Much has been written in recent days on “Bloody Sunday” and indeed the occasion has been solemnised in Tipperary by their team winning the Munster final. The name of Michael Hogan of Grangemockler has been immortalised in song and story and the centenary of his tragic death has been fittingly celebrated.
When Tipperay faced Dublin on that fateful day among their supporters was a cleric from Mullinahone, an Augustinian Fr Denis P Crotty. Born in 1878 he would most likely have come in contact with the Augustinians through their churches in nearby Fethard or Callan. Ordained in Dublin in 1901 Crotty served in various Augustinian friaries and in 1920 was based in Drogheda Co Louth. Crotty was an unusually tall man standing at six feet five inches – a giant in those days, indeed in the Augustinians he was affectionately nicknamed “Long Crotty”. A keen GAA fan on November 21st he headed for Croke Park to see his native Tipperary take on the Dubs. The main events of that day are well documented and need not be repeated here.
Fr Crotty’s attention was drawn to the fact that one of the Tipperary players had been shot and he made his way to him as he lay on the field. The very next morning (November 22) he recounted the events of that tragic day to an altar boy , Patrick Duffner who was serving his mass in Drogheda. Writing in 1976 Duffner recalled Crotty’s words. “The military arrived during the game and fired indiscriminately into the crowd. Seeing a player lying on the ground I made my way through the panicking people to attend to him. On reaching him I saw he was already dead. It was Michael Hogan” . “As I served his mass at 7 a.m. on that day Fr Crotty gave me all the details of what had happened”.
As a student of Augustinian history I had heard of Fr Crotty’s ministering to Michael Hogan on Bloody Sunday but I never knew if it was true or had been exaggerated. Recently I was pleased to learn that the Hogan family themselves have unearthed some documentation confirming the fact that Fr Crotty was present with Michael on that fateful day in Croke Park. This Mullinahone man died in 1932 and is buried in Drogheda.
Fr Iggy O’Donovan,