Longford Gaelic Stats
Longford's Gaelic Story (1888-2024)

Longford GAA Story

A crest first appeared regularly on Longford jerseys in the 1970’s, in gold outline on blue jerseys and appeared with a few iterations during the 1970’s and 1980’s. A colour variant of the crest in red & blue appeared on jerseys in the 1990’s and remained in use until the NFL campaign of 2004 when Longford were playing in Division 1. Longford GAA then 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. See examples of the aforementioned crests above.

It is worth noting that the origins of the GAA in Longford date back to 1888 and the formation of the first Longford club under GAA rules (Granard Healys), while the Longford County Board was formed and first met on 13th October 1889. It is not clear why 1887 appears on the modern Longford GAA crest!

🗓️ Inter-County Gaelic Football (1888-1920)

  • 1896 Croke Cup: Louth 2-10, Longford 0-3 on 14th Feb 1897. (Oldcastle)
  • 1902 Leinster SFC: Wexford 2-12, Longford 0-2 on 22 Nov 1903. (Jones’ Road)
  • 1903 Leinster SFC: Westmeath 0-7, Longford 0-5 on 31 Jul 1904. (Mullingar)
  • 1904 Leinster SFC: No record of any 1904 season games played.
  • 1904: Goodwin Cup: Longford 0-1, Cavan 1-6 on 17th Mar 1904. (Mullingar)
  • 1905: Croke Cup: Kilkenny 1-12, Longford 0-2 on 21st May 1905. (Jones’ Road)
  • 1906 Leinster JFC: Longford 0-5, Westmeath 0-7 on 4 Feb 1906. (Longford)
  • 1907 Leinster JFC: Westmeath 1-11, Longford 1-12 on 17 Feb 1907. (Mullingar) *
  • 1908 Leinster JFC: Longford 0-8, Westmeath 1-8 on 17 May 1908. (Longford)
  • 1909 Leinster JFC: Westmeath W/O, Longford 0-0 on 10 Oct 1909. (Jones’ Road)
  • 1910 Leinster JFC: Fixed for 3rd July 1910. No record of game being played.
  • 1911 Leinster JFC: Westmeath 1-4, Longford 1-2 on 4th Jun 1911. (Longford)
  • 1912 Leinster JFC: Fixed for 2nd June 1912. No record of game being played.
  • 1913 Leinster JFC: Westmeath 3-2, Longford 1-0 on 25 May 1913. (Longford)
  • 1914 Leinster JFC: Westmeath 0-3, Longford 0-0 on 24 May 1914. (Longford)
  • 1915 Leinster JFC: Westmeath 3-7, Longford 0-4 on 9 May 1915. (Mullingar)
  • 1916 Leinster JFC: Fixed for 7th May 1916. No record of game being played.
  • 1917 Leinster SFC: Longford 2-2, Westmeath 4-5 on 5 Aug 1917. (Edgeworthstown) **
  • 1918 Leinster SFC: Longford 0-3, Westmeath 3-3 on 26 May 1918. (Edgeworthstown)
  • 1919 Leinster SFC: Longford 1-0, Westmeath 2-2 on 25 May 1919. (Edgeworthstown)
  • 1920 Leinster SFC: Westmeath 2-2, Longford 2-1 on 2 May 1920. (Mullingar)

* Longford lost this game on objection due to playing a member of the Militia.
** For 1917 Longford Leader has 2-1 to 4-5, all National media has 2-2 to 4-5.

🗓️ Inter-County Hurling (1887-1920)

  • 1903: Leinster Cup: Meath 2-10, Longford 0-0 on 19th July 1903. (Jones’ Road)
  • 1902 Leinster SHC: Wexford W/O, Longford SCR on 22 Nov 1903. (Jones’ Road) 
  • 1903 Leinster SHC: Longford 1-0, Westmeath 2-9 on 31 Jul 1904. (Mullingar) 
  • 1904 Leinster SHC: No record of any 1904 season games played.
  • 1906 Leinster JHC: Longford 2-2, Westmeath 5-13 on 4 Feb 1906. (Longford)
  • 1907 Leinster JHC: Westmeath W/O, Longford 0-0 on 17 Feb 1907. (Mullingar)
  • 1908 Leinster JHC: Longford 1-9, Westmeath 1-4 on 17 May 1908. (Longford)
  • 1909 Leinster JHC: No record of any games being played.
  • 1910 Leinster JHC: Fixed for 3rd July 1910. No record of game being played.
  • 1911 Leinster JHC: Longford 2-0, Westmeath 3-2 on 4th Jun 1911. (Longford)
  • 1912 Leinster JHC: Fixed for 2nd June 1912. No record of game being played.
  • No Longford inter-county hurling games played from 1911 to 1928.

This list is competition games only, and does not include friendly or local tournament games.

The Leinster Junior Championship was referred to as ‘Second Division of Leinster Championship‘ in the early years. Longford Leo Caseys represented Longford in inter-county competition in some of those early years before the county team became a selection from different clubs. Longford was represented in the 1896 Croke Cup by Longford Shamrocks, which was noted in the 1884-1904 history of Leinster GAA as being the sole affiliated club in the county at the time of that game in 1897. The Goodwin Cup was an inter-county competition involving Longford, Cavan, Westmeath, Roscommon and Leitrim which started in 1904 (not clear if it was played in any subsequent years).

🗓️ 1888-1896:

The Gaelic Athletic Association was founded in 1884 but the organisation didn’t reach Longford until four years later. While 1887 appears on the modern-day Longford GAA crest, the origin year for the GAA in County Longford is 1888 and the formation of the first GAA club in the county – Granard Healys. The Granard Healys club was formed in late September 1888 and named after Tim Michael Healy, M.P. 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.

At 6pm on 13th October 1889 the Longford County Council (later called County Board) convened for the very first time in the League Room on the Market Square in Longford town. Delegates were present from clubs in Ballinamuck, Clonguish, Clough, Columbkille, Dromard, Drumlish, Killoe and Longford. Mr. E. Thompson (Clonguish Gallowglasses) seconded by Mr. M. McGrath (Clough Dillons) proposed J.P. Farrell (Longford Davitts) for Chairman. It was decided that no club could enter competition unless every member was in the Irish National League. The meeting appointed the following CB officials:

  • President/Chairman: J.P. Farrell
  • Secretary: J.H. Dunne
  • Treasurer: Frank McGuinness

J.P. Farrell was M.P. for Cavan West 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 went on to establish the Longford Leader newspaper in 1897.

At a meeting of the Longford County Council in January 1890 in the League Room on the Market Square in Longford a few months later, the Chairman directed the attention of the meeting to the fact that the clergy were complaining of the temptation to young boys to shun Mass and catechism by going to see matches played during divine service hours. As a result, a motion was passed by Michael McGrath of Kenagh which read: “That in future no affiliated club of this council will be allowed to commence play at any practice, challenge or championship match until after one o’clock on each Sunday“.

In March 1890 it was decided to run a Senior Football Championship competition for clubs affiliated at the time. Twenty one clubs took part: 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. The first Senior Football Championship final took place at Abbeycarton Lane on June 8th 1890, in a field provided by Peter McLoughlin. 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.

On 5th October 1890 the first annual Longford GAA Convention took place, with the following officials elected:

  • President/Chairman: J.P. Farrell
  • Secretary: Matthew Fitzgerald
  • Treasurer: Frank McGuinness

Other members of the County Committee for the year 1890-91 included: P Fitzgerald, Bernard Skelly, John McCruther, James Heany, Frank Sheridan, John Kelleher, Daniel Farrell, Hugh Leavy, Patrick Baxter, James Hosey, Michael McGrath, James King, Thomas Farrelly, Thomas Sweeney, John Hughes, Joseph Farrell, James Conway, Thomas Reilly, John McNamee, Michael Doyle, Michael Lennon, Bernard Reilly and Michael Finn. No delegate was elected to attend the annual GAA Convention in Thurles. The Annual Convention also saw the affiliation of a new club called Ballinamuck 98’s which became the second club in the parish of Drumlish. In Dromard the O’Briens and Owen Roes clubs agreed to merge to form Drumard Hugh Roe O’Donnells. In Ballymahon the clubs of Shrule Leos and Ballymahon O’Briens also agreed to merge at the Convention and created the Ballymahon Leos club. Hence by the end of 1890 there were 24 affiliated clubs in Longford.

