Club History

In September 1955, a new teacher, Mr. Peadar Earley N.T., was appointed to Gorthaganny National School. He very quickly got involved in every organisation in the area and it became evident to him that there were a lot of young men in the area and no sporting organisations.

Peadar,being the great communicator,sowed the seed in the mind of everyone he talked to of the need of a football club in the area. He organised a meeting in Gorthaganny School on January 12th 1956, for the purpose of starting a football club in the area. Twenty five people attended and many more sent apologies. Peadar outlined to the meeting what was required to form a Gaelic Football Club,informed them of the aims,objectives,history,rules and regulations governing the formation of a Club, and the duties and responsibilities of the Officers of the Club.

On the proposal of Mick Mahon, Dromad, and seconded by Simon Harrington,Carrowbehy,it was unanimously agreed to start a Club in the Gorthaganny Church Area. 
The following Officers were elected for the year 1956:

President: Rev. Fr. Luke Croghan,
Chairman: Mr. William Cawley,Postmaster; Carrowbehy;
Secretary/Treasurer: Peadar Earley. N.T.

Green and Gold were agreed as the Club colours. A name for the Club was postponed to the next Club meeting which was held on January 26th 1956. The name Michael Glaveys was given to the Club. Membership fee was fixed at two shillings(12 cents) for Adults and 6 pence (3 cents) for Children.

The following attended the inaugural meeting:-Fr. Luke Croghan,(RIP),Mr. William Elwood,Mr. Christy Cummins,(RIP), Mr.Tommy Hurley,Mr.Kevin Fitzgerald,Mr.Gerald Greally, Mr. Paddy Cummins,Mr. William J.Cawley,(RIP),Mr. Johnnie Taylor (RIP), Mr. Pat Duffy(RIP), Mr. John Joe Fitzmaurice, Mr. Dom Fitzmaurice, Mr. John Coffey, (RIP), Mr. Simon Harrington, (RIP), Mr. Eamon Quinn, (RIP), Mr. Pete Quinn, Mr. Michael Flanagan, Mr. Dominic Noone, Mr. Michael Mahon, (RIP), Mr. Eddie McDermott, Mr. Tony Mc Nulty, Mr. Billy Comer, Mr. John James Keane, Mr. John Ganley, (RIP), Mr. Tim Moran, (RIP),Mr. Frank Rafferty(RIP), Mr. Maurice Healy, Mr. David Healy, Mr. Michael Mc Nulty Snr. (RIP), Mr. Michael Mc Nulty Jnr., Mr. Jim Waldron(RIP),Mr. Luke Hurley(RIP),and Mr. Peadar Earley(RIP).

The meeting of February 9th 1956, was informed that the Michael Glavey Club had twenty paid up Juvenille members and that the finances were in a healthy state due to the generosity of Fr. Higgins, who had given the use of Gorthaganny Hall free for Club fund raising. Forty six players were registered with the West Board. The Club played several matches during the years 1956,1957,and 1958. Some were won, and some were lost,but all were enjoyed. The Club joined with Western Gaels for Senior Championship each year and although no records seem to be available, this amalgamation continued until 1962.

In 1959, the Club was progressing and fielded Juvenile and Junior teams. Matches were played in Cawleys and Flanagan’s fields. The Juvenile (U-15) team played a number of challenge matches and won most of them. They were well prepared for the Championship, but came up against Castlerea and were well beaten.

The Junior team fared much better winning League matches against Ballinagare and Ballintubber, but alas due to economic circumstances, by the end of the year, the bulk of the team had emigrated to England and further afield. The Parish was deprived of its youth. Boys and girls had left their homes to seek work in other Countries. Very few homes escaped. The next few years were lean times for the Club. It was impossible to field an adult team, times were bad, very few jobs, very little or no money except what the youth could earn from snaring rabbits.
Morale was at an all time low. Peadar Earley persevered. He kept the Juvenile teams going, played matches against Ballyhaunis, Ballinlough, Kilmovee, and Castlerea.Their mode of transport to all matches was the bicycle, mostly two to a bike, with Peadar having the bag of jerseys plus the ball on the carrier, and Dermot on the bar.
Everyone was excited and everyone wanted to play football. The journey to and from the match was a minor detail, mini buses had not been invented back then.

During 1961, Fr. Seamus Cox came to Gorthaganny Church area. He quickly came under the influence of the Master, as he too was an ardent G.A.A. man. They both were aware of the weakness of the Club and the fact that there was no active Club in Ballinlough. They both met with Michael Thomas Mitchell, Paddy Fitzmaurice, and Brendan Kelly.They agreed that the amalgamation of the two parishes was the only way forward as both Parishes were decimated by emigration. The applied to the County Board to amalgamate and were successful with their application; the rest is the reason why we have survived for fifty years.

