BRIEF HISTORY OF LÁMH DHEARG CLG
In its infancy Lámh Dhearg was run By Art Magill who was also County Secretary and played in South Antrim Junior leagues. In the 40’s their seven a-side team were undefeated in 32 tournaments and the club organised popular sports days which even attracted top Irish athletes. In 1952 the club won its first silverware, the McKenna Ginley cup and the 60’s was a glorious decade as the club progressed from division 6 to division 1. In 1971 wooden dressing rooms at Budore were blown up and in 1972 during a South Antrim Football game against Dwyers, three players were wounded as machine gun fire was directed indiscrimately at players and spectators.
In 1967 the club won the Junior Football Championship and in 1971 they won the Senior Football Championship beating the Johnnies and in 1972 were runners up. The club have participated in the Senior football league since the mid 60’s and have won 5 league titles in 1971, 1972, 1993, 1995 and 2004. And were runners up to Cargin in the 2003 League Final Play Off. In 1983 the seniors were narrow runners up in the Championship and in 2003 were beaten by St Gall’s in a Championship final replay. The club won the 1992 Under 21 Football Championship and were runners up in 1991, 2001 and 2003 deciders. The club won two Minor Football championships in 1988 and 1992 and were runners up in Minor Finals in 1987, 1991 and 1994.
In 1994 the club won the prestigious Letterkenny Seven a-side Tournament and won the Beringer Cup in 1995 and our reserve team won the All County Junior Championship in 1996 and the McDermott Cup in 1999 which included father Jim Herron (43) and son Michael (15). Over the years the club have a very proud tradition of players representing County Football teams at all levels. Past players and clubmen Frank Fitzsimmons (Sen) and Sean McElhatton have managed Senior County Football teams and Terry McCrudden was a selector in Brian White’s management team. Former players Frank Fitzsimmons (Senior), John McKiernan and Sean McQuillan have represented Ulster and J.P. O’Kane had the unique distinction of representing Ulster and Leinster and a Rest Of Ireland Select. Former players Jackie Duffy and Sean McElhaton won Ulster S.F.C. medals with Tyrone and Jackie Fitzsimmons won a Ulster S.F.C. medal with Down.
In Easter 1984 the club opened a new Prunty pitch with Floodlights and pavilion and have been very generous in allowing County and College teams as well as local clubs such as St John’s’ St Gall’s and Cushendall etc to avail of their floodlights. The new facilities were a different class compared to previous pitches such as Budore, The Rock Pitch, The Bullring, Magill’s and Hamill’s fields etc The social club has been a success in helping to finance the promotion and development of gaelic games and maintaining our facilities and has provided our members and local community with many hours of entertainment and memories and produced very successful Ladies Darts and Pool Teams.
In 1985 hurling was revived under the inspiration of Kieran Megraw and Cork’s Fr John O’Donovan, who was curate in St Oliver Plunkett. and in 1986 we won the Junior Hurling Championship and Division 3 league title. We were runners up in the Intermediate Hurling finals in 1995 and again in 2003, but disappointment soon turned into celebrations by winning Division 2 league title by beating Sarsfield’s in a replay and achieved division one status for the first time. Hurling has went from strength to strength in recent years and in 1992 we won our only Minor Hurling Championship and in 1999 won the Ulster Minor 7 a-side tournament, won the All County Junior title in 2002 and many players have represented the county at all levels. Ciaran Herron won Ulster Hurler of the Year in 2002, won R.T.E.’s Man of match award for his display against Wexford and was an All Star Nominee and was an all Star replacement to the States. Ciaran along with his brothers Michael and Brendan have represented Ulster. Also Michael Herron was selected as 2007 County Hurler of the year. The club hosted Feile in 2000 (Knockbridge, Co Louth) and in 2002 (Celbridge, Co Kildare) and have established strong links with Celbridge, Co Kildare resulting in very popular bi -annual exchange visits. 1992 was a Golden Year in the club’s history winning 7 championships and 3 leagues and deservedly Ulster G.A.A. Writers award for Club of the Year.
