Please note that the Ardfinnan GAA Club launched its official Club History Book in November 2011, If anyone wishes to purchase it please Contact the Club on 08680336505 and delivery can be organised. The cost is €45. It has recieved wonderful reviews and is a must have for anyone interested in the Club or parish.
Ardfinnan is very proud of its history in the G.A.A right from when the G.A.A. was founded in 1884. There were games played on the green between local teams until in 1910 the GAA club was founded. At that time the woolen mills had a big influence on the club as a lot of players were employed there at the time, young men from Artane came to work in the woolen mills and they played for the local team. At this time the club were a junior club although they entered the senior championship in 1912 for the first time but were beaten by Fethard. Mr. Ned Boyle of Marlhill was a very prominent gael in South Tipperary traveling to board meetings on behalf of the Gaa club in Ardfinnan, coincidently his two sons John and Ted would win county medals for Ardfinnan.
The 'Green' where all the training and games were played until the G.A.A Ground on the Clonmel Road were opened
At this time Ardfinnan were known as the magpies because of the jersey being black and white. The colour of the jersey was not liked by many who wore it so a collection was made for a new set of jersey which were Green with a white band and white shamrock, that shamrock still remains on the jersey's to this very day. (see below for photo)
This is a picture of a juvenile team from Ardfinnan wearing the new jerseys at the time which were green with a white band and a white shamrock, the white shamrock is still kept on the jersey to this day
The club played senior in 1917 and 1918 but due to the War of Independence there was very little football played in the period between 1919 and 1922. Ardfinnan reached their first South Final in 1927 but were beaten by a Carrick on Suir side who went on to win the County Title, the management of the team on that day was Ned Boyle, Tom O' Gorman and Tommy Connors.
In 1928 a South Senior Final was played in Ardfinnan between Kilsheelan and Fethard that Fethard won. In 1928 Ardfinnan had two players on the Tipperary County Team that beat Kerry in the Munster Championship, they were Ned Lonergan and John O' Leary, incidentally this was the last time Tipperary beat Kerry in a Munster Championship.
In 1930 after a few year joined with Cahir the Cahir / Ardfinnan senior side lost to Kilsheelan in the South Final after a replay. In 1934 Ardfinnan won the south divisional title and went on to become County Juniors champions that year, and went on to win the County Senior titles in 1935 and 1939 while they lost the final in 1937.
First Ardfinnan Team to win a championship
Tom Doheny Danny Maher George Gray
Pat O' Brien Conny Brabston Moss Savage
Mick Condon Ted Boyle
Phil O' Leary Tom Maher Johnny Cummins
Willie Devereux Pat Savage John Boyle
Ardfinnan Junior Football Team " Tipperary Champions" Jubilee Year 1934
Back Row: J Cooke, J Boyle, G Grey, C Brabston, T Maher, E Boyle, J O' Donnell, M Savage, M Condon, J O' Mahoney, D Meagher
Front Row: J Mahoney, D Maher, J O' Leary, P O' Brien, W Devereux, J Cummins, P O' Leary, P Savage " Capt", J Condon, T Doheny, A Ryan
Presentation made to Mr. John Condon (front row three from right) in 1999 for being the last living member of Ardfinnan's first successful football side in 1934, sadly John passed away in 2001, also included are members of the club committee
Ardfinnan did not win any senior championship in the forties although they won a couple of Tipperary Man's cup in 44 and 45, however in 1947 the club was suspended for a year for a few harmless instances (I suppose) against Commercials in the south Championship. Ardfinnan were regraded back to junior until 1954 when they won the County Junior title (a title that has not been won since ) and in 1955 moved back up to senior where Ardfinnan have remained since. Johnny Cummins, James Teehan and the Butcher O Brien would have a vital role in the development of football in Ardfinnan in the years ahead. These men were the backbone of the Ardfinnan set up at this time and to this day are three men of many who have helped to put this club at the position it is today.
The Ardfinnan Senior Football team of 1961, the year before they started their unbelievable four in a row south titles and three in a row County titles
The 1960s will be remembered in history as Ardfinnan's Gaa clubs golden era, during this period Ardfinnan won the county senior title three times 62,63,64, the South senior title 5 times including the famous four in a row from 61 to 64 and then 1968 and numerous underage title (see roll of honour). Players who played football at this time are still spoke of today in what was a famous era for the club. Players like the great Babs Keating, the Savages the Keating brothers Dick and John, Stephen McCormack, Alfie McDermott, John James Lonergan, and later in the sixty's Liam Myles and John Cummins, Jim Healy and Pat Carroll. This team were honoured by the club for their great achievements as players and mentors and dedication to the cause of the maroon and white in 1992 where a great reunion was had by all that night.
