Four clubs from the Granard parish won adult titles over the years:
- Granard Shamrocks (Gaelic Football)
- St. Mary’s Granard (Gaelic Football)
- Ballymore (Gaelic Football)
- Granard H.C. (Hurling)
- Bunlahy (Hurling)
Title Allocation: Titles of the above-listed clubs are displayed separately as separate and distinct club units.
Granard Shamrocks club was formed around 1905. It was not the first club in Granard (Granard Healy’s was the first), but was the first club in the parish to win a title. Shamrocks played in the 1905 Senior Football Championship and in local tournaments in 1905 and 1906. Shamrocks appeared to lapse after 1906 and reformed in August 1912 (referenced in shorthand as ‘Granard’). The club hosted a tournament on 22nd September 1912 including Granard Shamrocks, Clonguish Gallowglasses, Killoe Young Emmets, Arva Davitts, Columbkille St. Columbcilles, Mullahoran Gaels, Edgeworthstown Volunteeers, Clonbroney Clan O’Farrells and Ballinamuck 98’s. Granard Shamrocks also competed in a Ballinamuck Tournament in October 1912, which included teams from Clonguish, Killoe, Drumlish, Colmcille, Granard and Bornacoola. The club is also referenced vs Colmcille in a tournament in Gelsha in April 1913 (Granard Shamrocks vs Columbkille at senior and Granard Junior Shamrocks vs Columbkille St. Columbkilles at junior). Granard Shamrocks won the 1914, 1916 & 1917 Senior League-Championship titles (the last of those was completed in March 1919). These League titles have sometimes been confused with Senior Championship titles in the past, but research into those titles and the context around them shows that they were League not Championship. Granard Shamrocks also noted in Loughduff tournament in 1916 vs Loughduff (other game was Mullinalaghta v Ballymachugh). After the delayed 1917 Senior League-Championship final in March 1919, Granard Shamrocks is not referenced again until later in the 1920’s, and features from 1927 to 1931 in Junior competition. Published evidence also shows that Granard Shamrocks co-existed for a period in the parish at the same time as the St. Marys club.
St. Marys Granard club was formed in 1925. The name comes from the fact that the Catholic parish of Granard is dedicated to St. Mary. The Granard Shamrocks club was also organised for a period at Junior grade at the same time as St. Marys club was active in competition. The St. Mary’s club was very successful in the early years, winning Senior Football Championship titles in 1929, 1930, 1931, 1933, 1934 & 1935. The club went into decline and lapsed for a period in the late 1930’s, but was back in action by start of the 1940’s and won the SFC again in 1941. The club then lapsed from 1942 to 1946 and then combined with Abbeylara to compete as ‘United Gaels’ in the Senior Championship of 1947 & 1948. There was no club activity recorded from 1949 to 1953. St. Marys was reformed in 1954 and has been continuously active since then, with a period of domination in the 1960’s when most titles were shared between St. Marys and Clonguish. The club has the distinction of being the first club to win three-in-a-row Senior Football Championship titles (1929-1931) and followed this up almost immediately with another three-in-a-row from 1933 to 1935. St. Marys has won 11 Senior Football Championships in 1929, 1930, 1931, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1941, 1966, 1967, 1970 & 1982. The club also won the Junior Championship in 1958 and Intermediate Championship in 2002, 2012 and has won four Leader Cups and nine U20/21 Championships.
Ballymore club as we know it today was formed in 1967. In the mid-1960’s the St. Mary’s club in Granard parish enjoyed a spell of dominance within the county. The fact that the town-based club had the resources to select a team from within its environs led to a separation within the parish along rural-urban lines. This was the impetus for the development of a separate club, with the Ballymore-Coolarty-Killeen-Bunlahy district deciding to go it alone. Hence in 1967 the Ballymore Gaelic Football club was established by a group including Bishop emeritus Colm O’Reilly (then Curate), Phil Reilly, John Drake, Jimmy Reilly, Patsy Cooke and Paddy Higgins. Phil Reilly was elected the first Chairman and Jimmy Reilly the first Secretary. Ballymore commenced activity in Spring 1967 with the clubs first game played against Mullinalaghta St. Columbas. Earlier references to a ‘Ballymore’ team can be found circa 1915. Eugene McGee also had a reference in 1981 Longford GAA Yearbook to Marty Daly’s first game being for Ballymore against Ballinamuck 98’s in 1915. A reference also found to Ballymore in active competition in Junior competition in 1919. A challenge match was also recorded between Ballymore and Columbkille on 5th September 1920. In the 1920’s we find Ballymore playing in Junior League in 1926, and a letter sent by the Ballymore captain (P Rudden) to the local newspaper expressing his dismay that the game in Edgeworthstown could not go ahead because the referee appointed to it was a few hundred yards away enjoying a game of tennis which he would not break from. In October 1926 we again find mention of Ballymore in Junior League against Clonbroney. Nothing significant is noted thereafter until the formation of the modern-day Ballymore club in 1967. Ballymore won the Junior Football Championship in 1980 & 1995 and Intermediate Football Championship in 2004.
