Longford Gaelic Stats
Fr. Manning Cup (1965-2022)

Fr. Manning Cup

The Fr. Manning Cup is the longest running inter-county Juvenile tournament in the country, organised annually by the Longford County Board. It was initiated in 1965 by Tommy O’Brien (Longford), Fr. Phil McGee (Longford), Dr. Donal Keenan (Roscommon – former GAA President) and George O’Toole (Leitrim). It’s objective was to provide inter-county football competition for Under 16 players. Five counties (Longford, Roscommon, Leitrim, Cavan and Westmeath) took part initially, with Sligo joining some years later. Cavan was replaced by Offaly in 2006 and the competition has since widened to now include 12 teams: Longford, Roscommon, Meath, Laois, Leitrim, Offaly, Kildare, Louth, Wicklow, Carlow, Sligo and Westmeath.

Longford won the first competition in 1965 beating Westmeath by 0-4 to 0-3. The team was: Gene Dowling (Colmcille), Pat Lennon (Éire Óg), Liam Murphy (Rathcline), Oliver Kenny (Legan), Mickey Garrahan (Kenagh), John Smith (Mostrim), John Regan (Granard), John Greene (Mostrim), Mike Kenny (Cashel), Seamus Lee (Granard), Fintan Farrell (Rathcline), Martin Sheridan (Granard), John Devine (Granard), Kevin Hannify (Éire Óg). Subs: Ciaran Tuite (Mostrim) for S. Lee and John Doherty (Killoe) for K. Hannify. Other squad members who featured during the campaign include… Mattie Monaghan (Rathcline), Paddy Noonan (Mostrim), TJ Flood (Legan), Paddy Reynolds (Clonguish), Des Crotty (Longford Slashers), Liam Flynn (Ballymahon), Willie Browne (Killoe) and Brendan Byrne (Clonguish).

The competition was named after Fr. Seán Manning. Fr. Seán was born in Ranelagh, Dublin in 1907 and raised by his uncles, firstly in Drumshambo and then in Glen (Edgeworthstown). He was ordained a priest in 1931 and became a teacher in St. Mel’s College from 1933 to 1948. He served as Chairman of Leinster Colleges from 1941 to 1948, Chairman of All-Ireland Colleges from 1943-1948, Chairman of Longford County Board from 1945 to 1951, Chairman of Longford Minor Board from 1953 to 1954 and Chairman of the Leitrim County Board from 1955 to 1964. He coached St. Mel’s from 1935 to 1948 including their first All-Ireland title win in 1940. Upon becoming curate in Drumlish in 1948, he was instrumental in the creation of of the ‘Young Irelands’ Minor Club for Drumlish and Ballinamuck in 1949 and in the reorganisation of the Drumlish club into Young Irelands in 1951 (and subsequent SFC wins in 1951 & 1953). He was transferred to Annaduff in Leitrim in 1954 and the following year was elected Chairman of the Leitrim County Board, a position he held until his death in September 1964. The Under 16 inter-county tournament bearing his name began the year after his death, while a brand new cup was introduced for the winner by Fr. McGee during the 1967 season. The Fr. Manning Gaels club in Drumlish parish is named in his honour.

In the mid 2000’s the Fr. Manning Cup fell foul of a new GAA rule 139 (b), which stated that inter-county competitions needed to be confined to four teams. Roscommon then tabled a proposal to split the tournament into two round-robin sections (one Leinster, one Connaught), thus ensuring that the competition (which looked like being scrapped) could continue be played. It survived and the format was tweaked in the years that followed, with the 2022 competition comprising 12 teams.

By the end of the 2022 season, Longford had won the Fr. Manning Cup ten times: 1965, 1967, 1968, 1976, 1986, 1989, 1995, 2001, 2012 and 2021.

Fr. Manning Cup (1965-2022)

Titles Table

WonCountyYear Titles Won
16Cavan1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1991, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005
11Roscommon1966, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1988, 1993, 2002, 2007, 2009, 2016
10Longford1965, 1967, 1968, 1976, 1986, 1989, 1995, 2001, 2012, 2021
8Sligo1994, 1996, 2008, 2010, 2014, 2018, 2019, 2022
7Westmeath1978, 1985, 1992, 1999, 2006, 2011, 2015
3Leitrim1975, 1987, 1990
1Offaly2013
1Kildare2017

Fr. Manning Cup (1965-2022)

Roll of Honour

YearFr. Manning Cup Winner
2022Sligo
2021Longford
2020No Competition (Covid-19)
2019Sligo
2018Sligo
2017Kildare
2016Roscommon
2015Westmeath
2014Sligo
2013Offaly
2012Longford
2011Westmeath
2010Sligo
2009Roscommon
2008Sligo
2007Roscommon
2006Westmeath
2005Cavan
2004Cavan
2003Cavan
2002Roscommon
2001Longford
2000Cavan
1999Westmeath
1998Cavan
1997Cavan
1996Sligo
1995Longford
1994Sligo
1993Roscommon
1992Westmeath
1991Cavan
1990Leitrim
1989Longford
1988Roscommon
1987Leitrim
1986Longford
1985Westmeath
1984Roscommon
1983Roscommon
1982Cavan
1981Roscommon
1980Cavan
1979Roscommon
1978Westmeath
1977Cavan
1976Longford
1975Leitrim
1974Cavan
1973Cavan
1972Cavan
1971Cavan
1970Cavan
1969Cavan
1968Longford
1967Longford
1966Roscommon
1965Longford

Photograph of Fr. Seán Manning from cover of ‘Life and Times of Father Sean Manning’ book by Des Guckian (1979).

This content was researched & compiled independently from 2014 to 2022.
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