Longford Gaelic Stats
Longford Gaelic Story (1887-2022)

Longford GAA Story

A crest first appeared on Longford jerseys in the 1970’s, in gold outline on blue jerseys. A colour version of the same crest then appeared in the 1990’s and remained in use until the National Football League of 2004 when Longford were playing in Division 1 of the NFL. Longford GAA launched the current crest on a new jersey design in March 2004, which was first worn in round 5 of NFL Division 1 versus Mayo on 7th March 2004. An artists impression of both crest designs is shown here.

Pairc an Phiarsaigh  |  Pearse Park

Capacity: ~ 6000
Opened: April 25th 1937
Sponsor: Glennon Brothers (since 2012)
Address: 85 Cartrun Breac, Lisbrack, Longford, N39 K6X0

Origins of GAA in Longford

It was long assumed that 1887 was the origin year of the GAA in Longford (1887 is on the Longford GAA crest). It is not clear why 1887 is cited as the origin year. Our research found that the origin was more likely the formation of the first GAA club in the county (Granard Healys) in 1888. The Granard Healys club was formed in late September 1888, named after Tim Michael Healy, the Member of Parliament for North Longford. The elected officers were President, James Cosgrave; captain, L Cosgrave; secretary, John Cosgrave; treasurer, W Dawson; committee, E Tobin, F Kelly, J Kelly, J Smith and JJ Hennessy.

The town of Longford was next with Longford Davitts club formed on 2nd December 1888. The Ballymahon O’Briens club was third, formed in February 1889. A challenge game took place between the Longford Davitts and Ballymahon O’Briens on Ballymahon’s fair green in late February 1889, which appears to be the first recorded match under GAA rules in Longford, with the home side winning by three points to nil, refereed by Peter Toolan of Longford. A return game was played a month later in Longford with the home side reversing the result. More clubs were formed throughout 1889 and 1890 and the first official tournament under GAA rules took place on Easter Sunday 1889.

On 13th October 1889 two matches took place in Longford involving Longford Davitts vs Killoe Erin’s Pride and Drumlish Robert Emmets vs Clough Dillons. After these games the Longford County Board (or ‘County Council’ as it was referred to back then) convened for the very first time at the Market Square in Longford town, on 13th October 1889. Delegates were present from Ballinamuck, Drumlish, Clough, Columbkille, Dromard, Killoe, Longford and Clonguish clubs. It was decided at this first meeting that no club could enter a competition unless every member had a card of the Irish National League. This meeting appointed the following officials to the first County Board:

  • Chairman: JP Farrell
  • Secretary: JH Dunne
  • Treasurer: Francis McGuinness

JP Farrell was M.P. for West Cavan from 1895 to 1900 and M.P. for North Longford from 1900-1918. He served four terms in prison for his stance on the rights of tenant farmers and was elected the first Chairman of the Longford County Board in 1889. He also went on to establish the Longford Leader newspaper in 1897.

Although the first match under GAA rules in Longford took place in 1889, Longford had a retrospective link with the initial founding of the GAA in Hayes Hotel in Thurles in 1884, where one of the founders, Thomas St George McCarthy, was an RIC man who served as a District Inspector with the RIC in Ballymahon.

There are records of Gaelic Football matches taking place prior to the 1880’s and back to the 18th century, including one between Longford and Westmeath. There are also parish records which cite locals playing Gaelic Football prior to the 1880’s and many recollections of games between neighbouring parishes where the battle would go on for hours with no one seemingly keeping score! There are also recorded tales of teams in Longford prior to the foundation of the GAA in 1884, though not affiliated or competing under GAA rules. The yardstick used in our analysis for the start of GAA activity in Longford is the organisation of clubs, games and a county board under GAA rules, which dates back to 1888, not to 1887 as had previously been assumed.

1890 – First Senior Club Championship

By the time of the draw for a first Senior Football Championship in 1890, twenty one clubs had been formed and were ready for competitive action. Most of those clubs would be inactive/folded by the turn of the century. The clubs in the 1890 Championship were…

Ardagh St. Patricks
Ballymacormack Grattans
Ballywillan Michael Davitts
Carrickedmond O’Connells
Clonguish Gallowglasses
Clough Dillons
Columbkille St. Columbkilles
Crosskeys Fitzgeralds
Dromard O’Briens
Drumlish Robert Emmets
Edgeworthstown Volunteers
Ferefad Mandevilles
Granard Healys
Killashee Mitchells
Killoe Erin’s Pride
Legan Sunbursts
Longford Davitts
Moydow Harpers
Newtowncashel Sons of St Kieran
Rathcline John Martins
Shrule Leos

1890 was a controversial year with games called off and the County Secretary resigning, but all the time more and more clubs were being founded and the first Senior Football Championship taking place. At the time, there were 21 players on each team (the change from 21 to 17 players had been approved by GAA in 1888 but not yet incorporated in Longford) and a goal was worth more than any number of points. The Championship draw was split into North and South as follows:

North Competition

  • Columbkille (0-3) vs Edgeworthstown Volunteers (0-1),
  • Ballywillan Michael Davitts vs Granard Healys (walk over)
  • Drumlish Emmets (0-2) vs Clonguish Gallowglasses (0-1)
  • Killoe Erin’s Pride (0-0) vs Dromard O’Briens (0-1)

South Competition

  • Ferefad Mandevilles (1-0) vs Legan Sunbursts (0-1)
  • Killashee Mitchells vs Crosskeys Fitzgeralds – No result declared, replay a draw, second replay won by Killashee
  • Rathcline John Martins (2-3) vs Moydow Harpers (0-0)
  • Ardagh St Patricks (0-2) vs Newtowncashel Sons of St Kieran (0-0)
  • Longford Davitts (0-2) vs Clough Dillons (0-3), Longford awarded the game after Dillons waked off
  • Ballymacormack Grattans vs Carrickedmond O’Connells, Ballymacormack won
  • Shrule Leos – a bye

Further Rounds

  • Ballymacormack Grattans (2-6) vs Shrule Leos (0-3)
  • Ferefad Mandevilles (0-2) vs Granard Healys (0-2) – Granard won the replay
  • Columbkille (0-5) vs Killoe (0-0)
  • Ardagh St Patricks (0-5) vs Longford Davitts (0-3)
  • Drumlish Emmets a bye
  • Rathcline John Martins (0-3) vs Ardagh St Patricks (0-1)
  • Ballymacormack Grattans (0-5) vs Drumlish Emmets (0-3)
  • Columbkille (0-5) vs Granard Healys (0-1)

Semi Finals
Columbkille (1-5) vs Ballymacormack Grattans (0-1)
Rathcline a bye

County Final
Columbkille (1-0) vs Rathcline (0-4)

The first Senior Football Championship final took place at Abbeycarton Lane on June 8th 1890. Patrick Baxter from Ardagh St. Patricks was the referee. Rathcline scored four point in the first half with Columbkille struggling to play as well as they had in their semi final, but a fisted goal in the second half gave the lead to Columbkille which they held on to win, despite strong objections over the goal. In 1890 a goal was worth more than any number of points, hence Columbkille won on a scoreline of 1-0 to 0-4.

There was further controversy when Columbkille threatened to hand back their medals as Rathcline were receiving a set of medals inscribed with ‘Honest Johns champions for skill’. It was thought that the medals would have no inscription. The reason for the inscription is due to the fact that most spectators regarded Rathcline as being the superior skilled team only losing out to a disputed goal. A compromise was reached where the medals would state ‘Honest Johns for superior merit’. The teams on the day were as follows…

Columbkille – Phil Hourican, captain, Danny Hanlon, Hughie McGovern, Charlie Hourigan, Tom McKeon, Brian Sexton, Mickie Hanlon, Phil McKeon, Phil Brady, J Brady, John Clarke, Frankie Kiernan, James McKeon, Brian Mulligan, James Donohoe, Eddie Rogers, Mikie McNerney, John McDowell, Peter Kiernan, James Hourican, Phil Hourican

Rathcline – Patrick Casey, captain, John Farrell, James Skelly, Pat Connaughton, Thomas Fallon, Pat Farrell, James Costello, Thomas Killian, Pat Mulloly, James Fallon, Pat Fallon, Pat Curran, Pat McGuinness, Peter McGinley, John Smith, Thomas Hynes, Thomas Dempsey, John Fallon, Matt Dowd, Michael Reilly, Pat Fallon.

[Image: Longford Leader archive]

1891 – 1899

The years following the first club championship in 1890 saw political unrest impact upon the GAA activities and the county board struggled to keep formed. An effort was made to play a championship in 1891 with 26 clubs taking part in the Senior Championship and a number of games played. However the competition suffered from a series of no-shows and would later be abandoned. The number of absentee teams in the 1891 Championship was caused by a notice printed in error in the Roscommon Herald the day before the game, cancelling the fixtures. A subsequent meeting of the County Board ruled that the teams who didn’t turn up would get a bye into the second round and to compete the first round, the remaining teams who did not field were re-drawn against each other. The re-draw included Mullinalaghta Leaguers who were a late entry and Ballywillan Faugh ‘a Ballaghs who appeared to have changed their name from Ballywillan Davitts. Neither Ballymahon, Killashee nor Carrickedmond who entered in the original first round, appeared int he re-draw.

The full list of clubs earmarked for the 1891 Club Championship was:

Ardagh St. Patricks
Ballinamuck 98s
Ballymacormack Grattans
Ballymahon Leos *
Ballywillan Faugh a’Ballagh *
Clonbroney Esmondes
Clonguish Gallowglasses
Clough Dillons
Columbkille St. Columbkilles
Cranley Hearts of Erin
Dromard Hugh Roe O’Donnells *
Drumlish Robert Emmets
Edgeworthstown Volunteers
Ferefad Mandevilles
Granard Healys
Granard Slashers
Killashee Mitchells
Killoe Erins Pride
Killoe McMahons
Legan Sunbursts
Moydow Harpers
Mullinalaghta Leaguers
Newtowncashel Sons of St. Kieran
Rathaspic Leaguers
Rathcline John Martins

* In the months following the 1890 Championship, Ballymahon O’Briens and Shrule Leo’s amalgamated to form Ballymahon Leo’s, Dromard O’Briens and Dromard Owen Roes amalgamated to form Dromard Hugh Roe O’Donnells (Dromard O’Donnells) and Ballywillan Faugh a’Ballagh started the 1891 Championship as Ballywillan Michael Davitts and underwent a name change during the competition.

Four teams (Rathcline John Martins, Moydow Harpers, Killoe McMahons and Crosskeys Fitzgeralds) were eventually clear to proceed to the third round of games, with objections in the other five games to be decided by the County Board. A decision on the objections, probably in the hope that the political heat would have worn off, was deferred until the first meeting of the County Board in November 1891. By then the County Board had effectively ceased to function. No meeting was held, the objections were never heard and the Championship remained unfinished.

