Bill Shaw - one of the greats

Down through the years Summerhill has produced many fine footballers. One of the earliest and best of these was the late Bill Shaw.

One of the earliest references to Bill Shaw recalls that he was selected to play left half-forward on a Meath Junior Football team to play Louth in Dundalk in May, 1931. A report on that match tells us "Meath opened in promising style with Shaw scoring a point." Later the same report states "Shaw, and Jack Coogan were the best of the forwards. Shaw is a fine footballer but needs training."

In August of 1931 after a trial game he was picked as a sub on the Senior team to play Kildare. In November of that year he was picked to play centrefield against Cavan in a League match.

He helped Summerhill in the Junior campaign in 1931. Summerhill reached the final. Bill Shaw did not play in the final as he had attended a Rugby Dance. However the final ended in a draw, and he was reinstated before the replay. He played a major part in ensuring victory for the 'Hill' in the replay, operating from centre-half forward. He was captain of the Meath team in 1932/33. His appointment as captain created controversy in some quarters. (In those days the senior champions, did not necessarily supply the captain of the senior team).

Replying to a letter from North Meath club, who had queried Shaw's appointment as captain, the Chairman, the late Mr. Newman, gave the following reply: "The County Committee appointed Mr. Shaw as captain of the team unanimously and I don't think you can get a better man."

Bill continued to give 5 star performances for Meath during 1933. Reporting on a Meath v. Kerry League Divisional Final played in March of that year a correspondent of the time wrote: "From midfield Shaw and Kenny (Mick Kenny from Enfield) kept the game under control." Commenting later in the same report "Everybody knows what to expect of Willie Shaw, who played a real captain's game and was an inspiration to his men." Meath went on to win that National League and so Bill Shaw was the only Summerhill man to captain Meath to a national success.

Not alone did he captain the team but he scored the all important winning point in the last minute of the final against Cavan.

 

Not alone did he catch the eye of the Meath selectors but such were his displays for his county that he was picked to play for Leinster in the Railway Cup in 1933. Leinster won that Railway Cup with Shaw playing centrefield. He was partnered by the legendary Jack Higgins of Kildare.

In 1935 he won his second Railway Cup medal again at centrefield but this time partnered by his fellow Meath man, Tony Donnelly. Also on that team was Tommy "Boiler" McGuinness. Other famous names on the Leinster team of that era were Bobbie Beggs of Dublin, Eddie Boyle (Louth), Bill Delaney and Danny Douglas (Laois).

Unfortunately Bill Shaw did not play all his football with Summerhill as the club went out of existence for a number of years. Bill transferred his allegiance to Donaghmore at this stage.

Apart from his undoubted football talents, he was also a cricketer of no mean ability and regularly turned out with the Warrenstown Club. At the time of course, cricket was out because of "The Ban" and this brought Bill to the notice of the G.A.A. hierarchy on more than one occasion.

When the footballing deeds of Summerhill, indeed of Meath, are recalled Bill Shaw will hold a special place in that history.