The Craughwell GAA Club has been involved in hurling since the foundation of the GAA.
Our Club History
The first hurling championship success accorded to Craughwell is that of 1909 when they defeated Loughrea. Craughwell had been defeated in the finals of 1892 by College Road, Galway and by Peterswell in 1900. GAA records in Galway detail an account of a hurling match between Craughwell and Labane as early as July 31st 1885, followed by a game against Oranmore in August 1885. Games against Athenry, Ardrahan and Tubber followed that same year. In the year of 1886 the records show that the Club was called the Craughwell and Ballymana Hurling Club with the then Secretary being Michael Connolly. These early encounters often included novelty acts as well as other sports events and usually attracted large crowds. Craughwell delegates, Mattie Kelly and Jim Neville, attended the first GAA Convention held on October 24th 1886.
The emphasis in the early days was on ground hurling where teams were often made up of more than 20 players with games lasting up to 2 hours and where a goal equalled 5 points.
Hurling was prominent in these early years in Craughwell and the club competed well in the Championship when it began, resulting in runner up status in the County Championship to College Road Galway in 1895. Senior titles were won by Craughwell in 1909, 1915, 1918, 1930 and 1931. While divisional Boards existed Craughwell played in the West until the mid-30s and won a number of titles there, and thereafter in the South when the 60s were especially productive with 25 titles won in that decade in Junior, Under 21 and Minor in both hurling and football. Craughwell has a rich history in under-age Coiste Iomána competitions, always preferring to play in the top grades. County titles won include 4 Under-12, 2 Under-14 and 3 Under-16. Ballymana NS has won 5 titles, Craughwell NS has won 2 and Coldwood NS, with whom many Craughwell players have played, has won 5 titles.
Our Club Name
The association of the club with the name of the 1916 leader, Sean Mac Diarmada from Kiltyclogher, Co. Leitrim is believed to have derived from his friendship with Tom Morrissey (whose brother Dick played on the first Galway team to win a senior All-Ireland in 1923) and with Tom Kenny (after whom the pitch in Athenry is named) who played a significant and sometimes controversial role in GAA affairs in Galway and in Connacht in the first quarter of the twentieth century. The Club pitch is named after Pake Gilligan, a hurler of great skill, who died at the early age of 27 in 1931. The development of the pitch is largely due to the enthusiasm of Sonny Shaughnessy and his Committee Secretary, Seán Kelly, NT. Club colours were not always green and gold and teams wore a black, blue and white striped jersey in the 40s.
Since the 30’s however Craughwell is working to try to get back to the top-flight of Galway hurling after the defeat by Mullagh in the county final of 1932. Success within the past 2 decades at under-age level has brought through some impressive hurling talent.
Current senior county panellists include Fergal and Niall Healy, Ger O’ Halloran and Adrian Culliane.
Our Club Participation
The Club participates in all grades of Under age competition and has hurling squads learning the skills of the game from age 5 years and upwards.
Involvement of Craughwell natives in football goes back to the 1900’s while the first competitive football team recorded from Craughwell involved a team from Ballymanagh in the late 1930’s. Some of the 25 championships that Craughwell won in the 1960’s included minor and junior football successes. The groundwork for this success was laid in the late 50’s with the involvement of Galway star Bosco McDermott with his fellow-cleric Johnny Haverty of Poulnabonny. This continued in the 60’s and early 70’s due mainly to the efforts of Peadar Dolan and P. J. Callanan who also promoted hurling. Football experienced a resurgence in the 80’s with the emergence of a number of under-age teams as well as with the development of St Patrick’s Club in Coldwood. Current under-age football activity is growing with success at U-14 in the 2011 championship and Feile and represented the club with distinction in Cork. Football squads from Under 5 up to Under 16 are in training for the 2011 season.
Of course supporting the on-the-field activity is the back-room staff, the hard-working committee people, those involved in fund-raising, those helping to develop and keep the facilities in good shape and of course those wives, mothers, sisters and daughters who have provided much-needed support for the players over the years as they prepared for or recovered from play.
The Club is indebted to James Gilligan for his permission to reproduce some of the materials from his extensive account of the history of sporting activity in his 1984 publication ‘Craughwell’s Sporting Past and Present’.