Celebrating 75 years of the GAA tradition in the Parish Of Culmaine
History of St. Joseph's G.A.C., Ederney 1929 -2004
Naomh Seosamh Cumann Luthchleas Gael Eadarnaigh.
FROM THE MOSS
While structured Gaelic football was played regularly throughout Fermanagh since 1904, it was some time before a Gaelic Football Club was established in Ederney. Indeed, in 2004 the same as the County’s centenary year, Ederney St Joseph’s celebrate 75 years since the club was formed. Many of the local sporting gents had played Gaelic football in the area prior to this. Playing along with neighbouring Donegal and Tyrone based teams. However, it was on the first Sunday in May, 1929, that, under a tree in Maguire's meadow behind Moneyvriece school that Father Ned O'Flanagan sowed the first seeds of football in Ederney by selecting a team that would later be affiliated to the Fermanagh Junior League. A committee was elected
President — Rev. Fr. O’Flanagan.
Secretary — Joseph Doherty.
Treasurer — John J. McLaughlin (Jay).
Team Captain — Johnny Monaghan.
Other committee members included Eddie Monaghan Denis Reid, John McPhelimy, Master McElholm, Tom Reid and Frank McGee.
Membership was 1 shilling and a total of £1 17s. 6d. was collected from those mentioned above, and those we remember now as the club’s initial members; Pat Maguire, Francis Brannagh. Willie Stamford, Hugh Rolston, Patrick Maguire. Jim Cassidy, Tom Turner, Denis Reid, John Trainor, John McFarland. Manus Maguire, John McGrath, Eddie Monaghan, Charles McQuaid, James McDonagh, John Lunny, P. McGrath, T. Monaghan, P.Gileece, M. Doherty, Joe Daly, Joseph Maguire, James Eves. R.J. McDonagh, Patsy Cassidy, Sonny McLaughlin. John Eves, E. Maguire, F. Maguire, J. Rushe, H. Rushe. F. Murphy.
Having established a group of young men to form a team, the next objective for the club hierarchy was to find somewhere for the players to play and practice. After some searching, a venue was found. A local man named Willie Martin, who married into the Ellis family of Moneyvriece, sold a house and a few acres to the parish, who in turn rented three small fields to the football club.
In the true spirit of the voluntary ethos that the Association has been built upon, the players went down in the evenings, worked at filling in the drains with sally bushes, and then levelled them up into one field. The football club gave £1 per year to the parish for the use of the field, but an enterprising economist of the time set the field to a Mr. Barney Maguire to graze his carthorse at a price of £1 per year, and so the pitch was free.
The pitch was located at Black Bog in the Town Land of Moneyvriece. The pitch become affectionately known as "The Moss" for reasons later to be found out from teams throughout Fermanagh, Donegal and Tyrone, that would come to compete against our local sporting heroes.
The first outing was against Pettigo and they, being a well-established team, were confident of winning. However, like many teams since then, Pettigo found out that Ederney were very hard to beat on their own ground, and Ederney carried off the honours in their first friendly in July 1929, recording the first victory of 9 points to 7 points. A thirteen-man team fielded that day:
J. Doherty W. Stanford
T.Reid F. McGee J. McLaughlin
J Monaghan F. Hannigan
Dinny Reid W. Murphy Paddy Reid
Eddie Maguire Jack Seaney
LET THE GAMES BEGIN
It was not until 1932, as part of the reorganization of clubs throughout Ulster, that Ederney along with Seemuldoon, Irvinestown and Drumharvey, were affiliated to the junior league.
The memorable day came on Sunday 5th June, 1932. A meeting of the league took place in St. Molaise Hall, Irvinestown. Representing Ederney were Johnny Monaghan and Jay McLaughlin. At the meeting, four teams were affiliated to the junior league; Ederney, Irvinestown, Seemuldoon, and Drumharvey. The following fixtures were made:
Ederney v Seemuldoon: Sun. 12th June
Seemuldoon v Ederney: Sun - 19th June.
All games in this league were to be played at 4pm on the grounds of the first club. The league continued with various games and by September, the league table showed Irvinestown with 9 points: Seemuldoon with 7 points: Ederney with 4 points and Drumharvey with 0 points.
Towards the end of September came the clash that to this day still brings out the best in both clubs. Ederney were at home to Irvinestown. The team lined out as follows:
J Cassidy W. Stamford F- McGee
D. Reid H. O’Donnell J. McLaughlin
J. Monaghan F. Murphy T. Reid
P. Maguire S. Steel P. Gallagher
After a thrilling hour of hard football, the game was still undecided. The result was a draw -
Ederney 2 goals 3 points
Irvinestown 2 goals 3 points
Another competition at that time for teams in North Fermanagh was the Fr. Trainor Cup. The prized Cup was donated by Canon Trainor then in Irvinestown. It was for North Fermanagh teams only and provided many splendid games of football.
By 1933, the team was established in the Fermanagh Junior League. Other teams in the same league included Irvinestown, Seemuldoon, Coa, Drumharvey, Tempo and Cavanacross, who first outing was on April 5th and fittingly the opponents were Irvinestown (St. Patrick’s). The game was played in Ederney and after a hard fought contest in which names like .J, Monaghan, J. Rabbit. H. O’Donnell, J. McLaughlin, F. McGee. M. Maguire, F. Murphy and J. Cassidy were prominent; Ederney emerged victorious by a score of 4 goals 1 pt. to 2 goals 1 pt.
The team continued throughout 1933 with mixed measures of victory and defeat. The team was in its infancy and there was plenty of time ahead for success. By now, the seeds had taken root and would flourish in years to cone. The end of ‘33 and ‘34 were comparatively quiet years in Ederney football with the team having no great measures of success. They held their own and kept up a good brand of competitive football. Frank McGee, Johnny Monaghan, Jay McLaughlin. Joe Doherty, Tom, Dinny and Paddy Reid, Willie Stamford and all others had big ambitions for the Ederney club.