The GAA was faced with its first crisis in the aftermath of the Parnell affair, and activities and structures in Longford and other counties effectively ceased throughout the 1890’s. It should be noted that Longford was predominantly anti-Parnell during the crisis period. The 1891 championship in Longford was started but remained unfinished (for different reasons) and many years would pass before competition resumed in 1904. The number of clubs in Ireland dropped from 879 to 200 between 1890 and 1892 – the height of the Parnell scandal. The impact on Longford was a decimation of clubs and competition.

The 1891 convention in Longford was attended by only 1 delegate and a subsequent attempt saw only 4 clubs represented when 5 was needed to form a County Committee, hence the County Board was not in existence in the years following 1891.

In 1896 a County Committee was formed briefly, but did not last very long and later that year a challenge match took place between Longford Shamrocks and Granard Slashers with the Shamrocks recording a convincing win. This had been recorded in previous publications as a ‘County Final’ but that is incorrect as the County Board was not in existence at the time of the match, hence no official competition took place in 1896, and the match itself was a one-off game and not part of any larger competition with other clubs.

In 1896 the Longford footballers were drawn against Kilkenny in the Leinster SFC competition (set to be represented by the Longford Shamrocks club), but the game never took place. This is the first reference to Longford in the Leinster SFC competition. In 1897 Longford was drawn against Westmeath in the Leinster SFC competition, but again the game never took place. In these early years of the GAA, the county team comprised that years club champions.

Longford’s first inter-county game finally took place in 1897 with Longford Shamrocks representing Longford in the delayed 1896 Croke Cup competition. The Croke Cup was a Hurling and Gaelic football competition which took place between 1896 and 1915. The game was played on 14th February 1897 in Oldcastle against Louth, who were represented by Drogheda Emmets. The Emmets had a comfortable victory 2-8 to 0-3, according to the Leinster Leader of February 20th 1897.

1897 also saw some unofficial club games take place in Co. Longford with Granard Slashers, Longford Shamrocks, Clonguish Gallowglasses, Killoe Erins Pride, Ardagh St. Patricks and Edgeworthstown Volunteers in action at various stages. However this entire period was defined by the continuous decline of GAA club and county activity with soccer, cricket and rugby getting more popular in the county.

1900 – 1919

1902 saw the first signs of the re-emergence of the GAA in Longford, with friendly and exhibition club games played and the formation of the the first hurling club called Leo Caseys in Longford. The first recorded hurling match involving Longford took place in December 1902 between Longford and Roscommon. Indeed this was the first Longford team to play in Croke Park in either code, or Jones’s Road as it was then called. November 22nd 1903 saw a Longford team play in the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship for the first time, against Wexford in Jones Road. The Wexford side won by 2-12 to 0-2. Longford was reputedly represented by the Longford Leo Caseys club on that day.

The Longford County Board was re-organised in 1904 which led to a revival of club championship for the first time since 1891, as well as the introduction of a new club hurling championship. On the inter-county front, Longford footballers and hurlers both played Westmeath in the Leinster SFC on 31st July 1904 in the Gaelic Grounds in Mullingar. The fooballers were playing in Longford’s first Leinster SFC match, losing by 0-7 to 0-5. The Longford footballers that day were… Clarke, Phillips, Grimes, Cullen, Rattigan, Fallon, Owens, Halligan, Morgan, Farrell, Fitzsimons, Hackett, Galvin, Baxter, Quinn, Irqin and Quinn. The hurlers also losing to Westmeath in the second game that day, losing by 2-9 to 1-0. The Longford hurlers that day were… McLoughlin, Glancy, Early, Mullen, Morgan, Hogan, Hughes, Collum, Breslin, Duffy, Maloney, Falkner, Kierney, Cullins, Brady, Quinn and Galvin.

In December 1903 a pair of exhibition games in football and hurling were played between Longford Leo Caseys and Killoe Robert Emmets, with Leo Caseys winning the hurling by 1-3 to 1-1 and the football by 2-2 to 0-2. In 1904 a Senior Football Championship took place for the first time since 1891. Nine clubs contested the 1904 Championship (a significant reduction from the 26 which existed ahead of the 1891 championship) with Longford Leo Caseys winning the final against Killoe Young Emmets. The same clubs met in the hurling final in 1905 with Longford Leo Caseys recording a win in that match too. The Leo Caseys club in Longford town was associated with the town’s branch of the Gaelic League and in these years hurling had a far greater impact in Longford town than Gaelic Football.

Of the 9 clubs who competed in the 1904 Senior Football Championship, only 7 were part of the 26 clubs who took part in the last SFC competition in 1891 (albeit with a few name changes), while two new clubs had been formed in the time since 1891:

  • Ardagh St. Patricks
  • Clonbroney (formerly Clonbroney Esmondes)
  • Clonguish Gallowglasses
  • Drumlish Wolfe Tones (formerly Drumlish Robert Emmets)
  • Edgeworthstown Volunteers
  • Killashee Mitchells
  • Killoe Young Emmets (formed 1904)
  • Longford Leo Caseys (formed 1902)
  • Rathcline (formerly Rathcline John Martins)

The lineup for the 1904 Senior Football Championship was as follows:

Longford Leo Caseys v Killashee Mitchells
Ardagh St Patrick’s v Rathcline
Killoe Young Emmets v Clonguish Gallowglasses
Drumlish Wolfe Tones v Clonbroney
Edgewortstown Volunteers a bye

Semi Finals:

Killoe Young Emmets 1-4
Drumlish Wolfe Tones 0-3

Longford Leo Caseys 0-3
Ardagh St. Patricks 0-1 (replay)*

County Final (played in April 1905):

Longford Leo Caseys 2-7
Killoe Young Emmets 0-1

* Ardagh had objected to the result from the first game on the grounds that Leo Caseys had a soldier playing for them.

1905 saw a nationwide restructuring of the GAA and there was plenty of activity in Longford, but things still weren’t running smoothly. Longford footballers played Kilkenny in the Croke Cup in Jones Road, but were to suffer a heavy defeat. In early 1907 Longford played Westmeath in both the hurling and football in the Leinster Junior Championships (perhaps the delayed 1906 competition) with Westmeath winning both matches. 1906 saw the first Camogie team formed in Longford.

The 1905 Senior Championship overran with the county final played in July 1906. Longford Leo Caseys retained their title with victory over Edgeworthstown Volunteers by 1-7 to 0-3. It is worth noting that one source we reviewed cited Clonguish Gallowglasses as having beat Longford Leo Caseys in a replayed final (forced by an objection in April 1906) and then going on to win the 1905 Championship final thereafter. However our research located the match report from the 1905 final showing Longford Leo Casey’s as 1905 County Champions.

There was no Senior Championship action for the 1906 season. 1907 saw the first Senior Hurling and Senior Football championship double won by Killoe Young Emmets, beating a Drumlish and Ballinamuck 98’s amalgamation in the football final replay, and Longford Leo Caseys in the hurling decider. This would be the last official club competition in Longford until 1911.

In 1908 Longford met Westmeath again in the Leinster Junior Championship, only to lose once again by 1-4 to 1-9. This would be the last hurling action in Longford until 1929.

The years that followed were a struggle on and off the field locally, with little activity and no inter-county or club championships played for a number of years. There was no Senior Football Championship at club level in 1906, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1912, 1914, 1916, 1917 or 1918, but Senior Football Championship did happen in 1911, 1912, 1915 and 1919 (though with delays and competition often flowing over into the following year). Newspaper reports in 1917 carried the following official notice… “Owing to the somewhat disturbed state of the country, all football fixtures are postponed until further notice”. This was likely a combination of the political crisis post the 1916 Rising as well as the impact of the Spanish Flu pandemic and the Conscription crisis of the Great War. Killoe Young Emmets was the dominant club of the period winning 4 Senior Championships in 1907, 1911, 1913 and 1915, with no other winners in the intervening years due to absence of competition. It was previously assumed in both official and unofficial publications that Killoe had won the first ever 3-in-a-row of titles from 1911-1913. However our research in 2014 cast doubt over the 1912 title claim and further investigation showed that it was most likely the delayed 1911 final which was concluded in 1912 with no competition played for the year 1912. Hence that first ever 3-in-a-row of titles which had stood for 101 years in the official records to that point was invalidated.

1913 saw the reduction of players per team in Longford from 17-a-side to 15-a-side.

The Leinster JFC was discontinued for a few years from 1917, and Longford were suddenly back in the Leinster Senior Football Championship in 1917 after many years in Junior competition, and competed in Leinster SFC in 1917, 1918, 1919 and 1920, losing to Westmeath in all four years before returning to Junior grade when the Leinster JFC resumed in 1921.

Club championship activity resumed in 1919 for the first time since the conclusion of the 1915 competition. The newspaper archives report on the progress of the 1919 championship, which concluded with victory for Clonbroney Camlin Rovers over Killoe Young Emmets in a replay by 1-3 to 0-3 on 3rd August 1919 (this title was previously incorrectly allocated to 1917 prior to the 2014-2020 research). The 1919 championship title previously credited to Clonguish was actually the League-Championship (aka League) title win over Mullinalaghta, played in April 1920.

While the club championship status in those years is now much clearer, the League-Championship (aka League) status was somewhat more complex with competition stretching across years. Granard won the League-Championship titles of 1914, 1916 and 1917, however the 1917 campaign took two years to complete and the League-Championship final between Granard and Killashee was held on 23rd February 1919 with Granard winning by 2-4 to 0-0 (Granard had won the North Longford section earlier with 0-3 to 0-0 win over Killoe). A letter in the paper complained about the length of time taken to complete the League-Championship competition. The 1919 Senior Football Championship draw took place after that delayed 1917 League-Championship final in February 1919 and the Senior Championship final took place in July 1919 with Clonbroney Camlin Rovers winning the title. The draw for the 1919 League-Championship then took place on 23rd of July 1919 with the first games kicking off August 10th 1919. Long delays between November and February 1920 delayed matters on account of objections and lack of light at afternoon matches which ran into evenings. Action resumed in February 1920 with the semi finals in March and final on April 11th 1920, with Clonguish beating Mullinalaghta to win the 1919 League-Championship.

The Longford county team wore green and white hooped jerseys until 1918, before a royal blue jersey with a gold sash was adopted. In 1930 the Longford County Board removed the sash but the gold trim was retained.

1920 – 1929

The 1920’s saw Longford win their first Leinster titles in Junior and Minor football. Longford had played in Leinster JFC from 1905 until the Junior competition was discontinued for a few years resulting in Longford appearing in Leinster SFC from 1917 to 1920. Longford hadn’t won a championship game in Leinster Senior Football Championship competition in 1917, 1918, 1919 and 1920, and therefore were back in the Leinster Junior Championship when it was restarted in 1922, along with Carlow, Offaly, Westmeath and Wicklow.

