What is the Blake CUP
The Blake Cup is a Gaelic Football tournament for primary schools in around the Dunshaughlin hinterland. It generally marks the last competitive action in the school year as Dunshaughlin GAA Grounds host the annual seven a side invitational blitz tournament in the month of June. The tournament was the brainchild of our former principal Mr. Gilligan and the cup itself is named after Dunshaughlin GAA stalwart Paddy Blake.
To ensure that most teams are in with a chance of silverware a Blake shield and a Blake plaque was added in 2008. While the football is important, for many the highlight of the day is the feast of sandwiches, buns, crisps and drinks provided by the Dunshaughlin mothers for one and all at the end of the day.
History of blake cup
The Blake Cup is an inter schools invitational tournament named in honour of Paddy Blake, a Dunshaughlin player and official from the 1920s to the 1960s. Paddy Blake was a stalwart of Dunshaughlin hurling teams in the early decades of the twentieth century at a time when Dunshaughlin was noted for its hurling rather than its football teams. He played in the 1916 senior hurling final when Trim defeated Dunshaughlin by 7-4 to 6-4. His hurling activities came to a halt during the War of Independence when he was interned in the Rath Camp at the Curragh for a period. He helped revive the hurling team in 1923 and went on to win the junior championship in the same year, alongside his brother Mickey. Finally in 1925 he won a senior championship lining out at midfield. At a time when nicknames for players were common, he was known as ‘The Butcher’ Blake, partly because he ran a butcher’s shop and partly for his tough approach to the game. He was team captain during most of the 1920s and in the early 1930s but as the players who were prominent during the previous decade retired the club went out of existence for a number of years.
He was Vice Chairman of the Dunshaughlin club from 1948 to 1951 and was one of the men who set up the St. Martin’s Juvenile football club in the 1950s. The club’s Under 14 team went on to win three in a row of county titles, 1957-59, and produced such well known players as senior All Ireland winners with Meath, Noel Curran and Jimmy Walsh in 1967, Evan Kelly in 1996 and 1999 and Richie Kealy in 1999. Paddy Blake was also one of the men responsible for ensuring that the club got its current pitch from the Land Commission in the 1950s. He died in 1983. Paddy was father of Arnold and Pádraig who played for Dunshaughlin in the 1950s and 1960s and grandfather of Garbhán, Caoimhín and Fionnán who played in the 1980s and 1990s.
In the early 1980s Jim Gilligan, then a teacher in St. Seachnall’s, regularly organised seven a side games with other schools, and a team from the school won the Scoil Mhuire Sevens in 1982. Seven a side competitions were popular at the time and there was an All Ireland Seven a Side competition at Under 15 level in the 1980s known as Óg Sport. Consequently, when the Blake family presented a perpetual trophy in memory of Paddy Blake to St. Seachnall’s NS in 1985 Jim Gilligan decided to use it for an annual sevens tournament. The first winning school was Kilbride NS in 1985 and the Blake Cup has been played annually since, apart from four years when exceptional circumstances caused its deferral. In order to give smaller schools a better chance the Premier Shield and Shield competitions were also introduced so that most participating teams depart with some reward.
2018 marked the thirtieth running of the competition and St Seachnall’s leads the way with thirteen titles to date in 1987, 1988, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2007, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016. See full roll of honour here