A HISTORY OF KILTORMER GAA CLUB
When Kiltormer hurlers entered senior ranks in 1976, the All-Ireland Club Championship was in it’s infancy. Sixteen years later in 1992, Kiltormer became the 15th club to win the coveted title. A dream had come true.
GAA games in Kiltormer area are recorded from as far back as 1897. The area encompasses Clontuskert parish and Lawrencetown/Kiltormer parish.
Down through the years each of the three areas affiliated a team and indeed teams under the names of Ganaveen and Tristaun also formed separate clubs. Very little success is recorded. Clontuskert won the East Board Junior title in 1947. Josie Curley and Tony Scott were the better known players at that time. Josie had won an All-Ireland Junior medal with Galway in 1939.
Kiltormer won the East title in 1959. Mickey Hoare was the best known name on that team. Fr. Jack Solan, himself a former Clare stalwart, was appointed curate in Kiltormer and he immediately set about acquiring a field. In 1961, he saw his dream come true and the official opening took place on April 16th of that year, with Galway playing Offaly in football and Galway playing Clare in hurling. In 1969, a decision was finally made to bring the three areas together and form a club under one name. Kiltormer was chosen as the club name and the club colours were to be blue and white. Almost immediately, success followed – the seventies saw the arrival of Kiltormer as a major force and the winning of minor, U-21, and intermediate county titles culminated in the winning of two senior titles in a row at the very first attempt. More was to follow, and two football county titles were added to the list. The eighties continued to be as fruitful with another county senior title in hurling and the footballers causing a sensation by reaching the county senior quarter final in their first year.
In 1991, the club became the first team to win two consecutive county senior hurling titles since they themselves had their famous victories in the mid-seventies. But all of this success pales into the shadows compared with the winning of the All-Ireland Club title in ’92. That never to be forgotten victory in the birthplace of the G.A.A. in April 1992 was as much for all these people who had toiled without success since the 1800’s as it was for all those who had planned and executed the great win. To complete a unique treble the club have also won the All-Ireland 7-a-side title (twice), and the All-Ireland 11-a-side. The rise of Kiltormer hurling in the seventies coincided with the upsurge in the fortunes of the county. This was no coincidence. Since Galway won their first All-Ireland hurling title of modern times in 1972, Kiltormer have been associated with all the great championship wins. 30 players from Kiltormer Club have won All-Ireland medals with Galway, beginning with Andy Fenton and the Campbell brothers in in 1972. Conor Hayes is the most celebrated Kiltormer hurler of all time and holds a special place in the history of the G.A.A. In
captaining Galway to their historic two in a row successes in ’87 and ’88, he became the first Galway hurler to achieve such an honour.
Apart from these latter day heroes, Kiltormer had a representative in the very first All-Ireland hurling final, as Patrick Larkin, credited with formulating the first rules of hurling, had moved from his native Killimor to live in Kiltormer, and history records him as a member of the Kiltormer club on that historic occasion. He also represented Kiltormer as the first secretary of the County Board, a tradition which continued until recently with the untimely passing of Laurence Larkin, who served as Vice Chairman of the County Hurling Board through the eighties, nineties, and noughties.
The club continues to thrive, and although population issues are a worry there is no shortage of willing volunteers, ready to help out the Kiltormer cause at short notice. Many players and officials have made worthy contributions to Gaelic Games in this area since the founding of the G.A.A – we owe it to them to ensure that their legacy is not neglected.
Excerpts taken from:
“The Kiltormer G.A.A. Story” – a history of the G.A.A. in Kiltormer, Laurencetown and Clontuskert 1887 – 1995, by Paddy Goode.
“The Parish of Clontuskert – Glimpses into its Past” – edited by Joe Molloy
The Kiltomer GAA Club Crest features historical areas in the parishes of Kiltormer (The New Gate), Clontuskert (Clontuskert Abbey) and Lawrencetown (Ballymore Castle).