Later, in 1935, it was decided that the county should be divided into two sections. Ederney were playing senior and were placed in the same division as Enniskillen, Mulleek, Bellanaleck, Irvinestown and Tempo. The team had average success in the league but were beaten in the Championship by Enniskillen Gaels.
After two relatively quiet years in Ederney, 1937 came to be of significance in club history, Ederney led the senior league in August and met Lisnaskea in an important match. The Ederney side won, but were accused by Lisnaskea of playing Donegal men. On 30th October. 1937 a protest was lodged with the County Board by Mr. Leo Maxwell. Secretary of the Lisnaskea club wrote with reference to the senior league game.
“There were many changes on the team of the 10th October from the team of the previous Sunday, yet only one change was made in the list of players handed to the Lisnaskea captain.”
Mr. J. McGovern (Teemore) said the reports were that Ederney brought two busloads of players from Mount Charles.
The county chairman stated: It must be said on behalf of Ederney, they were a very hard team to beat on their own ground. Mr. Maxwell then added. The faces are often strange but the names are always the same’.
The club was cleared of the offence and in a letter to the Fermanagh Herald newspaper, the late Francie Murphy, Club Secretary, said that he was sorry that Lisnaskea were so surprised to be beaten by a better team. However, Lisnaskea must have felt some consolation in 1938 when they immediately lodged a protest against Ederney for playing illegal players
The county president Mr. J. P. Duane had stated earlier that he would give severe punishment to any club found guilty of breaking the rules. Lisnaskea’s allegations were against John Waters who they said was from Pettigo in Donegal. They stated that Waters was not a registered player with Ederney. The referee for the game Mr. Andy McKee said that during the game he had to put four players to the line, Jim Cassidy and John Water (Ederney) and G. Collins and Dan McManus (Lisnaskea).
To prove their protest the Lisnaskea club presented the county president with a copy of the voters list for Donegal and on it was the name of John Waters, Mill Street, Pettigo. In his eyes, the matter was closed.
What he did not know was that John Waters actually lived on the Fermanagh side of Pettigo and the previous address given was his business premises.
The outcome was that Ederney was suspended for twelve months.
THE RED LEAGUE
During the following year, other clubs in the county had various suspensions against them also. They all got together and held a meeting In Muleek. The result of the meeting was be establishment of a new league for suspended teams. It was given the name The Red league.
League involved in it were Cavanacross, Muleek, Drumavanty, Pettigo and Ederney. Some of the best football of the time was played in The Red league. The seven-a-side tournaments, which were fund raising, were especially memorable.
Returning from suspension, Ederney were "back with a bang" in 1940 and went straight to the Championship final, and won thanks to heroes like Johnny Monaghan and Frank Magee. The success of the earlier years dwindled in the late forties and after the war, it was becoming more and more difficult to field a team, many of the men in the area having emigrated. Football or at least competitive football in Ederney died for the next three years following 1947. A parish league kept the flame dimly burning. It was organised by a young priest new to the parish in 1948. Fr. Slevin had set the wheels turning again. The parish league consisted of teams from the localities in the area and it was harder fought than many competitive league games. The fact that all the players knew each other so well added the extra needle in every game.
YOUTH MAKE THEIR MARK
The fifties were the revival period and in 1952, the arrival of a young priest gave Gaelic football in Ederney a new lease of life. Father Tom Marron was to go down in history for his work with the Ederney Club. His strategy was to concentrate on the youth, and after many vigorous training sessions, he put together a juvenile team, which was to be the foundation of success in Ederney football. By 1954, the team had the league final under its belt. Young players like Kevin Monaghan, Willie Tinney, Joe Rolston, Seamus Mulligan, Manus Maguire, Seamus Moohan, William Maguire, Sean Rolston, John Rolston, Tony McKervey, Conor Maguire, Joe Turner, Tony Maguire, Martin Maguire, Anthony McGrath, Sean McGrath, Claude Maguire, Patsy and Frankie McDonagh and Fonsie McKenna trained hard under the watchful eye of Fr. Marron. No one argued with Fr Marron and he disciplined a team that was to make a clean sweep of juvenile competitions in the mid-fifties.
On the senior front, though, the scene was not as fruitful and in 1957, due to difficulty with fielding a team, both Ederney and Cashel withdrew from Senior football.
LACK FOOTBALL TEAM
With a void now for senior football in the area, a group of enthusiasts from the Lack area, along with some of Fr Marron’s young prodigies got together to form a new name in the Fermanagh GAA history book, Lack.
A committee consisting of Danny & Francie Corry and Willie Maguire went to the County Board and had Lack affiliated to the Fermanagh Junior League.
After a quiet start, the new team began to show promise and reached the Championship final in two consecutive years, 1958 and 1959. Unsuccessful in 1960, in 1961 Lack, sporting white jersey’s with a green shamrock on the breast, won both the League final against Derrylin and the Championship final against the Knocks. These were two brilliant displays of footballing prowess and ingenuity. The team was Dessie Baird, John Herron. (Big) Claude Maguire Claude Maguire, Johnny Cunningham, Anthony McGrath, Patsy McDonagh, Hugh McHugh, Tony Maguire, Frankie McDonagh, Patsy Monaghan, Fonsie McKenna and Martin Maguire.
In ’62, a new division was set up as a stepping-stone between Junior and Senior football. The Intermediate League was established and Lack was promoted. They immediately established themselves as a force to be reckoned with and went hunting the double. After disposing of all opposition on the way Lack were in the Intermediate Championship final.
