The History of Parteen GAA Club
An extract from the book “A History Of Parteen” by Donal O’Riain
The founding of the G.A.A on the 1st November, 1884 was the catalyst for the formation of many clubs in the subsequent years. Parteen’s participation in the revival was first documented by The Munster News and the Limerick & Clare Advocate of Wednesday, 26th August, 1885.
In the beginning, Parteen Gaelic Athletic sport catered for many codes including hurling, football, running events and various strength endurances. Names such as E. O’Grady, J.J. Manning, H. O’Dea, R. Frost were some of the first parish winners at the time.
The Clare Examiner of the 9th February, 1887, reported on the first county convention of the G.A.A. Parteen delegates are not listed, but there was a general problem at the time with club affiliation. In November 1888 Parteen became affiliated to the board and was represented at the convention by W. Browne and W. O’Dea. The main axis of power for hurling seemed to move about the parish, for example, towards the close of the century shortly after the Parnellite debacle, Shanakyle formed a team, the backbone of which were Simon Pierce, the Meehan brothers, Mick, Denny and Paddy, John Garvey, Mike McMahon and Pat ‘Marshall’ McMahon. Patsy Kelly and Jim Sullivan were the stars of this team and both won the long-puck competition in neighbouring Limerick.
Matches were played in Clune’s field the prize a half barrel of porter that would arrive by donkey. In 1902, Blackwater subsequently took up the banner, with the assistance of players from Meelick and Coonagh, Blackwater reached the Clare football championship semi-final against Newmarket-on-Fergus. A draw was a result of the semi-final and the team met again on August 31. On that occasion Newmarket-on-Fergus won. One month later the Limerick Leader reported on a match between Ennis Dalcassians and Blackwater. Reports claimed the match ‘was the most interesting football contest played in Clare that season. Players such as M. Madden, James O’Sullivan and E. O’Dwyer represented Shanakyle, with Martin O’Grady and William Kennedy representing Blackwater. Michael O’Neill was selected for the county football team that year. In 1904 Shanakyle came back into their own playing Mainister, Co. Limerick. The match was played at the Market’s Field in Limerick (now the cities dog racing track) there is no result of the match. The next record of a Shanakle team is May 1909. A match that took place between Shanakle and Kilmurry, with two minutes to go and two points up Shanakle walked of the pitch for some unexplained reason, the referee on the day James Fitzgerald had no option but to award the game to Kilmurry.
The power station was one of the catalysts that helped form the club. Thousands of workers assisted in the building of the Ardnacrusha power station. Calling themselves the “Shannon Schemers” they played and trained in the field at the back of the present post-office. With the club registered, the club fielded two teams and many joined in the games even the German contractors. In one such match the referee John Walsh from Cratloe reported to the county board that four languages were used. English, Irish, German and bad language. At that time Charley Downey was Chairman, Jimmy Ryan was Secretary and the money man (treasurer) was Christy Prenderville. With the completion of the station the Schemers team disbanded and the games in the parish returned to normal.
After defeats in the thirties, many of the older players called it a day and more emigrated. Many new names emerged, the Smalls, the Maddens, the Buckleys, the O’Briens, the Fahys, the Rosmadda O’Gradys and the O’Hallorans. Father Joseph Shinnors came to Parteen and was the first priest to play an active role in promoting hurling among the youth. Over the following years a nucleus of players began to emerge and they won their first title under the Ardnacrusha name in 1945. This team is still regarded by those who remember them as some of the best players to represent Parteen. With Tommy Small as captain Ardnacrusha began their crusade with a win over Sixmilebridge, then came Broadford and then Tulla. These wins earned the team a place in the Junior A hurling championship where they met Tubber. After an epic battle Ardnacrusha beat Tubber on a score line of 6-2 to 3-6. There is a further twist to this tail and it can be found in a book called “Páirtin 1885-1985”.
