Aghamore GAA history coming out soon

Photo: @AghamoreGAA

Long-term followers of the blog will, I’m sure, know that Aghamore holds a special place in my heart. I’m delighted, then, to give a push to a book that’s due out next month chronicling the history of Aghamore GAA club.

The book is the brainchild of retired teacher Jackie Coyne who, back in 2013, came up with the idea of putting together an in-depth history of the club. Together with his committee, Jackie is now ready to unveil a 450-page hardback book – The History of the GAA in Aghamore – documenting the cultural and social activities of the GAA in the parish of Aghamore over the past 128 years.

Mayo GAA games promotion officer Adrian Hession – who has guested here on the site – recently interviewed Jackie about the work he’s put in over the past four years in bringing this impressive historical endeavour to fruition. This interview is available on the Mayo Newshere.

In it, Jackie provides clarity to the debate that briefly bubbled up here on the site the other week about Annagh Rovers. As he explains, the very first registered Aghamore team – look at the cut of them in the photo below – went to battle in 1889 under the Annagh Rovers banner. Fast forward 128 years and the same moniker has now been adopted for the amalgamation at minor level of Aghamore and Ballyhaunis GAA clubs.

Photo: Mayo News/Jackie Coyne

The book also includes, I’m sure, plenty on the glory days of the Seventies, a period I lived through as a teenager and well recall. It was then – following a different amalgamation, this one with Kilmovee to form the short-lived Shamrocks – that the club won its first and so far only senior county football title. That was in 1977 and the final against Garrymore – who were themselves bidding to complete a four-in-a-row of Moclair Cup successes – went to a replay before the Shamrocks, belting in a glut of goals, finally came out on top by 4-6 to 0-13. That’s them, by the way, in the photo at the beginning of the post.

The official launch of the book takes place in exactly a month’s time. It’s a good time to do it, as that’s the weekend of the Mayo/Sligo (or New York) Connacht SFC quarter-final. The launch will be held at the Park Hotel, Kiltimagh, throw-in 9pm (preceded by Mass in Aghamore church at 7pm) and special guests on the night will include the legendary Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh. Full details on the launch are here.

I’d love to get there myself for the event and maybe I will but I’ve got to be up here for another engagement (Communion-related) on the Saturday and then, of course, I’ll have to get to MacHale Park for the match the day after. Two return trips to the West in the one weekend might be a stretch but sure we’ll see. It’s not every day that an event like this happens.

Best of luck to Jackie and his colleagues and to Aghamore GAA (and Annagh Rovers too) for the book’s launch. I have to admit that I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

40 thoughts on “Aghamore GAA history coming out soon

  1. In 1978 that Shamrocks team were beaten by the Mitchels in the semi final in as good a club match as i have seen Castlebar went on to win the final. Talking of barren spells Castlebar did not win a single championship game from ithink the end of 71 to 78 . Look at them now.

  2. Great book and photo Willie Joe.
    In the 1970s team photo the guy in the back left I wonder is he a relative of Alan Freeman? If you tighten up the haircut he would look very similar.

  3. Guy in back left of photo is Ollie Bolton, a great midfielder. His nephew is Emmet Bolton who plays or played for Kildare. That was a great team. Pity they split up from Kilmovee as at the time that was a strong club at most age groups. Split was definitely not caused by the players, but there had been some wrangling about the name of the club for a while. There were 10 guys from Aughamore parish and 5 from Kilmovee on that team. They could have gone on to win more though in fairness a lot of those players were in the later stages of their careers having lost to Garrymore in consecutive Co Finals in the mid 70s. If ever a group of players deserved a co title, those lads did. A bit similar to our county team in pursuit of that elusive AI crown.

  4. I’m surprised that Aghamore and Ballyhaunis are amalgamating at minor level esp. considering Aghamore are current U21 champions. I know these thing go in cycles and having a very good underage team at one point does not mean that you will always have good teams. But surely the numbers are not so small that all players from both clubs will get games as a result of the amalgamation?

  5. I think if you asked both clubs they would probably say they only have 10 / 11 players (certainly not enough to fulfill fixtures) but the question for all clubs is how many players turned up at 12 or 14 and how many stopped playing.
    This is pertinent given the ESRI report a few years back noting the significant fall off in numbers from the GAA as oposed to other codes.
    Each club must be aware of the numbers starting at 8-10 years and ensuring they enjoy going “up to the pitch”.
    Someone delivering a foundation coaching course summed up when a coach would know it was a good session – when he/she saw how many turned up the following week. As a friend observed if it was a good session pester power would bring them back.

