Portglenone
2) Jane McQuillan
3) Kathleen McAtamney
4) Maureen Cassidy, Lisnahuncheon
Weight-throwing 1) Willie McErlane, Largy
2) James Cassidy
3) Charlie O’Neill
Three-leg race, boys and girls (8-11 years) 1) Eddie Scott and Sammy Peoples, Portglenone 
2) E. McErlane and Patrick McCloy, Greenlough
3) Winston Greer and Jim McGall, Portglenone
Wheel-barrow race 1) W. Timmins and M. Rainey, Largy
2) J. Cassidy and P. Kelly, St Mary’s
3) P. McLarnon and R. Morgan, Glenone.
High jump, boys (11-14 years) 1) Barney Law, St. Mary’s
2) Pat McDonnell, Largy
3) J. McAllister
Three-leg race, boys and girls (11-14 years) 1) Lily Henry and Margaret Henry, Glenone
2) James Sexton and W. McErlane, Largy
3) J. Ross and J. Stewart, Aughnacleagh
Boys’ obstacle race 1) Jim Ross, Portglenone
2) Vincent Rainey, Largy
3) Hugh Scullion, Glenone


"I have spread my dreams beneath your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."

One thought on “Portglenone Schools Sports Day 1925

  1. Wow! When I was a child, we had sack races and egg&spoon races on our birthdays. I have not thought about it in a long time. Thanks for sharing!!!

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