Donaghmore St. Patrick's GAC
|Domhnach Mór Naomh Pádraig|
|Nickname:||The Village, D'more, St.Pats,|
|Club colours:||Blue & Gold|
|Grounds:||Fr. Eamon Devlin Park|
|Senior Club Championships|
In 1903, a small group of men, led by Mr Cathal O'Toole, formed the first Gaelic Football Club in the parish of Donaghmore, otherwise known as "The Young Bucks or the hardy fellas'. It was through the influence of our nearby and great traditional rivals, the then Dungannon Emmetts, that the Donaghmore Club was founded. On St Stephen's night 1903, Donaghmore Éire Óg was formed when a group of people came together, under the guidance of O'Toole. O'Toole himself was appointed President and Captain of the football team, while John O'Neill (Drumbearn), was made Vice President and Vice Captain. Edward Carberry became Treasurer and William Cunningham Secretary, while the first committee consisted of James McCann, John O'Neill (Donaghmore), Joe Carberry, Joseph Daly, Joseph Brannigan and Henry Daly.
The name Éire Óg (Young Ireland) was chosen by O'Toole as he had been a frequent contributor to the weekly Young Ireland column of the Ulster Herald newspaper. The new club set out to revive all things Irish and while it would play Gaelic football initially, hurling was to follow and a literary section was to be formed. O'Toole urged others to follow the example of Dungannon and Donaghmore so that Tyrone would "soon be ablaze with enthusiasm for the revival of our national games and pastimes". The chosen colours of Donaghmore Éire Óg were green jerseys with a gold sash, and they played their first match against Coalisland Fianna on Sunday April 17, 1904. The match took place in Coalisland, where an enthusiastic crowd had gathered even though both clubs were in their infancy. The match was won by Coalisland - on a score line of 2-6 to 0-3....boring? yes....deserved? no!
Through the hard times in Ireland at the beginning of the 20th century, it was not until 1923 that Gaelic games found its revival and began to establish itself again. A few years later, one of the most memorable moments in the history of Donaghmore GAA took place on Sunday 18 December 1927. The venue was Springfield Lane, Dungannon. Fifteen men wearing the green and yellow striped Éire Óg jerseys marched onto the field, led by team captain Johnny McCullough. The event was the 1927 Tyrone Senior Championship Final, a historic occasion when the O'Neill Cup would be the prize for the first time. Donaghmore's opponents were Ardboe Pearses, and it was indeed Donaghmore who emerged narrow winners on a score line of 1-7 to 0-9, thus enabling Johnny McCullough to become the first man to collect the O'Neill Cup. The winning squad is pictured with the cup below. This photograph was taken outside the Convent in Donaghmore where most of the team went to school and loved it.
Name Change & Further Success
One of the most important developments of Donaghmore GFC was the appointment of Fr Eamon Devlin as curate for the area. Fr Devlin was appointed in October 1941, and it was in Donaghmore that he would spend most of his clerical life, to 1969. Such was his influence, it was fitting that the current playing field was named after him when it was opened in1974. It was under the guidance of Fr Devlin, that a meeting took place on Wednesday 26 January 1944, which amongst other things, resulted in the renaming of the club to Donaghmore St Patrick's, which still remains its current name today. The renaming of the club seemed to provide an added impetus to the teams performances on the field, where they captured the East Tyrone League in 1946, and again in 1952. Two years later, in 1954, Donaghmore won the Tyrone Junior Championship, and again won the East Tyrone League in 1957. This success at Senior level was further enhanced in 1959, when Donaghmore achieved their first success at Grade One level, winning the U-16 Championship.
Times of Change
Just like the period of time itself, the beginning of the 1960s to the end of the 1980s saw an enormous change for Donaghmore GFC. Relegation and promotion was the story of the time for the senior in the 1960s, as they won Intermediate Championships in 1965 and 1968. A Youth Club was established in 1964, and it played a major part in bringing together the players that won the Minor Grade 1 Championship in 1967. By 1974 there was a new permanent home - Fr Eamon Devlin Park. This new playing field was opened on 25 May 1974, with a challenge game between Tyrone and Mayo being the main attraction of the day. Cultural success came to the club in 1978 when Denise McMullan won an All-Ireland title in Scór na nÓg in recitation section. The beginning of the 1980s began confidently, with the Senior team finishing third in the All County League in 1982 and reaching the semi-finals of the Senior Championship. However the next few years after were a struggle to keep senior status and after relegation in 1985 Donaghmore won the 1986 Tyrone ACL Division 2 title and were runners up in the 1986 Intermediate Championship Final losing out after a replay. Tyrone reached their first All-Ireland Senior final in 1986, and it was evident that the wave of GAA activity in the county at the time inspired our U-14's to achieve All-Ireland glory in 1988 - definitely one of the greatest achievements of our club. Coupled with this, the Senior team won the Intermediate Championship defeating Brockagh 0-5 to 0-4 to return to Senior ranks and the following year 1989 defeated local rivals Dungannon in the first round of the Senior Championship . Throughout the 1990s were barren times, although the Senior team maintained its position in Tyrone's top division. Youth teams were successful in this time, winning a Minor League in 1992, an Under -16 'double' in 1993 and an U-18 'double' in 1997. It is significant that many of the players from these teams form the basis of our current Senior team, which since the beginning of the current decade, has firmly established itself as one of the top teams in Tyrone.
The club narrowly avoided relegation to the 2nd tier of Tyrone Football in 2008, but improved performance in 2009 have seen them secure safety with relative ease. Despite this the club have strong grass roots teams. The u-14s have claimed the grade 1 championship while the minor team were victorious in securing a historic double, beating a spirited Pomeroy side in the league final on a bitterly cold day in Galbally and overcoming an outstanding Greencastle outfit in the Championship decider also in Galbally. This team did not have a captain.
Eugene McKenna and Joe Daly stepped down as senior team managers at the end of a run of the mill 2010 campaign. Although it was a possibility the team could go down until the penultimate game, a mid-table finish was secured. Their departure paved the way for former club great Adrian Cush to be appointed manager. Now that McKenna and Daly seem to have succeeded in halted the clubs decline hopes are high that "Cushie" can lead his spirited troops onwards and upwards.
This was indeed the case as the pats finished 5th in the division 1 ACL for 2011 with Shane Mulgrew finishing as the leading marksman in the county. While the club performed well in the ACL, they had an early exit in the championship at the hands of Omagh.
In the early months of 2012 the club were boosted when Peter McKenna, Shea Hammill and Phillip Donnelly were named on the Tyrone Minor panal for the coming season.
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