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Gaelic Athletic Association - Oral History Project

Wexford

gaa oral history project

Wexford played host to the first ever football championship match in Ireland when Taghmon and Kilmannon met in the inaugural Wexford football championship in February 1887. Later that year, the county would enter teams in both the All-Ireland football and hurling championships – the first time they were played. The early twentieth century was a remarkably successful period for the GAA in Wexford and an All-Ireland in hurling title in 1910 was followed by a remarkable run of football success, the county winning four All-Ireland senior titles in-a-row between 1915 and 1918. Club numbers grew steadily over time, numbering more than 150 by the early 1950s.  This was the decade in which Wexford hurlers carved for themselves a special place in the history of their sport, winning two All-Ireland titles and igniting the imaginations of many with the style of their play.  These victories, together with another All-Ireland in 1968, cemented hurling’s position as the dominant Gaelic game in the county. Almost three decades later, in 1996, Wexford added a sixth All-Ireland title amid scenes of riotous colour and wild celebration. Despite the resuscitation in the county’s football fortunes in the 2000s, a combination of competition from other sports and growing urbanisation has presented new and serious challenges to the GAA in the county.

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Mary Shannon (right) scores a goal for St Patrick's during a camogie match in Wexford in 1968.
©GAA Oral History Project

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An entry in Craanford GAA's minute book from 1913 electing R. Kenny D.C. as the club's new president.
©GAA Oral History Project

Brian Murphy
Anthony Byrne

Brian Murphy, b. 1937

Brian describes Castlebridge's successful attempt to get into the Guinness World Book of Records in 1986 for the longest continuous game of handball.
©GAA Oral History Project


Anthony Byrne, b. 1955

Anthony recalls Wexford's winning of the 1996 All-Ireland hurling final and what it meant to him and the people of the county.
©GAA Oral History Project

'Healthy competition and rivalries are the life blood of the GAA. Long may they continue.  Neighbouring parishes and counties usually provide most rivalries and naturally the bragging rights which go with winning are most heard by your neighbours hence the 'resentment' that goes with it.'
- Eamonn Doyle, 1943
©GAA Oral History Project

'Travelling to county matches was mainly by the old steam trains with plenty of smoke especially when the train going through a tunnel. For the club it was a matter of putting as many as possible into a car which got us to matches outside of the Enniscorthy district. Otherwise it was by bicycle, which was probably more liable to accident than the game itself. It was usually the custom to attend an early mass before games in Dublin when the priest would offer prayers for a victory.'
- Noel Byrne, b. 1948
©GAA Oral History Project

'I attended my first match as a supporter in Croke Park 1984 to see Wexford beat Kilkenny. Tony Doran got the winning goal. I didn't understand the game much then, so when Tony Doran came into our hotel after the game I felt obliged to get his autograph. I had… no paper so I got him to sign a five pound note my mother had given me for the day. An hour later I was given the choice of getting a bar or holding on to the fiver. Easy enough choice at the time but the journey home was all the shorter with the added sugar boost from the chocolate.'
- David Guiney, b. 1970
©GAA Oral History Project

Click here to read a sample of a full length questionnaire: Mairéad O'Connor, b. 1979