Their opponents were old rivals Derrylin. With a strong wind in Lack’s favour the half time score was 4 gls I pt to no score. A quote from a local paper at the time stated:
“There is material in this young Lack side well worth watching for future county supplies.”
Hand passing and close foot passing swift and perfect combination made them a lovely learn to watch. Lack’s edge in teamwork and football finesse brought them the O’Neill Cup by 4 gls. 3 pts. to 3 gls. 1pt.
The team was selected from Noel Monaghan. Kevin Monaghan,
Claude Maguire, CoIm McGrath. Fonsie McKenna, Tony Maguire, Frankie McDonagh. Patsy McDonagh, Martin Maguire, Sean McGrath, Patty Monaghan, Claude Maguire and
The second part of the 62 double was the league. Lack finished well clear on points and were hot favourites to take the title. It was decided at County Board level that the top two teams in each league should have a play-off to decide the winner.
Lack were already top team so a play off was arranged to settle the second position. Teemore emerged from the playoffs to contest the league final with Lack.
The game wasn’t played until Match of 1963 in Tempo, on a terrible day, in miserable conditions and a small field. Lack just could not get going and Teemore, in a shock result were league champions by I gl. 6 pts to Lack’s 1gI. 1pt.
In 1963, Lack stepped onto the rung of senior football but half way through the year the team was suspended after some controversial decisions by a referee picked by the opposition to stand in for the referee who had not turned up. The Lack side came back in '64 and '65 but had two quiet years.
Aghadrumsee travelled to Ederney for a le ague game. Both teams lined out but without a referee. Mentors on both sides agreed to toss a coin and the winner would choose the referee. Ahghdrumsee won the toss. The game got under way but was very untidy and explosive. After some controversial decisions by the referee, a discussion took place among the Lack players and the home side left the field. The game was awarded to the visitors and Lack was suspended for six months. They came back in ‘64 and ‘65 but had two quiet years.
In 1966 the name changed again and Ederney St. Joseph's were back in Fermanagh football. They went straight to the Intermediate Championship final and met old rivals, Aghadrumsee. This time there were no disputes and a very fit and fast Ederney outfit overcame the favourites at Irvinestown, winning by 2 goals and a point.
The juvenile team were promising also (with no less than eleven played in the St. Mary’s
Secondary School team who won the Ulster League and Schools Championship in 1966, and four of the All-Ireland winning Vocational Schools team, Martin McPhelimy, Joe Leonard, John Monaghan and Geoffrey Kearns), they clinched the Juvenile League final in 1966, beating Lisnaskea by a mighty 5 goals and 6 points.
Indeed, with football fever catching throughout the Parish, a Ladies team was formed to participate in the Irvinestown festival.
Following the success in ’66, the Ederney team was promoted to the Senior Ranks in 1967. They got off to a good start, drawing with an established Devenish outfit. Gaining coinfidence the Ederney team took on all comers. Losing to Devenish in the championship, they worked hard in the league and reached the final within their first year. Once again their oppents were to be reigning league champions Devenish. The game finished all level 1 gl 5 pts each, with Devenish winning the replay.
Although defeated, the experience of playing senior football was the foundation for what was yet to come.
EDERNEY WIN SENIOR LEAGUE & CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLE
1968 must be the year that stands out in every Ederney fan's memory. On 30th August of that year a much deserved registration was made in the treasured archives of the club. On that day, Ederney climbed to the pedestal of Fermanagh football for the first time since the club's institution in 1929, by becoming double county champions.
The achievement was made all the more distinguished by the fact that it was only the second year for the team in senior competition.
First it was the championship final, where Ederney defeated Newtownbutler before a record crowd of 3,000, by 3 goals and 7 points to 2 goals and 6 points.
The team who made history for Ederney was:
CoIm McGrath Claude Maguire Brendan Gallagher
Liam McLaughlin Anthony McGrath Brian Monaghan
Sean McGrath Noel Monaghan
Tom McGrath Tony Maguire Joe Maguire
Kieran McGrath Martin Maguire Brendan McGrath
Subs: P. McDaid, F. Monaghan, D. McGee, J. Leonard and S. Gallagher.
The Ederney team fully deserved their victory though in the first half especially towards the end ft seemed that our first serious attempt at championship honours was doomed to failure.
The second half however was a revelation of Ederney’s capabilities. The half-time pep talk changed Ederney from a team almost bowing to defeat to a combination from whose vocabulary the word defeat had been removed.
Newtownbutler showed their mettle early with a Jimmy Connolly point in the first minute. Ederney were quick to seek an equaliser but three wides in succession were disheartening. With Ederney rather unsettled, the following nine minutes produced even exchanges before Joe Maguire lobbed across a point to equalise in the tenth minute.
Encouraged, Ederney were off again straight from the kick out and within a minute another Maguire, Martin this time, scored a lovely point from play. Now, in brief command Ederney were off again, Brendan McGrath soled through and shot for goal but the ball was deflected over the bar for another Ederney point in the 12th minute,
Ederney were settling but Newtown’s experience began to tell again. Jim O’Keefe pointed in the 14th minute and a minute later Finonn Baker had the ball in the Ederney net. Ahead now, Newtown took command and had the better of the exchanges ending with Baker again rattling the Ederney net.
At this stage things looked blackest for Ederney but a great save by Joe McVeigh put some heart back in the team.
Then came a vital score for Ederney. From a Joe Maguire free the ball floated into the Newtown area, was scrambled out and came to the boot of Tony Maguire who flashed it to the Newtown net, It put Ederney back within fighting distance and boosted team morale at a vital stage. The lead was reduced to two points.
Two further points from Newtown left them going in for the Interval 4 points ahead 2 gls 4 pts to 1 gl 3 pt.
