|MacCumahills are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year!
If you would like to make a contrubition in any way, either
by an idea or helping out to organise the parade, please contact:
Penny - 074-9131673
Tragically on the 16th August 1916, while practising for a game
to be played later that day in Stranorlar, one player, Pauric McGinty,
lost his life while trying to retrieve a football from the River
Finn. It is known that Pauric McGinty, Henry McGowan, Paddy Duffy,
Michael Duffy and some others brought Gaelic football to life in
the Twin Towns around the year 1916.
Some months later it was decided to form a Club and the first G.A.A.
Club formed in this parish was the Ballybofey "Eire Ogs"
: A keen but friendly rivalry existed between the players of the
Twin Towns, so it was not surprising that almost immediately afterwards,
Vincent Laverty, Jim Boyle and Denis 0'Kane met in Coyle's Bakery,
Stranorlar and started "Stranorlar Sarsfields" : That
was 84 years ago, back in 1917. During all those years the Association
locally had its successes and reverses - its fat and lean years
- but the continuity was never broken. Steady progress was made
by both clubs in picking up the then unfamiliar Gaelic code.
Both teams took part in the Finn Valley League - a competition
organised by the late Denis Gallagher N.T., Tievebrack. Eire Ogs
ran out winners of this League. It was surely to be a hectic battle
in those days when the local rivals met. Eventually, however, experience
showed that there was not sufficient material in the parish for
two senior teams, and steps were taken to form one club, which would
be responsible for all Gaelic activities in the parish. In October
1926, at a joint meeting of the two clubs a new club with the name
"Erin's Hope", was formed. The "Hopes" became
a well-known combination in county G.A.A. circles.
The first trophy won by Erin's Hope was the Dr. McGinley Cup. In
a stirring final, played at Convoy, in 1932, the "Hopes"
prevailed by a narrow margin. In 1940 they again won this cup. The
junior team has twice brought County Championship honours to the
towns in 1932 and 1944. The McCloskey Cup was, therefore, the second
cup to be won by the Club. In the Democrat Cup final in 1942 the
Senior team were narrowly defeated by Gweedore, after beating Ballyshannon
in the semi-final. In their first appearance in the Senior Championship
(Dr. Maguire Cup) against Dungloe, at Glenties, in 1930, the "Hopes"
were unluckily beaten after a pulsating struggle with the honours
in the balance to the final whistle. On their only other appearance
in the County Final they were again beaten by Dungloe at Magheragallon.
In 1926, the club formed a hurling team - the first time the game
was introduced to the parish - and the records show the following
motion for that year : "That a hurling team be entered for
the 1927-28 championship" : Unfortunately the hurling team
lapsed after a short existence. In Camogie the parish had at times
a team that could hold its own with the best. The Club had no permanent
playing field until a Park was acquired at Drumboe. Plans were then
made to acquire a more centrally situated park in Ballybofey. It
was felt that Drumboe was too far from the towns to encourage the
youth to practice.
Funeral through Stranorlar
In the Graveyard
In 1944, Ben Griffin and Sean MacCumhaill made an offer to Mark
Byrne to buy a field which was within the town boundary of Ballybofey,
but at the time the owner was unwilling to sell. In 1946, as part
of the 'Civic Week' celebrations in the Twin Towns a friendly match
between Sligo and Donegal was held in Mark Byrne's field. As this
proved to be a great success, a Park Committee was formed and the
field was finally secured for the GAA. On Sunday 1st. May 1949,
Sean MacCumhaill died suddenly in Donegal Hospital and the following
Tuesday, after the funeral service, his coffin was borne through
Stranorlar to the old graveyard.. "Sean MacCumhaill was an
extraordinary man" said Fr. Gallagher at the funeral, "he
never once flinched from the ideals he had set for himself, he was
an honest, God fearing Irishman." Soon after that it was decided
that the new Park would be known as Sean MacCumhaill Park. On Sunday,
22nd April 1956, the well equipped MacCumhaill Park was officially
opened by the President of the GAA, and a plaque to the memory of
the late Sean MacCumhaill was unveiled at the main gate. The name
of the Club was also changed from "Erin's Hope" to "MacCumhaills".
In 1957 Camogie was revived in Stranorlar when "St. Theresa's"
club was formed and in that same year the team beat Castlefin in
the Co. Donegal Junior final.
In 1959, MacCumhaill's were presented with the Dr. Maguire Cup
when they became the Senior Football Champions on beating Kilcar.
MacCumhaill's now created headlines like:
- "Flashing MacCumhaill's Sweep to First Senior League Win"-1961
- "MacCumhaill's Topple Champions" - 1961
- "MacCumhaill's Supreme in Football Inferno" - 1962
- "Club of the Year" - 1962
- "MacCumhaill's Retain Donegal Senior Football Crown"
- "MacCumhaill's Take Fourth Donegal Title" - 1964
- "McCool's Win League Final in Thriller" - 1965
- "Ballybofey win Dromore Tourney Final" 1966
- "MacCool's coast to 19 point win over Carn" - 1966
We wish to acknowledge information taken from an article written
in 1946 by Sean Mac Cumhaill and from the book, "Golden Memories"
by Joe Crawford and Dan McCool.
More detailed accounts of the history of the early 1900's, in the
Ballybofey and Stranorlar area, together with a large number in
historical photographs may be seen in the book "Golden Memories"
which is available in local bookshops (http://www.finnvalley.ie/thebookcentre/).
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