The history of Oughterard GAA
By John Byrne
The history and achievements of the Oughterard GAA Club over the hundred years are many and extensive. To attempt to do justice to such a broad and deep topic in a series of extracts is nigh impossible.
Doing so here in an attempt to give a flavour of events, remarking on those considered noteworthy at the time. It does not devalue or minimize the contributions of others not noted as it is inevitable that events will be missed. The club is always interested in being made aware of such details for future record.
Formed in 1908
The Club was officially formed in 1908. The young men of the parish spent a number of years playing the game introduced to the area by a Tipperary man named Mahony. The clubs first officers were; Fr. Fitzgerald PP, Harry O’Toole, Hugh Walsh Billamore, Coleman King of Glann, Willie and ML Logan of Maghera, Martin Walsh of Cregg, Bartley and John Conneely of Rusheeney.
Initially it competed with one other team in the parish from Glann. Records show that the 1917 Junior Championship game between Oughterard and Glann was unfinished with Oughterard leading. This started off a rivalry which continues today in the annual regatta game.
The pitch, now known as Corribdale was the subject of some controversy with the Landlord Jack O’Flaherty agreeing to the young men using it to play to avoid the continual trespassing in other area of the estate.
This plot was eventually vested by the Land Commission into the trusteeship of the GAA in the late 60s. The original Club Trustees were the late PJ O’Malley, Edwin McDonagh, Michael Dixon, and Jim Joe Clancy.
The late PJ O’Malley was one of the main driving forces for the GAA in Oughterard and in particular the development of the pitch and facilities. His enthusiasm and enterprise was supported and continued by many others up to today
Support of generations
Oughterard GAA has been lucky to have the support of generations from families on the playing field as member and officers. In the teams over the years, it is normal to have brothers playing side by side.
In particular, some families have provided up to seven members of one generation such as the McGauleys of Baurisheen, the Keoghs of Lemonfield, the Gibbons of Waterfield, the Gibbons of Glengowla, the O’Hallorans of Cloosh and the Lees of Cloosh amongst others
Likewise some families over the generation have provided both players and officers such as the O’Malley family of Bridge Street, the Logans, the McDoonaghs and the O’Tooles
The tradition is strong of school involvement in the promotion of Gaelic Games is high. This started in the early years with the playing of the Brooke-Leggat competition and is alive and well, having being nurtured over the years by Frank Kyne, the national school teacher and the current principle M.L. O’Donnell landing many county titles on the journey , the most notable being the three in a row 2000,2001,2002.
2007 all Ireland final
Continuing this tradition is St. Pauls Secondary School where from its foundation, teams have competed consisting of representatives from this club and neighbouring clubs in particular Killanin over the years, being successful in various competitions in Connaught over the years. The pinnacle of success being the 2007 all Ireland final, unfortunately losing after extra time. The club are indebted to the various teachers involved over the years including the late Fr. Enda Muldoon and the late Padraig “Dandy” Kelly through to Paddy Clancy and Mark Carr today.
Its noteworthy that that five former pupils, 2001 team captain Gary Fahy, Kevin Walsh, Richie Fahy, Padraig Boyce and Matthew Clancy were members of the Senior All Ireland winning Galway Teams of 1998 and 2001, second only to St. Jarlaths in past pupil numbers.
In later years the development of underage football has been strongly supported by a very active underage club involving both men and lady members
I9I9 Junior Title
Oughterard first County success was the I9I9 Junior Title, captained by John Joe D’Arcy from Maghera. The club takes its name from a member of that team, Seamus O Maille, a staunch member up to his execution in 1923.
1938 Brought the Club it’s first, and so far, only Senior County Title with a win over Ballinasloe captained by Pat Gibbons whose son John designed the club crest which won the overall award at the National Feile in 2004.This team was powered by the four O’Sullivan brothers, Dinny, Tom, Charlie and Edward, supported by the O’Toole Brothers and including all Ireland medalist Frank Burke (Doorus) and Henry Kenny an All Ireland medalist with Mayo.
