Researching the Records:
Prior to detailed research in 2014, the previous roll of honour for the Longford Senior Football Championship had been recorded in print in the early 1980s and was further augmented by Seán Ó Suilleabháin’s research which documented the county final scores from the early years.
While some score-lines were added to the roster over the past quarter of a century, the picture was far from complete, and in some instances was wholly inaccurate. In 2014 a project was undertaken to establish a complete and fully accurate record of the Senior Football Championship rolls of honour and County Final results/scores back to the first decider in 1890, as well as full records for Junior, Intermediate, U21 & Underage Championships using a range of sources including local and national newspaper archives and a fantastic package of records & Longford GAA history provided by local historical sources. The results of this project were published on the Longford GAA website at the end of 2014.
Senior Football Championship – Roll of Honour:
The Senior Championship roll of honour table shows Championship title count in descending order. The following clarifications and changes were applied to the roll of honour as a result of findings from the 2014 research.
1. Longford Titles: The town of Longford has seen a number of different clubs over the years, including Longford Leo Caseys, Longford Shamrocks, Longford Wanderers, Whiterock Slashers and Longford Slashers. Of those, 3 won Senior Championship titles… Longford Leo Caseys, Longford Wanderers and Longford Slashers. The establishment of Longford Slashers in 1954 came about as a result of the amalgamation of Longford Wanderers and Whiterock Slashers (who played each other in the 1938 final). However previous records did not combine the titles of Longford Slashers & Longford Wanderers as both were separate clubs when those titles were won. Therefore for accuracy and consistency the Longford Slashers and Longford Wanderers titles are kept seperate in the roll of honour. The Longford Leo Casey titles are also kept separate as this was a completely different club to Longford Wanderers or Longford Slashers.
2. Drumlish Titles: The parish of Drumlish had multiple competing clubs during the first four decades of the 20th Century, most notibly Drumlish and Ballinamuck 98’s. The first Senior Championship title won by a club from the parish of Drumlish was won by Ballinamuck 98’s in 1920, while the Drumlish club won their first Championship in 1927, beating Ballinamuck 98’s in the County Final. The Drumlish club went on to win 8 Championship Titles in 1927, 28, 32, 37, 39, 40, 43 & 45. Throughout that period both clubs existed and competed separately, with Ballinamuck winning the Junior Championship in 1938. By the end of the 1940’s a new club emerged in the parish of Drumlish which incorporated players from both Drumlish and Ballinamuck – Young Ireland’s or Drumlish Young Ireland’s. This parish-wide club won Senior Championships in 1951, 1953 & 1955 and was runner-up in County Finals of 1958, 1961 & 1966. Young Ireland’s failed to form in 1967, and Ballinamuck re-appeared briefly as a Junor Club. In 1969 the Fr. Manning Gaels club was established as a parish-wide club and would go on to win Senior Championships in 1996, 1997, 1998 & 2001. For our roll of honour, senior titles won by Fr Manning Gaels and Young Irelands are combined because both are identical (parish-wide) clubs. However we do not combine them with titles won by Drumlish (1927, 28, 32, 37, 39, 40, 43, 45) or Ballinamuck 98’s (1920) – those are recorded separately as those were separate competing clubs who in fact played each other in the County Final of 1927. As with the Longford town teams, and for historic accuracy, titles in the roll of honour are allocated to clubs, not parishes.
3. 1891 & 1896 Titles: The roll of honour is updated to reflect the fact that the 1891 championship was not finished, and that there was no official championship played in 1896 (see details below).
4. 1912 Title: The records prior to 2014 had allocated the 1912 title to Killoe Young Emmets. However careful examination of the records from 1911 onwards showed that the previously allocated 1912 title was in fact the delayed 1911 final which was played in March 1912. (See further below).
5. 1919 Title: The 1919 Championship was won by Clonbroney Camlin Rovers who beat Killoe Young Emmets in a replay. The club name at that time was Clonbroney Camlin Rovers, and would later be renamed Seán Connollys. To preserve this historical footnote, the title winner is shown as Clonbroney (Seán Connollys). Previously the Clonbroney win was cited as the 1917 final which is incorrect as no Championship was played in 1917 (see details below). The previous records also allocated the 1919 title to Clonguish which is also incorrect as Clonguish won the League title of 1919 (referred to then as League-Championship title) beating Mullinalaghta in the final.
