Ballinasloe GAA relive footballing feats

Ballinasloe’s great Gaelic football years of the late seventies were relived in person and in print.

Twenty-seven former players attended the recent 30th reunion of the 1979-80 senior Ballinasloe football team on a night the club launched a specially produced celebratory reunion calendar for 2010,

Ballinasloe GAA Club has one of the most prolific and proud histories of any GAA club in the county. The St Grellan’s Football Club has won 17 county senior titles and is only behind Tuam Stars with 24 on the roll of honour.

Indeed St Grellan’s Football Club was undefeated in the Galway championship for 17 years (1913-1930 ), which was an amazing achievement.

Some people tend to forget the past. However 17 titles is a great achievement when one considers that the vast majority of clubs have struggled to even get even three county senior titles in the last 100 years. Milltown have two, Salthill the same, and the likes of Caherlistrane, Caltra, Carraroe, and Oughterard have never got past the one-in-a-row status.

And 30 years ago this year in the 1979/80 season, the club won a county championship (the town’s first since 1945 ), a Connacht Championship, and reached the All Ireland Senior Football final. Unfortunately they were beaten by a superb St Finbarr’s of Cork in the final.

That team which included great players like Willie Devlin, Barry Brennan, Paul McGettigan, Noel “Staff” Jennings, Pat and Michael Cunningham, John Manton and Colm Loftus, also won the county title in 1980, beating Corofin in the final.

To celebrate the centenary year of the GAA and this winning team’s from the past, Ballinasloe GAA club has recently launched a limited edition celebratory calendar for 2010, which is available from committee members and local outlets.

This excellent production includes an array of photos and a history of the GAA club. The calendar was complied by Pat Cunningham, with the help of local GAA historians Mattie Ganly and Willie Tully and with contributions from Cyril Dunne, Sean Keeley and Brendan Dolan.

The calendar features some rare pictures, including a fantastic photograph of the 1925 All Ireland Football Champions Galway - the first team in history to bring the All Ireland west of the Shannon. Incredibly 12 of the 15 players who played in that final were from Ballinasloe.

This calendar comes highly recommended for anyone with even a passing interest in Galway GAA or especially people with a connection with Ballinasloe.

All funds raised will go to the Ballinasloe GAA Club.


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