||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (November 2011)|
|Club colours:||Green and gold|
|Grounds:||Askeaton Gaelic Grounds|
|Senior Club Championships|
- 1 Early Years
- 2 Hurling
- 3 Football
- 4 References
The older generation used to say that there was a hurling rivalry between Kildimo and Askeaton before the GAA was formed. By 1888, Askeaton Desmonds had enough players to field two adult hurling teams. The two teams played in a hurling tournament in nearby Barrigone. The matches were played in the meadow under the shadow of Dysert Castle. The Foynes National Fife and Drum Band played some national airs before the first match which started at 2.45. Askeaton Desmonds Senior hurling team defeated Foynes Shannon Sweepers by 1-3 to nil and won a beautiful silver cup. The second match was played by the local Mount Pleasant Liberators of Barrigone and Askeaton Desmonds Junior hurlers. In a hard fought match the Liberators came out on top and captured a silver watch which was the prize for the winners. During this period there were several hurling clubs near Askeaton. Kildimo had two teams. One was called Faughs and the other was Sarsfields. There was a club in nearby Kilcornan called Curraghchase Home Rulers and Foynes had Father Murphys which was also known as the Shannon Sweepers. Mount Pleasant Liberators had many players from Askeaton parish on their team and there was a big rivalry between both teams. Mount Pleasant beat Askeaton in Shanagolden for a set of medals during this period in what was a very tempestuous affair. Midway through the second half Jim Griffin made a tremendous save from the Askeaton maestro, Dan McNamara. Shortly afterwards McNamara struck Tom Sheehy with his hurley after the latter had deliberately fouled him. As a result of this unsavoury incident, the game had to be abandoned with the Liberators leading by one point. The Askeaton hurling panel at this time was Captain- Mike Halloran (Main Street) Goalkeeper-Tom Riordan (Mussel Lane) Bill Marshall (Moig South) Dan McNamara (Courtbrown) Bill Cussen (Aughinish) John Kennedy (Nantinan) Jim Cahill, John Cahill, Mick Cahill (Ballyhomin) Dick Costelloe (Church Street), John Neville (Church Street) John Lynch (East Square) Simon Madigan (Church Street) James Farrell(Ballycullen) Michael Somers (Moig North) John Fitzgerald, John McMahon (Snr), John McMahon (Jnr), Ned Sheehy, G. Somers, J. Scanlon. In 1890, Askeaton GAA club is mentioned in a Crime Branch Special report as being in the Constitutionalist camp when the GAA in Ireland was split in the early days between Constitutionalist and IRB supporters. Askeaton GAA club ran an important senior hurling tournament in 1891 in which South Liberties beat the Shannon Sweepers who were a well known Foynes team. Earlier South Liberties played Askeaton Desmonds in a place called ‘The Sugarfield’ in Hough’s, land in Moig in a 21 a side-hurling match, which Askeaton won by one goal and one point. The same Desmonds team met Kildimo Faughs in the Newcastlewest Tournament and won 2-4 to 0-6 and brought home a silver cup.
In the nineteen thirties and forties, the Askeaton Desmonds were a strong Junior Hurling team. In 1935, they won the West Final defeating Feenagh in Ballingarry. They accounted for Hospital in the County Semi-final and met Cappamore in the County Final, which was played the following April in Croom. Askeaton defeated the men from the East to become County Champions for the first time. The team lined out as follows: Jackie Purcell, John Moran, Michael Kenneally, Willie McDonough, Paddy Hackett, Paddy Kenneally, Jackie Kenneally, Michael ‘Tyler’ Madigan, Jack Gallagher, Henry Hackett, Mick Guerin, Johnny Purcell, Con Murphy, Denis Jones, Mick Hackett. Subs: Tom Nolan, John Joe Egan, Jimmy McKnight, Jimmy Lenihan.
Adult hurling teams
In 1946, four adult hurling teams operated in the parish of Askeaton/Ballysteen. They were Askeaton A and B hurling team, Southern Chemicals (the locals referred to as the Lime Burners) and the Ballysteen Lodge Rangers. This was a great achievement for a parish where football was very popular.
In 1984 Askeaton relaunched adult hurling, which had been dead since the mid-sixties, entering a team in the West Junior B Championship. Askeaton beat Broadford in the West Final. There was no County Championship that year. The players were Cormac Ryan, Dan Neville, Mike Ryan, Pakie O’Donoghue, Eamon Murphy, Dick Costello, Seanie Barry, Seanie Kelly, Fintan Ryan, Gerry Cantillon, Ken Hanley, Ray Neville, Mike Hennessy, Michael John O’Donoghue, Jimmy O’Donoghue. Subs: Mike Dillon, Eddie Kirwan, Paddy Carrig, Haulie Ryan, Bobby Hennessy, Ed Manning.