In 1924 Longford footballers defeated Louth 2-5 to 1-3 in the Leinster JFC to record a first win in Leinster competition for some years and then defeated Dublin in the Leinster JFC semi final, 1-6 to 1-3, although this game was terminated early when Dublin refused to allow a 14 yard free to be taken. Longford faced Meath in the Leinster JFC final. Meath won the match, but they played a player from their senior ranks, hence Longford were awarded the Leinster JFC title, the first by a Longford team. Longford faced Cavan in the All-Ireland Junior Football Championship semi final and a 1-5 to 1-3 win set up a final against Kerry. The game was played on July 26th 1925. Kerry established an early lead, but Longford came back to lead. But a goal early in the second half and despite the best efforts of the Longford men, Kerry won 1-6 to 0-4. The Longford team was: F Gaffney (captain), W Rogers, P Bates, F Canning, P McWade, C Heuston, J McWade, M Deane, E Gaffney, M Grehan, P Reilly, R Burke, M Cawley, M O’Toole, H Greene.

Longford were promoted to Leinster SFC action and played at senior grade from 1925 to 1930.

The National Football League began in the 1925-26 season. In that first season the league was run on a provincial basis with Leinster having three sections. Longford Laois and Dublin won their respective Leinster sections and all three progressed to a group stage where they played each other to determine a Leinster winner. Laois faced Longford in that decider but Longford decided not to play the game in protest at the context around their first game against Dublin (The first game was initially awarded to Longford as Dublin failed to finish owing to a disputed decision. Later, the Leinster Council declared the result void and ordered a replay which Dublin won). Longford progressed to the NFL Quarter Final while Dublin and Laois progressed to the Semi-Final stage. Sligo defeated Longford in the NFL Quarter Final by 3-1 to 0-5 on 14th February 1926.

1929 saw Longford win the first ever Leinster Minor Football Championship title. The first round was a victory over Westmeath, 3-6 to 2-1. The second round was in Croke Park where Longford defeated Carlow 3-3 to 2-3. Backboned by a large number of St. Mels players, Longford defeated Dublin in the final on a scoreline of 3-4 to 1-4. As Ulster and Connacht had no minor championship at this stage, Longford met Clare in the All-Ireland final, but only after on objection from Dublin. The final was reported as a hugely entertaining affair with Clare leading 1-3 to 1-1 at the break. The sides exchanged many goals, but Clare ran out four point winners on a scoreline of 5-3 to 3-5. The winning squad of players was: T Reilly, A Vaughan, J Mulvey, J Lyons, J Quinn, J Sheridan, P Keenan, P Farrell, J Barden, W Clarke, T McHale, P McLoughlin, M Barden, W Farrell, J Smith, Clarke.

On the hurling front, after an absence from competition since 1908, the County Board decided to enter a team in the 1929 Leinster Junior Hurling Championship. By that stage Longford was the only county in Leinster not competing in provincial hurling competition. Longford played Offaly in the Leinster JHC of 1929, losing by 10-3 to 0-1. Offaly went on to beat Cork in the All Ireland JHC Final later that year.

1930’s – A new home and All-Ireland title

In 1930 the Longford County Board removed the gold sash (but retained the gold trim) from the royal blue county jersey which had been there since the jersey was changed from Green and White to Blue and Gold in 1918. The 1930’s was quite a successful period for Longford and it also saw the Leader Cup competition contested by senior football clubs the first time in 1936 (that years competition was discontinued and the first winner was crowned in 1937). 1937 saw Longford win Division 2 of the National Football League by defeating Donegal in Ardara on a scoreline of 1-7 to 1-3.

Longford footballers were regraded to Junior ranks from 1931 to 1937 having spent a few unproductive years at senior grade since 1925. Success would come in 1938 with victory in both provincial and national Junior Championship. The Leinster Junior Football Championship of 1937 started off with a 4-5 to 1-4 win over Dublin followed by a 0-9 to 0-1 win over Carlow. The semi final was played in Navan against Louth and Longford won 1-7 to 0-4 to set up a final against Offaly. The final was played in Longford on August 1st, the first time a provincial final was held in Longford. Similar to the minor final a few years earlier, goals were in plentiful supply. Longford led 2-6 to 1-1 at the break and ran out 3-7 to 4-1 winners. That Leinster JFC winning Longford team was: Gerry Marsden (Killashee), Joe Lyons (Killashee), Joe McDermott (Killashee), Jim Murphy (Clonguish), Eugene (Stevie) Reilly (Dromard), Joe Regan (Granard), Tony Sheridan (Granard), Jack McCarthy (Granard), Paddy Keenan (Ardagh), Bill Keenan (Ardagh, Captain), Harry Rogers (Mullinalaghta), Jack Rogers (Mullinalaghta), Frank Marsden (Killashee), Barney Reilly (Mullinalaghta), Jim Murphy (Killashee). Subs: Paddy Farrell (Killashee) for Jim Murphy (Killashee).

Longford faced Antrim in the All-Ireland JFC semi final in Breffni Park on August 8th 1937. Longford took control in the first half and led 1-7 to 0-3 at the break, the goal coming from Paddy Keenan. A further 1-7 in the second half saw Longford win 2-14 to 0-7. The home final was against Mayo on September 19th. The game was tight in the first half, but Longford finished strong to lead 0-6 to 0-3 at the break with Longford having played with a strong breeze in the first half. Tony Sheridan scored a second half goal to give Longford a five point lead, but they had to withstand a dramatic finish after a Mayo goal, but Longford held on for a 1-7 to 1-6 win. The All-Ireland Junior Football final was played in New Eltham in London, specifically just off Old Avery Road in Southeast London (now Holland Gardens) on October 10th 1937, with Longford winning on a scoreline of 0-9 to 0-4 having led 0-6 to 0-1 at half time.

The All-Ireland JFC winning squad was: Gerry Marsden (Killashee), Jimmy Keenan (Ardagh), Joe Lyons (Killashee), Harry Rogers (Mullinalaghta), Eugene (Stevie) Reilly (Dromard), Bill Keenan (Ardagh, Captain), Paddy Keenan (Ardagh), Joe McDermott (Killashee), Barney Reilly (Mullinalaghta), Jim Murphy (Killashee), Jack McCarthy (Granard), Jim Murphy (Clonguish), Tony Sheridan (Granard), Joe Regan (Granard), Jack Rogers (Mullinalaghta). Reserves: Paddy Farrell (Killashee), Frank Marsden (Killashee), Dinny Hughes (Killoe), Peter Duignan (Drumlish), Wilson McInerney (Colmcille).

The Longford hurlers had returned to inter-county hurling in the Leinster JHC in 1929 for the first time since 1908, but did not compete in 1930, 1931 or 1932, but by 1933 were back in the Leinster JHC, and met Offaly in the first round, losing by 6-9 t 0-1 on 9th April 1933. That same year Longford entered a Minor hurling team into the Leinster MHC for the first and only time, losing to Offaly by 7-5 to 0-0 on 23rd April 1933. In 1934, Longford played Offaly in the Leinster JHC and once again lost by 10-2 to 3-4 on 29th April 1934. Longford was not active in hurling in 1935 (club or county). In 1936 Longford met Westmeath in the Leinster JHC on 19th April 1936, losing by 11-6 to 4-1. That was the end of inter-county hurling activity for Longford until 1958.

A huge development took place in 1937 with the opening of Pairc an Phiarsaigh (Pearse Park). The pitch was opened on April 25th 1937 with two games taking place, one between Longford and Roscommon and the second between All-Ireland champions Mayo and Munster champions Kerry.

Longford Minors win another Leinster Title

The good run continued in 1938 with Longford Minor Footballers recording another Leinster title. Wins over Westmeath (2-3 to 0-3) and Laois (0-7 to 1-3) saw Longford reach the Leinster Minor final against Louth. The first half was a tight affair with each side scoring two goals, Longford leading 2-3 to 2-2 at the break. Both sides led at various stages in the second half, but a third Longford goal was the key score and Longford won by the minimum margin, 3-6 to 2-8.

The winning Longford Minor Football team was: T Murphy (Clonguish), P Fagan (Sean Connollys), C Baxter (St Mels/Slashers), B McGoey (Clonguish), K Clinton (Clonguish), P McGrath (St Brigids), J Kane (St Mels/Sean Connnollys), J Reilly (Mullinalaghta), T Daly (St Mels), J McGuire(St Mels/Emmets), C McGoey (Clonguish), P Lehane (St Mels), K Banks (St Mels/Slashers), P Beirne (Clonguish), J McDermott (St Brigids).

The All-Ireland Minor Football semi final was against Cavan on September 17th. The game was played in Pearse Park with an attendance of almost 5000. Cavan were too strong for Longford on the day and won on a scoreline of 4-6 to 2-4.

1940’s & 1950’s

Despite the rations during the war years, Longford continued to field teams in competition, but titles weren’t to come as they had in the 1930’s. The National Football League wasn’t played in all of the years, but Cavan, Longford and Westmeath played local challenge matches to keep teams active. Longford had some notable Leinster SFC wins over Westmeath in 1941 and Offaly in 1944 to qualify for the Leinster SFC semi final, but Dublin were just too strong and won 2-2 to 1-4 in Mullingar.

The 1950’s was had a slow start for the county teams, but the Minors reached the Leinster MFC semi final, but came up second best. The NFL was struggling in these years in a lot of counties, but interest was drummed up by a bonus of playing New York in the final, something which Longford would come to take part in in later years. 1952 saw Longford reach the Leinster SFC Semi Final. A first round win over Kildare followed up with a two point win over Offaly set up a meeting with Meath. A large crowd watch Longford take on the reigning champions, but despite a valiant effort, Meath won on a scoreline of 1-9 to 0-9. That performance set high expectations for the following year, but Wicklow were to prove too strong in the opening round of the championship.

That following year in 1953, the Junior footballers were set for victory. An opening round win over Offaly set up a match with Kildare. Kildare luckily drew on a scoreline of 1-7 a piece, but Longford made no mistake in the replay winning 2-7 to 2-3. Longford won the semi final 0-5 to 0-4 to set up a final against Kilkenny. 8000 people attended the final which saw Longford win the Leinster JFC title on a scoreline of 3-5 to 1-5. The Longford team was: J O’Leary, J Harold, W Morgan, U Martin, A Meagher, J McGrath, B O’Boyle, T Kiernan, P Farrell, F Brady, P Dolan, P Newman, A McNally, G Hennessy, N Dodd.

The subsequent All-Ireland Junior Football Championship semi final was played in Pearse Park, a double header with the All-Ireland Minor semi final between Mayo and Armagh. Derry were Longford’s opposition. Derry played with a strong breeze in the first half, but Longford finished the half level, 1-5 to 2-2. The second half was a tight affair with Derry keeping Longford scoreless while adding a point themselves, but a Jim McGrath goal five minutes from time set up a 2-5 to 2-4 win for Longford. The final was played in Croke Park on September 13th, with Cork winning on a scoreline of 2-9 to 0-4.

