BIRTH OF A GAA CLUB
GAA Centenary Year celebrations and events, organised in 1984 to celebrate and commemorate a momentous event, proved the catalyst or inspiration for the foundation of Clonmel Og.
Br. C O'Grady, Br. H. Somers, Br. P. Gleeson, Fr. M. Kennedy, Seamus Stritch, Cathal Ryan, Sgt. Michael Hogan, Eileen Sheehan and Eddie Kearney all shared the same vision - namely, that at the end of the twentieth century the GAA would have to reorganise, redefine and restructure its activities in large urban areas. Demographic trends and census statistics all showed that more and more people were relocating and settling in towns and that more GAA facilities were necessary if we were to attract and retain our fair proportion of young people.
From meetings held in 1984/1985 there was overwhelming support for what Clonmel Og was about to launch - a fact later proven when Clonmel people ontributed a staggering £400,000 to our Tipperary Draw initiative and other fund raising activities.
We chose the colours gold and blue to signify our loyaltyto the Premier County. The name Clonmel Og was carefully chosen as "Clonmel" was meant to be all embracing and the "Og" is hugely significant in that it demonstrates and shows our tremendous loyalty, dedication and commitment to young people and juveniles no matter what their level of ability.
1986 was tremendously successful and we won both south finals in under 14 hurling/football the same year. In 1986, 1988 and 1990 we reached three county finals in football, only to be beaten in the final seconds by the minimum margins by outstanding Eire Og, Nenagh teams. In 1987/1988 we reached two All-Ireland finals in Feile Peil na nOg in Kildare and Galway respectively.
The Lohan powered Wolfe Tones of Shannon beat us in 1987 while St. Brendan's of Ruislip in London broke hearts by a point in Pearse Stadium, Galway, in 1988.
Many of the lads who played on those panels went on to represent Tipperary at underage level in both hurling and football and we are particularly proud of one and all.
The year 1990 saw us win our first South minor championship at the second attempt in what will surely rank as one of the greatest minor finals ever in South Tipperary. Once more Nenagh were there to spoil the party at the final hurdle.
1991 saw Clonmel Og break into junior ranks and we had adult teams for the first time - a mere seven years after being founded.
Fours years on, in 1995, we claimed three titles.
We beat Ballylooby in an epic encounter in the South junior football final. We beat Cahir in the minor football league and our under 16 hurlers beat Carrick Davin in the hurling championship on the night the Banner men flew into Shannon with the McCarthy Cup for the first time in 63 years.
In 1989 with little more than a couple of hundred pounds in the club account, we embarked upon our greatest and probably one of the most outstanding fund raising ventures ever undertaken by any club anywhere in Ireland. We committed ourselves to raising "big finance" from the Tipperary Draw and set a committee in motion to undertake this mammoth task under the chairmanship of Cathal Ryan, club coordinator Margaret Quirke, secretary Sean Quirke, treasurer Syl Murray and development officer Eddie Kearney. The results were staggering - 6,000 draw units sold in eight years at £60 each and grossing £360,000 with a further £40,000 coming from other sources - giving a grand total of £400,000. After years of negotiating with Clonmel Corporation we purchased 10 acres of land approx. in 1994 and proceeded to set out two beautifully appointed pitches on what is a perfect piece of land right on the edge of the town. In Autumn 1994 the builders moved in and today we have a beautiful club centre with spacious dressing rooms, modern showers and a social centre that we are immensely proud of with seating capacity for 150 people. Our future plans, now that much of the blood, sweat and tears of development, struggle and growth are out of the way, are to concentrate on good quality coaching and nurturing of our young players. We want to organise events and activities so as that all will reach their potential and ability.
Finally, Clonmel Og wishes to thank its loyal band of supporters, parents, friends and especially the players who have stuck by us through thick and thin. The early years were not easy as we set about building a player base, club network, management committee and club infrastructure with modern facilities. Large urban areas have specific complex problems and the role of the GAA in major towns and cities must urgently be examined if we are to be a force in large populations areas in the next century.
Article by Eddie Kearney as appeared on the National Hurling League Programme dated 27th April 1997 - Tipperary vs Wexford