Clonmany Shamrocks F.C.

The Clonmany Shamrocks F.C. is one of the longest serving organisations in the Clonmany parish. The name Clonmany Shamrocks is the longest serving team in the Inishowen League. The foundation of the Club goes back a long way and since that many people have worked hard to provide first-class facilities at Shamrock Park. In my report I don't want to mention any names of the people who worked on the committee because there were so many, I don't have the space. It wasn't easy down through the years for the committee with little money, many problems and lots of stormy meetings. But their dedication and determination kept them going and a visit to Shamrock Park today will show us the results of their effort.

During part of the sixties and most of the seventies, the Shamrocks played in 'Peter's Field'. In 1974, the Club started a second team "Clonmany Youth" and they played their games on a pitch in the Isle of Doagh. The committee looking to the future felt the club needed a new pitch and in February 1976 they met the Clonmany Festival about the development of the "Pond Field." However, progress was slow and in May 1978 the committee of the Clonmany Shamrocks and Festival signed an agreement to develop the Pond Field. Later a few grants were available and the project started. Kearney and Mc Laughlin contractors transported about 500 lorry loads of fill material from Roxtown. With developments under way money had to be raised. This was done by having weekly dances, waltzing competitions, Mr. and Mrs. competitions, dart competitions, 25 card drives and Christmas rhymers. In May 1979, the Club moved from Peter's Field to the "station field" at Cleagh. As the developments continued in the Pond Field money was scarce so the committee did a house-to- house collection. They also organised sports. In July and August 1980 the club launched their first 'Lord Mayor' campaign. This proved very successful and John Joe Doherty was elected the first 'Lord Mayor' of Clonmany. The committee set their sights to open the pitch in August 1981. But in the meantime a lot of planning had to be done. With the heavy workload, the 'Pond Field Development Committee' was formed.

Inishowen Select (left) and Sligo Rovers (below)
click on either image to view larger versions

In August 1981 the Clonmany Festival were holding their 14th Festival. Sunday, 2nd August, 1981 was a double celebration for Clonmany. It was the start of the Festival and also the official opening of Shamrock Park. It was officially opened by the Lord Mayor. blessed by the late Fr .Gallagher. The first game was between Sligo Rovers and lnishowen Select.

The committee continued to work hard and in their second Lord Mayor campaign, Danny Kerrigan was elected. The committee now felt with the new field their next step was dressing rooms and showers. They continued the fund-raising in summer 1982 with the McDonald Summer Cup and the Lackin Trophy. The Mayor campaign that year was a joint effort with Mrs. McEleney being elected. In 1982 the dressing rooms were built and roofed by Michael McGonigle. The inside of the building was later completed with the of AnCO under the supervision of Edward McGonigle, Clonmany. The committee continued the progress with three phase E.S.B. supply. Later the building was plastered, the plumbing installed and the showers tiled. After taking care of the players the committee felt it was time to look after the supporters at games. In February 1985 a 40.ft. shelter was erected at the side of the pitch. Later, further developments were the building of storage for lime and mower with a boundary wall at the entrance to the grounds. These developments were financed by the money raised in the Mayoral campaign. The following were elected as Mayor:- 1983: George Harkin; 1985: Frank Hands; 1987: Winifred Coyle; 1989: Francis Hands.

Now on to the playing side of the Club. In the history of the Club the mid seventies was the most successful time. Recently the under-age have done the Club proud. In the fifties and sixties the Clonmany Shamrocks were managed by Jim Clafferty .The team wore green jersies. They played around Inishowen, took part in the Summer Cups in Buncrana, Moville, Carndonagh and Convoy. In the late sixties, the Inishowen League was in two sections. Clonmany won their section with 23 points out of a possible 24. In the League Cup Final later they lost to Buncrana.

In 1974 the Shamrocks, managed by Michael McGonigle, Cloontagh and trained by Paddy Gill, Gortfad, won their first trophy. They beat Fahan Swifts 4-2 in Maginn Park. Buncrana, to win the Top Four. In August of the same year they beat Illies Utd. in the Eamonn Gillen Cup in Moville.