On the resumption, the Newtown keeper O’Keefe made a great save from a Tony Maguire special. Ederney had been given a new lease of life. Martin Maguire cut the lead with a point in the 3rd minute and when Brendan McGrath placed Joe Maguire the latter made no mistake and left O’Keefe in the Newtown goals helpless. The teams were level 2.4. to 2.4.
There was another ten minutes of level pegging and in the 14th minute Ciaran McGrath rushed in for a terrific shot which was deflected over the bar. Ederney were ahead.
A minute later Paddy Connolly sent over the bar and once again, the sides were level. Newtown, now pressing forward took the lead with a point from Sherry. A minute later with Ederney going forward like terriers, Joe Maguire was fouled and Sean McGrath pointed the free kick. It was 2.6 to 2.6.
Five minutes of breathtaking attack and defence with each side swaying forward and backward built up the tension and cheer mounted upon cheer from the rival supporters.
Then in the 23rd minute of the second half came the decisive score of the game. The ball went in high, Ederney forwards pounced on it. There was a scramble and Noel Monaghan sent the ball to the Newtown net. Ederney scenting victory mounted attack after attack. The atmosphere was electric and the tension building up. Could Newtown come back? With two minutes to go, Tony Maguire clinched the issue with the final point. Ederney were Fermanagh senior champions by 3 gls 7 pts to Newtown’s 2 gls 6 pts.
Five weeks later, the second part of the unforgettable double was clinched, also against Newtownbutler in the League final. This time the margin increased to a 1 goal 2 point win.
The minors of 1968 are not to be forgotten either. Together with Irvinestown they beat Enniskillen in the final of the Fermanagh Minor Championship.
Celebrations erupted around the Parish, from Drumskinney, Edenaveigh and Tirmacspirid to Lack, Meenmore, Kesh and Boa Island. A special function was held to celebrate. The Sam Maguire was brought by three of Ulster’s football stars, who helped Co. Down capture the All Ireland Title, Ray McConville, Peter Rooney and Colm McAlarney. It was memorable night for all those present, as they dance the night away to the sound of the infamous Pride of Erne Ceili Band.
EDERNEY RETAIN LEAGUE
1969 was another memorable year in club history, this time the senior team won the League title against Devenish, but lost the championship in the first round to Teemore, being denied a penalty and beaten by a single point scored in the dying moments by none other than Sean Quinn.
Thoughts were now concentrated on the year ahead. Until now the players had been togging out in the old chapel. It was time for Ederney to have their own dressing rooms and in May, 1969, 20 years ago, the new building was completed.
In January, 1971, "The Moss" was bought and Ederney Football Club now owned their own pitch on a cost of £150.
ST JOSEPH’S STRUGGLE TO FIND SUCCESS
Grounds or no grounds, however, the '68-'69 spirit seemed to drain from the side of the early seventies.
In 1973, Tony Maguire and Anthony McGrath came out of retirement and Ederney went on to win the Junior Championship. After a new league system was introduced in 1974 Ederney had very little success in the years up to 1979, moving between divisions 2 and 3.
They reached a Division 3 semi final in 1975 with a much changed team. The team made up from Oweny Monaghan, Martin McPhelimy, Tommy Moohan, Liam McLaughlin, Kevin Cassidy, Aiden Cunningham, Michael McCauley, Patsy Moohan, Leonard McGrath, Paul McDonagh, Pat McHugh, Brian Monaghan, Benedict Gillen, Maurice McGrath, Sean Gillen, Philip Meehan, Joseph Monaghan, Denis McGee, Brendan Gallagher and Jimmy Moohan.
By 1978 a great junior side had been put together and the team triumphed in the junior championships to beat St. Patrick's, Donagh. However, the team was stripped of its title in exactly the same way as it had been 40 years earlier in 1938, after it was proven Ederney had fielded illegal players.
ST JOSEPH’S CELEBRATE 50 YEARS WITH INTERMEDIATE TITLE
1979 was the 50th Jubilee Year for Ederney. At the beginning of the year the football scene looked very bleak. Things had been going bad in 1978 and seemed set to continue into ‘79.
However the team were determined to turn things around and bring some silverware to Ederney in this special year. Tough training sessions were organised by Aidan Cunningham and was very well attended by the team.
The rewards of the training were seen early in the year when the intermediate team was the only team in any grade of Fermanagh football with a l00% unbeaten record. This was only the start if Jubilee success. Alter battling through the early rounds of the championship the senior team found itself in the Intermediate final against Enniskillen.
The game was fixed for Sunday 5th August but on the night of Friday 3rd a tragic accident took the life of Gerard Monaghan, a very popular young Ederney Gael and thus the game was postponed.
The new date was Friday 24th August and the venue was Irvinestown - Enniskillen got off to a great start when senior star Clive Irvine grabbed a goal in the first minute and the same player completed his hat trick in the opening twenty minutes to leave them leading at one stage by seven points. However, the Ederney players never gave up and displayed the determination and fighting spirit always associated with Ederney football.
At half time, it was 3-1 to 0-5 to Enniskillen but at that stage Ederney were on the road to victory and set about carrying out the task as soon as the second half started.
Inspired by the tremendous display of Kevin Cassidy at midfield, the Gillen brothers Anthony Mulligan, Cormac McManus, Philip Meehan, Tommy Moohan, Paul McDonagh and all the rest really pulled out all the stops. Fr. Pat McHugh was on hand to collect a goal and by the three quarter stage, the sides were level 3-2 to 1.8.
A penalty awarded to Enniskillen gave them the chance to go ahead and could have made all the difference to the result but it was brilliantly stopped by ‘keeper’’ Denis McGee. Kevin Cassidy had another point and from then on it was a matter of how much Ederney would win by. In the end, they ran out comfortable winners by 1.12 to 3-2 and so the first silver of the Jubilee year was on ifs way home.
