The G.A.A. in Lawrencetown

By Paddy Goode

The history of the G.A.A. in Lawrencetown is almost as old as the association itself, with a hurling team in the area in 1887. What may come as  a surprise to many however is the fact that Lawrencetown had a football team as far back as 1888. While hurling declined somewhat all over in the early 1900's Lawrenctown were to the fore in football and played in the county senior championship, commencing in 1906.

There was very little activity during the 20's, but Lawrenctown again affiliated hurling and football teams in the 1930's. Mich Colohan and the Donnelly's were very prominent at this time. The village continued to field hurling teams during the 40's and early 50's before amalgamating with Kiltormer in the mid 1950's. The long years of waiting for success finally ended in 1959 with the winning of the East Board Junior Hurling Championship. The winning squad included: Mickey Whyte, Marty Keogh, Brendan Tierney, Seán Keogh, Tommy Harte, Mick Kelly, Pat Dolan, Seán McGilloway, Paddy McGilloway (captain). Mickey Glynn, Mikey Larkin, Mickey Hoare, Seán Hanlon, Paddy Keogh, Martin Jennings, Páraic Brien, Leo Tierney, Paddy Daly, Peter Kelly, Tony Carr, Kevin Donnelly, Kevin Brennan, and Christy Kilkenny.

The arrival of the late Fr. Jack Solon C.C. changed the G.A.A. in the area forever, and the 60's saw a combined Lawrenctown/Kiltormer/Clontuskert club and a new pitch in Lawrenctown. "Ochil Meadow" had served the youth of the area well, but many a thrilling championship encounter was to take place on the new ground. The leading local player of the 1960's was Mickey Hoare and in 1963 he had the unique honour of winning a Munster championship medal with the Galway Intermediate team. Mickey went on to play for the county seniors.

Another Lawrencetown player to enjoy success at this time was Tony Carr, who won an All-Ireland medal with the Roscommon junior hurlers in 1965.

The 1970's saw the Kiltormer club emerge as the new power in Galway hurling and players from the Lawrencetown area made an immense contribution.When the club made the big breakthrough in 1970 by winning the East Board minor hurling title, Jackie Dervan, Kevin Rogers, Ger. Staunton, Brendan Donnelly, Cormac Davy, and Ger. Dervan (R.I.P.) were all on the team. The U-21's completed the double that year with Jackie Dervan, Paddy Mollaghan, and Stevie Ryder all involved.

1972 was a historic year with Kiltormer winning the first of its many county titles. The houour was achieved by the minor hurlers, and Jackie Dervan and  Maritn Foley both shared in the triumph. The minors made it two in a row in 1973, and Jackie Dervan and John Goode were part of the winning team. Jackie brought great honour to Lawrencetown that same year when he was captain of the Galway monors which lost so unluckily to Kilkenny in the All-Ireland final.

In 1975, the club finally won the county intermediate hurling title and gained promotion to the senior ranks. This was only the prelude to further glory for Kiltormer as they went on to shock Galway hurling with the two famous successive county cup wins in 1976 and 1977. Players from the Lawrencetown area were Jackie Dervan, Mickey Hoare, and John Goode, while Frank Kenny was a valuable member of the 'sideline' team. Kiltormer also enjoyed unprecedented success at U-21 level when they contested four County finals in a row between 1975 and 1978 and lost none of them on the field of play. In 1979, John Goode and Tony Carr won All-Ireland U-21 medals with Galway.

Having won all before them on the hurling fields, Kiltormer decided to try their hands at football in the late 70's, and what followed sent shock waves through the county's football strongholds. The county junior chanpionship was won in 1979. The following year Kiltormer took the intermediate title, with Aidan Staunton, John Goode (captain), and Tony and Arthur Carr all involved in the final. However, despite these two fantastic final wins, Kiltormer's greatest football day had still to come. Having gained promotion to the senior ranks (Kiltormer were then Galway's only dual senior club) in 1981, they found themselves up against famed Corofin in the championship. On a never to be forgotton day in Athenry, Kiltormer caused the shock of the decade by defeating Corofin. Aidan and Martin Staunton, and John Goode were part of that history making team. In 1983, Tony Carr made his own piece of history whtn with Frank Larkin he won a Connacht football chanpionship medal with Galway juniors. In 1980, Lawrencetown residents Jackie Dervan and Jack Lucas won an All-Ireland Senoor Hurling Medal with Galway.

The county minors won their first All-Ireland  title in 1983, and Pakie Dervan and Declan Jennings stared in the victory. Not to be outdone, brother Brendan Dervan completed the family double with the U-21's. Aidan Staunton, Joe Rogers and Ollie Kilkenny were also involved.

Kiltormer senior hurlers made their big comeback in 1982, when they took the county cup for the third time. Martin Staunton scored the winning goal in the final, also playing were brother Aidan, Brendan Dervan, Joe Rogers, and John Goode. The club finaly won the Connacht title in 1983.

Lawrencetown had a huge representation on the U-21 team which won the county championship in 1983 with the following all playing in the final: Peter Staunton, Brendan Dervan, Pakie Dervan, Joe Rogers, Noel McDermott, Mikey Kenny, Dermot Cox, Aidan Staunton, Noel Kelly, Joey Cox, and Lar Kelly. Pakie Dervan won his second All-Ireland medal in 1985 with the Galway U-21's.

Kiltormer hurling remained a force throughout the 80's before 1990 heralded a new era for the club. Under the management of John Goode, and the guidance of Tommy Lally, Kiltormer won the County cup, and they completed the double in 1991. They became the first club to achieve this honour since they themselves did it in the mid 70's. The crowning glory came in 1992 when after three epic games against Cashel King Cormacs, Kiltormer defeated Birr at Thurles to become All-Ireland club champions.

The following players from the Lawrencetown area, and all ex-pupils of the national school, have been involved with Galway in All-Ireland finals: Pakie Dervan (holder of two all-Ireland medals), Brendan Dervan, Jackie Dervan, Aidan Staunton, Joe Rogers, Tony Carr, Mickey Hoare, John Goode, Dermot Cox, and Mikey Kenny. In addition, Tony Carr senior has played for Roscommon, while Michael O'Dowd has been involved with Monaghan as a player and manager. Another Lawrencetown native to do well on the G.A.A. fields is Clare Harte who played with the Galway minor camogie team in the 1982 All-Ireland final. The Harte sisters, Clare and Marie, have also been to the fore with the Galway ladies' football team.

All in all, Lawrencetown can be proud of its 112 year G.A.A. history.