In 1891 an effort was made to run a second Senior Football Championship with 26 clubs taking part 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 had changed their name from Ballywillan Davitts. Neither Ballymahon, Killashee nor Carrickedmond who entered in the original first round, appeared in the re-draw. Four teams (Rathcline John Martins, Moydow Harpers, Killoe McMahons and Crosskeys Fitzgeralds) were eventually cleared 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 Parnell scandal had become public knowledge and the clergy had come out strongly against Charles Stewart Parnell leading to him losing leadership of his Irish National League party in 1891 and causing widespread dissension within the GAA leading to widespread resignation of officials and disbanding of clubs and County Boards across the country. It should be noted that while Longford County Board had met and decided to remain neutral during the crisis, Justin McCarthy (M.P. for North Longford) was the leader of the campaign to have Parnell removed as leader of the party. By late 1891 the split meant that the Longford County Board had effectively ceased to function. No meeting are being held, the objections not being heard, hence the 1891 Senior Football Championship was never completed. No further club competition would take place in Longford until 1904.

It is worth noting that there are earlier records of Gaelic 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 Games 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 we use for the start of GAA activity in Longford is the organisation of clubs, games and a county board under GAA rules, which can be traced back to 1888. It is worth noting that Longford was the last Leinster county to affiliate and the latest to enter official competition. Although the first club was formed in Longford in 1888 and 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.

In January 1895 Longford Commercials played Westmeath Football Club in a tournament game for a new Silver Cup. The first game in Mullingar ended in a draw at 0-4 apiece, while the return game was played in Rathowen on 24th February with the now renamed Longford Shamrocks winning by 1-6 to 0-1 to win the first trophy by a Longford team outside of the county.

In terms of major GAA rule changes, prior to 1892 the players per team was 21, and no number of points equaled a goal. From 1892 the players per team was reduced to 17 and a goal equaled 5 points. This changed to a goal equaling 3 points from 1896. In 1901 the scoring area was reduced from 63 feet to 54 feet between each post. In 1910 the side posts were abolished and the goal area as we recognise it today was introduced. In 1913 the number of players per team was reduced to 15.

🗓️ 1896-1899

More rule changes to Gaelic Games came in 1896 with a goal equaling 3 points (reduced from points). In 1901 the scoring area was reduced from 63 feet to 54 feet between each post. In 1910 the side posts were abolished and the goal area as we recognise it today was introduced. In 1913 the number of players per team was reduced to 15.

While Leinster SFC competition had begun on 3rd June 1888 with Dublin beating Kildare in the inaugural game with 8 counties competed in that first Leinster SFC competition, Longford did not take part and did not appear at all in Leinster SFC fixtures until 1896 (games not played) and did not actually play a game in Leinster SFC until November 1903 versus Wexford in Croke Park in the delayed 1903 Leinster SFC (long assumed to be a hurling game, the hurling match was actually postponed and conceded while the football game went ahead). In June 1896 the Longford footballers were drawn against Kilkenny in the Leinster SFC competition (set to be represented by the Longford Shamrocks club as the only affiliated club in the county at the time), but there is no record that the game ever took place. This is the first reference to Longford in any official inter-county competition. In July 1898 Longford appeared in fixtures to play Westmeath in the delayed 1897 Leinster SFC, but again there is no record that the game ever took place. In these early years of the GAA, the county team comprised that years foremost club or club champions.

Longford’s first actual inter-county Gaelic Football game played was in February 1897, in the delayed 1896 Croke Cup. The game vs Louth was played on 14th February 1897 in Oldcastle, with Louth winning by 2-10 to 0-3. Longford were represented by Longford Shamrocks (noted in ‘Gaelic Games in Leinster 1884-1984’ as the only affiliated club in the county at the time) and Louth were represented by Drogheda Emmets. Longford’s County Committee met in October 1896, but there was not enough clubs affiliated, so no County Board could be voted in. Longford Shamrocks gave a stinging criticism of the state of football in the county and that no team will meet them to decide who will play Louth for the Croke Challenge Cup and have taken it upon themselves to represent the county rather than give Louth a walk over. Shamrocks initially challenged Rathcline to a game and in the event that the invitation was not taken up, the club would ask the Central Council to play Louth as representing the County. Shamrocks received a letter from the Central Secretary relating to the match between Longford & Louth in the Croke Challenge Cup tournament. The letter was understood to be an invitation for Shamrocks to represent the county, hence how Longford Shamrocks managed to represent Longford in that Croke Cup game.

There was no further County or Club activity in Longford for the remainder of the century.

🗓️ 1901-1904:

In 1901 the scoring area was reduced from 63 feet to 54 feet between each post. In 1910 the side posts were abolished and the goal area as we recognise it today was introduced. In 1902 Longford Park (also referred to as the New Park) was leased from Lord Longford and would be the base for Longford hurling and football games until May 1933.

In October 1902 the first hurling club in the county was formed, called Longford Leo Caseys. On 7th December 1902 a hurling friendly was played between Longford (Leo Caseys) and Roscommon (Gaels) which appears to be the first inter-county hurling game played by a Longford side. Roscommon Gaels won by 2-6 to 1-4 and the match report notes that the recently formed Leo Caseys team “has been practicing only for about three weeks“. The return tie took place in Roscommon in mid February 1903 with Roscommon Gaels winning 2-5 to 0-1. The Leo Caseys club represented Longford in hurling and football inter-county games in those first years of the 20th Century, including (but not limited to) Leinster Cup (Hurling) vs Meath in 1903, Leinster SFC vs Westmeath in November 1903, Goodwin Cup (Football) vs Cavan in March 1904 and Croke Cup (Football) vs Kilkenny in May 1905.

Longford hurlers played their first competitive inter-county game on 19th July 1903 in the Leinster Cup vs Meath at Jones’ Road. Meath won by 2-10 to 0-0. Longford’s first ever game in Leinster SHC was scheduled for 22nd November 1903 against Wexford at Jones’ Road (Leo Caseys to represent Longford) in what is believed to be the delayed 1902 Leinster SHC. However shortly before the fixture, Longford contacted the officials in Wexford to advise that they could not field in hurling but wanted instead to play in Football. The hurling game was therefore a walkover for Wexford and the fixture on November 22nd became the Leinster SFC clash of Wexford and Longford, which Wexford won. The following year, Longford hurlers played Westmeath in the delayed 1903 Leinster SHC on 31st July 1904, losing by 2-9 to 1-0 in what was in practical terms Longford’s first and last hurling game played in Leinster SHC competition. The team that day was made up of players from three clubs: McLoughlin, Glancy, P Early, M Smith, J Mullen (All Clonbroney), Morgan, Hagan, Hughes, Collum, Breslin, Duffy, Murphy (All Killoe Young Emmets), J Maloney, Falkner, Kiernan, Collins, Brady (All Longford Leo Caseys). The star of this era for Longford was ‘Towney Boy’ aka James Maloney of Longford Leo Caseys who was regularly cited in match reports. That July 1904 game marked the end of Longford’s involvement in hurling at senior grade. From 1905 season the Longford hurlers competed in 1905, 1906, 1908 and 1911 Leinster JHC competition, with no further Longford inter-county hurling thereafter until 1929.

Longford footballers played their first ever game in the Leinster SFC on 22nd November 1903 vs Wexford at Jones’ Road in the delayed 1902 Leinster SFC competition (1902 Leinster Championship started in 1902 and ended in 1904). This was the first Leinster SFC to feature all 12 Leinster counties, with Longford the last Leinster county to join. The fixture was originally for both hurling and football, then it became a hurling fixture, and within 10 days of the date Longford requested it be changed to Football. The change was made and Wexford won by 2-12 to 0-2 with Longford represented by Longford Leo Caseys. This was the first competitive inter-county football match played by Longford since 1897 Croke Cup game vs Louth. Longford played Cavan in the Goodwin Cup on 17th March 1904, losing 1-6 to 0-1. Longford then played Westmeath on 31st July 1904 in the Gaelic Grounds in Mullingar in the delayed 1903 Leinster SFC, and despite being 0-5 to 0-0 up at half time, Longford lost by 0-7 to 0-5. The Longford team was: Clarke (Killashee), Phillips (Longford), Manning (Longford), Green (Edgeworthstown), Rhatigan (Killashee), Ownes (Rathcline), Halligan (Ardagh), Morgan (Killoe), Farrell (Ardagh), Fitzsimmons (Drumlish), McGuinness (Clonguish), C Baxter (Ardagh), Irwin (Longford), Quinn (Ardagh), Quinn (Drumlish), Cullen (Edgeworthstown), Hackett (Longford). In the years that followed, Longford footballers competed in Leinster JFC in most seasons from 1906 to 1916 (with exception of 1910, 1912 & 1916). In 1917 the Junior competition was suspended and Longford competed in Leinster SFC from 1917-1920.