1954 saw Longford build on the progress of the previous year reaching the semi finals at Minor, Junior and Senior football grades. The senior footballers were defeated by Meath 2-9 to 1-5, a late 1-1 securing the win, but this was a Meath side which went on to win the All-Ireland Football Championshpi title. The next few years saw some good performances such as a Minor Football Championship win over Dublin in 1957, but ultimately no finals were reached or trophies won.

1959 started with two Junior Football Championship wins over Offaly and Westmeath. The Senior footballers also won their first round with a good win over Westmeath and this was followed up with a superb 1-11 to 1-7 win over Meath to qualify for the semi final against Laois. The Senior footballers took on Laois in Tullamore on June 28th, but the Laois side were too strong, winning 2-9 to 0-8. The Junior footballers also qualified for the final, but only after a replay against Kilkenny, winning 1-10 to 1-7. The Junior footballers met Dublin in the Leinster JFC final, but the men from the capital were too strong, winning 2-16 to 0-5.

On the hurling front, the Longford hurlers re-organised in 1958 and entered the Leinster JHC for the first time since 1936, played Offaly in the first round on 30th March 1958 and losing by 10-4 to 0-1. That brief return was to mark the end of Longford’s involvement in hurling championship until 2005 when Longford competed in the inaugural Nicky Rackard Cup.

Club Summary – 1920-1959

Ballinamuck 98’s won the 1920 Senior Football Championship title with victory over Longford Wanderers to bring the Senior Championship title to the parish of Drumlish for the first time.

There is no evidence of any Senior Championship activity in 1921 or in the years 1921 to 1926, though there was some League-Championship (aka League) action in some of those years. The Senior Championships of 1922 and 1923 had been previously credited to Longford Wanderers, however researched evidence confirms they were League-Championship titles and the evidence shows no Senior Championships played in either of those years. The 1926 Senior Championship had previously been assumed to have been abandoned (Granard v Mullinalaghta), however this was the League-Championship final which saw a dispute arise during the game when a Mullinalaghta player was struck by a spectator. Fans rushed the pitch and palings were ripped up and used. The melee lasted 10 minutes and the Gardai were called to restore the peace. Two were arrested and match was abandoned with 5 minutes to go. The drama made the national news.

Senior Football Championship eventually resumed in 1927 with Drumlish winning the clubs first title by beating neighbours Ballinamuck 98’s in the final. This is the only Senior Football Championship final to date involving two clubs from the same parish. Drumlish retained the senior championship in 1928 as a result of being awarded the title (the game was scheduled for 27 May 1928, but Longford Wanderers failed to field). The published records become much clearer from 1927 onward and St. Marys Granard emerged at the end of the decade to win the first three-in-a-row of Senior Football Championship titles from 1929 to 1931.

The 1930’s saw St. Mary’s Granard win an impressive 5 championship titles and the first ever 3-in-row of championships twice during the decade (Note: This feat had previously been assigned to Killoe 1911-1913, however our research disproved the 1912 title thus invalidating that 3-in-a-row, hence since 2014 Granard is noted as the first to achieve 3-in-a-row)! Drumlish led the SFC title count in the 1940’s with three championship wins, with Longford Wanderers winning two championships and St. Marys Granard, Ardagh St. Patricks, Mullinalaghta, Dromard and Colmcille all winning one each. The 1950’s saw the emergence of the Longford Slashers club which was formed in 1954 when the clubs of Longford Wanderers and Whiterock Slashers merged. Longford Slashers won four championship titles in the 1950’s, followed by the re-organised Drumlish club under the Young Irelands name winning three titles, while Colmcille won two titles and Mullinalaghta won one. The County Final of 1946 between Dromard and Ballymahon is noteworthy because the final dragged into the following year due to a mixture of issues including the harvest crisis and a semi-final objection not involving Ballymahon. The final was eventually fixed for March 23rd 1947 but the big blizzards at that time forced another postponement. The final eventually took place on April 7th 1947 and finished scoreless (still the only County Final to end scoreless). The replay on 14th April 1947 eventually saw Dromard victorious by 1-4 to 0-4.

The Hurling Championship was restarted in Longford for the first time since 1907 with Granard winning a trio of Championship titles in 1932, 1933 and 1934 before hurling competition lapsed once again. It is also worth noting that Granard hurlers went on to win the Cavan Senior Hurling Championship title in 1950. There would not be another Senior Hurling Championship in Longford until 1982.

In Junior Football Championship, the 1930’s saw title wins for Ardagh St. Patricks (2), Killoe Young Emmets, Longford Wanderers, Killashee St. Brigids, Seán Connollys, Whiterock Slashers, Colmcille, Ballinamuck 98’s and Moydow Harpers. The 1940’s saw title wins for Mostrim, Clonguish (2), Longford Wanderers, Cashel (2), Dromard, Ballymahon, Abbeylara and Ardagh St. Patricks.

In Underage competition, there were only two completed Minor Championships during the 1930’s and 1940’s with Killoe winning the 1936 Minor Championship and Mullinalaghta winning the 1938 Minor Championship. The next completed Minor Championship would be in 1950 with Clonguish becoming the first club to win the Harte Cup and also won Minor League titles of 1949 & 1951. Minor Championship competition was abandoned in 1951 but resumed in 1952 and has taken place in every year since.

Further detail on Senior Football Championships from 1920 to 1959 can be found here.

1960’s – The decade of success

The 1960s are rightly remembered as the glory years of Longford GAA as covered in 1966/1968, but a lot more happened that decade. The 1960 Leinster SFC started off with a 0-9 to 0-8 win over Meath, but things were quickly brought down to earth by a rampant Dublin side winning 10-13 to 3-8. 1961 started well for all the championship teams with Minor, Junior and Senior recording wins over Westmeath, as well as St. Mels winning the Leinster Colleges Championship. The Longford senior footballers beat Westmeath in the first round of the Leinster SFC by 3-10 to 0-8, setting up a Quarter Final tie with Meath, which Meath won on a score of 1-6 to 0-8, Longford being left to rue a defensive mix up for a goal and a penalty miss. Longford reached the final of the O’Byrne cup in 1961 after wins over Meath, Louth & Dublin, but Offaly were too strong in the final, winning 1-10 to 0-6.

Laois were too strong for Longford in the 1962 Leinster SFC, but once again, a good run in the O’Byrne cup saw Longford defeat Offaly, Wicklow and Kildare to reach the final, but the final in Drogheda against Louth was a bridge to far as the home team won 1-10 to 0-10. 1963 saw a first round win in the Leinster SFC over Westmeath before falling to Offaly. Westmeath would overturn this result in 1964, a year which saw the passing of Fr Sean Manning, the Dublin native who was county board chairman from 1945 to 1950 as well as being the St Mels trainer for many years.

On March 17th 1962 the first live television coverage of GAA matches too place, with RTE broadcasting the Railway Cup Hurling and Football Finals. Brendan Barden of Clonguish played in that first televised Railway Cup Football Final, while Longford’s Padraig Gearty has the distinction of getting the first score in that game and therefore being the first Gaelic Footballer to score on live television. Seamus Flynn from Clonguish would captain the Leinster Railway Cup team later in the decade, making him the only Longford player to have done so.

1965 was to be a forerunner for the coming years. The Leinster SFC started with a 1-5 to 0-5 win over Offaly in Mullingar which set up a quarter final against Laois where 1-2 from Bobby Burns saw Longford win 1-9 to 0-8. The semi final was a game against Meath, where Longford put in on of their finest performances to win on a scoreline of 2-8 to 1-7. The Leinster final saw Longford take on Dublin. A poor first half was the undoing of Longford where a penalty was missed after 7 minutes which was followed up with a fortunate Dublin goal minutes later. Dublin led 1-5 to 0-3 at the break. The second half was a much improved performance from Longford, but Dublin ran out 3-6 to 0-9 winners. The Longford team in the final was L Flynn, J Flynn, L Gillen, B Gilmore, B Barden, J Donlon, T McGovern, J Flynn, J Hannify, J Devine, M Hopkins, M Burns, S Murray, B Burns, S Donnelly. Subs J Heneghan, M Reilly, J Sheridan, S Ryan, P Sheridan.

Longford didn’t end the year empty handed, as wins over Offaly and Louth saw Longford reach another O’Byrne cup final. 7500 people came to Pearse Park as Longford came from two points behind at half time to win a first O’Byrne Cup title by 1-9 to 1-6. Brendan Barden was the winning captain and the team on the day was: M Fay, S Flynn, L Gillen, B Gilmore, B Barden, J Donlon, T McGovern, J Hannify, J Flynn, J Devine, M Hopkins, M Burns, S Murray, B Burns, S Donnelly. Longford actually won four trophies in 1965… The Feis Cup on 23rd May, the Tir Conaill Cup on 25th July, the Gaelic Weekly Cup (contested by all 4 beaten provincial championship finalists) on 3rd October and the O’Byrne Cup on 10th October, as well as reaching the Leinster SFC Final, making 1965 the most successful year to date for GAA in Longford.

1965 also saw the first running of the Fr. Manning Cup, a new inter-county Juvenile tournament organised by the Longford County Board. Longford won the new tournament in the inaugural year by defeating Westmeath 0-4 to 0-3.

1966 National Football League Title

1966 would go down in history as the most successful year in the history of Longford GAA. On the back of an O’Byrne cup success over Kildare and reaching the Leinster Football final in 1965, Longford footballers started the 1965/66 league campaign with wins over Cavan 4-7 to 2-12, Sligo 1-9 to 1-8 and Leitrim 0-12 to 0-6.

Longford won the National Football League Division 2 semi final against Meath 1-7 to 0-8 and defeated Cavan again 0-11 to 0-7 to qualify for the league semi final proper where they defeated Donegal 0-13 to 0-11 to meet the all conquering Galway in the home final. The final was won 0-9 to 0-8 with Bobbie Burns scoring 8 points and the other coming from Sean Murray.

Photo: Connolly Collection/Sportsfile

The National Football League final proper was a two-leg affair against New York. Longford won the first leg 1-9 to 0-7 and although they lost the second leg by 0-10 to 0-9 were crowned National League Champions for 1966. The game was played on October 9th in Croke Park almost 29 years to the day after the All-Ireland Junior Crown. The NFL winning team in 1966 included: Micky Burns, Terry McGovern, Jim Hannify, Mick Hopkins, John Donlon, Seámus Flynn, Jimmy Flynn, Bobby Burns, Seán Donnelly, Seán Murray, Brendan Barden, Larry Gillen, Brendan Gilmore, John Heneghan and Jackie Devine. 

While the 1966 National Football League ended in a historic victory, the 1966 Leinster SFC turned out to be a disappointment as Louth caused a shock, winning 0-13 to 0-7.

The following year in 1967, Longford defeated Kildare in the Leinster SFC after a replay before losing to Offaly 0-13 to 1-7. Longford ended 1967 with some silverware however, after winning the Feis Cup for the second time on 24th May 1967. The year was not without controversy as Bobby Burns refused a sub jersey in the 1967 Leinster SFC Quarter final and was suspended for 6 months as a result. The County Board chairman Jimmy Flynn resigned too along with 5 other officials.

