GAA in Kilmurry Ibrickane Parish
The parish of Kilmurry Ibrickane is situated roughly mid-way in the west coast of Clare. It has a population of approximately 1800, two villages Mullagh & Quilty, three Catholic Churches Mullagh, Coore & Quilty and five primary schools Annagh, Coore, Mullagh, Quilty & Scropul.
The fact that we are within the ancient Barony of Ibrickane accounts for the second half of our name and helps to distinguish us from other Kilmurrys in County Clare. While a team under the name Coore reached the senior county final in 1890, a club bearing the parish name did not come into existence until 1914.
The club achieved honours in its first year when the Junior Championship was won.
A major breakthrough was achieved by the club in 1933 when the County Senior Championship was won.
In 1935 history was made when two teams from the parish (Kilmurry Ibrickane & Quilty) met in the County final with victory going to Quilty. Quilty retained their title in 1936 and three years later in 1939 with the parish footballers reunited under the name of St. Mary’s the senior title was captured once more.
Sunday 12th December 2004 will forever be remembered in our parish. The reason is that we won our first and Munster Senior Club Championship when we defeated the Waterford champions Stradbally at the replay in Kilmallock on a scoreline of Kilmurry Ibrickane 0-9 Stradbally 0-8. Indeed 2004 was also the year when the club won the Senior, U21, Minor, U14 & U12 championships along with a Junior League.
On 6th December 2009 a second Munster club title came to the parish when we defeated the Kerry champions Kerins O'Rahillys on score line of 7 points to 6. 2009 was also the year when back to back senior titles (2008 & 2009) were again achieved by Kilmurry Ibrickane parish.
On the administration side the biggest undertaking by far in the club’s history was the purchase of an 11 acre site which is now Pairc Naomh Mhuire. Apart from the development of the playing pitch most other works such as the building of the dressing rooms & walls construction of car park etc was done by voluntary labour. The recruiting, organising and indeed motivating of these generous people to such good effect is something that the club officers of the time can certainly feel proud.
The park was officially opened by Fr. Harry Bohan on Sunday 1st May 1994 while the 1000 seater stand was erected by local contractor John Meany in 1998 and officially opened by the late Fr. Michael McNamara & Chairman of the County Board on Sunday 2nd May 1999.
The following article penned by Martin Hanrahan was published in the Souvenir Programme on the occasion of the the official opening of the new stand Ardan Mhuire 2nd may 1999
Kilmurry Ibrickane GAA 1914-1999
When Michael Cusack and his friends founded the Gaelic Athletic Association in Hayes’ Hotel in Thurles on that November afternoon in 1884, they expressed the wish that branches of the organisation would soon spring up not just in every county but in every parish throughout the country. Now while Clare GAA history shows that a team under the name of Coore competed in an eight team football championship in the 1880s, no official club came into being in this parish for a full thirty years after that famous Thurles meeting.
Then in 1914, the year in which World War 1 began and in which Clare’s hurlers won an All Ireland senior hurling championship, a group of people including Anthony Power of Quilty and Paddy Kelly of Clohaninchy got together and brought into existence the Kilmurry Ibrickane GAA club.
They met instant success, winning the Clare Junior Football championship before that year was out. This success does not seem to have been maintained however as over the next fifteen years the club could only manage (to the best of my knowledge) another junior title.
In 1933, nineteen years after its founding, the Kilmurry Ibrickane Club made its first big breakthrough by winning its first senior football championship.
Due to an abundance of talent in the parish at that time, a second club, Quilty came into being. As stated elsewhere in this magazine they won the Clare junior championship in 1933, the Cusack Cup in 1934 and the senior title in 1935 and 1936. They went very close to making it three in a row when they drew the 1937 final with Kilrush, but were beaten in the replay.
Happily parish unity was restored in 1939 and the club, now St. Mary’s won both the county intermediate and senior championships. However in its report of the 1939 final V Kilrush The Clare Champion calls the team Quilty. Not to worry, what’s in a name? The important thing is that the honours came to the parish. I mentioned above that Quilty won the Cusack Cup in 1934. Now while I don’t have the dates or details, I believe that the ‘Cup’ came to the parish many times in that decade.
The club had the painful experience of losing two successive county senior finals, first to Cooraclare in 1945 and to O’Curry’s in 1946. Due to heavy emigration, things became disorganised later on. This led to the foundation of a club in Mullagh, which with the help of players from throughout the parish won the Clare junior championship in 1951 and the intermediate in 1953.
