The Keegan Cup – the most coveted trophy in Meath football – commemorates the late Tom Keegan from Lobinstown. Tom lined out at midfield for his club Syddan against Castletown in an intermediate championshipsemi-final at Rathkenny on Sunday, August 26th, 1940. During the encounter he received a very serious head injury. He was removed to Our Lady’s Hospital Navan and tragically died the next day, aged just 26 years of age. Tom is buried in Killary cemetery.A blacksmith by trade, Tom was a quiet unassuming type of man and in 1953 the Syddan club decided to honour his memory by presenting a cup which bears his name for the Meath senior championship.Previous to that there was no trophy for the Meath senior championship. Navan O’Mahonys became the first winners of the Keegan Cup in 1953.
There was a large attendance, representative of the entire parish, when a specially convened meeting was held for the purpose of doing something to perpetuate the memory of the late Tom Keegan.The meeting was held in Lobinstown Hall and after a lengthy discussion it was decided that the committee should endeavor to raise the funds necessary to purchase a valuable cup to be known as the Tom Keegan Memorial Cup and to present it to the Meath Co Board for the senior championship competition.The cost of the project was estimated at at a three figure sum and the committee hoped to to raise the funds by voluntary subscription, and by organising football matches and functions in Lobinstown hall.The following committee was elected to steer the project – Chairman: Paddy Meegan; Vice chairman: Patrick Halpin; Secretary: Patrick Shiels; Assistant secretary: Micheál Markey; Treasurer: Patk McGuirk.Committee: Richard Keegan, Bill Dillon,Tom Duff (Woodtown), Ed Cluskey, Peter Markey, Tom Duff (Piercetown), Andy Dillon, Jack Dolan, Paddy Bashford, Jas Cluskey, Tom O’Brien, Mattie Maguire, Paddy Balfe.
The story of the Keegan Cup as told by Paddy Meegan
Mention of Syddan winning the Keegan Cup in 1956 brings us back a further 16 years to 1940 when Tom Keegan lost his young life as a result of an accident playing for Syddan against Castletown in Tankardstown, Rathkenny.It was the first game I played for Syddan, who except for Tom all came from Newtown School district. It was an intermediate semi-final and that team had five sets of brothers on it. Syddan won the game and as you would expect it the team were still in shock when it came to the final and it was no great surprise that we lost.But the next year, as a tribute to Tom we bounced back and beat Flathouse in the final and so become the first team to represent Syddan at senior level.As far as I can remember it was Jem Cluskey who first mooted the idea of the Keegan Cup in 1952 and the idea took root immediately and in 1953 we presented Rev Fr Tully, Meath County Board Chairman with the cup for the Meath senior Championship.Before then there were just medals for the winners. I remember going to Dublin with Patsy Shiels and Paddy McGuirk to make the purchase. We had about £230 to spend – a lot of money then from a very big parish collection. It was to Millar and Millar ‘The Gold and Silver Smith’ who supplied the All-Ireland medals that we went. We had seen Sam Maguire and we wanted a big cup too. We were disappointed by what we could purchase new out of the purse we carried and were about to try elsewhere when the man in the shop said: “Wait, I have a very fine trophy here in top grade silver for a little more than a new one. It came from a London horse show which no longer runs and no finer piece you’ll get anywhere” he added. When he produced the cup we knew we could not leave without it. He wanted £250 at the lowest. It was not easy to bargain hard for such a faultless piece but we did. In the end we offered the entire contents of our purse and he accepted providing a stand and engraving as well.