6. 1921-1926 Titles: The roll of honour was updated to reflect that there was no Championship finals played in those years (see further below).
Where possible and for accuracy purposes, each year-by-year championship final record shows the name of the clubs at the time of that final (with some exceptions in the Minor Championship table where club names have since changed). Where two teams appear with the same number of titles on the Roll of Honour, we place the team with more County Final appearances ahead.
Senior Championship Records – Corrections & Clarifications:
1888 GAA reaches Longford
In the years that followed the foundation of the GAA in Thurles in 1884, the movement quickly began to permeate throughout the country with the establishment of clubs and county structures. While it had been long assumed that 1887 was the first year of official activity in Longford, it was in fact the foundation of the Granard Healys club that should record 1888 as the year of initiation of the GAA in the county. Thereafter, the words of Michael Cusack seemed prophetic as the Association ‘spread like a prairie fire’ and by the time of the draw for a first championship in 1890, twenty one clubs had been established and were ready for competitive action.
1888 1st County Board elected
The first Longford county committee was elected at a meeting at the Market Square in Longford town on Sunday, 13 October 1889.
1890 The 1st Senior Championship
When considering how fractured the local GAA and their competitions became over the following decades, it does seem remarkable that the 1890 championship involved so many teams and was played out to a conclusion. The final was played between Columbkille St Columbkille’s and Rathcline John Martins in Abbeycartron on 8 June 1890, with the North Longford side winning by 1-0 to 0-4. Lest anyone be confused by that score-line, it should be noted that a goal at that time could not be beaten by any number of points.
Throughout the research it was important to distinguish between championships and the league competitions. This has given rise to some changes from what was previously recorded in previous rolls of honour. A thorough examination of newspaper archives led to clarification of whether particular competition could or could not be declared a county championship. The league had a different format, and while it was often referred to as a league-championship, this was simply a means of reference to semi-finals and/or finals that followed the regular league format.
After such encouraging beginnings, the 1891 championships would involve 26 teams, but was beset by problems from the start. There was confusion over the notice given for first round games and as a result, teams that failed to field were given a second chance with an additional round. Objections had also become a common feature of competitions and only three of the eight second round matches were declared by the time the championship came to a halt. The GAA was faced with its first crisis in the aftermath of the Parnell affair, and activities and structures in Longford and other counties had effectively ceased. The 1891 championship remained unfinished and another decade would pass before games resumed.
1896 Championship debunked
A game involving Granard and Longford Shamrocks in 1896 was sometimes recorded as a county final, but it is widely accepted that the game had no official standing, particularly and critically as there was no county board and no official county competition in place at that time.
With the resumption of GAA affairs in Longford in the early years of the 20th century, the senior championship draws would now involve a far smaller group of clubs. The 1904 competition had nine teams and in the decider, Longford Leo Caseys defeated Killoe Young Emmets by 2-7 to 0-1 in the final. The three local newspapers of the time (Longford Leader, Roscommon Herald and Longford Journal) had each reported different score-lines, but a closer analysis of the reports seems to confirm that the Roscommon Herald carried the accurate result.
Championships were often few and far between over the period that followed. In fact, only eight competitions were successfully completed in the 37 years after the first competition of 1890. The fact that they were sporadic can be attributed to a number of reasons and factors, including the political crisis of 1891 and the conflicts and turmoil that became common features of Irish life in the first two decades of the new century.
1905 Hurling Final
The Longford Senior Hurling Championship Final of 1905 (which likely started in 1904) was contested between Longford Leo Casey’s and Killoe Young Emmets. The final had to be replayed however following an objection by Killoe. Leo Casey’s emerged victorious in the replayed game to take the title. Killoe would gain revenge and win their only Senior Hurling title in 1907. Thereafter there is no record of hurling competition until the early 1930’s.
Killoe became the first team to enjoy a dominant period of success, as the claimed four championships (1907, 1911, 1913, 1915) over a nine year period between 1907 and 1915. However, having previously been credited with the 1912 championship, it is now established that this final was in fact the conclusion of the 1911 competition. In previous records, the 1911 championship had seemingly concluded with the awarding of the title to Killoe (who had defeated Drumlish in the semi-final in November 1911) due to the fact that the second semi-final between Clonguish and Edgeworthstown had not been played as a result of a dispute. The 1912 final had been recorded as a 0-2 to 0-1 victory for Young Emmets over Edgeworthstown in a final played on 3 March 1912.
