This page is not an exhaustive history of the Naomh Brid club but rather a look back at the major moments in the clubs history. It is based on peoples memories and recollections so it will be inevitable that some things may be overlooked or forgotten. We would encourage people who have more memories and stories of down through the years to get in touch with club members so that we can achieve a fuller archive of the history of the Naomh Brid Club for future generations. We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the Naomh Bríd 40 Years Celebration publication on which this is based and not forgetting our valued sponsors whom we would encourage you to support.
Naomh Bríd from the beginning
“A GAA meeting took place in the Community Centre, Ballintra on the 19th January 1976”.
So began the official history of Naomh Brid CLG or as it was known in those days Ballintra GAA. Gaelic games had been played in the parish since the early 1900s, but seemed to be have been done so on an ad hoc basis, with interest developing and waning at various times. Many different venues were used for the playing of games during those years from Inishfad to Shannagh and from Carrick to Roscanlan. It appears that there was a good team in the area during the 30s who played in the Senior Championship in 1934 which was then played on a Divisional basis. Rivals Bundoran would win the County title that year in a game refereed by Mr.C.J.Boyle, a National School teacher in Ballintra. Sadly interest dropped during the 60s and any young man wishing to play football was doing so with neighbouring clubs such as Drumbar or Ballyshannon.
The 70s saw a real resurgence of interest in Gaelic games within the County. At the start of that decade Donegal had yet to win an Ulster Senior Title and there were less than twenty clubs registered with the County Board, (less than half the current number of Clubs). The Donegal Senior team finally won a first Ulster Senior title in 1972 and followed this up with another title in 1974. Perhaps it was this success by the County team that saw an upsurge of interest in football, for over the following years, clubs such as Na Rossa, Glenfin, Dunkineely, Naomh Mhuire and of course Naomh Brid all formed.
Sports Day Team 1975: Back Row l-r: Cathal Kilpatrick, Sean Gallagher, Thomas McGarrigle, Pierce Ferriter, Eamon Walsh, Joe McGroarty, Michael McGlynn, Frank Gallagher. Front l-r: Vinnie Green, Tom O’Donnell, Danny McNamee, Sean McCafferty, Fr. Oscar O.F.M., Tommy Walls.
Along with the increased interest in football, the real spark for the development of a club within the parish started with two games that took place in 1975. The first was an Oldtimers game which was played between Ballintra and Belleek and this was followed up by a game at the local Parish Sports between the Old Boys and Young bucks of the Parish. Both games taking place in the Parish field in Ballintra. Based on what was witnessed at these two games, it was felt that there was enough talent in the parish to enter a Junior team and this led to that historic meeting in Januray 1976 and the setting up of a new GAA club in the parish of Drumhome.
The Historic first Committee elected on that day was:
Chairman: William Walls
Secretary: Tom O’Donnell
Treasurer: Joe McGroarty
Team Manager:John McKenna
Selectors: Vincent Green, Patsy Cassidy
Committee: Michael Gallagher, Francis Dinsmore, Donal McDaid, PJ Gallagher, Patsy Gallagher, Michael Brady, Tom Brogan
Other players who turned out for the club in it’s first season included William Walls(Club Captain) who was injured and couldn’t play the first game. John McCafferty, Eamonn Gibbons, Hugh Sweeney, Alan Johnston, Trevor Johnston, Billy Barnett, Noel Cassidy, Francis Dinsmore, Pat Quinn, Michael McGlynn, Hugh Devenney, Sean McDermott, Billy Wilson, Charlie McGroarty, Francis Harkin, Gerard Cassidy, Martin Cassidy.
Additional Selectors appointed at a meeting on 21/4/1976 were Sean McCafferty, Tommy Gallagher and Paddy Gallagher.
The first year on the playing fields
Ballintra entered Division 2B South of the All-County league and the first ever official game for the club was away to Dunkineely who themselves had only formed the previous year, but that one season of playing together gave them the experience to defeat the new boys despite a brave effort from the Ballintra team. Referee on the day was John McGlanaghy from Donegal Town.
Home games were first played at the Parish field but not long after entry into the Junior league, the club decided to rent Sonny Armstrongs field beside the creamery in Bridgetown. Despite the change in playing venue, fortunes did not improve much and after six games, the Drumhome team were still without a win having suffered some heavy defeats along the way.
Perhaps a lack of training didn’t help things either. Back in those days, the ideas of strength and conditioning had not yet reached Ballintra, indeed the idea of any type of training at all had yet to reach Ballintra. Another issue raised at an early meeting was the subject of players drinking in Russells Bar before matches and whether they should be selected to play. Following discussion, it was left to the discretion of the selectors to decide.
Another lowlight that first season was the loss of the talented Jim Walsh to a broken leg, a sign of the times being that Jim was carried off the field on a sheet of tin!!!. That would not go down well with the health and safety brigade of modern times.
The run of defeats finally came to an end when local neighbours Pettigo came to visit in early June . Whilst the game was tight in the first quarter, the home club had a golden five minute period where they hit three goals to set themselves up for a seven point win, the first ever victory for the club.
The team did complete that historic first season and whilst victories might have been scarce, there was a great enthusiasm for the game and a great interest from the parish in the fortunes of the team with large attendances turning up at many of the home games. The Parish now had its own team to provide an outlet for gaelic games and a bit of craic, as well as a team that the locals could really get behind.
Running the Club in the early days
Running any organisation whether it be a business or a sports club usually requires a lot of time, energy and commitment from a number of people. Very often when a new club is formed, it is done so on a wave of energy and enthusiasm, but once that initial phase passes, the realisation of the work required sets in and very often if success is not immediate, interest can diminish rapidly.
The Ballintra club faced all the normal challenges of running a GAA Club, raising enough finances, getting enough people to help out, securing a decent pitch as well as a multitude of other problems both big and small.
Looking backing through the minutes book from early meetings, it is always interesting to see how these problems were overcome. Club membership in the early days was the pricely sum of £1 per adult or family and 50p for under 16s. In terms of outgoings, County Board fees paid were 75p affiliation, £3 entry to Junior League, 50p entry to Junior Championship and 50p entry for U-16 team. Of course the rental of the pitches was a big expense.
Fundraising started off with very simple affairs such as church collections or sponsored walks. As things progressed, other means of raising finance were tried, such as an Old timers dance held on St.Patricks Day. Despite the best efforts of those involved, money was often tight and at one meeting in late 70s, the club treasurer announced that the balance in the account was zero. In 1979 a 7-a-side tournament was organised and made a profit of £24.47. It was also around this time that the club began running cardplays and they became the main source of income for the club over subsequent years as they proved very popular.
Another problem faced by all new clubs is trying to get the locals who had been playing for neighbouring clubs to return to their home club. This was a difficult task for Ballintra as the lack of success on the field did not make the club an attractive proposition, especially when compared to the glamour clubs in the towns. This seemed to cause plenty of discord and was regularly discussed at meetings. As late as the AGM of 1979, proposals were put forward to disband the club and let the players join the neighbouring clubs where they might have more success. Thankfully, there were plenty who still believed in the importance of developing a local club and the proposals were defeated. So despite a few wobbles along the way, the young Club would continue into the new decade.