With the Intermediate title won by Ederney, the roll of honour for that grade gained itself a new leader. St. Joseph’s Ederney edged ahead of Derrygonnelly, Enniskillen, Maguiresbridge and Belnaleck.
1979 Intermediate Champions
Brian Nugent Gerry McDonagh Tommy Moohan
Aiden Cunningham Anthony Mulligan Liam McLaughlin
Kevin Cassidy Adrian McGee
Paul McDonagh Phillip Meehan Cormac McManus
Benny Gillen Mickey McCauley Fr. Pat McHugh
Subs: Noel McDonagh, Sean Gillen, Hugh McManus and Levinus Gillen
With the Championship over, the efforts focused to the league. Still in the hunt for the double, they progressed to the League final but were beaten by Aghadrumsee.
1979 marked the end of an era of football at "The Moss". At the 1980 AGM it was decided that in the near future, plans would have to be drawn up to develop the field (The Moss) as it would soon be unplayable. On these grounds, a committee chaired by Father Pat McHugh, was set up to develop the field.
In ’80 Ederney lost it’s player/manager Aiden Cunningham. He moved to Lisnaskea the following year but the fruits of his hard work were reaped the next year under joint player managers, Eugene Gilroy and Benny Gillen. The team recorded memorable wins in the Senior Championship over St. Pat's and Devenish the latter by 1 - 9 to 1 - 8 in a replay, before going down in the semi- final to a goal blitz from eventual champions Lisnaskea
FOCUS ON CLUB DEVELOPMENT
Much of the club focus, now concentrated off the field and at the next A.G.M. in 1981 the idea of a sponsored walk was born. The committee chairman, Fr. Pat McHugh, suggested that a sponsored walk to Dublin be undertaken, scheduled to finish on the day of the All-Ireland semi-final, which involved the Ulster representatives. The motion was passed and Father Pat was appointed walk organiser. At the same time Prunty Contracts gave an estimate of £42,000 for the development of The Moss, but advised the club to look for a more suitable site.
The sponsored walk to Dublin was so successful, it was suggested that the club should investigate the possibility of buying new grounds and constructing a new pitch. The three priests in Ederney at that time, Father Pat McHugh, Father Woods and Father Connolly negotiated a price of £20,000 for the purchase of a ten acre site overlooking Ederney. The Land was owned by Mr Cassidy, a former chairman of the club, and one of the famous footballing Cassidy's of the '40s and '50s, and so Ederney Gaelic Football Club embarked on its most amibitious project ever - the construction of a new GAA Park at Drumkeen, in March, 1982.
The remainder of 1982 was devoted to fund-raising, with a Parish Auction in October, a twelve-month draw was started and an Ulster Championship forecast competition was launched in December. Prizes for these were sponsored by local businesses. Fund raising also included the weekly bingo in St Joseph's Hall and the three winters of house "25 card plays" run by Danny Gormley, Benny Gillen and Francie Corry.
All the fund- raising ventures were very successful, but there was a long way to go. Therefore, on the 10th of February 1983, it was agreed to sell "The Moss". The sale of "The Moss" took place in St. Joseph's Hall on Wednesday, 2nd March 1983. The auctioneer was fittingly Ederney and Fermanagh footballing Great, Mr. Johnny Monaghan, who has played a very large part in the history of Ederney GAA. At the end of the sale, Mr. Eugene McHugh was the new owner of 'The Moss."
At the next AGM, Benny Gillen, Club Treasurer, told those present that the purchase debt on the Drumkeen grounds was cleared. It was time to embark on the second phase of this project. Planning permission was obtained in October 1985 and the Club were now free to go ahead with the construction of the park.
Throughout the 80’s the club was lead by a hard and dedicated group of Gaels. Committee men such as, Fr Woods, Brian Monaghan, Brian Nugent, Joe Maguire, Brian McHugh, Des Cassidy, Benny Gillen, Sean Gillen, Eugene Gilroy, Brian Doherty, Dennis McGee, Martin McPhelimy, Eugene Gilroy, Ben Gillen, Phonsie McKenna, Hugh McManus, Kevin Cassidy, Liam McLaughlin, Brendan Maguire, Francie Nugent, Brendan Gallagher, Anthony Mulligan, Dodie Maguire, Fr Pat McHugh, Eugene McDonagh, Adrian McGee, Henry Forrest, Malachy Me Aleer of Omagh, Pat Kelly among others. Indeed many of these men are still involved today, over 20 years later. One man who stood out for his drive, leadership, enthusiasm and motivation was Francie Corry.
Francie had been involved in the clubs history since the formation of Lack in the early 50’s. Since then, he remained a committed and hard working club man. Involved at all levels, playing, managing teams, he filled many positions in the committee, but was especially effective during the 80’s as Secretary and Chairman. Francie, along with Brian McHugh was one of the main motivators behind the development of the new grounds at Drumkeen.
THE HURL AND THE SLIOTAR.
Success on the pitch was not what the club had been used to. Indeed, it was 10 years before the club seen any further success at senior level. However, between 1983 and 1989 at primary school level, “Master” Joe Maguire (Red Joe) introduced the young students to basic football and hurling skills. However, it was Joe’s love for “the Clash of the Ash” that had most impact. Every student was encouraged to buy a hurl. Some days you would not pass through the village without seeing a kid with a hurling stick in his or her hand. Lessons ranged from learning to call it a stick (and not a bat), swinging the hurl from the flute position to repetition after repetition on how to pick the ball up with the roll lift. A focus on clean ground hurling produced a sensational sweep of seven Primary School hurling titles in 8 years. Countless training sessions and hours of fun were had in St Joseph’s School pitch and smashing the sliotar against the handball alley wall.
The success at Primary School filtered through to underage level and between 1986 and 1992, Ederney and Irvinestown amalgamated in hurling and won 7 under 14 Feile na Gael and Hurling League titles.