🗓️ 1905-1919:

A nationwide restructuring of the GAA took place in 1905. Longford footballers played Kilkenny in the Croke Cup in Jones’ Road in 1905, but suffered a heavy defeat. Longford switched to Junior grade from 1906, playing all Leinster Football and Hurling championship games from then until 1916 at Junior grade against Westmeath each year, with Longford losing all games played (one lost on objection). The Leinster Junior grade was suspended from 1917 to 1920, and Longford played in the Leinster Senior Football Championship from 1917 to 1920, losing to Westmeath in all four years before returning to Junior grade when Longford returned to competition in 1922.

The grounds at Jones’s Road in Dublin was purchased on 22nd December 1913 from Mr. J.B. Dineen for a total of £3,641 8s 5d, and henceforth became the property of the GAA. It was named Croke Memorial Park (now Croke Park). In 1913 the number of players per team was reduced from 17 to 15. The 1916 Rebellion and the conscription crisis of the Great War meant that GAA activity across the country effectively came to a standstill in the mid to late 1910’s. In 1918 the British military authorities completely banned the holding of Gaelic matches throughout the country unless a permit was applied for. A special meeting of Central Council on 20th July 1918 decided that under no circumstances would any permits be applied for, and that an instruction be sent to Provincial Councils, County Committees, Leagues and Clubs that this decision must be strictly carried out and that any individual or club infringing this order ‘shall become automatically and indefinitely suspended’. It was also decided to hold a ‘Gaelic Sunday’ throughout Ireland in protest at this rule. Gaelic Sunday on August 4th 1918 saw Gaelic Games taking place across Ireland on an unprecedented scale in protest of the military regulations. The Spanish Flu also played a role in disrupting GAA activity, with many of the major 1918 finals not played until 1919.

🗓️ County Colours:

Longford teams wore jerseys belonging to the Clonguish Gallowglasses club during some of the 1900’s and early 1910’s. The jerseys were white with green trim and the letters ‘CGFC‘ and shamrock shape across the centre. It is claimed that Longford teams wore white and green jerseys until 1918 before a royal blue jersey with a gold sash was adopted. We have not found any primary sources to back that claim, but we do see around 1930 the sash being removed with the gold trim (collar & cuffs) retained. The royal blue jersey with gold trim remains the main Longford jersey colours to this day.

🗓️ 1920-1929:

Longford competed at Junior grade since 1906 and when Junior competition was discontinued in 1917 Longford returned to Senior grade from 1917 to 1920. By 1920 Longford hadn’t won a single Leinster Championship game in Senior or Junior competition (the only previous win was in Feb 1907 vs Westmeath but that was overturned following an objection) and was excluded from competition in 1921 by Leinster Council (along with Wicklow) due to difficulties in travelling. When Longford resumed competitive action from 1922 it was in the Leinster Junior Championship, losing to Offaly in the 1922 Leinster JFC and losing to Kildare in the 1923 Leinster JFC.

In 1924 Longford defeated Louth 2-5 to 1-3 in the opening round of the Leinster JFC in May 1924, to record Longford’s first win in Leinster competition. Longford progressed to beat Dublin in the semi-final in July 1924 by 1-6 to 1-3, although this game was terminated early when Dublin refused to allow a 14 yard free to be taken. Mike Heslin was captain of the team for both the Louth and Dublin games. Longford faced Meath in the Leinster JFC final. Meath won the final by 1-3 to 0-2 on 25th January 1925 in Mullingar (at the grounds of St. Lomans Hospital) with Frank Gaffney as captain. Longford lodged an objection claiming that Meath fielded Patrick Ratty who had already taken part in the Leinster SFC vs Dublin on 6th April 1924. The objection rolled on until end of March 1925, when it was then upheld (13 votes to 5) and further upheld by Central Council later. Longford was duly awarded the Leinster JFC title, the first silverware won by a Longford team. Longford faced Cavan in the All-Ireland Junior Football Championship semi-final, winning by 1-5 to 1-3 to set up an All-Ireland JFC final tie with Kerry. The final 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. Longford therefore gained promotion to Leinster Senior Football Championship football from 1925 and competed in both the Leinster SFC & JFC competitions from 1925 to 1930.

The National Football League began in October 1925. In that first 1925/26 season the league was run on a provincial basis with Leinster having 3 divisions (Division 1: Dublin, Kildare, Louth, Meath | Division 2: Longford, Wicklow, Westmeath, Offaly | Division 3: Laois, Wexford, Carlow, Kilkenny). Dublin, Longford & Laois won their respective divisions and all three progressed to a Leinster League inter-group stage, where they played each other. In the first tie, Longford played Dublin and in the closing stages with the game tied at 2-2 apiece, the referee awarded a free to Longford. One of the Dublin players removed the ball and reputedly laid hands on the referee too (T Shevlin from Roscommon was supposed to referee the game, however he was late arriving and Dublin demanded that the game proceed, so Laurence Kiernan from Mullinalaghta was drafted in to referee the game). The referee maintained that Dublin refused to continue and the game was terminated and awarded to Longford. However the Leinster Council, on receipt of a protest from Mr. Lorcan O’Toole, secretary of the Dublin County Board, ordered a replay which also ended in dispute, but with Dublin being awarded the game on that occasion. The Longford-Laois game that followed had to be re-fixed due to weather, and Longford decided not to travel in protest at their treatment regarding the previous tie with Dublin. Laois emerged as winners of that ‘Leinster League’ and along with Dublin progressed to the Semi-Final stages of the National League. Longford ended that Leinster League in third place and progressed to the Quarter Final of the National League proper where they were beaten by Sligo by 3-1 to 0-5 on 14th February 1926. However the story didn’t end there. A proposal to suspend Longford was tabled on 13th March 1926 because of (a) failure to fulfill the Laois fixture and (b) refusal to send an apology to the Leinster Council for statements made in the press regarding the treatment meted out to Longford by the Leinster Council over the Dublin and Laois games. This suspension decision was ratified in a meeting of the Leinster Council on 22nd May 1926. Longford remained suspended and out of all competition until being reinstated by the Leinster Council at a meeting in early 1927 presided over by General Éoin O’Duffy. Longford’s reinstatement came into effect at the Annual Convention in March 1927.

There was no National Football League competition in 1926/27 and Longford did not take part in Leinster Junior Championship in 1926 due to the aforementioned suspension. Longford did not take part in the National Football League in 1927/28 or 1929/30. The only other time Longford did not take part in NFL was during the WW2 years when the League was suspended during from the 1941/42 season to 1944/45 season. During this period Longford competed instead in Leinster League in 1943/44 and 1944/45.

The end of Longford’s suspension in March 1927 allowed for the formation of a new County Board just in time for the Club Junior Football Championship final on 3rd April 1927 (the first knockout championship, previous Junior competition was played on a league basis as a League-Championship), and just in time for the Club Senior Football Championship final on 10th April 1927. A appeal appeared in local media in late April seeking funds for the newly-organised branch of the GAA in Longford. The notice read… “Our branch has now been officially recognised by the Leinster Council, and our teams, Senior and Junior, are drawn to play in the inter-county Championships in the very near future. Funds, which are absolutely necessary for the training and general purposes, are almost negligible. We appeal, therefore, to all lovers of our Gaelic pastime – to all who would wish to see a sound, healthy and Irish pastime promoted and popularised amongst our youth – to help us by a generous subscription to establish a strong and active Branch of the GAA in the count”.

Leinster Minor Football Championship began in 1928 with Longford losing to Westmeath by 3-4 to 2-4 in the first round, however that years competition was abandoned at the semi-final stage. The following year in 1929, Longford become the first county to win the Leinster Minor Football Championship. 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. Longford defeated Dublin in the inaugural Leinster MFC final on a scoreline of 3-4 to 1-4 on November 10th 1929 in Navan. Dublin objected to the Longford win, claiming that William Clarke, James Quinn and James Mulvey were overage. A Leinster Council meeting was held on 30th November 1929 where the Dublin objection was heard and rejected. As Ulster and Connacht had no Minor Championship competition in 1929, Longford progressed to meet the Munster champions Clare in the All-Ireland MFC final in Birr on 1st March 1930. The game 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.

On the hurling front, after an absence from competition since 1911, 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 1-0. Offaly went on to beat Cork in the All-Ireland JHC Final later that year.

In 1929 a committee was formed to look at securing a Gaelic playing field for Longford GAA. This would lead to the purchase of a grounds at Kelleher Barracks at Lisbrack in 1930 and commencement of development work in 1931 which would lead to a move to the new ‘Gaelic Grounds’ in 1933 which was then officially opened as Pearse Park in April 1937.

🗓️ 1930-1939:

In 1930 the Longford County Board reputedly 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. Longford footballers submitted an application to the Leinster Council to be regraded from Senior to Junior in 1930, however the convention voted 28 to 26 against the proposal, arguing with the displays of Longford against Meath and Dublin in 1928 and victory of Longford Minors in Leinster Final in 1929. Longford argued that the county had only 15 clubs and could not field in both Senior and Junior grades. Longford therefore played in Leinster SFC in 1930, and was then regraded to Junior ranks from 1931 to 1937 having spent a few unproductive years at senior grade since 1925.

