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Club and History

A Brief History of Ballylanders GAA Club


There are records to show that football was played in Ballylanders almost since the foundation of the GAA.There is a very old photo of "Ballylanders Shamrocks" team as they were known at the time which took part in the championship in 1888. However, very little is known of this particular team and the first team to win a county junior football championship was in 1911. The club went from strength to strength during this period and in 1917 Ballylanders won its first Limerick Senior Football Championship when defeating Commercials in Kilmallock on a scoreline Ballylanders 3-4, Commercials 0-1. The following was the outline of that team: C.Kiely (Capt), M.Osbourne, M. Walsh, M. Davern, J.Crowley. P.O'Donnell, T.Crawford, D.Condon, G.Dalton, D.Casey, J.Meade, M.Hayes, J.Ronan, J.Crowley, W.Dalton, T.Murphy, J.McMahon, M.Doherty. This team represented Limerick in the Junior Football Championship and reached the All Ireland Final in which they were defeated by Dublin in a replay.


During those early days of the GAA the name of Frank Dineen, who was born and reared in Ballylanders in 1862 was to have a big influence on the GAA on a national level. He was the only person ever to hold the important offices of President of the GAA (1885-1898) and General Secretary of the Association (1898-1901). One of Frank Dineen's greatest contributions to the GAA was to buy a property in Jone's Road, Dublin as head quarters of the Association. This was later to be named "Croke Park" and over the years it has been developed to be the fine stadium as we know it today. Frank died in 1916 just before the Easter Rising and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery. The house in Ballylanders were he was born is now owned by the McDermott family.


During the years that followed the senior final triumph of 1917 football declined slightly due mainly to emigration and the club reverted to junior status, winning county titles in 1920, 1933, 1952 and most recently in 1995. However in the 1970's Ballylanders were senior, and even though they did not win a county title during this time, they did win a south Limerick Championship. During all those years there were several great players from Ballylanders who played intercounty football for Limerick and other counties. Players such as Mick Hoare who played with Fermoy and Cork, Dr. Paddy Fitzgerald with Cork, Michael Joe Davern with Offaly, Peter Mullane and Bap Davern who played with Limerick, to mention a few. In later days several of the present squad have played Inter County Limerick. John Meade (1965) and Ger Walsh (1992) Johnny Murphy (2003and 2004)and Michael O'Brien (2004) have the distinction of playing for Limerick in Munster Senior Football Finals.


Down through the years teams from Ballylanders have played and trained in various fields near the village. In the early days Osbournes' field on which the Day Care Centre is built.. Sometimes Stephen Lynch's field, on which Galtee Wood has its premises, or Walshe's field, now the property of Buckley's, or on later days McGrath's field on the Galbally road. It was always club policy to own its own ground and in 1981 this dream became a reality when the club purchased its property at Kilfinnane Road. Throughout the 1980's and 90's it was gradually developed to its present condition due to the hard work of club members.


Finance for the club was mainly raised in the early years by the traditional "Pattern Day" which was a festive day held on the 15th of August. Huge crowds came from all over on this day to watch football or hurling games. On one occasion in the mid 1940's when admission was one shilling, £80 was collected at the gate, roughly 1,600 patrons. Then at night large crowds attended the Pattern Dance which was held in Walsh's creamery yard, and later years in McDermott’s hall. In the last few years most money to run the club has been raised by the Limerick G.A.A. Development Draw.


The 1990’s was a very successful time for Ballylanders club. In 1991 Glenacurrane Rovers, a divisional side made up of players from Ballylanders, Galtee Gaels and Garryspillane captured the county senior football championship for the first time. In 1995 the club competed in 4 county finals U14, U16, Minor and Junior winning the U14, Minor & Junior. In 1996 the U21 county title was won and in 1998 the county intermediate title came to Ballylanders for the first time and the decade was completed in great style when the county senior football cup returned to Ballylanders for first time since 1917.


The club has continued to progress through the new Millennium a third senior football title was secured in 2007 the U21 captured the county in 2006 and the Minor captured the county A title in 2004 and the B Title in 2012. The senior footballers won a record 14 south senior football championships in a row from 1998 to 2011.
The next phase of the club’s development is now beginning with the development of a new club house and dressing rooms.

 

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