2019 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Foundaing of O'Loughlin Gaels GAA. This page seeks to look back on the clubs many achievements and milestones recorded since 1969. It will include memorories and thoughts from members and supporters who wish to contribute. Please send articles, photographs and other nostalogia to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will gladly post here.
O’Loughlin Gaels GAA since 1969
As in every other parish and townland the length and breadth of Ireland St. Johns Parish has been synonymous with hurling ‘lore long before the foundation of the GAA. Tales of great rivalries been played out over the hills of Dunmore and Johnswell had been frequently recorded. Not long after the birth of official GAA in 1884 the parish’s first GAA club was established – St. Johns ‘John O’Leary’ Hurling Club in 1887. It was the first of a few variations of GAA clubs established in the parish that competed in both Kilkenny GAA Football and Hurling Championships with varying degrees of success. However it wasn’t until 1969 that a group of locals got together spearheaded by St. Johns Parish curate at the time, Fr. Tom Murphy, and formed the club as we know it today. O’Loughlin Gaels GAA club took its name from a local family who were benefactors of the club. Fr. Murphy enjoyed success himself at inter-county level winning all-Irelands with Kilkenny in 1963 and 1969 and was the driving force behind the clubs formation recognising the importance of uniting the forces within the parish of St. Johns in becoming one strong entity.
From that point O’Loughlin Gaels GAA quickly began to make an impact on the Kilkenny GAA scene winning its first major County Title in 1972 by capturing the Minor Hurling Championship beating The Rower Insitioge. A member of that winning team, Kevin Robinson became the first O’Loughlin Gaels player to captain an All-Ireland winning side when he captained the Kilkenny Minor team when they triumphed over Galway in the All-Ireland Minor Championship of 1973.
The following years has seen the club rise to prominence as one of the most dominant forces in Kilkenny GAA and respected nationwide:
1974 - County Junior Football Champions
1975 - County Junior Hurling Champions
1976 – u21 Hurling & Football Champions
1978 – Intermediate Hurling Champions and Minor Football & Hurling Champions.
Within nine years of the club’s foundation O’Loughlin Gaels GAA had achieved Senior Status and most noteworthy achieved varying degrees of underage successes building a solid and sustainable future for the club. During this period the Club also developed the facilities at Hebron Road for it to become the envy of GAA Clubs and set standards for GAA facilities nationwide.
1980 saw the club achieve its 3rd Minor Hurling County Championship in 8 years and another O’Loughlin Gaels player the honour of captaining and an All-Ireland winning Kilkenny team in 1981 – Eddie Kennedy. 1981 was also the year that O’Loughlin Gaels won the u21 Hurling Championship. In recognition of its sterling administrative work over the years and the clubs growth as sporting organisation the club received the prestigious ‘AIB Club of the Year’ award received by Club Chairman at the time Luke Roche.
The following decade saw poor return with the senior ranks slipping to junior by the time 1994 came around. It was the year however that the Minor Hurling Championship was regained. O’Loughlin Gaels put the heads up and came back fighting and in 1995 achieved Intermediate status again be winning the County Hurling Junior Championship. In 1995 the club won its first ever u14A Hurling Championship and the following year, 1996, the Intermediate title was won and O’Loughlin Gaels GAA announced its return to the senior ranks. The following years brought further success to the St. Johns Park club;
1998 – Minor A Football Championship
1999 – minor A Hurling League, Junior B Hurling Championship
In 2001 O’Loughlin Gaels won the Kilkenny Senior Hurling Championship for the first time beating Graigue-Ballycallan on a scoreline of 1-17 to 1-6 allowing a club player captain a Senior All-Ireland winning side for the first time in 2002 and Andy Comerford became the first O’Loughlin Gaels player to climb the famous Hogan Stand steps and collect the Liam McCarthy cup. The club didn’t have to wait too long for its second County Championship as in 2003 O’Loughlin Gaels were county Champions again when a Martin Comerford inspired side overcame a DJ Carey led Young Irelands of Gowran in a replay 2-12 to 2-10. ( The first game ending O’Loughlin Gaels 3-9 to Young Irelands 2-12). This was also the year that O’Loughlin Gaels achieved its first Leinster Club Hurling Title by beating a very fancied Birr side of Co. Offaly.