Under 14 Football Championship
Under 16 Football Championship
Under 18 Football Championship
Under 18 Hurling Championship
Under 21 Football Championship
South Antrim football Championship
Senior Football Championship
Under 14 Division 2 Hurling League
Under 16 Football League
South Antrim Division 2 League
Indeed a magnificent year with so many memories and achievements such as a hat trick in the under 14 final by current N.I. international Philip Mulyrne and the first club to achieve the Minor Double. The only sad aspect was that the Senior football team were denied the priceless opportunity of contesting a championship final due to disiciplinary policies imposed by the County and were nominated by the County as champions and represented Antrim in the Ulster Club Championship. The Club has also a very strong Handball section and have progressed rapidly from Division 8 to Division 3 and have a successful record in achieving honours at County and Provincial levels. In 1998 in Cork, Brendan Herron won the All Ireland Under 16 titles and currently Kevin Holmes is All Ireland Colleges champion and Under 21 All Ireland Doubles champion. Ladies and girls football have recently started and hopefully will go from strength to strength..The club have consistently entered teams in to the popular Scor competitions as we strive to enhance and promote our culture. In 1995 over 100 Club members and families club went on a very successful and enjoyable 3 week trip to Toronto, St Petersburg and Orlando.
The club have a strong tradition of a very vibrant youth policy with a strong emphasis on participation and quality coaching and can face the future with great optimism and will undoubtedly continue to be a leading club in the promotion and development of gaelic games in Belfast and Antrim. Youth affairs are now co-ordinated by an energetic Coiste Na Nog Committee which was restructured in 2006. The club celebrated their centenary in 2003 with a successful programme of celebration events. The celebrations went very well such as a popular Family Fun Day, a Centenary Hurling Challenge game against Carey Faughs, fellow Centenary club using 1903 rules and A Journey through the archives. The club also sold over 300 Centenary Commemorative Polo T-Shirts designed by O’Neill’s Sportswear.
The highlight was a successful Centenary Reunion on Nov 29th in their clubrooms. Over 300 attended with members coming from all parts of Ireland and many friendships were renewed, memories relived and it was a night of great nostalgia. The celebrations concluded with a glittering and stylish sell out Centenary Gala Dinner in the Europa Hotel on Saturday 28th February 2004. In May 2004 Peter Canavan launched our Centenary Commemorative booklet produced by Paul Buchanan and Kieran Megraw to a Packed clubrooms. In June 2007 we held our inaugural Family Fest which turned out to be a very popular event and now will become an intergral part of our comprehensive programme of events.
In 2006 our senior footballers were narrowly beaten by a point after extra time in a thrilling Senior All County final against Cargin. We reached the senior county final again in 2008 but were denied victory by St Gall’s. Paddy Cunningham was awarded two Sigerson coveted all star awards in 2007/08 and won player of the match award in the 2008 final. In 2009 St Mary’s CBSG Declan Lynch joined an elite group of players in collecting dual BT Colleges All star awards. Paddy Cunningham captained Antrim to the Ulster SFC Final in 2009 and John Finucane and Conor Murray were also key members of the panel. Paddy Cunningham scored a superb tally of 11 points in the final and was duly recognised as corner forward on The Irish News Ulster All Stars team.
We held a gala black tie dinner at the Europa Hotel on Saturday 15th November 2008 with three hundred people in attendance. The glittering occasion was very professionally organised and a hugely enjoyable event and raised a substantial sum for the promotion and development of Gaelic games in the club. In November 2009 we continued our fund raising campaign with a very popular and successful Night at the dogs @ Drumbo.
In 2007 our under 12 footballers won Division two while our Minor footballers achieved league success in 2009. Our Under 16 footballers achieved an unique feat winning back to back South Antrim Division 1 league titles and South Antrim and All County Championships in 2008/09, with memorable and impressive victories over Cargin and Sean Stinson’s under floodlights in the county deciders @ Casement Park. Frank Fitzsimons was appointed as a County Minor Selector in 2009 while our senior footballers regained division one football status after a short stay in Division 2. Our hurlers also enjoyed success in 2009 winning Division Three Ulster Hurling League and South Antrim Championship and lost out narrowly to St Gall’s in the Intermediate Final replay.
In 2009 a new executive committee was elected and they will be charged with the responsibility of implementation of our innovative and visionary five year development strategy.
2010 was a golden year for our Minor footballers who built on their successful trebles at Under 16 and won the Minor County League beating Ardoyne in Final and the championship by defeating the Johnnies. We entered the prestigious Ulster Minor football and with impressive displays over holders and strong pre tournament favorites Omagh, Aughdumanese and Kilcar, we reached the final and Magherafelt were to be our opponents. Our Youth Committee held its silver jubilee Juvenile Presentation Function in the Emerald Roadhouse.
