World War I continued to cast a shadow but what do we know about Irish sport in 1917?

While much sport was cancelled elsewhere, Gaelic football and hurling still had their showpiece events

BY Raf Diallo 10:50 Sunday 1 January 2017, 10:50 1 Jan 2017

This time last year, we travelled back 100 years to observe the sporting landscape of 1916.

But 12 months and another century's journey back still takes us to a sporting world affected by World War I which still had another year to run.

Like 1916, tennis for example was knocked off court in much of the world during 1917.

Wimbledon was not held, while the French and Australian Opens were also off the calendar.

The same was true of rugby. The Five Nations Championship (the Six Nations of today) was in the midst of a five-year absence which began in 1915 and would run until 1919.

Golf too is absent during 1917 as are the major cycling events like the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia given that the European continent is the theatre of war, pockmarked with death, destruction and trenches.

Football is also largely disrupted although Celtic do win the 2016-17 Scottish Division One, finish 10 points clear of Morton and Rangers. However, there was no Scottish Cup due to the war.

The USA, however, sees the World Series in baseball take place given its relative geographic isolation from Europe with Chicago White Sox defeating New York Giants.

But closer to home, the All-Ireland football and hurling championships continue unabated just like in 1916.

For those of a Wexford persuasion, 1917 is another addition to a glorious era in Gaelic football.

Already All-Ireland champions in 1915 and 1916, their team breezes through Leinster in 1917 before demolishing Monaghan 6-6 to 1-3 in the semi-final and then defeating Clare at Croke Park in the final which was staged in December.

The Irish Independent of December 10th published the day after the game and costing one halfpenny puts the crowd at somewhere between 7,000 and 8,000 souls on a sunny day at Croker.

But the match wasn't a classic, with the reporter deeming it "for the most part uninteresting", although acknowledging that "an occasional good burst of football took place".

That triumph was the third staging post in a four-in-a-row for Wexford. 

Provincial champions that year were Clare, Monaghan and Galway.

Meanwhile in hurling, Dublin would win their second All-Ireland title by dethroning reigning holders Tipperary 5-4 to 4-2 in the final. 

The Irish Independent report after that October final was quick to note "Mockler's great display" in the sub-head.

Again it was a sunny day with an even bigger crowd than the football final that takes place a few weeks later.

But the narrative of the day as noted by the reporter as the aforementioned Dublin player: "Before Tipperary scored Dublin had put in 2 goals and 2 points and there was a touch of irony in the fact that Bob Mockler, who
helped Tipperary to win the All-Ireland championship in 1908, was directly responsible for two of the scores with magnificent hitting".

End result, Dublin are champions and "Dr. Ryan, the Dublin captain, was carried shoulder-high to the pavilion" in celebration at full-time.

So that is it for 1917. This time next year, we'll bring you the story of 1918 and spoiler alert... Leitrim don't win the football All-Ireland. But you probably knew that already!


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