1975 was the most successful year in the history of the Club. The team and management a year older and wiser. Their first Final was against Fahan Swifts. The game ended in a 2- 2 draw, with Clonmany missing a penalty with the last kick of the game. However, in the replay, Clonmany won 3-2. In the second Final, Clonmany beat Buncrana Hearts to win the Top Four Trophy. On 26th July the Shamrocks were playing in their third Final and going for their third Trophy. It was in the Eamonn Gillen Cup against Moville. Again, the first game was a draw but the Shamrocks made sure in the replay by winning 3-1.

In 1976, the Shamrocks were runners-up in the 1st Division of the Inishowen League. They were going for a 3-in-a-row in the Eamonn Gillen Cup in Moville, but were beaten by Carndonagh in the Final. The following year again the Club were runners-up in the League. They were beaten by Moville in the Final of the Inishowen Trophy at Maginn Park. In 1978 for the third time the Shamrocks were runners-up in the 1st Division of the Inishowen League. Also that year , they were beaten by Carndonagh in the Final of the Eamonn Gillen Trophy. In this game the Shamrocks, managed by Denis McDaid, were leading 1-0 until they lost two of their players George Gordon and Liam Doherty with a clash of heads. This proved to be the turning point of the game. The next year, again with the same management and players, the Club won the League Cup. At the start of the eighties, the Club went through a lean time in regards to winning trophies. Perhaps at the time with developments to the pitch the team suffered.

In 1979 the Clonmany Youths were the winners of the Club of the Year. Also that year the Club was sponsored with new outfits. The Shamrocks were sponsored by the Strand Hotel and the Youths by Milford Bakery. Two years later we had the start of Clonmany Reserves. The Shamrocks were the winners of the Club of the Year in 1981. In 1983 they reached the Final of the Inishowen Trophy at Maginn Park. The following year the Shamrocks reached the Final of the Manor Cup. Also that year the Reserves were presented with new playing gear by the Ballyliffin Hotel. In 1986, the Shamrocks won the Inishowen Section of the Bank of Ireland Junior Cup and later played Tolka Rovers in Dublin who went on to win the Cup. The following year was fairly successful for the Club. The Shamrocks, being presented with new outfits by Hugo and Lucy Boyce (Square Bar) They won the Bertie Cartmill League Cup at Maginn Park. The Reserves won the Team of the year Award. The Reserves, managed by Gerard McErlean, again won the same award the following year.

In 1990, the Shamrocks, managed by Willie Gill, reached the Semi-Final of the Ulster Junior Cup. Also they reached the Final of the Culdaff Cup. Later that year the Club again got new outfits. The Reserves being sponsored by the Ballyliffin Hotel and the Shamrocks by the Square Bar. The following year the Shamrocks won the League Cup.

The Youth and Under Age Football played a very important part in the Club. Having a good pitch is also very important. It gives the young players a better chance to develop their skills. In 1984 the u-17 team reached the Final of the Ulster Cup. Two years later the u-13 team were presented with the new playing outfits by Coyles of Clonmany. Also that year, the u-13's won the League. The following year was even better. The u-13s won the Cup and Runners-Up in the League. The team was managed by Gerard McErlean and Jimmy Gill. In 1988 the Club sponsored a National Schools Parish League which has proved to be very successful each year.The following year the under 15s managed by Tomas Doherty, won the u-15 League. In 1990 the u-13 team, managed by Seamus Ivers, won the League and Cup. This team were unbeaten throughout the season. The following year, again Tomas Doherty the manager with the u-15, won the League.

I also have to mention that some young players have done very well. In 1990 Lee Davenport was selected by the Donegal Schools Team to play in England in a tournament organised by Ian Rush. Fergal Harkin took part in the Bobby Charlton School of Sports Skills. Fergal did very well and came second out of 15,000. The skills were about ball control, passing, shooting, and dribbling. For his good performance, Fergal won a two week all expenses paid trip to the Stadium of Light in Portugal. Another young player to do well was Michael Toland who was selected for the Donegal Schools who played in Scotland in April 1991.

Finally, on behalf of the Club we would like to thank everyone who supported the Club in the past and we ask for your support in the future. We would like to congratulate the Clonmany Festival on their 25th Anniversary. I would like to thank all the people who helped me with photos and information to make this report. I hope everyone will enjoy and have a good time at the 25th Clonmany Festival.

Charlie Doherty,
June 1992.

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