St Michael’s GAA Club, sixty years

St Michael’s Club was formed in 1956 after Galway won the All-Ireland football final. The first AGM was held in Tom Connolly’s house in Lower Shantalla Road, and they played their first game in 1957. Among those who founded the club were Pa Boyle (whose brainchild it was ), Mick O’Toole, John Duignan, Mick Higgins, Liam Cunningham, and Sergeant O’Toole. They started as a dual club, but after a few years they concentrated solely on football.

They were fortunate from the start in having a lot of young talent available from the Shantalla area where the corporation had started building houses in 1943. Shantalla, under the name ‘Fr Lally’s’, were already playing under-14, under-16, and under-18 in the Streets League and their pitch was a difficult place for any visiting team to win. St Michael’s wasted no time in entering competitions, and within four years they had won three county minor finals in a row, and furthermore, three of their players —Harry Anderson, Andy Donnelly, and Seán Callaghan — had won All-Ireland medals with the 1960 Galway team.

The next major test for the club was going into the county senior championship for the first time in 1961. The following year, Paddy Ryan became their first senior player to pull on the County jersey. He was followed shortly by Tom Corbett and Peter Folan. St Michael’s were honoured in 1969 when Joe Corcoran was selected as captain for the county minor side that year, a side that went on to win the All-Ireland by beating Kerry in a replay, a side that attracted a huge crowd to the city when they brought the cup home.

The continuous hard work and commitment by committee members has meant that the club fields teams at all levels from under age to senior. Their new clubhouse opened 10 years ago. They were without a pitch for four years but happily they now have a new one at Westside. Some years ago they got to an intermediate All Ireland final, and two years ago they competed in the county senior final. So they have much to celebrate, and that is what they intend to do for their 60th birthday on Saturday in The Ardilaun with a banquet. The guest of honour will be Martin Cooke and there will be slide shows of old photographs relating to the club. Tickets are still available at €50, and if you would like to attend, contact Tom Nally at 087 9547570.

Our photograph today is of the club’s senior team of 1972. They are, back row, left to right: Liam Cunningham, Martin Vaughan, Joe Ryan, Martin Noonan, Michael Duignan, Frank Dooley, and Eddie Caulfield. In front are Paddy Grant, Gerry Dooley, Tom Corcoran, Joe Corcoran, Michael Corbett, Frank O’Connor, Gerry Dooley, and Tom Nally.

The Old Galway Society will host a lecture this evening in the Victoria Hotel at 8pm. The title is “Eyre Square and its monuments” and it will be given by Brendan McGowan. All are welcome.

Professor Noel Wilkins will deliver the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society lecture on Monday November 14 in the Harbour Hotel. The title is “Even the Stones Cry Out”, the theme is Co Galway piers and quays and some of their stories, and again, all are welcome.



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