Clonduff GAC

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Chluain Daimh
Clonduff GAC crest.jpg
Founded: 1887
County: Down
Nickname: The Yellows
Colours: Home: Yellow and White Away: Full White
Grounds: Clonduff Park
(Páirc Cluain Daimh)
Coordinates: 54°11′59.06″N 6°08′05.22″W / 54.1997389°N 6.1347833°W / 54.1997389; -6.1347833Coordinates: 54°11′59.06″N 6°08′05.22″W / 54.1997389°N 6.1347833°W / 54.1997389; -6.1347833
Playing kits
Standard colours
Senior Club Championships
All Ireland Ulster
Football: - - 9

Clonduff GAC is a Gaelic Athletic Association club in County Down, Northern Ireland.


Press reports show the history of Gaelic football in Clonduff reaching as far back as 1887 when the parish sported two teams: the Hilltown Amateurs and The Red Hands. Gaelic games flourished for a few years but then subsided and it was not until 1910 that the parish again fielded a Gaelic team. During the next ten years the parish fielded teams at Junior and Senior level under names such as The Emeralds, The Harps and The Sarsfields.

1920 can be identified as the founding year of the modern Clonduff Shamrocks. Success on the playing field over the next few years was commonplace and it was in this era that Clonduff’s long tradition of providing quality County players began – McPolin, Brannigan, Doyle, Mussen and O’Hanlon were synonymous with both the Clonduff and County teams.

For most of the thirties the club was hardly a force to be reckoned with but re-emerged in the early forties. Their tradition of providing County players was to the fore again and when Down won the 1946 All Ireland, Clonduff provided six of the panel.

In 1955 the club split into two distinct entities – Cabra and Hilltown – the two ends of the parish. Two years later they met in the County Final. The teams amalgamated in 1959 and the following year two of their players won All-Ireland Senior football medals with Kevin Mussen being the first Northerner to bring the Sam Maguire across the border.

The club opened its own grounds in 1968 and became one of the leading clubs in the newly formed Scór competitions.

In Centenary year, Clonduff published its McNamee Award winning history and in 1987 when Down won its second All Ireland Minor Championship, the club provided six of the panel. In the All Ireland wins of 1991 and 1994, Clonduff’s Ross Carr played a pivotal role. Cathal Murray was also on the panel in 1991.

Notable Players[edit]

The Meadow Of The Ox[edit]

The team crest depicts a scene with an ox, a thorn bush and a church.

It is reputed that St Comghall of Bangor sent his followers to this area of County Down to spread Christianity. They began building their church in the townland of Ballynanny (located on The Kilkeel Road below Spelga Dam). Each morning, the previous day's work would be demolished. Upon investigation, it wasdiscovered that an ox, belonging to the local Druid came down from the mountain (The Mournes) each night and razed the building. One of the monks cut a thorn stick and stuck it into the ground between the ox's meadow and the new church. The stick grew into a thorn bush and the monk defied the ox to pass the thorn bush - it never did and the building of the church was completed. The area where the thorn bush allegedly grew is known as Bushtown to this day. The church was eventually destroyed during Cromwell's invasion of Ireland in 1649. The remains of the church are still standing today on the Kilkeel Road end of Old Clonduff Road.


Year Event
1887 The Banbridge Chronicle of 6 November 1398 carried an account of a Gaelic Football match between Ballyroney (Rathfriland) and a Clonduff team known as The Hilltown Amateurs
1888 A team from Lenish (one of Clonduff’s 14 townlands) competed in a Gaelic Football Tournament for a "set of crosses"
1888 A Clonduff team known as the "Red Hands" played two games against St Patrick’s Mayobridge in May 1888
1898 A team from Cabra called "The Harps" and one from Hilltown called the "Ninety-Eights" took part in the ’98 tournament organised by the Young Ireland League to commemorate the Centenary of 1798
1912 The "Frontier Sentinel" dated 9 April 1912 gives a report of a 1st round County Championship meeting between Mayobridge and a Clonduff team called "Hilltown". The Hilltown team read: John Crilly, Bernard O’Hagan, Patrick Morgan, James Magill, James Brady, Michael Fegan, Arthur Ronan, Hugh Doyle, Hugh Morgan, Michael Morgan, James Brown, Frank O’Hare, John O’Hagan
1916 Registrations – still extant – show that two teams, known as "Emeralds Gaelic Football Club" and "Cabra", were registered with the Down County Board of 1916-17
1916 An unofficial team known as "John Attey’s Men" or "Faugh an Ballagh" played games here and there during this period. A report of a famous match between Mullaghmore and John Attey’s Men, played on Easter Sunday 1916 still lives on in the folk memory of the district
1918 Clonduff take part in "The Gaelic Sunday" protest matches of 4 August 1918 called in defiance of the ban on Gaelic matches under The Defence of the Realm Act
1918 Clonduff men John McPolin and John McAlinden play for Down on 9 May against Louth in Newcastle
1920 A new Parish team called Clonduff Shamrocks was formed and entered in Shanahan Cup Competition by Willie Woods and John McPolin. "The jerseys were yellow and there were Shamrocks embroidered on them. Two girls, Maggie O’Hare and Sarah Magennis it was who sewed them on. Their playing pitch was John Murphy’s and it was Paddy Murphy who gave the pound to enter the team."
1920 Clonduff win Shanahan Cup
1921 George Mussen chosen on the Railway Cup Panel
1922 Clonduff win Shanahan Cup
1926 Clonduff win McLoughlin Cup
1930 Clonduff win their first Down Senior Championship
1931 On 13 September, Dan Mussen becomes first Clonduff man to play in an All-Ireland Football Semi-Final
1932 Club wins The Shanahan Cup outright
1934 George Mussen captains the first Down team to play in Croke Park
1935 Jimmy Doyle in Ulster Railway Cup panel
1937 Clonduff re-enters South Down and Mourne League
1938 Armagh play Down in National League in Hilltown with Jimmy Doyle starring at right full-forward
1943 Clonduff defeat Ardtole by 15 points to 11 to win Down Junior Championship on 12 September but Ardtole awarded game on an objection
1944 Clonduff win their 2nd Senior County Championship
1945 Clonduff win their 3rd Senior County Championship
1946 Down win Junior All-Ireland and Clonduff have on the panel: Henry, Tom and Pat Brown, Eddie Grant, Paddy O’Hagan and Andy Murnin
1947 Clonduff win their 4th Senior County Championship
1949 Clonduff win their 5th Senior County Championship
1949 James Brown on Railway Cup panel
1952 Clonduff win League, Championship (6th) and County Sevens
1953 Clonduff’s 19-year-old Kevin Mussen selected on Ulster Railway Cup
1956 Cabra Harps win Down Junior Championship
1957 The two Parish teams – Cabra Harps and The Shamrocks – meet in County Senior Championship final – Shamrocks win
1959 Patsy O’Hagan scores 2 goals in a 3-9 to 1-4 victory for Down in the Wembley Tournament

External links[edit]