|Nickname(s):||The Yeats County|
|County colours:||Black and White|
|Ground(s):||Markievicz Park, Sligo|
|Dominant sport:||Gaelic football|
|Football Championship:||Sam Maguire Cup|
|Hurling Championship:||Nicky Rackard Cup|
|Ladies' Gaelic football:||Brendan Martin Cup|
|Camogie:||Do not compete at adult level|
The Sligo County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) (Irish: Cumann Luthchleas Gael Coiste Contae Sligeach) or Sligo GAA is one of the 32 county boards of the GAA in Ireland, and is responsible for Gaelic games in County Sligo. The county board is also responsible for the Sligo inter-county teams.
Sligo's senior Gaelic football team play in the Connacht Senior Football Championship but have only managed to ever win three senior provincial titles, winning in 1928, 1975 and 2007. Sligo have never appeared in an All-Ireland final. The 1922 Championship is the closest they have come, defeating Roscommon, Mayo and Galway to win the Connacht title, and beating Tipperary in the subsequent All-Ireland semi-final that followed. However, "a flimsy technicality" led to a replay of the Connacht final against Galway, which Sligo lost.
In club football, no Sligo team has ever appeared in an All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship final. St. Mary's is the only Sligo team to have ever won the Connacht Senior Club Football Championship, having won it three times in 1977, 1980 and 1983. Eastern Harps, Curry and Tourlestrane have all appeared in Connacht finals.
Due to a much smaller population than both County Galway and County Mayo, the two dominant forces in the province, together with competition from professional League of Ireland soccer team Sligo Rovers in the county's capital town, Sligo's Gaelic football team have never been able to break free of the shackles inherent in the provincial championship format. They have won only three Connacht championships, with an approximate gap of fifty years between each win. These championships came in 1928, 1975 and 2007. The continuation of such a run would not see the Connacht title return to Sligo until some point in the middle of the 21st century.
Sligo have never appeared in an All-Ireland final. The 1922 Championship is the closest they have come, defeating Roscommon, Mayo and Galway to win the Connacht title, and beating Tipperary in the subsequent All-Ireland semi-final that followed. However an objection from Galway on what is described as "a flimsy technicality" led to the Connacht decider being brought to a replay, which Sligo went on to lose. Sligo met the same fate in the inaugural National Football League campaign of 1926, beating Laois to reach the final, only for Laois to object on the grounds of a Sligo player's name being misspelled, with Sligo going on to lose the replay. This gives Sligo the unique statistic of having qualified for an All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final and a National Football League Final, without ever having contested either.
In 1954, Sligo reached the Connacht final against Galway, only for an equalising goal in the final minute to be disallowed. In 1962, Sligo reached the Connacht final against Roscommon, and led for much of the match only to be blighted by a sudden string of injuries, miss a 50 while two points ahead in the final minute, and then gift soon-to-be All-Ireland finalists Roscommon a goal in what is considered "one of the great football tragedies in Connacht". In 1965, Sligo reached the Connacht final against Galway, gained a seven-point lead only for one of their players to be "mysteriously sent to the full-forward spot", causing "the entire team [to lose] momentum" and the match.
Since the 2001 introduction to the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship of a qualifier system for teams eliminated from their provincial championship Sligo, despite historically having a poor record, has enjoyed some modest, though noteworthy, success. The new format together with a prolonged period of competing in Division 1 of the National Football League helped bring about an upward turn in the county's fortunes. In 2002, having narrowly lost the Connacht Senior Football Final to Galway, the defending All-Ireland champions, Sligo went on to defeat Tyrone in Croke Park, turning over a seven-point deficit in the process. A similar comeback against the eventual All-Ireland champions Armagh two weeks later led to a replay, but Sligo's run was halted when they had claims for a penalty in injury time of the second game turned down.
On 8 July 2007, Sligo claimed their first Connacht title since 1975 with a one point victory over Galway. The following year they were trashed by Mayo and ended up in the Tommy Murphy Cup following on from a league campaign that had seen them relegated to Division 4. Star player Eamonn O'Hara said he was embarrassed by the team's rapid decline back into mediocrity. On 27 June 2010, Sligo hosted Galway in a game which Sligo led 1–8 to 0–2 at halftime but were shocked by an undeserved draw ending 1–10 each. The replay saw Sligo defeat the Tribesmen on the scoreline 1–14 to 0–16 to advance to the Connacht Senior Football Final. Once there, after all their hard work and continued misfortune, Roscommon defeated them by 0–14 to 0–13.
Sligo football descended to a new depth on 26 May 2013 when they were dumped out of the Connacht Championship by London in their first game. The scoreline was 1-12 to 0-14. This was London's first victory in the Connacht Championship since 1977. Lorcan Mulvey scored the vital London goal.
The county Vocational Schools team reached two All-Ireland finals in 1962 and 1963, losing both to Dublin City.
Four Sligo players have won All-Stars – Mickey Kearns of St. Pat's (1971), Barnes Murphy of St. Mary's (1974), Eamonn O'Hara of Tourlestrane (2002), and Charlie Harrison of St. John's (2010). Sligo's club football scene is not dominated by any single team; there have been no back-to-back winners since the St. Patrick's team of 1988 & 1989, the longest out of any county in history.
