#OTD in 1922 – The Clones Ambush.

Matt Fitzpatrick was killed while engaging British crown forces at Clones Railway Station on Saturday 11th February 1922, in an event recorded in history as the ‘Clones Ambush’.

Clones railway station was on the Dundalk and Enniskillen Railway. The Dundalk and Enniskillen Railway opened the station on 26 June 1858.

On 22 January, the Ulster Gaelic Football Final was played in Derry. The previous evening six cars had left Monaghan to bring the Monaghan players to Derry, many of the members of the team were members of the IRA. They were stopped by a B Specials (Ulster Special Constabulary) check point at Dromore station. After a search the Specials discovered weapons in the cars and arrested ten of the men. The IRA men were led by Dan Hogan O/C of the Fifth Northern Division. The men were taken to Omagh and interned.

The IRA waited impatiently for a chance at reprisal and on this date in 1922, a group of Irish Republican Army volunteers attempted to ambush a party of Ulster Special Constabulary policemen travelling on a train through Clones. The volunteers entered a carriage of a train and ordered the Specials to put their hand up. Commandant Matthew Fitzpatrick was shot and killed in the ensuing fight and five members of the Specials, Doherty, McMahon, McCullough, Lewis and McFarland were shot and killed. Several members of the Specials ran down the track and crossed the border into Fermanagh. The few remaining B Specials on the train decided to surrender and were arrested.

The IRA lifted the body of the Commandant Fitzpatrick and his body was attended to by Monsignor E.C. ward who gave him his Last Rites. The station closed on 1 October 1957.

Photo: Clones Train Station, Co Monaghan, caught in mid-demolition by photographer James O’Dea


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