The Ardfinnan Teams and Management of the sixties that won 3 County Titles and 5 South Titles honoured by the Ardfinnan G.A.A. in the Castle Court Hotel in 1992
By the time the 1970s had arrived Ardfinnan were a footballing force to be reckoned with across the county. The seventies started as the sixties finished by wining the 1970 county football title and who would have thought at that time that Ardfinnan would only collect the county cup once more in its history, that being 1974.
Ardfinnan Senior Football team of 1970, South and County Champions of 1970
Following the south and county title win in 1974 the club fortunes went into serious decline and failed to win any senior grade until in 1988 the minors won the south (b) title. During this period the only success the club had were the juveniles who won numerous titles from under 12 to under 16,
In the early 1980's the club made a remarkable decision to purchase their own GAA grounds and in 1983 the decision was made to purchase 6.5 acres of land on the Clonmel Road, work commenced in late 1984 and in May 1988 the club's new GAA grounds were officially opened by County Chairman Mr. Noel Morris. The grounds consisted of a playing field, a covered stand, four changing rooms and a car park for up to 80 cars. The clubs owes a great debt of thanks to the locals and Gaa people around the county for their support in order to make Ardfinnan Gaa Club's dream come true. Since then the grounds have become one of the best club grounds in the county and many a good game can be seen here from time to time.
Entrance to the Ardfinnan GAA Grounds , Clonmel Road, Ardfinnan
The Covered stand with 4 changing rooms underneath at the Ardfinnan GAA Grounds
Since the GAA grounds were completed, the emphasis returned to the playing fields where in the late eighties, Ardfinnan won their first senior grade title since the senior title in 1974 when the Ardfinnan Minor team won the South Minor (B) title. At this time Ardfinnan had put a lot of emphasis on the underage system and the development of underage teams and this minor team were the first team to reap reward.
Back Row: K O' Brien, C Meagher, C Ryan, D Lambert, F Hennessey, T Carrigan, J Hackett, L Boyle, D Keating, E O' Mahoney, M Doyle, F Walsh, T Lonergan
Front Row: E Norris, Michael O' Sullivan, J English, K Ryan, Eamonn O' Mahoney, A Quirke, S Maher, E Ryan, D Ryan, S Mason
In the nineties the club had numerous successes at juvenile level, minor and under 21 level, the elusive County title being won by the under 21 team of 1994 when being awarded the county title in peculiar circumstances.
Victorious Ardfinnan Under 21 team who won the County under 21 A title in 1994
In 2000 as the millennium changed Ardfinnan was once again honoured by past players, Pakie Brennan being selected on the Munster Millennium team and Michael Babs Keating being selected as Tipperary Footballer of the Millennium.
Then in 2005, Ardfinnan ended a 31 year famine and became kingpins of Tipp football once again when Michael Phelan captained us to glory. It was a late wonder point by player manager Peter Lambert that ensured we ran out 1.5 to 1.4 winners over Loughmore.
In 2009 we again excelled at under 21 and minor winning the U21 B South and County Championships and the Minor A South and County Championships. This was again a wonderful year for the Club and it is hoped that these players will help the Club win its next County Senior title in the not to distant future.
At Juvenile level we continue to impress winning a number of titles in the past few of years. In 2010 we won the under 14B South Title and 2011 we again won the under 14B South Title and also won the Division 2 South Title at under 12 in a wonderful match in Clogheen. In 2012 we made it three Under 14 B South Titles in a row but went one step better and also won the Under 14 B County Title.
In 2013 so far our Under 10s won the South A Blitz and the Under 12 A championship when our team of young guns overcame a strong Moyle Rovers challenge in the South Final in Clogheen, hopefully we will see more from these two groups in the future. The Under 21 team came of age winning the U21A South and County Titles in style beating Ballyporeen and Loughmore Castleiney respective Finals.
Ardfinnan has had so many great players that have worn both the blue and gold and the maroon and white over the years, those players have given great commitment through the years, and they now follow the maroon and white in the hope that the young people of Ardfinnan can bring success to the Village once more,
At each game played at whatever GAA grounds in the County or Country, the shout can be heard loud and clear
"COME ON THE VILLAGE"