Having examined all available information, it is clear that the only competitive game played between November 1911 and the Killoe-Edgeworthstown final of March 1912 was the meeting of Clonguish and Edgeworthstown in February 1912 (which was won by Edgeworthstown). It can be concluded therefore that the 1911 semi-final under dispute was eventually refixed and played in February 1912 and the winners advanced to play Killoe in the delayed 1911 final in March 1912. No 1912 championship was actually played, nor were any championships played in 1914 or 1916.
1917 & 1919 Clarifications
A chapter on the early county final records and the roll of honour in Comóradh an Chéid (the Longford GAA centenary publication of 1987) states that Clonbroney appear to have won in 1917 with victory over Killoe in a replay, and Clonguish emerged victorious over Mullinalaghta in 1920.
However, archive evidence shows that no championship was played in 1917 with newspaper reports carrying the following official notice… “Owing to the somewhat disturbed state of the country, all football fixtures are postponed until further notice”. Furthermore, the 1919 championship title previously credited to Clonguish was actually the 1919 League title, with that years Championship title going to Clonbroney Camlin Rovers (later renamed Sean Connolly’s).
Newspaper records of 1919 show a clear distinction between league and championship. The newspaper archives also includes reports on the progress of the 1919 championship, which concluded with a county final victory for Clonbroney Camlin Rovers over Killoe Young Emmets in a replay by 1-3 to 0-3 on 3rd August 1919.
While the Championship status in those years is clearer, the League (sometimes referred to as League Championship) is somewhat more complex with competition stretching across years. Granard won the League titles in 1914, 1916 and 1917, however the 1917 campaign took two years to complete and the final between Granard & Killashee was held on 23rd February 1919 with Granard winning by 2-4 to 0-0. A letter in the paper complained about the length of time taken to complete the competition. The championship draw took place after that match in February 1919 and the final took place in July with Clonbroney winning the title. The draw for the 1919 league took place on 23rd of July 1919 with the first games kicking off August 10th 1919. Long delays between November and February 1920 delayed matters on account of objections and lack of light at afternoon matches which ran into evenings. Action resumed in February 1920 with the semi finals in March and the League final on April 11th 1920 in which Clonguish beat Mullinalaghta to claim the league title of 1919.
There is no evidence of championship activity in 1918, perhaps due in part to the conscription crisis in that year which put fixtures on hold.
Ballinamuck 98’s claimed the 1920 championship title with victory over Longford Wanderers. There is no evidence of any championship activity in 1921.
The championships of 1922 and 1923 had been previously credited to Longford Wanderers, however archive evidence now confirms those as league titles and the archive evidence shows that there were no county championships played in either of those years.
Due to a combination of factors, including the civil war, Longford’s prolonged involvement in the 1924 Junior championship (they reached the All-Ireland final which was played in July 1925), and the controversy over the county’s suspension by the Leinster Council (1926-27), there were no club senior championship competitions played in any of the years from 1921 and 1926. The 1926 game between Granard and Mullinalaghta, which was abandoned due to violent scenes, and previously thought to be a Championship final was in fact the league final. In summary, the period from 1921-1926 during those historic foundation of the state and civil war years, had no championship activity in Longford.
Championship action eventually resumed in 1927 with Drumlish winning their first title. They also retained the title in 1928 as a result of being awarded the final (the game was scheduled for 27 May 1928, but Longford Wanderers failed to field).
All efforts to establish the final result of 1932 have proven fruitless (it is now the only county final on the record which does not have the result). In reporting the game between Drumlish and Granard for the Longford Leader, Jim Mannix apologised to readers for doing so a week later than expected as he had been ill. However, the brief report did not include the score-line. It should be noted however that Jim provided the GAA reports for the Leader for many years and without this commitment and service, we may have struggled to confirm many of the final score-lines for the 1930s and 1940s.
The 1939 final was abandoned and Drumlish were eventually awarded the title as a result of an appeal to the Leinster Council.
One of the more noteworthy final score-lines was the drawn game of 1946 between Dromard and Ballymahon which failed to yield a single score.
Intermediate Championship – Corrections & Clarifications:
In January 1931 it was proposed at the County Board meeting to establish three grades of football instead of two leading to the implementation of the Intermediate Championship to encourage more football for clubs. In the first final Mullinalaghta defeated Clonbroney 4-8 to 1-2. The competition was retained again in 1932 when Edgeworthstown Young Ireland’s defeated Mullinalaghta in the final. The competition was discontinued in 1933.
