Club History

History

Taken from the book:
Southern Gaels Hurling Club 1973-1998
Incorporating A History of South Westmeath Hurling Since 1885

Despite their many previous successful years both Athlone and Walderstown hurling clubs were encountering difficulty in fielding teams in the early 1970's.
Even playing at Junior level, both found that their pools of players were diminishing and the future for adult, not to mind juvenile levels, was in danger of being consigned to history.
It was Mick Ward of Drumraney in conversation with Frank Young, Chairman of Athlone, who suggested that both clubs amalgamate their resources, and so Southern Gaels was born.

The first meeting was held in February 1973 in Pairc Chiarian and the first club committee was: President: Patsy Norton, Chairman: Frank Young, Vice-Chairman: Mick Ward,
Secretary: Bill Stacey, Assistant Secretary: Brendan McCormack, Treasurer: Joe Ryan,
Assistant Treasurer: Ken O'Neill, P.R.O's: Bill Stacey and Brendan McCormack

The first reported training session of the new club was for Sunday, March 4th in Pairc Chiarain at 2pm. A training match was held on St. Patricks Day, with the following teams :
Walderstown/Tubberclair/Caulry -v- Athlone/Moate, at 2pm in Pairc Chiarain, with Ned O'Brien to referee. The club decided to wear the Drumraney colours of a yellow jersey with a maroon horizontal band, and this has remained the club jersey to this day.

The first match as Southern Gaels was a Junior League fixture on Sunday, March 26th in Pairc Chiarian against Kilbeggan. Colm Corless was captain for the day and he led his teammates to a notable victory with the score reading: Southern Gaels 4-2 Kilbeggan 0-2.
The lineout for that historic first match was: C. Corless (Capt), B. Gilhooley (goals), B. Daly, M. Rabbitte, K. O'Neill, T. Dolan, V. Reynolds, T. Farrell, P. Buckley, D. Lonican, O. Seery, P. Bannon, J. Irwin, R. Browne, K. Naughton. Subs: J. Guilfoyle, T. Collins, M. Collins.

Other matches played that year include:

Championship
1st Round: a bye
2nd Round - Southern Gaels 2-7 Raharney 3-2
Semi Final - Castletown-Geoghegan defeated Southern Gaels

League

Ringtown 4-10 Southern Gaels 3-4

Challenges

Southern Gaels 3-4 Lusmage (Offaly) 2-8
Tremane (Roscommon) 7-7 Southern Gaels 5-7
Four Roads (Roscommon) 4-9 Southern Gaels 4-7
Kinvara (Galway) 5-7 Southern Gaels 2-8

Club Leagues began on a 9-a-side basis with Micky Rabbittes 4-1 to Brendan Dalys 2-3 being the first game played. Mick Ward was referee. There is no record however of this league being finished out.
A Juvenile League was also started with the first game played on Saturday, June 10th, Garrycastle Ramblers defeated Cooson Rovers on a scoreline 8-4 to 6-1. This Garrycastle team went on to win the League, concluded in 1975, defeating St. Marys by 1-2 to 0-1. Dan Hogan was organiser of Garrycastle while Christy Fallon trained St. Marys.

Pat Coughlan was elected captain for 1973 but unfortunately suffered a broked leg dring the year and Tommy Dolan took over the role of captain.

Finally, to cap a very successful first year, a Dinner Dance was held in "The Corrida" in Ballymore in December.

Southern Gaels were on the map.