  6. Congrats to Aghamore on such a great venture. Are three of these players Jimmy Burke…..Jimmy Lyons and is it possible Tim Snee of 1966 minor fame? And could another be Adrian Durcan? Would anyone name them all out there?

  7. I think Jimmy B is third from the left at the back and Jimmy L is fifth – cant help with the rest.

  8. I can’t name them all, Inbetweener, but I’ll try to find someone who can. A few I can, for definite, are Jimmy Burke (back row, third from left), Johnny Walshe (fourth from left), Jimmy Lyons (fifth from left), Tim Snee (seventh from left), Mick Burke (front row, first on the left), Tim Groarke (second from left), Ray Folliard (captain, fourth from left), Adrian Durkin (fifth from left) and Johnny Burke (sixth from left).

  9. I think John O Brien of Shanvaghera is second from left in back row. Thanks for the article Willie Joe, definitely a book to look out for.

  10. inbetweener
    the only player I cant name is the goalie, apologises.
    back left to right
    Ollie Bolton, John O Brien, Jimmy Bourke.. Goalie ??? Jimmy Lyons, Pat Durkan, Tim Snee, Fr Padraic Costello
    Front left to right
    Mickey Bourke, Tim Groake, Tom Mcloughlin, Ray Folliard, Adrian Durcan, Johnny Bourke , Richard Costello

    Three Bourkes bros, two Costellos and two Durcans

  11. What year was that photo taken? Adrian Durkin played I think wing back for Mayo in the late 70’s. Jimmy Burke played until the late 80’s incl Meath in 88. Also there was a mighty midfielder Sean O’Grady who played in early 70’s with Willie Magee, Joe Corcoran, John Morley etc. How did a Connacht title escape that bunch in the 70’s

  12. Willie Joe filled the blank,
    just spotted Willie Joe post now, John Walsh was cul baire (Gentleman, how could I forget him ! )

  13. Back (LtoR): Ollie Bolton, John OBrien, Jimmy Burke, John Walsh, Jimmy Lyons, ????, Tim Snee, Padriag Costello.
    Front (LtoR): Mickie Burke, Tim Groarke, Tom McLoughlin, Ray Folliard, Adrian Durkin, Johnny Burke, ?????.

  14. Thanks Tommie. On second thoughts was it U21 that Adrian Durkin played with Mayo- not senior. I think he may have been on that team that won the all-ireland in 74.

  15. Sorry WJ JP Keane captained Mayo JP O Kane captained Antrim in the final they won minor in 71 u21 in 74 JP was captain on both teams.

  16. Tks all for enlightenment! Pictures like these don’t half light up the past. Would agree that A Durcan prob didn’t play on senior team for some reason but was a lovely half back. And recall Ray Folliard had a few goes for mayo early 70s! Was JJ Costello, classy Mayo goalie of this team? Maybe had retired along with Sean OGrady by then!
    Notable too is J Lyons minor ’78 on same team as Tim Snee minor ’66 !

  17. There were some early 40’s Aghamore players still playing around 1999-2000. By any chance some of the youngest guys from that team played through? Be gas if I managed to actually play against some of that team in junior and Canon Henry.

  18. Well Bohola …mickey Kerins was one reason in ’75 we well remember…what a player! And I suppose we weren’t good enough the rest of that decade but I recall them to be exciting times all the same. You always felt that when things were so so they couldn’t but improve and hopes were always high!
    That great team had its hay days in the sixties and now it was heading into a long long period of transition after tasting success with the League win ’70…only to be ambushed by R in first round of the championship….ochon!!!

  19. Jaysus, look what I’ve started now! Thanks for that further correction, VinnieB. I’ve now consulted the oracle (The Complete Handbook on Gaelic Games) to confirm that JP Kean was the minor captain in 1971 and Johnny Culkin was indeed the U21 captain in 1974. Apologies all for the confusion.