The 1950s also saw the coming into being of a club in the mid parish district of Freyhane and while they may not have won a title (this honour was left to their Tug-‘o-War teams) their very existence led to many people playing the game who otherwise might never have done so. Now, I should have mentioned earlier that a team or club under the name Doonogan existed for a brief period around 1930.
Towards the end of the 1950s, a completely new leaf was turned where the GAA in the parish was concerned. All the afore mentioned break away groups, no disrespect meant to them, have gone out of existence and one club, namely Kilmurry Ibrickane, came firmly back into place with all footballers and their followers from the ‘Hand’ to Clohaninchy and from Killernan to Dromin united behind the green and red banner.
Special emphasis was placed on the training of juvenile teams, and before long this work started to pay off with the winning of several underage titles. Within a few years, a number of young and very talented players had found places on our senior team and were playing a big part in making us serious challengers for county honours once again. While a number of very dedicated people played a part in handling those underage teams, I doubt if anyone will complain if Tony Power (Senior) is singled out for special mention.
That run on successes which I referred to, began on the last Sunday of August 1961 with the winning of the under 15 championship. In 1962 the under 14 and under 16 titles came our way. In 1963 we reached those juvenile finals again but this time without success. However, the winning of the Minor A and senior championships (the former for the first time ever, the latter after a 24 year span) that year provided reasonable compensation!
Our club reached no fewer than 5 finals in 1964, winning U14’s, U16’s and Minor and being beaten in under 21 and senior deciders. 1966 proved to be a memorable year for Kilmurry Ibrickane. The U16’s, U21’s and senior championships were won. With such a lot of talent around the place, many would have predicted at this stage that the road ahead would be trophy-lined for the lads in green and red. Such was not to be.
The next twelve years 1967 – 1988 inclusive, were to bring us just 4 titles, U16’s and minor in 1969; U14’s in 1972 and intermediate in 1977. Two years later a talented U16 team, trained by Marty Morrissey and captained by Danny Coughlan held out against Eire Og and a gale force wind in Miltown to take the county title. This was followed by minor Championships in 1980 and 1981, a McTigue Cup, junior league in 1982 and the under 21 titles in 1983 and 1984. Despite the high hopes which these victories raised, it was almost five years before another trophy of any shape of form came our way, when our junior team, captained by Brian Galvin got us out of the rut by winning the Geraldine League on a sunny Sunday in September 1989.
Inspired by this our seniors put in a mighty effort in 1990, only to go out rather disappointingly to St. Fachtnan’s in the first round of the championship in Cusack Park. Later on they lost to Kilmihil in the Cusack Cup semi-final.
Doonbeg ended our senior championship hopes at the quarter-final stage in both 1991 and 1992. Earlier on we mentioned the training and bringing on of juvenile players. Well at this present time I am glad to report a lot of work is being done in this respect. In June 1992, some reward came the club’s way with the winning of the U16 Div. 2 league.
Later on, our highly talented U12 team won the ‘B’ championship.
It is a most unusual happening when a team wins the same title twice in the same year. Well, it happened to our senior team in 1993. On the 2nd Sunday in March, we beat Kilkee in the 1992 final of the West Clare Divisional championship and on the last Sunday in May, they won the 1993 version of that competition.
While, of course, it has all been said and written about long before now, it cannot be over stressed that Sunday September 12th 1993, was probably the greatest day in the 80 year history of our club.
Our minor team trained by Frankie Frawley and captained by John O’Connor took the "B" title and then came the "big one" as our senior came from behind in the last quarter to beat Doonbeg and bring back the "Jack Daly" after a 27 year wait.
The teams homecoming and the welcome accorded them on that gloomy Autumn evening will forever live in the minds of those who were fortunate enough to be in some way part of it.
The tremendous effort which has been put in place by those with responsibility for under age football in our parish was rewarded when further under 12 B success in the mid-ninety’s and then came County titles at the A level in 1996 and 1998.
Our under 21’s have been keeping up our spirits in recent years with County Championship A successes in 1995, 1996 and 1998 while our Senior team recaptured the Cusack Cup (Clare Senior Football League) after a gap of several decades by defeating Kilkee in 1997.
Now the piece you have just read is no more than one per cent of the full story of the GAA in our parish over the past eighty five years. Hopefully sometime, somebody will do the completed job. It will be no easy task and the "finished product" certainly will not meet with everybody’s approval. However, such a "work" would make very interesting reading for the hundreds of people at home and abroad who have a deep interest in our historic club and parish.
Martin Hanrahan 1999