The Senior ‘League-Championship’ was an competition which ran in a league format from 1911 to 1935. It was sometimes confused with Senior Championship competition in past roll-of-honour records. This League-Championship competition did not have any cup or trophy and was regarded by some in the early years as having equivalent importance to Championship. For historical accuracy and consistency it is important to draw a clear delineation between titles which were Senior Championship and titles which were ‘League-Championship’.
The League-Championship format changed in 1928 with the top team in the table being declared the winner thereafter. The competition ran until 1935 and ended prior to the start of the new Leader Cup competition from 1936. Our research found that both competitions were separate and distinctly different. League-Championship titles were also separate and different from Senior Championship titles, even though it was common for League-Championship winners to receive medals with ‘Championship’ or ‘Champions’ on them. The various League-Championship winners are published for the very first time on this website, but we have been careful not to combine or conflate them with Leader Cup titles and not to confuse them with Senior Championship titles. It is worth noting that none of the official Senior League records prior to our research ever combined or conflated old ‘League-Championship’ titles with Leader Cup titles, or combined both into one single count. We found no evidence to support doing so either.
Senior ‘League-Championship’ Winners (1911-1935):
- 1911 Clonguish Gallowglasses 1 [📷 Reference]
- 1912 No Record of Winner 2
- 1913 No Competition
- 1914 Granard Shamrocks 3 [📷 Report]
- 1915 No Competition
- 1916 Granard Shamrocks 4 [📷 Report]
- 1917 Granard Shamrocks 5 [📷 Report]
- 1918 No Competition
- 1919 Clonguish 6 [📷 Report]
- 1920 No Competition
- 1921 No Competition
- 1922 Longford Wanderers 7 [📷 Report]
- 1923 Longford Wanderers 8 [📷 Report]
- 1924 No Competition
- 1925 No Winner (Abandoned) 9 [📷 Report]
- 1926 No Competition
- 1927 Longford Wanderers 10 [📷 Report]
- 1928 Longford Wanderers 11 [📷 Report]
- 1929 No Competition
- 1930 St. Marys Granard 12 [📷 Report]
- 1931 Drumlish 13 [📷 Reference]
- 1932 No Competition 14
- 1933 Drumlish 15 [📷 Report]
- 1934 St. Marys Granard 16
- 1935 Drumlish 17 [📷 Reference]
(Note: The Granard Shamrocks club pre-dated the formation of the St. Mary’s club in Granard Parish, while both clubs co-existed for a period as separate clubs in the parish of Granard from 1927 to 1931. Hence the titles of both clubs are kept separate for historical accuracy)
- No record of the final found, but Clonguish are referenced as champions in an October 1911 report.
- Clonguish v Edgeworthstown final fixed for 8th June 1913 but no record of result or winner.
- Competition started in May 1914 and concluded with final in July 1915, replayed in September 1915.
- Competition started in July 1916 and concluded in March 1917. See Note A below.
- Competition started in April 1917 and took two years to complete. Concluded in March 1919.
- Competition started in July 1919 and concluded in April 1920.
- Competition started in February 1922 and concluded in April 1923. (Longford is Longford Wanderers)
- Competition started in November 1923 and concluded in September 1925. (Longford is Longford Wanderers)
- Competition started in October 1925 and concluded in June 1926 with Granard v Mullinalaghta abandoned.
- Competition started in May 1927 and concluded in February 1928.
- Competition started in October 1928 and concluded in May 1929 when Wanderers won by topping the table.
- Competition started ~ July 1930 and finished with Granard topping the table in Oct 1931.
- Competition started in Oct 1931 and continued thru 1932. Drumlish referenced as winners in 1932 year-end report. See Note B below.
- No record found of any competition for 1932. The 1931 competition didn’t conclude until well into 1932.
- Competition started in September 1933 and finished in February 1934, with Drumlish topping the table. See Note C below.
- Competition ran into 1935. Title winner is noted in the Granard GAA book.
- Competition noted as unfinished in February 1936, but Drumlish victory referenced in a year-end article in 1936.
Note A: The 1916 Senior League-Championship title was won by Granard Shamrocks who defeated Ardagh St. Patricks by 2 points to 1. This title had been incorrectly credited to Ardagh St. Brigid’s in previous rolls of honour and Longford GAA publications. When Ardagh and Granard met in the 1982 SFC final, this previous meeting was referenced and the article cited claims from others that Granard [Shamrocks] were champions that year and it was a league title that was won – both of which have proved to be completely correct. We found no evidence of the existence of a club called Ardagh St. Brigids.
Note B: The 1931 competition saw Drumlish on course for the League title by around June 1932 (the competition flowed into 1932), with their final game scheduled against Ardagh, who were bottom of the table. The game was fixed in September 1932 and previewed as a 3rd round game. Drumlish won the game. No declaration of champions was made at that point but this was the only league game held between June 1932 and late 1933. Drumlish were then listed as League winners in 1932 year-end summary but this was for winning what was the 1931 competition. No evidence of a competition for 1932 was found.