It was a cool beginning for the Junior B players as the 1949 championship was postponed until Easter Sunday 1950. The game will be remembered as it was played in a snowstorm. Like most historical events the history of Parteen/Ardnacrusha is peppered with saga’s, the road to the Ardnacrusha v Caherann (in the Clooney parish) was full of drama. Ardnacrusha played and beat O’Gonnelloe, only to find out that the referee had reported that Ardnacrusha had arrived late and so ordered that the match be replayed. In the replay it was O’Gonnelloe who were late and even though O’Gonnelloe won on the day, the match official ordered a further replay. Not having to be asked a third time Ardnacrusha emerged the winners.
Then came the long wait. Read further reports in “Páirtin 1885-1985”. Ardnacrusha contested their last Juvenile final under that name in 1951 in a game against Bodyke. In the early fifties, a group of hurlers from the Shanakyle area set about forming their own team. In the early years the games were held after mass in the field behind Gus O’Driscoll’s bar in Corbally and indeed featured the said Mayor of Limerick on occasions. Shanakyle players came from its own townland and the adjoining areas of Athlunkard, Clonoughter, Clonchree and Gilogue. The Whistle Whippers were at home with the boggy conditions behind O’Driscolls.
Enter the “Yank” Mike Woods. Mike Woods was originally from Feakle but had emigrated to America. On his return he won £50,000 in the Irish Sweepsstake. This was fortunate for Parteen, as Mike decided to settle in the parish. Mike was elected as Chairman in 1954 and with his leadership and financial good fortunes began the rebuild of the club. This was the year that the name Parteen GAA became official. In 1955 the club was promoted to the senior rank but this was short lived. One of the stories of the AGM of 1956 was the belated presentation of medals to the juveniles of 1951 and the juniors of 1954. The story goes that the medals for the successful juveniles were lost and a new set had to be acquired.
The early sixties saw a revival in the parish with the return of many players that had transferred to other clubs. Emigration had slowed and there was a positive economic outlook. One of the driving forces of Parteen/Meelick was none other than Mattie Larkin. Others in the area responsible for driving the club forward were Robin O’Connell, Billy Gavin and Seamus McMahon. A club is only as strong as its members and over the coming years Parteen were lucky to have had some of the best. Between 1970 and 1978 Parteen opted to play Junior A hurling, Junior football, one juvenile team and the newly inaugurated East Clare League. Parteen defeated Clonlara(a neighbouring parish) in the final in Tulla. True to say that HILL 16 in Tulla saw some celebrations that day in June. Outstanding performances by McMahon, Larkin, Flynn, Spring, Mackey, Corkery, Malone and Hally helped Parteen to victory. Scores by Brendan Ryan 0-7, Billy Ryan 1-3 and C. Prenderville1-0 making the score Parteen 2-10 to Clonlara 0-5. The win was also recorded by Donal Ryan in verse and is just one of the interesting tales in the book “Páirtin 1885-1985”.
Another great victory around then was when Parteen beat St. Patrick’s in the junior hurling final at Blackwater. Inter-county player Noel Bridgeman set the game in motion. Team list was P. Corkery, S.McMahon, J. Wall, W. Sherlock, M. Flynn, K. Dalton, M. Larkin, J. Hickey, M. O’Connor, A. Sheehan, B. Ryan (capt), J. Pierce, K. Spring, C. Prenderville G. Mackey. Final score Parteen 4-10 to St. Patrick’s 3-3. In 1972 it was decided that the club would initiate a recruitment drive and membership numbers reached the 169 mark the highest at the time. However there was trouble on the horizon. Late that year something happened to split the club, it concerned a decision made on 18th September to sub-let the pitch in Blackwater to Bohemians Rugby Football Club for winter games. Despite the £30 rent, at a time when Parteen needed finance, any inclination to sub-let was temporarily resisted. All was amicable, until a rugby fixture was printed in the Limerick Weekly Echo and the venue was Blackwater. Not only were some players unhappy the club received a stern letter from the Munster Council. Further detail can be read in the book “Pártin 1885-1985”. Donal O’Riain the club secretary had his hands full trying to manage the situation.
