Researching the Records:
Prior to 2014, the previous roll of honour for the Longford Senior Football Championship had been recorded 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. In 2014 a project was undertaken by the Devaney brothers 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 Fergal Kelly.
Roll of Honour Table:
Previous Senior Championship records had not combined the titles of Longford Slashers and Longford Wanderers as one – this makes sense as they were separate clubs and 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). Therefore for accuracy and consistency the Longford Slashers and Longford Wanderers titles are recorded separately. The Longford Leo Casey titles are also kept separate as this was a completely separate club to Longford Wanderers or Slashers.
The Senior titles won by Fr Manning Gaels and Éire Óg (Young Irelands) are recorded as one tally, but does not include titles won by Drumlish (1927, 28, 32, 37, 39, 40, 43, 45) and Ballinamuck 98’s (1920) – those are recorded separately. For much of the period between 1890 and the early 1950s, Drumlish and Ballinamuck were separate GAA clubs; in fact they played each other in the final of 1927. Young Irelands (later renamed Éire Óg) was established as an joint Drumlish-Ballinamuck club, and when they went out of existence in 1967, Ballinamuck re-emerged briefly as a junior team. The establishment of Fr. Manning Gaels in 1969 reformed the joint Drumlish-Ballinamuck entity and this club continues to this day.
Where possible and practical, each club is given its full established name at the time of winning the title (with some exceptions in the Minor Championship table where club names have since changed). Where clubs have won the same number of titles, they are shown in descending order by latest title won.
Senior Championship Records:
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 a much better 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 Corrections
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, 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”. The 1919 championship previously credited to Clonguish was actually the league title.
The information which attributed the 1917 title to Clonbroney Camlin Rovers (the club was later renamed Sean Connollys) is not however entirely without foundation, as we can now verify that they did indeed win the championship two years later than had been previously thought, in 1919.
Newspaper records of 1919 show a clear distinction between league and championship. The game between Clonguish and Mullinalaghta (which was played in 1920) was in fact the league final. The newspaper archives reported 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 3 August 1919.
The championships of 1922 and 1923 had been previously credited to Longford Wanderers, but we can now confirm that these were league titles and 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.
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 Records:
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 Records:
Pre 1927 Junior Competition – 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 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