Hand delivered for many a year by Seamus ‘Smiley’ Gallagher as the pigeon was on holidays.
After a rocky end to the previous decade, the 1980s saw the Club make huge strides both on and off the field with the mid to late 80s in particular proving to be a real golden period for the club. In 1980 the Senior team continued to develop, gaining promotion for the first time. More emphasis was being placed on training and preparation and with a move to a new playing venue at Jim McGrorys field in Trummon, the team continued to improve with a Parish League helping to bring more players into the fray. In 1982, the first ever All-Ireland Medals arrived in the club courtesy of the Gallagher brothers Pauric(RIP) and Matt who played on the Donegal U-21 team that won a first ever All-Ireland title for the County.
The Senior team reached their ever final, the 1983 shield but lost. The following year 1984 was the centenary year of the GAA and saw the club change its name to Naomh Brid following a suggestion by Chairman Tim McGrory that the name was more representative of the entire Parish. Centenary year also saw Naomh Brid lift its first silverware when the Senior team won the AIB Junior Tournament in Ballyshannon defeating the host club in the final. They would repeat that success in 85/86.
The AGM at the start of 86 was a very important event in the future direction of the new club. The newly elected Committee laid down a new blueprint for the club, setting clear goals and targets for all areas of the club both on and off the field. It was to be a roadmap to future success and it’s effects were felt very quickly. In 1986, the Senior team finally fulfilled their potential when they lifted the Junior Championship and Division 3 league title, an historic double for the club.
Along with the developments at underage level and the efforts being put into the cultural side of the club, Naomh Brid were voted Donegal Club of the year for 1986. An incredibly proud achievement for a club celebrating their 10th anniversary. A very noteworthy club crest containing the St.Bridgets Cross was also designed by Angela Griffith and remains the club Crest until this day. In 1988 the club also won the coveted McNamee Award for Club Publications.
In 1987 the success story continued as the Senior team pulled of an amazing Double-Double winning the Intermediate Championship and Div 2 League meaning that in 2 short years they had moved from Junior football to Senior football. 1988 saw the Club lining up against the best teams in the County in Division 1 and Senior Championship. It was an proud achievement for such a small club to gain promotion to Division 1.
Off the field, the AGM of 1987 saw the club set up a field committee to find a suitable location for the potential development of a playing field and facilities. A 650 draw was run for two years and proved incredibly successful enabling the purchase of a site from Miss Sheila Hamilton between Laghey and Ballintra in 1988. Danny McNamee, Joe Griffith and Frank Gallagher were appointed trustees as planning permission was granted and the first steps of the development of Pairc Naomh Brid were taken.
1986, the 10th anniversary of the clubs formation will forever be remembered as one of the greatest in the clubs history. Winning four trophies at adult level including a first ever Championship and League, a first ever U-10 title, as well as being voted Donegal Club of the Year made it an unforgettable year for the club. For the first half of the decade, Naomh Brid were regarded as a decent Junior team who apart from a few tournament victories had not yet won any of the major trophies on offer, namely league and Championship. It was felt that the raw material for success was present, but that it was a matter of putting everything together to make it happen. Danny McNamee was appointed team manager at the start of the year and he brought a new level of organisation to the team and required a high level of commitment from the players.
Despite a renewed vigour and determination, the League started badly when local rivals St.Nauls inflicted defeat on the home team in Trummon. However, it was to be the last defeat of the season as four wins on the trot put Naomh Brid in a strong position as the Junior Championship got underway. Naomh Ultan were defeated in the first round and with St.Eunans withdrawing from the competition, a bye to the semi-final was the reward. In the meantime, things continued to go well in the league with two more victories that set up a top of the table clash with league leaders Dungloe. This game was expected to decide the outcome of the league title but a draw meant the status quo remained as it was. Three more wins kept the pressure on and when Dungloe surprisingly lost to Naomh Columba, the gate was left open for Naomh Brid to take advantage.
Before that, semi-final day in the Junior Championship had arrived, Kilcar were the opponents and having defeated them in the League, there was strong optimism in the camp that a final place was there for the taking. This proved to be the case with a 0-9 to 0-4 victory and after ten years of toil and struggle, Naomh Brid were in their first ever Championship final. This gave the team even more confidence and determination and they hammered Convoy in their next league outing.
As championship final day approached, there was a great buzz in the community as everyone seemed to be getting behind the team, producing banners, flags and hats to cheer on the lads on the big day.
Robert Emmetts who had a great record at Junior level having won it on five previous occasions were the opponents. Compared to Naomh Brid, the Castlefin club had a long history and tradition. Like many finals, the game itself started as a nervous affair but it was Naomh Brid who settled quicker and played the better football. Into the second half, Naomh Brid had opened a five point lead but a Robert Emmetts goal made for a very nervy finish to the game, but then it was over and a first ever Championship Trophy was bound for the parish of Drumhome. There was scenes of jubilation among players and supporters alike as Captain John Joe Travers was presented with the Joe McCloskey Trophy.
Despite all the joy of winning a first Championships, minds had to be re-focused as the League final against Dungloe was fast approaching. Whilst Naomh Brid might have won the Junior Title, Dungloe had just lifted the Intermediate Title meaning they were favourites coming into the game but reputations counted very little to the Junior Champions and they put in a great display to run out victors 0-10 to 1-3. Naomh Brid had completed the Double of League andChampionship, what a year and more was to follow.
Having enjoyed such great success in 1986, the main question for the Senior team entering the 1987 season was could that success be emulated at Intermediate level. This was to be the first time the club had played at the higher grade and naturally there was doubt in the minds of some whether the step up could be made.
In the league, Naomh Brid started where they left off the previous year winning game after game, and this despite playing “home” games in Ballyshannon, whilst work was carried out on the field in Trummon. When Championship time rolled around, the red hot form in the league gave the team a sense of optimism and confidence as they faced up to Naomh Chonaill in the semi-final. Played over two legs, they proved to be tough, physical encounters but the Drumhome boys were not to be denied and once again found themselves bound for MacCumhaill Park on County Final Day.
Local rivals St.Nauls had also made it through to the Intermediate final and there was great anticipation for a local derby in the final. St.Nauls started very brightly and opened up a good lead but Naomh Brid hauled themselves back into it and it was St.Nauls who had to come from behind to force a draw. Both teams felt they could have won it but it was back to the drawing board for both teams.
The replay was another cagey low scoring affair with both sides having some bad misses. With time running out, the game seemed destined to end in stalemate once again until Michael Molloy scored a wonder point to send the Naomh Brid supporters into raptures as the referee blew full-time from the following kick-out. Once again there were fantastic scenes as Conal Haughey accepted the Cathal McLaughlin Trophy as Intermediate Champions. It was another glorious week for Naomh Brid and their supporters.
Despite the euphoria of the Intermediate success, a league title was still up for grabs and Naomh Brid found themselves facing off against old foes Robert Emmetts in the Div 2 League Final. Emmets had just won the Junior Title and were out to avenge their defeat at the hands of Naomh Bríd the previous year. It proved to be another tight affair but Naomh Brid pulled away to win and secure the Double-Double and gain top flight football.