  20. Very good point made above by Corner Back regarding under age coaching and how a club who have won back to back U21A finals fails to field a minor team. The fall off from U12 onwards is alarming. This is an issue that I think all clubs need to address, are underage teams being coached with the club’s future in mind or coached for short term, win every game, get your best 4 or 5 best players on the ball and the rest of ye keep out of the way mentality. From what I’ve seen even at U10, U12 it’s the latter that coaches go for. The problem is as Jim mcGuinness wrote in his book every team has 4 or 5 good players who will always be good but as you go up the age brackets their impact lessens. Coaches need to concentrate on the bottom 8/9/10 players and improve these players. This will keep the numbers up as these weak players are the first to drop off but it will also improve the team. Clubs like ballyhaunis and aghamore need to look at their coaching methods, population is not the reason why either cannot field a minor team.

  21. I think generally coaches and clubs have a broad sense of the value of sport and physical exercise in the lives of young kids. They all go through the same skills and training drills.
    I know many younsters in Westport participate in team traing even though they may get very little actual game time. They are always made feel welcome and the club provides a.great service for the benefit of community. Hard work by all voluntary workers but very appreciated.

  22. @OnTheDitch Westport are togging B teams at I think all grades from U12 through to minor which is brilliant.
    Players no matter what their level want to play in matches even coming on as a sub.
    What crushes the spirit of young players is the absence of game time. Eventually they just pack it in.
    I wouldn’t say after U12 is the dangeous time. In my view after U16 is a disaster in a lot of clubs. Minor is usually a very badly handled grade. At minor level and being still U17 I had to train with the seniors. Putting skinny 10 stone 16 year old kids in with division one men was crazy stuff. The drop out rate was huge. We barely togged a minor team the next year having to fill out the team with U16s.
    I believe the club learned their lessons as they went back to training minors separately. I think it was an exercise in fast tracking the stronger star minors into the senior team. A fruitless exercise as they lost so many solid players from the club as a consequence.

  23. There is a thirteen minute clip on youtube showing parts of the 1977 replay and presentation of cup. Put up by Garrymore a few years ago. Eamon McAndrew managed/coached that team. Coached me at schoo and club level later on. Pity he was taken from us so early. Great coach and teacher.

  24. @jp I agree with all of that. The hurdle is to get them to u 16. Thats where the challenge is. GAA Training has extended to strength and conditiong and more general physical health and wellbeing. Also clubs are a great gathering point for young lads. Should help that minor goes to u 17.
    I agree with your other point too re rushing talented lads into training with seniors. I hope we havent done it with Fergal Boland. I think he went off the boil has the league campaign progressed though it was pretty obvious he was going to need a little time to progress. We have to be patient…anyway onwards and upwards

  25. Good point by puckout too re coaching methods. I always feel a good question to ask yourself as a coach/ trainer at the end of a session is ,”now what did the weakest ones in my group get out of that” , the fringe players are the ones you want to see coming back, then its a job well done

  26. Regarding underage, there is undoubtedly a large portion dropping out of underage as there are in alot of sports. I would say games have alot to do with it, young guys just want to play games, are some guys marginalised as they dont get enough time on the field. Secondly what type of training is being carried out at underage, say u14 & u16? Is there is a big win at all costs attitude is the training focused on defensive structures, S&C etc and not actually kicking ball. Underage sport should be fun pure and simple, if its fun they will stay at it. If i had a young fella and he came home telling me stories of training being all defensive, tactics, little ball work etc he wouldnt be going back the next day.

  27. Mayomad, I was recently talking to a very good senior club football player, currently playing senior for his club. He recently lined out for his club side in a junior match, said he enjoyed it far more. Less tactics, systems and more automny. If it was up to him he would continue to play for the junior’s because he enjoyed it far more. But it won’t be left up to him. . Last Saturday I watched Donegal V Dublin in the U21’s semifinal. I expected big things from Donegal with so many of their players impressing on the senior team. But if ever a team was over coached, retaining possession, retaining possession and the adventure curtailed out of them, they were at least capable of being as good as Dublin, but almost afraid to go for the win . For amature players, enjoyment has to be a higher priority, otherwise what can we expect, players will go to other sports dwindling attendance even further. Game’s in which Mayo and Dublin played in the 2016 championship, accounted for over half of the entire championship attendance of last year, in fairness both teams give it a right lash at playing the game the way it should be played.