On a happier note, in 1978 two hundred guests attended the awarding of medals to the under 12 team who had recently beaten Ahane in a juvenile final Roll on the eighties, Sunday September 1981 was a proud day for the club. It was the day we opened the gates to our new and present home at Lanahrone, following a blessing by Fr. Griffin P.P. There was a full range of activities to mark the day and was the building block to where we are today.
So far we have made no mention of camogie. Despite the best efforts, camogie never really flourished, that was until 1968 stars such as Mary O’Shea, Kathleen White, Mary Nix, Veronica Haskett, Geraldine McCarthy, Maureen O’Connor, Netta Lyons, Lillian Prenderville, Joan Spring, Marian Spring, Cora Griffin, Irene Keogh, Eileen O’Connell, and Helen Cherry. Then there was a break and in 1973 a revival occurred. However it was not until 1981 that the game took off again here is just a few of the 1985 team, Catriona Burns, Christina McLoughlin, Mary Lonergan, Jenifer Martin (capt), Simmone Devitt, Kay Collins, Fiona Kinsilla, Mary Martin, Angela Nash, Jacqueline Gorey, Ann Marie Ryan, Sebina Sheehan, Rita Buckley and Caroline Kinsilla.
1984 was the centenary of the GAA and also marked the official opening of the Lanahrone pitch. Lanahrone hosted the first ever inter-county game in the South-East Clare region. Clare and Limerick competed for the Mackey Perpetual Trophy. The Chairman at this historic time was Pat O’Loughlan a long standing member of the club. Pat welcomed both GAA officials and the general public and Pauline Martyn cut the tape concluding the official opening. The club would like to thank all who had a part in the works at Lanahrone and even to this day we continue to develop the field and follow their dream.
Much of the following is written as a diary rather that a history but will in time still give a history on our club
Since 1984 Parteen St. Nicholas GAA club has seen many changes, the development of the Westbury housing scheme, the success of rugby in the Limerick and the Munster area and the growth of the many soccer clubs in the area. Where as all this is good news for the many adults and children in the area it has had some affect on the club. Concentrating on the positive’s, the club has had successes both on and off the field. We have won many competitions at different ages down through the years and provided the new area of Lanahrone, Westbury with a community based GAA club, we have been blessed with some skilled players who have succeeded in playing for Clare. The Club caters for many teams adult, under 21’s, minor, under 16’s, under 15’s, under 14’s, under 12’s, under 10’s, under 8’s and under 6’s. We are lucky to have people who give of their free time to nurture our national games and who provide a healthy, active and social outlet for all. Form the chairman to the valued member, each giving of their talents to make the club what it is today. The club is financed by our weekly lotto and all monies raised are invested back into the club. Over the last few years we have drained the main pitch at a considerable cost and fenced all of the grounds this to discourage anti social behaviour. The action of fencing our grounds was not to exclude the local children but to protect it from vandalism, something that is raring its ugly head more and more across our country. Our aim would be to provide a professional and self financing venue where the community at large can enjoy the clubs facilities and where the club can become a more integrated member of the community.
In 2005 Parteen St. Nicholas GAA Club contested the following
Junior A Hurling Championship. Won 2006 will now see the club playing in the Intermediate Div.
Minor B Hurling Championship. Lost by one point 2006 sees the Minors in the B Div.
Under 12’s Hurling Championship Lost to near neighbours Meelick 2006 Sees this team progress as some players move up to the under 14’s team
Under 12’s C Football Championship Won 2006 Sees this age group trying to compete in a higher Div.
2006 sees the welcomed return of Camogie to the parish and hopefully this will be the beginning of a ladies section in the club which has been sadly lacking. Parteen retained their Intermediate status this year they defeated Sixmilebridge in the final encounter to qualify for this competition in 2007. Our Minors were defeated at the semi final stage of the minor championship. Our under age structure continues to improve but like all clubs we need support. 2006 saw the launch of the clubs plan. The plan is a challenging plan and one we felt was long over due. In 2007 we hope to complete phase 1 of the plan. Phase 1 will see the development of an all weather pitch and ball court. All these plans are dependant on planning and lotto funding.
