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History of Cloone GAA

A brief account of our backgrounnd.

In 1898 a Mr. Fitzsimons set about starting Gaelic football in Cloone. Parish leagues were played in many fields around the parish. In 1906 a local priest called Fr. O’Connell founded the ‘Cloone O’Connells’ GAA club and in this year Cloone became affiliated to the Co. Board. In the 1906/07 season Cloone got its first representation on the county team. John Harte, Charlie Heslin, Michael Mc Cabe and two other men whose surnames were Moran and Duignan represented Leitrim in the early days.

1911 brought the first notable victory with the first of many Senior Championships against Ballinamore in the final. Only one score separated the teams at the finish, that scored by Jimmy Keegan, the Glebe Cloone. This would have been in the days of 21 a side football and the Cloone team was noted for the several sets of brothers on the team.

Around this time there were two teams operating in the parish, the other one being Corduff. The two amalgamated in or around 1925/26 only to have another team formed in the parish called Riverstown. In 1931/32 the two teams amalgamated and formed what proved to be one of the most successful team in the history of club football in Co. Leitrim, winning 9 championships in 17 years. 1934 was the first championship for the amalgamated sides and the captain in that year was Hubie Doherty.

The original ground was a field of John Harte’s. Then what became a more regular ground, ‘The Grange’ was used. This was a fine flat field kindly given by its owners for generations. In the days before developed grounds were used this was one of the finest fields used in the county for football. A sturdy ash tree in the corner was the changing room! This was used up to 1980 when the new pitch was opened by the President of the GAA at the time Padraig O Flionn, with the Artane Boys Band in attendance.

The history of Cloone G.A.A. club is a proud and honourable one. Since their first Championship victory in 1911, Cloone teams, at various levels, have achieved commendable success, and generations of Cloone players have learned the virtues of discipline, courage, determination and sportsmanship. The football club has been the hub of social life in the parish providing lively entertainment for players, supporters and officials. It has been a unifying force in the community contributing enormously to the development of a sense of identity and a unity of purpose.