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Gaelic Athletic Association - Oral History Project

Armagh

gaa oral history project

For all its present profile as a football stronghold, success was late in coming to Armagh. Between 1903 and 1950 the county did not manage to win a single Provincial title, losing in twelve Ulster senior football finals. As in other counties north of the border, the outbreak of the Troubles had a direct effect on the playing of GAA games in the province. The occupation of Crossmaglen Rangers' grounds by the British Army in the 1970s served as a physical symbol of how the conflict in Northern Ireland affected the GAA. It was this very club, however, that led the reinvigoration of the game in Armagh. Crossmaglen Rangers’ dominance at both county and All-Ireland level in the late 1990s and through the early 2000s has earned it a reputation as one of the most pre-eminent Gaelic football clubs in the country. Crossmaglen’s success in turn aided the resurgence of the county team and in recent years Armagh football has enjoyed a great deal of success. The evidence for this is can be seen in Armagh’s remarkable run of success at the turn of the Millennium, winning seven Ulster championship titles between 1999 and 2008, and a long awaited All-Ireland title in 2002.

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A high ball is contested in a minor match between Armagh and Cavan in 1951.
©Cardinal Ó Fiaich Memorial Library

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A membership card for Armagh Harps GFC from 1957
©GAA Oral History Project

Marian McStay
Joe Sherry
 

Marian McStay, b. 1940

Marian discusses the relationship between the GAA and the different religious communities in Armagh.
© GAA Oral History Project


Joe Sherry, b. 1927

Joe recalls competing in sports days in his early years.
© GAA Oral History Project

 

'The beauty to me of Gaelic football is that you go to watch Armagh playing in Croke Park and there's 82,000 people there and every one of the 82,000 people knows someone who's playing. They don't live that far from you. You'll know somebody who's playing on your team that you're there to support.'
- Mary Keegan, b. 1955
© GAA Oral History Project

My biggest day was not winning the All-Ireland. My biggest day was the year we won the first Ulster Championship because we had won nothing for about 15 years. We had won nothing since 1978 and that was really the thing to me that we're on the right track.'
- Peadar Murray, b. 1947
© GAA Oral History Project

'I would say to any family [to] put their youth into clubs; football clubs, hurling clubs, handball clubs, camogie clubs. You will never go far wrong with friendship, comradeship and being looked after and brought places you might never get to. For people who want to help their association and to help their locality. And that's the way I see it.'
- Jimmy Carlisle, b. 1931
© GAA Oral History Project

Click here to read a sample of a full length questionnaire: George Coulter b. 1924