West junior 'A' hurling champions
Askeaton won their first West Junior A hurling championship since 1935 in 1995 when they defeated Knockaderry in Rathkeale after a replay. Askeaton later lost out to Dromin Athlacca in the county final. The team that won the first West in 70 years were Sean Barron, Aidan Burke, Mike Neville, Pa Ruttle, Eamon Barry, Seanie Barry, Haulie Kenny, Sean Fitzgerald, Brian Costello, Peter Harty, Albert Burke, Dave Barry, Cormac Ryan, Fintan Ryan, Mike Neville(Beagh)
Askeaton added another Junior A West title in 2006 when they defeated Monagea in the West Final which was played in Newcastlewest. The team fielded Conor Ranahan, Paul Fitzgerald, Robert Whelan, Paul Anglim, Mike Griffin, Anthony Burke, Roger Somers, Philip Prendiville, Mike Neville, Brendan Hayes, Ray Hayes, Shane Gallagher, Maurice Somers, Dervan Gallagher, Pa Ranahan. This team lost out on county final day to Mungret St. Pauls team.
Askeaton Junior A hurling team added a controversial fourth Junior A title to their roll of honour in 2010. The West final was played in Feenagh against St Kierans. St Kierans scored a goal in the dying minutes by a sub who was their 16th man on the field. St Kierans thought that they had won the West but Askeaton objected. The West Board ordered that the match should be replayed but St Kierans would not play. Askeaton were then awarded the 2010 West Junior A Hurling title. Askeaton later lost heavily to Effin in the county semi final. Players included Conor Ranahan, Paul Fizgerald, Roger Somers, Anthony Burke, Mike Griffin, Ray Hayes, Mark Ranahan, Paul Anglim, Shane Gallagher, Pa Ranahan, Mike Neville, Brendan Hayes, Mossy Kenrick, Matt O’Meara, Tom Kelly.
Askeaton had one of the top football sides in the county in the first decade of the century and reached the final of the 1905 County Senior football championship losing to the famed Commercials side by 1-5 to 0-1. Commercials had won their second All Ireland Senior football title eight years previous. This county final was not played until October 1907. In the preview of the match in the Limerick Leader the reporter describes the men from the Abbey town as a ‘pretty tough combination to tackle’ Askeaton had beaten the best combinations in Limerick and they also defeated teams from Clare and Kerry in challenge games throughout the year. The report of the match states that the ‘Commercials played with great dash and determination and won by the substantial score of 1-5 to 1 point for Askeaton who fought a very plucky match throughout’. The attendance was large not withstanding the disagreeable nature of the weather. Mr. Johnny Sweeny of Young Ireland Hurling Club was the referee on the day. The Gate receipts were £13 16s. The football panel was Captain-Mick Scanlon (Conigar) Pat Egan (Moig South) Willie Quaid (Glin) Jim McDonnell (Moig South) Paddy McDonnell (Moig South) Jack Fitzgerald, Mick Fitzgerald, Paddy Fitzgerald (Church Street, Painters) John Egan (Moig South) Jack Stack (Mount Pleasant) Harry Conway (Coolrahnee) Mickey Mulligan(Mussel Lane) Mike Guerin(Church Street) Danny Guerin(Church Street) Paddy Cronin (The Quay) Jim Hanley (Moig South)Tom Fitzgerald (Station House) Paddy O’ Shaughnessy, Willie O’Shaughnessy, Jim Ryan, Paddy O’ Halloran. Askeaton was the only club in West Limerick to have their own clubhouse. They had their meetings in an old house in the new line, the rent was sixpence a week and it was decorated by the professional painters, Jack, Mick and Paddy Fitzgerald who were members of the team. Askeaton had both Senior hurling and Senior football clubs competing in the West and County championships during this period.
Between 1964 and 1972, four County Senior football titles came to the parish of Askeaton/Ballysteen. In 1964, the team was called Ballysteen but changed its name to Askeaton in 1965 and went onto win the 1965, 1966 and 1972 titles. This was a golden era for the gaels of the parish and has not been surpassed since. Players who won medals between 1964 and 1972 were Mikey John O’Donoghue, Tom Perryman, Paddy McMahon, Donie Nestor, Dick Costello, Tony Fitzgerald, Mike Ranahan, David Naughton, Tommy Carrig, D.J. Daly, John O’Donnell, Noel Ranahan, Mike McMahon, Tom Corrigan, Willie McMahon, Francie Kenny, Peter Neville, Pat Neville, Brian Neville, Jimmy Nealon, Hugh O' Boyle (Salesians), John Kenneally, Michael Kenneally, John Shiels, Thade Shiels, Terence Madigan, Tomàs Sheahan, Pat Sheahan, Malachy Keaveney, Bobby Walsh, Liam O’Shaughnessy, Paddy Carrig, Donie Nestor, Basil Fitzgibbon, Eddie Walsh, Tommy Carrig, Pat Chambers, Paddy Reidy, Minie Allen, Michael Walsh, Gerard Neville.
