Shamrock Gaels GAA club was formed on 16th March 1972, when members of the Sooey and Knockalassa clubs came together at a meeting in Riverstown Hall.
Both clubs had a long and proud tradition within the GAA in County Sligo, a tradition that stretched back to the very foundation of the Association. Over these years, Sooey contested six senior county finals, winning the Senior Championship in 1949 and 1959. Knockalassa played in five finals, winning the title in 1915 and 1933.
The seeds of the eventual amalgamation were sown when a Sooey/Knockalassa combination, called St. Joseph's, contested the 1966, Under 16 and Minor county finals. The U16 team lost to Múire Naófa, while the Minors won the county championship, beating Drumcliffe in the final. The two clubs joined forces again in 1969 to contest the Senior Championship but lost in the first round to another amalgamation Gurteen/Bunninadden.
By the beginning of the 1970's, both clubs had fallen on lean times and despite contesting eight finals in the previous decade, neither team won any honours and members began to realise the absurdity of two Junior clubs, based in the same parish, struggling to put out teams from a relatively small pool of players. This led to the historic meeting in Riverstown Hall on 16th March 1972. The new club was greeted with great enthusiasm by players, members and supporters of both Sooey and Knockalassa.
The name 'Shamrock Gaels' was suggested by the late Paddy Gannon, who had played for a team called Shamrocks whilst he was living in London. The name was especially appropriate given the date on which the Club was formed. The Club area comprises the parishes of Riverstown, Sooey, Gleann and Ballyrush.
The first Officers of Shamrock Gaels were:
Patron: Very Rev. M Canon Brennan, P.P.
President: Rev. M Owens, C.C.
Chairman: Paddy Joe Quigley
Vice Chairmen: Mick Kelly and Brett Bartley
Secretary: Leo Kearns
Assistant Secretary: Liam Dennedy
Joint Treasurers: Dominic Quinn and Paddy Gethins
Delegate to Divisional Board: Gerry Conboy
Delegates to County Board: Paddy Joe Quigley and Gerry Conboy
Selection Committee: Chairman, Secretary, Padraig Lang, Paddy Gannon and Gerry Conboy
Committee: Gerry Conboy, Paddy Gannon, Jim Gilmartin, Tommy Feeney, Tom Flanagan, Padraig Lang, Tommy Fowley, Johnny Lyons, Tommy Kelly, Tommy Noone, Tommy Mc Dermott, Tom Joe Hamilton, Seamus Kerrigan, Seamus Mc Cormack and Peter Torsney.
The new Club got off to a flying start, winning the Minor title in 1972 and again in 1973. At Senior level, Shamrock Gaels played their first game against Tulsk in a challenge match played in Tulsk. The team on duty for this historic occasion was L Dennedy, J Murren, M McDermott, S McDonagh, J McGarty, M Mulvanney, A Lyons, P Nangle, P Sweeney, G McDermott, J O’Rourke, J Taaffe, V Tighe, B Curran and P Curran. Their first competitive win at Senior level came against Craobh Rua in the league in June 1972 when they won on a scoreline of 1-5 to 0-6.
From the very outset, Shamrock Gaels adopted a progressive youth policy, and this was reflected in the contesting of eight Under 14 County Finals between 1973 and 1984, winning four titles. The club went on to win three successive Under 21 titles in 1987, 1988 and 1989. In 1990, the Club formed Bord na nÓg, which would go on to transform under-age activities within the club. The culmination of all these years of effort, both on and off the playing fields, was the winning of the Senior County Championship in 1990 and we went on to win a second title in 1992.
The next major development in the Club was the official opening of Shamrock Gaels Park on Sunday 3rd June 1998, when a challenge match was played between Sligo and the reigning All Ireland Champions, Kerry. ▶ The opening of Shamrock Gaels Park was the realisation of a long-cherished ambition to own our own grounds and was the result of many long years of hard work at fundraising through the late 1980's and early 1990's.
Today, Shamrock Gaels is a modern and progressive club, catering for all levels and aspects of GAA activity fielding teams at all levels in Ladies and Men’s football.
The club's most recent success include winning the LGFA Junior Championship, the boys Minor B Championship and the U12 Girls Championship in 2020. We are also back in the Senior Championship having won the Intermediate Championship in 2018.
We will celebrate our 50th Anniversary on 16th
March 2022 and we plan to publish a history book which will document the highs
and the lows along with unique insights and perspectives from the last 50