All the momentum built towards 1989. Every evening the young children of the village would peer over the mounds of earth to see the new grounds develop. The excitement grew as our new lush green surface was readied (It was even better than Croke Park’s) and a new enthusiasm for the games swept the club.
NEW GROUNDS OPENED
On Sunday 30th April, Pairc Naomh Seosmah was opened by Fr Dan Gallogly, Chairman of the Ulster Council. Ederney seen it’s first County match when Tyrone played Donegal hosting stars of the future 1993 All Ireland winning side such as Anthony Molloy and Martin McHugh. Charlie Mulgrew also played that day. He was later to have a major role as Fermanagh’s manager in 2004. A gala day, with band parades, football and hurling was enjoyed by the whole Parish and neighbouring clubs and a momentous development was unveiled for future generations to enjoy. This, to date was probably the biggest achievement of the club.
Sadly only four months later, the club was stunned by the death of it's hard working secretary and lifetime stalwart Francie Corry. The work of the club was destined to continue however and the following year Francie's wife Vera assembled a hard-working team of ticket sellers, including many lady members, and ably assisted by Pat Kelly and Claude Maguire of the Corner Bar and all the club members of that time they launched the highly successful 52 week £50 ticket draw which raised over £100,000 and completely cleared the financial deficit involved in the club's huge new park development.
SUCCESS ON THE NEW PITCH
Also in 1989, Dessie Cassidy, identified a bunch of talented young footballers on the horizon and broadened the hurling interests with football. Built on the basics, shown by Red Joe, Eugene McDonagh and Brian Monaghan, Dessie concentrated and developed a conveyor belt of skilful committed footballers. Those who weren’t committed but showed potential were persuaded otherwise. Team ship and training was the key. Master coaches from all over were brought in to polish the skills, and it wasn’t long until Dessie’s and the young players commitment was repaid. He toured the county with the under 14 team in Kesh’s Orange Youth Club Mini-Bus and made a clean sweep of titles winning the Feile n’Og, Championship and Division 1 League title. A marker of what was to come.
The Senior footballers were to end the decade on a high note too, winning the Intermediate Championship under player manager Nicky Beacom when we defeated Brookeboro in Brewster Park.
Ederney got off to the worst possible start. When we were in the process of re-shuffling our defence to deploy Anthony Mulligan on Brookeboro sharp shooter Arthur Mulligan he had the ball in the Ederney net inside the first minute. Happily however he was well curtailed after that and with the help of a Finbar Me Grath goal Ederney went on to lift the title. That year Finbar and James Mc Lauglin were featuring on the Fermanagh minor side.
Sean McGrath Brendan Maguire Aiden Cassidy
Noel McDonagh Michael McCauley (Captain) Anthony Mulligan
Nickey Beacom Eugene McDonagh
Joe Colton James McLaughlin Gerard Hegarty
Kevin Gormley Finbar Mc Grath Conor Corry
Subs: Sean Gillen, Seamus McDonnell and Levinus Gillen.
Over the next 4 years, Dessie’s U-14 squad of ’89, including Daniel Carron, Ciaran Monaghan, Justin Maguire, Kevin Cassidy, Darren Mckeever, Eamon Monaghan, Niall Monaghan, Barry Morris, Peter Baird, Sean Monaghan, Kevin Hegarty, Don Hamilton, Malachy Monaghan, Ciaran Daly, Francis Moss,Stephen Moohan, Hugh Cassidy, Lee Breannan, Martin Moss, and Gerard Mclaughlin went on to win every underage title at under 16 and minor level. The orange mini-bus was replaced by a sprank new blue Fermanagh Youth Council Mini – bus and the titles rolled in, after many tight matches especially against Roslea and Lisnaskea.
The highlights were winning the Under 16 Championship title in as the curtain raiser before the County Senior Championship Final in 1990 and then beating Lisnaskea in the Minor championship final in 1993, having lost the previous year, to Pat King’s Lisnaskea team.
As was the theme to all Lisnaskea Ederney games at this age group, this was a tight affair and took a replay to separate the two. The first drawn game finished 1-09 to 1-09. A tit for tat battle with the defences on top on the first half. Kevin Cassidy and Sean Monaghan controlling the Lisnaskea threats, while Ciaran Daly and Darren McKeever where our best outlays for scores. In the second half Ederney squandered chances. A draw looked likely but after two great saves from Daniel Carron, Gary Woods for Lisnaskea netted the rebound. All seemed lost, but a Darren McKeever penalty levelled the game and saved the day.
The replay was just as tight affair. Shane King and Tommy Maguire of Lisnaskea caused Ederney all kinds of problems. But Francis Moss and Justin Maguire assisted Darren McKeever and Ciaran Daly with the scoring to take the title on the tightest of margins 0-11 to 0-10.
SENIORS PROMOTED TO DIVISION 1
1993 saw the progression of the young players to the senior ranks, joining the experience of well established senior players such as Eugene and James McDonagh, Adrian McGee, Finbar McGrath, Conor Corry, Nicky Beacom and Mickey McAulay.
Junior titles were won in 1993 and 1994. Dessie took over as senior management along with Joe Leonard and saw the senior team promoted from Division 3 to Division 1 in two consecutive years, reaching the top flight again in 1994, spanning a 20-year absence from Division 1.
Already Dessie had another group of young lads following in the blaze of success with the now trademark fast flowing football, including Niall Monaghan, Declan Deazley, Gary Dowd, Kevin Morris, Francis Gormley, Brian Hegarty, Mark Gallogley, Alastair Hamilton and Andrew Moohan. They went on to win the Minor League title in 1995.
After a bout of ill health, Dessie stepped down. The senior reigns were taken over by Adrian McGee. Who consolidated the Division 1 status and led the seniors to the Championship Semi-final. Only to be beaten by the eventual winners Derrygonnelly.
