Cumann Seandalaiochta agus Staire Phort Lairge

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Laurence Dominick Dunne & Sport in Cappoquin

And Now for Something Completely Different: Short articles on diverse subjects. The first of which is by Joseph M.V. Conway. 

Laurence Dominick Dunne & Sport in Cappoquin

Joseph M.V. Conway is trying to locate any information on Laurence Dominick Dunne from anyone that may know or have information on him, born around 1920 in Cappoquin, Co. Waterford.

Laurence Dominick Dunne was one of the greatest, but sadly, forgotten athletes in Cappoquin, Co. Waterford. Known for his skill in running, coaching, and massage, Dunne was a natural all-round athlete. He also partook in rugby, tennis, playing and coaching badminton, snooker, billiards, and rowing; all of which came to him so easily.

His coaching and training methods proved to be 40 years ahead their time and were widely used in most sports in the Cappoquin area; where some of the country’s best athletes came from. He certainly was well coached by his School Coach at Blackrock College in Dublin.

Laurence Dominick Dunne coached me and, thus, I won many 100-, 220- yards, and 440- yards races, and one 300-meters race running against top class athletes throughout Ireland. Dunne and I were neighbours and lived only eight doors from each other in Main Street, Cappoquin, which was only100 yards from the local sports field and 30 yards from Jimmy Foley’s bar. As I’ve said previously:

 Dom put me through my paces and thus I won many races running. I give much credit for success to the coaching given to me and my counterparts by Laurence Dominick Dunne.  I know and was in nearly every house north and south Main Street Cappoquin as a boy.  Laurence Dominick Dunne may have his weaknesses and who have not.

Many benefitted from Laurence Dominick Dunne’s methods. Jimmy Foley, a champion cyclist won hundreds of races over many distances.  Thomas O Neill was an Irish Champion at the 5-mile hot pursuit cycling.

Cappoquin Hurling and Football Clubs had six players on the winning 1948 Waterford All-Ireland Hurling Minor Team.

The Cappoquin Rowing Club, coached by Dunne, were known the world over as top sports men and women. Dunne was in the rowing under-age four crew winning a silver medal in the 1928 Tailteann regatta held in Cork.

Any crew or team of which Laurence Dominick Dunne was a member had an edge over most opponents.  His training methods and muscle building techniques proved invaluable and his training methods continue to be used by many clubs in the Cappoquin area.  

We in Cappoquin, a close-knit community, are fortunate to have so many men and women who love many sports. Many of whom may not know their clubs’ success stems from the actions and influence of Dunne.

Note: We also had many types of sportspeople including the Irish Chess Champion Noel Mulcahy living five or six doors from the Dunne’s house on the north side of the street in Cappoquin.

Dunne’s Early Life
L D Dunne was born about 1908 the son of Edward Dunne and Annie Tracey. Edward Dunne was known as Nailed in 1907.
The Dunne family built up by Matthew Tracey [Annie’s father] the main premises are on Main Street, Cappoquin, north side of street and the bar and B&B on the south side.
Edward Dunne married Annie and the name over the door on the north side became Tracey and Dunne.

Dunne’s Achievements  
Dominick went to college in Blackrock, Dublin and when in college led by example. Below is a list of his notable achievements.  
·         He won 1924 220 YDS in 26.4 minutes
·         1926 won 220 YDS and 4x220 with Blackrock
·         1926 won 220 YDS in 34. 2
·         1924 won 440YDS [1/4] in 60.6 seconds
·         1925 won 449 YDS [1/4 mile] in 57 seconds and relay with Blackrock
·         1926 won 440 YDS [no time given] and the relay

In 1928, Laurence Dominick Dunne rowed at position 3 in the Underage in the Tailtean Games for Cappoquin Rowing Club which won Silver medals. The crew were W Cullinan [bow], John Curran, L.D. Dunne [3] W.J. Cahill [Stk] and James Lacey [Cox].

The Stanley Field and Its Namesake
Charles Orr [CO] Stanley born in 1899 and a native of Cappoquin, died in Clonakilty, Co Cork, aged about 90. He was a top-class oarsman and a lover of the Old Dark Blue (see the book The Old Dark Blue: 1862-2002 by Brendan Kiely). Charles was involved in PYE TV and Radio in Australia, South Africa, and the USA. CO Stanley was also very close to Laurence Dominick Dunne.

Jim Moore oversaw building the Red Bridge in Cappoquin over the Blackwater. John Stanley (father of Charles Orr) was the engineer on that project and they became great friends. Stanley knew most rivers in Ireland well thanks to his rowing experience.

I would say Stanley’s intention was to use the western part of the Sports field inch for use as a slip for all the visiting crew. It was an ideal bounding on the Blackwater, south side of the Red Bridge.

A local committee was formed to purchase the field for use by the community. The Dunne family along with others in Cappoquin purchased shares to help fund the project. In later years, it was the transfer of these shares which allowed the trustees to pass ownership of the field to the GAA. The closeness of the railway to the field ensured many sporting events were staged in Cappoquin and, over the years, many world records were broken in this field.

Athletes of Cappoquin
May I add, we had many famous athletes in the town and surrounding area to name but a few:

Captain Jameson of Turin, Cappoquin, Co Waterford won the English Amateur Squash Championship in 1922 and 1923. Also, it is believed he caught a brown trout in Vancouver, Canada weighing over 40lbs, a world record at the time. He was also a top-class cricket player and very much involved in the local club.

The two McGrath brothers from Drumroe Lower, Cappoquin: Danny and Sunny won several Irish Athletics Championships and were also top class rugby players.

We were so lucky to have many top-class athletes and a supportive community who encouraged and continues to encourage them.

Note taken from ad in Dungarvan Observer on the 26th June 1925:
New Sports field for Cappoquin had the distinction of being the field in which the first athletic and cycling sports under rules were ever held in Cappoquin, close on 90 years ago on July 9th, 1804, to be correct.

The crowd was so large that it was impossible to push one’s way through the streets in the evening the cream of all the Southern champions of the time. T.F. Kiely now of Fruithill, Dungarvan (then in the heyday of his promise in all branches of athletics) broke the world’s record in throwing the hammer on that occasion. Jim Wall, the native of Cappoquin, broke the world record in the long jump, while D. Horgan of Banteer, established another in the weigh throwing. Three world records were broken on that day’s sport’s meeting in Cappoquin.

Other famous athletes who competed were John A. Goode, Lismore; C A Ushier, Flowerhill, Ballyduff; W.J. Nolan now of Dungarvan but then Queen’s College Cork. The famous Leahy brothers and a host of other athletic celebrities. Space does not permit to name them all now.

Joseph M.V. Conway

If anyone has any further information for Joe concerning Laurence Dominick Dunne, you can e-mail the Waterford Archaeological & Historical Society at

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