A brief history of the GAA in General

The Gaelic Athletic Association was founded in Thurles on the 1st of November 1884. Since then the organisation has grown to become one of the strongest amateur assocoations in the world and following its foundation, it quickly developed and reached every parish in the country. The association is now world wide in countries like England, USA and as far as Australia.


History of our Club By Cathal Mullaney

Evidence of GAA activity is first recorded in our area in the year of 1888, some four years after the establishment of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) in Thurles, Co Tipperary. The Enniscrone club was represented at the Sligo county convention in November of that year by PJ Hopkins, while J Queenan represented the club at a meeting earlier in 1888. 


In the early years, Enniscrone sported the blue and white colours and adopted the name Enniscrone Owen Roes owing to a directive from Central Council that each club had a distinctive name. The first recorded fixture involving Enniscrone was against Easkey in Easkey on January 27th, 1889. 


The first formal committee of the club was appointed in November of that year. Those elected were: 


President – Wallace Hopkins

Secretary – MJ O’Dowd

Committee – MJ Blake, T Carroll, P McGowan, E Caffrey, A Mullaney, R Gray.

Captain – John McKeon

Vice-captain: M Coggins


Others recorded as having an involvement in an administrative capacity in the formative years included J O’Dowd, Francis Rouse and John Kennedy. 


There is little record of games during the first 15 or so years of the club. This is because, in part at least, of the fact that the Sligo Senior Football Championship did not take place between the years of 1893 and 1904. Challenge games, however, against relatively local opposition from west Sligo and north Mayo are understood to have taken place at various levels of frequency during these years. 


Indeed, midway through the first decade of the new century, Sligo GAA’s 125 year history states that the Enniscrone club applied to the county board to play in Mayo, as opposed to Sligo, due to the significant travel required for the club to play in Sligo. The request was declined. 


Ironically, as a golden era dawned for football in the parish at the new decade approached, there is evidence at that time of three outfits in the parish: the Kilglass ‘Lads in Green’, ‘Enniscrone Owen Roes’ and Enniscrone ‘Mariners’. 


While it is unclear whether all united again or not, success was in the offing. Enniscrone Owen Roes first appeared in a county senior final in 1913 when they lost to Sligo Wanderers in Sligo by a single point, 1-3 to 1-2. 


The following year, though, silverware would arrive. Owen Roes had the distinction of becoming the first club from Tireragh to win the Sligo senior title after they beat Ballymote following a replay. The reasons for the replay are unclear – Enniscrone had lost the first game by a point, 1-2 to 1-1 – and no score is recorded for the second fixture. 


Relinquishing their title in 1915, Owen Roes were back on their pedestal in 1916 when they won their second crown, overcoming the challenge of Doocastle after a replay. The first game had finished in a draw, 0-1 apiece; Enniscrone were 1-3 to 0-2 winners in the replay, an encounter in which they enjoyed home advantage. 


Also in this period, Enniscrone scored a notable success when they defeated the Mayo standard bearers Ballina Stephenites in the final of the Fr Tully tournament played in a field close to where the Diamond Coast Hotel and Marella Houses now stand in Bartragh. Ballina had won 13 consecutive Mayo championships from 1904 to 1916. 


Through oral stories, it appears that Enniscrone Owen Roes ceased to exist after 1919. 


The reason for this, we’re told, was an incident which occurred in a tournament final at Bartragh against Moylough. Owen Roes’ Eddie Tighe, a member of the Sligo team at the time, was in possession and destined to score a goal having rounded the Moylough players and the goalkeeper, when a Moylough priest stepped into the goalmouth and stopped the ball with his opened umbrella. Expressing their dissatisfaction with this injustice, Enniscrone Owen Roes handed all their gear into Fr Tully and failed to reappear for a couple of years. 


Return they would, however, and join up with their fellow parishioners Kilglass in the 1920s. This was another golden era, in which another senior title came back to the parish in 1929 when Kilglass beat Tubbercurry by 3-3 to 0-3 in the Sligo final, played in Pullaheeney in the spring of 1930. Kilglass would reach two more finals, but lost out to Tubbercurry (1930) and Knockalassa (1933). The latter match went unfinished, but the final score reads Knockalassa 0-7 Kilglass 0-1, with Kilglass receiving a six-month suspension for failing to complete the encounter. The colours worn by Kilglass are recorded as being ‘Black and Gold’. 