1968 Leinster Football Champions

In 1968 the Leinster SFC first round was a repeat of the 1965 Leinster final where Longford defeated Dublin 1-12 to 0-12 in Tullamore. The sides were level 6 times, but Jackie Devine scored the key goal to set up a semi final meeting with All Ireland Champions Meath. Played in Mullingar in front of 20,000 people, Longford always had the upper hand on the champions with Mick Hopkins and Jimmy Hannify doing most of the scoring to win 0-13 to 0-7.

Laois were the opponents in the Leinster final and Longford went 0-5 to 0-0 ahead in the first quarter. Laois responded with 1-1 but two further points left Longford 0-7 to 1-1 ahead at the break. But seven minutes into the second half Sean Donnelly scored the first Longford goal. Laois responded with points but goals from Sean Donnelly and Jimmy Hannify and further points left Longford with an historic 3-9 to 1-4 win. The back room team was trainer Mick Higgins and his selectors Fr Phil Mc Gee, who was the manager, Jimmy Flynn, Mel McCormack, Mickey Kelly, Patsy Reilly and Bertie Allen.

The team who lined out for the final was John Heneghan, Jimmy Flynn, Larry Gillen, P Barden, Brendan Barden, John Donlon, JP Reilly, Jimmy Flynn, Tom Mulvihill (0-2), Jackie Devine (0-2), Jimmy Hannify (1-1), Vincent Daly, Captain, Sean Murray (0-1), Mick Hopkins (0-1), Sean Donnelly (2-1). Subs M Reilly, P Burke (0-1), M Burns, Brendan Gilmore, S Ryan, D Kiernan, J Donlon.

Read more about Longford’s historic Leinster SFC win in 1968 here.

1968 All Ireland Football Semi Final

The All-Ireland Football Semi-Final saw Longford face the might of the Kingdom in Croke Park. Over 34000 people saw the new Leinster champions take on Kerry. Longford got off to a great start going 0-4 to 0-1 ahead after five minutes, but a Kerry goal from Pat Griffen saw Kerry take over and a further first half goal left the half time score 2-7 to 0-6.

Longford got a great start to the second half when Tom Mulvihill scored a great solo goal. Further points to just two in reply from Kerry left just two points between the sides. Then Longford were awarded a penalty which Jackie Devine struck to the net to league Longford 2-10 to 2-9 ahead. But Kerry responded with points from Mick O’Dwyer, Brendan Lynch and DJ Crowley dashed Longford’s dream of reaching a first all-Ireland senior final.

The Longford team was John Heneghan, Seamus Flynn, Larry Gillen, P Barden, Brendan Barden, John Donlon, JP Reilly, M Reilly, Tom Mulvihill (1-2), Jackie Devine (1-4), Jimmy Hannify (0-2), Vincent Daly (Captain), P Burke, Mick Hopkins (0-3), Sean Donnelly. Subs M Burns, Brendan Gilmore, S Murray, Jimmy Flynn, S Ryan

That championship run saw Larry Gillen, John Donlon, Jimmy Hannify and Sean Donnelly play for Leinster in the Railway Cup and Brendan Barden was also a sub. There were no All-Stars in that era, but Longford would surely have picked up a number had such honours existed.

1969 was a huge climb down as Wexford defeated Longford 3-5 to 1-8 in the Leinster Championship. Wexford also defeated Longford in the Leinster MFC by 1-12 to 0-9 to end what would be the most successful period of football in Longford GAA history.

1960’s – Underage Hurling Revival

At the 1960 Longford GAA Convention, Mostrim moved a motion to establish hurling in the county. While activity at schools level took hold, no substantive progress towards forming hurling clubs and establishing adult competitions occurred. Underage hurling evolved from the schools hurling competitions and starts to take hold from 1966 with the start of the U-14 Hurling League involving teams from Stonepark, Newtownforbes, Teffia, Ballinamuck, Lanesboro and Bunlahy. The GAA Central Council provided all 32 counties with a Cup for Juvenile competition as part of a hurling revival effort, and in 1967 an U-16 Hurling League begins alongside the existing U-14 Hurling League with Ballinamuck, Bunlahy, Lanesboro, Stonepark Teffia & Newtownforbes competing in this new U-16 competition. In July 1967 Longford took part in an U-16 inter-county hurling competition involving 16 counties comprising Louth, Leitrim, Wicklow, Kildare, Roscommon, Sligo, Mayo, Down, Fermanagh, Monaghan, Cavan and Longford. The Longford U-16 hurling panel was made up of players from Stonepark, Bunlahy, Teffia, Ballinamuck and Newtownforbes teams.

1960’s – Club Overview

On the club front there’s no doubt that the 1960’s belonged to Clonguish who won an incredible 6 senior Senior Football Championships over the decade including only the second ever 3-in-a-row of SFC titles and the first (and thus far only) 4-in-a-row of SFC titles in Longford GAA history (Killoe had won four-in-a-row of titles in the period from 1907-1915, but with no competition in some of the intervening years it was not a consecutive 4-in-a-row achievement, hence it doesn’t count). The Clonguish full forward (and later Club Chairman) P.J. Murphy scored an impressive 8 goals during the 1963 campaign alone, which is something of a record. The other Senior Football Championship titles throughout the 1960’s were won by Killoe Young Emmets (1), Longford Slashers (1) and St. Marys Granard (2).

The 1960s also saw the reformation of the Intermediate Football Championship in 1966 with Kenagh being the first winners of the grade since the 1930’s. Mostrim, Cashel and Ballymahon were the other Intermediate winners during the 1960’s.

Junior Football Championship winners included Ballymahon (who did a unique double with the Leader Cup win too), two for Cashel, two each for Rathcline, St. Brigids Killashee, Mostrim and Seán Connollys and first title wins for Legan Sarsfields and Shroid Slashers.

1970 – Leinster SFC Semi Final

After the disappointment of the 1969 campaign, Longford footballers looked to make amends in the Leinster Championship. A first round win over Dublin on a scoreline of 2-14 to 3-8 set up a game with Louth. Longford won the quarter final 1-12 to 1-9 against Louth in a convincing manner. The semi final was played in Croke Park as Longford and Offaly drew 1-9 to 0-12. Offaly would win the replay 1-13 to 1-8, an Offaly team that won go on to win two All-Irelands in the coming years. 1971 started well as Longford reached the semi final of the national league, coming up short against Dublin. Offaly were to prove too good in the championship winning 1-7 to 0-3.

1972 – National Football League Division 2 Winners

1972 saw Longford win the National Football League Division 2 title, winning the semi final over Westmeath 0-16 to 3-5 and the final over Roscommon on a scoreline of 0-9 to 0-6. The Leinster Championship started with a 4-9 to 0-5 win over Wicklow and was followed up with a 5-5 to 3-7 win over Louth, but Meath were to prove too strong the next day out as they won 0-16 to 1-9. The national league restart at the end of the year also saw notable wins over Galway, Kerry, Kildare and Dublin. 1973 however saw this run in the league come to an end with three defeats. Kildare proved too strong in the championship as they won the first round match 0-13 to 0-8.

1974 – Minors reach Leinster MFC Final

1974 saw Longford, now trained by John Donlon, show their worth with a draw against All-Ireland champions Cork in the National Football League, but Kildare were to be too strong in the first round of the Leinster Championship wining 2-10 to 0-11. 1974 however saw a great run in the Leinster Minor Football Championship. A first round win over Kildare, the first for seven years, set up a semi final against Dublin, where Longford won 0-12 to 0-6 to reach the final against Wicklow. Longford just didn’t perform on the day and Wicklow capitalised to win 4-2 to 1-2. The Longford team was J Martin, Pat Higgins, G Fayne, Paddy Kiernan, T Gill, S O’Shea, Danny Murray, P Mulvey, Liam Tierney, J Brady, P McGrath, G Meenaghan, V Reyonlds, G Reynolds, Mel Noonan.

1975 started off with the sad news of the sudden death of Fr Phil McGee. Fr McGee was heavily involved with the great team of the 1960’s. He also was principal of Moyne Community School and had a big impact on football in Longford and both minor and senior football level. The Leinster Championship in 1975 was a non event as Laois won comfortably 3-13 to 1-8. 1976 was no better as Dublin were much too strong for Longford, winning 5-16 to 0-7. The draw in 1977 was kinder as Longford faced Carlow, the game ending in a 1-9 a piece draw, but the replay saw Carlow come through 1-10 to 1-8. Offaly were to prove too strong in the 1978 Leinster hampionship and in 1979 Louth were too strong for Longford in Minor, Junior and Senior Football Championships.

1970’s – Club Overview

The club Senior Football Championship scene was more evenly balanced in the 1970s with Longford Slashers winning 3 titles, Clonguish winning 2 titles, St. Marys Granard winning 1 title and historic first title wins for Mostrim, Rathcline, Cashel and Ardagh St. Patricks.

Intermediate Football Championship titles went to Rathcline, Ardagh St. Patricks, and first time title wins for Legan, Mullinalaghta + Fr. Manning Gaels, St. Brigids Killashee, Fr. Manning Gaels, Abbeylara, Killoe Young Emmets, Carrickedmond and Dromard.

Junior Football Championship titles went to Dromard, St Munis Forgney (first title), Rathcline, Abbeylara, Fr. Manning Gaels, Seán Connollys, Kenagh, Mullinalaghta St. Columbas, Longford Slashers and Colmcille.

Longford in Leinster U21 Football Final

1980 started off in similar vein at county level with a heavy defeat to Laois in the Leinster Championship. Operating at Division 4 of the National Football League didn’t seem to help matters, although Longford had a very consistent home record. 1981 saw defeat to Westmeath in the Leinster Championship, but the U-21 side provided a ray of hope as wins over Kilkenny and Kildare saw Longford reach their second Leinster U21 Football final, but Louth were too strong for Longford in the final played at Croke Park. Two late goals in the first half sealed Longford’s fate, and while the 2-8 to 0-6 scoreline is harsh on Longford, Louth were deserving winners. The Longford team was H Smith, J Halpin, S Mullooly, D Clabby, P Smith, M Sexton, D Barry, B Lennon, P Carberry, D Breslin, R Culhane, J McCormack, R Cheevers, F O’Hara, D Maguire. Subs J Keegan, M Kenny.

Good runs in the National Football League and O’Byrne Cup saw Longford in good form heading into the Leinster hampionship and a terrific win over Meath, 0-12 to 0-11. The draw wasn’t kind to Longford and Dublin were too strong in the quarter final winning 1-15 to 2-6. Promotion was gained in the league, a play off win over Sligo seeing Longford go up a division. The u-21s again had a superb year with wins over Westmeath and Kildare to reach the final against Laois, but Laois were comfortable winners, 2-11 to 0-3. The team was H Smith, B O’Rourke, D Mullooly, A O’Brien, T Victory, D Caslin, J Farrell, B Lennon, D Clabby, D Barry, J Keegan, E McCormack, J Lee, D Rowley, P Carberry. Subs G Crowe, M Duggan, J Halpin.