Following two successive promotions, Naomh Brid now found themselves among the big boys in Division 1 South of the All-County league. South Donegal was very much the hotbed of Gaelic football in those day with Aodh Ruadh, Four Masters, Kilcar and Ardara all winning Senior Championship titles in the 80s with Killybegs, Dungloe and Naomh Columba also starting to emerge as some of the best teams at the time. County stars like the McHughs, Hegartys, Boyles, Cunninghams, Molloy, Gavigan, McMullan, Murray, Walsh and many more all played their football in the Southern Division.
To mark the arrival of Naomh Brid in the top flight, a match programme was produced for the first home game against Four Masters and the Donegal Town band were asked to provide entertainment before the game and lead the teams onto the pitch at Trummon. Who knows what Four Masters thought of it all, but it was a big occasion for a small club and it was duly marked as such.
They beat Four Masters that day, which would have seemed unbelievable only a few years previous and more than held their own against the other teams to eventually finish as joint runners-up in the Division. It was another amazing achievement and the climax of a highly successful three year run. To this day, that has been the highest position ever achieved by a Naomh Brid team in the County League.
Naomh Bríd underage Scene 1980s
In the early years of the club, underage football was very sporadic with only the occasional team being entered into competition. The fact that our competitors were well established clubs like Aodh Ruadh and Four Masters made it very difficult to gain a foothold in the underage scene in the South. This was all to change rapidly for Naomh Brid during the 80s and by the end of the decade, the club would have a very well respected underage system in place.
At a meeting in 1983, it was decided to enter underage teams at U-12,14 & U-18 level. Eamonn Gibbons also organised an U-10 team for the first time and this was to be a real catalyst for the future development of underage football within the club, as children were now receiving coaching from a young age. A parish league was also set up and again this helped attract more and more potential young footballers from around the parish.
In 1984,the hard work began to pay off as the U-12 team under Pierce Ferriter won the clubs first ever underage title when they lifted the Divisional U-12B title, defeating St.Nauls.
That same year, the U-10s also reached the Divisional A Final for the first time but went down to Aodh Ruadh, the kingpins of underage football in Donegal. The tremendous work being put in at this level saw the U-10s return to the Divisional final the following year and this time, they got the upper hand of Aodh Ruadh to land a first ever A Divisional title. The U-10s repeated the trick the following year carrying off another Divisional title at the expense of Four Masters. The club were now capable of competing with the big guns whom they had looked on at enviously in previous years. As well as Eamonn and Pierce, the likes of Michael Walls and Sean Gallagher from Laghey also gave a lot to time to underage teams during those years.
The hard work being put into coaching and training was also having a knock-on effect in the local National schools. St.Eunans NS, Laghey with Pierce Ferriter at the helm won four County Titles in the space of five years which was another amazing achievement.
There was also a very talented Minor team in 86/87 under Joe Griffith who were already supplying players to the successful Senior teams. They reached the Divisional Minor Final in 87 but narrowly lost out to Aodh Ruadh.
The burgeoning success of the underage led to the formation of Bord na nOg in June 87, which was given responsibility for looking after the welfare of underage players from U-10 to Minor level. The first Bord na nOg Committee was:
Chairman: Martin O’Malley
Secretary: Donal Corcoran
Treasurer: Irene Walls
As well as having responsibility for the underage teams, Bord na nOg had independence from the Main club committee and organised their own fund raising events and trips for the youngsters. Attention was also given to the young females in the parish when Rounders was organised by Agatha Masterson and Diane Doherty. This was in the pre ladies football era and this new sport proved very successful in getting girls involved in the club
First Underage County Final appearance
Having won the U-10 Divisional Title in 1986, great things were expected of the U-12 team under Pierce Ferriter in 1988 and they didn’t disappoint. Playing in the A Division, they found themselves grouped with top teams like Aodh Ruadh, Four Masters and Bundoran. However, the young Naomh Brid tigers dined on reputations for breakfast and won their way through to the Divisional final where they defeated Aodh Ruadh in Bundoran to lift a first ever U-12A Divisional title for the club.
They then progressed to the County stages where they beat Urris in the Quarter final and squeezed past Dungloe by a point in the semi-final to become the first ever team representing the club to reach a County underage final and it was a Division 1 Final.
Cloughaneely had come through the other side of the draw and were hoping to avenge their defeat by Bundoran in the County final the previous year. When the big day arrived, it turned out to be a very wet one, making conditions even tougher for the youngsters. Amazingly in those days, U-12 football was still played on a full-size pitch with full size goals which really dwarfed the players.
Naomh Brid dominated possession but Cloughaneely hit on the break and scored a few goals which gave them a good lead. Despite the setbacks, Naomh Brid spent most of the second half camped in the Cloughaneely end of the pitch. In a precursor to the packed defenses that are the modern trend, Cloughaneely pulled all bar one of their players into defence. Trying to break down the massed defence was not easy and the the scores would just not come and it was Cloughaneely who lifted the title. It was very disappointing climax to a successful season for this Naomh Brid side as it was a County title they felt they left behind.
Scor & Cultural Activities
For many people, the GAA is about Football and Hurling and very little else. However the cultural side is viewed as just as important as the sporting side and is listed as one on the mains aims of the GAA in the official guide
“The Association shall actively support the Irish language, traditional Irish dancing, music, song and other aspects of Irish culture. It shall foster an awareness and love of the national ideals of the people of Ireland and assist in promoting a community spirit through its clubs”
Right from the early days, the Naomh Brid club have strived to meet these aims. The club began to organise ceili classes in the early 80s and these would continue during the winter months right throughout the decade. Michael Gallagher was the driving force behind the Cultural activities and was forever trying to get more people(especially males)involved in the Ceili Dancing.
The Club began to take part in Scor competitions which pitted clubs against each other in music, dancing, quiz, plays and other cultural activities. It was almost like X factor but without the glitz and the glam!!! Titles were available all the way from Divisional to All-Ireland level.
The first success for the club came at Scor na nOg in 1983 which was for the younger members of clubs. Brothers, Gabriel and Brendan Travers won the Divisional title in instrumental music and would go on to win the County title the same year. The Club hosted the Divisional Finals of Scor in 1987 with Margaret Timoney going on to win a County title in Solo signing. Margaret sang the “Maid of Coolmore” in the County final and just missed out on qualifying for the Ulster final. The following year the club had the honour of hosting the County finals of Scor in the Community Cenre in Ballintra.
In Ferbruary 1990, the Ceili dance team of Michael Gallagher, Packie Martin, Peter McNulty, Eugene McLoughlin, Kathleen Gallagher, Mary McGroarty, Ann Marie Mullaney and Eilish Martin won the County title and represented Donegal in the Ulster semi-final but lost out to the Swatragh club from Derry.
Right through the 80s and 90s, the club also won several Divisional titles in Instrumental music, Recital and Ballad group as well as hosting many County and Divisional finals. Sadly interest dropped thereafter and it has only been in recent years that there has been a revival in the cultural side through the efforts of Jamie Timoney and the club is actively involved in Scor once more.