The Intermediate Championship which continues today can trace its direct beginning back to 1966.
Junior Championship – Corrections & Clarifications:
A Board overseeing a Junior League was mentioned in a December 1916 edition of the Longford Leader. The League began in August 1917. Longford beat Carra Gaels 0-6 to 0-2 to win the first League title. In 1918 Clonguish beat Mullinalaghta 1-1 to 0-2 in the Junior League final. In 1919 Edgeworthstown beat Ballinamuck 98’s 1-3 to 0-5 in the final played in Jan 1920. The 1920 League was awarded to St. Mel’s College over Ballymore. No further competitions were held until 1924 and Longford Rovers defeated Clondra 2-2 to 0-1 in September 1925 and were promoted to Senior. Drumlish won the 1925 League finishing top of the table. Mullinalaghta were previously credited as the first winners of the Junior Championship in 1924. However no newspaper evidence supports this with only available evidence pointing to the first championship in 1927.
1927 – The first Junior Championship as we know it today was played based on knockout with Ardagh defeating Colmcille 4 points to 1 in April 1927. Granard were previously credited with the title but they won the 1927 League defeating Ballymahon 5 points to 1 in Jan 1928.
1928 – Clonguish defeated Drumlish in the Championship final though no score can be found. Granard were previously credited with this title but they reached the league final only to be defeated 2-4 to 2-3 by Clonguish in Sep 1929.
1930 – Ardagh were awarded the replay against Columcille’s as the referee adjudged the latter not to have fielded in the alloted time.
1935 – Whiterock Slashers defeated Sean Connollys in the Junior Championship Final in late 1935. Sean Connollys objected and this was upheld in early 1936. It is not fully clear if this resulted in Sean Connollys being awarded the title so rely on current records noting Sean Connolly as winners as circumstantial confirmation.
1936 – Whiterock Slashers defeated Dromard in the final. Dromard objected and were awarded the title. Slashers counter-objected and were finally re-awarded the title.
1940 – Killoe Young Emmets defeated Mostrim 1-5 to 1-4 in the championship final. However Mostrim lodged an objection which was upheld in Nov 1940 and Mostrim were awarded the medals.
1942 – Cashel were previously noted as winners, however actual records show that Longford Wanderers defeated Sean Connollys in the championship final. Newtowncashel St. Ciaran’s as they were then known defeated Killoe Young Emmets in the Junior League final that year and this may have been mistaken for the championship.
1944 – Previous roll of honour records seems to omit this particular year. However Dromard beat Longford Wanderers in the Championship final and a full account of the match is noted in the Longford Leader edition of October 28th 1944.
1949 – Killoe’s victory over Ardagh in the final was overturned on appeal. In the end no title was awarded.
Underage Championship Records:
The Minor Championship began back in 1936 with Killoe winning the first Minor Championship title. The first Minor Championship trophy (Harte Cup) was presented to 1949 winners Mostrim. There was no Minor Championship played in 1937 or from 1939 to 1948. The Juvenile Championship began in 1954 and U14 Championship in 1965. The U14 Championship was split into Urban (u) and Rural (r) competition from 1976-1988 and is so noted on the Roll of Honour.
Please note the following naming clarifications:
- Clonguish Óg includes Lough Forbes Gaels titles
- Longford Slashers includes St. Michaels titles
- Wolfe Tones includes Mostrim titles
- Ballymahon includes Leo Casey’s titles
- St. Vincents = Drumlish
- St. Francis = Dromard
- Shannon Gaels = Rathcline
- St. Dominic’s = Kenagh
The following amalgamations are included in the Minor Championship ‘Roll of Honour’…
- Northern Gaels = Abbeylara/Mullinalaghta
- Carrick Sarsfields = Carrickedmond/Legan
- Southern Gaels = Cashel/Killashee
- Shamrock Gaels = Ballymahon/Forgney & Southern Gaels
- Pearses = Wolfe Tones/Ballymore
- Mostrim Region = Mostrim/Abbeylara
- Ballymahon Region (1977) = Ballymahon/Carrickedmond
- Ballymahon Region (1982) = Ballymahon/Carrickedmond/Kenagh/Legan/Forgney
- Killoe Region (1978) = Killoe/Clonbroney/Shroid
- Killoe Region (1990) = Killoe/Clonbroney