2007 saw the launch of ladies football. One of the fasted growing sports in the country ladies football is proving to be a winner and it is also a great social outlet for the ladies in the parish. As stated in November of 2006 we applied for planning permission and this was granted , however the objectors have now appealed this decision to a higher level (as is their right) and we await the final result. We have a few issues still left to overcome but it is our hope that work will commence on the all weather pitch shortly.
On the 8th of July 2007 a bit of history was made in Lanahrone. We hosted the Ladies All Ireland semi final between Cork and Galway and we were very proud to get the opportunity to host the event. The competition was a Minor football semi final. and Cork won on a day that even the cats and dogs avoided. It started to rain heavily at 5pm (30 minutes before the game) and did not stop until almost 8pm. It was a great team building exercise for all involved and a testimony to the projects we can complete when minds are focused. “Nothing focuses the mind like the task on hand”
Football is thriving in East Clare and following the Junior B win in 2006 our footballers endeavoured to go one better in 2007
2007 Saw the Junior B Footballers win the League again but at a higher grade. Our opponents were our friends from the west Moy. Yes it was a carbon copy of the 2006 final but Parteen again prevailed. Our 16’s hurlers teamed up with Meelick and won the 16’s Championship Div. B. Our Intermediate team maintained their Intermediate status and our underage received a huge boost in numbers following Limerick’s All Ireland Final appearance. Our under 16’s footballers also contested a final only to be beaten by near neighbours Clonlara.
2008 started with our club forming two clubs in one, the adult board who were responsible for teams minor and above and a juvenile club responsible for teams 16 and under. The decision to divide the club was made at the AGM in December 2007 and was on trial for three years. The aim of the new juvenile club was to build the number of children involved in the club and also to attract new adult members who were willing to help the juvenile set up but were no interested in getting involved in the management of the club. 2008 saw Parteen/Meelick under 21’s play in the A division and reach a semi final place against near neighbours Clonlara. Clonlara went on to win the title but the assisted Parteen/Meelick certainly gave them something to think about. On the intermediate side of the game our hurlers were robbed in my opinion in Ogennalloe when playing Killenana. Up by five points and with what seemed to most as the end of the game the referee played six extra minutes to the amazement of most including Killenana and the game ended in a draw. Second time out Parteen could have no complaints as Killenana were the better team on the day. So our intermediated missed out on playing in a semi final. Our Junior B footballers are going through a rebuild campaign with a lot of new and young talent coming through but over 2008 however in terms of football was one to forget. Work started on phase 1 of the clubs development plan. We got final planning from An Bord Pleanala in July of 2008 but the weather was the main reason for the hold up. In late November 2008 the machinery entered the gates of Lanahrone and by Christmas the surface was ready for the fencing and laying of astro pitch. The all weather pitch is a fantastic training facility and will allow teams to train all year if necessary. The facility is ideal for the late winter training/early spring,when fields are at their worst. 2009 saw the opening of the astro-turf facility for the club and the official launch was in November of 2010.On Saturday 13th of November Parteen St.Nicholas G.A.A. club officially opened their new astro turf pitch. Present were Chairman of the Clare county board Michael O’Neill, Secretary Pat Fitzgerald, Munster Council delegate Robert Frost, Fr.Johnny Daly, Fr Liam Kelly and members of Parteen G.A.A. past and present. Fr Johnny blessed the facility. Also in July 2010, the whole car park area was tarmaced and spaces for 120 cars was provided.
Recent History ,
Updated Feb 2016
Since the Juvenile committee was set up in 2008 there has been a steady increase both in playing numbers and coaching numbers at hurling and camogie, along with silverware being won. The GAA's central drive to improve coaching means the majority of club coaches have completed or in the process of completing Foundation level courses. Many have subsequently progressed to Level 1 and Level 2 qualifications. Outside of formal qualifications, there have also been many internal coaching events and as well as attendance at external events by club coaches seeking to expand on their knowledge on topics as diverse as the core hurling skills, nutrition, drugs awareness, mental skills etc.