1987 Solo Singing
1990 Ceili Dancing
Instrumental Music 1986, 87, 88, 96
Recitation 1986, 87, 96
Ceili Dancing 1988, 90
Ballad Group 1996
Scor na nOg
Instrumental Music 1983
Instrumental Music 1983, 84, 85, 86
Ceili Dancing 1995
The 90s were a decade of consolidation on the pitch and continued progress off the pitch. The Senior team during that period were a good Intermediate team but failed to bring home the big prize, Championship success. Despite this, they were promoted to the Top Division in 96 which saw the return of SeniorChampionship football to Naomh Brid. Sadly it was to be a short stay. They did bounce back to win a Div 3 League Title in 1998.
The good work at underage in the with the U-14s in 91, U-12s in 93 and U-21s in 94 all reaching County Finals but sadly victory eluded them on each occasion. This all changed in 1996 when the Naomh Brid Minors became the frist underage team from the club to win a County title when they won the Div 3 County Championship. They repeated this achievement by also winning the Div 3 Title in 97.
The influx of underage players developed during the 80s also saw the club field a Reserve team for the first time. The Reserves played from 1994-99 and whilst not much success came their way, over 80 players must have togged out during their run, many going on to play at Senior level.
There were also some tremendous achievements for Naomh Brid players at County Level during the 90s, of course Matt Gallagher historically playing at full-back on the first Donegal team to win an All-Ireland title, memorably bringing the Sam Maguire Trophy to the parish of Drumhome. An unforgettable memory for those who experienced it.
Underage players Rory Sweeney and Donal Martin also won All-Ireland Vocational School titles in 1996 with Rory captaining the side, he was also Captain of the Donegal Minor team that won the Ulster title that same year on which Donal was also a panel member.
Another first for the Club was the formation of a Ladies Board and team in 1992. They lasted for a few seasons and had some great battles on the pitch.
Off the pitch(or maybe we should say on the pitch), the club was making great strides.The major achievement being the opening of Pairc Naomh Brid in 1992. On a momentous day for the club, Donegal played Clare in a challenge match a few weeks before the All-Ireland Final. In 1997 the development of Pairc Naomh Brid continued with the opening of the new dressing rooms and stand. After many years of nomadic existence, Naomh Brid now had a home to call their own.
1994 also saw the establishment of the Club lotto which was to provide the main source of income for the club over the following years. Sinead Sweeney of Bridgetown was the first jackpot winner in 1995.
Club member Danny McNamee also served as Treasurer and later Chairman of the County Board during the decade.
Ladies in the Club
For many years, the GAA was very much a male only organisation with limited roles for females, the usual one being cheerleader on the sidelines for their partners or family members. These outdated ideas started to change in the 80s and this was very much the case in Naomh Brid as well, where ladies started to play a more prominent role in the running of the club. In 1987, Charlotte McGee became the first female to sit on the Club Committee when she was elected as club Secretary. Since then four more ladies have held this important position, Siobhan Travers, Michelle Mundy, Mary Gallagher and currently Anne Marie Monaghan. In the 90s Ann Kelly served as club treasurer for a time, whilst Eilenn Sweeney has been a long serving member of the Senior Committee.
When Bord na nOg was first formed in 87, ladies also played an important role with Irene Walls serving as treasurer for many years and Ann McGroary as Secretary. Pat Griffith, Mary Gallagher and Ann Kelly were also very involved with Bord na nOg in the early years before taking on their roles with the Senior Club. We still await our first female Chairperson but surely it cannot be too far off.
Ladies in Action
Like in others areas of the GAA, the playing field was strictly off limits for the ladies and apart from the odd girl playing at underage, there was very few ways for young females to get involved in a GAA club. This was something Bord na nOg tried to rectify when they set up Rounders for girls under the stewardship of Diane Doherty and Agatha Masterson in 1988. Rounders ran into the 90s and was a great outlet for girls to get involved in sport.
Ladies football had been growing slowly throughout Ireland and it was only in the early 90s when it started to develop in Donegal. A Ladies County Board was set up and Naomh Brid were one of the first clubs to be involved.
The first Naomh Brid ladies Board was formed in 1992.
Chairperson: Elaine McGarrigle Secretary: Susan Harte Treasurer: Eilish Martin. Tony Walsh was appointed as team manager with Damien Walsh as trainer.
That first year, Naomh Brid, Aodh Ruadh, MacCumhaills and Bundoran formed the Southern Division of ladies football which illustrates just how few clubs had a ladies team.
Most of the girls who were on the team had never even played football or had only played a bit at primary school so a lot of time was spent developing the principle skills of football. Despite the lack of footballing experience, there was a real sense of enthusiasm from all the ladies and they threw themselves into training and matches with great energy.
Sadly the Ladies team only lasted for a few years but it did produce some very talented footballers, some of whom represented the club at County level. Veronica Walls, Angela Martin & Caroline McGroary all played on County underage teams and indeed Caroline McGroary would go on to play with the Donegal Senior ladies team for many years and win an All-Ireland Junior title in 2003 as part of the first Donegal ladies team to win an adult All-Irleand. We should also note that Dermot ‘Rocky’ Gallagher was manager of the Donegal ladies team in 2002 and also led them to the All-Ireland Junior final but they lost out on the big day in Croker.
During the early 2000 ladies football really took off in the County and for a while it was the fastest growing sporting in the Country. This coupled with the Donegal ladies success saw Naomh Brid ladies reform in 2004. Once again there was great enthusiasm for the team and for the first time an U-14 girls team lined out for the club. They played for several seasons before merging with Pettigo to form the Mary Bridgets club. Team members Aine Duffy and Nicole Gallagherrepresented the club at County level.
Another very successful young lady from the parish is Patrice Rooney of Laghey, Patrice played with the Naomh Brid boys teams up until U-14 level and played on Donegal underage teams before winning an Intermediate Ladies All Ireland medal with Donegal in 2010. She also lifted a County Senior Title with Four Masters.
There is no current ladies team but hopefully we will see the ladies of the parish take to the playing fields once again.
Underage football 1990’s
Underage football in the club continued to develop in the early 90s but went into decline as the decade closed and it became a struggle to field teams again. Despite the struggles, a few County titles came the way of the Parish.
It started well when the U-14 team won the Southern Divisional A title in 1990. There was hopes of a run to a County final but it didn’t materialise. In 1991 the U-14s did reach the County B final but lost out to a good Carndonagh team.
In 1992 the U-10s under Martin O’Malley reached the U-10 Divisional A final for the first time since 1986. It was notable for the presence of future All-Ireland winner David Walsh. The following year, it was the turn of the U-12 team to reach a County U-12B final, but again they were to come out on the wrong side of the scoreline against Glenfin. That first County Title was proving elusive.
In 1995, the County Minor Board restructured underage football, now organising categories from Div 1 to Div 4 at County Level. Whilst this might have seemed beneficial for the smaller clubs, it also meant to get there, they had to play all the big clubs within their own region, There would be a lot of heartbreak before any joy would arrive.