2011 got off to a glorious start with our minors narrowly beating Magherafelt courtesy of Carl Maxwell point in a very exciting, tense and dramatic final . The final whistle and magnificent achievement being crowned Ulster Minor champions was a signal for unprecedented emotional and euphoric celebrations . Six of our minors, Conor McIlvenny, Marc McGarry, Michael Hynds, Kevin Quinn, Ryan Murray and Marc Jordan went onto represent Antrim in the Ulster Championship and the team was captained By Michael Hynds. The Club were also awarded the coveted Gold Club Maith award, evidence that the new executive committee were working hard at implementing the club’s development strategy plan.
Our Minor, Under 21’s and Senior Footballers reached their respective championship deciders with many impressive performances but were unable to claim their holy grail. Our Under 14 footballers clinched the Fr Mullan B and SA Football Championships.
Our Senior hurlers created history by winning the club’s first ever Intermediate Hurling Championship beating Cloughmills in the final and reached the decider of the Ulster Hurling Division 2. Michael Herron was appointed as County captain as Antrim claimed their first historic Leinster Championship win over Laois.
In October the club held a successful and nostalgic Black tie reunion of our 1971 Championship winning team in the clubrooms. 2011 also seen the climax of our successful grand fund raising draw with over £120,000 in prizes distributed and we also profited from the draw, an amazing achievement considering the economic climate of the time. Work also got underway on our new exciting Sport NI funded Floodlight 3G Pitch. Our Culture Committee successfully rejuvenated Scor Na Nog and hosted a very enjoyable heat in the clubrooms and some of our acts qualified for the All County Final.
2011 was rounded off in style with our Minor footballers deservedly winning the prestigious Aisling Sport Award for outstanding sporting achievement in the Europa Hotel.
In 2012, March 16th became another milestone in the club’s history when our new Floodlight 3G pitch was opened by Paraic Duffy Director General of the Gaelic Athletic Association and Eamonn McCann Chair Sport NI.
There was double success in football with the Senior footballers winning the ACFL Division 1 and Reserves defeating Ballymena to win the All County reserve football Shield.
Underage hurling also experienced success with Under 12 hurlers winning the SA Div 2 Title and Under 16 hurlers winning The All County B Championship after a thrilling extra time win over Glenariffe.
History was also created with Camogie being reintroduced into the club and Natasha Miskimmin winning the Ulster Scor Na Nog title.
The club also became very pro active in the GAA Social Initiative and successfully hosted visits from Kill, Waterford, St Joseph’s/Kilteevan , Roscommon and Craobh Chiaráin GAA Club, Dublin.
The club hosted the inaugural Over 40's 7 aside football tournament on the 3G Pitch in honour of Felix Mulligan, our popular club stalwart and President who sadly passed away in July.
2013 seen our under 16 footballers win the Div I league title, while our minor footballers achieved the double winning the All County Div 2 league and B Championship. Our U21 Footballers were beating narrowly in the county final after many impressive performances. In hurling our U14’S won the B SA Feile while our senior hurlers lost their division 2 status.
Highlight of the year was The Gathering festival at the club which was a massive success and achieved our main aim which was to bring together all the members of the club and the local community not only from the present but over the past 60-70 years. We had representatives from past teams going back to the 1950's and families who have been part of the Hannahstown community for many , many generations who all came to the large and varied activities that were on offer in the excellent programme.
There have been many great events celebrated at Lamh Dhearg throughout the past 110 years but there is no doubt that the Gathering has been one of the most memorable of all. It was great to see the young and the not so young enjoying the activities alongside each other and one of the highlights was the lighting of the beacon at the last night's final event at Pairc Lamh Dhearg.
In 2014 our u 12 hurlers won the South Antrim Nipper Quinn B championship. Our u14 hurlers won the All county B Feile hurling title and they narrowly lost to St Paul’s in Division 5 final of National Feile and the club thoroughly enjoyed hosting Ballyhaunis from Mayo over the Feile weekend.
Our senior ladies footballers created history by winning their first all county junior B championship title with an impressive win over St Comgalls. The club successfully hosted the ladies county football finals.
Our u21 footballers were runners up in the championship while Frank Fitzsimons junior was appointed county senior football manager and Frank Fitzsimons senior became club President.
In June the play park and village square was officially with a great turn out of club members, dignatories and the local community. The club proudly were awarded the coveted Ulster Presidents Club award and Platinum Club Maith award and they were presented to our outgoing Chair and Vice Chair, Barney Herron and Linda Fegan.
Our Under 8/10’s hurlers/footballers made history by participating in go games @ City Hall. Five of our ten football panel also created history by playing along with St Pauls in a select team against Na Fianna Dublin in an exhibition game at half time in Game for Anto at Kingspan Rugby Stadium.