1996 saw a new direction in the approach to Senior Football in Ederney. For the first time the current committee led by Ben Gillen and Anthony Mulligan decided to seek an outside man to mange the senior team. After much deliberation, Tom Connaghan, who led Donegal to under 21 All Ireland success, was brought in to mould the current squad into senior contenders. Devenish were also after the services of Connaghan, however he decided to go with the youthful Ederney side. The season started with a bang. Wins over Roslea and revenge for the previous years defeat in the championship over Derrygonnelly set us up with a grudge match with Devenish. Things however did not go our way and the seniors suffered a large defeat. Dejected, the defeat seemed to knock the stuffing out of a buoyant team and the season went from bad to worse- not winning a game for the remainder of the season. Defeat by Teemore in a relegation playoff seen Ederney drop to Division 2 again.
Youth football continued to develop a string of talented footballers under the coaching of Adrian McGee, Aidan Cassidy, Eugene Gilroy, Eugene McDonagh, Anthony Mulligan, Brian Nugent and Raymond McFarland. Ederney saw great team displays from young footballers such Declan McKeever, Damian Cassidy, Michael Connolly, Raymond Kane, Paul Baxter, Gerard Mulligan, Aiden Gilroy, Donal Gormley, Tony McGrath and a certain young Martin McGrath.
In 1998, Aidan Cassidy led this strong group of young players to a Minor B Championship title and League double beating Brookeborough in both finals. He followed his success in 1999 with another B Championship again over Brookeborough but lost league final to Kinawley.
With the same group of players, Aidan blooded them at the senior grade, playing Junior football and narrowly missed out on a league title.
While every effort has been made over recent years to regain Division 1 status under a series of different managers including, Nicky Beacom, Red Joe Maguire, Joe Leonard, Anthony Mulligan and Michael Cassidy, the closest was in the new Millennium, 2000, when the seniors finished second. Inspired by man of the match performance after performance by Michael Connolly, the team played some amazing free flowing football. Losing only 1 match all year, the damage was done by 2 drawn matches against Derrylin. This left Ederney 2 points behind Teemore at the end of the season. Due to a change in the rules for that year only, the second placed team did not get a promotion playoff, which was awarded to the Intermediate Championship winners instead. Ederney St Joseph’s would have to battle out in Division 2 the following year, but gained entry into the senior championship with a top four finish.
CLUB SUFFERS TRAGEDIES
In early 2001, the club was dealt a huge blow with the death of their inspirational mid fielder Michael Connolly. A huge presence on and off the pitch, the club had lost one of it’s best ever footballers and closest friends. Later that year, the club suffered another tradegy when junior player Gerald Durnien was killed in a car crash. 2001 was a tragic year for the Parish and the club.
YOUTH TO FORE AGAIN
The hard work of our Youth coaches once again reaped it’s rewards in 2002. Raymond McFarland took charge of gifted group of players, of whom many now form the basis of our senior side. Having already won two consecutive under 15 titles in 1999 and 2000, they just missed out on under 16 titles, this group of young players made their mark at the Minor level winning the Division 2 title with fast flowing attacking football. Tigerish defending from the likes of John Irvine, Dwyne McAlwyn and Conor Maguire and splendid scoring from the likes of Peter Gormley, Sean Scallon and Enda Ferris.
2002 saw our first Senior title since 1989, when we won the Division 3 League Title after a dramatic replay went to extra time against Belcoo in a wet and windy Belleek.
In our 75th year, 2004, yet another young group of players have come through. Managed by Justin Maguire, Francis Gormley and Enda Daly, the team worked and trained hard all year with great results. Unbeaten in the league they went on to beat St Patrick’s Donagh in the league final. The victory filled the team with confidence and they made their way to the Minor Championship final against Lisnaskea. Leading by 6 points at half time, Ederney lost one of its key players Enda Ferris at the end of the first half. In the second half, Lisnaskea got into their rhythm and St Joseph’ s had no answer to an awesome scoring display by skea’s Daniel Kille. That was the only game St Joseph’s minors lost that year. The team was
Ronan Daly Stephen McGrath Manus Maguire
Michael Muldoon Aron Denison Stephen Morris
Aron McAlwyn Peter Gormley
Conor Keown Enda Ferris Darren McCusker
Paul McCusker Shane Cassidy Martin Monaghan
Subs: Paul McHugh, Daniel Gallagher, Dermot Monaghan, Gavan McFarland
INTERMEDIATE FINAL IN COUNTY CENTENARY YEAR
While the senior team under performed in the league, they did manage to reach the Intermediate Championship final against old foes, Irvinestown at Brewster Park. The game was proclaimed as the best Intermediate final for years and the best match seen by many that year. After a poor start, Irvinestown led comfortably at half time. Straight from the off in the second half St Joseph’s got the momentum, and the come back was on. Leading at the end of normal time by 3 points, a ball broke at midfield and was booted by Irvinestown’s Michael Donnelly to sharp shooter Comor McGuigan, who turned Ederney’s corner back Damian Cassidy to net a fine goal past helpless goal keeper Gerard McLaughlin. Two further points in additional time sealed the victory for Irvinestown. The Senior team defeat in the Intermediate final was.
John Irvine Sean McCaffrey Dwyne McAlwyn
Aron Denison Declan Deazley Conor Maguire
Martin McGrath Brian Hegarty
Peter Gormley Ciaran Aiken Sean Donnelly
Enda Ferris Justin Maguire Darren McKeever
Subs: Damian Cassidy, Declan McKeever, Ollie Kelly, Paul Gallogley, Chris Snow, Conor McGrath, Darren McCusker, Donal Gormley, Kevin Cassidy.