During the 95 season, the Naomh Brid Minor team was pulled from competition as they were failing to field teams. Arguments were made that it might be unwiseto enter a Minor team in 96 bit this was rejected and a Minor team was entered
Despite the presence of our two County Minors, Donal Martin and Rory Sweeney, it was still a struggle to scrape a team together for each game and players from the
U-14s had to be drafted in to make up teams. Naturally enough, success was limited but when the County stages were drawn up, Naomh Brid were placed in Div 3 where they would face teams at their own level. Managers Michael Gallagher and Dermot Curristun had galvanised the team as they faced off against Red Hughs in the semi- final. In a tight game, they won through to the County final where they met Naomh Mura from Inch/Fahan.
Naomh Brid started the better in the final and by half-time had a good lead but the Inch team pegged them back but there was still a healthy four point gap in at the finish and Naomh Brid had won their first ever County Title at underage.
In 1997, most of the team from the previous year were underage again and underwent the same process as the previous year, struggles in the Southern Division before ultimate success in the Div 3 County final, this time against Downings. 1997 also saw the U-16s reach the Division 3 County final but they went down to Termon.
Despite the victories at Minor level, the club was beginning to struggle at underage level. Martin O’Malley and the late Tommy O’Hara had done trojan work at U-10/12 level but after that it was proving to be a struggle to find managers and to even field teams as players drifted away. New blood was needed to re-energise things. As the decade came to a close, former player Sean Timoney got involved with the U-10 team and they won the Michael Shannon tournament held in Ballyshannon. It was a positive sign for the future.
Reserve team formed
The good work done at underage in the 80s saw more players filtering through to the Senior side in the early 90s and when the U-21 team of 1994 under Pierce Ferriter went on a run to the County Final, suddenly there was a flood of players in the 17-21 age bracket all mad looking for a game of football over the summer months. For many, the options were to spend the time on the Senior sub bench or no football at all, which was an even worse option. Rather than potentially lose these players, the club took the decision to enter a Reserve team into the All-County League for the first time. It was a historic moment in the clubs history and a reflection that the hard work at underage level was starting to pay dividends.
As well as providing the many up-and-coming players with a game of football, the Reserve team also provided the ‘has been’s’ and other assorted characters a chance to get involved in football again. The reserve team bore witness to many comebacks, some more fleeting than others but it was always a bit of craic and played the vital role of blooding many potential Senior team players. Over 80 players must have togged out for the reserve team at one time or another. Success was very limited but that never deterred boys from giving it a try.
Of course some legendary stories developed around the Reserve team, some of which this writer bore witness too. Not long after their debut, the reserves played Na Rossa down in Dooey in a game that has entered Naomh Brid folklore. The ref failed to appear and Michael Walls Snr took the whistle and did a very good job but when the final whistle sounded, the Na Rossa boys were not happy. Tempers flared and the Rosses men made a charge for the Naomh Brid changing room. Before anything could get started, big Jamesie Melly, a behemoth of a man and a stalwart of the Na Rossa club got involved and kept the peace. We got the win and came home happy thanks to Michael.
Another unforgettable memory was a game down in Milford that same year. We traveled to Milford short of the full compliment of players and according to the rules we had to field thirteen players by half time but we didn’t even have that many with us, and the only other person there from the club was Seamus ‘Smiley’ Gallagher who had traveled down on the bus. Dressed in his Sunday Best, Smiley pulled a jersey over his head and entered the fray at corner forward, stationed precariously close to the white line!!! Suffice to say, we lost that one as Smiley was held scoreless.
Sadly the reserves usually struggled for numbers most years and in 1999 after being knocked out of the Championship, quite a few boys vanished and the team could no longer field. As a result it was decided to withdraw the Reserve team from competition and it would not appear again until the late 2000s.
Development of Playing Facilities
For all GAA clubs, owning their own pitch and facilities is an integral part of the success of a club. In the early year, the club did not have the financial means to justify such an outlay and instead rented four different locations from 1976-92. Firstly there was the parish field opposite St.Ernans National School, then Sonny Armstrongs field beside the creamery where the club played until the early 80s when another move took them to Jim McGroarys field in Trummon and then finally Packie Gormans field, also in Trummon. Each of these fields had their downsides from overheard Electrical wires interfering with high balls to wet fields which very often flooded. Another major problem was the lack of changing facilites with most teams changing by the side of the field in rain, hail or shine.
As the club progressed through the ranks on the field durings the 80s, the desire to have proper facilities grew and at the AGM of 1987, a management committee of seven was appointed to undertake large scale funding to purchase a suitable venue and as a result the club launched the 650 draw that April. The first 650 draw proved to be a huge success with £22,000 being raised and the draw was run again in 1988 raising another £12,000.
At the AGM of 88, a Park Committee of Danny McNamee, Frank Gallagher and Joe Griffith were appointed to find a suitable location and later act as trustees . After inspecting five different locations, it was decided to purchase a seven acre site and dwelling house from the late Miss Sheila Hamilton situated halfway between the villages of Ballintra and Laghey.
By October of 1988, the site had been purchased and paid for, with all documentation completed to meet legal and GAA requirements. Development was started in May 1990 by the late John Cleary and work continued on the development right until 1992 by which time the club had invested over £100,000 in the project.
The pitch was officially opened in 1992 by president of the GAA Peter Quinn and was marked with a challenge game between Donegal who were just weeks away from playing in their first All-Ireland final and Clare who were the reigning Munster Champions.
Despite the terrible day that was in it weather wise, it was to be an unforgettable day for the club as they now proudly owned their own playing pitch.
The development did not stop there however and the next vision was for Dressing Rooms and a Stand to be added to the facilities. These were completed in 1997 and once again the President of the GAA, Jack Boothman was on hand to open the facilites as the occasion was once again marked by a challenge game, this time between Donegal and Leitrim who were managed by the late Seamus Bonnar. This took place on 4th May 1997.
The club now had excellent facilities which they could be very proud off. Pairc Naomh Brid has hosted many County and Divisional Underage finals as well as being host for the County Senior team training on occasion. No further development took place on the grounds until the late 2000s when the area below the hill was cleared to make way for a shuttle track, further work was carried out on the training pitch which was officially opened in 2012 with a new all-weather surface and floodlights. A new fence was also erected around the main pitch. Currently, development is in Phase 4 with the installation of a brand new drainage system and playing surface which will be opening in July 2017.
What we have today is as a result of our members and volunteers continuous efforts and the support of our valued sponsors, the people of our parish and neighbouring parishes who were never found wanting in their support of our fundraising initiatives. To one and all we are forever grateful.
The new millenium started rather poorly for the club as the Senior team was relegated to the basement Division of Donegal football, a position it had not found itself in since the early 80s. Along with the dissolution of the Reserve team during the 1999 season, things were not looking too bright for the club. Sometimes though, to go forwards, you have to go backwards and this was very much the case for Naomh Brid. In 2002, the club reached the County Junior final but lost out to Robert Emmetts, they once again made it to the final the following year and this time won, to earn the first Championship trophy at adult Level since 1987.
The early 2000s also saw a real revival in the fortunes of the underage section of the club and could be rightfully described as a golden era, as Divisional Titles galore and County final appearences became frequent, with even an historic first Ulster title being added to the trophy collection.