Parish derby match
The West Senior Football Final of 1980 was notably contested by two teams from the one parish, Askeaton and Ballysteen. Ballysteen had won the Junior County the previous year, and Askeaton Gaelic field was packed for the occasion. After a tense 60 minutes the sides finished level. A goal from Willie McMahon minutes from time gave Ballysteen a one point lead. Fintan Ryan equalised on the call of time and it went to a replay. This was a complete anti-climax with Askeaton winning easily.
Contested centenary final
Askeaton contested the Centenary year county final against Claughaun, but were defeated by the city men. The players were Ray Kelly, Declan Barron, Paddy Ivess, Dan Neville; Eunan McDaid, Tom O’Connell, John Horrigan (R.I.P.), Paddy Barrett, Enda McDaid, Mal McDaid, Don Ryan, Eamon Òg McDaid, Cormac Ryan, Michael J. O’Donoghue, Fintan Ryan.
Intermediate football champions
In 1992 Askeaton dropped from Senior Football to Intermediate and ended with a win over the Galtee Gaels. The victorious team's players were Bernard Burke, Cormac Ryan, Paddy Ivess, Sean Fitzgerald, Tom Hayes, Enda McDaid, Don Ryan, Tom O’Connell, Fintan Ryan, Seanie Barry, Albert Burke, Dave Barry, Donie O’Gorman, James McMahon, Pat Fitzgerald.
Askeaton and Ballysteen join forces
Askeaton football was not going well from the late nineties and in 2003 Askeaton lost the intermediate relegation final to Athea. There was now the situation in the parish whereby there was two Junior A football teams. Both Ballysteen and Askeaton clubs had talks to see if they could come to an arrangement and join forces for the first time since 1991.The agreement that they came to was that Ballysteen would run the adult football club and Askeaton would look after the adult hurling club. Ballysteen football club played in the 2004 Limerick intermediate football championship. They won the 2004 West intermediate football championship after defeating Cappagh at Askeaton and lost out to Pallasgreen in the 2005 Intermediate County football final.
In 1958, the club decided to purchase the field on which they had been practising and playing on under a rental agreement. The ground had been named “The Meadow” and was utilized for both hurling and football for many years. The GAA club had honored a nominal rent arrangement (with the Hunt family) up until the point of purchase with a final price of £100 per acre (for 5 acres). The club members involved in the purchase were J. McGough, Eddie Corbett, Chris Walsh, Father O’Dea, M. Kenneally and Michael Ryan.
Askeaton Roll of Honour
County Senior Football Championship - 1965, 1966, 1972. County Intermediate Football Championship - 1992. County Junior Hurling Championship - 1935. County Junior B Hurling Championship-1989 as Cois Sionna. County League Hurling Division 5 - 2005. County Minor Premier Football-1959,1960,1975,1976. County Minor A Football -2000. County Minor B Football – 1998. County U21 A Football -2003 as Desmonds. West Senior Football - 1973, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1985. West Junior A Hurling Championship- 1935, 1995, 2006, 2010. West Junior B Hurling Championship – 1984, 1993, 1994. 1989 as Cois Sionna. West Junior Hurling, Grade B – 1934,1958. West Junior B Hurling League- 1989 as Cois Sionna. West Junior A Hurling League - 2003. West Minor Premier Football-1946, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1975, 1976, 1989,1990. West Minor A Football. 1999,2000. West Minor Premier Hurling-1945,1946,1947. West U21 A Football-1976,1979. 2003 as Desmonds. West U21 B Hurling -1989 as Cois Sionna,1998 as Askeaton Desmonds. West U21 A hurling - 2005 as Desmonds. West U21 A Football County-2003 as Desmonds. West Minor A Hurling West-2000. West Minor A Football West-2000. West Minor B Football 1998. New Ireland Shield-1947. County U21 13 a side -2013 as Askeaton/St Kierans.
- O' Ceallaigh, Seamus (1987). One Hundred years of Glory, A History of Limerick GAA, 1884-1984.
- Limerick GAA Centenary Yearbook. 1984.
- Weekly Observer. September 1995.
- Limerick Leader. September 2006.
- Weekly Observer. September 2010.
- Murphy, Sean (2002). The West Awake.
- Limerick Leader. August 1992.