ST JOSEPH’S CELEBRATE 75 YEARS & ALLSTAR AWARD
As mentioned in the introduction, 2004 was our 75th Anniversary year. To mark the year Anthony Mulligan and Brian Hegarty organised a Gala Dinner Evening at the Great Northern Hotel, Bundoran. It was a successful evening with over 300 attending. An esteemed line up entertained the crowd: MC Peter Quinn (former President of GAA), Oliver Carron, Charlie Mulgrew (Fermanagh Manager), Colm O’Rourke (Meath Legend and RTE Analyst) and the history was recalled by Claude Maguire, Danny Gormley, Anthony Mulligan and Justin Maguire.
2004 sent all Fermanagh GAA fans on a whirl wind journey to Croke Park in the All Ireland Championship. Fermanagh reached the All Ireland semi finals for the first time ever, beating Donegal, Meath, Cork and Armagh on the way. What captured the Ederney fans was the outstanding performances by their own Marty McGrath in mid-field.
Noamh Seosamh CLG took great joy in witnessing the superb displays of Martin throughout the Championship as the County blazed a trail to the green sward of Croke Park. Some of his performances at midfield were colossal. His high fielding and imaginative play and indeed some of his vital scores helped put great pride back into the county team as their march to All Ireland Semi Final won them a legion of admirers with their all action style of football. All roads were congested as supporters invaded Dublin. Croke Park was turned into a sea of Green and white. Martin’s brilliant displays, secured him along with Barry Owens a prestigious All Star Award. Martin achieved many honours in 2004. He was selected for Ulster and he helped his province retain the inter-provincial championship, by beating Leinster in the historic final in Paris. Martin’s trip to Hong Kong along with Barry Owens and the rest of the Vodafone All Stars, climaxed a year of great personal triumphs and one we all enjoyed.
On the 8th of April 2005, St. Josephs CLG Ederney, organised a function to celebrate all that he achieved last year. The guest was definitely a who’s who of the major names in the GAA with your host for the night was former GAA President Sean McCaugue. He was joined by greats such as Sean O’Neill, Peter McGrath, Malachy O’Rourke, Nudie Hughes, Sean Maguire, Pat King, Sylvester Mulrone, Seamus McEneaney, James McCarten, Charlie Mulgrew, Dominic Corrigan, Peter McGinnity, Niall Tinney, Shane McDermott, Sean Donnelly and Peter Canavan.
FELLOW GAELS OF NAOMH SEOSAMH
While it is the successes that are mostly remembered when accounting a clubs history, it is important to remember all those who have contributed in the survival of the club when times where hard, committee members who carried out the mundane tasks of washing jerseys, selling tickets, collecting membership, cleaning the changing rooms, cutting the grass, and so on… It’s these people who are the life blood of our club and while the names are too many to thank now, the success of our club have been built on the contribution from dedicated Gaels. We thank all those who have helped in any way over the last 75 years and hope for their continued support.
Now, 75 years later, we look back on our history with pride and a sense of achievement. This is only a glimpse at the facts of some of the club events. While only mentioned in passing, hurling, camogie and ladies football also have a valuable history in our club. There have been many great social occasions, ranging from dances, sports days, a fireworks display, history exhibitions, tournament matches and gala nights etc... The club also has a strong tradition in the Scor and Scor n’Og due to the fine efforts of Danny Gormley and Fonsie McKenna. Many of our young Irish dancers and musicans represented the club and some progressed to the Ulster Scor. Indeed, we have been entertained on many nights with a mixture of high reels to raise an eyebrow, ceili music to warm the heart, singing to relax the soul and recitations from the likes of Danny Gormley to conjure a hardy laugh. We particularly remember having sore sides from laughing while watching Fonsie, Danny, Anthony Mulligan, Oliver Carron and friends leaping around the stage in their comedy acts. Our greatest success was in 2000 when Eleanor McGrath won the Ulster Scor Solo singing competition.
It is warming to the heart to see the vision seen all those years ago, by Fr O’ Flanagan and the fellow founder members is still realised today. In fact, with hard work and dedication, the club has gone from strength to strength and become an integral part of the community’s structure. Commitment from Gaels such as Johnny Monaghan, Frank McGee, Francie Corry and more recently Des Cassidy, Anthony Mulligan, Ben Gillen and Brian Nugent has allowed all those who wore the club jersey to experience a sense of Irish identity and culture; a sense of belonging and a promotion of sportsmanship, teamwork, discipline, respect and personnel development, and hopefully a lot of fun and enjoyment.
With the changes in social structure and cultural / moral values, the local GAA scene must now address serious social issues. So let us all hope we have another 75 years of history ahead of us. Meanwhile, the journey continues and the work goes on. In fact, the club is busier than ever. At the moment, the pitch is used every evening, sometimes twice a day. Planning for the future is already under way by our hard working committee. Let us hope the next 75 years will see continued growth and success, and another County Senior Championship title would not go amiss either.
Saerbreathach Mag Uidhir
Naomh Seosmah CLG
I would like to thank all those who assisted in compiling this article especially Martin McPhilemy and his Ederney GAA Jubilee Year book “50 years Gone by…”1979; Ederney GFC Centenary Booklet, 1984; Sean Hegarty’s article “History of St Joseph’s G.A.C Ederney” from the “Official Opening of Pairc Naomh Seosmah Eadarnaigh” souvenir programme, 1989; Anthony Mulligan and Dessie Cassidy. This is not a complete history of our club, rather only a sample of some of the events that have occurred and we apologise if we have not included your special memory. However, if you have a memorable story, anecdote or interesting fact you would like to share, the club would be delighted to hear from you.
Go raith maith agat
Saerbreathach Mag Uidhir
On behalf of all those at Naomh Seosamh CLG, we would like to wish the Coiste Countae Fearmanach continued success for the next 100 years.