This resurgence in the fortunes of the underage section once again had a knock on effect at adult level. Having played at Intermediate level for two years after the Junior success of 2003, the Senior team had stagnated and found itself back playing Junior football. The year 2006 which marked the 30th anniversary of the club was to prove to be another memorable year for the club. The cream of the underage teams had began to filter through at Senior level and combined with the experience already in the panel, team manager Michael Gallagher had the right blend for success.
Another County Junior title was annexed, but this time the success did not stop there and the team went on a march to the Ulster Junior final where they faced off against Greencastle from Co.Tyrone in Casement Park, Belfast. Sadly it ended in narrow defeat but it was historic milestone in the clubs history. Whilst it would be hard to compensate for missing out on an Ulster title, they did win the League title in 2007 bringing them back to Intermediate football. 2007 also saw the club invited to compete in the St.Judes 7-a-side tournament which is played on All-Ireland weekend in Dublin. Playing in the Junior section, they aquitted themselves well reaching the semi-finals
The upturn in the fortunes of the club on the playing fields also saw the reformation of the Reserve team in the latter half of the decade. This time, there was to be a better mix of youth and experience and the team proved themselves more than capable of holding their own as well as developing players for the Senior team.
To mark the 100th anniversary of the GAA in Donegal in 2005, each club was asked to choose a member who had been a vital component of the club through its history and Michael Gallagher was bestowed with this honour. Michael had played with the club in the early days and had served in many administration positions as well as Senior team manager and was a great promoter of the cultural side of the GAA. Michael was a very worthy recipient of this honour.
Another team reformed during this period were the ladies team who had not existed for some 10 years. Once again there was great enthusiasm for the ladies game and an underage girls team was fielded for the first time ever.
On the development front, the club began to make plans for the further development of Pairc Naomh Brid. A bumper draw was held in 2008 with almost €100,000 being raised to finance the developments. Work began in 2009 on the perimeter of the field with a shuttle track built at the foot of the hill and work would continue into the new decade with the erection of new fencing around the pitch and the development of a second playing/training pitch.
The club was once again facing into the new decade with a very positive outlook.
2003 Junior Title
In 2002, the Naomh Brid senior team found itself in Division 4 of the All County league and back playing Junior football for the first time since 1986. The well of underage footballers progressing to adult level had dried up somewhat with many of those who had come through in the 90s moving away to take up work elsewhere, the Celtic Tiger was in its infancy and young people were availing of the opportunities in the big cities.
Michael Walls Snr and Eamonn McNulty had taken charge of the team and led them to the Junior County Final in 2002 but they were defeated by Robert Emmetts in the final. Still, it was the first appearence by a Naomh Brid team in a Championships final since the Intermediate final of 1987. For the 2003 season Dermot Gallagher (fresh from managing the Donegal Ladies team to an All-Ireland final) took over the reins of the team with the aim of winning the Junior title and gaining promotion from the basement Division.
There was a large panel of players training intensely from early in the season and when the league began, the team started very well winning many games comfortably. In the championship, they accounted for Naomh Colmcille over two legs and defeated Naomh Mhuire in the semi-final to make it back to the decider.
The opposition in the final were to be Red Hughs who were similar to Naomh Brid in that they had dropped to the lower levels of Donegal football having been a Senior team in the 90s. It was expected to be a tough game as Red Hughs had defeated Naomh Brid in the league to end League title aspirations, though Naomh Brid still secured their first objective, promotion.
The first half of the final proved to be a low scoring affair with Naomh Brid only hitting one point in the opening 20 minutes. Red Hughs were leading by 2 points but a flurry of scores including a goal before half-time saw Naomh Brid go in with a 3 point lead, which was then stretched to 6 points in the third quarter before Red Hughs mounted a comeback to make for a very close finish. With the lead down to 2 points, nails were being bitten furiously as 6 minutes of injury time were played but the Drumhome boys held on to lift their first Championship title in almost 20 years.
There were great scenes of joy at the final whistle and the title was celebrated wildly but minds had to be refocused as the club would be now playing in the relatively new Ulster Junior Tournament hosted by the Cremartin Club in Co.Monaghan. Glenn from Co.Down were the Quarter final opponents who were defeated after a replay but the run ended in the Ulster Semi Final against Limavady Wolfhounds from Co.Derry. Still it had been a good season for the club with Championship success and a return to Intermediate football.
A Golden Decade for Underage football in the Club
Despite having picked up two Div 3 Minor Titles in the late 90s, underage football in the club had regressed quite a bit and Bord na nOg was finding it a struggle to find managers to look after teams, or even to field teams. New faces were needed to re-energise the underage system. Fortunately a group of former players including Sean Timoney, Matt Gallagher, Declan Gallagher, Sean McGee, Michael Walls Jnr, Eamonn Gorman, Liam Duffy, Gerard Gallagher and a few others got involved and put a huge amount of effort into the redevelopment of underage football within the club. Such was the level of succes enjoyed during this period, that it would require a book by itself to cover it in detail so we have decided to summarise the highlights of each year.
The U10s repeat their victory in the Michael Shannon Tournament in Ballyshannon.
The success of the U-10s in 99/00 continued into the higher age-groups when they won the County U-12 Division 3Title.
The club have three teams appear in County Finals. After winning Divisional titles at U-12 and U-13 Div 2 level, both teams went all the way to their respective finals but lost out on both occasions to Downings. The U-14 team win the Division 3 County Championship.
U-12s retain their Divisional title whilst the U-14s hoover up titles for fun including an Ulster title. The U-16s also make it to the County League final but lose out to Naomh Padraig. U12 team win Willie Rogers Tournament in Ballyshannon.
The U-12s make it three in a row at Divisional leveal and go onto the County final where they lose out to Kilcar after a cracking game. The U-15 team reach the OgSport 7-A-Side County final. The U-16s win Divisional titles in League and Championship losing out in the County League final but winning theChampionship.
The Minors win Divisional titles in League and Championship, the first time the club has ever won Divisional titles at Minor level.
The Minors now playing in Division 1 reach the Divisional League final for the first time in 20 years defeating Four Masters and Dungloe along the way. The U-13s also reach a Divisional final.
The U-13s win the Divisional Title at Div 2 level.
U-18s win the Divisional Championship title but lose out to MacCumhaills in the County Final.
Ulster Title the highlight of an amazing year for the U-14s
The U-14s of 2003 must go down as one of the most successful teams in the clubs history. They lifted seven titles during the year including a historic first ever Ulster title for Naomh Brid. Team manager Sean Timoney had the team in great shape for a momentous year.
Playing in Division 2 in both League and Championship, they cruised through the Southern Region handing out heavy defeats to most teams, winning the league by defeating Bundoran and the Championship by defeating Kilcar. Moving into the County stages, things got a little bit tougher but they reached the County Finals in both competitions. Urris from Inishowen provided the opposition in both games. Naomh Brid won the league decider comfortably but faced a stiffer test in the Championship final which went to extra time. Having failed to hold on for the win in normal time, the spirit seemed to drain from the Urris team and Naomh Brid ran out convincing winners by the finish.
