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Gaelic Athletic Association - Oral History Project


gaa oral history project

Sligo was one of the most organised counties in Connacht during the early days of the GAA, its first club being formed in Collooney in January1885. More clubs – and a county board – were established in the years that followed, but the momentum that built up in the late 1880s was, in keeping with developments elsewhere, reversed in the 1890s. Revival came with the new century. Hurling began to establish itself in the county, but football remained the primary focus of local GAA activity. A first Connacht title was won in 1928, but the county struggled to build on this achievement. One reason for this was the dominant position of soccer in Sligo town, the county’s main urban centre. A feature of the more recent sporting experience in Sligo has been the growth of ladies’ football. First organised in 1993, the Sligo women’s footballers lifted their first All-Ireland junior title in 2006. In the following year, Sligo’s senior men defeated Galway in the Connacht football final to win only their third senior provincial title, while in 2008 the county’s hurlers added a Nicky Rackard Cup. The development of a major GAA Centre of Excellence in 2011 is both emblematic of the current health of the GAA in the county and a testimony to its future ambitions.


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Sligo concede a goal from Mayo's Padraig Carney during an inter-county match c.1950s
©GAA Oral History Project


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A write up of Tobercurry's 1946 championship victory featuring individual photographs of the players.
©GAA Oral History Project

Christina Murphy
Brian McGaughran

Christina Murphy, b. 1930

Christina recalls how the All-Ireland semi-final was delayed because of the tradition in Connacht of climbing Croagh Patrick on Reek Sunday.
©GAA Oral History Project

Brian McGaughran, b. 1938

Brian discusses the reasons behind the formation of a GAA club in Calry and how it has benefited the local community since its establishment in the early 1970s.
©GAA Oral History Project

'The town [Sligo] ran a lot of soccer street leagues. These were fairly informal. When I was about 16 a new GAA club was set up in the town for under age teams. This was the first time I played gaelic football outside of school, though I was still oblivious to the 'club'. It just seemed to be an extension of the street soccer leagues.'
- Padraig Ferguson, 1950
©GAA Oral History Project

'Any underage [that] wins a cup... that cup will not come back to a pub, and it will not be filled in a pub... We've seen clubs doing it, and what happened was then that the cup was brought in, and you could have 16-year-olds playing... and the cup was going round and they'd fill the cup...and they drink out of the cup. And then the parents will come along and they'll say: "Oh, ye started them on the drink"... but nobody can say that about Shamrock Gaels.'
- P.J. Quigley, b. 1940
©GAA Oral History Project

'My earliest memories of the GAA... would be going to a match... in the boot of a car with a priest called Fr Patten who essentially was the heart and sould of the GAA club... If you can imagine fifteen or sixteen young fellas sitting in an old Opel Cadet, some of us in the boot, some of us on top of each others' knees and essentially we all went to the match in one car and came home from the match, most of us, in one car.'
- James Fraine, b. 1961
©GAA Oral History Project

Click here to read a sample of a full length questionnaire: Donal Cummins, b. 1972