Note C: In Feb 1934 there was a medal presentation held in Drumlish noting the awarding of 1932-33 league medals. This related to the 1933 competition.
Older SFC rolls of honour often confused and conflated some of the League-Championship competitions with Championship competition, most notably those held in 1919, 1922, 1923 and 1925. The Clonguish League-Championship title of 1919 was previously believed to have been the Senior Championship title of 1919, but a review of the records showed Clonbroney won the Senior Championship of 1919, with Clonguish winning the League title. The back-to-back League titles won by Longford Wanderers in 1922 & 1923 were also conflated with Championship titles in earlier records. The 1925 abandoned League-Championship final was also believed to have been a Championship final in previous records, but our review of the records showed that was not the case. It has taken lengthy and careful review of all available evidence to accurately separate Championship competition from League-Championship competition.
Junior competition in the early years was referred to as Junor League or Junior League-Championship or Junior Competition, and was played on a league basis similar to the Senior ‘League-Championship’ of the same era. The 2014 research clarified longstanding gaps in this Junior League competition from 1917 to 1926 prior to the start of the new Junior Football Championship in 1927, but that research (or any prior) does not combine these competitions. This old Junior League-Championship competition did not have any cup or trophy. 1927 is a change point where a knockout Championship was first held alongside an existing league-based competition. League competition in Junior dates back to 1917 while knockout Championship competition starts in 1927 which is why the first JFC winner is recorded in 1927 on this website, which is entirely consistent with all official JFC records prior to our research.
The earliest reference to Junior competition comes in 1905 when there are calls via local media to organise a Junior competition and efforts made at the time to organise one if enough teams affiliated. It was proposed that players that competed in senior could not play in the proposed Junior competition, but the difficulties of limiting it to a competition up to 17 years old were noted and alternate solutions were to be looked into. Nothing more came to pass on Junior competition until 1916.
In December 1916 a board overseeing Junior competition was announced in the Longford Leader. Records show that this Junior competition was run on a League basis from August 1917, in a structure identical to Senior League-Championship competition of the same period. Longford beat Carra Gaels 0-6 to 0-2 to win the first Junior League-Championship in 1917, though it is impossible to tell from the match reports and reports around it, which specific Longford club this was. The 1918 Junior League-Championship was won by Clonguish who beat Mullinalaghta 1-1 to 0-2 in the final on June 8th 1919. The 1919 Junior League-Championship saw Edgeworthstown beat Ballinamuck 98’s by 1-3 to 0-5 in the decider, played in January 1920, but following an objection the game was replayed in March 1920 with Ballinamuck 98’s winning by 1-2 to 1-1. The 1920 Junior League-Championship was awarded to St. Mel’s College over Ballymore. No further Junior League-Championship titles are found until 1924 when Longford Rovers beat Clondra 2-2 to 0-1 in the final played in September 1925. Drumlish won the 1925 Junior League-Championship by finishing top of the table that year. There was no competition in 1926 and the Junior League-Championship morphed into the Junior League thereafter, while a new Junior Championship competition in knockout format started from 1927.
Junior ‘League-Championship’ Winners (1917 to 1926):
- 1917: Longford [📷 Report]
- 1918: Clonguish [📷 Report]
- 1919: Ballinamuck 98’s [📷 Report] [📷 Report]
- 1920: St. Mel’s College [📷 Report]
- 1921-1923: No Competition
- 1924: Longford Rovers [📷 Report]
- 1925: Drumlish [📷 Report]
- 1926: No Competition
Mullinalaghta were previously credited as the first winners of the Junior Championship in 1924, however no published evidence can be found to support that claim, with all of the evidence pointing instead to the first Junior Championship taking place in 1927. All Junior competition prior to 1927 was played on a league format and is therefore kept separate from knock-out Junior Championship records which began in 1927. For record purposes any Junior titles won from 1917 to 1926 as ‘League-Championship’ are not merged with Junior Championship titles from 1927 onward. Those titles are consistent with Junior League titles instead. This is consistent with all research prior to our work from 2014-2021.
Feis Cup was a senior tournament organised by the Feis Committee as a means of fundraising. It was common in other counties too. Competition began in 1958 with participating teams selected by the Feis Committee. Longford Slashers defeating Colmcille in the first decider. Slashers made it back to back Feis Cup title wins with victory over Killoe Young Emmets in the 1959 final. The 1960 Feis Cup began in May 1960 with two of the first rounds games played then, however the other two games were not played until November 1960, with one game ending in a draw. The replay did not happen until the Summer of 1961 with the semi finals and final of the 1960 competition dragging into the Autumn of 1961. The final was eventually played in November 1961 with Éire Óg (Drumlish) beating Killoe Young Emmets to win the title. As a result of the 1960 competition ending in late 1961, there was no 1961 Feis Competition played at all. Éire Óg won the Feis Cup for a second time by beating Cashel in the 1962 competition final, which was completed in June 1963. It was previously assumed that Éire Óg won the Feis Cup three times in a row, however there was no 1961 Feis Cup competition played, hence it is more accurate to state that Éire Óg won the Feis Cup twice… in 1960 (finished in 1961) and 1962 (finished in 1963), thus holding the title across three years. The Cup itself remained with the Drumlish captain Peetie McWade for many years thereafter, and is in the parish of Drumlish to this day. Listen to Peetie McWade and Terry McKenna talking in 2010 about Feis Cup wins and the fate of the cup on 🔊 GAA Oral History project (from 27:15).
