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Jim Devlin Cup Marks Fiftieth Anniversary

Wednesday 10.04.2024
Team Talk Mag
Club Life


Jim Devlin famously kept the great Frank Stockwell of Galway scoreless in 1956 AI semi-final. Story is they had a £5 wager on it. Stockwell was the highest scorer that year and went on to get a record 2-5 in the final. Stockwell and Sean Purcell known as ‘The Terrible Twins’ tormented defences of that era.
Jim was last Coalisland Fianna captain to lift the O’Neill Cup (1955) at time of his death on 7th May 1974.
Below is a piece local journalist and Fianna man Ronan Mc Sherry did on the club website a while back.
Jim Devlin Cup
Tyrone GAA has announced the Jim Devlin Cup competition will take place this year to mark the 50th anniversary of the deaths of Jim and Gertie Devlin (nee Fox) who were murdered by a loyalist gang on May 7, 1974.
The club competition has not taken place for almost two decades and the Jim Devlin Cup is on display in Garvaghey GAA Centre.
At the time of his death, Jim Devlin was the last Coalisland Fianna captain to lift the O’Neill Cup – in 1955. He was one of the greats, not only of club and county football, but also with St Patrick’s College, Armagh during the 1940’s.
The beloved couple were murdered late at night, in the isolated area of Congo close to Edendork, by a gang (that included members of the UDR… conclusion of Anne Cadwallader book ‘Lethal Allies’…) operating in the Mid Ulster and Armagh area.
Gertie, a popular librarian in the town, had collected Jim from the pub he ran on Main Street, Coalisland. Their 17-year-old daughter Patricia was also seriously injured in the attack. They also had three younger sons, Colm (16), John (14) and Eamon (12).
It was a double murder that shocked not only the local and wider Tyrone community but also the whole of Ireland.
In 1944, Jim captained the Fianna to win the minor championship and two years later in 1946, age 17, he was on the Fianna team that won the senior championship, lining out alongside his brothers Paddy, Barry and Eddie. It was the first of his two O’Neill Cup medals.
At college level, he won four MacRory Cup medals (1944-47 inclusive) a record he shares with Dermot McNicholl of Derry, and in 1946 was on St Patrick’s College team that won the inaugural Hogan Cup competition. That was a game that went down in the annals of folklore for an exhibition given by Dungannon’s Iggy Jones RIP.
Jim also captained Tyrone minors to win the 1946 Ulster championship, with his bother Eddie and the Fianna’s Tom Sullivan RIP also on the team.
The Jim Devlin Cup was presented by members of the Tyrone County team of 1956- 1957. Jim lined out at full-back on those first Tyrone teams to win the Ulster senior championship, captained by his clubmates Jody O’Neill (’56) and his brother Eddie (’57), who passed away last year.
In an era before the All Star awards, in 1956 Jim was nominated by the Dublin paper, the Evening Press, as the Player of the Year, such was his impact at county level.
He was forced to retire from playing through injury in 1960. That year he was elected Chairman of Tyrone GAA County Board, aged just 32, a reflection of the esteem in which he was held.
He went on to referee club games and also had a passion for drama, taking part in many local productions while his wife Gertie was a keen indoor bowler.
A huge crowd attended the joint funeral of Jim and Gertie Devlin who were laid to rest in the graveyard adjoining St Malachy’s Church in Edendork.
* The Jim Devlin Cup competition will take place between senior club teams in Tyrone with four rounds of knockout games beginning in April. The final will be held at Fr Peter Campbell Park home of Coalisland Fianna on May 8th.
Jim’s grandson will present the Cup.

Coalisland Fianna will also hold events in memory of Jim and Gertie Devlin.

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