Henry Kenny was representative of many of the exiles that played and contributed to the club. The Exiles include those from other counties who contributed to the club whilst living and working in the area. The earliest record shows that Pete Colleran from Sligo, Henry Kenny, Mick Dowling, Barney Winstone in the 30’s. Further players arrived to the club up to the 1960’s notably Dan Flynn, Dermot O’Connor Kerry, Dick Mooney, Tommy Ward, Frank Costello, (Carlow) and Peter Velden. In Later years saw the arrival of Damien Vahey, Gerry Fahy, (Roscommon) and Pat Burke (Mayo), Pat Ferriter (Kerry) and John Joe Reilly (Fermanagh).
The club at different stages in the 1930’s to the 60’s had players from other areas of Connemara, Moycullen and Killanin as well as being involved in a number of amalgamations under the name of Connemara Gaels and Seamus O Maille.
The County Junior Championship was won again in 1949, starting an era which was without doubt a golden era for Oughterard, which the club contested 3 senior county finals.
Then there was a long gap until the next generation stepped up to the plate with the County U- 21 Title of 1974 was also first for the club captained by Paddy Clancy.
Other notable wins
Intermediate County Titles were achieved in 1984 captained by Mike Welsh who had one Kildare County senior title earlier, 1990 our only Intermediate County League, 1996 with representation of the three Halloran brothers, Finbar, Bosco, Frankie and who were captained by John Morley who has played in the 4 winning teams and 2001 captained by John Canavan with the uncle nephew combination of Richard and Alan Gibbons.
Following the grading of competitions, Oughterard was successful in the Junior B grade in 1992 and 2007, Junior A in 1994 and Junior C in 2003. A notable feature of this team was the father-son combination of Pat Burke Senior and Patrick Burke Junior.
Other notable wins were achieved in county Senior League in 1979 and 1981, U-21B championship 1990 and 2000 and Under 17 County League 1977.
Together with a number of underage competitions from under 12 to under 16 in addition to minor league successes in 1973 and 2007 . This was a very successful era for the club on the playing field
The Club won many west board senior titles from the 30’s to the 50’s competing unsuccessfully in three county finals at that time with the unique feature of five Keogh brothers ,Johnny ,Ned ,Fr Hon ,Fr Joe and Mick back boning the team.
Two clubmen Pat Ferriter and Miko Gibbons have been honored to referee County Senior Football Finals
The club was represented on the various county committees over the years by the very Rev Jim O Dea being chairman of the county board in the early 40s and Pat Ferriter being vice chairman of the football board in the 1980s
The club has consistently supplied players to all county teams.
Oughterard had direct player association with all the Galway All Ireland winning teams in all grades from 1934 onward. This is a very proud record for a club of its size
And they are as follows:
Frank Burke 1934
Dinny Sullivan, 1934 and 1938
Charlie Sullivan 1938
Tom Mc Hugh, 1956.
Henry Kenny won an All Ireland with Mayo in 1936
Brian Geraghty 1964, 1965
Padraig Boyce 1998
Matthew Clancy 2001
Brian Geraghty won County Junior medals in 1958 and again in 1965 with John Morley part of the successful 1985 team.
All Ireland U21 Titles were won in 1972 with Michael Walsh and Edward Sullivan representing the club again in 2002 with Matthew Clancy and in 2005 by P J McGauley.
Henry Halloran was the first player from the club appears on the County Minor Team and was followed by a list of Club players. Those who were fortunate to be part of All Ireland Minor Football victories were 1970 Mike Walsh and Kevin O Connor,1986 Kieran O’ Sullivan, 1996 Tommy Finnerty, 2007 Damien O’ Reilly, J J Greaney and Martin Coady . The late Seamus Kyne who played with Oughterard in the 50s played on the winning 1951 team
Dinny Sullivan 1937, 1938 and Ned Keogh 1951 were also Railway Cup Winners and others such as the Great Tom Sullivan represented the club many times in County and Railway Cup Competition.
If you would like to have a scan of club history that was printed in 1984 contact Sean at firstname.lastname@example.org
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