Granard Hurling Club was formed in 1931. There are earlier reference to a hurling club in Granard in the early 1920’s and again in November 1924, though this seems to refer to the Boyle O’Reillys club in the parish at that time in both hurling and football (though never in official competition). Also signs of a hurling team active in Granard in 1928, but not in any active competition. On 11th November 1928 a hurling match takes place in Granard between Longford Garda Selection and Westmeath. The notice in the local newspaper notes that the Garda are taking a real live interest in the hurling revival. Granard hurling club was formed in 1931 competed in 1932, 1933 and 1934 Senior Hurling Championships. The club played in the inaugural game of the 1932 SHC against Longford hurling club in April 1932. This was likely the first competitive hurling game played in Longford since the 1907 Championship. That first game ended in tragedy however, when the Granard captain, Justin Manning, a native of Woodford in Galway, collapsed and then died while being removed to hospital. The game had been only twelve minutes in progress and the deceased had played a prominent part until the tragic event abruptly terminated the game. The Coroner in reviewing the evidence at the inquest said it was evident that influenza was indirectly the cause of death. The death was not caused by anything which happened in the game. Justin Manning had been working as a shop assistant in Mr. L. D. Kiernan’s of Granard for some time. That 1932 Championship game vs Longford was eventually re-fixed and played on 29th May 1932, with the following team representing Granard: M. J. Gaffney (captain), T. Kiernan, T. Finnan, P. McNally, T. Rudden, P. O’Dea, P. Hension, T. Manning, M. Reilly, M. Boyce, T. Gorman, H. Owens, S. Fagan, E. Fagan, M. Kiernan, T. Doherty, J. Sheridan, M. Gorman, W. Gaynor, J. Finnan and J. Geraghty. This was the first team to play a competitive hurling game for a club from the parish of Granard. Granard hurling club won three-in-a-row Senior Hurling Championships in 1932, 1933 and 1934 along with the very first Senior Hurling League title in 1933. The club faded away after 1934 and is not found in published records in the following years. The club was reformed briefly in 1949 and won the 1950 Cavan Senior Hurling Championship title. Granard Hurling Club has the distinction of being the first to win three-in-a-row Longford SHC titles (1932-1934). We did not find any contemporaneous evidence to establish that Granard Hurling Club was the hurling section of the St. Mary’s club, though they did share colours and venue (which was not uncommon at the time).
Bunlahy Hurlers competed in schools (from 1966) and underage hurling (from 1967) following a revival in schools hurling in Longford from 1965. Initially competing in Schools hurling competition through the National School in Bunlahy in 1966, Bunlahy made their underage debut in Under 14 and Under 16 Hurling League in 1967, reaching the Under 16 League final in 1967, beaten by Lanesboro by 4-3 to 4-1. In 1968 the Minor Board established a Schoolboys 9-a-side hurling league which Bunlahy competed in and won, beating Stonepark N.S. by 2-0 to 2-1 in the final on 30th March 1969 and lifting the new Corn Scóil. Bunlahy won the U-14 Hurling Championship final in 1969, beating Lough Forbes Gaels in the final by 4-0 to 1-1. Bunlahy reached the U-14 Hurling Final again in 1970, but this time lost out to Lough Forbes Gaels by 3-0 to 1-0 in December 1970. Bunlahy reached the U-14 Hurling decider again in 1971, this time against Legan on 19th December 1971. However the game was stopped at half-time when a Legan player had to go to hospital with a suspected broken arm. Bunlahy were ahead at the time but there is no record of the game being replayed or a winner declared. Underage hurling lapses for a number of years thereafter and in 1984 we see Bunlahy emerge in Senior Hurling Championship, reaching the 1986 Senior Hurling Championship final.
Note: Other clubs also existed in Granard parish down the years, but did not win key titles.