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“Making Our Own Heroes” Charting 50 Years Of GAA Growth In Loughmacrory
“Making Our Own Heroes”
By Seamus Mullan
Charting 50 years in the development of GAA in Loughmacrory
On Saturday 1st April, some 250 Loughmacrory St. Teresa’s GFC Gaels came together to enjoy an evening of chat, celebration and reflection as the Club’s 50:25 Celebrations drew to a close with the launch of a major 50 Year History Book. The date was also significant in that it was 50 years on that same date (1 April 1973) that the club played its first ever competitive game of football.
The book, collated from a mass of interviews and information research over many years by Club President, Seamus Mullan, will be the focal point of an evening that will be talked about by a panel of special guests. At over 480 pages this is a huge historic record for the St. Teresa’s club and, in light of hugely significant progress and developments in the past decade comes at a time when the club is experiencing an all-time high across all aspects of club life.
Seamus Mullan has been working for many years on the book and has amasses hundreds of hours of recordings of players, members, officials and coaches in addition to the vast collation of reports and information throughoput the media over the past half century and more.
Commenting on the eagerly awaited book launch, Seamus commented “While it was ninety years on from the founding of the GAA before Gaelic football was established on an official and firm footing in Loughmacrory, football had been played prior to this. As in the rest of the country the young men from the area played football down the years, indeed down the centuries, long before the founding of St Teresa’s club and indeed long before the founding of the GAA.”
“No written records of these early games are extant, and we come right into the twentieth century before we find a report of a football match in the locality. The Ulster Herald of 19 March 1904 tells of a match played on 12 March 1904 between Altdrumman Stars and Mullaslin Volunteers.”
As the book tells, the Tyrone GAA County Board met in Carrickmore to consider the application to form a club in Loughmacrory in February 1973.
“When they heard the news that their application had been accepted and their new club was officially affiliated, there was great rejoicing and they headed down the road in a cavalcade, cheering and honking their car horns. Cumann Naomh Treasa Loch Mhic Ruairí had been born, and would go on to become one of the top GAA clubs in the county and a very important part of Loughmacrory community. Not only would it provide football for the local youth for the years ahead but would also promote Gaelic culture, language and identity and give a sense of belonging and a pride of place on a scale that no other organization in Loughmacrory had done before.”
There have also been many players from the mid-Tyrone club since then who have donned the red and white of Tyrone. Even in recent years the club has celebrated quite a few young stars to have tasted Ulster and All Ireland successes with Tyrone at minor and under 21 level.
The most historic era in Tyrone GAA’s history was undoubtedly the glorious noughties. When Sam Maguire came to Tyrone in ’03, ’05 and ’08 Loughmacrory man, Michael McGee made the wins more special for Loughmacrory supporters
“While the win brought joy to all of Tyrone the Loughmacrory fraternity could feel that little bit of extra pride having a clubman on the team. Just to hear your club name announced over the PA in Croke Park on the biggest day in the GAA calendar gave Loughmacrory hearts an extra flutter. ‘Uimhir a ceathair Michael McGee, Loughmacrory’.
This feeling wasn’t just one way either and Mc Gee himself says, “…I was super proud to be representing Loughmacrory in the county panel… I thought that Loughmacrory could claim a bit more ownership of the title… I remember feeling happy that Loughmacrory could be involved in the All-Ireland Finals”.”
Current Club Chairman, Shane McCullagh, has undoubtedly presided over a golden era for gaelic football in Loughmacrory and the imense pride in the community for what has been taking place both on and off the field was very evident as he passionately pointed out in his address at the Club’s 50:25 Celebration Gala event back in November 2022, when almost 700 club gaels attended.
He recognised the journey that the club had made and referred to the celebration as, “…a fantastic milestone in our club’s history”, going on to point out, “…for the first time in our 50 year history, as well as having our senior team compete in Division 1 every single underage team played in division one also – indeed we are the only club in Tyrone to have all of their underage teams reach either a league or championship semi-final or final this season”.
As the fiftieth anniversary celebrations end, it is an opportune time to look back with satisfaction and forward with expectation. The monumental achievements of the last fifty years give us confidence to embrace the years ahead with enthusiasm. We have progressed from a small fledgling club which had a whip around to fund the first set of jerseys to a large thriving organisation with annual running costs exceeding £200,000. Founding member, John Conway once aptly illustrated the magnitude of that journey when he wryly remarked, “I remember a time when, if the ball burst, we would have to call an emergency meeting”.
There was added excitement for the hordes of young Loughmacrory members at the weekend too as the Club welcomed a few very famous Cups, historically won in recent weeks by Tyrone players in schools and Colleges football – notably the Hogan Cup, MacRory Cup, Markey Cup and All Ireland inter-Varsities Cup.
“Making Our Own Heroes”, written by Seamus Mullan is now available to buy in local shops and on the club’s new-look website at www.loughmacrorygaa.com<https://emea01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.loughmacrorygaa.com%2F&data=05%7C01%7C%7C9f105870a92343b7373e08db347a2c76%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C638161471924725191%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000%7C%7C%7C&sdata=eqqdczePrG%2BZn9LSBHpZP45olPtQHKXxJi0LiU1MrhI%3D&reserved=0>