On the fundraising side, the club continues to run a successful Lotto. Supplementing the club Lotto has been a focus for both the Senior club and Juvenile club. This has led to many community focussed events such as Leg Shave, Table Quiz, Dinner dance, BBQ, Bingo nights, participation in the Great Limerick Run to name but few.
The club also saw silverware arriving during this time.
In 2009 the U15 team became hurling County Champions.
In 2010 Parteen (as part of Clare) hosted Feile when the hurlers and camogie players took part.
The date of Cul camp was changed in 2011 which proved more popular and the club started running Easter camps the same year.
The number of kids attending these camps reached over 100 in 2014/2015.
In 2011 the U14 team reached the shield final in B division.
16 club players represented Clare in Hurling and Football in 2011.
2011 saw the clubs U21s become U21C county champions for the first time ever. They finally broke their duck winning a tough competition. So close yet so far in recent years, Parteen went into the final quietly confident against a much fancied Feakle-Killanena side. A tense & fast encounter ended in a draw. The replay was held in Tulla on Good Friday. Parteen went out to the field & were ready to ensure nothing would stop them from bringing home the trophy.
That year also saw Parteen's Joe O Connor making a great contribution in helping Clare become the All-Ireland Intermediate Champions.
The end of season haul saw club players bring home medals at Munster and ALL Ireland Intermediate, Munster, Minor and the Harty cup.
2012 saw more success but this time it was the turn of the footballers when the U21 football team became champions under the management of Eoghan Mannion, Ned O Connor & Peter Long
Planning permission was submitted and approved for a new sports hall. This came after much hard work on the part of the club's facilities group.
2013 saw the U14C camogie win the shield. They went on to represent the club at that year's Feile (Parteen being a host club as Limerick was hosting the competition).
In 2014 the U14C hurlers won the Shield plate and the U16C camogie (amalgamated with Cratloe) reached the final of the county. The same year saw the return of football after some years when the U11 team entered a November East-Clare league.
There was great excitement for the club when Parteen Intermediates reached the county final for the first time in 58 years. The parish turned out in force to support the lads. A good start from Feakle proved insurmountable despite a strong second half showing from Parteen. This is still a young talented squad and their time will come again.
Since 2005 we have being consistently represented by club players on the Clare county minor hurling panels and on various underage county development squads right up to 2015 when Shane Reddy and Nathan Fox made the Clare Minor panel with Nathan as Captain.
In 2015 also, Eimear Kelly, a former Parteen player playing club senior for Truagh/Clonlara made the Clare Senior camogie team.
In this year also the u13 girls reached the cup final in the C group which was a great achievement for the young girls. Unfortunately the girls couldn't sustain their lead in the 2nd half and Clarecastle won.
The Intermediate team were promoted to div 1B of the Clare Senior League – Clare Cup competition.
Outside of playing 2015 was a busy year for the club. In February there was a presentation to members with a 'Parteen Juvenile Club Plan for a One Club model'. A structures group followed and a Club forum was then held in Oct. There was a great turnout for this forum and it brought members a lot closer when everyone became aware of our strengths & how they can enhance the future of this club. Plans were also made to work on the weaknesses.
All the hard work by the various group and committees was worth while when in Dec 2015 the club voted in the 'informal One club model' with a new 15 person Executive committee.
This new structure demonstrates a new era for Parteen GAA Club. It will harness the current energy of people involved to drive this development.
2016 started as a busy year with the various sub committees working hard with great energy and plans for Parteen GAA and Camogie. As the building of the new clubhouse is due to commence very soon the various age groups are training for the year ahead. This year the hurlers have amalgamated with Meelick GAA from U12s up to U21s to help player numbers and allow the boys to play a higher grade of hurling.
The future is bright for Parteen GAA and camogie.