Ulster Feile Title
As well as the regular League and Championship competitions, the U-14s also had the opportunity to play for a place in the Ulster Feile finals which were being hosted by Tyrone. Again playing in Divison 2 they won the Divisional and Donegal Feile titles qualifying them for the finals which took place in early July. The Ulster Feile brought over 90s clubs from all over Ulster to take part and Naomh Brid played their group games in Drumquin. They easily defeated Tyrone teams Trillick and Clann na nGael but Fermanagh Champions Devenish gave them a tougher game but were unable to recover from a poor start.
After the group stage, the team traveled to Carrickmore for the Feile Parade which was a great experience for the team and then it was on to Pomeroy for the Ulster Final. Castledawson from Co. Derry were the opponents for the showdown and they provided much stiffer opposition but were still no match for this team who were now being highly rated by everyone who saw them. Naomh Brid ran out 3-19 to 1-07 winners to lift a historic first ever Ulster Title for the club .
Ulster Final 2006
Having played at Intermediate level for the previous two years without advancing past the first round, Naomh Brid were back in the Junior Championship for 2006 and back in Divison 4 having failed to hold onto their place in Division 3. Michael Gallagher was back in charge of the team and once again he had a large panel of players at his disposal with a good mixture of young and old. The resurgence in the underage scene in the early 2000s meant that once again, there was a promising crop of players starting to come through at adult level. Of course 2006 was the 30th anniversary of the founding of the club and Naomh Brid had developed a penchant for doing something special on these anniversaries.
League form during the year was patchy with injuries to experienced players also a mitigating factor. The Championship was a different matter and they saw off Naomh Padraig in the Quarter final and Robert Emmetts in the semi-final after a nervy start. Na Rossa were to provide the opposition in the final with former County Star Declan Bonner still in fine form for the Rosses men. The first half of the final proved to be a tight low scoring affair with Naomh Brid leading at half-time by a point but a goal by David Walsh in the second half opened things up and and by the end, there was a healthy ten point margin in it.
Having won a second Junior Title in four years, Michael and the team had bigger ambitions, a crack at an Ulster Junior title. Fermanagh Champions Coa were first opponents in Irvinestown and after a tight game, Naomh Brid had just two points to spare. The following week, the team travelled to Breffni Park, Cavan to take on the Down Champions, Bredagh who were expected to be an even tougher prospect but the Naomh Brid boys put in one of their best ever performances to run out convincing 2-12 to 0-9 winner. Naomh Brid were through to the Ulster final.
There was a great buzz and sense of anticipation around the area in the build up to the final which was to take place in Casement Park, Belfast on the first weekend of December. Greencastle from Tyrone were to be the opposition and the spies were sent to see what kind of team they were.
When final day arrived, almost the whole parish seemed to heading for Belfast for this momentous day. It was a damp day with a swirling wind making playing conditions difficult and despite playing with the wind in the first half. Naomh Brid found themselves 4 points down at half-time after the award of a disputed goal which John Lepra our goalkeeper, who to this day insists the ball did not cross the line.
When they turned into the wind in the second half, they showed great resilience to close the gap to a point. They at least deserved an equaliser but it wasn’t to come and they sadly lost by the narrowest of margins. There was disappointment all around but it was still a very proud day for the club.
After a rich harvest in the 2000s, success on the playing fields has been more limited in the current decade. The Senior team have steadied themselves as an Intermediate side and were promoted to Division 2 in 2012 after a play- off win against neighbours Aodh Ruadh, but are currently in Division 3 once more. The aim remains to lift another Intermediate title and progress closer to the top echelons of Donegal football. The Reserve team have also developed into a very good side and at the time of going to press were sitting atop of the Division 3 Reserve table, a far cry from the early days of the Reserves in the 90s when they were more likely to be found at the bottom of the table. It also reflects the strength in depth that is presently available to the club.
The one major highlight on the playing fields to date was the U-21 team lifting the County U-21 Division 2 title in 2010, the first ever title for the club at that age-group. This was a culmination of the many excellent under age teams in the 2000s and they beat local rivals St.Nauls in the semi-final and Bundoran in the final in TirChonaill Park. The U-21s made it to another County final in 2012 but lost out on that occasion..
Another highlight of this decade has been the arrival of another Senior All-Ireland Winners Medal in the Parish, courtesy of David Walsh who was part of the Donegal team that won the County’s second All-Ireland title in 2012. David has come through the ranks of Naomh Brid from U-10 up and has been a fantastic servant to the club down through the years. It is a great honour for the club that we have had a club player on both Donegal sides that won All-Ireland Senior Titles. David was also part of the team that lost out in the All-Ireland final of 2014 and is still part of the Donegal set-up.
Other All-Ireland medals were won by Patrice Rooney who won an Intermediate Title with the Donegal ladies team and Darragh Brogan, Liam Duffy and Conor McNulty who all won All-Ireland Freshers medals with their respective colleges.
Another great off-the field endeavour undertaken by the club was the Sandhouse Solo Challenge organised in 2013. This served as a joint fundraiser for the club and Donegal Hospice. The challenge was to solo a football all the way from Pairc Naomh Brid to Clones on Ulster final day with each participant soloing for a kilometer. It proved to be a great success with many willing volunteers joining in to raise money with over €12,000 being donated to Donegal Hospice, a remarkable sum of money for a locally run event.
Whilst the success of the previous decade has not been replicated at underage level, we continue to field teams at all age groups and have reached several Divisional Finals with the U-12 team winning the Plate final in 2014. An U-8 team was set up in 2012 for the first time which has been successful at introducing the skills of Gaelic football to an even younger age-group. The Club has also set up a visionary Coaching plan with Sean Gormley appointed as Club Head coach with responsibility for co- ordinating the activities of the other 14 qualified coaches in the club. With such structured plans in place, the future of the club looks very bright indeed.
Naomh Bríd All-Ireland Medalists
One Club - Eleven Champions
Matt Gallagher (Senior All-Ireland 92, U-21 82, Masters 02/03)
The clubs most decorated club member with various All-Ireland medals as well as Railyway Cup medals and Ulster and Donegal Player of the year Awards, All Star Award.
David Walsh (Senior All-Ireland 2012, Finalist 2014)
A top footballer all the way through the underage ranks for Naomh Brid, he was an important part of the All-Ireland winning team in 2012.
Pauric Gallagher(RIP) (U-21 All-Ireland 1982)
One of the most talented players ever to represent the club, Pauric was part of the U-21 team that brought home Donegals first ever All-Irleand title in 1982.
Rory Sweeney (Vocational Schools 95/96)
Rory won two All-Ireland Vocational School titles in 1995/96, He was Captain in 96 and also Captain of the Donegal Minor team that won an Ulster Title the same year.
Donal Martin (Vocational Schools 96)
The Skimmer was also part of the All Ireland Winning Donegal Vocational School team in 1996 playing at Corner Back. Also won a Minor Ulster title.
John Joe Travers (All-Ireland Masters 02/03)
A long standing member of Naomh Brid teams down through the years. He won Master All-Ireland titles with Donegal in 2002 and 2003.