The suspension had a big impact – Kilglass amalgamated with the ‘Sea Blues’ in 1934, but there is no record of their involvement. The suspension was later lifted. 1934 also saw a Camogie team from Enniscrone take to the field, but with little success. Michael John Kavanagh, one of the top players in the country at that time, was chosen as Sligo captain in 1934; he was the only Sligo representative on the Connacht Railway Cup team. 


The next notable success came in 1948, when the club won the Sligo Junior Championship for the first time (that being the second tier competition). In the final at Collooney, Kilglass had ten points to spare over Grange on a final scoreline of 3-5 to 0-4. 


During the 1940s and into the 1950s, there is evidence of a club having formed in the Culleens end of the parish. Indeed, Culleens are noted as having contested the 1951 Sligo minor football final, where they lost by a single point to Teeling. 


The year previously, records show that Enniscrone won the minor title for the first time courtesy of a final win over Craobh Rua. Though a major success, and one which would suggest a good crop of players were on the way through, the following 15 years would be challenging. 


Football appears to have endured a difficult period from the early 1950s, and stagnation was evident for the next decade. Activity was limited, and by 1963 and 64, football was almost dead in the area. 


The seeds were sown for the modern incarnation of the club, however, when Archdeacon Wiliam Moyles called a meeting for a reorganisation of the club in the Town Hall on February 1st, 1965. Erins Own was the initial name adopted, though this later changed to Enniscrone/Kilglass. One of those who kept GAA alive in the area in the lean 1950s and 1960s, James Cawley of Bartragh, was elected as secretary. 


The influence of Joe McManus was also significant during this period, the Cavan native having served as Garda Sergeant in Enniscrone for many, many years. He, along with many others, helped strengthen the club and build for the modern era. 


Indeed, in 1965 the club was embroiled in a dispute over the conclusion of that year’s county minor final. The records read that Enniscrone lost to Collooney by a point, 4-4 to 3-6, but a clear Enniscrone point during the game was not correctly flagged. In the end, both Collooney and Enniscrone received winners medals. 


With a renewed spirit at adult level, Enniscrone claimed the 1966 Junior title with a final defeat of Ballisoadare in Tubbercurry on a scoreline of 2-8 to 0-5. 


The promotion to senior saw the club return to the top table, and become a powerhouse once again. Most regrettably, this period with a team sprinkled with high profile players did not yield a senior championship. Despite having the Caffrey brothers, Liam and Aidan, as well as future All-Star Barnes Murphy, Enniscrone came up short in the senior final of 1972  when they lost out to Curry by 1-10 to 0-5. 


The 1970s, however, was a productive period at underage level. The club claimed two U-16 titles – in 1973 and 1979 – while the minor victory of 1975, with a win over Shamrock Gaels in the final at Corran Park in Ballymote, is still fondly remembered. 


In 1983, the club opened its new playing field at Quigabar. Having previously played at Bartragh and then in Reesie Kilcullen’s field close to the site of Scoil Chriost Rí in Enniscrone, the new club grounds were among the best in the county. Sligo, captained by PJ Kavanagh, played the reigning All-Ireland champions Offaly to mark the occasion. By the start of the next decade, a highly modern dressing room complex was also added. 


On the playing fields, the club operated at Intermediate level through the 1980s, before championship success arrived in 1991. Having claimed the U-21 title the year previously for the first time following a final win over Castleconnor in Easkey, Enniscrone/Kilglass overcame a youthful Drumcliffe/Rosses Point side in the Intermediate final played in Kilcoyne Park, Tubbercurry, in August 1991. The club also won Intermediate league titles in 1986, 1988 and 1996. 


The club has been at Intermediate level since 2000, though there were further underage successes at ‘A’ level in 2002 (U-12) and 2004 (U-14), as well as dozens of titles over the years at other grades. 