Tubbercurry are the most successful team in the history of the Club Championships in Sligo, with nineteen Senior titles to their name. They also lead the roll of honour for the Minor and Under-21 Championships. The last of these was won in 1991, and the south Sligo town has enjoyed little success since.
St. Mary's are Sligo's most successful club team in the Provincial and All-Ireland club series with three Connacht Senior Club Football Championship titles to their name (1977, 1980 and 1983). They also won the All-Ireland sevens title in 1980. They, along with Tubbercurry, dominated the club scene in Sligo over a fifteen-year period (1976–1991), with St. Mary's claiming eight championships to Tubber's three. The pairing contested the final on eight occasions, including five in succession (1983–1987), and these finals were tense and heated encounters. Despite being the most celebrated club in the county, St. Mary's remain one of the worst supported sides due to the dominance of soccer in Sligo town.
In the years since the dominance of St. Mary's and Tubbercurry, there have been various winners of the county championship with Bunninadden, Coolera/Strandhill, Curry, Eastern Harps, Shamrock Gaels and Tourlestrane all claiming the Owen B. Hunt Cup during the past two decades. Other Senior teams that have come close to winning the championship in the past few years include St. John's and Easkey.
In 2005, Coolera/Strandhill won its first Senior title in 98 years, having narrowly lost the 2000 final to Bunninadden, who at that time had not won a title in 109 years.
Much of the Minor and Underage successes within the county have seen St. John's and St. Mary's teams dominate this grade in recent years with many of the titles being won by either of Sligo town's two main club's in the past decade.
2013 club football status
|Club||Grade – 1st Team||Grade – 2nd Team|
|Calry/St. Joseph's||Intermediate||Junior B|
|Drumcliffe/Rosses Point||Intermediate||Junior B|
|Eastern Harps||Senior||Intermediate & Junior B|
|Owenmore Gaels||Intermediate||Junior B|
|Shamrock Gaels||Intermediate||Junior A|
|St. Farnan's||Intermediate||Junior B|
|St. John's||Senior||Junior A & Junior B|
|St. Mary's||Senior||Junior A|
|St. Molaise Gaels||Senior||Junior A|
|St. Patrick's||Intermediate||Junior B|
Sligo's senior Gaelic football team play in the Connacht Senior Football Championship. They have only managed to ever win three senior provincial titles: each of these wins came after gaps of about fifty years, in 1928, 1975 and 2007. Sligo have never appeared in an All-Ireland final.
Current football squad
- Manager: Niall Carew
Connacht Senior Football Championship: 3 – 1928, 1975, 2007
Connacht Junior Football Championship: 11 – 1926, 1928, 1935, 1956, 1973, 1998, 2005, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014
Connacht Minor Football Championship: 2 – 1949, 1968.
All-Ireland Junior Football Championship: 2 – 1935, 2010
All Stars: 5
Sligo ladies' football team have won one All-Ireland Junior title in 2006. managed at the time by Paddy Henry.
They are currently competing in the Intermediate Championship.
They have had a number of club provincial Junior Titles as both St. Nathy's and Drumcliffe have won and both have been have reached the All-Ireland Finals. Geevagh are the strongest club side in the county at present, followed by St. Nathy's and Drumcliffe.
Sligo have not been considered a traditionally strong team in senior hurling, with the county's most notable achievements being an appearance in the All-Ireland Junior final in 1968, and the National League Division 3 title in 2005, In 2008, Sligo finally tasted All-Ireland success, albeit at the Third Tier level, when they claimed the Nicky Rackard Cup, the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship for Tier Three (developing) hurling counties. Sligo have done extremely well but did not get promoted due to losing playoff with Roscommon. Paul Seevers was most likely the county's greatest hurling playing for more the 20 years, he won 3 Railway Cups with Connacht as well as a Nicky Rackard Cup in 2008, he also represented Ireland in the Shinty International against Scotland in 2003. Sligo won the All-Ireland Minor 'C' Hurling Championship in August 1986, defeating Tyrone by 4 points in Croke Park. They won the U16 All-Ireland 'C' hurling title after they beat Tyrone in the Monaghan Centre of Excellence in 2012. This was a great achievement for Sligo hurling.
- Connacht Junior Hurling Championship: 2
- 1968, 1973
Sligo camogie official Nuala Kavanagh refereed the 1965 All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship Final.
- Sweeney, Eamonn (8 July 2007). "About time Lady Luck gave Sligo the time of day". Sunday Independent (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 8 July 2007.
- "O'Hara ’embarrassed’ by Sligo's fall from grace". Hogan Stand. 25 June 2008. Retrieved 25 June 2008.
- "London shock Sligo to secure first Connacht SFC victory since 1977". The Score. 26 May 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
- "London dump Sligo out of Connacht". RTÉ Sport. 26 May 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
- "London end 36-year wait for Connacht championship glory". The Irish Times. 26 May 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
- "Final goal for camogie". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). 29 March 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
- National Development Plan 2010–2015, Our Game, Our Passion information page on camogie.ie, pdf download (778k) from Camogie.ie download site