Football was played in many fields in the area. Early records of a football field in Ballinlough was Frank Donnellan’s field in Faldeen, behind Packie Coyne’s sawmill. This field now belongs to Damien Beirne. The next move for the big matches was to Tom Fitzgerald’s field on the Cloonlough Road. The Ballinlough Club played there for a few years until the Club petered out through lack of Players due to emigration during the years of 1957/1959. When the two Parishes joined, football was played mostly in Loughglynn in a field of rushes on the Castlerea Road. The action then moved back to Ballinlough, to Campbell’s field beside the Church. This field was used for all sporting activities for many years, but was too small to play matches in other than seven-a-sides. The Club then moved to Fitzgerald’s again, then on to Patsy Dwyer’s, Cloonfad, and then John Pa Burke’s where the Club played many matches. Club Leagues, Parish Sports, and the Annual Killtullagh Community Games were all held in this field. It was then back to Loughglynn for a few years to the field that is now home of Eire Ōg G.A.A Club. The rent for the field in those years was twenty pounds(€27) per annum, that was all we could afford. The Club had £25 pounds in the kitty and needed £5 for a football. We then moved back to Fitzgerald’s field and from there on to the monastery field in Granlahan. This field while not big enough for home matches was where all training was done. It was while there that the Club enjoyed the most successful period in its fifty years history. Under the guidance of Brother Conall, and Peadar Earley, the Club won one West Roscommon Junior Championship, Two Intermediate League & Championships, Three Under Age Championships, and were awarded” Club Of The Year”, and started the School Leagues under Fr. Michael Flannery C.C. Cloonfad, which resulted in the Club contesting six consecutive Under 12 Finals.The seeds were sown. Success followed success, and the momentum carried into the eighties, many fine players emerged during this period and went on to represent the Club and County with distinction.

The one aim the Club had from the start, or at least from the time of the amalgamation was to acquire its own playing pitch.It came up at every A.G.M. but nothing ever happened. In the early 1970’s, the Land Commission were commandeering any land that came on the market. Three or four holdings came into their possession and the Club identified Sampey’s lawn as the most suitable of sites.They were exciting times, everyone who had a friend or relation in the Land Commission, the Civil Service, the Dail, or the Church were lobbied, cajoled, or coerced into supporting the Club in its quest to acquiring this land. The Land Commission Office in Castlerea came under siege from the members of the Glavey’s Club. Club member Frank Beirne(R.I.P.) who was a member of Staff, kept the Club up to date, and while he was unable tell us anything directly, he was great at giving hints. He also pointed the Club in the right direction on how things worked in Head Office and the names of the people to contact. The wheels were in motion, and the fund raising began- concerts ,plays, raffles, invitation sports, guess the score, dances, and carnivals ( in conjunction with Castlerea St.Kevin’s).The Carnivals were a big occasion. They attracted big crowds and brought a good deal of money into the area. Nice and quietly, the Club were building up a nice war chest for when needed. Eventually the day arrived. The Land Commission informed the Club that it had been allocated a parcel of land from the Sampey Estate, the exact price was right, a little more than nine acres for a consideration of £15,000. This was a huge amount of money for the times, and so began the biggest project ever undertaken in the history of the whole Parish. A project that got the backing and help of the whole of the Parish.A project that was planned, constructed, and completed on a voluntary basis, and totally without professional fees. A project that the Club are extremely proud of and one that everyone in the Parish contributed to in one-way or another. The Healy Family must come in for special mention, Sean, was there at the start of the development, before the chainsaws, long before the bulldozers, and he and his wife Pat ,are still involved, supportive, and very interested in all that happens with the Michael Glavey Club and Complex. The Club are forever in their debt.

Down through the years the Club have had many other fine men who have also successfully navigated and developed the Club in a voluntary capacity and put in many long hours of selfless dedication and commitment, so that the Club would be here for today's Officers, Members, current Players & Managers.  These men are as follows: John Doherty, Joe Grogan, Eddie Birmingham, Frank Neenan-Current President,Michael James Kelly, Gary Burke, & the late Luke Hurley Jnr., who was an active Club Member prior to his passing. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilis.  The Club is the better for having had these very generous and forward thinking people in their ranks. Go raibh míle mhaith agat. 

The club has survived many crises; it was ravaged in the ’50’s,’60’s, and the ‘70’s by immigration. Soccer clubs started in Loughglynn, Ballinlough, and Cloonfad. The biggest crisis of all was Loughglynn splitting and starting Eire Ōg, at a time when the Club was becoming the best in the County. The Club had permission to enter two teams in each group, our Adult teams looked good, hopes and expectations were high, and a Senior Title was a real prospect.

The Club has also enjoyed many great times, enjoyed many great successes, the first Intermediate Champions, has been lucky to have had hugely committed and dedicated Club Officers, whom have helped it to grow and flourish, has been to the forefront in innovation, had the first lady Club Secretary-Clooncan native Valerie Hurley Murray, who undertook this role for a mammoth17 years, until January 2014.The Club will be forever in her debt for this long and committed service. The Club is forward thinking and it is looked on as a leader in the Community. It is well respected in the County and beyond. It has contributed well to the welfare of the County Board and to our County Teams, providing financially and having many Club Players at all levels from U-16 up to Senior, from delegate to Chairman of the very successful Minor Board.

It has been a long and eventful journey, and a journey that the Club will continue to travel, with all Members working together, for the greater good, so that the Michael Glavey Club, will continue to live long into the future and prosper, on and off the field.