At the county convention in January 1963, Longford Slashers tabled a motion for the St. Vincent de Paul Tournament (which involved Junior teams and had lapsed in previous years) to be given priority over the Feis Cup, citing that the Feis committee had got considerable revenue from the Feis Cup competition and that something worthwhile should be raised for St. Vincent de Paul Society who were deserving of every support. Fr. McGee supported the motion saying that he was all in favour of giving the St. Vincent de Paul Tournament priority, and asserting that some members of the Feis committee were “… not good supporters of the GAA”. And so it was that the Feis Cup ended in 1963 with that delayed 1962 final win by Éire Óg over Cashel.
Feis Cup winners were as follows:
- 1958: Longford Slashers (beat Colmcille) [📷 Reference]
- 1959: Longford Slashers (beat Killoe Young Emmets) [📷 Preview]
- 1960: Éire Óg (Drumlish) (beat Killoe Young Emmets in Nov 1961) [📷 Preview][📷 Report]
- 1961: No 1961 Competition
- 1962: Éire Óg (Drumlish) (beat Cashel in June 1963) [📷 Preview][📷 Report]
Fr. Lynch Cup
Fr. Lynch Cup ran intermittently from 1927 to 1934 and began as a unique one-off game between the Junior Championship and Senior Championship winners of that year. The competition was named after Fr. Andrew Lynch who was a Colmcille native and was closely associated with the GAA in Longford and Leitrim having served as Chairman of the Longford County Board from 1927 to 1930 and later as Chairman of the Leitrim County Board. Fr. Lynch had also played for Longford in his youth and ministered in Brisbane Australia during his priesthood. He died in August 1948 shortly after being transferred to the parish of Ballinahown. In the inaugural year of the competition in 1927, Drumlish (SFC winners) and Ardagh St. Patricks (JFC winners) competed for the Fr. Lynch Cup, with Drumlish taking the honours. The competition was not played in 1928. The structure of the Fr. Lynch Cup broadened into a larger competition in 1929 with a Senior section which played out to a winner who then met the winner of the Junior section in the final – Longford Wanderers won that particular title, beating Columcille in the final, played in 1930. A report in the Anglo Celt in January 1930 indicated that Wanderers had failed to turn up for the game and Columcille were therefore awarded the cup. There followed some acrimonious letters in the Longford Leader newspaper from both clubs, and an objection was raised by Wanderers, which was upheld by the County Board in March 1930 with the final refixed for April 1930. Longford Wanderers won by 5-5 to 1-2 to capture the delayed 1929 title. There was no 1930 competition played. From 1931 the format reverted back to a simple one-off game, this time between the Junior League and Senior League (not Championship) winners, with St. Marys Granard meeting Ardagh St. Patricks in the decider in October 1931. We were unable to determine the winner for 1931 while no evidence was found of any competition for 1932. Drumlish won the cup for a second time in 1933 (beating Killoe Young Emmets) in June 1933 on the first day of games in the New Gaelic Grounds at Kelliher Barracks, and upon winning the cup for the 3rd time in 1934 (beating Killashee in a replay), the Drumlish club got to keep the elegant trophy. (Photo via ‘Longford Blue & Gold Memories’ page on Facebook)
Winners over the years included:
- 1927: Drumlish (beat Ardagh St. Patricks)
- 1928: No Competition
- 1929: Longford Wanderers (beat Columcille)
- 1930: No Competition
- 1931: Granard or Ardagh (Not yet confirmed)
- 1932: No Competition
- 1933: Drumlish (beat Killoe Young Emmets)
- 1934: Drumlish (beat Killashee)
Foresters Cup was a senior competition played only once, and on a knock-out basis. Competition started on St. Patrick’s day 1912 when Colmcille played Killoe Young Emmets. The final of the Forester Cup between Colmcille and Clonguish Gallowglasses was eventually played the following year in Longford Park on St. Patrick’s day 1913. Colmcille were declared winners by the narrowest of margins on a score line of 1-1 to 0-3. In those days there were 17 players per team. The cup was presented to John O’Reilly, captain of the Colmcille team (father of Bishop Colm O’Reilly). The Irish National Foresters’ donated the cup for this competition and it was their intention to continue presenting a new cup each year. However the competition was never contested again. The cup spent years in the possession of Bishop Colm O’Reilly, who then presented it to the Colmcille club in 2008. It is proudly displayed in their clubhouse today.