  28. just to clarify an earlier comment – it was meant in a generic sense and not directed at Aghamore or Ballyhaunis – as I think it goes without saying any club that keeps going in the face of the competition of other sporting codes and the new attractions for the developing teenager are doing well and in any case success should not be measured in silverware but in the continuity in playing numbers.
    Re the fall off age I think it needs to reviewed down to 14 and at that it would be helpful to classify it further as unnecessary fall off as there will always be some who opt out regardless of the coaching/management. When I was a kid it was 18-21 but having since being part of managements of three groups from 14 to 18 I think the unnecessary fall off starts at 14 and correlates with lack of playing time and a resulting lack of self worth as a footballer.

  29. Regarding underage training,
    Here in Dublin most of the larger clubs have a structure that is supposedly a requirement of the County Board. All boys and girls teams are streamed, ie A, B and C levels. Basically the clubs mentors / trainers ( parents of the players ) pick the teams, usually pick their own kids for the A team, this starts at under 9 level. But the same clubs are very slow to move the guys up or down a level whether they improve or regress. The actual teams are streamed in training also, A’s one colour, B’s and C’s seperate colours. Many times the C team and sometimes the B team get hammered in the go games matches, totally demoralising for the guys. One club has even bought numbered jerseys for the A team but none for the B or C teams ( this is at under 11 age ) in my opinion all teams should be mixed as the really good players can bring on the weaker guys.
    I hope this changes sooner rather than later, this is one of the reasons for the high drop out level.
    I doubt it is the same in Mayo, could anybody fill me in on this ?.

  30. I help out with a team at underage level here in Dublin, Mayo88, and from my experience what you’ve said doesn’t bear much relation to what I’ve seen happening on the ground.

    Yes, there’s streaming, it is a County Board requirement (so there’s no supposedly about it) and from what I’ve seen most Dublin clubs attempt to implement it on a fair basis, to help ensure competitive games for all their teams. If as you claim, all the mentors’ kids are on the A team (which, by the way, they should be if – though, only if – they’re the best players) it doesn’t follow that the B and C teams will get hammered, especially if the mentors’ kids aren’t on the A team on merit, as it’s that team that’ll be most likely to get badly beaten on a regular basis.

    It’s not my experience that different teams in the same age group are always streamed in training, though you might want to do this a bit from time to time. Doing it all the time would be pure madness, as would putting bibs on players in training to denote whether they’re A, B or C players. And buying numbered jerseys for just the A team? Whatever geniuses are behind that should be run out of the place and told not to come back.(By the way, numbered jerseys are only a requirement in Dublin – for all teams – at U13 and older).

    To stream or not to stream? Like you, I was against it philosophically until I saw it in practice. It works. Mixed ability at younger ages means the stronger players dominate matches (even in spite of the Go Games rules) with the weaker ones hardly touching the ball at all whereas in streamed games they tend to be far more involved. I’ve never seen any evidence to support your claim that streaming leads to a high drop out level and I doubt very much that any such evidence exists.

  31. Just to end the day positively. I found a brilliant match online, Knockmore Crossmolina minor league 2016.
    Both teams play attacking kickpassing football. There’s a Crossmolina no. 16 is a joy to watch with two well taken goals. You can hear the really positive encouragement of management on the sideline.
    Link is below.
    https://vimeo.com/163668857

  32. More from a Dublin-based point of view. Ballyboden (All-Ireland club champions just two years ago) were tonight beaten by Plunketts in the first round of the Dublin SFC. It’s straight knockout so that’s their one and only championship match done this year. Players involved with Dublin never play league matches up here so tonight was Michael Darragh MacAuley’s first and last club football match for 2017.

  33. Willie Joe,
    Things may run well at your own club, St Vincents but I am referring to another club, where I have hands on experience personally in coaching and raising money for underage teams.

  34. That’s fine, Mayo88. I’ve removed the reference to the club in question from your comment as I don’t think it would be fair to refer to them by name, given the specific issues you’ve mentioned.

  35. On mature reflection I believe neither JP or PJ captained either team they marked each other that was 74 at u21 we didn’t win a connacht title until 81 by which time a lot of these players had fallen away we played some of this panel in 75 v Sligo they were overpowered by sheer physicality and the accuracy of one Mickey Kearns.

  36. In the interview in the mayo news Jackie Coyne says Aghamore won the County minor title in 1965 that’s wrong

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