The early days
Claregalway was one of the earliest GAA clubs in Galway, losing two County senior hurling finals in 1893 and 1894. Documented records for the early days of Claregalway Football have not survived.
Gaelic Football was played in the war era 1940-1942 and a Claregalway team contested the 1942 West Board final against the Army team. Claregalway had been playing hurling since the 1890s but failed to register a team in the 1940s/1950s era. The Co. Board awarded the Parish team to Carnmore (Reference: Boithrín na Smaointe, Club publication 2008).
Galway’s All-Ireland Senior Football Titles 1956 and the 3-in-a-row 1964/65/66, motivated the football enthusiasts of the Parish to form a club.
1964: Claregalway GAA Club founded (Reference: Peter Greally). Affiliated to the West Board; Colours- Green & Gold; Hessions Field used for football.
1960s/1970s: Junior ‘B’ Football: First success in 1975- West Board League Winners; Parish League competitions held in Hession’s Field.
Playing facilities and a permanent base for the Club
1978: Land purchased in Lakeview, 7 1/2acres, developed for Football, Sports, Athletics & Community Games.
1980s: Community-wide fundraising campaign including- Annual Carnival, Commercial Sponsors, Lumpsum subscriptions for Lifetime Membership, ‘Night at the Dogs’ at Galway Greyhound Track; ‘Race Nights’ held in local Pubs, horses sponsored by Club supporters, Table Quiz annually.
1981: New pitches & Leisure Centre constructed and officially opened by An Taoiseach C.J. Haughey.
1986: Historic win- Claregalway win Co. Junior ‘B’ championship for the first time, defeated Oranmore at Ballindereen.
1987: The first year that Claregalway fielded two Junior teams, A and B.
New horizons- Underage Football
1985: The Club established a designated Juvenile Football Committee to cater for Boys & Youth, including Minors. Claregalway Juveniles U-12s, U-13s, U-14s, U-16s U-14s have a proud record of magnificent football title wins in the Coiste Peil na nÓg Galway Co. championships & City Leagues. The Club benefited as successes filtered up the line, e.g. –Claregalway Minors won the 1991 Co. Minor ‘B’ League and Championship double; in 1993 North Board League ‘B’ winners; in 1997 West Board ‘A’ winners
Highlights of Juvenile Football over the decades include-
U-14s have competed in the All-Ireland Feile Peil na nÓg ‘A’ finals held in Galway 1989 & 1990, in Kerry 1993, in Kildare 2009.
2000 Millennium: “Football for Fun” and mini-games for U-8s, U-10s & U-11s commenced.
2003: Claregalway awarded ‘Juvenile Club of the Year’ by Galway Coiste Peil na nÓg,
2005: U-14s captured the Co. Galway Peil ne nÓg League and Championship double.
2013: Claregalway U-14s win the Féile Peil na nÓg Co. na Gaillimhe ‘A’ Final v. Salthill played at Pearse Stadium to qualify for the All-Ireland Feile Peil na nÓg finals in Derry.
2013 Féile Dhaoire; Claregalway U-14s crowned 2013 All-Ireland Féile ‘A’ Football champions. Team & Management honoured at a special Mayoral Reception held at Árus an Chontae, Prospect Hill on Monday, July 22, 2013.
2015: U-16s win Division 1A League Final v. Salthill at Tuam Stadium
2015: U-13s win Division 1A Final v.Salthill at Tuam Stadium.
New Clubhouse- Constructed on-site beside Leisure Centre, Lakeview in 1991.
Claregalway’s progress from Junior to Senior Football- Club history made in 2017
As in the case of many GAA Clubs when promoted to higher grades, players are exposed to higher standards of football and club teams are often subject to set-backs and relegation. Such has been the experience of Claregalway-
1993: Claregalway promoted to Intermediate Club status for the first time; relegated to Junior in 1996.
1998: Regained promotion to the Intermediate Grade.
2000: Qualified for Co. Intermediate Final + prospects of promotion to Senior, lost by 1g to Ballinasloe in a replay.
2001: Pipped for Senior Football on scoring averages for the top four Intermediate play-offs.
2002: Promoted to Senior Football for the first time by winning the Co. Intermediate Final v. Clonbur at Pearse Stadium.
2012: Club relegated to Intermediate after 10 eventful years.
2013: Qualified for Co. Intermediate Final + return to Senior, but lost to Menlough by 1pt.
2017: Promoted to Senior Football again by winning Co. Intermediate Final v. Williamstown at Pearse Stadium, Saturday, Nov. 4th. and on the following day in Sligo Sunday, Nov. 5, won the Connacht semi-final v. St. Johns Sligo.
Next up, at time of writing, Claregalway contest the Connacht Intermediate Football Final against Michael Glaveys of Roscommon in Hyde Park on Sunday, November 19th.
2017 Claregalway Minors: Beaten finalists in 2016, Claregalway crowned 2017 Galway Minor ‘A’ champions, won Co. Final against Salthill at Pearse Stadium October 15th.
Ladies Football- Rapid uptake and winning displays throughout Ireland
2002: Ladies Football launched, developed and established as a new and exciting sport in Claregalway. Our Ladies football teams have represented Claregalway with pride and distinction throughout Ireland at Féilí, Tournaments & Sevens, e.g. Claregalway Girls won the National U-14 Division 1 Féilí Titles 2010, 2011 + All-Ireland Sevens Titles 2007, 2011, 2017. The highlight was the All-Ireland Intermediate title captured in 2013 when Claregalway defeated Thomas Davis of Dublin played in Mullingar. Claregalway has won Connacht championships in Junior 2011, Intermediate 2013, Connacht Leagues 2013, 2016 and Senior Sevens 2017. Numerous Claregalway players have won All-Ireland medals with Galway Co. teams- U-14, U-16 & minor.
2013: Claregalway Ladies Footballers promoted to Senior status.
The New Millennium 2000: New challenges
The Celtic Tiger era resulted in rapid household growth in Claregalway and large increases in Club membership
No. houses 1991– 712, 2009– 1537; 2011– 1924
Population 1991– 2706, 2009– 4379, 2011– 5103.
2003: The Club published its Review- “Enhancing the Quality of Life in the Local Community”. The Review was submitted to Galway Co. Council and subsequently included in the Co. Council’s Audit of Community & Sports Facilities.
2009-2016: Plans for new Community Amenities – The Club delivers
2009: Land 22 acres purchased at Knockdoemore, developed for Multi-use Sports & Amenity Grounds, 3 football pitches,1.3km Walkway, new Club Centre, floodlights, car park.
Land Purchase Loan- Investment financed by an ambitious fund-raising campaign, e.g. Club Development Fund Pledge; events ‘Strictly Claregalway’ and ‘Strictly Dancing’; Club Lotto, Disco, ‘Buy a Block’, Golf AM, Commercial sponsorships.