1983 saw some good performances again and a first round championship win over Carlow set up a quarter final against Kildare, but Kildare won 3-9 to 2-9. Wins over Wexford, Kilkenny and Westmeath also saw Longford reach the O’Byrne Cup final, but Meath gained a measure of revenge for the previous years championship as they won their first trophy under Sean Boylan on a scoreline of 1-11 to 1-9. The u-21s again had a good run with wins over Westmeath and Kilkenny, but Kildare prevented three final appearances in a row with a 1-12 to 1-9 win.

Hurling Revival

1982 saw the return of Longford Senior Hurlers to competition for the first time since 1958. Longford entered the National Hurling League for the very first time with the first game against Leitrim in Pearse Park on May 2nd 1982. That first game ended Longford 8-4, Leitrim 1-1. Appropriately Longford’s first ever score in NHL came from the Hurling Board Chairman John Collins, who opened the scoring with a goal and bagged a total of 3-1 in the game!

At club level, the Longford Senior Hurling Championship also made a comeback in 1982 for the first time since 1934, with Slashers Gaels (now Longford Slashers) beating Naomh Ciarán (Rathcline) by 2-10 to 1-6 to take the title and to lift the J.J. Duignan cup for the very first time. Teams from Slashers Gaels, Wolfe Tones, Naomh Ciarán and by 1984 also from Bunlahy competed at senior grade in the early years of the 1980’s. While hurling at adult level was starting afresh after a long break, it was already up and running and enjoying significant popularity in schools across Longford and within the following clubs who took part in underage hurling competition in the early 1980’s…

  • Abbeylara
  • Ardagh
  • Ballymahon
  • Cashel
  • Lough Forbes Gaels (Clonguish)
  • Naomh Ciarans (Rathcline)
  • Slashers Gaels
  • St. Brendans (Stonepark)
  • St. Mels (Shroid)
  • Wolfe Tones (Mostrim)

By 1988 there were 4 Senior Hurling Clubs and 9 Underage Hurling Clubs active in Longford across a range of competitions including U-11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21 and Senior grades. These clubs were Abbeylara, Ballymahon, Bunlahy, Wolfe Tones (Mostrim), Naomh Ciarán (Rathcline), Lough Forbes Gaels (Clonguish), Cashel, Kenagh and Slashers Gaels (Longford Slashers). This would prove to be something of a high point in hurling activity in the county as numbers contracted over the following decades, with just 3 Senior clubs and 4 Underage clubs in existence by 2022.

GAA Centenary Year

1984 saw the GAA celebrate its centenary with a special knock-out competition. Longford faced Down in the Centenary Cup and had a historic 1-9 to 0-11 win after extra time in Pearse Park. Galway were too strong in the second round winning 0-14 to 1-7. The Leinster Championship started off with a tough trip to Wicklow, but Longford came away with a 4-4 to 1-9 win. The second round saw Longford face Offaly in a sun drenched Pearse Park. Longford were in a commanding position, but Offaly carved out a 0-15 to 1-12 draw. A game remembered for Matt Connor, but also that Offaly had to play the first half in the Clonguish jerseys. The replay was in Croke Park where Offaly won 3-15 to 3-10. 1984 also saw Longford win promotion from Division 4 of the National Football League and face Kerry in the National Football League quarter final. Longford went into a 1-3 to 0-0 lead in front of a huge home support, but Kerry showed their class and won 2-11 to 2-5.

Division 2 status retained

1985 was a year that promised much after the great performances of the year before, but Wexford proved too strong in the opening round of the Leinster Championship. National Football League performances that year saw Longford proceed into the final game of the year against Cavan needing a win to gain promotion and a late Liam Tierney point saw Longford achieve that feat. This would set up a fixture with Dublin the following autumn and a famous win 3-8 to 1-11. The 1986 Leinster Championship saw Longford lose out to Louth at senior level and Meath after a replay in the U-21, but a win against Wexford in the final round of the National Football League, saw Longford retain their Division 2 status.

1987 saw Longford face Louth again in the Leinster Championship, and the men in red were again too strong. Despite good wins over Tyrone and Laois, Longford couldn’t maintain their National Football League Division 2 status. 1988 finally saw Longford get that Leinster Championship run that the team was capable of, with wins over Westmeath and Wicklow, but Dublin were to be too strong in the second half winning 4-15 to 0-9. 1988 again saw some excellent National Football League performances, while play-off wins over Wexford and Limerick saw Longford reach the National Football League quarter final where Dublin won by 6 points. 1989 wasn’t as good on the Leinster Championship front with defeat to Wicklow by three points.

1980’s Club Overview

On the club scene, the start of the decade saw Longford Slashers completing back-to-back Senior Football Championship titles in 1980 followed by Clonguish in 1981 and St. Marys Granard in 1982, before Cashel dominated with three titles in four years in 1983, 1984 & 1986. The 1985 county final tie between Mostrim and Ardagh St. Patricks needed three attempts before Mostrim eventually came out on top. Ardagh St. Patricks and Killoe Young Emmets (bridging a 28 year gap) won the next two titles in 1987 & 1988 respectively before Longford Slashers won the final title of the decade.

Intermediate Football Championship titles went to St. Munis Forgney, Legan Sarsfields, Kenagh, Ballymahon, Abbeylara (2), Colmcille and two in a row to Seán Connollys.

Junior Football Championship titles went to Ballymore, Shroid Slashers, Longford Slashers, Grattan Óg, Rathcline (2), St. Brigids Killashee (2), Moydow Harpers and Killoe Young Emmets (winning a Senior and Junior double in 1988).

The Senior Hurling Championship resumed in 1982 for the first time since the 1930’s. Slashers Gaels won six titles and Naomh Ciarán (Rathcline) won two titles in the years between 1982 and 1989.

Longford reach NFL Quarter Final

The 1990’s started off well for Longford with an excellent National Football League campaign that saw Longford reach a quarter final against Down, who would go on to win the 1991 All-Ireland Football title. The league campaign had notable wins over Westmeath and Galway. This left Longford in good shape for the Leinster Championship and a first round win over Westmeath set up a match with Meath, but Meath were much too strong on in the next round. A similar path was followed by the Minors who defeated Westmeath but lost out to Meath in the Leinster MFC semi final. 1991 was full of disappointment. A tough National Football League campaign yielded just one win and a draw before a heart breaking defeat away to Louth in the Leinster Championship, a late Louth goal giving them a famous win.

Mixed Fortunes for Longford

The next few years were tough for Longford football followers as heavy defeats to Wicklow, Offaly, Laois and Meath saw early exits from the Leinster Championship. National Football League wins were also rare, although a good run in 1994 saw Longford reach a league play off for promotion, but Westmeath won the game by two points. Similar results came at U-21 level, but 1995 Minor side will always be a case of what might have been. A great opening round win over Offaly in the Leinster MFC set up a local derby with Westmeath, but a late point for the lake county saw them win 1-11 to 2-7 as they went on their path to All-Ireland MFC glory.

1996 saw Wicklow edge out Longford by a point in the Leinster Championship before a low point when Offaly had a huge win over Longford in 1997. That they would end up as Leinster Football Champions was of scant consolation. 1998 saw a change in the Leinster Championship format as Longford, Wexford, Carlow and Westmeath would play off to see who would reach the quarter final. Longford overcame Wexford after a replay, but Westmeath were too strong the next day out. 1999 had a similar pattern as Longford and Wexford drew with Longford winning the replay, but again Westmeath were much too strong in Mullingar the next day out.

The late 1990’s proved a tough period for Longford football with little or no success, but a new generation of footballers were being blooded as the likes of Padraic Davis, Paul Barden, Trevor Smullen and Niall Sheridan all made their debuts. The 1999 U-21 Football championship saw two titanic battles with Dublin, but the men from the city won the replay after extra time.

Devine & Donnelly – London GAA’s Greatest

Mostrim’s Jackie Devine and Seán Donnelly of Longford Slashers who were both prominent members of the great Longford team of the late sixties, were both honoured by London GAA in April 1996 as two of the greatest emigrants ever to play in the city. 1996 marked the 100th anniversary of the GAA in London and as part of the celebrations, a team of the century for both hurling and football was chosen. Among the thousands of people to play Gaelic in London during that century, Jackie Devine was chosen at right half-forward on the team of the century, while Seán Donnelly was nominated as the best full-forward ever to play in London.

1990’s Club Overview

On the club scene, the Senior Football Championships of the 1990’s saw different teams dominate at different stages. Longford Slashers completed three in a row in 1991 (becoming the 3rd club to complete this feat) and won another title in 1994. Mostrim were popular champions in 1992 after losing a string of county finals in the years prior, while Killoe Young Emmets won two titles in three years in 1993 and 1995. In 1996 Fr. Manning Gaels bridged a 41 year gap since the last senior championship title rested in the parish of Drumlish. Fr. Manning Gaels went on to become only the 4th club to complete three in a row of Senior Football Championships in 1996, 1997 & 1998, including an impressive run to the Leinster club semi final in 1998. Dromard ended the decade with a famous championship win, their first since 1946.

The Intermediate Football Championship was competitive in the 1990’s. Titles went to Mullinalaghta St Columbas, Abbeylara (2), Cashel (3), Dromard (2), Clonguish and Ballymahon. Indeed it was notable that Dromard, Abbeylara, Clonguish and Ballymahon would all go on to win Senior Football Championship titles soon after winning the intermediate crowns.

Junior Football Championship titles went to Legan Sarsfields (2), Shroid Slashers (2), Clonguish, St. Brigids Killashee, Ballymore, Mullinalaghta St Columbas, Colmcille and Rathcline.

The Hurling Championship was dominated by Wolfe Tones (Mostrim) with 7 titles, while Slashers Gaels won 3 titles.

2000’s – Silverware at last

Despite the disappointment of the Leinster Championship exit in 1999, there was growing optimism that Longford had a great squad of players coming together. The first competition of the millennium was the O’Byrne cup and wins over Kildare, Dublin and Offaly set up a midlands derby against Westmeath in Mullingar. A large crowd turned out to see these two young teams in action and the provided a thriller with a late Trevor Smullen goal setting up a 2-6 to 0-7 win for Longford, their first O’Byrne Cup since 1965. The Longford team and subs on the day were: G Tonra; P Jones, D Ledwith, B Burke; M Mulleady, D Blessington, C Conefrey; L Keenan, E Barden; P Brady, P Barden, P Ross; T Smullen, N Sheridan, P Davis. Subs: A Keogh for Ross (47 mins), S Hagan for Brady (63 mins), E Ledwith for Sheridan (71 mins).