The Minors reached the Leinster MFC for the second year in a row in 1930. The 1930 Provincial MFC’s were delayed due to weather and as the planned fixture dates for the All-Ireland MFC approached, teams were nominated from the unfinished provinces. Dublin was nominated from Leinster despite the fact that Longford were reigning Leinster Minor Champions at the time. Dublin won the All-Ireland MFC beating Mayo in the final. The Leinster MFC final then took place a week later with Dublin beating Longford in the Leinster Final.

In 1936 Longford reached the NFL Division 2 final, losing to Offaly by 3-3 to 1-6 in Mullingar on 29th March. The following year Longford won the NFL Division 2 title by defeating Donegal in Ardara on a scoreline of 1-7 to 1-3 on 7th March 1937. Longford found success in both provincial and national Junior Football Championship competitions in 1937. 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 1-6 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.

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 ‘Away’ 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 winning team of 1937 was trained by Tom Molloy from Galway who led Roscommon to All-Ireland JFC success against Westmeath in 1940 in Pearse Park (referee that day was P McKenna who was native of Ballinamuck, based in Limerick).

The lead-up to the All-Ireland ‘Home’ final against Mayo was shrouded in controversy. Jim Hannify and Tom Murphy from Drumlish were selected on the original starting line-up for the Mayo game, while Paddy Loughrey and Mike Joe Quinn from Drumlish were listed in reserve. However a dispute arose around team selection which led to all four Drumlish players (Jim, Tom, Paddy and Mike Joe) withdrawing from the panel on the eve of the match against Mayo. Four players stepped into the breach at a moments notice – Willie McNerney, Peter Duignan, Jim Murphy and Jim Keenan. There followed a tennis game of letters published in local newspapers in September and October 1937, with both sides accusing the other of bringing the game into disrepute. The four players along with the club officials who penned the letters were all expelled by the County Board. The details around the dispute are well recorded elsewhere, but suffice to say there were no real winners and with the benefit of hindsight, everyone involved might have wished events had transpired otherwise. Comóradh an Chéid in 1987 put it best in describing the saga as follows… “it was silly then, and even more foolish now, to blame anyone”.

Longford Minor Footballers won the Leinster title for the 2nd time in 1938. Wins over Westmeath (2-3 to 0-3) and Laois (0-7 to 1-3) saw Longford reach the Leinster MFC 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 All-Ireland Minor Football semi-final was against Cavan on September 17th. The game was played in Pearse Park as a double-header with the All-Ireland JFC semi-final, with an attendance of almost 5000 that day. Cavan were too strong for Longford and won on a scoreline of 4-6 to 2-4.

On the hurling scene, Longford returned to inter-county hurling in the Leinster JHC in 1929 for the first time since 1908. Longford did compete in 1930, 1931 or 1932, but were back in action in the 1933 Leinster JHC, against Offaly in the first round, losing by 9-7 to 1-1 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 3-3 on 29th April 1934. In 1935 Longford played Westmeath in the Leinster JHC, losing heavily by 11-5 to 2-1 on 14th April 1935. In 1936 Longford met Westmeath again in the Leinster JHC on 19th April 1936, losing heavily again by 11-6 to 4-1 in the first inter-county hurling match held at Longford’s new Gaelic Grounds. That was the end of inter-county hurling activity for Longford until 1958.

🗓️ Longford’s new HQ

Longford GAA had been headquartered at Longford Park from 1902 to 1933. In 1929 a committee was formed to look at securing a permanent home for Longford GAA and in 1930 a piece of land was purchased at Kelleher Barracks in Lisbrack with development work getting underway in 1931. The new grounds had been a training & exercise grounds for the British Army in preparing for trench warfare during WW1. At the end of May 1933 Longford moved to the new location which became known as the ‘Gaelic Grounds’. The last inter-county game at Longford Park took place on 23rd April 1933 when Longford Minors beat Offaly Minors by 9-7 to 1-1 in the Leinster MFC. Earlier that same day the Longford hurlers lost to Offaly in the Leinster MHC. From June 1933 all GAA activity shifted to the new Gaelic Grounds (now Pearse Park). The first inter-county game at the new Gaelic Grounds was against Roscommon in the National League on 19th November 1933 (Roscommon won 1-3 to 0-3). A substantial re-development of the grounds took place in the years following 1933, and Pairc an Phiarsaigh (Pearse Park) was officially opened on 25th April 1937. The opening day saw two games taking place, one between Longford and Roscommon and the second between All-Ireland champions Mayo and Munster champions Kerry.

🗓️ 1940-1949:

Despite the rations during the war years, Longford continued to field teams in competition, with competition disrupted by the impact of WW2. The National Football League wasn’t played in some years, but Cavan, Longford and Westmeath played local challenge matches to keep teams active. The League was suspended from 1941/42 season to 1944/45 season and during this period Longford competed in Leinster League competition instead in 1943/44 and 1944/45. 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. National Football League resumed in 1945/46 season. The winter of 1946-47 was so bad that by March some teams had not played a single game in the National Football League. It was decided to invite the four group leaders (Longford, Derry, Clare and Wicklow) to play the semi-finals. Derry beat Longford by 2-11 to 2-3 at the end of March 1947 and went on to beat Clare in the National League final.

The All-Ireland Junior Football Final of 1940 between Roscommon and Westmeath was played in Pearse Park.

🗓️ 1950-1959:

1951 saw Longford Minors reached the Leinster MFC semi-final, but came up second best. The National Football League was struggling in these years in a lot of counties, but interest was drummed up by the appeal of playing New York in an ‘away’ final, something which Longford would achieve in the 1960’s. Longford drew with Carlow in the opening round of the 1951 Leinster SFC, and won the replay by six points. The day was marked by tragedy however as five Carlow supporters lost their lives in a car crash near Kinnegad on the way home from the game. 1952 saw Longford advance to the Leinster SFC semi-final following a first round win over Kildare and a two point win over Offaly to set up a semi-final clash with Meath. A large crowd watched 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 Leinster Championship.

The 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 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. An objection was tabled and subsequently rejected, and Longford played in the All-Ireland JFC final 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 Championship 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.

🗓️ Hurling Revival

Hurling was revived in Longford in 1958, helped in no small part by the work of Rathcline’s Jimmie O’Brien who put up a great fight to obtain consent for the county’s entry into the Leinster Junior Hurling Championship that year, for the first time since 1936. Ahead of competition, he organised a trail game between Rathcline (drawn mostly from Bord na Mona) and Rest of County on 23rd February 1958 in Pearse Park, which Ratchline won by either 5-2 to 4-3 or 3-3 to 2-3 depending on which report you read. Longford played Offaly in the first round of the Leinster JHC on 30th March 1958 and lost by 10-4 to 0-1. The team that day was: F McGirr, M Quinlan, C Delaney, A Murray, J Rafter, D Dunne, R Groves, M Davis, F Clarke, J Kelly, B Donnelly. Sub: F Cronin for Grooves. That game was to mark the end of Longford’s involvement in competitive adult inter-county hurling until Longford joined the National Hurling League in the 1981-82 season, and was Longfords last competitive inter-county championship game at adult grade until 2005 when Longford competed in the inaugural Nicky Rackard Cup.

🗓️ Leinster Camogie Title

St. Brigids Ardagh beat Ballylinan (Laois) in Camogie’s Leinster Junior Club Championship final on Sunday 17th May 1959 at Ardagh. This was the first provincial club title ever won by a team from Longford. The final score was Ardagh 3-2, Ballylinan 2-4. The team that day was: Rita Clyne, Dympna Clabby, Anna May Cahill, Mary Ward, Marie Keenan, Anne Bannon, Kathleen Farrell (0-2, Captain), Kathleen Trautt, Kathleen McKenna (1-0), Mary Dowler (1-0), Margo Keenan (1-0), Rose Ballesty. Subs: Lily Dowler and Mary McGarry.

🗓️ GAA Rule Change

The ‘Fisted Pass‘ rule passed at Annual Congress and came into force on Sunday 7th May 1950.

🗓️ 1960-1965:

The 1960’s 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 death of Fr. Seán 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. Having been badly beaten by Westmeath the previous Summer in the Leinster Championship and emerging from a terrible League campaign in 1964/65, players were keen for a change in approach and approached Fr. Phil McGee to help coordinate training and help look after the players with food and other needs ahead of the Championship. In April 1965 the Cavan All-Ireland winner Mick Higgins was appointed trainer of the County team and this was the big catalyst for change. 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 ended the year with another trophy, 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 Tír Chonaill Cup on 25th July, the Gaelic Weekly Cup (contested by 4 beaten provincial finalists) on 3rd October and the O’Byrne Cup on 10th October, as well as reaching the Leinster SFC Final, making 1965 Longford’s most successful year to that point. By the end of 1965, Longford had played 27 matches across the year (W19, D1, L7).

