Slieve Bloom GAA
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (March 2008)|
|Club colours:||Orange and White|
The club was founded in 1947 and the club colours are orange and white.
The club grounds are located two miles from Mountrath off the mountain road to Clonaslee. The townland that the field is located in is called Deerpark and the grounds were once part of the Deerpark estate. The club obtained the grounds from the land commission when the estate was divided. Previous to that the club had operated from the sportsfield at Clonin, Mountrath and also from Rushin, Mountrath.
In recent years the grounds have undergone extensive much needed improvements. The playing pitch was leveled and a perimeter fence was erected. Ballstoppers were erected at each end. The dressing-rooms were built and now stand proudly overlooking the countryside. Most recently a scoreboard was erected and a new road going all around the grounds was laid.
The current committee consists of: Chairman-Ken Holmes, Secretary - Chloe Farrell, Treasurer-Sean Breen, PRO-Anthony Phelan, Vice-Chairman-Joseph Heffernan
In 1947 Slieve Bloom won the Laois Junior Hurling Championship but had to wait until 1983 to repeat that success. The Captain of the team in 1983 was Thomas Cuddy as the Slieve Bloom men beat Ballypickas in the final. That team was trained by Tim Keenan. The Junior Hurler of the Year award the same year went to Ger Campion from Rushin who played at centre back.
Their only other championship title came in 1999 when Benny Conroy captained them to the Laois Junior "B" Hurling Championship title with a memorable 2-4 to 0-7 win over neighbours Castletown. This time the team was trained by another member of the Keenan family, Tim's brother Frank. Hurler of the Year in the Junior B grade that year was Michael Delaney from Lacca who played at full forward.
Slieve Bloom also won the Laois All-County Hurling League Division 4 title in 1999 with a repeat win over Castletown and added the Laois All-County Hurling League Division 3 title in 2002 when Lorcan Phelan was the team captain.
At underage level the club amalgamates with Castletown GAA club. In 2008 a new juvenile club was set up between Castletown and Slieve Bloom called Naomh Eamonn in honour of St. Edmund after whom the parish church in Castletown is named. At Minor and Under-21 level the club is joined with Castletown.
In 2009 a new gaelic football club was formed between members of both Slieve Bloom and Castletown. This new entity was called Shamrocks GAA club. In a successful first year, the club reached the final of the Laois Junior "C" Football Championship, only to go down to Portlaoise in a replay. In 2010 they again reached the final this time defeated by The Heath. In 2011, the Slieve Bloom club entered the football championship thus ending the brief life of the Shamrocks club.
This had come about as the result of an amalgamation with fellow parishioners Castletown GAA. The new units formed resulted in Slieve BLoom players playing hurling for Castletown under the title Castletown/Slieve Bloom and vice versa for football under the title Slieve Bloom/Castletown. In 2012 on 23 August Slieve Bloom/Castletown won the Junior C Football Championship by defeating neighbours Camross on a score of 1-10 to 2-5 in Shanahoe. This was a late comeback after trailing for most of the game. The captain of the team was Martin Delaney from Rushin. The team was trained by Tom Delaney from Clonin.
Since the amalgamation commenced on a 2-year trial basis in 2011 there have been some notable successes. First of these was the winning of the ACHL division 3 Hurling competition in 2011. Enda Conroy from Drim captained the side that beat Portlaoise in the final in Shanahoe.
In 2012 the amalgamation defeated Rosenallis again in Shanahoe to win the Minor B Hurling championship on a score of 4-11 to 4-09 after a stirring second half comeback inspired by captain Ben Conroy from Drim. Of course his father also Ben had previously captained the club to championship victory.
2013 brought more success to the amalgamation. ACHL 3 was won with a victory over Clough/Ballacolla in the final at Shanahoe. Tom Delaney from Glenbower captained the team. ACHL 4 was also won defeating Camross in the final at Borris in Ossory. Jack Peters from Cuddagh was captain of that team.
Following on from the ACHL 4 victory the Junior B Hurling team went on to claim championships honours that same year. Following victories over Ballyfin and The Harps en route Abbeyleix were the opposition in the final in O'Moore Park. After a tight game victory was claimed on a score of 2-12 to 1-10 and Jack Peters collected the cup.
Also in 2013 the march of the Junior Footballers continued with Junior B championship success. Defeating Colt, Graiguecullen (w.o)and Killeshin to qualify for a final against Emo in O'Moore Park. An even start to the game was followed by a goal blitz from Ben Conroy and a final score of 2-10 to 0-7 was not unflattering to the Orangeclad men. Ben Conroy having scored 2-4 during the game went up to collect the cup capping a fine Junior B double for the club.
Minor B football success was also assured in 2013 when after beating Rosenallis and Ballylinan/Glenmmore Slieve Bloom/Castletown took on a very strong and fancied The Heath in the final again in O'Moore Park. A very tight game awas won with the last kick of the ball as a hop deceived the Heath keeper on a score of 3-11 to 1-15. A few isolated Clough/Ballacolla players were vital to this effort. Evan Cuddy from Castletown was captain of the side.
2014 was an unsuccessful year for the adult teams. Seniors were beaten in the first round by newly promoted Abbeyleix. A rebound happened when beating Borris/Kilcotton to preserve senior status but then a heavy defeat to Clough/Ballacolla in the quarter final was the end of the year. The Junior A and B teams both exited at the semi final stage of their respective championships. Junior A football was the bright spark again when they reached the final looking to make 3 successive wins but fell well short to a strong Courtwood side.
In early 2015 the decision was made to part ways with the senior amalgamation except for football and Slieve Bloom entered a team in the Junior A championship and Division 3 league. James Young from Clonaslee was appointed as the team trainer, his first such role.