The good form continued in the 2000 National Football League, with three good wins, but defeat to Laois in the final game denied promotion. The Leinster Championship of 2000 was played on a round robin basis. The key game was against Wexford, where Wexford won 3-9 to 0-12. Two wins against Wicklow and Carlow was not enough for Longford, with Wexford progressing from the round robin system to play in the Quarter Final stage.

2001 saw Longford surrender the O’Byrne cup in the opening round. The National Football League saw Longford win 4 from the first 5, but defeats to Monaghan and Kildare in the final round meant there was no promotion. The Leinster Championship started with a terrific win over Louth in Navan to set up a quarter final against the Dubs. They ultimately won well in the Croke Park clash. 2001 also saw the introduction of the back door, or qualifiers. Longford’s first ‘second chance’ outing was away to Wicklow, where the garden county men won 1-14 to 0-11.

Longford Minors are Leinster MFC Champions

2002 saw a mixed league campaign where National Football League promotion evaded Longford again. The Leinster SFC saw Longford take on Louth where the game went to a replay which Louth won convincingly. Longford’s first Football Qualifier game resulted in a great win over Down, but Derry were to prove too strong in round 2. Without doubt, 2002 belonged to the county Minors. Playing in the preliminary rounds, wins over Carlow and Kilkenny set up a quarter final match against Offaly. Victory over Offaly saw Longford face Dublin in the semi-final in Mullingar. A tight tense game ensued but Longford won 1-8 to 0-7 to set up a Leinster MFC final against Meath where 2-3 from Michael Hussey saw Longford record a famous 3-8 to 3-5 win to capture the Leinster Minor title for the first time since 1929 and earn a place in the All-Ireland quarter final. The Leinster winning team and subs was: G Evans; N Farrell, S Smith, C McKeon; D Reilly (0-1), S Mulligan, E Finn; M Kelly, F Kelly; P Masterson, E Williams (0-1), C Cooney (0-1); T Murphy, D Farrell (1-2), M Hussey (2-3). Subs: J O’Brien. The All-Ireland quarter final game was a Shannonside derby where Longford defeated Leitrim 4-6 to 1-6 to earn a trip back to Croke Park for the Semi Final stage, but Derry proved much too strong as they won 3-13 to 1-3, indeed they went on to win the final comfortably as well.

2002 was also a great year for Longford hurlers as they gained promotion to Division 2 of the National Hurling League for the first time after a great win over Louth.

Longford’s short spell in Division 1

2003 saw Longford senior footballers full of confidence and they started well with a run to the O’Byrne Cup final, where Kildare were too strong. A great National Football League campaign followed and a win over Derry in the final round in Ballymahon saw Longford promoted and into the Division 2 semi finals, but Westmeath pipped Longford to a 1-16 to 2-12 win. The Leinster Championship draw was tough for Longford, going out to Kildare in the opening round and Donegal in the tough qualifier match. The U-21s had a good run in 2003 with wins over Wexford and Meath after extra time setting up a final against Dublin, but the Dubs were too strong, winning 3-13 to 1-6. The following year saw Longford in Division 1 of the National Football League for the first time in many years. A famous win over Kerry in the first game was followed up with a win over Westmeath. Defeats followed against Tyrone, Mayo and Cork. The key game against Fermanagh saw Longford lose and so needed to defeat Dublin in Parnell Park to avoid relegation, but Dublin won 2-12 to 2-9. The Leinster Championship started off with a very disappointing defeat against Carlow, but a late goal in the qualifier game against Monaghan brought extra time and a famous win. Longford went on to beat Waterford, but Dublin proved too strong in round 3.

2005 saw a mixed National Football League performance, with three wins and three draws, but defeat to Roscommon meant Longford stayed in Division 2. The Leinster Championship was no kinder as Longford faced Dublin in Croke Park. Dublin were a point up at half time, but went on to record an emphatic win in the second half. The qualifier saw Sligo edge out Longford in the first round. The U-21s in 2005 would reach the Leinster Football semi final, but Dublin would have their revenge for the Minor semi final three years earlier.

2006 – Longford reach Championship last 16

2006 saw Longford embark on a great football championship campaign. The Leinster Championship draw was tough as once again we faced Dublin, this time in Longford. A packed Pearse Park saw Longford come within a whisker of a famous win, Dublin winning 1-12 to 0-13. The qualifiers opened up with a wins over Tipperary and Waterford before Longford recorded a famous win over Derry in Pearse Park. This put Longford in round four for the first time and one game away from an All-Ireland Football quarter final. Longford faced Kerry in Killarney and a huge travelling support saw Longford put in a brave performance, but Kerry, who unleashed Kieran Donaghy that night saw them win 4-11 to 1-11 on their way to All-Ireland success. The Longford team and subs on that memorable day in Killarney were: D Sheridan (capt); D Brady, B Gilleran, C Conefrey; S Mulligan, D Masterson, D Reilly; B McElvaney (0-02 (2f)), L Keenan; T Smullen, P Barden (0-03), P Berry; D Barden, P Dowd, B Kavanagh (1-06 (3f)). Subs: A O’Connor for Gilleran (14 mins), J Martin for Smullen (58), K Smith for Berry (64).

The Longford U21 team reached the Leinster Football final after wins over Carlow and Kildare where we faced Laois in front of a big crowd in Pearse Park, but Laois won a tense game on a scoreline of 0-9 to 0-7.

Longford win O’Byrne Cup Shield

2007 started off with some silverware for Longford as they won the newly formed O’Byrne Cup shield played among teams beaten in the first round. The final was a 2-10 to 1-7 win over Athlone IT. 2007 again saw Longford at home in the first round of the Leinster Championship where, despite being a well behind at half time, a great come back saw Longford win 2-13 to 1-13. The quarter final against Laois was a tense affair on a damp night in Tullamore, but Laois were too strong winning 0-14 to 0-9. This was a demoralising defeat for Longford who faced Westmeath again in the qualifiers and they extracted revenge with a 9 point win. There was no repeat of the previous years success for our U-21 side, going out to Offaly at the quarter final stage.

The O’Byrne cup would again give Longford a fruitful run in 2008. Wins over Kildare, Meath and DCU set up a final appearance against Dublin in Parnell Park. The game was an exciting affair with Dublin pipping Longford by a single point thanks to a late late goal. The Leinster Championship saw Longford face midland rivals Westmeath once more, this time Westmeath winning 2-10 to 1-10. There was to be no qualifier run though, Laois toppling Longford on the first run. Longford’s U-21s exited at the first round stage of the Leinster Championship, but the Minors had good wins over Laois and Louth to set up a Leinster MFC semi final clash against Meath, which the royals won 3-9 to 2-8 in Navan.

2009 saw no improvement in the Leinster SFC proper as Wicklow won the first round meeting by two points. But the qualifiers saw Longford defeat Leitrim in Pairc Sean to set up a home game against Kerry. Kerry had a good lead at half time, but a brave second half performance saw Longford put the Kingdom under pressure, but they held on for a 1-12 to 0-11 win. Longford Junior footballers had a good run in 2009 reaching the Leinster JFC final in Croke Park, where we drew with Louth, but Louth won the replay 1-12 to 0-10.

In the mid 2000s a new hurling championship was introduced. Longford competed in the Nicky Rackard cup in 2005 narrowly losing out to Tyrone in the quarter final. This had been the first hurling championship game a Longford hurling side had competed in since 1958. Meanwhile 2006 saw Longford go a stage further as they reached the Nicky Rackard Cup semi final, only to lose to Donegal in Enniskillen. Donegal were again to knock Longford out in the 2007 quarter final, while 2008 was a major disappointment as Longford didn’t get out of the group stages. 2009 saw the introduction of the Lory Meagher cup which Longford entered instead. Wins over Warwickshire and Donegal saw Longford reach the Lory Meagher Cup semi final, but Croke Park was to elude Longford again as Tyrone won the semi final by four points.

2000’s Club Overview

On the club scene, a number of clubs won their first Senior Football Championship titles and others bridge a long gap. Abbeylara got the ball rolling by defeating Fr. Manning Gaels in 2000 to win their first title after so many near misses. The Gaels were back on top in 2001, before Ballymahon recorded their maiden senior victory in 2002. Clonguish then breached a 22 year gap to win in 2003 and 2004. Dromard won win titles in 2005 and 2007 in between another Abbeylara success in 2006 before Colmcille ended a 50 year wait for Seán Connolly cup success in 2008. The decade ended with Clonguish back on top after winning their third title of the decade win a replayed win over Dromard.

The Intermediate Football Championship also provided some great matches. Mullinalaghta St Columbas won their way back to senior in 2000, followed by Carrickedmond ending a 23 year wait. St. Marys Granard’s second string won in 2003 followed by big wins for St. Brigids Killashee, Ballymore, Rathcline and Ardagh St. Patricks. Meanwhile Mullinalaghta St Columbas and Kenagh needed two epic games to be separated in the 2007 final with the North Longford men winning in dramatic fashion before Cashel ended the decade with title wins in 2008 and 2009.

The Junior Football Championship saw a good spread of titles across clubs with wins for Rathcline, Legan Sarsfield, Longford Slashers, Shroid Slashers, Clonguish, Grattan Óg, Fr. Manning Gaels, Mostrim and St. Munis Forgney.

The Hurling Championship was dominated by Wolfe Tones (5 titles) and the emergence of Clonguish Gaels (3 titles) after Slashers Gaels had got the new century off to a flying start with title wins in 2000 and 2001.

Minors win Leinster Championship Title

Longford Minor footballers started off the decade with an historic win in the 2000 Leinster Minor Football Championship final. The campaign started off with a heavy defeat against Offaly, but wins over Wexford and Carlow got Longford back to the quarter finals where we beat Westmeath 1-6 to 0-6. The semi final saw Longford defeat a much fancied Kildare side before a famous win over Offaly in Croke Park in the Leinster final, winning 0-14 to 0-8. and scoring five unanswered points in the closing 15 minutes to clinch victory. The winning Longford team and subs were: P Collum; D Bennett, D Quinn, R Keogh; C Clarke, J McGivney, S Donohue; D Cooney (0-1), D Gallagher; D Farrelly (0-2), P McCormack (0-1), B McKeon (0-2); R Smith (0-7, five frees), J Noonan, D Mimnagh (0-1). Subs: T Madden for Donohue (27m); C Lynn for Farrelly (52m). Unfortunately there was to be no return to headquarters as Galway beat Longford in the the All-Ireland quarter final by 0-10 to 1-6.