1965 also saw the launch 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, defeating Westmeath 0-4 to 0-3. This competition continues to this day.

🗓️ 1966-1969:

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 NFL 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 semi-final of the National Football League Division 2 against Meath 1-7 to 0-8 and defeated Cavan again 0-11 to 0-7 in the Division 2 final to qualify for the NFL semi-final where they defeated Donegal 0-13 to 0-11 to meet the all conquering Galway in the NFL final. Longford won by 0-9 to 0-8 to capture the NFL title for the first time, with Bobbie Burns scoring 8 points and the other point coming from Seán Murray.

Photo: Connolly Collection/Sportsfile

The National Football League final had an ‘Away’ element which involved the Home final winner playing two legs against New York as a means of promoting the game in the USA. Longford won the first leg 1-9 to 0-7 and although they lost the second leg by 0-10 to 0-9, an aggregate victory over the two legs meant Longford were outright winners of the Away ties. The NFL winning team of 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 1965/66 National Football League ended in an historic victory, the 1966 Leinster SFC turned out to be a disappointment as Louth caused a shock, beating Longford by 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, who had been appointed team captain, 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 five other officials.

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 1968 Leinster final and Longford lined wearing the green jerseys of Meath after losing the toss on clash of colours with Laois. 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 Seán Donnelly scored the first Longford goal. Laois responded with points but goals from Seán 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 and subs for the Leinster 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), Seán Murray (0-1), Mick Hopkins (0-1), Seán 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.

Longford qualified to face the might of Kerry in the All-Ireland SFC Semi-Final in Croke Park. Over 34,000 people saw the new Leinster champions take on Kerry without the services of injured Jimmy Flynn and Seán Murray. Longford got off to a great start going 0-4 to 0-1 ahead after five minutes, but a Kerry goal from Pat Griffin saw Kerry take over and a further first half goal left the half time score 2-7 to 0-6.

Longford roared into action in the second half when Tom Mulvihill scored a great solo goal. Further points saw Longford bridge the gap and Longford were then awarded a penalty which Jackie Devine struck to the net to leave Longford 2-10 to 2-9 ahead. But Kerry responded with points from Mick O’Dwyer, Brendan Lynch and DJ Crowley, and their keeper Johnny Culloty was forced to make a dramatic save from Jackie Devine late on to deny Longford a famous win and a spot in the All-Ireland final. Final score was Longford 2-11, Kerry 2-13 [Match Report]. Kerry progressed to the All-Ireland final, losing to Down in the decider.

The Longford team that day 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), Seán Donnelly. Subs M Burns, Brendan Gilmore, S Murray, Jimmy Flynn, S Ryan

That 1968 Leinster Championship success resulted in Larry Gillen, John Donlon, Jimmy Hannify and Seán Donnelly being selected for Leinster in the Railway Cup and Brendan Barden also selected as a sub. Longford ended the year by competing in the Grounds Tournament in Croke Park which involved the All-Ireland SFC semi-finalists being reversed such that Longford played Down while Kerry played Galway. Longford recorded a famous victory over the recently crowned All-Ireland champions in Croke Park and reached the Grounds Tournament final, but were beaten by Galway by 2-8 to 0-7 in Croke Park on 18th November.

1969 was a huge climb down as Wexford defeated Longford 3-5 to 1-8 in the Leinster Championship opener. 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.

🗓️ 1970-1971:

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.

🗓️ 1972-1973:

1971/72 season 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. The All-Ireland Junior Football ‘Home’ final was played at Pearse Park in Longford on 9th September 1973.

🗓️ 1974-1979:

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.

🗓️ 1981: Leinster U21 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.

🗓️ 1982: County Hurling Revival

Longford entered the 1981/82 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. 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!

As well as participating in the annual National Hurling League, Longford also participated in the 1985 Ford ‘Open Draw’ Cup, playing Wicklow in the first round on 24th March 1985. Final score was Wicklow 2-12, Longford 0-4. Longford team was: J Collins (Naomh Ciaran), P Mulhaire (Wolfe Tones), D O’Grady (Naomh Ciaran), M Jennings (C) (Slashers Gaels), T Kirwan (Slashers Gaels), E Brady (Wolfe Tones), B Connell (Wolfe Tones), B Kennedy (Slashers Gaels), A Jordan (Naomh Ciaran), J Sheahan (Slashers Gaels), M Carroll (Naomh Ciaran), P Farrell (Naomh Ciaran), F Gafney (Wolfe Tones), P O’Neill (Slashers Gaels), P Donohoe (Wolfe Tones). Subs: G Heneghan (Naomh Ciaran), S O’Keeffe (Wolfe Tones), J McNerney (Bunlahy), P Sheahan (Slashers Gaels).

🗓️ 1984: GAA Centenary Year

1984 saw the GAA celebrate its centenary with a special knock-out football 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.

Longford won the Dublin 7’s tournament at Islandbridge in 1984. The tournament was organised annually by the Offaly-Dublin Association. Longford defeated Jack O’Sheas Kerry in the final by 6-14 to 6-17. O’Shea was quoted afterwards as putting John McCormack on a par with Mikey Sheehy, as ‘Speedy’ emerged from the competition with a personal tally of 6-26. The team was: Jimmy Hannify (Fr. Manning Gaels), J.J. Orohoe (Ardagh St. Patricks), Seán O’Shea (Captain, Ballymahon), Mick Casey (Cashel), John Keegan (Ardagh St. Patricks), Bert Smith (Longford Slashers), John McCormack (Killoe Young Emmets), Gerry Beirne (Ardagh St. Patricks), Kevin Hourican (Dromard), Vincent Kiernan (Ardagh St. Patricks). Team manager was Gerry Quinn.

🗓️ 1985-1989: Strong in NFL, Don’t mention Championship!

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. 1984/85 National Football League performance 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 and dropped to Division 3 for the 1988/89 season. 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 (who doesn’t have the tannoy announcement of ‘The gates are open for the Longford supporters” that day in Mullingar, burned into their brain?). 1988 saw some excellent National Football League performances, while play-off wins over Wexford and Limerick saw Longford finish top of Division 3s before losing out to Louth by a goal in the Division 3 final. Longford did however progress to the National Football League quarter final, losing to Dublin by 6 points in Croke Park. 1989 saw Longford beaten in Leinster Championship by Wicklow by three points, and ushered in what would be the worst period of results and performances by a Longford team in living memory throughout the early and mid 1990’s.

🗓️ Minor & Juvenile Hurlers win National Titles

Longford Juveniles won the All-Ireland Juvenile ‘C’ Championships (Willword Tailteann Cup) in 1982, 1984, 1985 & 1986. The 1982 win was the first national hurling silverware ever won by a Longford hurling team. The 1984 winning team was managed by Paddy McMahon, Anthony Casey and Billy Lynn. The 1985 presentation of the All-Ireland medals to the winning Longford Juvenile team by Dr. Mick Loftus in the Hogan Stand in Croke Park on Sunday 4th August 1985 was his first official act as new president of the GAA.

Longford Minors won the Leinster Special Minor ‘D’ League in 1982, 1983 and 1984. In 1984 the Longford Minors reached the All-Ireland Special Minor Championship final, but were beaten by Leitrim by 2-7 to 1-5 in Carrick-on-Shannon. The following year Longford Minors were back in the final again but this time lost out to Cavan in Carrick-on-Shannon by 2-8 to 2-4. Finally in 1987 the Longford Minors captured Longford’s first All-Ireland Special Minor Hurling trophy by beating Tyrone by 2-5 to 1-4 in front of 30,000 spectators on a memorable day at Croke Park. The victorious Minor team arrived back to Edgeworthstown that evening where bonfires were blazing and team captain and Wolfe Tones player Mark McNamara was met by County Board secretary John Green and Chairman Albert Fallon. The team were driven on a lorry through the town in celebration. The successful team was managed by Oliver Colohan, Eddie Coffey, Billy Lynn, John Collins and Peter Bannon. Later in 1987 Longford Minor hurlers reached the Leinster Special Minor ‘D’ League final, losing out to Meath by 5-3 to 0-10 in Pearse Park in December 1987.