O’Loughlin Gaels third Senior Hurling County Championship came in 2010 overcoming a star studded Carrickshock in emphatic fashion. The went on to win another Leinster Club Title with a win over Oulart the Ballagh of Co. Wexford but fell short in their first ever appearance at an All-Ireland Club Final when Clarrinbridge GAA of Galway took the spoils. As County Champions however the club had the honour of selecting the Kilkenny Captain for the following years Intercounty Championship and in 2011 the clubs most decorated player Brian Hogan proudly received the Liam McCarthy cup on behalf of then All-Ireland Champions. 2011 saw the clubs first All-Ireland success with the u14 team winning the Feile na nGael hurling title for the very first time. A great side these lads also had success in the same year in their division of Feile Peil in the same month. The club’s 4th County Title would come in 2016 when a Brian Hogan led side overcame Henry Shefflin’’s Ballyhale Shamrocks
In recent years the club has had unprecedented success at Juvenile Level. County football and hurling titles have regular and are testament to the extensive work and standards set at O’Loughlin Gaels GAA. In 2014 the club achieved Roinn A County Hurling Championship Titles at u14, u16 and Minor and currently hold these titles and all three corresponding Football titles. In this year also the Club won its very first County Seniour Hurling League and Junior B Hurling County Champions has been thrown in for good measure. The Minor win in 2014 allowed minor player , Daniel ‘Doc’ O’Connor climb the steps of the Hogan Stand as Kilkenny Minor Captain in2015 to receive the Inter County Minor Hurling Championship on behalf of Kilkenny. The juvenile success continue each year and the Clubs Roll of Honour makes for healthy reading
O’Loughlin Gaels GAA has over them last half century built itself up to one of the most respected GAA clubs in the country. Its level of success on the field is renowned and holds the status of been one of the top clubs in Kilkenny GAA. In 2019 the club will celebrate 50 years since its foundation and what a journey it’s been since Fr. Tommy Murphy gathered a small group to establish O’Loughlin Gaels GAA Club
(Originally written by Eamon Doyle - edited for updates)
O’Loughlins Handball Club
Since the formation of O’Loughlins GAA Club in 1969, O’Loughlins Handballers have won over 120 All
Ireland Championships as well as World and US Titles.
Since our first Juvenile Players Mark Hayes and Jim Delaney won All Irelands, O’Loughlins players
have won 22 Juvenile All Irelands with players like Joe Daly, Willie O’Neill, James Burke, Maurice
Nolan, Kirk Greene, Luke Greene, Claire Mulholland, Timmy Clifford, Keith Bourke and Edel
Nicky Reilly and Eddie Burke have won World Championships while Billy Bourke and Keith Bourke
have been successful at the US Nationals.
Our most prolific player was Eddie Leahy who has won over 20 All Ireland Titles while other multiple
All Ireland Champions include Philly Parsons, Billy Bourke, Michael Nolan, Joe Hennessy, Jim O’Neill,
Con Moore, Rebecca Mulholland, Keith Bourke, Eddie Burke, Jim Dooley, Chris Dunne, Billy Walsh,
Paddy Reilly, Kirk Greene and Gerry Murphy.
O’Loughlins Handball teams have won 10 Club Championships at Junior B, Junior and Open grades.
Billy Bourke won 2 Senior Hardball Championships for the Club.
We have hosted County, Leinster and All Ireland Finals in all grades including at Senior level where
we were considered the top venue in Ireland with players like Paul Brady, Tony Healy, Eoin Kennedy,
Michael Finnegan, Tom Sheridan, Ducksy Walsh and Dessie Keegan competing.
Con Moore has served as County Secretary, Leinster Chairman, President of GAA Handball,
Secretary, Vice President and President of the World Handball Council and had the privilege of
opening the new Handball Court in O’Loughlins in 1999. I would like to pay tribute to the people who
were behind this development including Eamon Doyle, Luke Roche, Sean Tyrrell, Anthony Bergin and
Coleman Loughnane and many others who helped in Finance and Development.