Caroline McGroary (Ladies Junior All-Ireland 03)
Played with the Naomh Brid U-10s, U-12s and ladies team in the 90s. Was a member of the first Donegal ladies team to win an All-Ireland when they lifted the Junior title in 2003.
Patrice Rooney (Ladies Intermediate All-Ireland 2010)
A very talented young lady who played with Naomh Brid boys teams at underage level. Played for Donegal underage teams and was part of the Donegal Senior team that lifted the All-Ireland Intermediate title in 2010.
Liam Duffy, Conor McNulty (College Freshers 2011)
Part of the very good crop of underage players developed by the club. Liam and Conor were part of the Galway IT team who lifted the All-Ireland Freshers title in 2012
Darragh Brogan (College Freshers 2012)
Another underage starlet, Darragh has played on the County Minor team and was another to win a Freshers All-Ireland title in 2012 with Sligo IT.
In 2012, the Naomh Brid Committee decided to send an entry for possible inclusion in the reality RTE television show Celebrity Bainisteoir. In this series, a celebrity would be paired up with a club and given the task of managing the team against teams who were managed by other celebrities taking part in the show.
When Naomh Brid were selected as one of the teams to take part, a great wave of enthusiasm spread around the club at the realisation that the club and Parish would be featuring on National Television in a slot once occupied by the never forgotten Glenroe. Instead of Miley and Biddy, now it was Skimmer and Rocky. A huge amount of effort was put into preparations for the arrival of the celeb to Pairc Naomh Brid. Nobody knew it was to be but the lads were hoping for someone like glamour model Georgia Shaple to provide them with inspiration. In the end they were not far off, as they ended up with a former model Pippa O’Connor. There were scenes of unrestrained joy when she presented herself in the team dressing room.
It was clear from the show at the start that Pippa didn’t fancy making the long trip to from Dublin to Donegal, but she was soon charmed by the Naomh Brid boys. The first game was against Rochfortsbridge from Westmeath, who were managed by Pippas husband Brian Ormonde. She was desperate to get one over her husband and a huge crowd was in attendance to witness the game in Pairc Naomh Brid. Michael O’Muireartagh was present to do the commentary as the teams commenced battle. After falling behind, the Naomh Brid boys came back well to squeeze out a victory with Clint Walsh scoring a wonder solo goal. Pippa was delighted but not perhaps with the nice shower she received afterward!!
Pippa now had husband Brian as her assistant as they faced into a semi-final away to NewtownCashel from Longford managed by another model Roz Purcell. This times it wasnt to be and Naomh Brid sadly exited the competition but the whole experience was a positive experience for the club, and the good folk of Naomh Brid and Donegal left such an impression on manager Pippa that she has been back to visit Donegal several times since.
Two legends in Pairc Naomh Bríd Dublin’s Ciaran Whelan Mentor to Pippa O’Connor & Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh match commentator on the day.
At the heart of every GAA club is the volunteer. Put simply, the GAA wouldn’t survive without all those unsung heros who are the lifeblood of an organisation that has become such an intrinsic part of Irish society.
Each decade produces new and welcome volunteers, here we highlight a few members who have been involved with the club down through the years. There have been many more who have been willing to give up their time, energy and in some cases resources and expertise to keep our club progressing.
You are the lifeblood of our fantastic little club. To one and all, we say thank you.
The Club referee
The one position that gurantees you nothing but grief regardless of what you do. It takes an incdredibly thick skin and a lot of patience to make it as a ref and they never get enough recognition as without them, there would simply be no games.
Our first official referee was Eammon Gibbons who started as a referee in the early years of the club. In the 80s, Pat Walsh took over as Club referee and held this role for many years before moving to Bundoran. Pat was referee for the match between Donegal and Clare in 1992 that marked the opening of Pairc Naomh Brid.
In more recent times Pat served as the Referee administrator for the County Board which involved appointing referees for every adult game in Donegal. He carried out this role professionally appointing refs to over five thousand games throughout Donegal. Only once was a Referee not present which is an amazing statistic and achievement. Michael Walls also represented the club as a ref and in more recent times Terence Kilpatrick carried out the role as referee.
In the passage of 40 years, it is only natural that we lose some of our friends and family along the way and the Naomh Brid club is no different. We take time out to remember all those who have sadly passed on but played a huge part in making the Naomh Brid Club what it is today. We value their contributions, their friendships and the unforgettable memories we have of them. May they Rest in Peace.
Naomh Bríd Roll of Honour
Division 3 Shield Runner-up
U-10 -Southern Division A Runners-Up
U-12 - Southern Division B Championhip Winners
Senior - Junior Shield Runners Up
U-10 - (A) Divisional Championship Winners
Senior - Junior A Championship Winners
Senior - Division 3 League Winners
Senior - Division 3 Shield Winners
All County Club Of The Year Winners
U-10 - (A) Divisional Championship Winners
Senior - Intermediate Championship Winners
Senior - Division 2 League Winners
Senior - Division 2 Shield Runners Up
U- 12 -Southern Division A Runners Up
Senior - Division 1 League South - Joint Runners Up
U-12 - Southern Division A Winners
U-12 - County A Runners Up
U-13 - Southern Division A Runners Up
U-14 - Southern Division A Winners
U-14 - Southern Division B Winners
U-14 - County B Runners Up
U-10 - Southern Division A Runners Up
U-18 - Southern Division B Runners-Up
U-16 - Southern Division B Runners-Up
U-12 - Southern Division B Winners
U-12 - County B Runners-Up
U-21 - County B Final Runners Up
Senior - Division 2 Runners Up
U-18 - Division 3 County Final Winners
U-12 - Division 2 Winners
U-18 - Division 3 County Final Winners
U-16 - Division 3 Runners Up
U-12 - Division 2 Winners
Senior Division 3 League Winners
U-10 – Michael Shannon Winners
U-10 – Michael Shannon Winners
U-12 Div 3 County Winners
Senior - Junior Championship Runners Up
Under 14 - Div 3 County Championship Winner
Under 13 - Div 2 Southern Divisional Winners
Under 13 - Div 2 County Runners-Up
Under 12 - Div 2 Southern Divisional Winners
Under 12 - Div 2 County Runners-Up
Senior - Junior A Winners
U16- Div3 County Championship Runners-Up
U14 - Div 2 League & Championship Winners at Divisional/County level
U14 - Div 2 Southern, County and Ulster Feile Winners
U12 - Div 2 Southern Divisional Winners
U16 - Div 2 Southern League/Championship Winners
U16 - Div 2 County League Runners-Up
U15 – Og-sport County Runners-up(7-a-side)
U12 - Div 2 Southern Divisional Winners
U12 - Div 2 County Runners-Up
U18 - Div 2 Southern Championship Winners
U18 - Div 2 Southern League Winners
Senior - Junior A Winners
Senior - Ulster Junior A Runners Up
U13 - County Winners
Senior Division 3 League Winners
U18 - Div 2 Southern Championship Winners
U21 – Div 2 Championship Winners
U16 – Div 3 Winners
U-21 Div 2 County Runners-up
U12 Divisional Plate Winners