🗓️ 1990: Longford reach NFL Quarter Final

The 1990’s started off well for Longford with an excellent 1989/90 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 shortly thereafter. That 1989/90 league campaign had notable wins over Westmeath and Galway. This left Longford in good shape for the 1990 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 1990 Leinster MFC semi final. 1991 was full of disappointment. A tough 1990/91 National Football League campaign yielded just one win and a draw before a heart breaking defeat away to Louth in the 1991 Leinster Championship, a late Louth goal giving them a famous win.

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.

Longford won the Dublin 7’s tournament at Islandbridge in 1991. The tournament was organised annually by the Offaly-Dublin Association and Longford defeated Donegal in the final by 3-10 to 2-10. The team was: Kevin Braken (Killoe Young Emmets), Seán O’Shea (Civil Service), Séamus Boyle (Garda), Gerry Fox (Captain, Seán Connollys), Frank McNamee (Civil Service), James Halligan (Longford Slashers), Paul Victory (Ardagh St. Patricks), Paul Shorthall (Civil Service). Team manager was Gerry Quinn.

It is worth noting that the 1993 All-Ireland Senior ‘B’ Championship final was played in Pearse Park in Longford between Laois & Sligo. Laois won by 0-17 to 0-5 on 14th November 1993.

🗓️ 1995: Longford gets new Sponsor

Longford Arms Hotel came on board as the first official sponsor of Longford GAA in October 1995, and appeared as the sponsor on the new Longford jersey which was launched that same month. This was the first time a sponsor appeared on a Longford GAA jersey.

🗓️ 1996: London GAA’s Greatest – Devine & Donnelly

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 & 1996: Longford Masters win All-Ireland Shield

Longford Masters enjoyed success in the 1990’s beating Louth in the All-Ireland Masters ‘Shield’ final in September 1990 by 2-6 to 1-10 at the St. Vincents GAA grounds in Fairview to lift the new silver shield presented by Cleary & Company. The team was managed by Jackie Devine, Brendan Gilmore and Jody Sheridan. In 1996 under the management of Brendan Gilmore, Kevin Durkin and Eddie Joe Kenny, Longford Masters regained the Shield title by beating a weak Dublin team by 1-22 to 0-6 in Ballymahon. Dublin started with only 13 players and played much of the first half with only 12 players on the field after losing a defender to injury.

🗓️ Team of the Millennium

As the new century dawned, the Longford Leader launched a ‘Team of the Millennium’ campaign to assemble the most exceptional fifteen Longford footballers of the past. A coupon was published in the Longford Leader for members of the public to fill out and send in. A total of 1466 completed coupons were returned and were counted. The most common combination of players selected from all of the entries was Jimmy Hannify Snr and Jimmy Flynn at centre-field. The final team selected covered a playing-span of 60 years. Joe Regan at full-forward played for Longford in the 1930’s while Dessie Barry at right corner-forward played until 1999. The father-son combination of Jim and Jimmy Hannify made history by being selected, while first cousins Eamon Meagher and Seán Donnelly were also in the final selection.

The Longford’s football Team of the Millennium is as follows:

  • Goalkeeper: John Heneghan (Ballymahon)
  • Right Corner Back: Seamus Flynn (Clonguish)
  • Full Back: Larry Gillen (Ardagh St. Patricks)
  • Left Full Back: Billy Morgan (Killoe Young Emmets)
  • Right Half Back: Brendan Barden (Clonguish)
  • Centre Half Back: Mick Casey (Cashel)
  • Left Half Back: Eamon Meagher (Drumlish)
  • Midfield: Jim Hannify (Drumlish)
  • Midfield: Jimmy Flynn (Clonguish)
  • Right Half Forward: Jackie Devine (Mostrim)
  • Center Half Forward: Vincent Tierney (St. Marys Granard)
  • Left Half Forward: Jimmy Hannify (Drumlish/Fr. Manning Gaels)
  • Right Full Forward: Dessie Barry (Longford Slashers)
  • Full Forward: Joe Regan (St. Marys Granard)
  • Left Full Forward: Seán Donnelly (Longford Slashers)

An article on the Team of the Millennium in the Longford Leader in April 2000 noted that the following key footballers were nominated but didn’t make the final selection… Liam Tierney, Brendan Smith, Mickey O’Hara and John McCormack, and noted that the only present-day player to make the nominations was Niall Sheridan. The awards were presented by GAA President Seán McCague.

🗓️ 2000: Millennium Man

The Longford GAA website which was maintained by Brendan McLoughlin, held an online competition in 2000 to select Longford’s ‘Player of the Millennium’. The top 10 shortlisted players were… Dessie Barry, Brendan Barden, Padraic Davis, Jackie Devine, Seán Donnelly, Bill Keenan, Eamon Maher, John ‘Speedy’ McCormack, Liam Tierney and John Toher.

The winner with 222 of the 794 votes, was Jackie Devine.

🗓️ Bord na Móna ‘Millennium Teams’:

A list of Bord na Móna ‘Teams of the Millennium’ included the following Longford names:

  • Pat Barden (Mountdillon)
  • John Donlon (Mountdillon)
  • Séamus Flynn (Mountdillon)
  • Brendan Gilmore (Mountdillon)
  • Pat Mullooly (Mountdillon)
  • Seán Lenihan (Head Office / Coolnamóna)
  • Tom Murtagh (Head Office / Coolnamóna)

🗓️ 2000-2001: 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 that seasons 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 2000/01 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 2001 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 won the Dublin 7’s tournament at Islandbridge in 2001. The tournament was organised annually by the Offaly-Dublin Association and Longford defeated Donegal in the final by 3-12 to 1-15. The team was: Gavin Tonra (Colmcille, 0-2), Paul Ross (Captain, Legan Sarsfields, 0-1), Kieran Drake (Abbeylara, 1-0), Paul Barden (Clonguish, 1-5), Alan Duffy (Clonguish), Trevor Smullen (Ballymahon, 1-3), David Barden (Clonguish, 0-1), Johnny Ross (Legan Sarsfiends), John McMullen (Clonguish). The team manager was Gerry Quinn with Seán Allen (team sponsor) and Michael Mulvey as selectors.

🗓️ 2002: Minors are Leinster 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.

🗓️ 2003: Inaugural Longford GAA Race Day

The inaugural Longford GAA Race Day fundraiser was held at Punchestown, coinciding with the Gold Cup day at the National Hunt Festival. The fundraising event would go on to become an annual event and is still going strong 20 years later.

🗓️ 2004: Longford Footballers 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 2004 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-21 team reached the Leinster Football semi-final in 2005, but lost to Dublin who had their revenge for their Minor semi-final defeat three years earlier.

🗓️ 2006: All-Ireland SFC 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), L Keenan; T Smullen, P Barden (0-03), P Berry; D Barden, P Dowd, B Kavanagh (1-06). 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.

🗓️ 2006: Inaugural Longford GAA Awards

The inaugural Longford GAA awards including ‘Team of the Championship‘ took place in December 2006, with nominees published in the Longford Leader newspaper some weeks earlier, and the public voting for their preferred candidates for Team of the Championship, and voting for a shortlist of three candidates for each of the Player of the Year awards, with winner announced on the night. The annual awards event is run by Longford GAA in association with the Longford Leader newspaper and was the brainchild of the Minor Board Chairman of the time, Michael Carrigy. It has evolved into a successful annual event with a charity fundraising element and awards presented to Team of the Championship, Senior Footballer of the Year, Senior Hurler of the Year, Intermediate Footballer of the Year, Junior Footballer of the Year and Ladies Footballer of the Year. It is worth noting that the Hall of Fame award was added in 2008 and Ladies Team of the Championship was added in 2024.

🗓️ 2007: 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.

🗓️ 2009: Longford Hurling Summary

Longford Junior hurlers reached the Leinster Hurling Junior Championship Final in 2003 and 2004, losing to Meath in both years. Longford Senior hurlers competed in the newly introduced Nickey Rackard Cup (third tier of hurling championship) in 2005, narrowly losing out to Tyrone in the quarter final. 2006 saw Longford go a stage further as the hurlers reached the Nickey Rackard Cup semi final, only to lose to Donegal in Enniskillen. Donegal knocked Longford out in the 2007 Nickey Rackard quarter final, while 2008 was a major disappointment as Longford didn’t get out of the group stages of the Nickey Rackard Cup. 2009 saw the introduction of the Lory Meagher Cup (fourth tier of hurling championship), which Longford regraded to and competed in from 2009. 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.

🗓️ 2009: Paul Barden in Leinster Best

Paul Barden was selected in Left Half Forward position in the Leinster ‘TEAM 25’ which selected in 2009 by the Leinster Council from a panel of Leinster players who achieved greatness in the 25 Years since the GAA’s centenary in 1984. Barden beat off the challenge of Dessie Dolan (Westmeath), Kieran Duff (Dublin) and Tom Prendergast (Laois), who were also nominated for the No 12 jersey.