Longford win first Hurling title

2010 also saw the Longford hurlers win the Lory Meagher cup for the first time. The opening round saw a defeat against Donegal, but wins over South Down, Warwickshire and Leitrim gained Longford a rematch in Croke Park where 1-9 from Garreth Ghee saw Longford defeat Donegal 1-20 to 1-12 and Seamus Hannon lifted the cup. The winning team and subs were: P Cullen, B Stakem, S Browne, C Finucane, C Egan, S Hannon, R Donnellan, M Coyle, E Donnellan (0-2, 1’65), S Stakelum (0-1), N Casey, D Tanner (0-2), G Ghee (1-9 (0-5f)), J O’Brien (0-3), J Newman (0-1). Subs: F Daly (0-1) for Coyle (blood 48-50m), Daly for Stakelum (52m), J Minnock (0-1) for Casey (67m), B Stakelum for Newman (69m), S Lynam for R Donnellan (70m)

Longford win NFL Division 4

The silverware continued in 2011 and 2012, with the terrific achievement of back to back promotions from National Football League Division 4 and Division 3 by the Longford senior footballers. Under the management of Kildare legend Glenn Ryan, Longford went through the tough Division 4 campaign in 2011 with 5 wins and two draws, the final two games were must win, but the team won their way through to the final where Longford had a deserved six 2-11 to 1-8 win over Roscommon and with it promotion to Division 3. The winning Longford team and subs were: D Sheridan; D Brady, B Gilleran, D Reilly; S Mulligan, D Masterson, N Farrell; B McElvaney (0-1), M Brady (1-0); P Barden (1-2), P Dowd, D Barden; D McElligott, B Kavanagh (0-2), S McCormack (0-6, 0-4 frees). Subs: K Difley for Masterson (26 mins), N Mulligan for D Barden (29 mins), JJ Matthews for Dowd (half-time), P Foy for Farrell (57 mins), F McGee for McCormack (60 mins).

Longford win NFL Division 3

In 2012 in the National Football League Division 3, Longford hit the ground running, winning the first five games and drawing the sixth to gain promotion with a game to spare. The final in Croke Park saw Longford open up a big lead over Wexford in the first half, and while Wexford made a come back, Longford hung on for a deserved win and promotion to Division 2, making it back-to-back promotions. The winning Longford team and subs were: D Sheridan, D Brady, B Gilleran, D Reilly, C Smyth, M Quinn, S Mulligan, B McElvaney, J Keegan, P McCormack, P Barden (0-02), N Mulligan (0-01), D McElligot, S McCormack (0-09, 6f), B Kavanagh. Subs: P Kelly (1-00) for P McCormack (35m), J McGinty for Mulligan (58m), F McGee for McElligot (69m)

The big success story of 2013 was the county U21 team who surprised many by dumping favourites Dublin out of the Leinster Championship in an epic encounter in Dublin and reaching the Leinster U21 Football Final where they narrowly lost to Kildare.

The Longford senior footballers had mixed fortunes in 2014. The Leinster SFC campaign finally yielded a win over Offaly for new manager Jack Sheedy on a scoreline of 0-19 to 0-16, but Wexford proved to be our annual banana skin in the Quarter Final, losing by 1-13 to 1-15 in the sunshine of Pearse Park. The qualifiers took us to Derry and a mouth-watering tie which turned into an epic encounter with Longford winning by 2 points in a high scoring game. Unfortunately it was back down to earth with a bang in the next round when Tipperary inflicted a 17 point defeat on Longford to end the 2014 championship campaign.

Hurlers win Lory Meagher Cup

In 2014 the hurlers were back to the fore in the Lory Meagher Cup. Having reached the Lory Meagher cup final and winning Division 3B of the National Hurling League in 2013, hopes were high of a good campaign. A narrow win over Leitrim and a comprehensive win over Warwickshire met Longford qualified for the final with a game to spare. Fermanagh were in the same position and they played out a draw in the group match. The final in Croke Park was a high scoring exciting affair, but Longford were deserving winners with Eoin Donnellan hitting 1-9 in a 3-18 to 3-16 win that allowed Martin Coyle to raise the cup. The winning Longford team was as follows: Paddy Cullen; Conor Egan, Brendan Stakem, Karl Murray; Paddy Corcoran, Conor Flanagan, Rory Donnellan; Johnny Casey (0-1), Declan Tanner; Eoin Donnellan (1-9, 8f, ’65), Martin Coyle, Kevin Connell (0-2); Joe O’Brien (2-2), Cathal Mullane (0-3), John Newman (0-1). Subs used: Gareth Ghee for Newman (41m), Cian Kavanagh for Corcoran (65m), Thomas Stakem for E Donnellan (70m).

Longford hurlers continued to enjoy some success by winning the National Hurling League Division 3B in 2013, 2017 and 2019 as well as winning the Kehoe Cup for the first time in 2018.

Footballers win O’Byrne Cup

Longford ended the decade in style by winning the counties first O’Byrne Cup title in 20 years in 2020 thanks to a strong second half performance against Offaly, outscoring the opponents by 0-8 to 0-3 across the closing 25 minutes to lift the cup on a winning margin of 1-12 to 0-11 in O’Connor Park, Tullamore. This was Longfords third O’Byrne cup title following previous wins in 2000 and 1965. The winning Longford team and subs on the day were: Paddy Collum; Patrick Fox, Andrew Farrell, Barry O’Farrell; Iarla O’Sullivan, Gary Rogers, Colm P Smyth; Darren Gallagher, Kevin Diffley; Dessie Reynolds, Daniel Mimnagh, Michael Quinn; Rian Brady, Oran Kenny, Joseph Hagan. Subs: Peter Lynn for O’Sullivan (half-time), Darragh Doherty for Diffley (44m), Liam Connerton for Reynolds (67m), Aidan McGuire for Brady (71m).

Longford ‘Dream Team’ Selection (2000-2020)

In 2020 the Longford Leader newspaper ran a competition asking the public to vote on the ‘Dream Team’ for the years 2000 to 2020. The final selection was published in May 2020 and comprised the following…

  1. Damien Sheridan (Dromard)
  2. Dermot Brady (Longford Slashers)
  3. Padraig McCormack (Killoe Young Emmets)
  4. Declan Reilly (Colmcille)
  5. Colin Hannify (Fr. Manning Gaels)
  6. Diarmuid Masterson (Dromard)
  7. Shane Mulligan (Mullinalaghta St. Columbas)
  8. David Hannify (Fr. Manning Gaels)
  9. Darren Gallagher (St. Marys Granard)
  10. Paddy Dowd (Clonguish)
  11. Paul Barden (Clonguish)
  12. Michael Quinn (Killoe Young Emmets)
  13. Brian Kavanagh (St. Patricks Ardagh / Kilmacud Crokes)
  14. Niall Sheridan (Abbeylara)
  15. Padraic Davis (Fr. Manning Gaels)

Ten clubs were represented in the final selection, with Fr. Manning Gaels leading the way with three players, followed by two each from Dromard, Killoe and Clonguish, and one each from Longford Slashers, Colmcille, Mullinalaghta St. Columbas, St. Marys Granard, Ardagh St. Patricks and Abbeylara.

2010-2022 Club Overview

On the Club Football scene, Longford Slashers and Killoe Young Emmets dominated the first half of the 2010’s, with Mullinalaghta St. Columbas dominating the second half of the decade. Longford Slashers won back-to-back Senior Football Championship titles in 2010 and 2011 before Killoe Young Emmets re-emerged in 2012 after a 17 year gap to win the Senior Championship and Leader Cup double, and went on to reach the Leinster Club semi-final. Longford Slashers returned to win the Sean Connolly Cup in 2013, beating Dromard in the county final. Killoe was back at the top spot in 2014, beating Mullinalaghta in the County Final and winning the Leader Cup to complete the double. Killoe retained the Senior Championship title in 2015 with victory over Abbeylara and added the League (Leader Cup) double, becoming the first club in Longford to complete a back-to-back League and Championship double.

The second half of the decade would belonged to Mullinalaghta St. Columbas. History was made in 2016 when Mullinalaghta played near-neighbours Abbeylara in the 2016 county final, with Mullinalaghta emerging victorious to bridge a 66 year gap, lift the Sean Connolly cup for the first time, and progress to the Leinster Club Semi-Final. The Mullinalaghta men sealed the year with Leader Cup success to claim the much coveted League-Championship double. Mullinalaghta were only getting started though, winning back-to-back Championship titles in 2017 (again at the expense of Abbeylara) and completing the League & Championship back-to-back double, while becoming only the fifth club to ever achieve a three-in-row of Senior Football Championship titles with victory over Abbeylara in the 2016, 2017 & 2018 finals.

The Mullinalaghta men would go on to make more history by becoming the first Longford club to reach the Leinster Club Championship final in 2018 and would create history by becoming Leinster Club Champions with victory over Kilmacud Crokes on Sunday 9th December 2018, a day which will live long in the memory and go down as one of the finest in the history of Longford GAA. The winning team on that historic day was: Patrick Rogers; Simon Cadam, Patrick Fox, Conan Brady; Donal McElligott (0-01), Shane Mulligan, Francis Mulligan; Aidan McElligott (0-01), John Keegan; Gary Rogers (1-00), James McGivney, Brendan Fox; David McGivney (0-02, 0-01f), Rian Brady (0-04, 0-01f), Jayson Matthews. Subs: Michael Cunningham for Francis Mulligan (48m).

[Image Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO]

The Leinster champions would however lose their county crown in 2019 when Killoe Young Emmets returned to take the title with victory over Longford Slashers in the County Final, while Mullinalaghta won the Leader Cup title in 2019 for the third time in 4 years. Killoe made it back-to-back title wins with victory in the 2020 decider while Mullinalaghta returned once again for their 4th title in 6 years with victory over Mostrim in the 2021 final. 2022 rounded off 135 years since the GAA first appeared in County Longford with victory (rather appropriately) for the first ever champions – Colmcille, who beat Mullinalaghta in a close game to take their 7th title and first since 2008.

The Senior Football Championship in Longford saw title wins for 4 different clubs from 2010 to 2022: Killoe Young Emmets (5), Mullinalaghta St. Columbas (4), Longford Slashers (3) and Colmcille (1). The Leader Cup titles were also shared across three clubs: Killoe Young Emmets (4), Mullinalaghta St. Columbas (6) and Clonguish (1). The Leader Cup final was not played in 2018 due to Mullinalaghta’s involvement in Leinster & All-Ireland club action, while the competition was not played at all in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Intermediate Football Championship saw title wins for 7 different clubs in the period from 2010 to 2022: Carrickedmond (2), Rathcline (3), St. Brigids Killashee (4), Ardagh St. Patricks, St. Marys Granard, Fr. Manning Gaels and Ballymahon.

The Junior Football Championship saw title wins for 9 different clubs from 2010 to 2022: Colmcille, Ballymahon, Moydow Harpers, Legan Sarsfields (2), Young Grattans (2), Longford Slashers, Mostrim, Kenagh and Killoe Young Emmets. The Junior Championship was not played in 2016 & 2017 but was restarted again from 2018.

In Hurling Championship, Wolfe Tones (Mostrim) were the dominant force with 8 title wins (2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2020), with Clonguish Gaels winning in 2012, 2019 & 2022 and Longford Slashers winning in 2021. The hurling championship final of 2011 was not played.

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