Brief History of Sport in the Parish

by Michael Nolan

Sport in the Parish

Sport in Gortnahoe and Glengoole has had a treasured history and many honours have reached the parish in the past and in recent years.

The established sports of GAA, greyhound racing, athletics and horse racing are very deep rooted here. In recent years we also have new sports such as badminton, where such clubs as Glengoole and Grange are to the fore, and golf, which has now two thriving golf societies in the area, ‘Slieveardagh’ and ‘The Abbey’. For the first time we have a golf professional from the parish namely, James McBride from Ballysloe. James has recently taken up a position with Ballykisteen Golf Club and is very popular for golf lessons.

Ballynonty and Slieveardagh are two successful Athletic clubs and are well established in the parish and have many competitions throughout the year.

Greyhound racing has a very large following and the Ballysloe, Glengoole area of the parish is very much to the fore here. Ballysloe with names such as Campions, Keeffes, Purcells, Larry Ryan with his great ledger winner, “Within the Law”, John Tracey with his very successful list of, ‘Ballysloe Rose’ etc, to ‘Clonora’ with Michael Cormack. Michael Brennan of Glengoole Village also has strong greyhound connections, as have the Kielys of Ballysloe with the Hardings. Paddy Raleigh has won some great races with amongst his most famous, ‘Derheen Star’ capturing a ledger a few years ago.

Up the hills in Ballinastick, John O’Shea kept all his fans excited some years back with his great greyhound ‘Coalbrook Tiger’, a finalist in the Irish Derby and winner of some highly rated races. His neighbour James Hayes also enjoys regular success on the greyhound circuit. In neighbouring Ballysloe, Jimmy O’Keefe had 1st and 2nd in a memorable Derby a few years back, also successful is our most recent trainer, Derek Keogh from Enniscorthy, who runs a strong kennel.

Young Jamie Spencer of Glengoole South is upholding a strong horseracing tradition set by his father Frank and his uncles. Who can forget his fathers great horse “Winning Fair” winning the Cheltenham Hurdle of 1963. The neighbouring Ger Kennedy and his cousin Noel of Glengoole have also regular runners on the track.

In show jumping Larry Kiely is a household name, not to maintain his All-Ireland successes with Tipperary in minor and senior hurling. In Athletics the names Patsy Fitzgerald, Tom Fitzgerald, John, Mick and Willie Treacy, were all very successful runners of the early 1950s. The flame is now being taken up by a host of younger athletics, like the Cormacks of Glengoole South and the successful clubs of Ballynonty and Slieveardagh.

The GAA is flourishing, especially at under age level, fielding teams in nearly every age group. Current updating of all sporting results in the parish can be seen on this website.

Glengoole Development Committee are now in the final stages of purchasing a Community Playing Pitch for the parish, it is situated a quarter of a mile from Glengoole on the Bog Road near Willie Tuohy’s house. Check this website for further news on this Development. Congratulations to Glengoole United on winning the 4th Division soccer this year.