In 2004, a redeveloped club ground was unveiled, which included a rearranged dressing room complex with four dressing rooms and associated facilities, as well as two new spectator stands, terracing and fencing. Sligo played Fermanagh, All-Ireland semi-finalists later that year, to mark the occasion. 


The club’s facilities were further enhanced some 12 years later, when construction began on a unique indoor astro-turf complex. The new building became operational in early 2017, and includes an astro-turf playing area, a meeting room, kitchen, dressing room and toilet facilities. It is one of only a handful in the country. 


A Mothers and Others group was established in 2017 and has become a vibrant part of the club. Eoghan Rua, our local ladies club, and Western Gaels, our local hurling club, both use our facilities as their home ground. 

Club History

Although there is no definite date for the formation of the Enniscrone Club known, it is taken that the year was 1888, as the club was represented at the County Convention in November of that year by P.J. Hopkins. The first recorded match showing the clubs involvement was against Easkey at Easkey on Sunday 27th January 1889. The result of this match has not been given. The people involved in the club administration in 1889 were Wallace Hopkins, J.O'Dowd, M.J.Blake, T.Carroll, P.McGowan,Francis Rouse and John Kennedy. As the club has been unable to identify the club founders,the above people are credited with its foundation in the parish. Did You Know? When the GAA was founded Central Council of the Administration wished each club to adopt a distinctive name, thus the Enniscrone club became the "Owen Roes", and in the early years the club wore "blue and white" colours.

Recent History

1983 This year will be long remembered by the G.A.A. followers in the parish. It was to be the year when one of the finest playing pitches in the County was officially opened at Quigabar. (Although, the pitch is offically in the town land of Parke, it has for some reason or other been known over the past 20years as Quigabar when it comes to fixtures for matches). In May of 1983 the playing pitch at Quigabar was officially opened by Mr. John Higgins Chairman of the County Board at that time(He is now Patron of the County Board) and blessed by Rev. Canon Thomas Clarke,P.P. Our committee was led by Chairman at the time the late Sean Sweeney of Quiagabar who devoted so much of his life to the development of the club and the provision of facilities for all in the parish for years to come. Other members of this committee were The opening was a result of many years hard work and endeavour by the committee members within the club. Many efforts had been made to acquire suitable club grounds, without much success. Fr. Paddy Guckian and Michael Jacob Jnr were foremost in negotiations and eventually the land at Quigabar was acquired. The field was vested in the G.A.A. and the following trustees were appointed: Alphonsus Carroll Quigabar, Eamonn Murphy Culleens, Eddie Harte Culleens and Fr. Guckian. On the day of the official opening Sligo beat Leitrim in the minor match with Enniscrone's Martin McGrath at full forward for the winners and JP Kilgallon amongst the substitutes. Sligo seniors played host to Offaly who were the reigning All-Ireland Champions and the team famously known as the team who stopped the great Kerry team to win the 5 in a row. A large crowd had turned out to see the match, but were disappointed when Sligo were comprehensively beaten by 4-18 to 0-8pts. Our own club great P.J. Kavanagh was a regular on the county panel and had the honour of captaining the Sligo team on the day.
 Gaa_2  Gaa_1
 Gaa_2a Gaa_4
 Gaa_10  Gaa_11
 Gaa_12  Gaa_14

 Gaa_16  Gaa_21
 Gaa_22  Gaa_24
Construction_of_wall_at_gaa_pitch 17


Sligo Senior Champions 1929

This is the last team from the parish to have won a Senior Championship title. 
The people in the picture are as follows:
Back row, L-R: Mick Tolan(official), Pat Mullaney, Joe Gordon, Brian Gildea, Thomas Carroll, Jack Helly, Tómas Freeman(official)
Middle Row, L-R: Leo Kavanagh, Willie Kelly, John Kilcullen, Frank Kavanagh, Henry Kavanagh, Josie Kelly, Paddy Kavanagh, John Devaney.
Front row, L-R: Mick Byron, Frank Golden, Patrick Kavanagh, Matty Conmy.



  Site Map