Team 25 (1984-2009): John O’Leary (Dublin), Robbie O’Malley (Meath), Darren Fay (Meath), John Keane (Westmeath), Paul Curran (Dublin), Glenn Ryan (Kildare), Martin O’Connell (Meath), Ciaran Whelan (Dublin), John McDermott (Meath), Barney Rock (Dublin), Trevor Giles (Meath), Paul Barden (Longford), Colm O’Rourke (Meath), Kevin O’Brien (Wicklow), Matty Forde (Wexford).

🗓️ 2000’s: Masters win All-Ireland Titles

The Longford Masters team won the All-Ireland Masters Championship (Dr. Mick Loftus Cup) with victory over Monaghan by 0-12 to 0-7 in Breffni Park in October 2000. The team was captained by Liam Tierney, and management team was Kevin Durkin, Eddie Joe Jenny and Brendan Gilmore, with Vinny Fay and Pat McGann as Physio. Man of the Match was Pat Masterson.

Longford regained the All-Ireland Masters Championship in 2005, defeating Derry by 1-10 to 1-7 in Ballyconnell in August 2005, with captain James Breslin raising the Masters Cup. Longford played six games in the round robin section of that years Masters All-Ireland championship, winning five games and drawing one. In total they beat Kerry and Tipperary at home and away, beat Roscommon away and drew with Roscommon at home. A home Quarter Final against Mayo in Carrickedmond was next, and a win by 0-11 to 0-10 to progress to the semi-final against Tyrone which Longford won by 3 points to set up an All-Ireland Masters Final date with Derry in Ballyconnell (Cavan) on a rain swept day, with Longford winning by 3 points. The successful Longford team was managed by Terry McCormack, Gerry Belton and Kevin Durkan.

In 2006 six members of the Longford Masters team were selected to represent Ireland at the International Rules Masters Series – Frank McNamee (Fr. Manning Gaels), Kevin Hourican (Dromard), Dessie Barry (Longford Slashers), Padraig O’Brien (Longford Slashers), Amby Fogarty (St. Marys Athlone), and Seamus Boyle (Ballymore Westmeath). In 2007 Longford Masters reached the All-Ireland Masters ‘Trophy’ final (Tier 2) against Derry in Lacken (Cavan) but lost out by two points.

In October 2009 five members of the Longford Masters team were selected to represent Ireland against Australia in the International Rules Masters Series – Kevin Hourican (Dromard), John Hyland, Jimmy O’Neill, Brian McNiven and Amby Fogarty (St. Marys Athlone). Also in 2009, the All-Ireland Masters final (Tier 1) between Tyrone and Mayo was held in Abbeylara in December 2009, with Mayo winning the title by 1-8 to 0-7.

🗓️ 2010: Minors are Leinster Champions

Longford Minor footballers started off the decade with an historic win in the 2010 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.

🗓️ 2010: First Senior Hurling Championship title

2010 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)

🗓️ 2011: Longford wins 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).

🗓️ 2011: Longford GAA gets new Sponsor

Glennon Brothers replaced Longford Arms Hotel as official sponsor of Longford GAA in December 2011. This was the first change in sponsor since Longford Arms Hotel came on board in October 1995. In addition to appearing on the county jersey as official sponsor, Glennon Brothers also received naming rights for Pearse Park which became Glennon Brothers Pearse Park.

🗓️ 2012: Longford wins 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.

🗓️ 2013 & 2014: Longford Juniors in Leinster Final

In 2013 Longford Junior footballers lost to Kildare in the Leinster JFC final by 2-15 to 3-8. The Longford team that day was: P Collum; R Keogh, B O’Farrell, B Devine (1-0); S Powell, D Bennett (1-0), M Duffy; J Kane, D Gallagher; D Mimnagh (0-1), P McKeon (0-2), S Doyle; M Hughes (0-2), P Dowd (1-1), M Mulvey (0-1). Subs: G Dennigan for Kane, B McKeon (0-1) for Mulvey, JP Reilly for Powell, J Martin for P McKeon.

In 2014 Longford Junior footballers lost to Cavan in the Leinster JFC final by 1-11 to 1-7. The Longford team that day was: P Collum, A Farrell, P Brady, G Smith, J McGivney, F Reilly, D Cooney (0-1), D Gallagher, R McEntire (0-2), B McKeon (0-1), P McKeon, A Dalton (1-0), B Farrell (0-1), P Gill, R Connor (0-2). Subs: D Mimnagh for R Connor, D Farrelly for D Cooney, S Kiernan for D Gallagher, K Murray for G Smith, M Gorman for A Farrell.

🗓️ 2014: Hurlers regain Lory Meagher Cup

In 2013 Longford reached the Lory Meagher Cup final, but were beaten by Warwickshire in Croke Park on 8th June 2013. The game is historic because it involved the first ever use of Hawkeye technology for a hurling match, and the first hurling action to be assessed via Hawkeye was a scoring effort by Warwickshire’s Sean Hennessy in the 30th minute (was deemed wide). Warwickshire ran out winners by 2-16 to 0-10. (Source: Cóilín Duffy)

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.

🗓️ 2018: Hurlers win Kehoe Cup

Longford got their hands on the Kehoe Cup for the first time following a one-point victory over Wicklow at Pearse Park on 11th February 2018. The game was played in difficult conditions, and Longford won on a scoreline of 0-11 to 0-10.

Longford: C Gallagher; A Sheridan, G Moore, P Corcoran, K Murray, B Hanley, S Hannon, J O’Brien (0-4), P Walsh (0-1), P Barden, S Stakelum, D Duggan (0-1), D Connell, C Mullane (0-4), J Leonard. Subs: J Casey (0-1) for P Barden, R Murray for J Leonard, PJ Masterson for S Stakelum, J Leonard for S Hannon, S Stakelum for A Sheridan.

🗓️ 2018: Minors win Leinster Minor Shield

Longford Minor Footballers beat Dublin by 1-13 to 0-11 to win the inaugural Minor Football Shield competition in 2018. The competition for teams who didn’t make it through to the knockout stage of the Minor Championship proper, was first played in 2018. Longford started strong with a goal in the 8th minute and some resolute defending helped Longford to the title in Pearse Park in July 2018. The winning team was: Patrick Murray, Darren Moffett, Dario Ciglianio, Adam Quinn, Cian Belton, James Moran, Peter Dempsey, Jonathan Borland, Richard Prior, Euan Finneran, Eoghan McCormack, Keelin McGann, Reece Reilly, Darragh O’Connell, Cian Dooner. Subs: Cian O’Nuallain, Reece Leonard, Conor Leonard and James Kiernan.

🗓️ 2019: Death of Eugene McGee

Eugene McGee (1941-2019) from Colmcille was one of Longford’s most recognisable GAA names and the most successful GAA manager ever to emerge from the county. He is best known for his time as manager of the Offaly senior football team. McGee guided Offaly to success in the 1980, 1981, and 1982 Leinster Senior Football Championships, and famously to the 1982 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship title.

  • All-Ireland SFC Winner: Offaly (1)
  • Leinster SFC Winner: Offaly (3)
  • Leinster U21 Winner: Offaly (2)
  • Dr. McKenna Cup Winner: Cavan (1)
  • Sigerson Cup Winner: UCD (7)
  • All-Ireland Club SFC Winner: UCD (2)
  • Leinster Club SFC Winner: UCD (2)
  • Dublin Club SFC Winner: UCD (2)
  • Longford Club SFC Winner: Cashel (1)

Eugene was passionate about the GAA and was a widely respected and straight talking journalist, writing at different times for the Longford Leader, The Irish Press, The Sunday Press, Sunday Tribune and Irish Independent, and was also the Managing Director of the Longford Leader newspaper. He chaired the Football Review Committee during Liam O’Neill’s GAA presidency and was instrumental in pushing through adjustments to the game such as the introduction of a black card. He died suddenly on 5th May 2019, aged 77.

🗓️ 2010’s: All-Ireland Juvenile ‘C’ Hurling Titles

Longford had national success at Juvenile hurling grade in 2013, 2015 and 2019. In 2013 Longford defeated Louth by 2-4 to 0-2 at the Monaghan COE to win the National Hurling Academy Blitz competition, also known as the All-Ireland Juvenile ‘C’ Championship. The team was managed by Niall Ward and Seán Mulhern. Longford regained the title in 2015 with a 5-6 to 1-2 victory over Louth in the deciding game of the group stages at Carrick-on-Shannon. In September 2019 Longford beat Leitrim by 4-0 to 1-5 in the final of the newly branded Hibernia Cup ‘C’ final to lift the new Peter O’Keefe Cup for the first time. This competition is the successor to the previous National Hurling Academy Blitz competition which was the successor to the previous All-Ireland Juvenile ‘C’ Championship. All are National Juvenile ‘C’ competitions.