WATCH HIGHLIGHTS OF WORLD HANDBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS FEATURING O'LOUGHLIN GAELS GAA & HANDBALL CLUB AS A TOP VENUE
O’Loughlins Handball Courts hosted the World Handball Championships in 2003 which was a
mammoth task with over 800 players competing. We hosted the 1-Wall Worlds in the GYM which we
converted into 3 Courts and what a fantastic event this was with top New York Players competing.
Since 1982 O’Loughlins players have won County, Leinster, All Ireland and World Titles and
continued to 2018 when Philly Parsons, Eddie Burke and Joe Hennessy won All Irelands.
Andy Comerford - Captain Senior Co. Champions 2001 and Captain Kilkenny All-Ireland Champions 2002
My memories of the 2001 County Final are feeling brilliant ..super!!. After been defeated the previous year we sat in O'Gormans the folowing day and after twelve pints and having watched the match over again, we figured with a bit of improvement we could win the thing the following year!
We were nervous in the week before the 2001 final but we committed in a meeting the previous night that we'd win..nothing else crossed our minds after that. We were really motivated and each member of the team chased every ball that day no matter where it was. I remember having a pint with Paddy Dwyer the next day and he said there was three O'Loughlins lads tackling one Ballycallan man every time.
The celebrations were unreal ..guitars, banjo's and even lads writing songs!!. It was great for the likes of Barry Power, Michael Holohan, Brian Kelly and Johnny Holohan who played underage all up along without winning a single medal. Brilliant memories...some a bit fuzzy after all the celebrations!!!
O’Loughlin Gaels means many things to many people of many ages. As one involved from the club’s beginnings, I am asked here by our PRO Eoin to document my view of what the club is all about and what it means to me.
Back in the mid 1970s, when we had just built our clubrooms and we were in court seeking a Club Licence, I recall being asked somewhat the same question by the Judge who wanted to know what were the objectives of this club. Having just reacquainted himself with the relevant law, he then very helpfully rephrased his question and asked me if the club would be providing ‘rational recreation and social intercourse’, just like the law apparently required. I assured him that it would and he duly granted the licence. So at one level, there you have it. That’s what our club is about. No different to what the gentlemens’ clubs were about all those years before and for whom those laws were obviously framed. So ever since, when there’s a ‘dust up’ around the square in the closing minutes of a game and all hell is breaking loose, it’s nice to know that this is just a bit of ‘rational recreation and social intercourse’.
At the everyday level of course the club is about hurling, football, handball and camogie. It’s about the various competitions and games, the people who play them, the officials who guide them, the supporters who follow them and all those who help to run, promote and fund them. A place for everyone, everyone with a place and unsung heroes everywhere. And that is still but part of it.
The GAA for me is ultimately about community - about pride of place, local identity and a sense of belonging. They were the reasons why, from the outset, the GAA wanted its clubs to be based on parish. These features of place, identity and togetherness are inherent parts of who GAA people are, we value them, we don’t forget them and they are undoubtedly the GAA’s and the club’s greatest assets. Our club logo is designed to portray as much. It’s why we fly and face our flag.
In larger towns and cities where the vagaries of life and urban sprawl puts pressure on these concepts, local county committees are required to identify club bases separately and the notion of a parish GAA community can sometimes get lost. For instance, hurling in Kilkenny city in the 1960s was a complex world where some dozen or so clubs at some stage or other fielded teams. Some, though not all, were content to register a name and a colour and be happy to compete - often with little sense of place, identity or belonging outside of fielding that team. But that was yesterday. Today it’s different. The GAA world of the city and its environs has changed and become closer to embracing those original concepts. O’Loughlin Gaels claim St. John’s as our base and all involved have good reason to be part of that identity.
"And by the way, isn’t it also nice to know that our club’s current stage productions and performances, castings, costumes and choreography, dancing, dramatics and direction are all part of this ‘rational recreation and social intercourse’ programme of ours - just as old Judge Fawsitt envisaged all those years ago. Unsung heroes all!
(Written by Eamonn Doyle, Founding Member of O'Loughlin Gaels GAA, on the occasion of our Lipsync Battles Fundraiser December '19)
As we celebrate 50 years of O'Loughlin Gaels GAA this page seeks to look back on our successes and achievements and record our celebrations. It will includes members and supporters thoughts on what their club means to them.