🗓️ 2010’s: Masters Success & Amalgamation

In 2012 the Longford Masters reached the All-Ireland Masters ‘Shield’ final (Tier 2) against Mayo at Sligo IT in December 2012, losing by 2-16 to 1-8. 2016 saw three members of the Longford Masters team represent Ireland at the International Rules Masters Series vs Australia – John Coyle (Mostrim), Declan O’Neill (Legan Sarsfields) and Michael Keane (Fr. Manning Gaels). Ireland won both ties to take the series and win the Paddy Gaffney Cup.

In 2017 Longford Masters amalgamated with Leitrim Masters to compete as Leitrim-Longford in the All-Ireland Masters series. The combination enjoyed immediate success by winning the All-Ireland Masters ‘Plate’ final (Tier 3) in 2017 with victory over Kildare by 1-12 to 1-11 in the final at The Downs grounds. The team was managed by James Breslin, Seamus Sorohan and Pat Flanagan. In 2018 Leitrim-Longford reached the All-Ireland Masters ‘Plate’ final (Tier 3), losing out to Kildare. In 2019 Leitrim-Longford won the All-Ireland Masters ‘Shield’ final (Tier 2) with victory over Laois by 1-16 to 2-9 at Ballyleague. The team was managed by James Breslin (Fr. Manning Gaels) and Seamus Sorohon (Gortletteragh). Also in 2019 Dromards Noel Reynolds represented Ireland on the International Rules Masters panel.

🗓️ 2020: O’Byrne Cup Victory

Longford began the 2020’s 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 1965 & 2000. The winning Longford team and subs was: 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).

🗓️ 2020: Dream Team Selected

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:

  • Damien Sheridan (Dromard)
  • Dermot Brady (Longford Slashers)
  • Padraig McCormack (Killoe Young Emmets)
  • Declan Reilly (Colmcille)
  • Colin Hannify (Fr. Manning Gaels)
  • Diarmuid Masterson (Dromard)
  • Shane Mulligan (Mullinalaghta St. Columbas)
  • David Hannify (Fr. Manning Gaels)
  • Darren Gallagher (St. Marys Granard)
  • Paddy Dowd (Clonguish)
  • Paul Barden (Clonguish)
  • Michael Quinn (Killoe Young Emmets)
  • Brian Kavanagh (St. Patricks Ardagh / Kilmacud Crokes)
  • Niall Sheridan (Abbeylara)
  • 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.

🗓️ 2020’s Masters Success

In 2021 Leitrim-Longford won the All-Ireland Masters ‘Challenge Cup’ (Tier 4) beating Antrim by 1-17 to 0-7 in the decider at Templeport. The team was managed by James Breslin (Fr. Manning Gaels) and Seamus Sorohon (Gortletteragh). Also in 2021 the All-Ireland Masters Cup and Shield finals were held at the Fr. Manning Gaels club grounds in Drumlish in November 2021. In September 2022 London beat Leitrim-Longford by 0-13 to 0-08 in the All-Ireland Masters ‘Challenge Cup’ final (Tier 4) at the Owenmore GAA grounds in Sligo. In December 2023 it was announced that John Coyle (Mostrim) was selected as a panelist for the 2024 International Rules Masters Over-50’s Series, while Jamsie Martin (Dromard) was selected as a panelist for the 2024 International Rules Masters Over-40’s Series. Ireland’s management team for the Over-40’s Series includes Kevin Hourican from Dromard.

🗓️ 2023: O’Byrne Cup Victory

Longford won the O’Byrne Cup in 2023 following a strong performance in Pearse Park, beating Louth in the decider by 3-13 to 0-12 on 21st January 2023. The competition was plagued by teams failing to fulfill fixtures, with four games resulting in walkovers. Offaly pulled out of their semi-final versus Louth after Louth had refused to play their final group game vs Wexford a few days before. Carlow received a walkover from Laois and Westmeath received a walkover from Kildare. All of this brought into sharp focus the integrity of the competition. The 2023 decider was the first meeting of Longford and Louth in O’Byrne Cup final since 1963 and included a stand-out performance of Dessie Reynolds who scored 3-3 on the day. The game was broadcast live on TG4 and was Longfords fourth O’Byrne cup title following previous wins in 1965, 2000 & 2020.

The winning Longford team and subs was: Paddy Collum, Barry O’Farrell (Captain), Andrew Farrell, Ryan Moffett, Peter Lynn, Gary Rogers, Iarla O’Sullivan, Fergal Sheridan (0-1), Darren Gallagher (0-3), Dylan Farrell, Joe Hagan, Michael Quinn (0-1), Dessie Reynolds (3-3), Daniel Mimnagh (0-1), David McGivney (0-4). Subs: Aaron Farrell for D Farrell (56m), Robbie Smyth for Quinn (61m), James McGivney for Mimnagh (64m), Jack Macken for Reynolds (66m), Peter Foy for O’Sullivan (68m), Brian Masterson for Lynn (68m), Rúairí Harkin for Rogers (68m), Tadhg McNevin for Gallagher (70m), Conor Keenan for Hagan (70m), Jayson Matthews for D McGivney (70m).

🗓️ Longford’s COE Ambitions

Longford GAA purchased 32 acres of land adjacent to the grounds of Pearse Park on the outskirts of Longford Town at auction on 19th July 2023. This purchase is a major step towards the development of a €1m Centre of Excellence on the site.

Back in 2009, Longford GAA purchased land for €380,000 and planned to develop a €3 million Centre of Excellence on the 41-acre site. However, after the green light was received for that project it was revealed that an extra €900,000 would have to be spent on the site before development could even commence. This prompted delegates at a County Board meeting to vote unanimously to abandon the plan.

🗓️ 2024: O’Byrne Cup Victory

Longford made it back-to-back O’Byrne Cup title wins in 2024 with victory of Dublin’s second team in the final. Longford beat Westmeath by 0-9 to 0-7 in the Quater Final, and went on to beat Meath by 2-13 to 1-7 in the semi-final setting up a final clash with Dublin on 20th January 2024 at O’Moore Park in Portlaoise. Longford ran out winners by 1-12 to 0-9. Keelan McGann scored the games only goal, with Darren Gallagher (0-4), Cathal McCabe (0-3), Joe Hagan (0-2), Daniel Reynolds (0-1), Mark Hughes (0-1) and Daire Duggan (0-1) all getting on the scoresheet. The game was broadcast live on TG4 and was Longfords fifth O’Byrne cup title following previous wins in 1965, 2000, 2020 & 2023.

The winning Longford team and subs was: Paddy Collum, Barry O’Farrell, Oisín O’Toole, Bryan Masterson, Patrick Fox (Captain), Ryan Moffett, Iarla O’Sullivan, Darren Gallagher (0-4), Daire Duggan (0-1), Keelan McGann (1-0), Daniel Mimnagh, Daniel Reynolds (0-1), Joseph Hagan (0-2), Jayson Matthews, Cathal McCabe (0-3). Subs: Mark Hughes (0-1) for Mimnagh (24m), Michael Quinn for Reynolds (47m), Ruairí Harkin for McGann (70+1m), Darragh Finlass for Matthews (70+3m).

🗓️ 2024: Minors are Leinster Champions

Longford topped the group in the Leinster Minor Football Championship with impressive victories over Dublin and Offaly, and loss to Laois in the last group game (dead rubber game). Longford then produced a late surge to beat Louth in injury time in the Leinster semi-final in Pearse Park and secured a spot in the Leinster MFC final for the first time since 2015. The Leinster MFC final against Dublin was played on Monday 20th May 2024 in Tullamore with Longford staging a strong second half performance to take the game to extra time and eventually running out winners by 0-15 to 1-10 on a memorable sunny May evening in Tullamore to lift the Leinster MFC trophy for the fifth time.

The winning Longford team and subs was: James Ross, Conor McHugh, Darragh Mulligan, Alan Mimnagh (0-1), Conor Doherty, Mark Cooney (0-1), Ben Blessington (0-1), Seán Fagan, Peter Farrell, Cormac Flynn (0-1), Cian O’Donnell, James Shannon, James Hagan (0-3), Joshua Marsh, Luke Donnelly (0-3). Subs: Oisín Kane for Flynn (24m); Karl O’Hara (0-2) for O’Donnell (37m); Keelan Hudson for Shannon (47m); Michael Glennon for Mimnagh (56m); Cian O’Donnell (0-2) for Marsh (56m); Cormac Flynn for Farrell (60m); Liam Greene (0-1) for Kane (66m); Joshua Marsh for Fagan (80m).

This content was researched & compiled independently from 2014 to 2024.
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